Monday, March 11, 2013

The Last Day at Ballarat

It was a beautiful morning in Ballarat. I went for a run at sunrise helping me to wake up, and getting some hill practice for my race against Puffing Billy later in the year. I have to admit, I felt pretty terrible after the run back up to my apartment in Sovereign Hill but it will help me later in the year. Getting better at anything involves practice and training which as close as possible follows the activity you're taking part in. The same can be said for chess, and I will repeat as in an earlier post, it is vitally important to work on your endgames. But more about this later!

The top of the tournament is thinning out, and it is being dominated by youth. After 3 rounds, there are only 3 players on 5/5, FM Chris Wallis, IM James Morris, and last year's joint winner, Brodie McClymont. Youth is the order of the day, as Zachary Loh, Yi Liu, Karl Zelesco, Justin Tan, Ari Dale, and Jack Puccini all find themselves on the top 10 boards. Round 4 saw the clash we were all waiting for as the 2 top IM's went head to head. The result was a win for James Morris against Stephen Solomon. I asked James if he could sum up how he won. He just replied, "Endgame!" James apparently won a drawn opposite bishop coloured endgame against one of last year's winners, Domagoj Dragicevic, while against Solomon he went inot a rook ending a pawn up and converted the material advantage to a win.

Sticking with the theme of youth, the youngest player in the top 10 boards is 11 year old David Cannon, who in the past has been Australian under 10 champion. David is moving around with crutches at the moment because of a badly sprained ankle which makes it even more remarkable that he is able to focus so well. Let's hope he continues his good form, and gets well soon! Also 13 year old Karl Zelesco is right up there, after having to go through a difficult game when the accelerated pairings came off in round 3. Karl was expecting a really tough opponent in round 3, perhaps McClymont. The draw put him against 1000 rated Regan Crowley. This came as a disappointment to Karl who was revved up for a big game, but his reaction was perfect for the situation. Apparently, according to Karl's dad, he just worked out that he needed to knuckle down, win this game and then he would get his reward of a tough game. This is incredibly encouraging, as one of the problems that many people suffer from is not being able to get fully enthused for lower rated opponent's (in fact, Regan is a fast imroving player and not to be taken lightly). But, of course, the danger then is that the dreaded upset will happen, and most of us have been in that position!

Zac Loh on board 3

Karl Zelesco has a great attitude
David Cannon performing strongly despite an injury!


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