Monday, 30 December 2013

Australasian Masters - the conclusion

The Australasian Masters came to an interesting conclusion just before Christmas. From the outset, Latvian GM Normunds Miezis had been a runaway leader, but all that changed in the final rounds of the Australasian Masters! After starting with 5/5, his progress was slowed by draws against GM Vasily Papin & FM Anton Smirnov, but few would have expected the finish to the event, with Miezis losing to both IM Bobby Cheng & IM Max Illingworth in the final two rounds to finish on 6/9. However, such was his lead that this was enough to win the tournament, albeit in equal first, shared with Russian GM Vasily Papin who went through the event undefeated. Vietnamese GM Tu Hoang Thong finished in outright third on 5.5/9 to ensure that all the prize money went to the visiting Grandmasters. As far as the Australians were concerned, the best results were from IMs Bobby Cheng & Max Illingworth, who finished on 5/9 in a tie for fourth place, while FM Anton Smirnov impressed with his solid play, but a final round loss to Bobby Cheng saw him miss out on his final IM norm by just half a point.
The IM norm event on the other hand saw to players leading the field throughout the tournament - FM Chris Wallis & Karl Zelesco were the leaders throughout the event, sometimes tied, other times in first & second place, but they finally both finished on 7/9 to share the prize money (Karl won the trophy on countback). The 7/9 score was the minimum required for an IM norm & Karl Zelesco earnt his first IM norm as a result of his performance in this event. Chris Wallis was slightly less fortunate, with his high rating (and subsequent lower rating of his opponents) counting against him, so that it was not possible for him to get a norm, regardless of his final score. However it was an impressive tournament from Chris, who was the only player to go through the event undefeated. FM Bob Smith finished outright third on 6/9, while IMs Vladimir Smirnov & Andrew Brown were equal fourth on 5.5/9.
Overall the tournament was a breeze to run, with all players being very friendly & co-operative, with no major issues.
Hopefully this can be the beginning of something more regular in Australian chess, rather than simply a one-off special for the 25th event - Australia now has a significant number of International Masters, but still very few progress beyond this level to become Grandmasters & tournaments like this provide fantastic opportunities for aspiring GMs to test their skills against the very best.

Full details of the tournament can be found in the 2013 Archive on the Box Hill Chess Club website, including Cross Tables, Bulletins & PGN files of games

Leonid Sandler also managed to do a few more videos with some of the participants & I have included them below:

Visiting Latvian GM & tournament winner Normunds Miezis:

GM Darryl Johansen:

IM James Morris:

A few photos from the tournament & prize giving:

IM Bobby Cheng defeats GM Normunds Miezis in round 8

GM Event 3rd place - GM Tu Hoang Thong
GM Event =1st place - GM Vasily Papin
GM Event =1st place - GM Normunds Miezis
Tournament winner GM Normunds Miezis giving a brief speech after receiving his prize money
IM Event 3rd place - FM Bob Smith
IM Event =1st place - FM Chris Wallis
IM Event =1st place - Karl Zelesco
Karl Zelesco with the perpetual trophy & a smile after securing his first IM norm!

Post-tournament dinner with players, friends & families.

Interesting games
IM Event
Zelesco-Stojic from round 8

Rujevic-Ootes from round 9

GM Event
Miezis-Cheng from round 8

Illingworth-Miezis from round 9

Hopefully this will be the first of many such GM-events in Melbourne (or even Australia more generally) rather than just a one-off event!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Australasian Masters - the middle bit

The Australasian Masters is the first Grandmaster norm event in Australia this century (the last was in Sydney in 1999) & at present has completed 7 of its 9 rounds.
Current leader of the event is GM Normunds Miezis from Latvia, who is on 6/7 after starting with 5/5 & then drawing games with GM Vasily Papin & FM Anton Smirnov. Second is GM Papin on 4.5/7, while tied for third are FM Smirnov, IM Max Illingworth & GM Tu Hoang Thong who are all on 4/7.
In the IM event, which is being run alongside the GM event, the leader is FM Chris Wallis on 5.5/7, just ahead of Karl Zelesco & IM Vladimir Smirnov who are on 5/7, while FM Bob Smith is in outright fourth on 4.5/7.

The tournament has had its share of drama, both on and off the chess board.
The main off-board drama was the round 3 forfeit of GM Tu Hoang Thong in his game against GM Normunds Miezis. Tu had only allowed 20 minutes to get to the venue by public transport (he had to travel through 8 stations on the train, albeit on the same line), but found out that the train he planned to catch was an express & did not stop at Canterbury station as he had hoped. By the time he caught another train back in the right direction, only to discover that this was also an express that did not stop at the required station, he had overstepped the 30 minute forfeit time & I had to deliver the bad news to him when he arrived shortly before 5pm.
In terms of on-board drama, there has been plenty! Even players of master level make mistakes - some complicated, but some fairly basic! I think the biggest of these was Wang Sheng Lee's endgame against Vladimir Smirnov in round 7. He had won two pawns in the opening, managed to give Vlad some chances in the endgame, but was still winning when the following position was reached:
Here black's a-pawn is one square away from promotion, but the calculation shouldn't be that difficult given the limited number of moves available. There are stalemate threats if the rook moves on the b-file, or if the king moves on the c- or d-files. Black's next move must be with the king, so the question is how to give black a legal move while still improving white's position - ideally moving closer to a mating net with king & rook ... The obvious move should be 90. Kb3! ... however Lee decided to play 90. Rh7 & the game was soon drawn after 90... Kb2, as black's king now has access to the a3 square, as well as the first & second ranks.
The win comes after 90.Kb3 Kb1 91. Rh7 (threatening mate on h1). Black has only two ways to try to avoid immediate checkmate, but they both lose in the end.
91... Kc1 92. Kxa2 leaves white with a basic rook & king v king checkmate that is one of the first checkmates beginners learn about!
91... a1N+ is the only other option (this avoids checkmate immediately as white is now in check) 92. Kc3 & white is once again faced with a dilemma of legal moves that are all hopeless. The simplest way to win is to capture the knight, which can be done after 92... Ka2 93.Rb7, when there is no safe square for the knight & 93... Ka3 runs into 94. Ra7#! 92... Nc2 is no good after 93. Rh1+ as the knight is captured on the next turn regardless of black's reply.

In terms of norms, which is in some ways what the tournament was aiming to do, the only players who are still in contention are FM Anton Smirnov in the GM event, who needs 5/9 for an IM norm (he is currently on 4/7, with FM Tu & IM Cheng to play), while Karl Zelesco needs 7/9 in the IM norm event (he is currently on 5/7, with FM Stojic & Lee to play).

Leonid Sandler recorded an interesting interview with GM Ian Rogers, who dropped in to the tournament while in Melbourne visiting family over the holiday period.

To finish off this update, photos from the other GM v GM games, as well as the finish to Miezis-Smirnov & a game from each round of the tournaments.

 Johansen v Tu ... result draw
 Papin v Miezis ... result draw
Miezis v FM Smirnov ... result draw
Interesting games
IM Event
Smith-Stojic from round 4  

Wallis-Brown from round 5

Smirnov-Stojic from round 6

Wallis-Levi from round 7

GM Event
Tu-Cheng from round 4

Miezis-Morris from round 5

Smirnov-Johansen from round 6

Illingworth-Morris from round 7

Monday, 16 December 2013

Australasian Masters - the start

The Australasian Masters is currently underway at the Box Hill Chess Club. This year marks the 25th running of the event & for the first time, there is the possibility of a Grandmaster Norm in the top division. The second division also gives players an opportunity for an International Master Norm. I am the chief arbiter for both events, as well as producing the daily bulletins for the players.

The fields for both events are as follows (with FIDE rating & country or Australian State):
GM Event
  1. GM Normunds Miezis 2554 Latvia
  2. GM Vasily Papin 2514 Russia
  3. IM Bobby Cheng 2440 Victoria
  4. IM Max Illingworth 2430 NSW
  5. GM Tu Hoang Thong 2414 Vietnam
  6. GM Darryl Johansen 2409 Victoria
  7. IM James Morris 2398 Victoria
  8. IM Stephen Solomon 2386 Queensland
  9. FM Zuhao Li 2349 New Zealand
  10. FM Anton Smirnov 2318 NSW
 IM Event
  1. IM Vladimir Smirnov 2379 Russia
  2. FM Christopher Wallis 2320 Victoria
  3. Wang Sheng Lee 2254 Singapore
  4. FM Dusan Stojic 2246 Victoria
  5. IM Andrew Brown 2245 ACT
  6. FM Robert Smith 2238 New Zealand
  7. IM Mirko Rujevic 2220 Victoria
  8. Lennart Ootes 2147 Netherlands
  9. FM Eddy Levi 2146 Victoria
  10. Karl Zelesco 2145 Victoria
The event has started off well, beginning with a somewhat novel method for drawing of lots.
Last year's winner FM Anton Smirnov (youngest entrant in the GM Norm event) & top seed GM Normunds Miezis from Latvia selecting their pairing numbers from a barrel

The various pairings for the day are displayed on a fantastic board thanks to Gary Wastell (you may have seen a variation of this at other events, such as the Australian Championships in Geelong in 2012)
So far the games have all been fairly action-packed, with very few draws & those games that have finished in draws have all been hard fought games.
Currently GM Normunds Miezis leads the GM event with 3/3, although GM Vasily Papin & IM Max Illingworth are only a point behind.
The leaders of the IM event are FM Christopher Willis, FM Dusan Stojic & Karl Zelesco. Karl's performance so far has been particularly good as he has beaten two IMs (Smirnov & Brown) in the first two rounds.
Both events have games being broadcast live, with the GM event on the Box Hill CC website & the IM event on the Noble Park CC website.

To finish off this update, I've added some photos from the tournament, as well as some interesting games ... in the meantime you can follow the tournament at the venue, Box Hill Chess Club, online via the various links in the post above, or follow discussion about the tournament on the ChessChat forum.

The Grandmaster v Grandmaster games in action
Papin v Johansen ... result draw
 Johansen v Miezis ... result 0-1
Tu v Papin ... result draw

Interesting games from the event so far
IM Event
Zelesco-Smirnov from round 1

Brown-Zelesco from round 2

Wallis-Lee from round 3

GM Event
Cheng-Illingworth from round 1

Johansen-Miezis from round 2

Cheng-Johansen from round 3

Monday, 9 December 2013

Andrew Saint & Hannibal Swartz Memorial - Day 3

The final day of the Andrew Saint & Hannibal Swartz Memorial saw GM Normunds Miezis continue his dominance over the field to finish outright first with 6/6, one and a half points ahead of a group of seven players who tied for second place.
Round 5 saw FM Dusan Stojic become the latest victim of GM Miezis, while upset wins were recorded by Rad Chmiel over Miodrag Milojevic, Jason Chew over Bill Kerr, Ray Yang over Richard Voon, Regan Crowley over Zhi Lin Guo, Vishal Bhat over Surjeet Singh & Michael Yeoh over Jean Watson.
The final round saw FM Domagoj Dragicevic take his turn against GM Miezis, only to come up short, with Normunds finishing with a perfect six out of six. Finishing in equal second place were FM Dusan Stojic, FM Bill Jordan, Svetozar Stojic, Eugene Schon, John Nemeth, Simon Schmidt & Malcolm Pyke, who all won or drew their final games for finish on 4.5/6. Final round upset wins were recorded by Ray Yang over James Cameron, Dominic Lai over Zhi Lin Guo & Simon Dale over Surjeet Singh.
The final cross table is available on ChessChat, as are the list of Prize winners
There's also plenty of photos from the tournament on the Facebook Page

Plenty of players stayed around for the presentation, with free pizza on offer & the presentation included not only the usual awarding of prizes, but the official unveiling of two plaques at the club dedicated to Andrew & Hannibal. With so many players remaining, it also offered a rare opportunity for a photo of participants in the tournament (as well as a few extras).

Plaque dedicated to Hannibal Swartz
 Plaque dedicated to Andrew Saint
 Post-tournament photo out the front of the Melbourne Chess Club

Some interesting games from day 3

FM Stojic v GM Miezis from round 5

A round 5 game of missed opportunities between Tom Kalisch & Justin Penrose that finally ended peacefully.

An exciting round 6 game between Simon Schmidt & Tom Kalisch

A nice attacking game by Bill Kerr in round 6 against Jack Hughes

A few photos from the final day

Main playing hall on the final day
The last game of the tournament to finish - Cheng Dai v Stephen Worthley, which ended in a draw when Stephen was able to demonstrate the Philidor defence in a rook endgame.

Andrew Saint & Hannibal Swartz Memorial - Day 2

Day 2 of the Andrew Saint & Hannibal Swartz Memorial saw the cream rise to the top, with GM Miezis being the only player to survive the day with a perfect score.
Round 2 saw no upset wins, but a number of strong players were held to draws by players rated significantly lower than them. Those who drew with higher rated opponents were Max Chew Lee, Anthony Hain, Narelle Szuveges, Jack Hughes, Gary Lin & Vishal Bhat.
Round 3 saw GM Miezis take the sole lead on 3/3 after defeating Svetozar Stojic. Upset wins were recorded by Max Chew Lee over Miodrag Milojevic, James Cameron over Gary Bekker & Simon Dale over Ben Frayle.
Round 4 saw GM Miezis defeat FM Bill Jordan to retain the lead. Dusan Stojic, Domagoj Dragicevic & Thai Ly all won their games to stay half a point behind on 3.5/4. Upset wins were recorded by Thai Li over Dimitry Partsi, Bobby Yu over Anthony Hain & Michael Hain over Geoffrey Barber.

Some interesting games from day 2

Worthley v FM Jordan from round 2

Svetozar Stojic v GM Miezis from round 3

Pykev Grabovac from round 4 with a nice tactic to finish

Bhat v Hughes, also from round 4 & also featuring a nice tactical finish

A wild game between Hain & Barber, also from round 4, ultimately decided when 46... Qf8 was NOT checkmate!

Photos from day 2

GM Miezis v Gary Bekker with Bill Jordan & Dusan Stojic v Richard Voon in the background
Main tournament hall during round 3
Another view of the main tournament room during round 3
The top boards during round 3, with FM Dusan Stojic, GM Normunds Miezis, Anthony Hain, Domagoj Dragicevic, Anoma Crowley & Tom Kalisch

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Andrew Saint & Hannibal Swartz Memorial - Day 1

The opening day of the Andrew Saint & Hannibal Swartz Memorial weekender (renamed for 2013 instead of the Christmas Swiss) at Melbourne Chess Club saw 46 players take their places for the first round, with a number of players coming from interstate (particularly South Australia, Andrew's home state) or out of chess 'retirement' to play in the event.
Before the games began, tournament organiser Paul Cavezza welcomed the players to the tournament & shared some anecdotes about both Andrew & Hannibal, who died tragically earlier in the year.
Top seed for the event is visiting Latvian Grandmaster Normunds Miezis, with FMs Bill Jordan, Dusan Stojic & Domagoj Dragicevic the next highest seeds, with a total of 11 players rated over 2000 FIDE. The tournament also sees the return to the chessboard of WFM Narelle Szuveges & Michael Hain, while Simon Dale, father of Ari & Finley, is playing in his first rated tournament!
The first round of the tournament saw a few upsets, with Gary Lin beating John Nemeth & Jack Hughes beating Malcolm Pyke. Marko Grabovac, Cheng Dai & Alex Saint also managed to draw against their higher rated opponents.

Jason Chan looked to be in the game early against GM Miezis, but all the tactics worked for the GM

Round 1 underway in the main playing hall
Board 1 clash - Jason Chew V GM Normunds Miezis with FM Bill Jordan v Surjeet Singh in the background
 Richard Voon v Myiesha Maunders & Tom Kalisch v Alex Saint in the foreground
Jack Hughes & John Nemeth in the foreground. Ray Yang v Bill Kerr & Dimitry Partsi v Alex Kaplan in the background
Jean Watson, Thai Ly & Miranda Webb-Liddle in action during round 1
Tournament debutant Simon Dale in deep concentration, while WIM Narelle Szuveges makes her return to the chessboard in the background
IM James Morris filled in for round 1 so that there was no bye ... and added an impromptu coaching session afterwards for his opponent

Friday, 6 December 2013

Victorian Blitz Championship

This year the Victorian Blitz Championships moved to the Box Hill Chess Club after being held at the Melbourne Chess Club for the previous few years. The change of venue helped increase the number of players, with 36 turning up for this year's event (up from 19 last year at MCC). The top end of the field was also very strong, with plenty of titled players including IMs Bobby Cheng, James Morris, Leonid Sandler & Ari Dale, as well as FMs Luke Li, Dusan Stojic & Domagoj Dragicevic.
As is standard in chess events with fast time limits, there were plenty of upsets throughout the day & these started in the first round with Sylvester Urban beating Leonid Sandler. Round two saw more upsets, including David Beaumont beating top seed Bobby Cheng, Karl Zelesco beating Luke Li & Dominic Lai beating Marko Grabovac. Round three saw more upsets, with Mukesh Krishnamurthy beating Ari Dale, David Cannon beating Jack Puccini, Elliot Renzies beating Ray Yang & Moksh Goswami beating Reginald Chong, while in round four Karl Zelesco beat Laurence Matheson & Tanya Kolak beat Ray Yang. This left James Morris & Karl Zelesco as the only players who had won all their games & this would be the top board clash in round five. Karl continued his fantastic start to the event & beat James to take the sole lead, while the only other major upset win for the round was recorded by Dimirty Partsi over Luke Li. Round six saw Karl continue his winning ways with a victory over top seed Bobby Cheng, while Laurence Matheson beat Leonid Sandler to move to 5/6 to be Karl's closest competitor. Other upset wins in round six were recorded by Max Chew Lee over John Nemeth, Michael Chan over Dusan Stojic, Philip Drew over Svetosar Stojic, Paul Cavezza over Zachary Loh & Tanya Kolak over Shane Lawson. Round seven saw Dimitry Partsi become the next to fall to Karl Zelesco, while upsets were recorded by Michael Chan over Luke Li, Jack Puccini over Eugene Schon & Dominic Lai over Mukesh Krishnamurthy. Round eight saw Karl stretch his lead over the field to two points, after he chalked up another win, this time over Michael Chan, while Bobby Cheng beat Laurence Matheson to join Laurence in equal second along with James Morris. Upsets this round were recorded by Max Chew Lee over Dusan Stojic, Jack Puccini over David Beaumont & Paul Cavezza over Barbaros Kara. Round nine saw the potential picket fence come to an end, with Leonid Sandler handing Karl Zelesco his first defeat of the tournament. The chasing pack moved to within one and a half points of Karl after Bobby & James drew their clash, while Domagoj Dragicevic & Leonid Sandler joined them in second place on 6.5/9. The only major upset for the round saw Moksh Goswami beating Dominic Lai. Round ten saw Karl beat Domagoj Dragicevic, while both Bobby Cheng & James Morris won their games to remain within a point and a half of Karl. Upsets for the round included Jack Puccini beating Dusan Stojic, Zachary Loh beating John Nemeth & Matthew Clarke beating Shane Lawson. Round eleven saw Karl win again, this time against Sylvester Urban, while Bobby & James both won to remain close to Karl. Upsets for the round included Michael Chan beating Dimitry Partsi, Dominic Lai beating Reginald Chong & Moksh Goswami beating Shane Lawson. Round twelve saw Karl Zelesco secure the title with a win over Max Chew Lee, while Bobby Cheng won to remain a point and a half behind, but James Morris was held to a draw by Michael Chan to be two points behind Karl. Upsets for the round saw wins by Jack Puccini against Laurence Matheson, Sylvester Urban against Domagoj Dragicevic, Zachary Loh against David Beaumont & Moksh Goswami against Elliot Renzies. With the title wrapped up, Karl finally lost another game, this time to Jack Puccini. Both Bobby Cheng & James Morris won their games to finish in second & third place respectively. Leonid Sandler won his game to finish in fourth place, with only half a point between each of the top four places. Sylvester Urban finished with 7.5/13 to win the prize for the first rating group (no doubt helped by a surprisingly low ACF Quick rating), while the second rating group prize was shared between David Cannon & Dominic Lai on 6/13. Amazingly, other than the top board, there were no major upsets in the final round!
Well done to Karl for a fantastic performance. His chess was solid, but he was also often able to capitalise on his opponent's tactical errors when an opportunity presented itself. His time management also helped him in a few games. Bobby, James & Leonid would all be disappointed not to win the title, although they finished in the prizes, as would be expected from players of their ability. Laurence Matheson was another player who was unlucky to miss out on a prize, with his quick calculations & time management serving him well in many games, particularly early in the event. Others who outperformed their Quick ratings significantly were those who were under-rated to begin with - Sylvester Urban, Michael Chan & David Cannon being the most notable of these players.

From an arbiter's perspective, there was really only one incident of note in the event & I'd be interested to hear the opinions of other arbiters about the situation. I was watching the end of another game while this incident was in progress, so did not see exactly what transpired, although most things about the situation are not in dispute.
With only a few seconds left, player A moved his bishop to put his opponent's king in check. In response, player B moved his rook, leaving his king in check & pressed his clock. This is when the commotion started & I came over to the board. When I arrived at the board, player A's clock displayed 0.00 showing the flag, indicating he was out of time (the player thought they had a few seconds left when the illegal move was made, but obviously did not stop the clock while they still had time). Player B still had some time left on his clock (from memory about 3 or 4 seconds). The decision I made was that the game would be a draw - my logic being that although the claim of an illegal move may have been correct, for it to be a valid claim, the person making the claim needed to have some time remaining on their clock. In essence, I saw it as both players being in a situation where they could not win the game (either having no time, or having completed an illegal move in blitz), so I awarded a draw.
Geurt Gijssen addressed a similar situation in two of his An Arbiter's Notebook columns, with a somewhat strange response in each case. The relevant columns are here and here & the ruling that Gijssen seems to favour is that whoever is the first to make a claim (as long as it is correct) is the winner. To me this doesn't make sense & I still consider my decision to be one that was reasonable in the circumstances, as in another related situation where one player is making a claim to the arbiter (for example claiming a win on time in a blitz game), the player making the claim needs to have time on their own clock for the claim to be awarded.
What do other arbiters think of this ruling? How would you rule in these circumstances?

Final results and a full cross table are available on the Chess Victoria website.

Top boards in action at the Box Hill Chess Club
 The playing hall - not filled to capacity, but a good size field for this event
 Another view of the top boards
 Blitz also brings out interested spectators, keen to see the action!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Australian Schools Teams Championships

The Australian Schools Teams Championship is coming up this weekend on the Gold Coast & promises to be an exciting weekend of chess. Although I won't be there - I'm the Arbiter for the Andrew Saint & Hannibal Swartz Memorial Weekender at the Melbourne Chess Club - I'll definitely keep an eye on things over the course of the weekend.
The history of the event shows that Victoria have been very strong in recent years, taking home two titles each year since 2009, with 2005 being the last year that a Victorian school did not win an Australian title.
The teams for the event see a few familiar names, along with a few 'newcomers', but most of the teams are very strong for school teams by almost any standard, with many of the players, particularly in the Open division, having regular experience at chess clubs or weekenders around Australia.
Below is my preview of the event & how I think the different divisions will finish up.
The Secondary Open should be a massacre in favour of Melbourne High. With IM Bobby Cheng on board 1, IM Ari Dale on board 2 & FM Luke Li on board 3, I think they may well be the strongest  school team ever seen in Australian Chess. Allen Yu & reserve Nicholas Chan are by no means weak either & I think the biggest challenge for the team will be to see if they can win with a perfect score! Ari & Luke outrate their competition by over 400 points & Luke would in fact be board 1 for any of the other teams based on his rating! Queenslanders Yi Liu & Ryan Louie (Queensland as the host state is able to field two teams in some divisions to avoid a bye) will most likely be Bobby's toughest competition, but I'd still be backing the Australian Open Champ in any case. The biggest challenge to a clean sweep may well be the ACT team, which has Stuart Mason on board 4, in a team that lacks top-level strength, but makes up for it in depth.
The Secondary Girls event looks to once again be Queensland's for the taking, with Leteisha Simmonds leading Somerville House for another year. The team also has good depth, which is an advantage in the Girls divisions, with Abbotsleigh from NSW & Mac Robertson from Victoria probably providing their closest competition based on team depth.
The Primary Open should in theory be a two-horse race, with the question being whether the Chan brothers from Mount View in Victoria can do better than the Willathgamuwa brothers from the Kings School in New South Wales. On paper the Willathgamuwa brothers are stronger, but the Victorian side has more depth, which should make for an interesting competition. The two Queensland teams both seem to be fairly even across the four board, which is a good indicator of depth, so I would expect them to also figure in the final placings.
The Primary Girls event can be a bit of a tough one to pick, as teams often have players with little or no chess experience outside of the school environment. Having said that, the St Andrews team from Victoria looks very strong, with the top two board being regulars at chess clubs & the other two players recently starting to play at chess clubs. Somerset College & Somerville House from Queensland always seem to produce strong girls teams for these events, so I would consider them contenders for the title, regardless of the ratings of the players, while Curtin Primary from the ACT is the only team with a rated board 4 player, so their depth may serve them well for the competition.
The official website for the tournament is & I would expect it to be up to the usual standard of anything run by Graeme Gardiner. Best of luck to all competitors & hopefully Victoria can continue their recent success & bring a few Australian titles back with them!

Victorian Primary Open final

The Victorian Primary Open final saw 22 teams of 5 from various parts of the state (though mostly from suburban Melbourne) fight it out for the title of Victorian Primary Schools Champion at Box Hill Chess Club. Looking at the event on paper before the games started, it looked like it could become a competition for second place & that is exactly how the event turned out, with Mount View Primary running away with the event, scoring an extremely impressive total of 33.5 out of a possible 35 points.
Of course it came as no surprise to see that Mount View also managed to scoop all the board prizes - Kris Chan taking board 1 with 6.5/7 (on tiebreak ahead of David Cannon); Luis Chan won the board 2 prize with 7/7; Hamish Jones took out board 3 also with 7/7; Leon Chen won board 4 with 7/7; Alex Fan won the board 5 prize with 6/7 (on tiebreak ahead of Rowan Mikosza);
The fight for second place ended up in favour of Waverley Christian College, who finished a few points ahead of Deepdene in third place.
To give you an idea of how close the competition was, Wesley Elsternwick finished in fourth place on 20 points, just missing out on the medals, yet there was only 5 points (the maximum available for one round) separating them from Winters Flat & Great Ryrie, who finished with 15 point in a tie for 16th place!
Hopefully Mount View can continue the recent trend of Victorian Primary School teams & take out the Australian Final, to be held on the Gold Coast in about a week's time. I'll take a look at the event in a little more detail in a separate post, but I would expect another strong showing from the Victorian teams, particularly in the Open division events.

 Play underway in the Primary Open Final at Box Hill Chess Club
 The other half of the playing hall - 110 players in total!
 Medallions for the members of the top 3 teams, trophies for the top 3 schools, as well as trophies for the best score on each of the five boards!
 A key matchup - David Cannon against Kris Chan - which ended in a draw
 Plenty of parents & teachers were on hand to watch the action
 The winning team from Mount View Primary with their hands full of trophies!
The Mount View team with both the Victorian & Australian Schools trophies - hopefully the silver cup will return with them from Queensland!