Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tasmanian Open Part 2

Well I thoroughly enjoyed playing interstate, even if my chess wasn't really up to scratch. I was able to do some sightseeing around Hobart, and it was good to see some people who I haven't seen for a while and play a new bunch of players. The second day of the tournament was pretty gruelling and I didn't get enough sleep on the Saturday night to cope. The Tasmanian Open runs 3 rounds on the middle day of the long weekend, though Kevin Bonham admits it's not an ideal scenario. The problem with running 2 rounds on the Sunday, and then 2 on the public holiday Monday is that many players have a long drive back to the north of the island which doesn't really want to be undertaken late on Monday afternoon. I can see the point, and the thing about 3 games in a day is that it is basically the same problem for everyone in the tournament.

I was struggling from the start of the day, played 3 dodgy looking openings to finish on 1/3 for the day, which is probably better than I deserved. The competition was pretty tough with all boards being competitive. While on the first day there was only one draw in both rounds, the first 2 rounds on Sunday saw most games drawn. My first game was against David Small who had won the Lightning Tournament on Saturday evening with a perfect 9/9. We ended in a hard fought draw, where we were both probably better at some stage in the game. With board 2 also ending in a draw, it meant that 5 players were tying for first. The 4th round was just as tight with again the top 2 boards ending in draws. This lined things up for the final round of the day which was essentially carnage with no draws and plenty of poor play. My game saw me worse out of the opening, equalising into a position where both players had some dangerous looking threats and then I just collapsed. I had one of those classic moments when you play a move and within about 3 seconds of putting the piece down you see what you missed, and it appears then the most blatantly obvious move on the board. It then becomes a nail biting wait to see if your opponent has seen it. Unfortunately for me, Neil Markowitz did see it, and went on to win nicely.

So with one round to go, there were 3 leaders, Kerr, Markowitz and Small, with Mason Carter and Denis MacMahon half a point behind. Bill Kerr and David Small won their games to come equal first in the tournament, while Kevin Bonham and myself won to leapfrog into joint third with Neil Markowitz.  It was a nice tournament to play in and I urge others to take the trip to Tasmania to play some chess. The scenery is beautiful, Hobart is a great little city, you'll get to play some different players and you'll be made to feel very welcome by a a very nice group of people. More on the scenery in a later post, here are some of the people and I'll try to post some game fragments later in the week.

Mason Carter (left) very nearly pulled off the upset of the tournament against Bill Kerr. Here he analyses with Ian Little

Kevin Bonham and Bill Kerr who has recently moved to Tasmania

Neil Markowitz in his thinking pose opposite David Small, with Mason Carter in the background

Kevin Bonham handing out prizes to under 18 winners Rebecca Strickland and Max Phillips

James Kim was possibly the tournament sensation winning the under 1500 prize with a rating of under 1000

Worthy winners, Bill Kerr and David Small with Kevin Bonham in the middle

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