After a slow start, Guy West has thrown the title hunt wide open, beating the previously undefeated Dusan Stojic with an unusual sideline (5...f6!?) in the Ruy Lopez to join Dusan in a share of the tournament lead! This has also had an impact on the chasing pack, with Domagoj Dragicevic now only half a point behind the leaders (though he has yet to play either Stojic or West), with 5 players tied for fourth on 5/7 & they are all in with a chance of taking out the event depending on how the results pan out in the last two rounds. Perhaps most impressive of the chasing pack is the unrated Frenchman Laurent Michaille, who joined the tournament in round two & has yet to lose a game, beating Urban & Zelesco along the way, as well as holding Voon & Ly to draws, and is clearly playing like someone rated over 2000! Both Mirko Rujevic & Carl Gorka have been consistent of those in the chasing pack on 5, with their results mirroring each other, with four wins to start before losing to one of the leaders, then splitting the point last week in their individual clash, before drawing again this week. Ari Dale has had solid, though not outstanding results to stay in the hunt on 5, while David Beaumont has had a few lucky breaks go his way in recent weeks to be something of a surprise in the group of players on 5 - not because he's not good enough to be there, but because he's managed to score 2/2 in recent weeks, when the optimistic view of his positions at times during these game would say he would have done well to achieve 1/2 from these game!
As usual, results are on ChessChat.
The game to be replayed this week is the top board clash between Stojic & West, where West played an unusual sideline in the Ruy Lopez to great effect, with Dusan going astray in the unfamiliar position. West had previously played the same line against Zhao in 2001 at the Australian Championships, but Zhao managed to drum up complications on the kingside quickly & went on to win the game. Perhaps this approach is the way to tackle the 'West system', rather than the more restrained (and more typical for the Lopez) approach that Stojic took in this game?