ROY PHILLIPS WINS THE MASTERS 2017

The curtain has fallen on the 2017 edition of the "MASTERS" chess tournament and as expected Roy Phillips has bagged a sixth national champion title after posting an undefeated card of 7 wins and 2 draws in nine games. Roy finished 2 points clear of runner-up Deevarajan Chinasamy and third-placed Christophe Chan , with Patrick Marie grabbing fourth place and the last qualifying spot for next year's Masters.

The last week-end of the Masters tournament was again fiercely contested with 8 white wins against 4 black wins and 3 draws. In round 7 the leader Roy Phillips easily dispatched of Sanju Backory by converting his extra pawn in a rook ending ,he then punished Vencatasawmy imprecise handling of the french defense by launching a mating attack on the dark squares following the disappearance of the latter black square bishop. Roy finished with a draw against Goorsahye despite being a pawn down and in a near losing position after the latter accepted his draw offer in the only game where Roy was outplayed.

Deevarajan Chinasamy who had a catastrophic start, with only 1 point after 3 games, made an energetic come-back thanks to 3 wins with his new pet opening " The London System". He crushed both Salhi Zouhaier and Sanju Backory in this variation and pocketed a forfeit win against Dussoye.The surprise packet of the tournament was the third place of newcomer Christophe Chan on 6 points. Christophe has shown good progress these last 2 years but we did not expect him to perform so well at his first attempt at the elite level of Mauritius.He had prepared well with a hybrid hippopotamus structure which he played both as white and black  and despite being a "one- trick poney" he was beaten only against the top two players while scoring 6 points out of 7 games against the rest of the field.

In fourth place we find Patrick Marie on 5.5 points,after staying in the runner-up spot for the first 7 rounds Patrick slid to fourth in the last week-end after scoring only 1.5 points in 3 games. He started well with a win against Vencatasawmy after the latter lost an exchange early in the game then he lost a tense game against Chan on time and ended with a draw against Zouhaier when his rook and 2 pawns battled the latter's  2 minor pieces and a pawn.Antoine Goorsahye, the oldest player in the field , made a late  dash to finish in fifth place on 5 points. Antoine nearly made it 3 wins in 3 games when he mated  Nuvin Dussoye in a nice attacking Sicilian game,luckily beat Sanju Backory on time when the latter was a piece up against 2 pawns in a wild game before accepting Roy draw offer in a near-win situation. Antoine has displayed good progress in his handling of attacking set-up throughout the tournament and he will be disappointed not to have crowned it with a win against tournament winner Roy Phillips.

Last year's top youngster Hoolan Naipal finished in a disappointing sixth place on 4.5 points as his final University exams is looming next  May and he could not devote much time to chess.He scored 1.5 points in the last 3 games after drawing a hard-fought endgame against Chan,losing a rook-endgame due to zugzwang against Zouhaier before finishing with a nice win against the out of form Dussoye. In seventh place we find the tunisian born Salhi Zouhaier on 3.5 points who made a 50 pct score this week-end. Salhi lost against Chinasamy after the latter launched a winning greek bishop sacrifice on his castled position on the king-side. He rallied to beat Hoolan in a well played strategic crush before drawing with Patrick Marie. Salhi will be a tougher opponent when he manage to control his attacking urge to force tactical play when more restrained play is required. He has an above average tactical level,  good understanding of the basic endgame and needs some polishing of his opening play to finish in the top four spots.

After his explosive start of 3 wins in 3 games ,Nadarajen Vencatasawmy has found that there are no easy games in a Masters tournament contrary to the inter-college tournament which he used to dominate. Nadarajen lost his remaining 6 games in a row despite putting good resistance but his lack of opening knowledge and weakness in the other phases of the game proved fatal to him. He has a good basic fundamentals of the game but much coaching is needed for him to become the finished article.

In the last 2 places we find Sanju Backory on 2 points and Nuvin Dussoye on 1.5 points as they both lost their last 3 games. Sanju Backory can be excused of that performance as he is a rookie but it was weird to see  an experienced player like Nuvin Dussoye  finishing  last. The only excuse for that poor performance was his repeated lateness due to work commitment late in the evening and after he lost a winning game on time against Backory the writings were on the wall for him.

This first FIDE rated National Championship of Mauritius  was well marshalled by FIDE Arbiter Ronald Raimbert and the big Elo winners were surprisingly Patrick Marie who won 43 points and Antoine Goorsahye 29 points . Three players Roy Phillips,Deevarajan Chinasamy and Hoolan Naipal lost 4 ,23 and 49 points respectively.

Standings,Results and Games at the following link

http://www.chess-results.com/tnr268771.aspx?lan=1&art=4&fed=MRI&wi=821