Just to show how dominant these 2 players were, third place was shared by FM Chris Wallis and Laurent Michaille, a full 1.5 points behind. Chris had a solid enough tournament, while Laurent showed that he will be one of the elite players at the club with an unbeaten performance. There were a further 14 players who scored better than 50% with Sarah Anton's 5.5 being perhaps the best performance. Sarah finished second in her rating group, behind superkid, Karl Zelesco. Karl scored a fantastic 6/9 (surely it will not be long before his name finds itself on the Club Champions honour board!) while Sarah's 5.5 was equalled by Richard Voon and Bosko Mijatovic. This was for the first rating group category of under 2000. There was another rating group of under 1800 which was won by Marcus Ogden, Alex Kaplan and Kevin Brown who all scored 4.5 for 50%. This brings up a number of issues. First, it is a great effort by these players and it shows the strength of the MCC Club Championship that the second rating group should be for players under 1800. However, on the down side it shows that lower rated players are not entering this most prestigious event, which is a great shame. Perhaps if the MCC guaranteed a rating group prize for players say under 1400, the tournament might not be quite so top heavy?
My personal tournament was pretty good even though I only finished on 5.5 and a share of 9th place. I played a very tough field including the number 1, 2, 3 and 4 seeds and unrated Laurent Michaille. In my ninth round game against IM Guy West I played much too slowly (and Guy put extra pressure on me by playing quickly) and found myself in time trouble just as the game was getting interesting. It was a Hedgehog where Guy waited patiently until either b5, or d5 worked. When he crashed through the centre I put up little resistance and he won a pawn, but then Guy made an uncharacteristic mistake, playing quickly in my time trouble and I found a resource that kept me in the game.
Once again it has been a pleasure to play in the club championship, with so many interesting games, and so many courteous opponents. We now get a break for 2 weeks before Monday nights start up with the City of Melbourne Open which I am a definite starter for. The arbiter will once again be Kerry Stead who is putting in a mega amount of work into chess at the MCC and in Victoria generally. Besides this he keeps a very good blog going too!