There are still three leaders after round 4 of the City of Melbourne Open, but they may not have been the people some would be expecting after looking at the games midway through the round. The top board clash between Carl Gorka & Ari Dale was a topsy-turvy affair, with Gorka playing very aggressively against Dale's Caro Kann defense. Gorka sacrificed a pawn for an attack, which Dale seemed to be neutralising, until around move 35, when Gorka played Qc7, with strong threats against Dale's king. Gorka missed a win with 38.Qh2, when Dale would have been forced to give up his queen for rook and pawn, leaving a relatively straightforward technical win. Instead, the game continued, eventually becoming a queen ending where Gorka held an extra pawn, but was unable to make progress & a draw was agreed.
The board 2 clash between Laurent Michaille & David Beaumont appeared to be going Beaumont's way, with a strong kingside initiative eventually netting him an extra pawn. Just when it seemed as though the attack would break through, Beaumont carelessly allowed Qh7+, which won a piece & turned the momentum of the game on its head. Michaille was then able to shut down Beaumont's threats & exchange pieces, forcing Beaumont to resign in a hopeless position.
Justin Penrose appeared to be slowly outplaying Malcolm Pyke on board 3, until he allowed Pyke to develop serious threats against his king, forcing Penrose to sacrifice an exchange to avoid disaster. After some further exchanges, the players reached an endgame with Pyke's two rooks facing Penrose's rook, knight & multiple passed pawns. Ultimately Pyke was unable to halt the advancing pawns & Penrose went on to record a victory.
On other boards, David Lacey defeated Richard Voon, after Richard misplayed a promising position, while Rad Chmiel, Paul Kovacevic, Roger McCart & Bill Reid all recorded wins over slightly higher rated opponents.
As usual, results are available on ChessChat.
This week's game is the top board clash, which saw both sides with chances throughout the game!