Sunday, June 8, 2014

Tasmanian Open

Tasmania is a beautiful little island to the south of Victoria. I've been here many times before, and have always been charmed by the natural beauty of the environment. Even the cities are small and picturesque. I flew into Hobart Airport late last night (after a delay to my flight, Tiger Airlines, you really are shoddy!) and basically just crashed out ready for the first day of the tournament. This is a long weekend so tournaments are lasting 3 days, running into Monday.

Salamanca Market. A rainbow seems to be coming out Mount Wellington in the background

A 10.30 am start on Saturday morning was very generous, and allowed me to spend the early part of the morning wandering around Salamanca Market. If you've never been to the market before, it is really very good, with lots of locally made products. I walked up to the venue from Salamanca. It only took about 20 minutes and left me totally refreshed for my first game. The tournament is being organised by the Tasmanian Chess Association, with Kevin Bonham acting as playing arbiter The tournament is being held at Princes Street School which has a decent history of junior chess participation. The venue is quite basic, but perfectly adequate and though it was a little cool at times (probably me becoming a big softie after living in Melbourne for nearly 10 years!) the playing hall was totally comfortable. Some great news from TCA before the tournament started was new events to be held on the island this year including a rapidplay championships, and a tournament sponsored by Neville Ledger to the tune of $3000 for Tasmanian residents only. This should be an excellent event, scheduled for December, which can only add impetus to chess playing in Tasmania.

King from Richard III Chess Set I saw in Salamnaca today

The field for this year's Tasmanian Open is tightly bunched at the top. I'm top seed at 2099 but 6th seed Ian Rout is only 200 points behind. It's a pretty open filed as a number of strong juniors are in playing who can take out almost anyone on their day. This was shown in round 2 when Mason Carter drew with second seed Bill Kerr, and could have very easily won the game. It will be no easy task for anyone to win the event. On day 1 there weren't too many upsets, although as I already mentioned, Bill Kerr was held to a draw by Mason Carter. The only result against the ratings in round 1 was a win by local junior James Kim. However, as we all know, juniors are unpredictable and can play well above their ratings fro the odd game, or may just be under rated. There were 20 entries and all the first round games ended in victories. Round 2 saw the first and only draw to date. I suppose this isn't too unexpected as the field sorts itself out.

Carter-Kerr from round 2. White has sacrificed a piece, but has an excellent attack while black's pieces are not really working. Mason found 1.Rd1!, but spent a lot of time choosing it. Bill then coolly replied 1..Qxd4 and Mason played 2.Rg3+, though after this he couldn't find a win. In the post mortem we looked at 2.Bxf5.

Now after 2..Qxf6 white has the simple retreat 3.Bb1 with irresistable threats such as Rf3-g3. Unfortunately Mason was down to the bare increment which is only 15 seconds (in fact, he was down to 2 seconds at one point, and very nearly lost) and he failed to convert.

Tomorrow there are 3 games, and that will mostly settle the placings. It has been thoroughly enjoyable up to now, with everyone playing in a friendly and competitive manner and I am most content to be competing in my first Tasmanian tournament. I'll try to do another round up tomorrow, though it might be difficlut with 3 games in a day.

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