The 5-strong Singapore field in the event made a great start to flag off the first round, save FM Lee Qing Aun who had to face of all people, Singaporean No 1 IM Goh Wei Ming with the black pieces. Life is tough when you have to face someone who understands your style thoroughly and plays accordingly. Qing Aun, when faced with the choice of going into a Maroczy Bind Hedgehog setup or an IQP position similar to his ‘once-upon-a-time weapon’ – the Sicilian 4 knights, opted for the latter, a decision which Wei Ming felt wasn’t quite prudent, as it gives White two results to play for. Let’s see what Wei Ming meant…

The next game to end was the stunning draw the bottom seed, WIM Gong Qianyun made against top seed GM Timur Gareyev. She mentioned that a sagely advice she got from a good friend was “not to give Timur the bishop pair” and she proceeded to sacrifice the exchange and got the two bishops (for the exchange) against him instead! Perhaps Timur was too quick to simplify the position by returning the exchange to remain a pawn up. Gong held on grimly and put herself as a candidate for our ‘Tahan’ prize as Timur could make no headway¬† but to acquiesce to a truce, although Gong did have a small window of a chance to win towards the end…

 

 

 

 

 

 

In a protracted Giuoco Piano, Irene and Tsegmed fought till they reached the following ending when Irene inexplicably shifted her rook off-kilter and that was it.

Liu Xiangqi’s active central and kingside play made up for Nguyen’s¬† d-file buildup against the Singaporean’s backward IQP. The Vietnamese GM suddenly gifted the Republic Polytechnic student the e3-pawn and a finely played endgame by the latter decided the tussle.

Tin Jingyao made it 3.5/5 for Singapore by pressing Munkhgal in a king and pawn ending in the latter’s incremental time phase and one ‘distant opposition’ omission move sufficed for Jingyao to clinch the point.