Sunday, December 18, 2011

Following chess

There have been 2 events happening in Melbourne this weekend. The Melbourne Chess Club hosted their traditional Christmas Swiss tournament. This was a 6 round event registered on the Australian weekend Grand Prix. I think the weekender suffered a little form the fact that it clashed with the last weekend of the Australasian Masters. At least a couple of the competitors in that would most probably have played in the MCC event if they had been free.

The weekender was a small and mostly local affair with about 30 players, most of whom play at the MCC. In the end, the tournament was won outright by FM Michael Baron. Michael is an interesting character at the MCC. His passion in chess for fast time controls, and when playing he is deeply competitive. Away from the games, he is more than willing to share his knowledge and ideas and it perhaps only when talking to him that I've been able to guage his understanding of the game. I played him once at long play chess a few years ago under terrible conditions (it was over 40C outside with no aircon in the building) and we both agreed to a draw in a position that was rich with possibilities. Michael is often underestimated as a player because he rarely plays long play events. When he does, he is, however, usually a force to be reckoned with.

The Australasian Masters is still in progress as I write, The last round started a little while ago with a couple of players still in contention for first and Bobby Cheng needing to win against Leonid Sandler to gain an IM norm from the event. (Actually, as I'm writing I've just noticed the event has been won by young IM James Morris). This tournament has been a triumph for the young players with James Morris and Bobby Cheng making most of the running. Experienced IM Stephen Solomon is also in the running, but times are definitely changing for him to be challenged so seriously by the younger generation. Actually, with these great young talents and the authors of the FIGJAM blog, Australian chess seems to be on the verge of a new top layer of players. Hopefully, at least one of these talented youngsters can make it to the GM level!

Unfortunately I haven't been able to see any games from either event, though this has been my own fault rather than because of the organisers. Also I was planning to drop into these tournaments yesterday, but with one thing and another, I couldn't seen to get to them. I think it's high time I tried to get some words of wisdom from some of those players that I'm quite close to, so that's my next task for this blog.....

No comments:

Post a Comment