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!