Monday, January 21, 2013

Australian Junior's 2013: The First Champions

Day 3 of the Australian Junior Championships on the Gold Coast of Queensland was the final day for the under 8's and under 10's. An action packed itinerary of 3 games per day ended in our first 2 champions. The under 8's was close till the finish and in the final round there was still doubt, but the leader Christopher Lim of Victoria won his last game and took the title. Dashiell Young of Queensland was second, and Jay Landau of Victoria came third.

Under 10's top boards for the last round

Under 10 Champ Kevin Willathgamuwa of NSW sees his opponent's first move

Girls playing near the top boards in the under 10's
Meanwhile the under 10's was decided with a round to spare. Kevin Willathgamuwa of NSW won the title with a perfect score of 9/9 and was 1.5 clear of his nearest rival, Luis Chan of Victoria with Queenslander Jason Wang coming in third.

Tomorrow is a rest day from the main events, though many will take part in the problem solving and lightning tournaments. Then on Wednesday the under 8's and 10's will be replaced by the under 12's and 14's and the girls while the under 16's and 18's finish their events. Today saw outright leaders emerge in both these tournaments. Punala Kiripitige maintained his lead in the under 16's with another win taking him to 4/4. He is a point clear of Martin Jack and top seed Oscar Wang who he has to play on Wednesday. This tournament is very difficult to predict as there are only 14 players with 9 rounds so some unusual pairings are likely to take place towards the end of the event and there seem to be some under rated players in the event meaning that no one has an easy game.

The under 18's is now led solely by Gene Nakauchi who won a nice game against Pengyu Chen. Gene is half a point clear of 3 players, though it is still fairly tightly packed in this group. There were some fireworks on the top 2 boards.

Pengyu Chen-Nakauchi saw black in sacrificial mood. 20..Rxe2 21.Nxe2 Bxf3 22.Nc3 Qg4 23 b3 was this sound, or was it necessary or forced? I actually have no idea but it was imaginative and interesting as was black's next follow up.
 A whole rook down, black played 23..Re1+ What an amazing move! The game soon saw exchanges leading to a position where white had 2 rooks and 4 pawns against black's queen and 5, which black played better and won.

However, the game of the day was probably the board 2 scrap between two of the top seeds Yi Liu and Yi Yuan. The game was a no holds barred King's Indian Defence with both sides fighting to break through on opposite sides of the board. Black had an alarming looking build up on the king's side but it was white who first won material.
White won a piece (he is an exchange down in the diagram above) with 27.c8=Q Rxc8 28.Qxc8 and was a long time up on the clock, though he took a good while on his next move after black played 28..fxg3
So imagine you're white and need to find a defence. You can afford to give back some material as you are a piece for a pawn up. What would be your candidate moves? 29.Bxb6, 29.Nxd6, 29.Be1, something else? White chose 29.Bxb6 and after 29..Nhf4 30.Nxf4 Nxf4 31.Bc4 Qh6, with the threat of mate, he had to give up his queen, though he got a ton of material for it.
32.Qg4+ Kh8 33.Qxg3 Rg7 34.Qh2 Rxg2 35.Qxg2 Nxg2 36.Kxg2
Black has a rook and 2 pieces for the queen, but unfortunately one of them goes straight away to 36..d5!.

It is well worth a look at this crazy game which can be found in a file of 300 games already recorded at the Championships.

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