Monday, June 18, 2018

Victorian Chess Championship 2018

Yesterday, the 2018 Victorian Chess Championship started at Box Hill Chess Club. The tournament is a 24 player Swiss event, open to the highest rated players entering. The field is wide open, as none of Victoria's top 10 players entered, leaving the title open to a new name this year. I must admit, I was surprised by the absence of some players, especially those who haven't won the title before, like some of our younger IM and FM players. But the winner can only come from the names of those who enter!

The field that has entered is quite interesting. If this field had been assembled this time last year, I'd have fancied my chances, as I was in excellent form, but my play this year has been pretty bad so far. The players in form this year are FM Domagoj Dragicevic, and John Nemeth, and I'd see these 2 as real challengers for the title. However, multiple NSW Champion, FM Greg Canfell would be considered the favourite if he hadn't had such a bad year last year. However, this year he seems to be coming back to some good form. Brothers Kris and FM Luis Chan have risen to the top of the ranks of players at Box Hill Chess Club, but only Luis is playing. He also has a good chance at the title.

But looking down the field, there are lots of dangerous players, and almost anyone could win this title if they can string a few results together and build confidence. And scoring results against these players for the top ranked will be difficult and could spell the difference between a high result and a mediocre one. In the first round, top seed FM Dragicevic was held to a draw by Bill Jiang (1900) and while all the other games went to the higher rated player, there were some pretty tough games being played.

Organiser, IM Leonid Sandler said that he thought this was the first time a brother and sister have played in the tournament, with Christopher and Cassandra Lim both playing. And he also feels it's the first time that 2 women have played in the Championship, as Sarah Anton joins Cassandra in the field. These are unconfirmed, but say a lot for diversity in the game which must be a good thing.

If you're a Facebook user, Chess Victoria's page has photo's of the event and will no doubt be posting more. And Box Hill Chess Club is showing the top games live on their live games webpage if you want to watch some chess on Sunday afternoons. I'll be giving a personal view of the tournament as I see it!

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