The Chess World Cup is coming to a conclusion with 2 play off matches to decide the semi finals, and I must admit that my 0% prediction success rate may be continuing. I'm not sure I like the omens of Kramnik missing a win against Vachier Legrave in the last game, but I'm still quietly confident that Kramnik can win the match. The other one could go either way, and I think it's safe to say that neither player really thought they would even have got this far and their 2 fairly quick draws in the normal games may reflect these feelings. In fact, Tomashevsky was so convinced he wasn't going to get this far in the tournament that he had agreed to play in the Poikovsky tournament which starts today! (Live games being played as I write) One player who was in Norway will be playing in Melbourne this weekend. GM Hrant Melkumyan is appearing in a very strong weekender in the west of Melbourne. This year's Best in the West weekender, organised by the Hobson's Bay Chess Club will be one of the strongest weekenders of the year in Australia, and almost definitely the strongest event not to be FIDE rated. A big field is assembling and I will be one of I presume many players who won't be able to play, but who will travel over to spectate and support the event.
The Melbourne Chess Club's 7 round swiss event on Monday nights finished this week with an emphatic win for IM Mirko Rujevic. Mirko dropped just half a point to second seed Malcolm Pyke and won the tournament by 1.5 points. Second place was shared by Jack Puccini and Richard Voon. Jack beat Malcolm in the last round to jump above him, and leave the second seed in the group a further half a point behind. Actually, it looked like quite a nice tournament with a few new faces, and some old faces who don't appear so regularly. Junior Ray Yang put in a good performance to finish in the group on 4 points. Scoring over half points from near the bottom of the seeding order is no mean feat. The next event is the MCC Open which is a 9 round swiss starting on Monday September 9th and running through to early November. Hopefully this tournament will see a good turn out. The tournament will miss one week due to the Melbourne Cup Weekender being held in the first week of November, but more on that event nearer the time.
I also need to mention another tournament coming up, and that is Noble Park's weekender in September. To be honest, I just can't believe how far this club has come in such a short time. It only seems like a little while ago, that I was spending a lot of time with Domagoj Dragicevic and Memedalija Dizdarevic creating the new Noble Park Chess Club and hosting the Australian Masters tournament simultaneously. In hindsight, it seems like madness to take on 2 major projects without any guarantee of either succeeding, but both came about in the end. In fact, that all happened back in 2006, which really surprised me. The tournament was a pretty strong one, won by FM George Xie who became an IM at the event. He finished above GM Johansen with FM Sales in third. Behind them was GM Antic, IM Goldenberg and FM V. Smirnov (now an IM). Noble Park Chss Club was not a flash in the pan, and the club has grown its membership and is now hosting the country's most prestigious event, The 2014 Australian Championship next January. This is absolutely fantastic progress for such a young club. Noble Park's Classic Weekender will be held over the weekend of September 21st/22nd. It is to be a 7 round swiss played at a time control of 60 minutes + 10 second increment, which makes it an ACF rated time control. It is a pity I won't be in Australia to play it. I played last year and had a great time, and I urge anyone and everyone to play it this year, as I know it will be even better than last year's. (Hiding in one of my old computers should be some games from last year's event. I'll see if I can dig some out!)