I'm joined on 4/5 by FM Jack Puccini and Simon Schmidt, who is also playing in the Victorian Championship, while among those half a point back is Malcolm Pyke, another Victorian Championship competitor. This all goes to show that the City of Melbourne Open is a pretty good field, and that lots of hard competition is good for your chess. Simon Schmidt is playing more than anyone, as he's also competing in the Box Hill Club Championship!
With 4 rounds still to play, there are still a lot of ways the tournament could go, but the per tournament favourites are beginning to rise to the top. Nguyen bounced back with a win to join Malcolm and another 5 players on 3.5. The group on 3/5 is led by 2200+ rated Nedimovic. There were a couple of upsets on the lower boards with Tanya Krstevska, Simon Dale and John Beckman overcoming players rated 200 points higher.
The pairings are usually up on Thursday and once again, I will not be making any predictions about who will be playing who. To my simple mind, Jack Puccin and Mirko Rujevic should be playing, which would be a great board 1 fight. But I'll make no predictions on the pairings as I'm more often wrong than right.
If it's black's move in the above position, then c4 closing out the light squared bishop, followed by a queen side expansion gives black level chances. Unfortunately for me, it was white's turn, and Mirko took the initiative with a typical central thrust 13.e5! After 13..dxe5 14.Nxe5 Be6 15.Bxe6 fxe6 white has a better position, but more importantly has an initiative which is one of Mirko's strengths.
Defending difficult positions, and trying to negate an opponent's initiative is one of my own weaknesses, and from the above position I succumbed rather too easily to Mirko's powerful play.