MASTERS 2017- ROY PHILLIPS ON COURSE FOR A 6TH MASTERS TITLE
The second week-end of the Masters 2017 tournament was fiercely contested as there was not a single draw in the 3 rounds of play ,with players playing the White pieces scoring 8 wins whereas their black counter-parts managed 7 wins.As expected the leader of the first week-end Nadarajen Vencatasawmy who made 100 pct score in the first 3 rounds made another 100 pct score but this time he was beaten in all three games agsinst Goorsahye,Chinasamy and Naipal respectively. However to his credit he fought well and he was even winning against Goorsahye but in time-trouble he blundered into a mating net.Against Hoolan Naipal he missed a draw by repetition when the latter took the d pawn with his rook and instead of playing Nf7 check which would force a three-fold repetition as if Hoolan tried to protect his knight by Ke7 this would lose his rook on the d file as his e6 knight was pinned ,thus the only move was Kd7 and a repetition by Ne5 check would occur.
After this disastrous performance Nadarajen tumbled from 1st to 6th place. The new leader is top seed Fide Master Roy Phillips who beat three solid opponents in Naipal ,Dussoye and Marie respectively but against Hoolan Naipal Roy made a serious mistake which was not spotted by his opponent over the board as after he exchanged his e-pawn against Hoolan d-pawn the latter could have played Qxf4 with a big advantage and all kind of threats against Roy kingside,with a winning rook sacrifice on h3 looming in many variations. Roy is on 5.5 points after 6 games and 1.5 points clear from second-placed Patrick Marie and we do not see anyone challenging him for the title as his last 3 opponents are Backory,Vencatasawmy and Goorsahye respectively.
The good performance of Patrick Marie as runner-up after 6 rounds was a nice surprise as his disappearance from the Olympic team since the Khanty Mansiysk Olympiad in 2010 has made us believe that his days as one of the top local players were numbered but Patrick made a come-back in winning the Republic Cup 2015 and has since regained his appetite for chess. Patrick Marie beat his bogey opponent Chinasamy in a fine tactical match where he surprised his opponent with an exchange sacrifice which kept the latter's king in the centre. Following a deluge of tactics which netted him 2 pieces for a rook and a raging attack , Patrick Marie forced resignation from Chinasamy when the latter was facing the loss of a rook. In the 5th round Marie continued his winning run by dispatching a dangerous rival in Hoolan Naipal ,winning a Queen ending 2 pawns up but in the 6th round Marie's run was finally stopped by Roy Phillips after he carelessly lost his c-pawn very early in the game. As a bonus Marie is guaranteed to gain 43 Elo points as he has already played all FIDE rated opponents in the field and will regain the coveted 2000 Elo rating level in the May FIDE rating list.
In third place we find the surprising newcomer Christophe Chan on 3.5 points ,he has lost only against Phillips and Chinasamy while beating Zouhaier,Backory,Goorsahye and drawing a won position against Dussoye. Christophe could well surprise by staying in the top four positions and be seeded for next year's Masters tournament. Deevarajan Chinasamy one of the pre-tournament favourites has fared badly by his high standards and he has slowly climbed to the fourth and last qualifying place for next year's edition as it looks that unless we see a collapse of the leaders next week-end it will be difficult for him to catch Marie for the runner-up spot. On 3 points we see Hoolan Naipal and Nadarajen Vencatasawmy the two promising youngsters but as Hoolan has the most favourable calendar of opponents we expect him to fight for a place in the coveted top-four. However Candidate Master Hoolan Naipal has already lost his status as a 2000 rated FIDE player as in the May list he will lose 49 rating points due to his bad performance against rated players in this field.
Antoine Goorsahye had a lopsided tournament as after winning a lost position against Vencatasawmy on Saturday he lost the double round games on Sunday to Chan and Zouhaier and this pushed him lower to the 7th place. The two players in the cellar after the first week-end Sanju Backory and Salhi Zouhaier made a nice fight back as they both won 2 games out of the 3 rounds played , with Sanju beating Dussoye and Zouhaier while Salhi beat Dussoye and Goorsahye. This meant that the new wooden spoonist is Nuvin Dussoye on 1.5 points
Standings/Results/Games at the following link