Differences are really small in the very strong line-up of Hong Kong’s best youth players. Last Sunday we saw 3 draws on the first three board.
On board 1 Benjamin moved his white pieces to active squares trying to crack Miguel Angel’s Philidor – but Miguel Angel’s position held well and just as the black pieces were about to leap out into white territory Miguel Angel offered a draw. With almost all pieces still on the board and with only a minute left for Benjamin, he wisely accepted the draw. Stress levels are high at this tournament. That, and perhaps the toll of the Shenzhen tournament still played that same morning, can explain why Miguel Angel offered a draw – a minute, without increment, is really a short time to survive. The game was in any case a wortwhile event in itself to watch and nothing but applause for both Benjamin and Miguel Angel.
On board 2, James against Ronald, we also had the time dimension echoing into the game. With little time left on the clock James was still calmly walking around looking at other games but when he finally had created himself a winning end game of rook with few pawns against knight with less pawns James had no time enough to finish it and he had to head fast towards a draw.
Oliver, a little sick, faced Richard, who also had just come back from Shenzhen, and in a double rook end game the boys settled for a draw as there seemed to have been some perpetual elements on the board and they both looked genuinely tired.
Andy, who actually also was participating in Shenzhen, got stuck in traffic and his opponent Rachel won by default, as did Mei Jing because Ray could not make it.
Harold won against Marco, Teddy beat Sabrina, Samach beat Samuel and Steven won against Toby.
With the top 4, actually the top 8 players so close to each other anything can happen next week. A BYE has not been allowed anymore since round 5 and hopefully most players will make it next Sunday or will be able to arrange their game to be played before Sunday under parental supervision.