Each week I will be looking at a player from our Chess @ 4 series. This will be the player of the week and it is possible to be Player of the Week more than once! To be considered for this position, all you need to do is score 15 points during the week in the Chess @ 4 series on Tornelo. Chess @ 4 is a series of 5 round events that run Monday to Friday, starting at 4:00pm. Between the rounds there are interviews with players, analysis of games and positions, and chat about other chess related things.
Our first Chess @ 4 winner is Michael Ooi who has been one of the regular players of Tornelo tournaments since they started in April. At the very first event, Chess @ Noon on 9th April 2020 Michael had a rating of 971. Since then he has played hundreds of games, and worked hard on his game. As a result, his rating has risen steadily up to 1352!
Michael plays different openings to most young players, preferring to push his c-pawn. As White he has been playing 1.c4, the English Opening, and as Black he likes 1.e4 c5, the Sicilian Defence. Both of these are strategic openings with less tricks and traps then the more popular 1.e4 e5 openings that a lot of kids play. Although Michael prefers strategic chess, he is very good at tactics too
Here Michael was White and he found a tactical way to create a checkmate. See if you can find what Michael played!
Michael has been one of the biggest improvers from our Tornelo tournaments. He still needs to work on parts of his game that will hopefully take him up to the next level. These are things that all players need to think about, and each week I'll be picking one game from our Player of the Week to highlight areas for improvement.
As well as being the star player from our Chess @ 4 series, Michael also won last week's Chess @ Noon tournament on Saturday. This is a free tournament that any junior can join and is divided into 3 sections based on ratings. Michael won the top rated section that had 32 players and the lowest rated player had to be over 800. Michael scored 6/7 winning 5 and drawing 2 games, a great unbeaten effort. On the whole he played excellent chess, but his most difficult game was one of the draws, and that is the game I've analysed. Here are some key points in this game:
Michael as White won some material, first a pawn and then a knight for rook. It is White to move here and Michael followed the rule that when ahead, trade pieces by playing 19.Bxf6. But this wasn't the best move because White's dark squared bishop is a really good piece. We shouldn't trade if it leaves our position worse than it was before the trade!
Black has just played 33..a6 attacking White's knight. So White wants to move the knight, but Michael saw that if he moves his knight, then Black traps his queen with 34..Bd4. There was a way to move the knight and stay material ahead!
Endings are difficult, but there are some general guidelines that can help us. One of these is to bring the king to the centre. Michael played 49.Rb1 here to defend against Black's pawns, but the rook is a good defender from behind the pawns, so it's already in the right place. The best move was 49.Kd3 when White's king defends against the central pawns which means Black's rook only really needs to worry about the h-pawn.
Michael finds himself a bishop for pawn down, but he doesn't panic and with hardly anytime left on his clock saves the game. What is the best move for White here?
The game is fully analysed here, where you can find the answers to the questions I've set and also see more ideas from the game.