Monday, 18 November 2013

Melbourne Cup Weekender - Tournament wrap up

The 2013 edition of the Melbourne Cup weekender was stronger than previous years, with a bigger field of 64 players taking part over 5 days. The field was headed by Olympiad representatives International Master Max Illingworth from Sydney & International Master Stephen Solomon from Brisbane. They were the main interstate challengers who faced the local masters, IMs James Morris, Igor Goldenberg & Ari Dale, FMs Luke Li, Bill Jordan, Dusan Stojic & David Hacche, along with many other hopefuls, both from Melbourne, regional Victoria & interstate.
Ultimately it was young FM Luke Li who prevailed, scoring an undefeated 7.5/9, closely followed by IM James Morris on 7/9 & IM Igor Goldenberg & FM Bill Jordan on 6.5/9. Luke's victory was particularly impressive, with wins over top seeds Illingworth, Solomon & Morris & had he played enough non-Australian opponents, his performance would have been good enough for an International Master norm (though without the foreign players, this was unfortunately not the case). James returned to some of the form he had displayed towards the end of 2012 & although he was disappointed with his loss to Luke & his inability to convert an advantageous position against Bill Jordan into a win, he can be satisfied with a solid second in a tough field, highlighted by a nice win over Igor Goldenberg. Bill Jordan had a good tournament, with a victory over Stephen Solomon being his highlight, while Igor Goldenberg had a solid result to finish in a tie for third.
Others who had memorable tournaments included MCC favourite Paul Cavezza, who won his rating division with a score of 6/9, which included wins over Mehmedalija Dizdarevic, Andrew Footner & Dimitry Partsi. Rowan Willathgamuwa was another who performed above his rating & his 5/9 included a win over Mehmedalija Dizdarevic & draws with Michael Addamo & Tom Kalisch. Bobby Yu also had some impressive results on his way to 3.5/9, including a win against Chris Kolak & draws with Gary Bekker, Savithri Narenthran & Andrew Footner.
There was also a Brilliancy Prize on offer during the event & deciding on a winner (in conjunction with club treasurer Pano Skiotis) was not an easy task. Ultimately the winner was Stephen Solomon for his win against Anthony Hain from round 7, although Paul Cavezza's round 9 win over Dimitry Partsi & Jack Puccini's round 8 win against Dusan Stojic were not far off the top prize either.
Here is Stephen's win over Anthony again if you missed it on an earlier post.

The final cross table is on ChessChat.
Finally some photos from the presentations
Rating Group 1 winner Paul Cavezza (doubling as official photographer)
Equal fifth - CM Jack Puccini, FM Dusan Stojic & IM Max Illingworth (Stephen Solomon, Karl Zelesco, Zachary Loh & George Lester absent)
 Equal third - FM Bill Jordan (Igor Goldenberg absent)
 Second place - IM James Morris
Tournament winner - FM Luke Li

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Melbourne Cup Weekender - Day 5

Round 8 of the Melbourne Cup Weekender at the Melbourne Chess Club saw Luke Li wrap up a share of first place with a win over Max Illingworth, while his nearest competitors, James Morris & Bill Jordan, drew their game to be a point behind Luke. Igor Goldenberg & Jack Puccini joined in the tie for second place with wins over Bill Kerr & Dusan Stojic respectively.
As with other rounds, there were upsets this round, with Finley Dale beating Anthony Hain, Yang Wu beating Dan Dobos & Nick Ilic beating Giles Lean. Paul Cavezza held David Hacche to a draw, as did Gary Lin against Sam Low, Bobby Yu against Andrew Footner & Dai Cheng against Calvin Bennett.

Board 1 clash between Luke Li & Max Illingworth

An exciting game between Jack Puccini & Dusan Stojic

A tactical slugfest between Max Chew Lee & George Lester

The final round of the tournament was somewhat anti-climatic, with a number of top board games ending in short draws. Luke Li achieved a strong position early against Bill Jordan, who was happy to accept a draw rather than risking defeat. The all-Queensland pairing of George Lester & Stephen Solomon also saw a draw agreed without much of a struggle, while the same occurred in the all-South Australian game between Bill Kerr & Colin Cloudsdale. James Morris & Jack Puccini decided to buck the trend & played a fighting game, with the winner getting second place, which ended in a win for Morris. This left Luke Li in front on 7.5/9, James Morris in second on 7/9 & Igor Goldenberg & Bill Jordan tied for third on 6.5/9.
As with other rounds, there were upsets to finish the tournament, with Paul Cavezza beating Dimitry Partsi, Geoffrey Hilliard beating Kevin Willathgamuwa & Calvin Bennett beating Andrew Footner. There were also a number of draws in apparent rating mis-matches, including George Lester against Stephen Solomon, David Hacche against Ari Dale, Gary Lin against David Lacey, Dai Cheng against Michael Addamo, Tanya Kolak against John Beckman, Christopher Lim against Mukesh Krishnamurthy, Samuel Trewin against Vishal Bhat & Licia Lao against Giles Lean.
This left the rating group prizes to go to Paul Cavezza on 6/9 for rating group 1, half a point ahead of Jason Chew & Max Chew Lee, while rating group 2 went to Geoffrey Hilliard on 5.5/9, half a point ahead of Rowan Willathgamuwa.

The fight for second place between Jack Puccini & James Morris

A nice finish by Dusan Stojic against Eamonn O'Molloy

A quick win for Karl Zelesco against Gary Bekker

A speculative sacrifice turns into a quick victory for Paul Cavezza against Dimitry Partsi

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Melbourne Cup Weekender - Day 4

Round 6 of the Melbourne Cup Weekender at the Melbourne Chess Club saw a change in the lead, when Luke Li beat James Morris on top board. This allowed Luke to become the leader by himself with 5.5/6, with James being joined by Max Illingworth & Dusan Stojic in second place on 5/6. A number of players were absent on day 4, with the Monday not being a public holiday, so the large number of players who took half point byes were mostly doing so due to work or school commitments!
Of course the round was not without upsets, which included Max Chew Lee beating Andrew Footner & Paul Cavezza beating Mehmedalija Dizdarvic, while Chris Kolak held Stephen Solomon to a draw, Gary Bekker drew with Colin Cloudsdale & Vishal Bhat drew with Geoffrey Hilliard in other results that did not go entirely according to rating.

The top board clash between James Morris & Luke Li

An exciting tactical slugfest between Karl Zelesco & Dusan Stojic

Another interesting tactical battle, this time between Mukesh Krishnamurthy & Tristan Krstevski

Round 7 saw Luke Li consolidate his lead with a draw against Igor Goldenberg, while Max Illingworth & James Morris played a fighting draw to remain half a point behind Luke, while Bill Jordan beat Dusan Stojic to join the two IMs half a point behind the leader.
There were plenty of upsets on other boards as players started to tire after their fourth day of chess! Paul Cavezza beat Andrew Footner, Geoffrey Hilliard beat Mehmedalija Dizdarevic, Dai Cheng beat Daniel Dobos, Bobby Yu beat John Beckman & Juan Carlos Ospina Alfonso beat Mukesh Krishnamurthy, while Max Chew Lee held Bill Kerr to a draw, Gary Bekker drew with Dimitry Partsi, Finey Dale drew with Michael Addamo, Ray Yang drew with Jason Chew, Heath Gooch drew with John Wildes & Vishal Bhat drew with Calvin Bennett.

An exciting draw between IMs Max Illingworth & James Morris

Another exciting game between young talents Ari Dale & Karl Zelesco

A great example of the attacking potential in the Sicilian Defence by young Jack Puccini against Sam Low

A tactical slugfest between Stephen Solomon & Anthony Hain

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Melbourne Cup Weekender - Day 3

Round 4 of the Melbourne Cup Weekender at the Melbourne Chess Club saw an outright leader emerge for the first time in the event. James Morris won his game against Ari Dale to move to 4/4, while his nearest rivals dropped points through draws or losses. Bill Jordan & Igor Goldenberg drew to move to 3.5/4, while Luke Li, Karl Zelesco & Zachary Loh also won to join them in a tie for second place with 3.5/4.
As with other rounds, round 4 also saw its share of upsets, with Rowan Willathgamuwa beating Mehmedalija Dizdarevic & Geoffrey Hilliard beating Jason Chew. There were also lots of draws, with Goran Ilic drawing with Bill Kerr, Gary Lin drawing with Andrew Footner, Ray Yang drawing with Michael Addamo, Bobby Yu drawing with Savithri Narenthran, Jaiwant Singh drawing with Shane Lawson & Kayson Wang drawing with Samuel Trewin.

Top board clash between James Morris & Ari Dale

A nice win by Karl Zelesco against George Lester

Round 5 saw James Morris retain his perfect record with a win over Igor Goldenberg, while Bill Jordan & Luke Li also won their games to remain half a point behind James in second place.
Upset wins this round were recorded by Jack Puccini over Ari Dale, Christopher Lim over Shane Lawson, Jaiwant Singh over Regan Crowley & Kayson Wang over Vladimir Zacharczenko. A number of players also drew against higher rated opponents, including Gary Bekker against George Lester, Rowan Willathgamuwa against Tom Kalisch, John Wildes against Michael Addamo, Paul Cavezza against Marcel Rothlisberger, Calvin Bennett against Anthony Hain, Gary Lin against Kevin Willathgamuwa & Dai Cheng against John Beckman.
3/5 is the current leading score for the rating divisions, with Tom Kalisch, Eamonn O'Molloy, Max Chew Lee, Gary Bekker & Surjeet Singh leading the under 1950 division on 3/5, while Rowan Willathgamuwa & Goran Ilic lead the U1700 division, also on 3/5.

James Morris retains his perfect score with a nice win over Igor Goldenberg

A nice attacking game by Dusan Stojic against Cloin Cloudsdale

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Melbourne Cup Weekender - Day 2

Day 2 of the Melbourne Cup Weekender at Melbourne Chess Club saw the field grow in size to a very chess-related 64 players & a playing hall that was filled to near capacity!
Round 2 saw the top seeds successfully negotiate their games to leave 13 players with 2/2, although not entirely without problems, with Sam Low (who is playing his first rated tournament for a number of years) pushing Max Illingworth, before finally succumbing in the knight v bishop ending that ensued. The round also had a few upsets, with Ray Yang beating Kevin Willathgamuwa, while young Licia Yao held Gary Lin to a draw.
 Top 5 boards underway in round 2
Main playing hall on day 2

The board 1 clash between Max Illingworth & Sam Low

Following the completion of the round, the club became even more crowded as the regular Saturday afternoon allegro ran with 16 players in close quarters in one of the smaller rooms in the club. The event was once again taken out by FM Michael Baron with 7/7 - he is a regular at the allegro events & rarely plays longer games these days, but is still a tough competitor!

Allegro at close quarters!

Round 3 was the most dramatic of the tournament so far, with the two top seed being beaten in their games, while other games saw enterprising chess, as well as some more upsets. Once the round was completed, only 5 players had managed to keep the picket-fence alive & move to 3/3.
Upsets for the round saw Dusan Stojic beat Max Illingworth, Bill Jordan beat Stephen Solomon, Calvin Bennet beat Max Chew Lee, Christopher Lim beat Heath Gooch & Dai Cheng beat Vladimir Zacharczenko. There were also plenty of draws this round, with Zachary Loh holding Luke Li to a draw, Goran Ilic drew with Marcel Rothlisberger, Savithri Narenthran drew with Andrew Footner, Marko Grabovac drew with Mehmedalija Dizdarevic, Rowan Willathgamuwa drew with Michael Addamo, Ray Yang drew with Tom Kalisch & Bobby Yu drew with Gary Bekker.
The prize pool was also finalised, with $700 for first & over $2500 in total prizes, which once again makes it the richest event at the club for the year.
As usual, results are available on ChessChat.

Top board clash between Dusan Stojic & Max Illingworth

Board 2 clash between Stephen Solomon & Bill Jordan

An enterprising game between Anthony Hain & George Lester

Friday, 1 November 2013

Melbourne Cup Weekender - Day 1

Day 1 of the Melbourne Cup Weekender at the Melbourne Chess Club saw 54 players start, with more to begin on Saturday morning. The long-awaited air conditioning was installed in the days before the weekender, so the playing hall was able to remain cool ... so much so that a few players made the rarely heard summertime complaint of the room being too cold!
Top seed for the event is defending champion IM Max Illingworth from Sydney. Other titled players in the event include: IM Stephen Solomon from Queensland, IM James Morris, IM Igor Goldenberg, FM Luke Li, IM Ari Dale, FM Bill Jordan, FM Dusan Stojic, CM Jack Puccini, FM David Hacche, CM Gary Bekker & WFM Savithri Narenthran. There are a total of 14 players rated over 2000 FIDE, so the event is another strong tournament to be held at MCC, although there are a wide range of players, both in terms of rating & age.
Thanks to Philip Drew, the new ACF equipment officer, the event has live DGT coverage of the top 5 boards, so if you are unable to come to the club, you can follow the top games at home or anywhere else online.
Result for the tournament & pairings are being posted on ChessChat, although they will also be available on the MCC website at a later stage.
Round 1 saw results go mostly according to rating, but the players in the top half of the ratings did not make it through the round unscathed. Calvin Bennett beat Colin Cloudsdale, Mukesh Krishnamurthy beat Andrew Footner, Bobby Yu beat Chris Kolak & Dai Cheng held Anthony Hain to a draw.
 Round 1 underway in the main playing hall
 The top boards, all with DGT coverage for this event!
Another view of the main playing hall during round 1

Board 1 saw Max Illingworth play a nice attacking game, with Kevin's position falling apart quickly after 15...Bxh3!

An early nomination for the brilliancy prize was this effort from Ari Dale against Marko Grabovac

More Victorian Schools Finals

Last week the remaining semi-finals of the Primary Open event were held, with a total of 22 schools qualifying for the upcoming final in early November.
The second of the semi-finals was held at Club Tivoli in Windsor & had 149 students from 21 schools, with the top 7 schools qualifying for the final. The tournament itself was won by David Cannon with 7/7, while Wesley College took out the school honours for the day.
 Semi-final 2 underway at Club Tivoli
A full house at Club Tivoli for semi-final 2

The third semi-final was held the following day, also at Club Tivoli & was slightly smaller, with 107 students from 14 schools, with the top 6 schools qualifying for the final. The tournament saw a tie for first between Zun De Kai Sim & Timothy Krstevski on 6.5/7, while Greythorn was the overall winning school on the day.
 The calm before the storm as the first players arrive for the day
Slightly less crowded, but still plenty of chess at semi-final number 3

The fourth of the semi-finals took place at Glen Waverley Secondary College & had 129 students from 18 schools, with the top 6 schools qualifying for the final. The tournament was dominated by students from Mount View Primary, who were the winning school on the day, but it saw a three-way tie for first between Hamish Jones, Kris Chan & Luis Chan who all scored 7/7, with Hamish taking the winner's trophy on countback.
 The playing area at Glen Waverley Secondary before the players arrive
 Play underway at semi-final 4
Other boards during semi-final 4

All of these semi-finals have meant that 22 teams have now qualified for the final, to be played at Box Hill Chess Club on November 8. The qualified teams are as follows:
Alphington PS, Canterbury PS, Clifton Hill PS, Deepdene PS, Flemington PS, Geelong East PS, Great Ryrie PS, Greythorn PS, Haileybury College Brighton, Haileybury College Newlands, Ivanhoe PS, Laburnum PS, Melbourne Montessori School, Milgate PS, Mount View PS, St. Leonards PS, Sandringham PS, Spensley Street PS, Wales Street PS, Waverley Christian College, Wesley College Elsternwick, Winters Flat PS (Castlemaine).

Based on the players & teams from the semi-final, I would expect the Mount View team to be the favourites to win the event, although with the team format (teams of 5 playing against one another rather than an individual swiss with totals added together), these events can often be decided by who performs best on the lower boards for a team.