The 1st Online ChessAgainstCovid Chess960 Arena concluded earlier today as a resounding success!
It attracted 75 players and featured an extremely strong field with 15 titled players: GM Andrey Kvon, GM Kevin Goh Wei Ming, IM Tin Jingyao, IM Li Yang Hsu, IM Terry Toh Chun-Eng, WGM Qianyun Gong, FM Qingaun Lee, FM Siddharth Jagadeesh, FM Andrey Terekhov, FM Ashvin Sivakumar, FM Jarred Neubronner, FM Timothy Chan, CM Olimpiu Urcan, CM Benjamin Foo and CM Advait Bagri!
The first third of the tourney was dominated by CM Advait Bagri who streaked to 25 points, thanks to four consecutive wins before being held to a draw by Cameron Goh. At this point, FM Mark Ong Chong Ghee remarked that ‘too strong a start might not be a good thing’…and it proved prophetic…Advait was to hit a brick wall subsequently in his 7th to 9th game where he had to fight GM Andrey Kvon, then GM Kevin Goh…and then GM Kvon again. Such is life.
Kvon took over the pole position and maintained it for the next 40 minutes. By then, Kevin, Cameron, FM Lee Qing Aun and Jayden Wong were hot on his heels. At this point, Cameron Goh and Qing Aun surged past him on the strength of their 7 and 10 consecutive games winning streak respectively. For the un-initiated, Lichess Arena awards 4 points per consecutive win after the 2nd win in a row.
FM Lee Qing Aun used the ‘Berserk option initially, before realizing that he had to sacrifice the 3 min + 2 seconds time control for 1.5 minutes with no increment. From his 6th game onward, he ignored the ‘Berserk’ button and just kept winning and thus ended up 3rd with 40 points.
GM Andrey Kvon emerged 2nd, just two points shy of Cameron’s 44 points. The other GM in the event, Kevin, who was live-streaming as well…(where did my time go? – said the befuddled GM after ‘berserking his extra time away and not realising he had no increment subsequently) finished 4th with 38 points even though he had beaten Cameron in the final round.
After the dust settled with an intense 80 minute arena battle, it was Cameron Goh, (a former RI boy who is currently serving his national service) who emerged the champion of the event (and the unofficial Chess 960 king!). He played a brilliant event, shrewdly refusing to go ‘Berserk’, which as previously explained, limited one’s time in exchange for the potential of extra points. He also had a remarkable 74% record in his 19 games played
In Cameron’s own words, “I wasn’t expecting this [such a good performance] at all. It was a nice way to chill after a day at army camp and maybe being so relaxed about it helped me in the end. Good to know that my chess brain hasn’t completely rotted away even as my book knowledge is gone, which works in my favour in the 960 format”.
Final results (80 minutes Arena event with 75 participants).
1st: Cameron Goh
2nd: GM Andrey Kvon
3rd: FM Lee Qing Aun
4th: GM Kevin Goh Wei Ming
5th: Jayden Wong,
6th: IM Tin Jinyao
7th: Royce Ho
8th: IM Hsu Li Yang
9th: CM Benjamin Foo
10th: Jonathan Goh.
The winners of the GMs Daniel Fernandez/ Kevin Goh Masterclass lesson goes to Cameron Goh, Jayden Wong and Royce Ho. Congrats!
Kudos to all players for taking part in the one of the strongest ‘local’ events (well, sort of )!
GM Kevin Goh’s streaming coverage is at https://www.twitch.tv/videos/611822736
Full results and games can be found at https://lichess.org/tournament/YTo9lBYF