Thursday, January 14, 2016

Bobby Cheng Australian Champion

It was an exciting finish to the 2016 Australian Championship at Fitzroy Town Hall. Going into the last round Bobby Cheng held a half point lead from Kanan Izzat and Karl Zelesco. Kanan was ineligible for the title, but both Bobby and Karl were fighting for Australian Champion. Obviously all the rest of us were still playing for places, but the title and tournament were between these 3 players.

The fun and games started when Bobby Cheng blundered against Junta Ikeda losing his last round game, leaving the way open for the others to overtake him. The net game at the top to finish was Kanan Izzat's win over Max Illingworth guaranteeing at least a share of first in the tournament depending on the final game between Justin Tan and Karl Zelesco. The tension mounted as games started finishing and the crowd around the top game increased. By the time I was finished, there were hardly any games left in either tournament, but the Tan-Zelesco game was still in full battle. In fact, the main game proved the last to finish. In the end, Justin Tan completed his comeback from a bad start to spoil Karl Zelesco's championship dream, and hand it to Bobby Cheng!

Full results of the Championship can be seen on the chess results server. Some notable points. Kanan Izzat was the tournament winner, while Bobby Cheng added the title of Australian Champion to the blitz title he won a few days earlier. Two games were forfeited. Sadly, Luke Li turned up late for the last round due to a mechanical car issue, but at least he had already gained an IM norm. More bizarrely was Mirko Rujevic not turning up to play his 10th round game on Monday. Mirko, who is turning 70, this year had a senior moment when he thought the tournament had finished on Sunday, and hadn't realised that the event continued.

The Reserves tournament saw 3 players who were near the top for the whole event take out the top 3 places. First was Patrick Gong with an amazing 9.5/11. This was half a point clear of Michael Kethro on 9 while Kris Chan was third a further half point back on 8.5. The Reserves was hard fought, and this is shown by the fact that another 27 players finished within 1.5 of third place. Of all these, perhaps special mention should go to James Watson who scored 7 points with an ACF rating of only 1633, whereas most of the players in the top 30 were over 1800.

Here's the final win of Kanan Izzat, who was definitely worse against Max Illingworth, beofre Max blundered with 35.Qc5.

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