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 Chess @ 4 events have 2 divisions, a Premier event and a Challengers event. These are both based on the ratings of the players. Anyone rated 800 or below plays in the Challengers while those above 800 play in the Premier. We have seen players improve through both events. For example, the Challengers used to be for players rated below 700, but because our players improved, their ratings went up and we didn't have many players below 700! In the past week the Challengers tournament has been very competitive but the outstanding player has been Michael Harding who has won two tournaments, finished second once, and finished sixth in the other. Michael is our player of the week!
Michael's rating was around the 500 mark for quite a while until he started playing Chess @ 4 events towards the end of May. Since then he has shot up to 769 and another winning performance might see him jump over 800! Michael likes to play risky attacking chess. He sometimes gets into bad positions in the opening, but his active style lets him fight his way back into the game.
Michael is White and in a tricky position. Black wants to do a Checkmate in 2 moves. Can you see what Black is planning? Michael played 1.Nb3 attacking Black's d4 bishop and discovering a queen trade and making the game even more complicated. The game continued until Michael was able to try the same trick again later, and this time it worked.
White to play and hit a discovered attack. Black didn't see the threat and Michael went on to win the game after being in a difficult position. See the finish here.
Michael fights hard to the end of the game. I have seem him finish off technical endings like king and rook vs king easily, and I also saw this nice endgame this week.
Michael is White. See if you can find a winning plan for White. Funnily enough, in the game Michael didn't play the winning idea here, but did a bit later, although his opponent missed chances. See how the game went here.
I wonder how long before Michael is playing in the Premier section of Chess @ 4?