A good crowd of 40 keen chessplayers turned up to hear GM Sergei Shipov (pictured with event sponsor Tony Oliver(R) from Stratagem IT Personnel), give a lecture, and then conduct a simul. There was a nice mix of experienced players and newcomers, as well as young, middle aged, and old. The lecture was supposed to run for 30 minutes, but the crowd got their moneys worth as Shipov spoke for almost an hour on the subject of Square Clearance.
Using specific examples from tournament games he demonstrated the power of using a pawn push to free a square for use by a stronger piece. One example he used was from the Carlsen-Topalov game at Morelia-Linares this year.
In this position Carlsen chose 40.Rde2 and after mistakes from both sides, Topalov eventually resigned in a drawn position. Instead Shipov suggested 40.d5 as a stronger move and after 40. ... Rxd5 41.Rxd5 cxd5 42.Nd4 g6 43.Nxb5 Nf5 44.Rc1! he felt that White is just winning.
After the lecture, 32 players took part in the Simul. Again the field was of varied strength, although one quarter of the circuit was occupied by a group of strong ACT Juniors, who probably felt there was safety in numbers. When I left Shipov had maintained a 100% record with about half the games finished, and while he looked better in most of the remaining games, he was working hard against Yi Yuan and Charles Bishop.
Result Update In the end GM Shipov conceded only 2 draws. One was against a consultation team consisting of Mos Ali, Baldev Bedi, Milan Grcic, Brian Mengelkamp + others. The other draw was a solo effort by hard working junior chess organiser Jennie Nicholson.