Sunday, 17 June 2012

Victorian Championship Round 9

The latest round of the Victorian Championship ALMOST produced major drama, with leader James Morris finding himself in a lost ending against defending champion Bobby Cheng. Unfortunately for Bobby & the others who are hoping James would falter, it was Bobby who misplayed the ending, with the game ultimately ending in a draw. This leaves James in a position where his worst possible finish will be =1st.
In other results, Domagoj Dragicevic continued his charge towards the top of the field with a win over Eddy Levi, Leonid Sandler returned to the winner's circle by beating Dusan Stojic, while Tristan Stevens kept things interesting at the other end of the field with a win over David Garner. David Hacche & Karl Zelesco drew their game, while Igor Goldenberg misplayed a promising position against Guy West, with the game ending in a draw. 

Current Leaderboard
Morris 8/9 
Dragicevic, Goldenberg & Sandler 6/9 
West 4.5/7 
Cheng, Zelesco 4/7 
Levi, Stojic 3/9 
Stevens 2/7 
Garner 2/9 
Hacche 1.5/9 

Domagoj Dragicevic took the fight to Eddy Levi & managed to beat Eddy at what would be considered his own game! Eddy played a Closed Sicilian & the game appeared to be heading towards a slow, quiet sort of position, until Domagoj decided to mix things up with the aggressive 9...g5!? The tactics worked out favourably for Domagoj & he won a few pawns, which he ultimately converted into a win in the endgame.
Leonid Sandler turned his recent form around with an impressive win over former champion Dusan Stojic. After a relatively quiet opening, Sandler won a pawn in the middlegame & then improved his remaining pieces before finally finding a combination to exchange into a rook ending where he was three pawns up, which was enough for Dusan to resign.
Tristan Stevens kept things interesting at the other end of the field with a nice win over David Garner. Tristan played an unusual line against David's Sicilian Najdorf (6.h3) & David responded by sacrificing an exchange for a pawn in the early middlegame, which left Tristan with two sets of doubled pawns. Tristan then used his rooks to force David backwards, before finding a combination which saw Tristan emerge with two extra pawn in an ending with two rooks against David's queen. Tristan then managed to get his rooks doubled on the seventh before bringing his king forward to assist in the attack, ultimately checkmating David's king.
James Morris obviously brought his 'Get Out of Jail Free' card with him to his game against Bobby Cheng. Bobby played a sideline against James' Grunfeld Defense & gained an advantage out of the opening. Ultimately he converted this into a pawn advantage in the late middlegame, with the players finding themselves in an ending with Bobby's rook, knight & five pawns against James' rook, bishop & four pawns. Although James managed to win the pawn back, his pieces were tied down & Bobby was able to exchange into a winning king & pawn ending. Unfortunately Bobby missed a few opportunities to finish the game, before finally offering the draw, which James was glad to accept!
David Hacche played a solid, but unambitious opening against Karl Zelesco. Pieces & pawns were eventually exchanged, before the players ultimately agreed to a draw in a level minor piece ending.
Igor Goldenberg also let a promising position slip against Guy West. Igor achieved a slight edge on the white side of a King's Indian Defense & managed to create a lot of pressure against Guy's king. Igor sacrificed an exchanged, but won the critical e5 pawn in the process. Just when it looked like Igor might be about to break through, he played 42.Qf2, which allowed Guy to consolidate his position & Igor offered a draw shortly afterwards, which Guy accepted.
As usual, results are posted on ChessChat.
Full results & tournament crosstable are available on the Chess Victoria website.

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