I have really struggled with anything other than what I absolutely have to do this last month. I went to see a doctor about the start of April who told me I had a post viral infection which would knock me out for 4-6 weeks. Since then I have been incredibly tired by the most basic activities, had to have some time off work, and this blog, among other things, has had to be put aside. I'll try to catch up a bit as my energy returns (I thought I was on the road to recovery yesterday, but have been totally wiped out today) and in the meantime, I'll post what I can.
The second Monday night event of the year at the Melbourne Chess Club is the City of Melbourne Open, which I am the defending champion! The most amazing thing about this event is the huge field that has been attracted to the event. Usually, the City of Melbourne Open is a poor relative of the Club Championship, but the addition of FM's Greg Canfell (who has apparently moved to Melbourne and will be a regular feature of the club), and Domagoj Dragicevic has made the tournament strong at the top, while a big turnout of over 50 players, about 10 more than the Championship, was a bit of a surprise.
I had to miss the first round, taking a bye as I was still pretty ill and the upsets started straight away. Natalie Bartnik held David Lacey to a draw while the biggest upset of the day saw Adrian Cho beat veteran Richard Voon. The top seeds all came through unscathed. There are 6 players above 2000 rating, Canfell, Dragicevic, Gorka, Pyke, Cannon and Hogg and Dean Hogg and I were the only ones to drop a points to a bye.
Round 2 was even more dramatic. I was the biggest loser, as young Tristan Krstevski played an excellent game against me. I'm obviously not happy to lose games, but I am happy to see the young talent of the MCC climb the rungs of the ladder, even at my expense! Paul Kovacevic also scored against a 2000+ player, holding FM Domagoj Dragicevic to a draw. However, with Canfell, Pyke and Cannon all winning there is still plenty of talent at the top. Joining the 3 2000+ players are 5 others on a maximun 2/2: Thai Ly, Eamonn O'Molloy, Mehmedalija Dizdarevic, Ray yang and Nethaji Rathinalingham. This last player is an unknown quantity, but I was sitting next to him play a very solid win against Tom Kalisch in round 2, so I think he might be a talented player. Domagoj heads the group of players on 1.5 which includes young guns Tristan Krstevski and Vishal Bhat. The second round saw few other upsets, although amusingly, the Shanks brothers, Bryan and Jack, drew with high rated opposition from Hobson's Bay Chess Club, Tony Davis and Dean Hogg. So Dean is the highest rated player on 1/2 while I lead the group at the rear on half a point.
Of course, there is a lot to play for and no one is out of it yet, but Greg Canfell will certainly be the man to beat!