Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Big chess time in Melbourne

There is never a shortage of chess in Melbourne, but at the moment, there is an unbelievable amount going on. The Victorian Championships have moved forward in the year and started last week, as did the Victorian Teams Championship while the clubs move into their second tournaments of the year. On top of this there are the regular 15 minute tournaments that run at various venues. Melbourne certainly has a bumper autumn chess season, which should culminate in the Victorian Open over the Queen's Birthday weekend in june, and finally the Victorian Junior Championships which take place in early July.

But for now the cream of Victorian chess are playing in the Victorian Championships. It's a pretty strong field, though GM Darryl Johansen isn't playing. However, without the number 1 player in the state, the tournament still boasts IM Goldenberg, FM Cheng, IM Morris and IM West at the top of a 12 player round robin. One thing to look out for is the performance of young Karl Zelesco who is stepping up a notch into this field, as he will have no easy games. I must admit that I would really have liked to have played in this event, but work prevented it. There is also a Reserves tournament run alongside the Championship, with the winner getting an automatic spot in the following year's championship (David Garner won last year's Reserves). This year's Reserves tournament is a 22 player swiss with nearly half the field rated above 2000 which makes for an interesting tournament. Pano Skiotis is the top seed, but there are a number of players who could win the event.

The Victorian Teams Championship started last Sunday at the Melbourne Chess Club and will run through the year at the rate of roughly one game per month. It is separated into 2 divisions with 6 teams in the top division and 12 in the second, representing clubs from around the state. For me team chess should be an integral part of the chess calendar. In England as I moved from town to town, I always joined a club, and each club played in a league. So I grew up playing in leagues and have missed them since my move to Australia where there is more emphasis placed on individual events. I am playing for Melbourne Chess Club in the first division and the team is the defending champions. We have one of the strongest players in the state, IM James Morris, as our top board and will hopefully win the league again.

Club chess is also going strong in Melbourne. Probably the strongest club tournament this autumn is the weekly event at Noble Park Chess Club which meets on a Saturday afternoon. With FM's D. Stojic and D. Dragicevic heading the field the tournament, the Noble Park Chess Club Open, will be a tough one to win. My club, the Melbourne chess club is currently in the City of Melbourne Open which just completed round 2 on Monday. I'm the top seed and managed to go to 2/2 with a win against Richard Voon. Richard blundered a pawn in the opening, but then I got complacent offering 2 pieces for a rook and 2 pawns. I thought that with a space advantage and fast advancing pawns, the win would be straightforward, but perhaps I overestimated my position a bit. Still, in essence, I won in exactly the way I thought I would, though my opponent could definitely have made my job harder. Also moving to 2/2 are David Beaumont, Justin Penrose, Ari Dale and Jim Papadinis so it will not be an easy game in the next round for me whoever I end up playing.


  1. Nice article, Carl. Yes, Victorians are certainly spoilt for choices. Victorian Juniors, in particular, are given lots of opportunity to hone their skills against strong opposition. Bodes well for their chess future.

    And thanks for linking our website in your article.

  2. No worries Mike, it was a pleasure to promote NPCC which is doing a great job of developing chess at all levels of the game. I would very much like to play there again, but I work on Saturdays. I am 95% certain of playing the weekender later in the year though, and will hopefully be bringing a load of kids that I coach :)

  3. Love your work Carl !

    Carl " The Legend " Gorka