Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Ballarat Round 2 Carnage

The second round of the Ballarat Weekend tournament saw the top seeds tested a bit harder with only about 200 rating points difference between most opponents. As most players hadn't worked themselves fully into gear yet, and this being the second round of a long day, some surprises were to be expected. However, I'm not sure the results that actually occurred would have been predicted by many. None of the top 5 seeded players could win and there were upsets throughout the draw. Probably the foremost result was young Karl Zelesco drawing on the top board with IM George Xie. Karl's progress over the previous couple of years has been staggering and this is another indication that he still has more to give. On board 2 I upset IM Stephen Solomon who frittered away a promising position. Funnily enough, I won this game in Solomon's own style. On board 3 Malcolm Pyke (who I seemed to be sat next to in every round of the tournament) won against FM Bobby Cheng. On board 4 John Nemeth held IM James Morris to a draw, while on board 5 Jason Tang beat IM Guy West!

Further down, Austarlian Junior Champion Alistair Cameron beat IM Leonid Sandler, veteren Doug Hamilton held Jesse Jager to a draw, Anthony Hain and Marcus Ogden held much higher rated opposition to draws, as did promising juniors, Dmitry Lee, Cameron Yung, Finley Dale, and Tristan Krstevski. Other winners against higher rated opposition were Jason Chew, Alana Chew Lee, Marko Grabovac and Gary Lin. Just like in the first round, much of the damage was done by juniors who are either unknown or under rated.

The tournament has had a number of games published which can be found on tornelo and I believe that more games are to be uploaded. There were carbon copies of games in the "pit" area of the hall. Basically Ballarat has a lowered floor area where the top boards play. I think there is room for about 10 games in the pit and these will be the games covered. The tournament was also reported on chesschat which is where the pairings were published. Information about the tournament was published on Ballarat Chess Club's own site.

Top seed George Xie was visibly disappointed after his game with Karl Zelesco, but maybe he should have been happy to come away with half a point.

Zelesco as white had a choice of going for the throat with 30.Qxf7+ or going for the endgame with 30.Qxc6. Karl chose the more attractive looking 30.Qxf7+, but George managed to grab a perpetual. If Karl would have captured on the queen, he would have found himself in a very favourable endgame. 30.Qxc6 bxc6 31.Re8+ Rxe8 32.Rxe8 Kh7 33.Ke2 Rxc2 34.Kd3

Black is temporarily a pawn up, but he is playing with 2 pieces less as his king and knight are out of the game. his queen side pawns are all weak and will fall, so this position would have been very good for Karl as white.

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