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Opening junkie Kevin's First Friday explorations

by Sagar Shah - 03/11/2017

Kevin Goh Wei Ming is an International Master with two grandmaster norms from Singapore. He has been six-time national champion of his country and works as the Chief Financial Officer at Lucence Diagnostics. Even with his hectic work schedule he makes sure to stay abreast with all the latest happenings in the world of chess. After all becoming a GM is quite a high priority in his life. He calls himself an opening junkie, for his great love for the first phase of the game and in this article he has analyzed four games from the October edition of First Friday. Mind you, this is high quality stuff from a very competent International Master. 

The November edition of First Friday begins today. This is the line-up of players: 

No. Title Name Country Rating
1 GM Niaz Murshed Ban 2407
2 IM Dede Lioe INA 2346
3 FM Azarya Jodi Setyaki INA 2345
4 IM Mas Haizulhelmi Mas 2313
5 CM Raja Rithvik Ind 2237
6 FM Mahmud Syarif INA 2216
7 FM Wong Yinn Long  Mas 2198
8   Y.V.K Chakravarthy Ind 2148
9   Lik Zang Lye  Mas 2128
10   Looi Xin Hao Mas 2083

This is the second edition of the First Friday events. These are closed Round Robin norm events which take place on the First Friday of every month. There won't be any tournament happening in December, but First Friday will resume from January.

Annotated games from October edition of First Friday

By Kevin Goh Wei Ming

IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming with IM Sagar Shah. The two share a lot of similarities - IMs, Chartered Accountants (CA), two GM norms! Both are trying to achieve their GM title, although Kevin is working a lot harder as can be seen from the analysis below!

As an opening junkie, one of the first things that I look for in tournament games is trendy opening lines or simply lines that were covered in recent theoretical works. Here's a small selection of games which caught my eye. 

Game 1:

First up was the game between 2 of the IMs in the tournament. Normally in such norm events, the IMs are happy to make quick draws with one another and conserve energy for the norm seekers. Here however, we see a theoretical battle in a line which I've always felt to be close to losing for Black.

Game 2:

In the second game, White played a topical line in the Scotch and convincingly outplayed a seasoned veteran IM.

Showing good understanding of the Scotch from the white side is Kumar Gaurav

Game 3:

Gukesh used the Reti/King's Indian Attack set-up rather convincingly in this event but he very nearly didn't! In this game, Black played a rare but aesthetically pleasing set-up and was more or less winning straight from the opening. Only Caissa decided to stop him from winning....

The kid to watch out for - D.Gukesh

Game 4:

Finally, we see yet another Reti from the winner of the tournament. Black tried the cheeky 5..b5 but he had to be precise in the next few moves, which he wasn't. White launched a devastating assault on the light squares and it was all over in double quick time.

It was nice to see that huge efforts taken by my friend Peter Long in organizing this event resulted in the first IM norm for a young talent! To many more First Fridays!