Well the 2011 Melbourne Cup weekender has been run and won, though it was nowhere near as close as the horse race which gives the tournament its name.
Round 8 results on Chesschat, as well as the round 9 results.
Round 8 saw both George Xie and Bobby Cheng win their games, while Justin Tan's late charge continued with a win over tournament overperformer Max Chew Lee. Andrew Brown got the better of Justin Penrose in a tense endgame that was the last to finish for the round, while all other boards were decisive, with most going pretty much according to rating.
The final round saw George Xie clinch outright first with another win, this time over Justin Tan. Bobby Cheng wore down Andrew Brown to take outright second, but this left a six-way tie for equal thrid between IM's Solomon, Morris, Brown & Rujevic, along with Garner & Tan. Both Tony Davis & Max Chew Lee won their last round games to finish on 5.5/9 and secure outright first in their respective rating groups, which left a five-way tie for =2nd in rating group 1 (on 5/9) between Hamish Selnes, Zachary Loh, Justin Penrose, Enoch Fan & Ari Dale, while Jack Puccini, who also finished on 5/9, was outright 2nd in rating group 2.
A few games from round 8:
Some games from the final round:
This tournament was the George Xie show & he clearly demonstrated why he was top seed, with a final score of 8.5/9 & a performance rating of roughly 2680! He also added around 16 points to his FIDE rating, which puts him that little bit closer to the 2500 mark needed to secure his grandmaster title. His only real scare came in his clash with tournament runner-up Bobby Cheng & he always seemed to be in control in his games, or at the very least ready with resources to deal with whatever his opponents could throw at him.
Bobby Cheng's 7.5/9 would in most circumstances be enough to win the tournament, however on this occasion it was only good enough for second, though he was 1.5 points clear of the rest of the field. Bobby played some fantastic chess during the event & showed a range of skills, from tactical brilliance to tenacious defence.
The players who tied for third could all feel both a little disappointed and a little lucky with their results. The four IMs all had a game or two they would rather forget, while David Garner was always near the top of the pack and Justin Tan made a great recovery after a poor start to the tournament.
Max Chew Lee had a standout performance, winning his rating division with a score of 5.5/9 & only conceeding one loss throughout the event. Zachary Loh also showed strong form early, before some losses to the top seeds in the later rounds brought him back to the pack. Justin Penrose shared a similar story, with a strong tournament being soured by losses to two IMs on the final day. Both John Wildes & Savithri Narenthran also had good tournaments, claiming a few scalps along the way to a final 50% score.
Overall I felt that the tournament was a success in terms of how it was run & organised, even if the numbers were a bit lower than anticipated. The venue at the Fitzroy Town Hall was magnificent, and player (and spectator) feedback is always welcomed in order to improve the event for future years. Personally I would like to thank everyone at Melbourne Chess Club involved in putting the event on, particularly Grant Szuveges, Elizabeth Warren & Jack Hughes, who all played their own roles in ensuring the weekend ran smoothly and largely hassle-free.
Hopefully you have enjoyed following my daily reports on the tournament ... and take the time to have a look at the blog every now & then ... at least until the next chess tournament I arbit & report on comes around!