Rex Christmas Invitational Blitz!
A lot of people had asked me how I managed to find the time to train and prepare for major events while holding a full-time job. Well, I can only say that my task is made just a bit easier when I've got friends, a bunch of ex-nationals no less, who are willing to play training games so that I could prep myself and get in shape before any major events. And I thought its about time that I show some appreciation to this bunch of guys who are not only sporting enough to spend their precious time with me but also great great fun to be with! That is when I came up with the idea of a blitz gathering cum Christmas dinner at my place and perhaps, no one put it better in words than NM Olimpiu Urcan:
Extracted from Sgchess.net (https://sgchess.net/2016/12/18/1876-a-christmas-blitz-party/)
"Picture nine Singapore-based master-class players in a small 22-level balcony in an apartment in the Jurong Lake District region hovering over three chessboards surrounded by plates of french fries, strawberries, Coronas, wine bottles and chocolate bars. A friendly 8-round blitz tournament is in full swing with a special prize resting in a dark corner of the host’s refrigerator: a limited edition bottle of the finest Scotch whisky (produced more than 10,000 kilometres away, in the famous Strathisla distillery). As the number of Coronas dwindle at an alarming rate, the blitzing pace gets madder by the minute. In a most spectacular, Matrix-like moment, a power outage goes almost unnoticed just as half of the improvised plastic table holding the three boards collapses thanks to a berserk exchange in a Trompowsky duel. A volley of chessmen mixed with chips, apple tarts and strawberries is still up in the air in their journey to hit the marble while one of the players, as if all this had been expected, holds the table with one hand and pauses the clock with the other, with instincts that would put Marvel’s Doctor Strange to shame. Welcome to the underbelly of Singapore speed chess. Played far away from the conventional stage and the public eye, it’s the kind of chess that’s funnier, faster, deadlier and, arguably, even pays better."
It was a thoroughly entertaining day indeed, with plenty of typical banter that only comes about when one has downed one glass of wine too many. A star-studded field with 5 IMs, 2 FMs and 2 CMs means that the chess on display, despite the alcohol, was of decent quality. The winner of the event is FM Andrey Terekhov who deservedly won for himself a special Chivas Regal. The results can be seen here.
In case you are wondering, my friends had given me the nickname "Rex", after the legendary T-Rex after I had "chomped" the unfortunate Wang-Sheng (Sorry Wang!) in a FBchess Correspondence game. I will leave it to the readers to figure out who "The Legend" (the one and only!!), "The Gheeri" (no prizes for getting this one right), "The Ruskie Steamroller" (that's an even simpler one), "The Coach" (a real, proper coach btw, a coach with legitimate playing strength, an author of multiple chess books, a contributor to multiple famous chess publications, and not a hocus pocus one, with no FIDE rating or credibility ) and "The Angmo" (no racial slur there - he calls himself one!) are.
From top left, clockwise: FM Andrey Terekhov, FM Ong Chong Ghee, IM Lim Yee Weng & IM Ravi Shanmugam
The guys sharing a joke. Chess books can be strategically located if one wants to prepare for his opponent. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace - Man Utd playing in the background (GGMU!)
IM Terry Toh (the chap sitting in the middle) showing off his immortal CC game to the crowd. I will leave it to him or Junior to analyse this in greater detail.
Immense focus - Andrey Terekhov on his way to a fine tournament victory
Andrey Terekhov losing his first round game to NM Olimpiu Urcan, incidentally the sponsor of the excellent first prize. Not sure what the latter is doing with 2 clocks.
IM Ravi, scoring pretty well despite his, erm, lack of opening theory??
I hope to write a little about the Balestier Rapid league, an event initiated by the ever enthusiastic Junior Tay. Games were played once, or sometimes twice every Wednesday at De Royale Condo Function room. The games represent excellent practice given the strength of the playing field and I will one day annotate them here. The current standings can be seen here..
In the meantime, Merry Christmas, and happy holidays everyone!