The first week of October is traditionally, with the National Day on October 1 and the following Chung Yeung festival, a golden opportunity to combine those national holidays with a weekend and enjoy a nice break.
This year the occupation by demonstrators of key traffic arteries in Hong Kong required some maneuvering of plans for many people. But not for those participating in the biggest yearly chess tournament in Hong Kong, the Hong Kong International Open, as always planned during this Golden Week. The event, with a handsome prize fund this year from the Kasparov Foundation, took place at Hong Kong University in Pok Fu Lam, away from the crowds.
Although here and there some of the local players suddenly had to report duty at work because of the demonstrations, of course affecting their results, by and large the tournament went smoothly and as expected with a dozen or so overseas GMs, IMs, FMs and CMs participating, the top spots were out if reach for the locals. Only one Hong Kong player managed to get in the top 20: congratulations to Alberto for his 15th place with 6 points.
The Hong Kong Local Open on Mondays in Queen Elisabeth Stadium, close to the demonstration zone, remains a challenge to get to for some players – including Caissa’s Michel who had to forfeit twice. Nonetheless, round 6 was played last Monday and also here Alberto did good business by defeating Jake and he is with Brian 1.5 points loose from the competition. An interesting game next week will be between Brian and Caissa’s David and Alberto against Chor Yuen, who was the 2nd best Hong Kong player in the International Open ending on 21st place.
On a smaller scale, the Caissa Autumn Open 2014 will also proceed with round 4 on Friday 10 October. Koji, Richard and Long have requested a BYE. The other 5 boards will surely produce some exciting games.
Business as usual.