In the end the field turned out to be a somewhat normal number, and the strength is not particularly stronger than in years gone by. Top of the field is IM James Morris, last year's winner. We had also thought that GM Darryl Johansen and IM Guy West, both multiple winners of the Championship would be playing. However, Darryl let us know of his inability to participate and Guy said he couldn't make the first round, and wasn't 100% sure whether he was playing. So second seed for the event was IM Ari Dale with IM Mirko Rujevic third. All told, the event is pretty strong for a club event, but there was still some disappointment that these ex champions weren't playing.
The size of the field finally settled in the mid 40's, again a little disappointing. I think that 50+ was expected seeing that last year, the field was in the high 40's. Saying that, there is still time for people to enter, and it may be that some players couldn't enter the first round and didn't get in touch. The club is accepting entries through till round 3, so the figure may very well rise towards 50.
As is often the case in the first round of a swiss, the first round saw a big rating gap with most pairings having a 300+ difference between the players. That didn't stop upset results from happening though. The biggest scalp of the night was claimed by Anthony Harris who beat ex champion Malcolm Pyke. The other wins against the ratings were for James Watson and Robert Frantzeskos, though James proved at the Australian Reserves that he is probably under rated, and Robert is coming back to chess and unrated is misleading.
There has already been a submission for the brilliancy prize from none other than FM Jack Puccini. As nice as Jack's play was, I'm sure his dynamic style will bring even more brilliant efforts from him. Here's his win against Jim Papadinis, the first brilliancy prize submission.