Monday, 30 April 2012

MCC City of Melbourne Open - round 1

The first round of the City of Melbourne saw 24 players with games (a few players were unable to make it to the first round) & a number of very close games were played, with so much of the field rated over 1800 (21 of the 28 current entrants)! Although there were no wins by players in the bottom half of the pairings, Felix Wyss & Roger McCart held their higher rated opponents to draws in a round where some of the top seeds were lucky to escape with a point!
Players are still able to enter the tournament (entry is open until round 3) & should let me know (by email, or contact me via ChessChat or mobile) by Wednesday if they wish to be included in the round 2 pairings.
As usual, results are available on ChessChat.
This week's game sees David Beaumont play a speculative exchange sacrifice, and just when his attack appears to be running out of steam, disaster strikes for Chmiel!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

MCC ANZAC Day Weekender - Day 4

The final day of the ANZAC Day weekender provided plenty of drama, with a fight to the very end for the minor places (somewhat reminiscent of the Collingwood victory over Essendon, but with less cheering).
Round 6 saw Justin Tan & James Morris continue to distance themselves from the field with wins. Enoch Fan beat Tony Davis to move into third place, while Jack Puccini beat John Dowling. Kris Chan beat Will Bakanursky, while his brother Luis Chan held Jack Hughes to a draw in a tricky opposite coloured bishop ending.
This left Tan & Morris in first & second place, with Enoch Fan just ahead of a huge chasing pack fighting for the minor placings & rating prizes. Both the leaders managed to win their games, which meant that Justin Tan took out the tournament with 6.5/7, with James Morris second on 6/7. Ari Dale & David Beaumont drew their game to both finish on 4.5/7 (as well as sharing the lead in the MCC Grand Prix), but it was Gary Bekker, who beat Max Chew Lee in the final round, who took home third place with 5/7, finishing off the tournament with four wins after a horrible start, proving that the Swiss Gambit is still a viable tournament strategy! Jack Puccini was unable to beat Tony Davis in his quest for a share of third place, and when they agreed a draw, it was Gary who was outright third, with Jack joining a big pack of players on 4.5/7 who finished in equal fourth, just outside the open prizes. 4.5/7 was enough for Jack Puccini & Enoch Fan to share the under 1800 FIDE prize, while 3.5/7 was enough for a share of the second rating division (FIDE unrated), which saw Linden Lyons, Will Bakanursky & Kris Chan collect book prizes. The final game to finish was a tough battle between Tanya Kolak & Alanna Chew Lee, which finished up with Queen & king against Knight & king after Tanya managed to promote a pawn in a tricky knight ending. Although this position is theoretically winning for the queen & king, it is not as easy as it might seem & with her time running low, Tanya missed a knight fork, allowing Alanna to draw the game. A quick check online showed that players in the 2300s have also made the same mistake, so it can be another example of the tricky ending that is good to know, but you will rarely, if ever, get in a tournament game.
The final results, crosstable & list of prizewinners is available on ChessChat.
Next on the arbiting agenda for me is the City of Melbourne Open on Monday nights at MCC, as well as the Victorian Championships (held at Box Hill, MCC & Noble Park on Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays) & Reserves (Thursday nights at MCC), which run over May & June.
The game of the day is the round 6 win by James Morris over Ari Dale, with Morris using a tricky move order (5.Qc2!?) to find himself in a favourable Grunfeld.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

MCC ANZAC Day Weekender - Day 3

Day 3 was a single evening round, but it was quite a change from the mild, sunny conditions of the weekend. ANZAC Day eve saw Melbourne turn on a downpour & traffic around Fitzroy was horrible, meaning a number of players (as well as an arbiter) were running a few minutes late, although the games started on time & everyone made it to the venue before the 30 minute forfeit time!
The first game to finish saw a tricky tactic from young Marc Grech. As white in the following position he found Bb5, winning the queen & shortly afterwards the game.
Ari Dale managed to hold a draw against Justin Tan on board one in a trciky ending that saw Justin pushing for the win with a rook & two pawns against Ari's Knight & Bishop. Ultimately Ari managed to exchange both the pawns for his bishop & they agreed a draw in a rook v knight ending. James Morris found a nice combination against Max Chew Lee to remain within striking distance of the lead, while Justin Penrose managed a come-from-behind win against Jack Puccini. Most of the other games went according to rating, although Richard Voon was very lucky to escape with a draw against Will Bakanursky.
Results are as usual posted on ChessChat.
With Justin Tan leading a pack of three by only half a point, the tournament is still very much up for grabs going into the final day!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

MCC ANZAC Day Weekender - Day 2

Day 2 of the ANZAC Weekender was a dramatic one at MCC.
Round 3 saw the top boards go mostly according to rating, although Ari Dale managed to beat Justin Penrose in a game that on paper was fairly evenly matched. Jason Chew beat the higher rated John Wildes, while Will Bakanursky's attack managed to crash through and defeat Gary Bekker. Linden Lyons held Jimmy Ying to a draw, while Luis Chan & Tanya Krstevska had wins against higher rated opponents.
Round 4 saw the two top seeds meet, with Justin Tan prevailing in an upset to take the sole lead of the tournament on 4/4. Max Chew Lee had another quick draw, this time against Jack Puccini, while Ari Dale beat John Dowling to be in second place on 3.5/4. Jason Chew continued his giant-killing start to the event with a win over David Beaumont, while Tanya Kolak had a good win over John Wildes in the last game to finish at night. Marc Grech almost managed to hold Gary Bekker to a draw, but misplayed the pawn ending & eventually lost.
As usual, the results are available on Chesschat.
Round 5 is to be played on Tuesday night ... with Ari Dale playing Justin Tan on top board for the lead in the tournament.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

MCC ANZAC Day Weekender - Day 1

Day 1 of the ANZAC Day weekender at Melbourne Chess Club saw 32 players ready to play. International Master James Morris was the top seed, with 5 other players rated over 2000 FIDE, making for a fairly strong tournament.
Round 1 results went mostly according to rating, however Will Bakanursky managed to beat Jack Hughes, while Luis Chan held Gary Bekker to a draw. Round 2 saw the top board results once again go according to rating, however further down the field there were a few upsets. Max Chew Lee & Ari Dale played a surprisingly quick draw, while unrated Marko Grabovac beat Will Bakanursky. Tanya Krstevska managed to hold Ben Frayle to a draw, while her son Tristan Krsevski also drew his game against Alanna Chew Lee.
Round 3 sees the top seeds paired against one another, so I would expect the tournament to be sorted out at the top in the next few rounds, with some hard fought encounters ahead.
As usual, results & pairings are available on Chesschat.

AFL DreamTeam & SuperCoach - Rounds 2 & 3 in review

The last week and a half has been a hectic one for me, with two chess tournaments (arbiting the Doeberl Cup in Canberra followed by playing the Sydney International in Sydney) taking up the vast majority of my time. This has meant that I haven't had time to blog about my various fantasy AFL teams over the last few weeks, so I'll have a look at what's happened to me over the last few weeks.

Dream Team 
Round 2
Score: 2024
Rank: 62,933 (overall 46,513)
Highest score for round: 2406

Round 3
Score: 1996
Rank: 34,643 (overall 38,636)
Team value:  $8,995,900
Trades: Out: Shaw, Nahas; In: Houli, Kennedy
Highest score for round: 2360

Of course the 'trade curse' struck & Nahas managed to pull out a 100+ on the weekend after his less-than-mediocre start to the season. Of course Kennedy didn't live up to the lofty heights of the previous rounds & scored 58, though I was still happy with his price increase. Houli on the other hand has been consistently good & managed a solid 102 to start.
The backline have redeemed themselves from the early poor start & the midfield are holding their own (made all the much easier by having Gary Ablett as captain), but it is the forwards that have been problematic.

Round 2
Score: 1793
Rank: 215,275 (overall 171,336)
Highest score for round: 2510

Round 3
Score: 1917
Rank: 150,987 (overall 165,617)
Team value:$10,364,100
Trades: Out: Cunningham, Nahas; In: Ebert, Milera
Highest score for round: 2483

The rookie midfield experiment was modified, with an out-of-0form Nahas being replaced by Milera, with Cunningham (who has not been a regular in the Swans team) being replaced by the in-form Brad Ebert. Of course I realise that the strategy I have taken with the rookie midfield is all about having the best team at the end of the season, when league finals are on (as well as potentially trying to snag a round prize late in the year). The big issue at present has been the underperformance by the forwards - hopefully this will change in the coming rounds.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Melbourne Chess Club Championships Round 9

The final round saw no surprises on the top two boards, with both FM Dusan Stojic & IM Guy West winning their games to remain on top of the leader board & share the majority of the prizemoney on offer. Tradition at MCC dictates that there must be a playoff for the title, so at some stage we will see another Stojic-West clash (and possibly a repeat of the 'Bandersnatch' 5...f6!? in the Spanish by West) at some stage in the future.
The real interest on the night was the fight for the minor placings & rating prizes. Third place was eventually shared by FM Chris Wallis & Frenchman Laurent Michaille, who both scored 6.5. Wallis took advantage of a blunder by Richard Voon & finished off the game shortly afterwards, while Michaille had a tougher time of it against FM Domagoj Dragicevic in a Maroczy Bind, where a strange position was reached after 18 moves, as all the major pieces remained on the board, but 10 pawns had been captured! The momentum in the game continued to change, with threats & captures sending the various chess engines into a spin, with evaluations ranging from +4.5 to -0.7, with a long period of 0.00, before the white king finally escaped the checks & the black king marched towards its doom, when the engines went into overdrive exclaiming the position to be +17 & Domagoj resigned!
In the rating groups, Karl Zelesco took out the under 2000 division with a last round win over Pano Skiotis to finish on 6 points, which left Richard Voon, Bosko Mijatovic & Sarah Anton tied for second on 5.5. The under 1800 division saw a three way tie for first, with Marcus Ogden, Kevin Brown & Alex Kaplan all finishing on 4.5 points.
Overall it was another high-quality club championship, with plenty of fighting chess & a good turnout of just under 50 players. Dusan & Guy were the two standout players of the tournament & it will be interesting to see what the coming playoff for the title will bring. Chris Wallis had an excellent tournament & showed that he is not far off the very top of the club, while newcomer Laurent Michaille went underfeated throughout the event, playing fighting chess & recording a 2100 performance! Both Carl Gorka & Karl Zelesco should gain a few FIDE rating points from their solid performances, while Richard Voon again showed why he can never be underestimated in an event like this taking some rating points from his higher-rated opponents. Marcus Ogden had another solid result, while Anthony Harris took another step towards a FIDE rating, with a performance in the high 1800s, including a second round draw with tournament winner Guy West.
Final round results & crosstables are available on ChessChat, as well as a list of prizewinners.
The next tournaments at MCC (that I will also be arbiter for) are the ANZAC Day weekender (next weekend), the City of Melbourne Open (starting on Monday April 30), as well as the Victorian Championships (also played at Box Hill & Noble Park) & Reserves (which both start in the first week of May), so expect to see plenty more chess content here in the coming weeks!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Sydney International Open Day 5

The final round of the SIO was another tough morning pairing for me, this time against Italian IM Patrick Scharrer, who had tied for first in Ballarat just last month. I had played him in an allegro tournament just after his win in Ballarat & drew the game, but knew that with more time I might not be so fortunate to get such a result. I played my usual Modern Defense, but reverted to my old favourite line the Gurgenidze variation
 with c6 & d5, rather than the Sniper with c5. Although I was worse out of the opening, I managed to exchange some pieces & achieved an equal position around move 25. Afterr some more exchanges, we reached a rook & bishop v rook & knight ending, where Patrick had a passed a-pawn, though we both had four pawns each. I managed to neutralise the passed pawn & was probably better in the final position, with my knight dominating Patrick's rook, but I could see no obvious way to make progress in the position without releasing the stranglehold on the white pieces, so repeated the position & took a draw.

Overall I was fairly happy with my tournament. 4.5/9 in a tough field is a decent result, particularly when considering I only played two players rated lower than myself. The tournament once against confirmed for me that if I want to take chess seriously, that I really have to work on my openings - too often I found myself trying to stay afloat in a worse position - and the quicker games were where I was clobbered by higher-rated opponents who did not let me back into the game once they had an advantage. I was pleased to be able to execute a bishop & knight checkmate in a tournament game (something I hadn't looked at for quite a while) & manage to win without too much fuss. The finish of my game against Gavin Marner was also enjoyable (although that was another case of the opening going horribly for me) as its been a while since I have sacrificed a queen for checkmate in a tournament game.
As for the tournament as a while, it was won by Romanian Grandmaster Levente Vajda with 7.5/9. Full results can be seen on the tournament webpage. I also think that Chinese IM Chongsheng Zeng achieved a Grandmaster norm in the tournament.
I'm not quite sure when my next tournament will be as far as playing is concerned, though I will be arbiter for the upcoming ANZAC Day weekender, City of Melbourne Open and the Victorian Championships & Reserves, so expect to see more chess content on the blog in coming weeks!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Sydney International Open Day 4

Something of a familiar tale again today ... a horrible game in the morning, this time against Jason Hu, where I decided to challenge the centre in an English while my king was still in the centre ... and my king didn't survive! The afternoon round against New Zealander Gavin Marner looked to be going the same way when I managed to totally butcher the opening, blundering on move 7 & allowing Ng4, which totally ruined my position. I decided to give up two pawns to try & salvage the position, and create some sort of counterplay ... and I managed to get something going with the semi-open h-file (the h2 pawn was one of the pawns I 'blunder-ficed' in the opening) & managed to find a nice combination to finish the game off ... see if you can spot it from the diagram:

Once again I have a tough morning pairing for the last round - this time its black against Italian FM Patrick Scharrer. Hopefully I can change the pattern of the previous days & come away with something other than a loss! I've only played Patrick in an allegro tournament & we drew that game, so hopefully that would be something like the result tomorrow!
At the pointy end of the tournament, GMs Czebe & Vajda are leading on 6.5/8, with five players half a point behind on 6/8, including Australians IM Stephen Solomon & FM Bobby Cheng.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Sydney International Open Day 3

I started day three in horrible fashion, losing to New Zealand junior Luke Li on the white side of an e6 Trompowsky in a relatively quick game. The e6 line is something I have had difficulty playing against in recent years, particularly when my opponents choose to play in a similar manner to a French Defense, as Luke did in our round 5 clash. This time I had the weakness on d4 sufficiently protected, but it was my queenside pawns that collapsed before allowing Luke to invade with his rooks.
In the second game of the day I played Women's International Master Emma Guo from Canberra. After a difficult opening (I always find it tricky to get the right move order early on in the Philidor's), I managed to find myself in a playable position when I thought I could win a piece with 14...Qa5, only to find out that winning the piece would leave my queen trapped. Although retreating would be a reasonable option, I decided to see what I could get for the queen & realised I was able to end up taking a rook, bishop, knight & pawn for my queen & knight, so decided to go ahead with things & play a position with an unusual material imbalance. After a few exchanges, Emma decided to grab my a-pawn with her queen, which allowed me to use my remaining rook, bishop & knight to generate mating threats against her king. Ultimately Emma decided to return the queen for a rook to stop the checkmate, leaving me with bishop, knight & 4 pawns against Emma's knight & 5 pawns. Emma fought on trying to draw the position, in once instance trying to leave me (after some pawn exchanges) with a potential bishop & wrong-coloured rook pawn ending, but I avoided this & calculated that although Emma could take my last remaining pawn, I would trap her knight. This left me with a task that I don't think I have ever had to do in a tournament game - checkmating with bishop, knight & king against a lone king! Once I had taken Emmas's knight, she still had an a & h pawn remaining, so I decided that I would leave her h-pawn on the board (making sure to have the promotion square defended by my bishop) & improve the position of my other pieces before capturing the final pawn. This would allow me to have more room for stuff-ups while trying to checkmate before the 50 move rule draw kicked in. Although initially I was a little rusty, I managed to checkmate reasonably efficiently ... in spite of not using the 'W' method that I had remembered was one of the techniques for winning the position.

Today I start with yet another tough morning pairing - black against Jason Hu! Somehow I don't remember things being this tough when I played in the SIO a few years ago! Let's hope I can score another point at least today!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Sydney International Open Day 2

Today was a very long day & I had two long games. The first of these was against FM Tomek Rej, and although I played well, and achieved what should have been a winning knights v bishops ending, I was unable to score the point. I found a way to manouvre my knights into doing nothing (rather than tying down his bishops to defending his weak pawns), which allowed Tomek to activate his bishops, create a passed pawn & ultimately find a nice tactic (Bxc3) which effectively ended the game.

The second game of the day was against Roland Brockman & we played a very unusual looking game, where I managed to overcome an early disadvantage & found some play on the kingside. Although I ended up winning the game, I was disappointed not to have found a quicker way to finish off the position, although it was nice to find the tricky Bc5 on more than one occasion during the game!

Unfortunately with both these games being very long, I didn't manage to make it to Ian Rogers' commentary today, which I found entertaining on day 1. Hopefully I'll get a chance to spend some time there after my games today ... but of course hopefully after winning my games first! I start with the tough assignment of playing New Zealander Luke Li, who drew with IM George Xie in an earlier round. Lets hope today is at least as productive, if not more so, than yesterday's results.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Sydney International Open Day 1

I'm back to playing a chess tournament, this time the Sydney International in Parramatta.The tournament has 75 players, including a number of foreigners, with many backing up from the Doeberl Cup in Canberra.
I was paired with IM Kantholi Ratnakaran in the first round & felt like I had a reasonable, though not advantageous position, when the IM sacrificed a piece for an attack & I was unable to stop it. In round 2, I played Melbounre junior Zachary Loh, for the third time in just over a year. Each time the opening has been my favourite 'Broken Arrow' line of the Modern Defense & this time I managed to escape with a win after Zach missed playing the crushing 28.Qe8, when I am unable to stop the threats of Qc6, Qd8 & Bf5. Zach underestimated the counterplay I would later get with my c-pawn & once he had to give up his bishop, the game was practically over.
Full results can be found on the tournament website and there is live coverage of the top 8 boards online, as well as commentary from GM Ian Rogers at the venue.
I get to play FM Tomek Rej this morning as white, which is something I haven't done for a long time, with most of our previous encounters being Benko Gambits where I was playing black, though Tomek has improved quite substantially since those days!

Monday, 9 April 2012

2012 Doeberl Cup

This year rather than playing the Doeberl Cup, this year I was one of four arbiters for the event (the others being Shaun Press, Charles Zworestine & Lee Forace). This gave me a view of the 'other side' of the tournament ... with the experiences in many cases being very different - I rarely looked at any chess over the course of the weekend. The only time I really looked at anything in any detail was in the two games that lasted past the scheduled start time for the afternoon round - the round 3 clash between GM Horvath & FM Ikeda & the round 7 clash between IM Xie & FM Illingworth. I also decided to take a few photos of the growing crowd in the Xie Illingworth game:

The role of arbiter at a bigger tournament (as opposed to the ones I have mostly been running at MCC of late, with fields from 20-60), also exposed me to a wider range of things to do as an arbiter. Obviously there were the usual arbiter-type things to do, like setting clocks pre-game, readjusting clocks if the clock reset mid-game (something that unfortunately happens far more often than it should with the DGT clocks), making sure players have new scoresheets around move 60, checking triple repetition claims and the like. Of course with the larger tournament, I also experienced a few things that I had not really had to in tournaments previously - dealing with crying kids on more than one occasion in the under 1200 tournament, having two players 'blitzing' & not recording moves in a FIDE rated game with a 30 second increment (I got them new scoresheets & made sure they recorded all subsequent moves on the new scoresheet),cross-checking results on the multiple pairing programs used (Swiss Manager as the main FIDE-approved program, Swiss Perfect for use for ACF ratings & Vega for website publishing), as well as what was described as 'a lot of sitting around doing nothing' when you were essentially keeping an eye on the playing hall while waiting for a problem to occur.
It also highlighted just how draining a day of chess can be, particularly with the late night on Friday & the early start on Saturday, with the last game not finishing until about 12:30 (so not leaving the venue, let alone getting to my hotel & sleeping, until sometime afterwards) & the Saturday round starting at 9:30 (and as arbiters needing to be there early to set clocks & the like before the round started). I can only imagine how GM Horvath felt, as he managed to have two long games on the Friday (delaying the afternoon round in the morning game & being second last to finish at night) before having to back up on Satuday morning. Of course the fact that he managed to win the tournament itself is a testament to both his chess skill as well as his stamina. 
In terms of the tournaments itself, there were 250 players overall across the four tournaments (as well as 80 for the Saturday night lightning event), with the titles going to GM Adam Horvath in the Premier, Michael Yu in the Major & Dimitry Lee in the Minor. Full results are available on the official website.
Another new addition at this year's event was the excellent book by Bill Egan on the History of the Doeberl Cup, somewhat imaginatively titled The Doeberl Cup: Fifty Years of Australian Chess History. At present I've read the first few pages & had a flick through the book & it looks very comprehensive as well as being an interesting read!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Melbourne Chess Club Championships Round 8

The penultimate round of the Melbourne Club Championship saw Dusan Stojic & Guy West solidify their lead with wins over dangerous opponents. The most dramatic game of the night was the clash between Ari Dale & Mirko Rujevic. Ari managed to get some pressure on the kingside after achieving a slight plus from a relatively tame opening & managed to win a piece for a few pawns around move 40. Ari continued to improve his position & after capturing the d5 pawn, looked to have the game sewn up! Of course Mirko, in spite of body language that might have suggested otherwise, continued to fight on & created a passed pawn on the queenside before pushing his passed kingside pawns. With time trouble a constant pressure, Ari played some inaccurate moves & after Rujevic found the surprising Ra1, the tables were turned & Rujevic went on to record a come-from-behind win!
This leaves West & Stojic on 7/8, a point clear of Rujevic, with the last round pairings being Stojic-Rujevic on board 1, with Gorka-West on board 2. The winner of the tournament will be one of these players, with a tie a very realistic prospect. In terms of rating groups, Richard Voon leads group A on 5.5/8, but is only half a point clear of Karl Zelesco, Ari Dale & Anthony Hain. Group B is lead by Roger Beattie & Marcus Ogden on 4/8, with Kevin Brown, John Beckman & Alex Kaplan half a point behind. This should make for a very interesting final round, with the title, places and rating groups all up for grabs!
As always, results for the round are available on ChessChat.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

AFL DreamTeam & SuperCoach Round 1 ... the first look!

I suspect that this post will become something of a regular weekly 2-parter, reviewing the round of AFL from a fantasy perspective, with the first of these being the 'knee-jerk' reaction & initial thoughts on the weekend. I would suspect a second (related) post will occur later in the week once some more analysis has occurred (such as the regular Fantasy Freako newsletter & various DreamTeam podcasts) & I've had more time to think about the previous week's action & how it will impact my side & decisions.
Anyway, onto the week in review ...

Score: 2008
Rank: 37,444 (of 244,802)
Highest round score: 2352
Thoughts on players overall
Excellent: Birchall, Bugg, Ablett, Pendlebury, Bartel, Magner, McDonald, Cox, Jacobs, Franklin, Fyfe, Dangerfield
Satisfactory: Goddard, Delidio, Clarke, Smedts, C Smith, Coniglio, Giles, Redden, Martin, D Smith, Hall
Disappointing: Shaw, Ellis, Lake, Shiel, Hale Nahas, Paine ... plus having Bugg & McDonald on the bench!
If you look at it by position, then my mids & rucks are doing about the job they should be doing (aiming for an average of roughly 100 points per player), with the mids scoring 706 (with the double-points captain) & rucks 205. The only real issue there was playing Shiel ahead of McDonald, which would have given me an extra 60 points. I suspect Shiel is worth keeping in the team, but with McDonald's suspension it might need to be Clay Smith who starts on the field.
The forwards were reasonable, scoring 608, when you consider the disappointments that were Hale (68) & Nahas (49). Martin was a little down on what would be expected of him (he should be able to score close to 100 each week), but Devon Smith had a good game for a rookie scoring 69. The backs, however was where things went pear-shaped for me, bringing in only 489 points! I think the issue rests squarely on the shoulders of two players ... Heath Shaw & Brian Lake! Although Shaw was reasonable from a SC perspective, 56 is a horrible score for a premium player at any time of year! Lake's 29 was even worse, though I suppose with his 'bargain basement' pricing in 2012, I could only realistically expect consistent 80s from him (though there is still a huge gap between 29 & 80!). Ellis had a disappointing 38, though it is not so bad for a rookie ... and again if I'd started Bugg over Ellis, I would have picked up another 60-odd points, which would make my round 1 score look much better!

If you compare my team with the team of the leading round 1 scorer (Gamebreakers), the highest scoring team was as follows: 
Birchall, Carrazzo, Bugg, Goddard, Delidio, Hargrave, Golby (Morris, Yagmoor)
Ablett (c), Thompson, Boyd, Magner, Swan, McDonald (C Smith, D Shiel) 
Jacobs, Giles (Redden, Stephenson)
Franklin, Fyfe, Kennedy, Sidebottom, Robinson, Martin, D Smith (Hall, Couch) 
If you ignore the bench (as their points don't count), you will see the following differences: 
Backs: Carrazzo, Bugg, Hargrave, Golby v Clarke, Shaw, Ellis, Lake
Mids: Thompson, Boyd, Swan, McDonald v Pendlebury, Bartel, Coniglio, Shiel
Rucks: Giles v Cox 
Forwards: Kennedy, Sidebottom, Robinson v Dangerfield, Hale, Nahas
If you consider positions that are effectively cancelled out (eg: Golby v Clarke; Thompson & Swan v Pendlebury & Bartel), you can see that the differences are primarily that there is an extra premium midfielder in the highest scoring team (Boyd) & that has been counter-balanced by the extra premium ruck in my team (Cox). Obviously in this round the Boyd & Giles combo outscored my Cox & Coniglio combo. When this is combined with my various underperformers (Shaw, Lake, Shiel, Hale & Nahas), it is easy to understand why I am roughly 350 points behind the leader so far. 
I'm happy to stick with Hale, Nahas, Shaw & my rookies - hopefully they will have better games in coming weeks. The concerns for me after week 1 are that Lake's score was extrmely low, and that it may be better to trade him very soon for someone like Hargrave or Davis, or possibly a rookie like Mohr. Having said that, I'll hold off on any 'knee-jerk' reaction & wait until later in the week before I consider any trading, as unlikley as it might seem. 

Score: 1971
Rank: 113,201 (of 323,938)
Highest round score: 2452
Thoughts on players overall

Excellent: Goddard, Bugg, Thompson, McDonald, Magner, Cox, Giles, Franklin, Fyfe, Dangerfield
Satisfactory: Delidio, Shaw, Duffield, Heppell, Houli, Ellis, Caddy, Coniglio, D Smith, Mumford, Redden, Martin, Hale, Hall
Disappointing: Lake, Shiel, Cunningham, Nahas, Smedts, Paine ... plus having Bugg & Magner on the bench!

Something of interest is just how different the week's top scoring side was from my own side ...

CarntheCrows (2452)
Goddard, Yarran, Bugg, Murphy, Mohr, Guthrie, Hunt (Ellis, Tomlinson)
Pendlebury, Ablett, Kennedy, Murphy, Sloane, Kennedy Dangerfield, Hoskin-Elliot)
Leuenberger, Giles (Redden, Stephenson)
Tippett, Franklin, Riewoldt, Walker, Cloke, Porplyzia, Hall, (Smith, Dickson) 
In terms of similarities between teams, there are surprisingly only a few - Goddard, Bugg, Ellis, Dangerfield, Giles, Redden, Franklin, Hall & Smith. 

I won't go into the level of analysis for SuperCoach, needless to say that I again had a few issues with high-scoring players on the bench (Bugg & Magner), as well as suffering from 'the vest' ... with Shiel, Cunningham & Redden (as well as Clay Smith in my DreamTeam side) all wearing the green or red vest at some point during round 1. 
Another aspect that is problematic for my SuperCoach team (given the risky 'rookie midfield' option I have started with) is that it relies on making sure I have the very best rookie midfielders available. Although I have a number of rookies I am happy with, there are a number that I don't have (Clay Smith, Kennedy, Mohr, etc) & it seems as though they aren't necessarily confined to the midfield as I had hoped. The last-minute decision to bring in Thompson as a midfield premium should have had the (c) go with it, so I also missed about 60 points there by leaving the (c) on Cox, who will score 100s fairly consistently, but won't go far above 100 on most occasions. 

I suspect I'll come up with some more thought-out decisions for the week, needless to say that Brian Lake is the most likley to be involved in a trade this week if I end up making any trades. Although I managed to score around 2000 in both competitions, the overall higher scoring nature of SuperCoach means that I really need a much better performance this week, otherwise any plans of a high overall finish will be gone ... and the season's only just begun!