IM Goh Wei Ming wins Seabass Challenge 2015!
Four of Singapore's top 14 players were involved in a training matchplay event held from 28th April- 1st June 2015. So why Seabass Challenge? A few chessplayers have inquired...
The loser of every match is required to pay for a Tom Yam Seabass Dinner at the John Thai Seafood Stall in Balestier Market for the winner, the rest of the participants and especially the hungry arbiter.
The pairings were done by seeding with top seed IM Goh Wei Ming (ELO 2430) facing the lowest rated FM Ong Chong Ghee (ELO 2339) and IM Hsu Li Yang (ELO 2427) facing his perrenial rival IM Terry Toh (ELO 2419). Flexibility is the name of the game, both parties can negotiate the venue, date of the match, the time control, and nature of tiebreak. The most commonly agreed upon time control was 25min+10sec and the tiebreaker an Armageddon Blitz of 6 minutes for White and 5 minutes for Black (plus draw odds).
On to the games!
1st Semi Finals (25 min +10 sec increment)
IM Terry Toh 2 IM Hsu Li Yang 1
The long time rivals carry on in typical vein, hacking each other to bits in their respective White games.
So it went down to the wire with the Armageddon Blitz (White 6 minutes / Black 5 minutes and draw odds) when Li Yang hallucinated that his back rank was covered...
2nd Semi Final(25 min+10 sec increment)
IM Goh Wei Ming 1.5 FM Ong Chong Ghee 0.5
Wei Ming was on the ropes early in the game and he made a resourceful decision to bail out into an inferior ending. With the clock winding down, Ghee missed a couple of chances to win.
FM Ong Chong Ghee
3rd and 4th placing match (25min+10 sec increment)
IM Hsu Li Yang 1.5 FM Ong Chong Ghee 0.5
IM Hsu Li Yang
Li Yang had been the MVP for the Ministry of Health 1 team at the Public Service Star Games a week before the match, with his 5-0 demolition of the opposition helping MOH to defend their champion title. However, he was soon on the ropes in the opening, falling back alarmingly on development against an aggressive Ghee who later netted a pawn as Li Yang got his king to safety. However, the IM's endgame technique garnered him the desired draw.
Ghee as Li Yang described 'did himself in' with an unnecessary piece sacrifice. When queried on why he took the gamble, he remarked that he was already feeling fatigued after the first game, decided to speculate rather than get squeezed by the HUS technique and paid dearly.
Final (60 min+30sec)
IM Goh Wei Ming 2 IM Terry Toh 1
Terry's brazen attempt to 'hippotize' Wei Ming rebounded as the latter grabbed more and more space. Terry spent most of the game fighting to breathe and eventually succumbed.
Terry struck back in Game 2 with a powerful double pawn sacrifice and a superb kingside demolition job, ditching, in consecutive moves, his knight, rook and bishop to detonate the Black kingside pawn cover.
So Terry had to play another 6 min vs 5 min Armageddon Blitz game again but Wei Ming won the toss and unsurprisingly took Black!
Here's a Youtube Video of the tiebreak game.
So IM Goh Wei Ming emerges the champion of the Seabass 2015 Challenge. Thanks to all for participating and in good time, we willl work out the details for the next ...as Terry put it, the Salmon Steak Challenge!