The search for the perfect score is stopped!

GM Fernandes just ran out of time. In the last couple of rounds GM Fernandes has been using a lot of time in the early part of his games, and leaving himself with a lot to work through with little time. In this round he couldn’t solve his problems in time, by move 15 Fenandes was down to less than 15 minutes on his clock.

Well done to Rodwell for holding on! White had a clear edge out the early opening but the combination of Fernandes poor clock management and Rodwell’s play ensured his edge didn’t get out of control.

I think Daniel will feel quite disappointed with this result as he had a small edge out of the opening, but couldn’t build anything further. Black was then able to seize the initiative by exploiting the very weak e3 square. The game then turned into a model game on how to exploit an invasion square. The deciding moment of the game came just before the time control with both players short of time, first Daniel missed his best resource with 36.Ke2. Instead he blundered with Nd8 allowing the neat idea 36…Qh5! to trap the knight, but GM Abergel also erred in time trouble trapping the Knight in the wrong way. Unfortunately Daniel was the last to blunder missing that his Knight was lost in all variations he didn’t get enough compensation. The game then turned into as is so often said “a matter of technique”.

I actually recommend to readers to setup the position on move 40, and play against an engine. This will be a great exercise in converting a technically won position.

On board 3 we had the upset of the round. At first it would seem an upset that Donovan drew with Mark Lewis but when one goes through the game. Its an upset that Mark didn’t play on and collect a win.

Donovan over pressed in the opening and ended up tying himself into knots.

Watu recovered from his disappointing loss from round 7 with a comfortable win.

Adly won a violent game in a Dutch Staunton gambit against Justin Wilkin. It seems Adly was taking his opponent too lightly and  allowed him some very good chances. Justin unfortunately blundered with  19…Kd7? He needed his King to cover g6 from f7, which would allow black to target the pawn on h7. Justin then blundered in a much worse postion to end the game.

On board 6 IM Mabusela collected a win against former Junior closed champion Benjamin Hercules.The game started as a Zaitsev variation of the Ruy Lopez, made famous by the Kasparov-Karpov matches. Ben played a sub variation and seemed in an ok position but never really achieved full equality. Ben is a talented player but also seems to lack a consistent approach to his chess studies, as many of SA’s current junior players seem to suffer from an allergy to consistent dedicated chess work.

Now just to test your brain we have a simple tactic from Laura Irving’s win against Musa Simutowe.

Black to play and win.

Now we have the game of the round for me. Calvin Klaasen outplaying Alexander Kromhout with a instructive strategic win. First an exercise form the game.

How did white to play turn his positional edge into a material advantage.

A very nice win from Calvin, he used his superior structure to its fullest.

So as we move into the final straight GM Fernandes grip slips just a little. If he is not able to solve his poor clock management then he will lose this event in the latter rounds. He is now nursing a narrow half point lead over GM Abergel, with No1. seed GM Adly now just 1 point off.

Round 9 see’s the first all GM match up of the event with GM Fernandes on the Black side against GM Abergel.

Rodwell Makoto will be preping deep into the night trying to keep his good run going against   GM Adly.

Further down we have the usual skewed swiss pairings with the seeds outranking there lower rated opponents by more than 200 points on every board. One thing we can guarantee with this SA Open not all the seeds will come though with wins.


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