Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Max Euwe memorial 2015

The 2015 Max Euwe memorial took place on the weekend of 21st/22nd February at Berea Primary School in Durban. The playing schedule was a grueling 7 rounds of 60/60 over 2 days, so I opted to watch some games instead of playing. There were 61 players, headed by the hot favourite, visiting master Rodwell Makoto of Zimbabwe.

Listening to introductory remarks from the organisers
As early as round 2 the second seed, Erick Takawira, found himself in big trouble. You can see from my photo that he had only a minute left compared to his opponents 16 minutes, in what looked like a lost Bishop ending.
Mkhwanazi (1417) vs Takawira (2052)

From the diagram play continued 1.Bb1+ Kxf4 2.Bxg6 Be8 3.Bb1 Ke5 4.e7 Ke6 5.Kd4 Kxe7 6.Kc3 Ke6 7.Kxb2 and a draw was soon agreed. Afterwards I asked Erick how he would meet 4.Ba2 and he gave 4...Kf4 to which I replied 5.Kd6 Kg4 6.Ke7 Bg6 7.Kf6 Be8 8.g6 and White wins. After reflecting on this, Erick then found 4...b1=Q! 5.Bxb1 Kxe6 and Black draws because he can sacrifice his Bishop for the g-pawn and the h-pawn is the wrong colour to win.

Not so lucky was Bongani Mgaga in his last round encounter with Shivar Gopaulsingh. After catching his opponent out in the opening, he allowed Shivar back into the game, despite having a 20 minute time advantage. From the diagram play continued 1...Qb6+ 2.Kh1 Rd3 3.Qc2?? Rxg3 and Bongani played a few more moves before resigning. My computer gives 3.Qb2 as equal, whilst I was expecting 3.Qc5 from Bongani.

Mgaga (1701) vs Gopaulsingh (1776)

Pictured below is KZN veteran Cyril Thanda Danisa (right) and his student Nobuhle Ndunakazi, followed by a photo of the tournament winner, Rodwell Makoto.

Here are the final results of the tournament.