by Junior Tay
The 4th and final Fight Night Tuesday had 45 wood pushers (or should we call them mouse shifters/clickers?) vying for the title of Chess960 king.This time round, the Elo 2000+ gang comprised FM Ashvin Sivakumar, FM Andrey Terekhov, CM Benjamin Foo, Royce Ho, Ng Sheng Feng and Jayden Wong. By now, everyone was ready to expect an anonymous strongie to show up to claim the title, since it has occurred in the past 2 editions too.
This time round, the mystery man was a certain ProfMorosoph, who moved twice as fast as our resident masters and had everyone playing catch-up (just like Myozz and Limcf before him).
Off the starting blocks, it was Zheng Yuan Heng of Raffles Institution and ProfMorosoph heading the pack, while the Elo2000+ crowd struggled to make headway. As I had explained in the groupchat, in Arena format, the initial pairings pits the similarly rated players together (unlike Swiss where the top seed gets the middle of the pack dude) so there is little chance of them seizing the lead barring a massive blunder by one side.
Zheng and ProfMorosoph continued to lead into the first ½ hour and by then, the top juniors such as Sean, Dixon Tang, Ng Sheng Feng and Jayden Chua began to assert their presence. FMs Ashvin and Andrey and CM Ben also stayed in contention.
10 minutes later, a small but perceptible gap began to open up with Sean and Ben taking turns to try ousting ProfMorosoph from pole position while the rest tried to stay close to the top 3.
At the 1 hour mark, Jayden had joined the leading pack. It was also noticeable that some young ‘punks’ such as Charlene Mah, Zachary Chia, Lauren Rice and Lim Kai Jun, figured in the top 10 occasionally, but they naturally found it hard to sustain the momentum with so many strongies contending.
At this point, a crucial top of the table clash between ProfMorosoph and Sean ensued which eventually ended in lone kings for both sides. Jayden was next up against the leader and the game ended inexplicably after a 16th move draw offer by Jayden was accepted. From a strategic perspective, it was a good truce agreement by ProfMorosoph as it broke Jayden’s streak (thus he will have to go back to 2 pts for a win instead of 4 for a streak win). However, will it cost the pair their leading status? All signs seem to point to that as Benjamin was next to challenge ProfMorosoph. With 12 minutes remaining, Jayden with 43 points, edged one pt ahead of ProfMorosoph and Sean.
Amazingly, Sean lost the exchange to Cai Mingzhe on move 2(!) and the latter slowly but surely converted the win. Benjamin had ProfMorosoph tied up and trussed on the back rank but just failed to find the finishing blow and the latter overturned the tables to actually increase his lead. Try as the chasing pack might, they could not close the gap as ProfMorosoph started getting non-top 10 players to contend with. With 3 minutes left, Jayden had a final chance to make or break. He had 46 points to ProfMorosoph’s 52 and they had to face each other. A win followed by a quick berserk last game victory would seal the deal. ProfMorosoph cleverly elected to go into total defensive mode with a central barricade and no targets for the youngster to aim at. All White had to do was to run the clock down and the fat lady can start singing.
In his attempt to complicate, Jayden gave away the f4-square which was swiftly latched onto by ProfMorosoph’s knight and it was all over as the knight and g-pawn tandem could not be stopped without copious material losses. And so, for the 3rd time in the series, a mystery guest claimed the Chess960 title. This time round, it was really exciting as Sean, Benjamin and Jayden’s attempts to dislodge him were so near and yet…so far.
2nd: Jayden Wong
3rd Sean Goh
4th: CM Benjamin Foo
5th: Zheng Yuan Heng
6th: Jonathan Goh
7th: Ng Sheng Feng
8th: Cai Mingzhe
9th: FM Andrey Terekhov
10th: Charlene Mak.
Final results and games: https://lichess.org/tournament/Bs49GQ4GThanks to all the participants for taking part in our Fight Night Tuesday!