The tournaments I'm currently playing in are heading towards the pointy end. At the MCC, the City of Melbourne open had the 6th of it's nine rounds on Monday. Leader Jack Puccini took a half point bye but retains the lead. The gap has narrowed and he is now only half a point ahead of Malcolm Pyke. There is then a further half point to Simon Schmidt and Roger McCart who is having an amazing tournament so far. I find myself in a big group of players a further half point down (so 1.5 behind Puccini) and with 3 rounds to go, I guess a lot could still happen, and there are still chances even for those below me. As I like to mention upset results, I'll just note that both Tanya's in the event played above their rating. Tanya Krstevska drew with Peter Fry, while Tanya Kolak beat Alex Kaplan. Also Ben Frayle and Roger McCart won against players rated 200 points above them.
At Glen Eira Chess Club I'm currently leading the tournament after beating a student of mine, Max Phillips, in the fourth round of 7. I'm a point ahead of Jerzy Krysiak and David Cordover, but the tournament is being lit up by 8 year old Mahalakshme Thiagarajan who is on 2.5/4 and seems to be playing better every week. This young girl is very serious about her chess. She played in the under 1200 tournament in Canberra earlier this year, and is eager to play more events and it wouldn't surprise me to see her turn up at the Victorian Open. Both Glen Eira and the MCC have no tournament games in the upcoming week due to the long weekend schedule. This means that my next regular tournament game will be at Glen Eira on Friday 13th June, which sounds a bit ominous.
From a coaching perspective, I revisited one of the first ever games I showed to students in Australia. It is a game which demonstrates the dangers of pawn grabbing in the opening, and was played by one of the strongest ever Australian born players.
In the final position there is a great checkmate pattern:
And if that isn't warning enough, there was the 11th game of the Spassky-Fischer 1972 World Championship where Fischer played the poisoned pawn variation of the Najdorf, and sadly saw his queen trapped.
Need I say more? At least I think I've terrorised kids into developing minor pieces and castling more often than not, and being incredibly careful with their queen.