Latest October FIDE rating sees that I am at number 30 among active Malaysian chess players. However, I currently feel that I am playing miles behind my ranking, especially in short time controls. I tend to take quite some time in the opening phase of the game, especially when I play against those who should be weaker opponents than me. They deviate from the main line, and it will take me a while to find the refutation. But when I do, time is already out and the finishing touch will be way off the mark. This happened so many times during my latest outing in MAKSAK Penang. I lost 3 of the games and drew 3 because of time trouble.
Game 1 playing Black vs Asman Aminullah (Pahang)
The above position is the final position according to my score sheet because I went into time trouble after that. The actual game continued until Black King managed to march until d3 with his counterpart was stuck at the last rank. A couple of pawn exchanges ensued later, but, with the different colour Bishops were still on board, I offered a draw when it was obvious that time was not on my side.
Game 2 playing White vs Syed Abdul Rahman (Selangor)
1. Nxf6+ Qxf6 2.Nxd4 Qxd4 3.hxg5 Qxc4 4.gxh6+ Kf7 5.Qg7+ Ke8 6.h7 Qh4 and the Queen stops the pawn march.
However, if I had seen a step further at the time, I would know that taking the Bishop at c4 is fatal for Black. The hotel room analysis continued with 7.Rac1! and Black is lost.
Syed Abdul Rahman went on to win the best 3rd board prize.
Game 3 playing White vs Mat Salim Kadir (Royal Malaysian Police Force)
Again time was not by my side. The opponent was really a fast player, but he lost a pawn after the opening phase. I pressed for the advantage, exchanged my passed a-pawn for his Bishop after a controversy, and took his g-pawn after an expert Knight maneuver, but still did not manage to win. Luckily he accepted my draw offer but lament afterwards about me asking him to keep score during my last 5 minutes.
Game 4 playing Black vs Morsin Ahmad (Sarawak)
This is the position before I chose a losing plan B where I set about to win his e5 pawn by moving Rde8 and Bd8. But after Nb3!, Black was lost. What I should have done was continuing with my plan A which starts with 1... c5, threatening to pushed his Bishop away. If White replies with 2.b3, Black should continue with 2...a5, planning to land at a4 and take on b3, opening the a-file for his Rook where I personally think Black is okay.
Morsin Ahmad took the best 4th board prize.
Game 6 playing Black vs Amir Mokhtar (Perak)
The game was a tragedy. Firstly, the team arrived late at the venue because of the driver's mishap. I had to play very fast in the opening, but luckily I managed to get a pawn advantage. However, he managed to maintain his 10 minute advantage over me, which landed me in time trouble, again. Then, the unexpected happened. I blundered away a checkmate during the time scramble (well, I was the only one who scramble for time). From the above position, I played 1...c6 and the game went on 2.Rd2 Qg6?? 3.Qb6! and I resigned. What I should have played was
1... Rg3 and White Queen will have to cease her control of the flight square a7 to guard a deadly check at f2. After 2.Qe2 (or Qe1), Black should reply 2...Qe6 which will surely put White on the back foot.