Gawain Jones | September 12, 2011 16:38

Barclays International – Last Round and Round Up

I arrived back at home in London at 1am this morning so this is the first time I’ve had to write an update. The last round was a 10am start, and after a few hours sleep, breakfast, a quick bit of preparation and packing I managed to arrive at the board just 15 minutes late. I had White against David Berczes, a young Hungarian GM. Recently he has played loads of different openings and with such little time I couldn’t prepare very deeply. He chose 1…e5 and I decided to deviate slightly on my game against David Howell from the British. I played 6.cxd4 which has a notoriously drawish quality but I prevented the game from going completely dead. David used far too much time, around half of it on move 11, and by move 20 he was down to 3 minutes. He tried to go active with 29…c5!? but erred on the following move by taking on d4 with the pawn ( he should have chosen 30…Rxd4).

When the dust settled at the time control I had an extra pawn in the queen and knight endgame. I’m not sure if it was technically winning but ultimately I managed to queen the passed pawn. I’m very happy with how this game turned out; checking it quickly with a computer afterwards, it doesn’t seem I made any major errors and beating a GM from an equal position was very pleasing.

Barclays Open A, 11 September 2011


Mine was the only decisive result on the top seven boards and meant I rose to 2nd= ( just 5th on tiebreaks thanks to my early loss coupled with the fact that Vlad Tomescu withdrew after I beat him in round five). I was a bit disappointed with the number of “Grandmaster draws” in the event with many players seemingly happy to drift into the prizes without fighting for first place. After a great start of 4/4, Alberto David agreed five quick draws, admittedly all against GMs but still it seemed a shame.

Yuri Solodovnichenko ended champion with a very quick draw in the last round. The decisive game of the tournament was his round 8 game against Berczes. He had Black and they reached a very complex endgame position where he was the exchange down but had a powerful passed pawn. It probably should have resulted in a draw but David missed a reply and panicked, blundering and losing immediately.

Overall I am pleased with my performance. After a disappointing start, in particular my round two loss, I fought back and finished in the prizes and broke even on rating. My score with black wasn’t fantastic; 1.5/4 with 3 draws and 1 loss, and a couple of opening questions that I’ll need to answer before my next tournament. With White however, I managed 100% with 5/5. Again my positions out of the opening weren’t commanding (except for round 7 I had no real edge after 15 moves) but was happy I kept going and ground down my opponents. Every one of my wins came in the endgame and I went to two scoresheets in six of my nine games (over 60 moves).

I now have a while at home, my next tournament being the Galway weekender at the end of this month. In the meantime I have to write my ChessPublishing update, do some chess work with Sue (she hasn’t played much recently but is planning on playing the e2e4 event organised by Sean Hewitt in Sunningdale next weekend and so we should do a little work) and of course a lot of work on my own chess.

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Gawain Jones's picture
Author: Gawain Jones

Gawain Jones is an English chess player and grandmaster.


Marco's picture

Hey I won the Barclays International!Well the "b" tournament:)
Anyway I want to dedicate this success to Jones...well not Gawain but Tanya Jones, my aussie girlfriend that now lives in Italy for 2 years. She's still fighting with her Italian and she wanted to ask you not how to beat the sicilian (well she's not a chess player) but how to learn italian quickly!'cause I told her that your italian is really good (?!)
A presto mate!

Gawain's picture

Hi Marco,
Sorry for the delay in replying - I hadn't checked the comments on this link to the blog before; only on my own website. That's a big coincidence, my mum's called Tanya Jones too! My Italian is ok but I went to school there for 2 years, at a liceo classico, so had to learn quickly! Need to improve my Italian though to make it fluent.

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