Tuesday, 6 November 2012

MCC Melbourne Cup Weekender - Day 5

The final day started with the big question being could anyone stop Max Illingworth? There was also the related question of who would win the other prizes (whether Max took first or not).
Round 8 helped answer the first question, with Dusan Stojic unable to stop the Illingworth juggernaut  while Karl Zelesco held Stephen Solomon to a draw and Luke Li held Andrew Brown to a draw on the other top boards. This left Max a full point clear of the field to guarantee him at least a share of first prize. As is now expected in such an event, there was also the usual share of upsets, with John Beckman, Tristan Krstevski & Amelia Mendes all recording wins against higher rated opponents. David Beaumont's game with David Lovejoy almost made it into the fifth hour, before Beaumont finally broke through Lovejoy's dour defense to secure the win just before the start of the Melbourne Cup.
Once again the hotplate was fired up in between rounds for sausage sandwiches, while a large crowd
gathered around the TV to watch Green Moon take out the biggest horse race in the country.
The final round of the tournament saw MCC favourite David 'Firegoat' Beaumont pitted against Max Illingworth, with a draw being enough to secure outright first prize for Max. However Max had other ideas, and with valuable rating points also on the line, did what he had done in most of the previous rounds & demonstrated excellent technique to bring home a full point & win the tournament with an outstanding 8.5/9, with a 2700+ performance! This tournament should also improve his rating by around 18 points, to put Max over the 2400 mark, as well as placing him very close to (if not inside) the top 5 active players in the country! Stephen Solomon completed a final day nightmare for Dusan Stojic (who played Illingworth & Solomon back-to-back) by winning his game to secure second place. The final two games to finish were the ones that decided the other placegetters, with Andrew Brown beating Mirko Rujevic to take third, while Luke Li beat Justin Tan to take fourth place. There were surprisingly few upsets in the final round, although both Tristan Krstevski & Ray Yang managed to beat higher rated opponents. Rating division prizes were won by Chris Kolak (U2000) & Tristan Krstevski (U1600).
The top 4 were definitely the class of the field over the course of the weekend, although Karl Zelesco & Jason Chew were the best performers outside the prizewinners.
Full results, final crosstable & list of prize winners can be seen on ChessChat.
Numerous games from the tournament can also be seen on the MCC website.

Elizabeth Warren on the BBQ, which proved popular with players between rounds. A big thanks to Elizabeth, Tom Narenthran, Andrew Saint & others who were able to take on cooking duties over the weekend.
Final round underway, with Illingworth-Beaumont on board 1
IM Max Illingworth receiving his first prize cheque from MCC Treasurer Andrew Saint
Max delivering a his winner's speech, where he thanked the players & organisers, as well as downplaying his performance somewhat, saying he had a few things that went his way to help him win the event.

The game of the day was the final game in the tournament to finish, with Andrew Brown demonstrating precise technique to win a tricky ending against Mirko Rujevic, who always fights hard in his games!

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