Friday, January 25, 2013

Australian Juniors Lucky Day 7

Was day 7 lucky for anyone at the Australian Junior Championships? Well, I didn't feel too lucky walking to some students in the rain this morning.

Stormy weather on the Gold Coast
However I was lucky enough to see another native bird, an Australian Bush Turkey that apparently lives down the road from where I'm staying.

Australian Bush Turkey
At the tournament today there was a meeting of the Australian Junior Chess League (AJCL) which I was lucky enough to miss! I've been to enough committee meetings and AGM's over the past few years to last a lifetime! I'm not sure of the details of the meeting but one thing was decided (maybe!) and that is the next Australian Junior Championship will be held in Sydney in 2014.

Of the tournaments that have been in progress there are 5 lucky players heading the sections. The under 18 sees Gene Nakauchi maintain his half point lead over Yi Liu, with the rest of the field at least a further point back. This is now becoming a 2 horse race. Oscar Wang is a point clear in the under 16 from Punala Kiritipige and Martin Jack with the rest another point back at least. Tom Maguire has taken sole first place in the under 14 event, but there is a massive pack hot on his heels. There are 9 players within a point of first, so I'm guessing tomorrow's 2 games will be very important in sorting out the field. The under 12 is equally tight. Kerry Lin (only 9 years old) leads the field but 8 players are within a point of him and a further 8 are only half a point back. I think this will go to the wire, and I can see play off's looming in both under 14's and 12's. The under 18 girls, which also incorporates both the under 16's and under 14 girls titles, Nicole Chin is the sole leader, but a group of 5 players are all within a point of her including her sister Chloe, and of course the sisters are playing their game tomorrow with a draw really helping neither of them!

Today also saw the start of the under 10 girls, (which incorporates the under 8 girls title) who had to play 3 games today. This wasn't enough to split the field and 3 girls share first, Cassandra Lim, Lillian Lu, and Callie Brutnell. After 3 rounds, the tournament is still awaiting its first draw! Maybe we'll get one during the 4 rounds they have to play tomorrow which seems to be a bit excessive. I can understand that there can't be 3 rounds on Sunday as that will take to long, especially if there are play off's, but was there anything wrong in scheduling the event on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and having 3 games per day, like in the boys under 10's and under 8's?

To end this post, I'd like to show you lucky readers a game played by one of my students, Max Phillips who is playing in the under 12's and is the group just behind the leader Kerry Lin. In round 6 Max played black against Kevin Song who had been sole leader of the tournament before this round. The game was an amazing fight, with some great imaginative play, but perhaps Kevin was the lucky one for the game to end in a draw. Credit to both kids for playing such a great fighting game.

Lucky position 1: Kevin as white played 13.Bxh7+, going for the well known Greek Sacrifice. Max "believed" Kevin and played 13..Kf8, and when I asked him after the game why he didn't take on h7 he said I get mated. When I asked him to prove it....well, Max didn't look too happy. Kevin returned the favour as 14.e6 would have been very strong opening black's king's defences. Instead white played 14.h3. The game continued 14..Ngxe5 15.Nxe5 Nxe5 when we reach the next position.
After nicely opening the black king side, Kevin opened up his king giving Max a lucky tactical opportunity. 16.f4? and Max seized his chance with 16..Ng6! opening the e-file to great effect. After 17.Bxg6 it was lucky for Kevin that Max chose to go all in with a check 17..Bxe3+?, as the other capture 17..Rxe3 would have won a heap of material due to the threatened discovered check from the bishop on c5. The game continued until the end with black holding an advantage for most of the time, but being unable to extend it. However the final position was agreed a draw and I think that it was a bit early to be doing that. The game had a lot of play in it and although black may have been better, I think the game could have gone either way, so both players may have been a little unlucky not to have gone on and won this game.

This game was typical of under 12's chess with lots of excitement and tricks. Ok, there were a number of mistakes made by both sides, but there was also a lot of good ideas too.


  1. Nakauchi leads by half a point from Yi Liu, not Yi Yuan.

  2. Thanks for that, I'm getting very close to brain dead now...only 2 days to go :D