MASTERS 2014 RECAP

The Masters 2014 was a fiercely contested event as it was the first time that we saw a three-way tie at the top of the table after the 9 rounds, Roy Phillips edged Patrick Li Ying and defending champion Deevarajan Chinasamy on 1 point tie-break after the three top seeds and only titled players of Mauritius finished unbeaten on 7.5 points. As expected the last week-end saw all three title contenders white washing the field 9-0 as Li Ying beat Golam Kibria and Koster after both blundered a piece early albeit in a tactical melee in the case of Golam,then he dispatched Lau in a rook ending a pawn up. On his side Chinasamy beat junior Rayen Sawmynaden on the white side of a french defense ,won on time against Ashwin Jotee and was made to work hard to beat  Patrick Marie in a rook ending which looked equal for some time. Roy Phillips started the week by beating P Marie despite facing  early pressure from the latter but as soon as the queens were off Roy outplayed his opponent due to his better pawn structure,he then crushed Lau before toiling hard to beat Goorsahye in what  proved to be the decisive game of the championship. Since Goorsahye drew against fellow title-contenders Chinasamy and Li Ying in the earlier rounds,this win gave Phillips the decisive tie breaker advantage.

The battle for the fourth place which gives direct qualification to next year's Masters was thrilling as Goorsahye and Marie had made the early running but both had tough run-ins in the last week-end and as they collected only 1 point in 3 games they were joined and beaten on tie-break after Golam Kibria won a lost game on tie-break against Ashwin Jotee. It was heart-breaking for Goorshaye who had a very good tournament ,having won positions against both Chinasamy and Li Ying at some point. Patrick Marie played a solid tournament as well ,not making a single draw with 5 wins and 4 losses but his inability to gain points against the top three and the surprise loss to Golam Kibria proved his undoing.Golam Kibria has for the first time  qualified for the Masters directly ,this proved his progress as already seen in the last Reunion Open in St Denis.

Young junior Rayen Sawmynaden had a good baptism of fire in the Masters as he managed to score 3 points which is an encouraging performance but he needs to work on all aspects of his game to challenge the senior players.Ashwin Jotee scored only 2.5 points but he lost a couple of games on time while having decent positions,the sudden-death time control did not suit his style and he is worthy of a better placing than the 8th place he finished.

Jeroen Koster and Lau both had catastrophic tournaments but they will learn from it as they both have an aggressive style of play which ran into a defenssive wall in this event as their opponents were tactically prepared and took sacrificed material and consolidated for wins.

The major information of this event is that the top three are still well ahead of the pack in Mauritius ,they conceded just 3 draws to the rest of the field and  they will form the core of the team that will represent Mauritius to the forthcoming Tromso chess olympiad.