Tuesday, February 5, 2013

MCC Championship

This is usually one of the strongest club events of the year in Australia, and this time round looks no exception to that rule. The field includes 2 IM's, MCC perennial's Guy West and Mirko Rujevic and another 10 players rated above 2000. There are a number of strong young players including Justin Tan and Ari Dale so it looks both strong and interesting. There were only 36 entries on the opening night, which might be considered a bit disappointing, but late entries are accepted up until round 3, so perhaps some more might throw their hat in the ring.

Most of the seeds seem to get through the first round, though there were quite a few draws for a first round of a swiss. The biggest winner of the night was MCC stalwart Paul Kovacevic, who upset young talent Justin Tan. Paul usually finds himself near the top boards facing a big seed in the first round of MCC events, and usually makes the seed sweat, even if he doesn't come away with a result. I remember Paul completely outplaying Guy West last year, or the year before, only to blunder at a critical moment allowing Guy a nice king hunt. This time Paul was clearly worse against the higher rated Justin, but he just kept making moves, and with queens on the board anything can happen, and it did:
Justin as white is a pawn up with the preferable combination of queen and knight versus queen and bishop. All he has to do is get out of check. 32.Kh1? Paradoxically, in this position the king is safer in the centre than the corner. Both 32.Kf1 and 32.Qd4 were better ways of escaping the check, and would have left white with a clear advantage. 32..Qf2! Immediately taking advantage of the situation, with mating threats on g2 and e1, white is forced to sacrifice a piece. 33.Nh5+ gxh5 34.Qg3+ Qxg3 35.hxg3 and black soon won.

The tournament is a nine round swiss so it is early days. Personally I'm interested to see how the Dale brothers go after their trip to Europe. Both Ari and Finley played lots of chess, experienced lots of chess culture, and (presumably) learned loads about chess. Ari's strength has not been fully tested yet as he won against Felix Wyss who he out rates by about 400 points, but Finley has already caused an upset holding FM Domagoj Dragicevic to a draw.

Next week I intend to drop in on the tournament and blog from a live perspective so hopefully the report will be a little more detailed. For a more detailed report, check out arbiter Kerry Stead's blog!

Finally I wish to thank the many people in the Australian chess community who showed friendship to me and disbelief in the system that made me write the last post on this blog. While I might not join in with the FIDE rated events anymore, I still intend to be an active member of the Australian and Victorian chess community!


  1. Thanks for providing me with my 15min of fame Carl. I still think about that game against Guy.I was disappointed to read your earlier post; if it did not seem so patronising I'd gladly pay your FIDE fee, because I think you add a lot to the Melbourne Chess culture. But I realise its about the principle....damn principles.
    Paul K

  2. Thanks Paul, it is about principle. If I was really that bothered about the FIDE rating I'd pay it myself. But don't worry,I'm not heading away from the Melbourne Chess Culture :D