Sunday 13 December 2015

Australasian Masters 2015

With the move of Box Hill Chess Club to new premises, the annual Australasian Masters has also moved venue, with Melbourne Chess Club playing host for 2015, with the event running from December 12-20.
Once again organiser Leonid Sandler has managed to get two round robin norm events to occur - a GM norm event, featuring some of Australia's top talent, along with Grandmasters Neiksans of Latvia, Papin from Russia & local GM Johansen. The IM norm event has a much wider range of ages, with local IMs Rujevic & Bjelobrk being joined by Welsh IM Richard Jones in prevent those without the IM title from gaining a norm.
Once again I am an arbiter for the event, as well as doing daily bulletins, all of which can be found on the Australasian Masters website.
The first round saw a number of upsets & exciting chess, with the GMs scoring a total of 0.5/3 for the day! Most spectacular of the games was IM James Morris' sacrificial effort against Russian GM Vasily Papin, which you can see below.

I'll attempt to update the blog (yes, its still alive) throughout the tournament, but at present I'm not sure how regularly I'll be able to do it.
Also, I gave my pre-tournament tips in Bulletin 1 - Nieksans in the GM event & Jones or Bjelobrk in the IM event - safe picks I know, but at least for the IM event I think they will be on the mark.

Saturday 25 July 2015

Guam International Open The Non-Chess Part

I must say that the hospitality shown by those in Guam Chess has been nothing short of outstanding, in particular President Roger Orio & former President Leon Ryan, who have spent the last few days since the tournament finished showing me the sights of Guam.
Below are a variety of photos & even a few video of attractions around the island!
View across Agana Bay from the Latte of Freedom, which is a local monument at the Governor's complex
Another view across the bay
With Leon Ryan
With Roger Orio
Bit of history about the Latte of Freedom
There is also a small museum next to the Latte - here are the photos of the elected Governors of Guam
Photos of appointed Governors of Guam
A traditional Chamorro hut, with the Latte stones as the foundational pillars for the structure
Photo in the museum showing the Latte & statue of former Governor Ricky Bordallo & the Governor's complex
A traditional Chamorro boat
The Latte of Freedom
View from inside the Latte
Another view from the Latte
Another view from the Latte
The Latte of Freedom from the base
We also drove around the Memorial Park at Asan Beach, where the American troops landed in 1944 to successfully take the island back from the Japanese.
The next stop was the Fish Eye Marine Park
Entrance to Fish Eye Marine Park
The long jetty out to the marine park
Some visitors were doing scuba diving while there
The Marine park is based around a bomb hole from WWI. This map shows different aspects neat the main part of the park.
Almost there ...
When you went down into the 'bomb hole', you were faced with a variety of windows, with various fish & coral just outside!
One window had a feeding station & a huge amount of colourful fish!
Another view from the feeding window
There was also a range of coral, with fish swimming in & around it.
More coral & fish
A bit of an explanation about the Feeding Station window
Another window was used to judge visibility - depending on how much you could see through the window
Another featured coral
Another window explaining the coral features
A diagram showing the structure at the end of the jetty that you walked down stairs into, where you could get fascinating views of the fish & coral!
Just outside the main part of the park, looking down at the side of the structure
I also took some short videos of the fish & coral at various windows - perhaps they give you a better idea of how fascinating the place is, rather than just a series of photos!
Next stop for the afternoon was Jeff's Pirate Cove for lunch, where I had Chicken Kelaguen, a traditional Chamorro dish.
The view from Jeff's Pirate Cove - another beautiful bay area on Guam!
Part of the seating area with mural
Following lunch, we continued on to Fort Soledad, which is near the bay where explorer Ferdinand Magellan landed in Guam in the 1500s.
Information about the view from Fort Soledad
Information about the Fort itself
Part of the fort remains in tact
Cannons have been placed in positions similar to where they would have been in the 1800s when the Fort was in operation.
The view from the Fort across Umatac Bay
One of the cannons at the fort
A view towards the centre of Guam, showing its mountainous inland terrain
The final stop on the trip around Guam was at the War in the Pacific National Historic Park, which was a moving tribute to the events during World War II
Entrance to the Memorial
Details of the terrain & battles waged in the area
The view today ... one can only imagine what it would have been like with thousands of troops in the middle of battle!
Inland fighting also occurred
The view today, with the rocky terrain proving hazardous at the best of times
Apra Harbour during the war
And the modern view of the area ...
There were a number of plates depicting events during the war at the memorial
A tribute to various naval ships that were involved in the conflict
More plates depicting events during the war
The second set of plates
Attack plate detail 
Occupation plate detail 
Liberation plate detail 
The list of names of both locals & military that were killed or injured in the conflict is huge!
Spanning two large walls
And leaving quite an impression on visitors
An overall view of the inside of the memorial
Hopefully this is just my first trip to Guam - although I struggled with the heat & humidity, I had a great time! The chess tournament was excellent & the locals were friendly & accommodating & more than happy to go out of their way to ensure I had an enjoyable trip!
Thanks to everyone from Guam Echecs involved in the event - if you are ever travelling to Australia, get in touch & I hope I can go part of the way to returning the hospitality you showed me!