Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Australian Chess Championship

Chief Arbiter Kerry Stead doing a great job at the 2014 Australian Chess Championships
I was feeling somewhat wiped out today. Don't know what the matter was with me, but I've felt unbelievably tired the past 24 hours. So it was with less enthusiasm than normal that I went to Springvale to watch the Australian Chess Championships today. I spent quite a bit of time in the analysis room, chatting and then analysing games with players when they finished. One subject that cropped up in the chatting was concerning chess organisation in Australia. I said that I'd prefer to see a more centrally based administration with direct membership and genuine organisation coming from the ACF in regards to the Australian Championships and Junior Championships. Perhaps I was speaking to people with a similar outlook as myself, but no one seemed to disagree. I think I'd walked into a conversation concerning the overlap between the adult and junior championships this year, and the probable worse congestion next year with Queenstown likely to be on the Calendar. I guess things won't change and talking about them in an analysis room isn't going to get them changed either, so I'll move on to the chess.

The leading 3 players in the Championship turned into a leading 2, as Bobby Cheng lost to Max Illingworth. The other leaders, Papin and Ly both drew and are half a point ahead. Max comes up alongside Bobby half a point behind the leaders and also on that score is Igor Bjelobrk (drew with Papin) and Hoang Thong Tu (drew with Ly). There are then a further 11 players within 1.5 of the 2 leaders so with 3 rounds to go, much could happen. Top pairings in the next round:


Perhaps my mind wasn't fully on the chess, but the game that caught my eye today was Morris-Charles. This was nothing to do with the position which was some kind of King's Indian Attack, but the fact that the clock times were about 1:05-3.20 at one stage (or 1 hour 5 minutes to Morris, and 3 minutes 20 seconds to Charles).

Meanwhile in the Reserves, Doug Hamilton continues to dominate with another win taking him to 7.5/8 and a point clear of the rest of the field. David Beaumont and Marko Grabovac are on 6.5 while Milenko Lojanica (Doug's victim today) is on 6. Doug has played all 3 of these players and drops to the group 2 points behind him with Colin Savige his next opponent.

The Challengers also has a clear leader in Calixto Dilag who won again today to take his score to 7/8. Tomorrow is the last round of this tournament and it will be a tense affair as 2 players (Mark Stokes, Zhi Lin Guo) are only half a point behind, and the top pairing sees Dilag-Guo in an exciting tournament decider. Stokes will be working hard on board 2, and hoping to win and a share of the title.

Spectators today included MCC stalwart Elie Beranjia in his best Hercule Poirot pose :)
Outside of Australian chess, I'd just like to mention a couple of things. A big thank you to Mark Crowther at TWIC who has just produced his 1000th edition of the FREE weekly news round up of world chess. That's 20 years of dedication to bringing the world of chess to the internet. And the other thing is that the 10th January doesn't just see the start of the Australian Junior Chess Championships in Sydney. There is also the little matter of the Tata Steel festival starting in Holland where there will be some Australian interest. IM Ari Dale, his borther Finlay Dale and WIM Arianne Caoilli all play in sections at the festival and I wish them luck in their games and also in staying warm during the Dutch winter.


  1. Elie says hello to all his fans in Vietnam and Cambodia :)

  2. Kerry Stead has lost weight! See what some constructive criticism can achieve! He will live longer now :-)
    Stay away from the Melbourne Chess Club? ... It comes to YOU!
    Nice blog