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Masters winners Yiping Lou, left, and Deep Sengupta, with mayor Judy Rogers and English Chess Federation president Dominic Lawson.

Masters winners Yiping Lou, left, and Deep Sengupta, with mayor Judy Rogers and English Chess Federation president Dominic Lawson (photo: Nick Terdre).

Top seeds surprised at Hastings chess congress

The usual domination by the top seeds proved not to be the order of the day at the Hastings International Chess Congress, as grandmasters found themselves facing a stiff challenge from lower-rated opponents. Meanwhile the congress faces its own challenge as it prepares to look for fresh funding. Report by Nick Terdre, game commentaries by Grandmaster Chris Ward, photos by HICC unless otherwise stated.

“This was an interesting event unusually not dominated by the top seeds throughout,” said GM Chris Ward, who, accompanied by an attentive audience in the commentary room, analysed the top board games as they were taking place .

“It was indeed amazing that the eventual joint winner and top seed Deep Sengupta lost his opening round and then again in round 4 before finishing with five wins in a row.”

Indian GM Sengupta, already a two-times Hastings champion, ended up as joint winner with International Master Yiping Lou from China, both on 7 points out of 9. Both were awarded £1,600 and the Golombek Trophy. “It was an excellent performance by the talented young Chinese IM Yiping Lou,” Ward commented.

In contention to the end, when he lost to Sengupta, was English GM Daniel Gormally. “He will be disappointed with his last round game. He had played very well up till then, including defeating Brazilian GM Alexandr Fier in a delightful encounter which won the prize for best game,” said Ward.

Third place was shared between Uzbek GM Jahongir Vakhidov and Indian IMs GA Stany and Das with 6.5 points – Vakhidov and Das are  both former joint winners – while sixth place was a six-way tie, on 6 points, between Gormally, English GMs Mark Hebden and Keith Arkell, English IM Stephen Mannion, Iranian Fide Master Borna Derakhshani and Norwegian Pål Royset.

Xinyue Sun, joint winner

Xinyue Sun, co-winner of the prize for highest placed woman.

Prizes galore

The prize for the highest placed female player was shared between Women’s GM Nino Maisuradze of France and Women’s FM Xinyue Sun from China, on 5 points, while Derakhshani and Royset, with 6 points, shared the prize for the highest score by a non IM/GM.

The rating performance for a player aged over 65 was won by John Sugden from Bexhill and the under-18 rating performance prize went to 14-year-old Calum Salmons from Brighton – the latter prize was awarded as a lasting contribution from the former congress director, the late Con Power.

The prize for best performance against rating, awarded by congress director Alan Hustwayte, went to Portugese player Claudio Boino, whose 2123 rating belied his 5 points and joint 24th finish.

Lou achieved a GM norm, one of three needed to gain the title, and Taylor an IM norm. Fide (World Chess Federation) International Arbiter norms were gained by Tom Thorpe and Alan Atkinson, while Hustwayte pocketed the final norm he needed for the Fide International Organiser title.

Rising star: seven-year-old Munkhdemberel Pagamdulam of Mongolia,

Rising star: seven-year-old Munkhdemberel Pagamdulam of Mongolia,

Meanwhile seven-year-old Munkhdemberel Pagamdulam from Mongolia won no prizes but made her mark as the youngest ever entrant in the Hastings Masters. She has already taken part in tournaments in Asia, her mother told HOT, but not surprisingly this was her first appearance in England. Despite a rating of 1175, well below all the other players, she ended with a very creditable 2 points, including one win.

With its three-year funding deal with the Tradewise insurance group ending with this tournament, HICC now faces a period of uncertainty as it looks for a new deal, Hustwayte told HOT. Funding has anyway been virtually frozen for the last 10 years, which has made it difficult to attract top players – Russian GM Maxim Turov was due to come this year and with a rating of just over 2600 would have been the top-ranking player, but chose to pull out.

Outstanding games from Hastings Masters 2017/18

Commentary by GM Chris Ward

The following best game prize winner had all the criteria covered with the audience being entertained by Danny’s visit to the commentary room to justify his entertaining (but sound!) sacrificial play.

Daniel Gormally vs Alexandr Fier
1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 O-O 5. e4 d5 6. exd5 Nxd5 7. Nb3 a5 8. a4 h6 9. Bd2 Nc6 10. Bb5 Ncb4 11. c3 c6 12. Be2 Na6 13. O-O b6 14. Re1 c5 15. Bd3 cxd4 16. Nbxd4 Nc5 17. Bc2 Bb7 18. Ne5 Rc8 19. Ng4 Kh7 20. Nxh6 Nf6 21. Nhf5 gxf5 22. Nxf5 e6 23. Nxg7+ Kxg7 24. Bh6+ Kg8 25. Qc1 Qd5 26. f3 Nh5 27. Bxf8 Kxf8 28. Qh6+ Ng7 29. Qh8+ Ke7 30. Qxg7 Qd2 31. Rac1 Rd8 32. Qg3 Rd5 33. Qf2 Qh6 34. Rcd1 Rh5 35. Qd2 1-0

Elsewhere local player Francis Rayner had a couple of entries considered for best game including the following neat visual encounter.

Francis Rayner vs David Fowler
1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Bc4 Ngf6 6. Nxf6+ Nxf6 7. Nf3 Bf5 8. Qe2 e6 9. Bg5 Be7 10. O-O-O O-O 11. Ne5 Nd7 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Nxd7 Qxd7 14. g4 Bg6 15. h4 b5 16. Bb3 Qc7 17. Qe3 h5 18. gxh5 Bxh5 19. Rdg1 Kh7 20. Rg5 Bg6 21. Rhg1 Rg8 22. Qf3 Qd6 23. Qh5+ 1-0

Also the following submission had the odd sacrifice and pins galore!

Pål Royset vs Mikolaj Rogacewicz

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Ne7 7. a4 Qa5 8. Bd2 Nbc6 9. Bb5 Bd7 10. Nf3 Rc8 11. O-O Qc7 12. Re1 Na5 13. dxc5 Qxc5 14. Bxd7+ Kxd7 15. Rb1 b6 16. Nd4 Nc4 17. Bc1 Nc6 18. Rb5 Qe7 19. Nf5 exf5 20. Qxd5+ Nd6 21. Ba3 Qe6 22. Qd1 Rhd8 23. exd6 Qa2 24. Rb3 Re8 25. Re7+ Nxe7 26. dxe7+ Kc6 27. Qd6+ Kb7 28. Qd5+ Kc7 29. Bd6+ Kd7 30. Be5+ 1-0

The audience were thrilled that Adam C Taylor, a frequent visitor to the commentary room, achieved an IM norm whilst another English youngster, Conor Murphy, had some excellent performances, including defeating GM Mark Hebden and tendering some neat finishes, including the following. His queen was en prise for some time and who says that the rook and knight isn’t a good pairing!

Jonah Willow vs Conor Murphy
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. g3 a6 7. Bg2 Nf6 8. O-O Nxd4 9. Qxd4 Bc5 10. Bf4 d6 11. Qd2 h6 12. Rad1 e5 13. Be3 Be6 14. Bxc5 dxc5 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Qd6 17. f4 O-O 18. fxe5 Qxe5 19. d6 Qxb2 20. Rb1 Qxa2 21. Rxb7 Rad8 22. d7 a5 23. Rd1 a4 24. Qc3 Qe6 25. Qxc5 Rxd7 26. Rbxd7 Nxd7 27. Qd4 Nb6 28. Rb1 Nc4 29. Ra1 Rc8 30. Rxa4 Qe1+ 31. Bf1 Nd2 32. Qf2 Qd1 33. Qe2 Nf3+ 34. Kh1 Rxc2!! 35. Ra8+ Kh7 36. Qd3+ g6 0-1

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Posted 17:29 Wednesday, Jan 10, 2018 In: Sport

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