Cover Pic:  IM Dr Hsu Li Yang (aka ‘The Legend’) examines the games of round 5 (Li Yang was the one who came up with the idea of this event!)

Right smack in the middle of the tourney, we saw the contestants in an uncompromising mood, fighting all the way to a round of decisive results.

Munkhgal made an unfortunate choice of opening against Kevin, who had played the Guimard in a similar manner against Thomas Luther in 2013 and he knew exactly how to torture Black – follow Luther’s plan to the dot…

Batchuluun pressed all day against Qianyun on the queenside and kept a pull all the way with his spatial edge. Finally, he clinched a pawn but a Rook + 5 pawns vs Rook + 4 pawns ending was reached. In the incremental phase, Qianyun let a drawing chance (63…Kf4!) slip and Batchuluun wrapped up the game.

Blindfold King Timur was the only player to play a ‘double round’ – more like ‘triple round’ yesterday as he was involved in a 2 game blindfold match against NM Olimpiu Urcan yesterday afternoon. It seemed to have taken its toll on him as he overpressed against Nguyen Anh Dung. In a finely balanced position, Timur went for blood and traded rook, bishop and pawn for queen and the Vietnamese GM pounced on his opportunity to advance the strong passed pawn to craft a nice win.

Liu Xiangyi disoriented Lee Qing Aun with a reversed Leningrad (Bird’s Opening) Dutch and fashioned out the Sicilian Big Clamp setup. A tentative 18…Be7 shifted the bishop away from the king’s defences and that was it as Xiangyi collected material after going for the defenceless Black king.

Jingyao managed to keep his GM norm hopes alive with a tough win against Irine who missed the winning 25 f4 shot. The resulting endgame was still drawish until Irine took her eye off Jingyao’s dangerous c-pawn and the Hwa Chong Institution schoolboy converted with aplomb.