Gawain Jones | September 09, 2011 20:53

Barclays International, Rounds 6 and 7

A familiar pattern seems to be emerging. Round 6 I was paired with Black against the Hungarian GM Lazlo Gonda. He’s a rather solid player, often happy with 1.Nf3, 2.c4 positions so I knew it’d be tough to get the whole point. I tried a new opening but he came up with a clever move order and I couldn’t equalise. He had some fairly significant pressure but chose the unambitious option of trading queens and after that I equalised comfortably. I wanted to play on when he offered a draw on move 20 but after 5 minutes thought I couldn’t see any winning chances in the dull endgame so agreed a draw.

Most of preparation for this game consisted of sightseeing! Sam Collins (my room mate) and I took the metro into Rome’s centre with the idea of seeing the Pantheon, a Roman temple now used as a church. We also saw another few landmarks on our adventure one of which was a statue of Triton which, when we looked at the map, seemed to be where the Trevi Fountain should have been. We were less than impressed but eventually found the real thing and that really is something to behold. I forgot my camera in the room but took some pictures on my phone, although unfortunately will have to wait till I get back home to upload.

Rome’s centre is littered with beautiful old buildings, most of which just seem to be used as everyday churches. We found the Pantheon and had a very quick look but we were starting to cut it a bit fine to do any preparation and so headed back. However, it must be amazing to attend mass there. On the walk back we also passed the old Roman Forum and the Colosseum, which was impressive as I remembered.

In the evening after the game we also took the metro into town (there aren’t any restaurants around the hotel) and followed up a recommendation a friend gave Sam. The service was very slow, and the waiter managed to spill red wine over me, my white shirt and my phone, but the food was excellent and I felt very satisfied following my penne alla gorgonzola ( I have a thing for blue cheese) followed by a crostino. However the slow service meant we had to run to catch the last metro (11.30pm), arriving at the platform with about 20 seconds to spare.

Today I was playing another young guy, Diego De Berardino, an IM from Brazil with a high rating of 2483. I think he needs two norms for his GM title as he has already been over 2500. I decided to use a line from my new How to Beat the Sicilian book which worked wonderfully. I’m not sure what his decisive mistake was; in my opinion his position is already unpleasant when I managed to weaken his structure with 16.e5. I was pleased as I kept everything under control and didn’t give him any chances, a first for this tournament! Maybe after seven games I’ve finally played myself back into some form.

Jones, G. (white) vs. Di Berardino, D. (black)
2624 - 2483
Barclays Open A, 2011.09.09


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Author: Gawain Jones

Gawain Jones is an English chess player and grandmaster.

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