We're getting close to the finish of the 2015 Victorian Championship. This year was a strange mixture of 3 very strong players, GM Johansen, IM James Morris and FM Chris Wallis and somewhat of a drop off to the rest of the group. It was still a pretty decent field for a tournament which deters players by its schedule. The tournament is played at multi venues, on different days over a number of weeks which makes it hard for people with regular routine commitments to sign up for. Another factor against the tournament is the rule that players may only take one postponement from the published schedule.
Saying that, the tournament has some positive features. The multiple venues can be good for clubs in showcasing them to players and spectators. While playing at a single venue might be convenient, it is also exclusive. The postponement rule also seems to have been waived this year, with a number of players not having their games at scheduled times. This was one of the main reasons that I didn't play, so maybe from next year I'll just enter and rearrange my games as I need!
The tournament has been dominated by IM James Morris who drew with GM Johansen in round 1, and then won his next 5 games including victories against his next nearest competitors. James was then held to 2 draws and sits half a point clear of the field with a game in hand. Johansen and Wallis are in second and joined by FM Domagoj Dragicevic who has had a pretty good tournament including draws against the top 2 seeds. However, with only 2 rounds to go (plus a few postponed games!) Morris looks to have the tournament virtually sewn up.
This will be good news for James after his somewhat disappointing showing at the Victorian Open at the MCC a few weeks back. A last round loss to IM Kanan Izzet cost James the tournament and dropped him to =3rd place as IM Ari Dale tied for first with Kanan. The event was played at the MCC and attracted a decent sized field of over 80 players. There were some notable performances. Carl Dingfelder played well to finish on 4.5/7 tying for first in the under 1700 rating group with Rad Chmiel. But for me, the results of the tournament were from Ruicheng Wang (1075) and Daniel Poberezovsky (801) who both scored 4/7 tying for first in the under 1400 rating category. I'm particularly proud of Daniel who I've worked with and who is a member of my local Glen Eira Chess Club.
The late winter season sees a number of events coming up. While the clubs continue their programs, weekenders will be played at Croydon (Croydon Chess Classic 11-12 July), Hobson's Bay (Best in the West, 5-6 September), and Noble Park (Noble Park Classic 19-20 September). So the next couple of months promise to be a good time in the Victorian Chess calendar.