Sunday, January 20, 2013

Australian Junior's 2013 Day 2

Our great venue, Bond University on the Gold Coast
It's the middle day for the under 10's and under 8's while the older kids are getting into the swing with a double round of games today. In his introductory speech yesterday, Andrew FitzPatrick of Gardiner Chess spoke of the beauty of the surroundings. The tournament is being held at Bond University on the Gold Coast, and a walk round the campus promises beautiful views of the lakeland surroundings.

A university on a natural conservation area!

Great lakeland surroundings

Plenty of food and drink in the University Market Square

Colourful lakeland surroundings

Water fountain dominating the lake view
Bond University is the host and major sponsor of the event, and have provided excellent facilities for free. The playing area is a sports hall with air conditioning while the analysis rooms are spread around the sports centre. The main analysis rooms are in squash courts with carpeting put down. Apparently, the NSW room wasn't up to scratch because they moved to another room (though that sounds a bit soft to this "whinging Pom"!). There has also been some rumblings concerning the necessity of Charles Zworestine's pre round "readings from the book of Caissa", though this may be due to people seeing them before. Are they part of the Australian Junior tradition? Should they be?

As for the chess, things are going according to plan in the younger sections. Kevin Willathgamuwa of NSW is the player to beat in the under 10's, and so far no one has managed even to draw against him in the first 6 rounds. In the under 8's, Victorian Christopher Lim has proved equally successful and sits at the top of the table on 6/6. However, there are still 3 games to go and anything could happen in these tournaments with a number of players in with a chance.

Boards 3 and 4 in the under 10's hot on the heels of the leaders

Under 8 leaders, with unbeaten Christopher Lim in the red shirt
Top boards in the under 10's minus leader Kevin Willthgamuwa
The chess at the tournament has been easy and exciting to follow due to the use of the Tornelo management system and Andrew FitzPatrick's energy at uploading games live as they happen. The kids are then asked to upload their games to the system when they finish their games (though I have heard that some kids are being told not to do this by their coaches) so as to make the organiser's job easier in producing a pgn file of the event on its completion. So far, 204 games have already been uploaded by the kids themselves, along with some assistance from the team of arbiters and some parents.

The under 18's and under 16's had their tough day today with 2 games played and it left interesting standings. In the under 18's no one has made it to 3/3. Instead a group of 3 players are unbeaten on 2.5 while a big pack sits close behind. It is early days here but one of the favourites, Yi Yuan, lost a game today, and he'll have to find better form against the top players if he is to overtake them (Pengyu Chen, Gene Nakauchi and Yi Liu). The under 16's does have an outright leader on 3/3 with Punala Kiripitige winning all his games so far. Again it is early days, but this tournament looks wide open with some definite under rated players floating around. Take, for instance, local boy (well, Brisbane which isn't too far away in the scheme of things) Clint Therakam with a rating of 1191 finding himself on board 1 in the third round after wins against Eddie Han (1595), and Alex MacAdam (1720). Unfortunately his run came to an end when Punala beat him, but what a start to his tournament!

Under 16 top boards, giant killer Clint Therakam sits in the foreground on the right!
In this position from round 1, Clint Therakam as white tried to trick his higher rated opponent with 35.d7!? The game would probably have ended in a draw if black had played 35..fxe4 36.Qc4+ Kg7 37.dxc8=Q Qxc8 38.Qxe4 as pure queen endings are notoriously difficult to play, especially with little time on the clock. However, black fell into white's trap playing 35..Bxd7? Clint notched up his first scalp of the tournament with the snappy tactic 36.Qxd7! attracting black into a knight fork if he takes on d7 (Nf6+) so black kept his queen and soldiered on a piece down for a while, but in vain.

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