Sunday, December 13, 2015

Australasian Masters Round 1

The Australasian Masters started yesterday evening with 2 10 player round robin fields. The top section is a GM norm event, with the second section, an IM norm event. The play started about 6.30 pm at the Melbourne Chess Club, after their regular Saturday Allegro had finished. In fact, the allegro benefited from the Masters, as many of the players joined in, which then attracted others to come and play. The field of 42 players had GM Arturs Neiksans playing, along with IM's James Morris, Kanan Izzat and Justin Tan. The Grand Master won the event with a perfect 7/7

GM Neiksans (right) in post allegro chat with IM Justin Tan
.The 2 round robin events had very different sets of results. In the IM event, which I'm playing in, things went basically according to plan, with top 2 seeds, IM's Jones and Bjelobrk winning. FM Chris Wallis started well with a win against his long time friend FM Eugene Schon, and I was the other winner of the day. The vetereans duel between IM Rujevic and FM Levi ended in a draw, but not after Mirko Rujevic alerted the room to a blunder he made with a very audible sigh. Players rushed to see the board, but Mirko had blown a win into a draw rather than losing the game.

The GM section saw completely the opposite with favourites not getting their own way. Top seed GM Neiksans could only draw with FM Luke Li, while second seed GM Papin lost to IM James Morris. James was looking very relaxed before the event, and pretty happy afterwards. If body language is anything to go by, then IM Max Illingworth is in businesslike mode. He ground out a win against GM Johansen. IM Bobby Cheng made a successful comeback to beat IM Ari Dale, while IM Kanan Izzat, who won the IM section last year, was the other winner against IM Anton Smirnov.

Obviously there is a long way to go in both events, but there is every hope that a GM norm (6.5/9) is possible while an IM norm (7/9) is not out of the question either.

Not that I've really seen it, but the game of the day was the Morris-Papin affair. Papin's king never left the centre and white crashed through with a sacrificial attack.

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