Friday, 13 March 2015

Fischer memorial rapid 2015

Durban Chess Club hosted a one day Open rapid tournament on Saturday, 7th March 2015 in memory of the late Robert James Fischer, whose birthday was on 9th March. The event was held at Northlands Senior Primary School in Durban North.

As defending champion, I felt obliged to participate, but was completely off form, finishing with 4 wins, 2 draws and a patzer loss to top seed Joseph Mwale. My only consolation was a particularly nice combination in round 2 against Chad Blomeyer, who went on to share the prize for the best under 16 player. This was the position with Black to move:

Rust vs Blomeyer, after White's 26th move
With time running low, Chad pinned the Knight with 26... Rd8 threatening 27... e5. However, White can ignore the threat, and play continued 27. c6! Rbc8 28.c7 Rd7 and now 29.Nf5!! leaves 2 of my 3 pieces en prise, but wins the game after 29... Rxd3 30.Ne7+ Kf8 31.Nxc8 e5 32.Nb6 Be6 33.c8=Q+ Bxc8 34.Rxc8+ Ke7 35.Nxa4 etc. My subsequent home analysis showed that 26... e5 27.Nf5 Rc7 28.c6 Rbc8 29.Rdc3 Kf8 was about equal.

The winner was 3-time Durban champion Bongani Mgaga, who scored 6½ points from his 7 games. Along the way, Bongani had a very lucky escape against Paul Curry in round 3.

Mgaga vs Curry with Black to move
With about 90 seconds left on the clock, Paul reached for his Rook and the audience held their breath, expecting him to play 1... Rxh3+ 2.gxh3 Qg1 mate, but Paul placed the Rook on e7 and Bongani somehow managed to draw the game. Bongani's other key game was his round 6 win against 2nd placed Joseph Mwale, with castling on opposite sides of the board followed by a crushing attack on the black King. Also on 6 points, but placed 3rd on tie-break, was Petros Ntombela.

Here are the detailed results of the Fischer memorial rapid.