Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Victorian Championship Round 6

Round 6 saw a bit of a shake-up at the top, with James Morris keeping his picket fence score intact, but his nearest rivals stumbled, with Igor Goldenberg being held to a draw by Bobby Cheng & Karl Zelesco defeating Leonid Sandler.

Current leaderboard:
Morris 6/6
Goldenberg 5/6
Sandler 4.5/6
Cheng, Dragicevic 3.5/6
West, Zelesco 3/5
Levi 2/6
Stojic 1.5/5
Stevens 1/5
Garner 1/6
Hacche 0/6

Domagoj Dragicevic continued David Hacche's horror start to the tournament, playing an impressive game helped by Hacche's passive opening play. Dragicevic won a pawn in the early middlegame & then proceeded to force Hacche's pieces to horrible squares & put his in a dominating position, eventually forcing Hacche's resignation when only a pawn ahead due to the huge number of threats he had at his disposal.
Igor Goldenberg played a solid line against Bobby Cheng's Semi-Slav Defense, but gained very little advantage as Bobby equalized without too much difficulty. After a number of exchanges, the players found themselves in a rook & knight ending. Although Goldenberg managed to win a pawn, he found his knight almost trapped & the players repeated the position to ensure a draw.
Karl Zelesco provided the shock result for the round, managing to defeat Leonid Sandler in a sharp Najdorf Sicilian with kings castling on opposite sides. Sandler played the thematic Rxc3 sacrifice to open up Zelesco's king position, but was unable to make headway, while Zelesco continued with his pawn storm on the opposite side of the board. With both sides treading a defensive tightrope, Sandler blundered with 26...Nf7 & Zelesco found the excellent tactical shot 27.Rxf6, which forced Sandler's resignation as he was faced with the choice of being checkmated or suffering significant material loss.
James Morris continued his winning ways against Eddy Levi, playing another offbeat opening line with 5.b4 in an English Opening. Although he achieved a slight edge from the opening, Levi managed to equalize & seemed to be holding the game together until around move 28, when he started to let the position slip, before sacrificing a piece for some play against Morris' king. Unfortunately the attack on Morris' king was shortlived & once Morris managed to consolidate his king position & trade pieces, he was able to develop a counter-attack of his own, which was enough to have Levi wave the white flag.
The game between David Garner & Dusan Stojic had a few interesting moments, most notably when Dusan played the unusual, but visually intimidating 11...Qg3. Garner held his cool & exchanged a number of pieces, before successfully navigating through some middlegame tactics, finally winding up in a rook ending. Although the rook ending may have been slightly better for Garner, he offered to share the point, which Stojic was glad to do.
As usual, results are posted on ChessChat.
Full results & tournament Crosstable are also available on the Chess Victoria website.

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