Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Spectator vs Player

I have to say that watching the 2014 Australian Championships has been far harder for me than any tournament I've played in. After today, I arrived home, went for a run, showered and then promptly fell asleep. It's close to midnight now and I'd better post or it will be back to bad days of procrastination.

Australian Blitz Champion 2014, IM Bobby Cheng. Can he do the double?

So yesterday there was a the Australian blitz championship which holds little interest for me. Bobby Cheng won the title though Vietnamese GM Hoang Thong Tu won the event. There was also an ACF AGM held, but this holds about as much interest for me as the blitz event. Apparently, the ACF have decided to sponsor the Australian Championship to the tune of $5000 in the future, as averse to offer $5000 as a guarantee against losses. Personally, I think the ACF should be directing the running of the event anyway so while this is a welcome step, I guess I'd still like to see more central involvement from the ACF in organisation of the Championship.

And talking of the Championship, 3 rounds have happened since I last wrote. At the top we have 3 leaders on 5.5/7 and they've all played each other: GM Papin, IM's Cheng and Ly. They are followed on 5/7 by IM Bjelobrk and GM Tu, so the top 2 pairings of round 8 are:


Bobby Cheng is floating further down to meet IM Max Illingworth who is one of 7 players on 4.5, while a further 5 sit on 4. I know a lot can happen in the last 4 rounds, but I can't see anyone from below this group taking a high position (though I'd be happy to eat my words if this happens).

3 times Champion, Doug Hamilton adjusting his pieces against Derek Yu
The Reserves tournament is being led by the popular Doug Hamilton. Doug has won the actual championship 3 times, and there was some controversy over whether he should be playing in this year's Championship or not (check out Alex Wohl's latest blog post). Whatever, he is playing and leading the Reserves, ahead of a pretty strong field. The Challengers is the third tournament for players under 1600. It is only a 9 round event (compared to 11 for the Championship and Reserves) and tomorrow will see round 8. There is a large bunch within striking distance, but a single player, Calixto Dilag currently leads by half a point. Today I'll leave you with some images from the event :)
Springvale Town Hall, with great viewing balcony

WGM Sukander-GM Johansen (a win for the WGM)

Karl Zelesco-Max Illingworth

WCM Vineetha Wijesuriya

WIM Alexandra Jule

Zhi Lin Guo

Alanna Chew Lee

David Beaumont

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