“One bad move nullifies 40 good ones.”Bernhard Horwitz
It was a highly eventful Round 7 of the Moja Chess Extravaganza 2022, Day 7 as the GM/IM norm section buzzed with some significant casualties and missed chances. Chess fans and pundits following the games online were ravenously consuming the drama in each game and spitting out opinion as only passionate fans do!
Why is the 40th move in chess cursed?
Not a lot has been written about the 40th move in chess but there seems to be something to this phenomenon. This is when player blunders can almost be cued because they happen so consistently around this time.
In this event the players get 90 minutes + 30 minutes on the 40th move with 30 seconds increment from the first move. Fatigue and the pressure of trying to make time-control and get added time are the simplistic explanations for this but I feel it is not enough.
GM/IM norm section Round 7
FM Daniel Barrish vs GM Abdelrahman Hesham
In the most exciting result of the round, FM Daniel Barrish, leader of the underdogs, played the game of his life to decapitate the GM Hesham’s King! In a King’s Indian, Barrish played fearlessly and lost 2 rooks just to imprison her royal majesty the black queen on a1.
There the queen languished for what felt like 17 years but was in fact 17 moves while there was an ongoing fight to figure out a way to execute her. GM Hesham sprung her out from her imprisonment but by that time the cost paid was too high. His majesty’s most powerful ally came out too late to save the King from checkmate!
Alessandro Parodi vs Kela Siame Kaulele
Against Parodi, Kela essayed a Semi-Slav and won the middle game by having the better pawn structure and pieces.
CM Keith Khumalo vs GM Nigel Short
Keith must be kicking himself for this missed opportunity! In a totally drawn endgame he saw ghosts and inexplicably stopped short of capturing Short’s pawn a4 by playing Ra5? instead of Rxa4.
Guess which move number this was. Yes it was the cursed move 40. Bizzarely he was not under any time pressure because he still had over 40 minutes on his clock!
FM Banele Mhango vs GM Sahaj Grover
FM Banele Mhango also had a great result by drawing the Indian GM Sahaj Grover in his usual slow grinding style.
Someone must have told him the best way to win against the Indian grandmaster was to go native so he employed the King’s Indian Attack!
92 moves into the game they agreed to end on peaceful terms. Draw!
GM Amir Zaibi vs Christiaan Acho
In Benoni structures, Amir was dictating terms, controlling the b-file and generally having a comfortable game.
Acho could not sit back and watch the game play itself so he shook things up and went 29… Bxg4?!, setting his afro hair on fire and running after the opponent to light them up! It almost worked…
He missed a crucial mating tactic on move 40 because by that time he was down to 1 minute and 11 seconds and he retreated his queen. Can you spot what he should have played instead of 40… Qd7? blunder?
GM Short still leads the group on 6.5 points followed by GM Grover with 5.5 points. FM Barrish rises to shared third spot with the GMs Hesham and Zaibi. Banele, Acho and Kela are now on 3 points apiece and Keith and Alessandro on 1.5 and 0.5 respectively.
We still root for the underdogs with Alessandro Parodi, FM Banele Mhango and CM Keith Khumalo facing grandmaster opposition in the upcoming Round 8.
The Moja Chess Extravaganza is a chess event organized by the Moja Chess Club, under the auspices of Frances Baard Chess, Northern Cape Chess and the Northern Cape Tourism board. Chess players both local and international have been invited to participate in Over-The-Board chess activities to be held at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre which is situated in Kimberley, Northern Cape on 18 – 22 March 2022. A GM/IM norm event is also scheduled to run concurrently between 18 – 27 March 2022.
Prizes for the event are:
GM/IM Norm event – PRIZE FUND: R87,000-00
Prestige Section – PRIZE FUND: R28,500-00
Ladies Section – PRIZE FUND: R18,250-00
B Section – U1600 – PRIZE FUND: R8,550-00
C – Section – U1100 – PRIZE FUND: R3,950-00
D – Section – U900 (Born 2011 or later )- PRIZE FUND: R1,750-00