Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hong Kong Chess Association Student Challengers Tournament

Richie played in the Hong Kong Student Challengers chess tournament which his held a couple of times a year by the Hong Kong Chess Association.  The Student Challenger tournaments are unique in Hong Kong as they are the only two-day events that combine all students into a single player pool (regardless of cage) over 8 rounds of G/30.   This has pro's and con's but for a strong younger player it's definitely a positive to have the opportunity to play against students in high school.  On the negative side, you can get some strange results because certain players will have to 'play-up' against older children more often.

Richie did very well and finished with 6.0/8.0 points with one of his losses coming from the tournament winner.  Here are the results.

This is the first tournament in awhile that Richie has kept his game scores for.  I picked one interesting game out that highlights his tendencies.  Richie was really happy with his game and came out of it explaining that he went for a "crazy attack."  It features a piece sacrifice followed by another piece sacrifice offer (which turns out to be unsound but dangerous looking enough that his opponent declined).

Richie is black.  Can you find the refutation?

Oh yeah.  One more unique thing about these tournaments:  they offer cash prizes.  Richie was quite pleased with his $300 prize.  It didn't seem to bother him at all that this was HKD (~45 USD).

Hong Kong Scholastic Blitz Championships

Richie participated in the Hong Kong Scholastic Blitz Championships held by the Hong Kong Chess Association in late May, 2012.  The event was a city (country?)-wide event that attracted around 100 players in total.  It was a G/10 event and the players were divided into different age categories (U8, U11, U18).  Richie managed to go wire-to-wire with a perfect 7.0/7.0 to win outright by a full point.   The skill level in HK varies a lot in every age category, so despite being in the younger end of the range for the U11 group, Richie was probably a favorite to be top 3 or so going into the event.    There isn't actually a rating system in HK, so it's pretty hard to know for sure, though.

This event was run a bit better, in my opinion, than the team championships which were conducted by the same organization earlier in the year.  That competition was marred by a the fact that they allowed parents into the playing hall throughout the event which led to a lot of noise and distraction for the players.

In contrast, this event was run much more "professionally" with rounds beginning on schedule.  My one criticism would be that it should have been run with each player playing twice, once as black and once as white, in each round.  This would be more fair and probably would give a more accurate picture of relative strength.

I couldn't observe Richie's play so I don't know how he did really but I do know that he was lucky to come away with a win against the 2nd place finisher as I was told that he was down considerably in the game but his opponent blundered in the endgame.

Nevertheless, it has been a long time since Richie went wire-to-wire and I think that in itself is a good show of mental fortitude.
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