Monday, 21 May 2012

Victorian Championship Round 4

Finally, there has been a draw! Only one though ... Two of the leaders going into round 4, Igor Goldenberg & Leonid Sandler, decided to split the point in their game, which has allowed IM James Morris to take the sole lead in the event on 4/4.

Current leaderboard:
Morris 4/4
Sandler, Goldenberg 3.5/4
West 3/4
Zelesco 2/3
Cheng 2/4
Stojic, Dragicevic, Stevens 1/3
Levi 1/4
Hacche, Garner 0/4

Round 4 saw some more interesting chess being played.
Domagoj Dragicevic & Bobby Cheng played their game before the Saturday round at Noble Park, and it saw Domagoj score his first point for the event, with a nice win over the defending champion. Although Bobby appeared to get a comfortable position out of the opening in a French Winawer, Bobby preferred to castle queenside & allow a doubling of his f-pawns, rather than exchanging knights, which would have left his king stuck in the centre of the board. Although this seemed to be fine, Domagoj developed some pressure on the queenside & when Bobby snatched the a-pawn, his pieces became tied up. This allowed Domagoj to attack in the centre, winning the d-pawn. After exchanging queens, Domagoj found a nice exchange sacrifice, which won a few pawns, as well as allowing his central pawns to become mobile, which forced Bobby to return the exchange. This ultimately left Domagoj in a winning rook ending, which he converted efficiently to take the point.
The Igor Goldenberg - Leonid Sandler clash of the leaders looked to have plenty of fighting potential, when Igor decided to castle queenside in a fairly normal looking Queen's Gambit declined & then followed up with the aggressive looking h4 & g4 ... but then shortly afterwards decided that his attack didn't have the venom he had hoped for & offered a draw, which Leonid accepted.
The game between Guy West & Eddy Levi began with a fairly quiet opening, which seemed quite at odds with both players tactical styles. After a number of exchanges, Levi decided to sacrifice a pawn in the centre to head towards a queen & rook ending. Unfortunately for Eddy, Guy defended against the pressure from Eddy's queen & rook, and turned the tables, launching his own counter-attack against Eddy's position. This counter-attack managed to net another pawn for Guy & when Eddy finally recaptured a pawn with his rook rather than his queen, Guy finished the game off.
James Morris employed a Grand Prix attack against David Garner's Sicilian Defense & managed to win a pawn after exploiting a series of pins against David's central pawns. Although David appeared to be holding the position, he blundered with 25...f6, which allowed James to prise open David's king position, ultimately winning another pawn. The ending saw David's rook & bishop no match for James' rook & knight, with James using his extra pawns & exploiting the vulnerable position of David's king to take the point, finishing with a neat checkmate involving the rook, knight & a pawn.
As usual, results are available on ChessChat.
Full results & tournament crosstable are also available on the ChessVictoria website.

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