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!