28.5 – 11.5
Online Match, Sunday April 25. The Chess Academy (Hong Kong) – Clube Xadrez Mos (Spain)
The latest event organized by Activekids – The Chess Academy gathered together 20 of the best Hong Kong players against one of the biggest and most successful chess clubs in Spain, Clube Xadrez Mos.
Making the most out of this situation we are all living, The Chess Academy continues to offer different activities for kids to train and challenge themselves. Besides lessons for all levels given by the highest level coaches in Hong Kong, and Weekly competitions to practice what the students learn, these events help us share our passion for chess with kids from other countries.
The Hong Kong team warmed up for the match by joining a zoom meeting together so they could ask any last minute questions and meet their teammates. Parents were also welcomed into the meeting and it was great to see them stay connected and follow the live commentary of the games given by the coaches from both teams.
Players from both teams also used that meeting to share their results and some impressions about the first game when they finished it and they immediately started the second game. We need to thank our opponents for showing great sportsmanship waiting for 2 of the Hong Kong players to solve their connection problems.
The match ended with a victory for the TCA team, mostly based on the results achieved by the younger players. The final score was 28.5 points for The Chess Academy and 11.5 points for Clube Xadrez Mos. The individual results were as follows:
Board 1: James Kwong – Antonio Álvarez
James had some problems logging into the playing platform and we started to think he wasn’t going to be able to make it. Thankfully his opponent waited for him and 15 minutes later than the other games they could start.
The first game James sacrificed an exchange to complicate the position and Antonio ran very low on time and couldn’t solve all the problems James created. In the second game, James sacrificed 2 pawns to activate his bishop pair and finished the game in beautiful style with a checkmate combination with said bishops. 2-0 for James
Board 2: Justin Cheng – Gonzalo Bastos
Both games showed great creativity from both players. Gonzalo couldn’t make progress with his bishops against Justin knights in the first one and made a mistake when low on time, and in the second one it was Justin who couldn’t stop the mating attack Gonzalo created. Very balanced match that ended 1-1.
Board 3: Ronald Choy – Xabier Pérez
One of the most exciting mini-matches. Ronald and Xabier avoided complications in the first game and went for a repetition of moves in a difficult endgame. In the second game Ronald showed that his bishop was much more active than his opponent’s and created a decisive mating attack. 2-0 for Ronald showing solid play.
Board 4: Ben Han – Lucas Represas
Ben clearly dominated this match in both games. Both of them were a Sicilian and Ben was always in control. First with Black, attacking faster than his opponent in a position with opposite sides castling; then with White, taking advantage of a bad opening idea from Lucas. 2-0 for Ben.
Board 5: Theodore Lam – Carlos Martínez
Theodore played with great accuracy in the first game, first using his outpost on d4 to get an advantage and then transforming it without giving Carlos a chance to fight back. The second game was an all-out attack from both players, and in the complications, when both kings were exposed Carlos ran out of time. 2-0
Board 6: Thanneermalai Kannappan – Óscar Fernández
Both games saw the same story being repeated. Thambu won 2 pawns in both games, went into a queen endgame with the 2 pawns up, and when the coaches were already celebrating his victory a mistake made him lose one of the pawns. As was clear in these and other games today, queen endgames with a pawn up are really difficult to win and Óscar found a way to repeat moves and score a draw for his team. 1-1
Board 7: Andrew Dai – Alexandre Rodríguez
Andrew found himself in a very good position after the opening in the first game, but a big mistake while developing his pieces gave Alexandre an extra bishop and from there he employed the famous (and correct) strategy of trading pieces to secure the win. In the second game the game was much more balanced and when it seemed like it was going to end in a draw by repetition Andrew decided to change his move and go for a win. Unfortunately there was a series of checks that made him lose material. 2-0 to Alexandre.
Board 8: Samuel Lam – Javier Del Valle
The first game was one of the best ones in the match, and both players tried to show that their bishop was the best one. Javier was more accurate when attacking Samuel’s castle and when it looked like Samuel had stopped all the threats, Javier found a long move with the queen that resulted in a checkmate. The second game was much faster as Samuel used a beautiful tactic in the opening that gave him a decisive material advantage. 1-1
Board 9: Max Liu – Luis Román
Luis played the Spanish opening in the first game, maybe trying to send a message that he was going to try all he could to get the points for his team. It worked, and thanks to a well calculated windmill tactic he could reach a winning position and then give checkmate. In the second game Max started with much more energetic moves from the beginning and that made him win an extra rook, which he converted into a victory showing good technique. 1-1
Board 10: Ritvik Gupta – Joaquín Cuña
Joaquín chose an aggressive variation of the 2 knights Defence and Ritvik couldn’t solve all the problems he created. Only one mistake and Joaquín didn’t give him a chance to come back. In the second game, Ritvik made a strange decision when he moved a pawn in his own castle to stop his opponent’s attack. As it often happens, breaking this elementary rule of chess went wrong and Joaquín once again carried out an accurate attack even including sacrifices. 2-0 to Joaquín.
Board 11: Madison Wu – Carmen Gallardo
Carmen opened the centre at the right time in the first game and inserted 2 knights very deep into Madison’s field. Defending seemed really difficult and the exchanging ideas Madison tried resulted in her losing a rook which was enough to decide the game. The second game was totally different and Madison baited Carmen into a combination that she had calculated better and led to Madison taking 3 minor pieces in exchange for just one rook. From there she executed a flawless attack on the opponent’s king. 1-1
Board 12: Henry Li – Mauro Castro
The first game was the most double edged position from the 20 games. Both players had ideas to checkmate their opponent, and probably they were both scared of being checkmated too. As usually happens in these situations, they went for a repetition of moves and a draw. The second game was much easier for Henry, as Mauro didn’t make good choices from the opening and pushed too many pawns without protecting his king first. Henry made him pay for that and finished with an effective attack on the king. 1.5-0.5
Board 13: Julian Wang – Mario Bastos
These 2 games made the coaches and spectators enjoy a great deal. Both players showed their imagination and while Mario was using it to attack Julian decided to take the material his opponent offered and find a way to defend. After several queen sacrifices, unexpected moves and missed opportunities Julian was more consistent and showed excellent skills stopping all of Mario’s threats. 2-0 to Julian
Board 14: Jacob Lu – Mario Lemos
This match was very balanced in both games and should have probably ended in a tie. In the first game, even being so young the players chose plans more common in older and more experienced players in a Queen’s Gambit position. They reached a queen endgame with an extra pawn for Mario, but Jacob defended well and could save a draw with a stalemate idea. In the second game it looked like it would be a draw again but Jacob showed why knights are better than bishops in rapid games. A hidden fork to queen and king thanks to a pinned piece and Mario was forced to resign. 1.5-0.5 to Jacob.
Board 15: Jin Zi Yang – Maia Pérez
Maia, the current Under 8 Spanish Champion, started with a promising attack in the first game, but Zi Yang’s tactics were there to stop her attack and give him an extra knight. From there he didn’t give her a chance and finished with a strong attack on the king. In the second game another classic example of elimination of the defence, and Zi Yang was a bishop up this time. He used that extra piece to create a well coordinated attack that ended with an instructive checkmate pattern with queen and bishops. 2-0
Board 16: Leung Shun Him – Raúl Castro
Shun Him used the ultra aggressive Scandinavian Defence, and Raúl wasn’t prepared for it in the first game. With great precision he developed his pieces and started an attack that even without queens was really dangerous for Raúl’s king. In the second game, in a closed London System position Shun Him started pushing his pawns on the kingside until Raul had to block them with his pieces. When we have many pieces together sometimes it happens that they don’t have much mobility, and that’s exactly the idea Shun Him exploited to win the queen and the game. 2-0
Board 17: Ashley Cheung – Noa Costas
Noa and Ashley were having a quiet, solid game with no pieces traded but because of the time running low they had to start moving faster. It was in one of those moves that Noa made a mistake that cost her a knight and Ashley made it look very simple from there. She was methodically trading pieces until her extra bishop helped her promote a new queen. In the second game, with all the coaches watching her game he used a fantastic promotion tactic that forced Noa to lose too much material in order to stop that pawn. 2-0
Board 18: Kayden Chan – Hugo Souto
Kayden and Hugo had a very balanced first game but Hugo finished it by a sudden combination with his queen and knight. In the second game, in a slower paced Italian Game Kayden managed to get his revenge by using the same patterns with queen and knight that made him lose the first game. A timely double attack with his knight and Hugo lost his queen. 1-1
Board 19: Lingshen Bu – Carlos Pérez
Lingshen played a solid Sicilian in the first game and Carlos sacrificed a central pawn to try to start an attack. It all seemed under control until Lingshen out of nowhere found a brilliant intermediate move that removed the defender of the enemy queen, which then he could take for free. The second game was also a Sicilian but in this case Lingshen, this time with White, didn’t let Carlos castle the king. A few moves later, with his king in the middle and surrounded by White pieces, there was no other solution than giving up his queen and, shortly after, the game. 2-0 to Lingshen
Board 20: Zhiming Bu – Begoña Lage
This match started with a very nervous first game from both players. When they finally calmed down the quality of the game was much higher and we could see nice tactics from both of them. When it looked like Begoña was close to a checkmate, Zhiming used her Queen-Bishop battery to start her own checkmate attack with a series of checks that made Begoña resign soon before being mated. The rematch was a much faster game as Zhiming sacrificed 3 pawns in the opening in exchange for more development. After a precise bishop sacrifice on f7 Begoña couldn’t castle any more and from there the checkmate didn’t arrive much later. 2-0 to Zhiming.
Overall result TCA 28.5 – Clube Xadrez Mos 11.5
The result was very satisfactory for the HK TCA team, and, most importantly, the players had a good training evening while having fun. After the games all the coaches, parents and players that were not too tired join in on the meeting again to exchange some final thoughts. From the TCA we can only thank all the players for their efforts during the games and being so friendly before and after. Thank you too to all the parents for being so supportive and joining us in the commentary.