Hello all -
Mr. Burke here again. John Michael won his Round 5 game today against Rodriguez Aldo Joaquim Diaz from Peru, giving him 3 nice victories in a row and getting him back in the medal hunt (top 3 players receive gold, silver and bronze medals). John Michael played a very strong opening, was able to gain an advantage through some nice tactics, and converted his advantage into victory in a tidy 29 move, 2 hour 30 minute game. It was a game where John Michael was in control from the start, and was never in any danger. Games like this don’t happen too often in tournaments of this caliber – you take these kind of victories any chance you can. John Michael currently has 3.5 points out of 5, which puts him in 26th place out of 121 in his section. There are two players that are tied for first with 5 points, three players with 4.5 points, ten players with 4 points, and ten other players tied with John Michael with 3.5 points.
From here on out, the competition is going to be much tougher. For those that are not familiar with how matchups are generated in chess tournaments, it is fairly simple. Players are paired against each other based on how many points they have in the tournament. For example in Round 6 the two players that have 5 points are facing off against each other, the two that have 4.5 are playing each other, and so on. The only exception is that you can’t play the same player twice. As tournaments progress, the players in contention will be playing stronger and stronger competition, because they are going to be facing off against players that have similar results. You can see the pairings for the section here: http://chess-results.com/tnr58150.aspx?art=2&rd=6&lan=1&flag=30. The player John Michael is facing tomorrow is actually the player that was the #6 seed in the section going into this tournament, rated 1978 FIDE. Definitely looks like a step up in class from his last 3 opponents - should be quite a battle!
John Michael was happy to get the win, and was very happy that it only took two and a half hours! We were able to get to dinner right when the dining hall opened at 7:00 PM, got in a couple quick games of billiards next to the pool bar (where there was a game of Portuguese Bingo taking place), and got back to the room at a reasonable hour. Trying to make sure John Michael gets as much sleep as possible, but it is tough. He is still full of adrenaline hours after his game, and I am sure it is tough to just shut things down and go to bed – it takes him a while to fall asleep at night (he probably is playing the day’s game again in his head!).
We are past the halfway point of the tournament – 5 games down, 4 left to play. Round 6 is tomorrow (Wednesday) at 3:00 PM Caldas Novas time. Will be back tomorrow night with result.