...and I say rest day!
After 7 rounds in 6 days there were a lot of players at the Australian Chess Championship who were looking pretty tired. There aren't many players, especially in the Reserves event where there are a lot of young juniors playing, who would have played this much intense chess before. Of course, we all love it and wouldn't have it any other way, but that doesn't mean that there were those in the playing hall yesterday who left with the sole intention of having a free day today.
The sensational results continued in the Championship with Karl Zelesco beating leader Kanan Izzat to draw level on 6/7. Half a point behind are Vasily Papin and Bobby Cheng, while a further half point back on 5/7 is Luke Li who beat Junta Ikeda. Besides fighting for the title of Australian Champion, Karl and Luke are looking for IM norms, and both must be close to getting them. Luke Li next faces another 2400+ player in Anton Smirnov who is a further half point back alongside James Morris. However, with 4 rounds left I still can imagine a lot of players crashing through the remaining games and taking the title. The disappointing pair of Tan and Illingworth both won for a second time bringing their score to within half a point of Smirnov and Morris, and only 2 behind the leaders.
I managed to get up to 3 points yesterday after drawing against Jack Puccini when I certainly didn't deserve to. Maybe I'll be able to claim a swindle of the Championship from this...
I'm black and 3 pawns down, and almost ready to resign. I saw one last chance, and because Jack was down to a minute plus the increment on his clock, I thought to give it a shot. Sensing no danger, Jack played 35.Rxc6 going 4 pawns up and attacking my bishop.
Chess is a cruel game as I played my one chance to save the game, 35..Rd2.
Now white cannot stop the Nh2-f3-h2 perpetual without sacrificing at least a piece, and with only the increment left on his clock, Jack wasn't prepared to go down that line. I don't feel good about this draw, I was completely outplayed and deserved to lose, and I even apologised to Jack after the game for swindling this draw. If you haven't seen this pattern before, then it is worth remembering, as it might help you to save a game too.
The Reserves has tightened up again as the top board was a draw. Kris Chan, Michael Kethro and Patrick Gong lead on 6/7, but 4 players sit half a point back, and a further 17 players are just a point behind the leaders on 5/7. Anyone with designs on winning the tournament will need to finish strong, and this includes players further down the field, who aren't out of the running yet, especially for the rating prizes. There is over $12000 in prize money for the 2 events, including rating prizes and slow starter prizes.
As for the blitz, I didn't play but took a rest. I believe it was won by Bobby Cheng, though the full results aren't on the site yet. They will eventually find their way to the results page.