Round 2 was a clear case of what might have been…for Gong Qianyun and Lee Qing Aun. The problems of being good pals with your tournament rival arose for Wei Ming as he couldn’t nail down a proper line to use against Qianyun. She got the bishop pair early and was consolidating the position when Wei Ming tried to force the issue with a pawn sacrifice which she collected and confidently repelled his pieces. Wei Ming considered his position busted but his typical calm demeanour in the increment phase bailed him out.

Qianyun reflecting what might have been as Wei Ming runs through the variations on my laptop…saving me oodles of work…

The two Mongolian roommates had no such issues. A laconic London system was drawn by repetition and they had the rest of the morning to themselves.

On the other hand, Liu Xiangyi and Irine Sukandar traded blows for blows with Xiangyi sacrificing a piece to get a 7th rank c-pawn. Irine returned the favour and piece to eradicate the pawn and they continued in tactical vein right into the ending before both sides had nothing left to fight for.

Timur Gareyev had miscalculated the timing of the round….thinking that it was an 11am game start. Fortunately for him, he made his way back to the Palm room with enough time to take out Jingyao. The final pawn breakthrough was certainly classy.

Finally, a tentatively played White setup by the ‘Hobbit’ Lee Qing Aun (that’s what Nigel Short called him and it has since stuck…) against Nguyen Anh Dung allowed the latter to strike back with the classic Sicilian …d5 break, ensuring him good kingside chances. Qing Aun cloistered up on the kingside, preventing the Vietnamese from launching any attack and turned the game around. The latter still pressed on and found his pieces jammed on the kingside with nothing to latch onto. Qing Aun spurned win after win and decided not to take any chances. Another case of what might have been…