The first round of the 2012 Victorian Championships saw plenty of fighting chess, with all players coming to play & all of the five games played having decisive results!
Domagoj Dragicevic seemed to have a reasonable position out of the opening against Karl Zelesco, but then ran into trouble with a pin on the d-file. Rather than giving up a piece, he chose to give up his queen for a rook, hoping that a temporary lead in activity would be enough compensation, however Karl played calmly & continued to exchange pieces & improve his position until his queen infultrated Domagoj's defenses, forcing resignation.
James Morris played a nice game against Guy West in a battle of International Masters. On the white side of Spanish, he applied the screws in typical 'Spanish torture' fashion and West responded by trying to grab some space on the queenside. Although this seemed to be progressing well for West, it left him with a few weak pawns, which Morris targetted & eventually won. Morris then nullified the tactical tricks West tried to continue the game & ultimately used his rook & bishop pair to bring home the full point.
The Garner-Goldenberg clash began as an unusual line of the King's Indian Defense, which saw white getting some early play on the queenside. Goldenberg responded in typical King's Indian fashion with a kingside pawn storm & managed to generate some play. Ultimately Garner decided to sacrifice an exchange to try to slow Goldenberg's attack, however it simply made the attack more dangerous & Igor found a nice tactical finish to the game.
Stojic managed to grind out an endgame win against David Hacche on the white side of a Sicilian Dragon. There were numerous exchanges early on & the players found themselves in a queen & rook ending, which looked drawish at first sight. Hacche decided to exchange queens, hoping that a rook ending would be his easiest way to a draw, but Stojic's passed c-pawn, combined with an active king created enough problems for Hacche to go wrong, alowing Stojic to take the full point.
The Sandler-Stevens game was an interesting English, where black tried to snatch a pawn in the opening & hang on to it. Sandler applied pressure in the centre against Stevens' uncastled king & managed to regain the pawn in a better position when Stevens tried to castle out of danger. Although Stevens tried to play actively, his pieces ultimately became tangled & Sandler was able to win a piece, before simplifying to a winning ending.
The Levi-Cheng match was postponed and should be played later in the week.
Results are available at ChessChat, as is usual.