Sunday, March 10, 2013

Ballarat Day 2

If you've never played a tournament where you have to play 3 games of 90 + 30 in one day, then you're one of the lucky ones! It is a question of stamina, and there are some very shaky looking players by the end of the evening, as the games start at 9.30am in the morning and can finish up to midnight (or even after as I believe one did last year). The conditions in the playing area are also not ideal with little or no aircon, so I'm guessing there will be quite a few headaches literally later on this evening.

So as the tournament reaches the half way point, most of the elite players are still around the top of the pairings, though they are now coming into contact. Of course, it is no surprise to see Solomon, Morris and McClymont among the players on 3/3, and it may be that these are the players to beat in the event. However, every tournament needs a hero, and we have a couple who have worked their way into the top pairings. The surprise pairings on the top boards is on board 6 where Luis Chan (1189) is playing Marko Grabovac (1390). Both these young players have created a number of upsets already and it great experience for them to be in and among the greats of the tournament.

The other hero of the tournament of the event so far is MCC stalwart Angelo Tsagarakis. So far Angelo rated 1749 (somewhat below what it has been in the past, and should be) has taken out Bill Kerr (2040), Doug Hamilton (2017), and in the last round Justin Tan (2298). Apparently, Angelo's last game was a real beauty, and it's great to see a regular club type player playing so great and being so happy.

There was a bit of dissension over the pairings for the fourth round, but they have been unchanged. David Hacche's second round complaint was apparently correct and a redraw was made. Unfortunately for him, he moved as black against Solomon to white against McClymont and got severely bashed. I couldn't help reminding David that Stephen Solomon lost in round 2 last year with the white pieces....hmm, I wonder who that was against :D

Funnily enough, the Hacche-McClymont game had a position unlike any I'd ever seen before. At one point all their pieces which have doubles (ie rooks, knights, and bishops) were situated next to each other. Quite a nice effect on the board!

Pieces sitting beside their doppelgangers

It was good to see spectators IM Guy West and Jean Watson. The heat of the playing hall must have deterred them as they went off to see the Begonia Festival. It's funny that Ballarat has this great festival over this weekend annually, but the chess players never get to see it. The playing schedule is just too demanding. Guy was happy not to be playing, though he intends to turn up for the big 50th bash in a couple of years time. It was clear that Guy was fairly happy to see Angelo doing so well. When asked about the acceleration, he said he wasn't a fan but could see the logic to it. Jean thinks that Brodie McClymont will be the man to beat (or Mr McBrodie as I've heard him called!).

There's no doubt that the arbiters have a difficult time with the pairings here. FA Jamie Kenmure has said that he isn't a fan of accelerated pairings, and that part of the trouble has been to do with the pairings instructions from FIDE which aren't necessarily clear. When asked about the fourth round pairings which saw a big clash between Morris-Dragicevic while high rated Stojic was floated down this was what Jamie said:

Jamie was able to answer questions quite easily. Angelo Tsagarakis couldn't float down as he already had in round 2 which meant Dusan was the lowest rated player in the white group. So why was Luke above Domagoj when his rating is much lower? Because the ratings displayed on tornelo are not the correct ratings and Luke Li actually has a rating above Dragicevic. Both arbiters, Gary Bekker and Jamie Kenmure were disappointed that they couldn't get the SP master file from the ACF as that would have made their lives easier.

IA Gary Bekker to the left of FA Jamie Kenmure

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