Monday, August 6, 2018

Victorian Championship Round 6

Last week we had 4 players tied on equal first, but there is now an outright leader, John Nemeth. John beat me in a tough game, while the other 2 players, FM's Greg Canfell and Luis Chan drew another hard fought game. The games can be seen on the Box Hill website. This leaves John half a point ahead of Greg and Luis with me a further half point, where I am joined by Milenko Lojanica and Himath Dissanayake. There are a lot of players just behind these leaders, but my feeling is that 7/9 will need to be scored to win, so these are the only contenders for the title. Almost anyone with a 3/3 finish will come near the top, but I feel the winner is now from these 6 players. Next week will be a reckoning, as they will all have to play each other assuming no one takes a bye. The pairings are likely to be:

Nemeth (5) -Canfell (4.5) (not sure the colours as they are both due Black)
Chan (4.5) -Lojanica (4) (again, not sure of the colours)
Gorka (4) -Dissanayake (4) (and again, not sure of the colours)

Before the tournament started Leonid Sandler told me this is probably the first time that 2 women have competed in the Victorian Championship final. It was a good day for them as they both won. Cassandra Lim is performing well and after beating the experienced Rad Chmiel, finds herself on 3.5. Sarah Anton also won, beating James Watson to climb to 2.5, a very creditable performance by the lowest rated player in the event.

The biggest upset winner of the day was Omar Khaled, though my own personal experience of Omar is that he is a very resourceful and skillful player capable of playing well above his rating. He beat Thomas Feng who isn't having the best tournament, possibly because he hasn't played too much competitive chess recently. It would be good to see Thomas make a full return to chess as he is a very talented player.

A couple of moves caught my eye on the display boards today.

Dissanayake-Zou, White to move

Himath Dissanayake seems to me to be an under rated player. He seems very solid, and is proving his ability in this tournament so far with 4/6 and equal 4th from a starting position of 16th. As well as beating the talented youngster Brendan Zou, he also beat experienced campaigner, FM David Hacche. In the above position Himath finished stylishly with 33.Bxf8 Rd2 34.Bh6! and mate is unavoidable. Another move that was possible in the diagram position is 33.Qxf7+!! also leading to a forced mate.

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The other position that interested me was this position.

Levi-Davis, White to move
FM Eddy Levi is a very imaginative player, so it is no surprise that he came up with the destructive move 23.Rxe6!. This wins a pawn at least as it can't be taken. Tony Davis found this out the hard way. 23..fxe6 24.Qxg6+ Kh8 25.Ne5 and Black had to resign. An impressive win from Eddy!

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This tournament is producing a lot of fighting chess and there is still much more to come in the final 3 rounds. Next week's game starts later than normal, at 6.30 pm rather than 4.00 pm so it will be a late finish and stamina will be an issue for some players! I'll leave this with one more game which started in a crazy Najdorf, and then heated up. David Beaumont upset top seed FM Domagoj Dragicevic in a game that was too confusing for me to follow. Enjoy!

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