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News - SMH Columns

Horvath wins O2C Doeberl Cup

Peter Parr (16/4/12)

 Hungarian GM Adam Horvath won the 50th annual O2C Doeberl Cup Easter Weekend tournament at the Hellenic Club, Canberra on count-back in the four way tie for first place. Horvath was undefeated with five wins and four draws . IM K. Rathnakaran who tied for first place scored a  GM  result. IM P.Karthikeyan beat four grandmasters but lost to Rathnakaran in the final round. A total of 250 players competed in the four rated events for a $ 17,850 total prize fund.

 Vajda,Levente (2597) - Zeng,Chongsheng (2435) 7.3  1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 g6 4.c3 Bg7 5.d4 d6 6.dxe5 dxe5 7.Qa4 Qe7 8.b4 Bd7 9.b5 Nd8 10.Ba3 Qf6 11.00 Ne7 12.Rd1 Nc8 13.Nbd2 Nb6 14.Qb3 Ne6 15.Bd5 000 16.c4 Bf8 17.Bxf8 Rhxf8 18.a4 Qe7 19.a5 Nxd5 20.cxd5 Nc5 21.Qa3 Bxb5 22.Rdc1 b6 23.axb6 axb6 24.Rab1 Qe8 25.Rxc5 bxc5 26.Nb3 Rd6 27.Nxc5 Rb6 28.Qa8+ Rb8 29.Qa7 Rb6 30.d6 Qc6 31.Nxe5 Qxd6 32.Ncd7 Qxd7 33.Qa8+ ! 10 (after Rb8 34 Qxb8 Kxb8 35 Nxd7 wins a rook).

 Victorian State Champion FIDE Master Bobby Cheng missed an IM result by losing from a winning position in the last round. FM B.Cheng, IM G.Lane and IM S.Solomon (all AUS) gained rating points. Australian champion GM Darryl Johansen (2444) won 2 but drew 7 finishing in an 8 way tie for  places 15-22 with GM D.Sengupta (IND 2572), IM G.Xie (AUS 2456), FM M.Illingworth (AUS 2352) etc.  Sally Yu (VIC 1960) had an outstanding result performing well above 2200 .

 Leading final scores (79 players, 9 rounds):- GM A.Horvath (HUN 2487), GM G.Szabo (ROU 2553), GM L.Vajda (ROU 2597), IM K.Rathnakaran (IND 2410) 7, IM P.Karthikeyan (IND 2414) 6.5, GM A.Rodriguez (ESP 2440), IM S.Solomon (AUS 2375), IM K.Yang (CHN 2360), IM G.Lane (AUS 2368), GM A.Czebe (HUN 2477), IM C.Zeng (CHN 2435), IM K.Akshat (IND 2411), IM J.Morris (AUS 2354), IM M.Ly (AUS 2402) all 6.   Michael Yu (1905) and Alana Chibnall (1763) tied for 1st place on 6/7 in the major 67 player supporting event.   The Doeberl Cup lightning (79 players, 9 rounds) was won by IM J.Morris (VIC) on 8, IM J.Ikeda (ACT), IM M.Ly (QLD), IM G.Xie (NSW) and Y.Liu (QLD) tied for 2nd place on 7 points.

 Leading final scores in the City of Sydney Lightning Championship held last Tuesday evening  at Parramatta Town Hall ( 9 rounds):- IM  Chongsheng Zeng (2435) 8, IM K.Rathnakaran (2410) 7.5, IM P.Karthikeyan (2414) 7.

The Sydney International Open and Challengers tournaments at the same venue  attracted 140 players in two divisions. IM Stephen Solomon of Queensland  plays top seed GM L.Vajda on board one in the last round. FM Gene Nakauchi (AUS 2127 seeded 32) also from Queensland needs to draw or beat Doeberl Cup winner GM A.Horvath in the final round for an IM result (2450+ performance).

 Leading scores after round 8 (75 players, including 5 GMs  and 11 IMs, 9 rounds) :- GM A.Czebe (HUN 2477), GM L.Vajda (ROU 2597) 6.5 ,  IM S.Solomon (AUS 2375), GM D.Sengupta (IND 2572), IM C.Zeng(CHN 2435), GM G.Szabo(ROU 2553), FM B.Cheng (AUS 2344) all 6.     Challengers (65 players, 9 rounds) :- 2nd seed D.Lovejoy (1857) 7.5/8, top seed D.Mallari (1876) 6.5

 The NSW Junior Leagues Autumn One-Day Tournament has been won jointly by Lalit Prasad and Jack Rodgers both aged 15. Third was nine-year-old Kerry Lin. Leading final scores (169 players, 8 rounds):- L. Prasad, J.Rodgers 7.5, K. Lin 7.

The Junior Leagues Autumn Two-Day Tournament will be held on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. For details see www.nswjcl.org.au or contact Richard Gastineau-Hills, phone 9498 2760

 The FIDE Presidential Board meeting in Elista, Russia approved the International Master Title for Trevor Tao of Adelaide (AUS 2440). Australia has 4 GMs and 21 IMs.  Tao is Australias highest rated active IM (after Doeberl and SIO results are processed).

250 players in the 50th  Doeberl Cup

Peter Parr (9/4/12)

 The 50th annual Doeberl Cup Easter weekend tournament in Canberra attracted 250 players in four rated divisions.  Indian IM Pandian Karthikeyan seeded eleventh leads with three rounds to play after beating GMs Szabo, Rodriguez and Vajda in rounds 4-6. The top seed GM Levente Vajda outplayed Australian IM Stephen Solomon in the game below.

 GM L.Vajda (ROU 2597) v IM S. Solomon (AUS 2375)  1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 Bf5 4 Nf3 e6 5 Be2 Ne7 6 0-0 Nd7 7 b3 c5 8 c4 Nc6 9 cxd5 exd5 10 Nc3 Be6 11 Be3 Be7 12 dxc5 Nxc5 13 Nd4 0-0 14 f4 Nxd4 15 Bxd4 f5 16 exf6 Rxf6 17 b4 Ne4 18 Nxe4 dxe4  19 Bxf6 Bxf6 20 Qxd8 Rxd8 21 Rad1 Bd4+ 22 Kh1 Bxa2 23 Rd2 Bb3 24 Rb1 e3 25 Rxd4 Rxd4 26 Rxb3 Rxf4 27 g3 Rf5 28 Rxe3 and white won

 GM Deep Sengupta (IND 2572) the second seed was declared lost on  forfeit in round 2. He arrived 70 minutes after the starting time not realising there was an evening round. Sengupta asked if he could still play the game. ( No is correct,the forfeit should stand). The arbiter amazingly advised that if his opponent  IM Kumar Praveen (IND 2343) agreed they could play. Kumar was pleased to play and the game was drawn after starting 90 minutes late. Australias leading grandmaster Zong-Yuan Zhao,the third seed,withdrew after round 4 with the flu. Local hero FM Junta Ikeda of Canberra with R,N,N v Q was pressing hard to beat GM Adam Horvath in round 3 but lost on time on move 115 after 6 hours play.

 Leading scores after round 6 ( 79  players including 8 GMs,13 IMs, 9 rounds):-   IM P.Karthikeyan(IND 2414) 5.5, GM A.Horvath(HUN 2487), IM K.Rathnakaran (IND 2410) 5, GM D.Sengupta(IND 2572),GM A.Szabo (ROU 2553),GM A.Rodriguez (ESP 2440),GM L.Vajda(ROU 2597),IM K.Yang(CHN 2360),IM C.Zeng(CHN 2435),GM A.Czebe(HUN 2477) all 4.5.  The leading six Australians are on 4 points. Tony Weller (AUS 1794) leads the 67 player major (under 2000) event with 4/4. There are 60 competitors in the under 1600 and 44 in the under 1200.

 IM Dr Vladimir Smirnov won the FIDE rated Parramatta Club Championship scoring 7.5/9 (6 wins,3 draws) ahead of Sydney Champion FM  Greg Canfell on 7/9 (5 wins,4 draws).  The City of Sydney Lightning Championship will be held at Parramatta Town Hall tomorrow evening. The Sydney International Open (69 entries to date with 5 GMs and 11 IMs)and Challengers event (55 players so far) will be held 11-15 April at the same venue.

 The NSW Junior Chess League's activities in the coming school holidays include a coaching clinic on Wednesday 11 April and two tournaments a one-day tournament on Thursday 12 April and a two-day tournament on Wednesday and Thursday of the following week. The coaching clinic caters for young players of different levels and includes a class for beginners who do not yet know the moves. The one- and two-day tournaments are suitable for players of all strengths, including players new to competitive chess. For details see www.nswjcl.org.au or contact Richard Gastineau-Hills, phone 9498 2760.

 The  Championship of China in Xinghua has been won for the third time by teenager GM Ding Liren . He was the youngest winner at the age of 16 in 2009 and was the defending champion. Leading final scores (12 players,11 rounds):-

GM Ding Liren (2660 age 19,undefeated) 8 , GM Yu Yangyi (2615,age 17 and GM at 15) 7, GM Ni Hua (2637) 6.5, GM Wang Yue (2702) 6.

The European Senior Teams Championship in Rogaska Slatina, Slovenia for players over the age of 60 was won by Russia  no 1  in a field of 46 teams.  79-year-old Evgeni Vasiukov (RUS 2455) scored 6.5/8 on board 1 which included a win over 81-year-old Viktor Korchnoi (SUI 2549) who scored 7.5/9. Vasiukov was the trainer of ex-world title challenger Korchnoi during the famous 1967 inter-zonal in Sousse,Tunisia.

Jakovenko Wins European Championship

Peter Parr (2/4/12)

Dmitry Jakovenko (RUS 2729, age 28 ,no 3 seed) won the 348 player (including 176 grandmasters) European Championship in Plovdiv,Bulgaria scoring an undefeated  8.5/11.  Jakovenko first represented Russia in the World Under-10 championship in 1993. He won the World Under-18 Title in 2001. Thirteen players shared 2nd place on 8 points. The top 23 players including 11 from Russia qualified for the 2013 World Cup in Tromso,Norway.  Europe set their clocks one hour forward before round six but six players from Georgia adjusted their clocks one hour backwards and lost their games on forfeit.

The 2nd seed Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (AZE 2752 ) withdrew from the tournament after losing twice by default. The Azeri GM was not at his table at the start of round eight arriving a number of seconds late  and was forfeited. The next day he agreed to a draw after 19 moves against IM A.Alonso (ESP 2513).    The arbiter declared the game lost for both players as agreed draws before move 40 are not allowed without consulting the arbiter. Meanwhile the game on board one had already been agreed drawn in 16 moves by repetition of position with the permission of the arbiter.  The top seed Fabiano Caruana (ITA 2767)  finished in  38th place after losing his only game in the final round against GM Yuriy Kryvoruchko (UKR 2666).

Vallejo Pons,F (2693) - Nabaty,T (2559) [D20]   1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e3 e5 4.Bxc4 exd4 5.exd4 Bd6 6.Nf3 Nf6 7.Qe2+ Qe7 8.Qxe7+ Kxe7 9.00 Be6 10.Re1 Kd7 11.Ne5+ Bxe5 12.dxe5 Bxc4 13.exf6 gxf6 14.Nc3 c5 15.Bf4 Nc6 16.Red1+ Ke6 17.b3 Ba6 18.Rd6+ Kf5 19.Nd5 Nd4 20.Rxf6+ Ke4 21.f3+ Kd3 22.Rd1+ Kc2 23.Rd2+ Kb1 24.Nc3+ Ka1 25.a4 10.The black king chased across the board is mated on the square a1.

Akopian,V (2684) - Shimanov,A (2591) [B17]  1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Ng5 Ngf6 6.Bd3 e6 7.N1f3 Bd6 8.Qe2 h6 9.Ne4 Nxe4 10.Qxe4 Qc7 11.00 Nf6 12.Qh4 b6 13.Bg5 Be7 14.Bf4 Qd8 15.Ne5 Bb7 16.Rad1 Bd6 17.Rfe1 Qe7 18.Qh3 Nd5 19.Bg3 00 20.c4 Nf6 21.Bh4 g5 22.Bxg5 hxg5 23.Qh6 10    GM Levente Vajda (ROU 2597), the top seed in the Doeberl Cup and SI0 finished in 170th place scoring  50%.

The Easter O2C 50th Doeberl Cup 5-9 April in Canberra starts on Thursday afternoon. The overall entry at present  is 198 with 77 in the premier including 8 GMs, 1 WGM, 13 IMs, 1 WIM, 8 FMs, 1 WFM.

There are 57 in the Major (under 2000), 42 in the minor (under 1600) and 22 in the under 1200 division.

The Sydney International Open at Parramatta Town Hall, 11-15 April, caters for players ranging from beginners to grandmasters. The challengers event is restricted to players rated lower than 1900. The SIO is open to all players. There are a total of 87 early entries with the following top seeds.   GM L.Vajda (ROU 2597), GM D.Sengupta (IND 2572), GM G.Szabo (ROU 2553), GM A.Horvath (HUN 2487), GM A.Czebe (HUN 2477), IM G.Xie (AUS 2466), IM A.Khamparia (IND 2414), IM R.Kantholi (IND 2403).

The Chess Olympiad will be held in Istanbul,Turkey 27 Aug 10 Sep 2012. Australia has entered an Open Team (5 players) and a Womens Team (5 players).  The selections will take place this month with the following applicants to date :-

Open  :- FM B.Cheng (VIC), FM J.Ikeda (ACT), FM M.Illingworth (NSW), GM D.Johansen (VIC), IM G.Lane (NSW), M.Ly (QLD), GM D.Smerdon (ACT), IM S.Solomon (QLD), IM A.Wohl (NSW), GM Z.Zhao (NSW).   Women:- IM I.Berezina (NSW), WIM A.Caoili (QLD), A.Chibnall (NSW), WIM B.Dekic (NSW), G.Nguyen (SA), WFM S.Oliver (ACT), WFM V.Reid (NSW), WFM M.Setiabudi (ACT),  S.Yu (VIC).

European Championship

Peter Parr (26/3/12)

 Commonwealth Champion GM Gawain Jones (ENG 2635)  became the sole leader with 4/4 in the 348 player (including 176 grandmasters) European Championship in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.  Jones drew with GM N.Vitiugov (RUS 2709) in round 5. Three players share the lead on 4.5/5 :- GM  L. Fressinet (FRA 2693,seeded 20th ,age 30), GM Y.Kuzubov (UKR 2615,seeded 80th ,age 22, GM at age 14),GM G.Jones (ENG 2635,seeded 60,age 24) with 26 players on 4/5. There are 15 players rated  2700 or higher in the event but only five of these are in the top 29 after 5 rounds. The top 23 finishers qualify for the World Cup. Draws are forbidden before move 40.

 Khismatullin,D (2656) - Galopoulos,N (2430) [E32]  1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 b6 5.e4 e5 6.dxe5 Ng4 7.f4 Bc5 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.h3 Nb4 10.Qb1 Ne3 11.Bxe3 Bxe3 12.a3 Nc6 13.Nd5 Bc5 14.b4 Be7 15.Bd3 Bh4+ 16.Kf1 Bg3 17.Qc1 h6 18.h4 d6 19.exd6 cxd6 20.Qe3 00 21.e5 Re8 22.Ng5 hxg5 23.hxg5 Nxe5 24.Qxg3 Ng6 25.Qh2 10

 Nyzhnyk,I (2585,age 15) - Giri,A (2717,age 17) [E04]  1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.Nc3 c6 5.g3 dxc4 6.Bg2 b5 7.Ne5 a6 8.a4 Bb7 9.00 Be7 10.axb5 axb5 11.Rxa8 Bxa8 12.Nxb5 cxb5 13.Bxa8 00 14.Bg2 (white stands slightly better) Nd5 15.f4 Bd6 16.e3 Bxe5 17.fxe5 Nc6 18.Qg4 Qd7 19.h4 Ncb4 20.h5 Nd3 21.h6 f5 (21..g6 was ok) 22.exf6 Rxf6? (22..Nxf6 23 hxg7 Rf7 24 Qg5 Ne8 =) 23.Bxd5 Rxf1+ 24.Kxf1 Qf7+ 25.Bf3 Nxc1 26.d5! Nd3 27.dxe6 Qe7 28.Bd5! Kf8 29.Qxg7+ 10 ( after 29.. Qxg7 30 hxg7+ Kxg7 31 e7 wins). Nyzhnyk won the Moscow Open B Group with a 2633 performance at the age of 10 in 2007. Nyzhnyk and Giri were both grandmasters at the age of 14. Giri seeded 4th is in 223rd place and will need to win his last 6 games to qualify for the World Cup.

 Former World Champion Garry Kasparov(RUS) met South African President Jacob Zuma in Pretoria last week. The President said he loved the game of chess and it should be encouraged among young people as it could help them in their school work.  Kasparov is establishing a base in Johannesburg to promote chess in schools throughout the continent. Kasparov scored 25.5/26 in a simultaneous exhibition last Thursday in Cape Town.

 FIDE Master Greg Canfell won the City of Sydney Championship scoring 6 wins and conceded only one draw to Michael Morris. Canfell also won the event in 1997 and 1999. FIDE Master Tomek Rej the defending champion won 5 games, drew with Peter Abbott and lost to Canfell.  The City of Sydney was once again held at the Sydney Chess Centre in Burwood.  Leading final scores (28 players, 7 rounds):- FM G.Canfell 6.5,  FM T.Rej (2265) 5.5,  M.Morris (2106) and M.Hall (1920) 5.

 IM George Xie won every game in the Dubbo Open Grand Prix weekend tournament. Michael Wei, the 2003 Australian Junior Champion, tied for second place. Australian Olympic chess correspondence captain Don Keast achieved a strong postion against Xie in round 5 but Xie played well in the complications and won.  Leading final scores (29 players, 6 rounds) :- IM G.Xie (NSW 2466) 6, M.Wei (ACT 2166), F.Van Der Wal (NSW 1793) 5, D.Keast (SA 1872), M.Canfell (NSW 1720) and IO   N.Greenwood (NSW 1564) 4.  Australian Open Champion  Xie leads the 2012 ACF Grand Prix series.

 The next ACF Grand Prix weekender is the  Easter O2C   50th Doeberl Cup 5-9 April  in Canberra. There are 180 early entries including 10 grandmasters and 13 international masters. The top 10 seeds are :- GM L.Vajda (ROU 2597), GM A.Deviatkin (RUS 2577), GM D.Sengupta (IND 2572), GM Z.Zhao (AUS 2556), GM G.Szabo (ROU 2553), GM A.Kunte (IND 2547), GM A.Horvath (HUN 2487), GM A.Czebe (HUN 2477)), IM G.Xie (AUS 2456), GM D.Johansen (AUS 2444).

Caruana Wins in Iceland

Peter Parr  (19/3/12)

Fabiano Caruana (ITA 2767) the top seed won the Reykjavik (Iceland) Open (198 players from 33 countries) scoring 7.5/9. Caruana led  with 7/8 but was outplayed by eighteen-year-old  World Womens Champion Hou Yifan (2639) in the last  round. Hou Yifan needed to beat Caruana to win the event but a serious mistake on move 41 in a winning position allowed Caruana to draw the game and win the tournament. Seven grandmasters including Hou Yifan tied for second place on 7 points.  Caruana has advanced to sixth place in the World ranking list.

Krush,Irina (2461) - Caruana,Fabiano (2767) [D97] (3.1) 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Qb3 dxc4 6.Qxc4 00 7.e4 Nc6 8.Be2 Nd7 9.Be3 Nb6 10.Qc5 f5 11.d5 f4 12.dxc6 fxe3 13.Qxe3 bxc6 14.00 Qe8 15.Rac1 Kh8 16.Bd1 h6 17.Ne2 e5 18.Nd2 a5 19.Nc4 Ra6 20.a3 Be6 21.Nxb6 Rxb6 22.Qc3 Qa8 23.Ba4 c5 24.Ng3 c4 25.Bd1 Rfb8 26.Be2 Rb3 27.Qc2 c3 28.bxc3 Rxa3 29.Ra1 Rab3 30.Ra4 Rb2 31.Qd3 Rf8 32.Rfa1 Qa7 33.Rxa5 Qxf2+ 34.Kh1 Bg4 35.Rf1 Qb6 36.Raa1 Bxe2 37.Rxf8+ Bxf8 38.Nxe2 Qf2 39.Qg3 Rxe2 01

The European Womens championship with a prize fund of  $ 186,000 was held in Gaziantep, Turkey.  Valentina Gunina won an exciting last round game against Anna Muzychuk to win the title on count back. Aleksandra Goryachkina aged 13 from Russia scored her third and final Grandmaster result in the event. Leading final scores (103 players including 60 rated above 2300, 11 rounds):-  IM V.Gunina (RUS 2511), GM T.Kosintseva (RUS 2513) and GM A.Muzychuk (SLO 2583) all 8.5 ,GM V.Cmilyte (LTU 2497) 8.  Kosintseva won the rapid-play with 9/11.

The European Mens Championship in Plovdiv, Bulgaria 20-31 March, is exceptionally strong with a total entry of 350 players including 176 grandmasters. There are 175 players rated above 2500 including 98 rated 2600 or higher with the top 15 players all rated 2700 or higher.   The top seeds are  -  F.Caruana (ITA 2767),S.Mamedyarov (AZE 2752) and D.Jakovenko (RUS 2729).The European Chess Union introduced new dress regulations for the first time in Turkey and Bulgaria.

The tenth Kahazar Cup attracted nearly 500 players in Rasht City, Iran.  Sixteen-year-old IM Pouya Idani (Iran 2448)won the 103 player (including 12 GMs) A section scoring 9/11(performance 2676).  Idani beat three GMs in the last 3 rounds including a fine win over the top seed Sergey Tiviakov (NED 2677) in the last round.

The 46th annual Begonia Open Grand Prix Labour Day Weekender in Ballarat, Victoria resulted in a three way tie for first place.  Leading final scores (131 players, 7 rounds):- D.Dragicevic (VIC 2328), FM P.Scharrer (Italy 2283), B.McClymont (QLD 2104) all 6 ;  FM B.Cheng (VIC 2344), IM G.West (VIC 2317), FM D.Stojic (VIC 2296), J.Tan (VIC 2179) all 5.5. The top seeds IM G.Xie (NSW 2456) and IM S.Solomon (QLD 2375) each scored 5 points.

NSW Champion Max Illingworth won every game in the City of Sydney Rapid - play at Parramatta RSL. Leading final scores (22 players, 7 rounds) :-  FM M.Illingworth (2691) 7, S.Gu (2064), B.Mandla (2301) and J.Kuan (1883) 5.

Illingworth has a rapid rating of almost 2700 due to very high percentage scores in many events.  Blair Mandla won the 49 player event last year with 6/7.

FIDE Master Greg Canfell increased his lead to a full point  in the sixth round of the City of Sydney Championship by defeating Badar  Zoud. Canfell  with 5.5/6 needs only a draw in the final round to win the title. Leading scores in the Norths,Cammeray Club Championship :- G.Canfell and M.Morris  4.5/5 and in the St George Leagues Club Championship  S.Gu and P.Chen lead with 2.5/3.             

Players Flock to Capelle

Peter Parr (12/3/12)

 497 players including 74 grandmasters competed in the annual Capelle-La-Grande,France International Open. 5 GMs tied for first place.  Results  in count-back order :-  Pentala  Harikrishna (IND 2678),Parimarjan  Negi (IND 2639), T.Sanikidze (GEO 2549), T.Gharamian (FRA 2671), M.Kravtsiv (UKR 2588) each scoring 7/9. There were 16 players half-a-point behind first place.

 Leading scores after round 8 of the European Womens Championship in Gaziantep, Turkey (103 players including 60 rated above 2300, 11 rounds, prize fund AUS $ 186,000) :-  IM C.Foisor (ROU 2398), IM V.Gunina (RUS 2511), IM A.Muzychuk (SLO 2583) all 6.5.      Ivan Cheparinov (BUL 2664) and Ivan Sokolov (NED 2653) share the lead with 5/5 in the Reykjavik (Iceland) Open (198 players from 31 countries including 26 GMs). Top seed Fabiano Caruana (ITA 2767) has 4.5/5 and World Womens Champion Hou Yifan (CHN 2639) 4 points. 

 Leading final scores of the HD Bank Open in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (93 players including  15  GMs, 9 rounds) :-    GM Ni Hua (CHN 2637) 8 ( AUS $ 10,000 first prize), GM Le Quang Liem (VIE 2698) 7.5.   Both were undefeated.

IM Moulthun Ly (AUS 2402) scored 4.5/9.  Ly won his first two games, lost in round 3,then drew the next 5 and lost in the final round. Ly played quite a strong field but will lose a few rating points from the event.  FM Junta Ikeda (AUS 2373) 3/9,  Peter Frost (AUS 1897) 2/9.

 Ikeda,Junta (2373) - Gopal,Geetha (2572) [B94] 3.8  1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 Nbd7 7.Bc4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.00 e6 11.Bxe6 fxe6 12.Nxe6 Qa5 13.f4 Kf7 14.f5 b5 15.Qd3 Bb7 16.Nd5 Rc8 17.Bxf6 Nxf6 18.Ng5+ Kg8 19.Nxf6+ gxf6 20.Ne6 Kf7 21.e5 Qxa2 22.Ng5+ fxg5 23.e6+ Ke8 24.f6 Rxc2 01

 The following brevity was played on top board of the German Bundesliga inter-club competition. The leading team is Baden-Baden.   Vallejo Pons,Francisco (2716,Baden-Baden) - Maiwald,Jens-Uwe (2459,Dresden) [B06] (11.1)  1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Bg5 h6 5.Be3 Nf6 6.h3 Nbd7 7.g4 c5 8.e5 dxe5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 10.Qxd8+ Kxd8 11.000+ Bd7 12.f4 Nc6 13.Bxc5 h5 14.g5 Ne8 15.Nge2 Nc7 16.Bg2 Re8 17.Rd2 Kc8 18.Rhd1 Be6 19.b3 Bf8 20.Na4 Rd8 21.Rxd8+ Nxd8 22.Bxa7! 10

 Greg Canfell the top seed defeated Tomek Rej seeded second  to take the sole lead after 5 rounds of the City of Sydney Championship in Burwood. Leading scores (28 players, 7 rounds) :-  FM G.Canfell (2341) 4.5, M.Morris (2106) 4, FM T.Rej (2265), I.Ilic (2010), P.Abbott (1968), B.Zoud (1943), P.Bogdanoski (1598)  all 3.5. The Dubbo RSL Open Grand Prix weekender will be held  17-18 March.  There are three rounds each day with 60 mins plus 10 secs per move per player time control. 

 There are 131 players competing in the 46th annual Begonia Open Grand Prix Labour day weekender  10 12 March in Ballarat, Victoria. The top five seeds scored only 1/5 in a very surprising  second round.

K.Zelesco ( VIC 2156) 0.5 v IM G.Xie (NSW 2466), IM S.Solomon (QLD 2401) 0 v C.Gorka (VIC 2152) 1, M.Pyke (VIC 2142) 1 v FM B.Cheng (VIC 2362) 0, IM J.Morris (VIC 2357) 0.5 v J.Nemeth (VIC 2135), J.Tang (VIC 2132) 1 v IM G.West (VIC 2325) 0

 The dates of major events later this year organised by the World Chess Federation were confirmed last week.   World Title Match (Anand v Gelfand) Moscow  10 30 May.  Chess Olympiad Istanbul Aug 27 Sep 10.   Grand Prix  Chelyabinsk Sep 19 Oct 3.   World Championship Candidates  London Oct 24 Nov 12.  Grand Prix Tashkent  Nov 21 Dec 4

Canfell wins in Hornsby

Peter Parr (5/3/12)

 Greg Canfell won the First Hornsby Grand Prix weekender at Asquith Leagues Club in fine style defeating the top seeds IM George Xie (2474) and FM Max Illingworth (2434) with the black pieces. Canfell conceded only half a point in the event drawing a hard fought game against  FM Igor Bjelobrk who finished in second place. Canfell, seven times NSW State Champion, gained 3 pieces for his queen against  teenager Illingworth, the current NSW State champion who could not avoid the mating threats.

 FM M. Illingworth v FM G.Canfell E81  1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Be3 Nbd7 7. Nh3 c5 8. d5 a6 9. a4 Ne5 10. Nf2 e6 11. Be2 exd5 12. cxd5 Ne8 13. O-O f5 14. f4 Nf7 15. exf5 gxf5 16. Qd2 Nf6 17. Rab1 Re8 18. b4 Qe7 19. Ncd1 b6 20. Re1 Bb7 21. Bf3 Qd7 22. Nc3 Re7 23. Qd3 Rae8 24. Re2 Ng4 25. Nxg4 fxg4 26. Be4 Bxc3 27. Bf5 Rxe3 28. Bxd7 Bd4 29. Kh1 Rxe2 30. Bxe8 Rxe8 31. bxc5 Bxc5 32. Qf5 Bc8 33. Qh5 Re4 34. f5 Rf4 35. g3 Bxf5! 0-1

 Peter Yang and Kevin Tan successfully organised their first major tournament which will become an annual event.  Leading final scores (39 players, 6 rounds) :-  FM G.Canfell (2349) 5.5, FM I.Bjelobrk (2292) 5, FM M. Illingworth (2434), A.Smirnov (2132) and M.Yu (1783) 4.5.  The top three seeds  - FM G.Canfell, FM T.Rej and M.Morris share the lead with 3.5/ 4 in the City of Sydney Championship in Burwood.

 The City of Sydney Rapid-Play Championship will be held on Sunday 11 March at Parramatta RSL Club. The Canterbury Club Championship will be a seven round event commencing Monday evening 12 March at Lakemba Services Memorial Club. Glen Devine a regular player in Hyde Park for over 40 years and tough tournament player in the 1970s and 1980s has died in Sydney.

 Top ten players on the March World rating list  (total 143577 rated with over 800 active above 2500) M.Carlsen NOR 2835,   L.Aronian ARM 2820,  V.Kramnik RUS 2801, V.Anand IND 2799, T.Radjabov AZE 2784, H.Nakamura USA 2771, F.Caruana ITA 2767, S.Karjakin RUS 2766, A.Morozevich RUS 2765, V.Ivanchuk UKR 2764 (average age is 30). Women J.Polgar HUN 2709,   Y.Hou CHN 2639, H.Koneru IND 2589,  A.Muzychuk SLO 2583, N.Dzagnidze GEO 2559, W.Ju (CHN) 2557.

 Leading Australians GM Z.Zhao 2556 (world no 400),  GM D.Smerdon 2512 (world no 720),  IM G.Xie 2456 (world no 1232),  GM D.Johansen 2444, T.Tao 2440, IM A.Wohl 2412 , IM M.Ly 2402, IM M.Chapman 2394, IM I.Goldenberg 2385, IM S.Solomon 2375.

 Women WM A.Caoili 2269,  IM I.Berezina 2190, WM B.Dekic 2111,   T.Nguyen 2099,  WM E.Guo 2019, S.Yu 1960.  Country rank by average rating of the top ten active players Russia 2744 (age 29) , Ukraine 2697 (age 28), China 2661 (age 23), Armenia 2659,  Hungary 2657, France 2657.   Australia 2438 with a very high average age of 38 is ranked 56 out of 141 countries.

 For the March 2012 Australian rating period there were 73 Tournaments rated (50 Classic, 23 Rapid) and 7324 games of which 5238 were in the ACF Classic rating system and 2086 were in the ACF Rapid rating system. Top 10 - GM Z.Zhao  NSW  2575, GM D.Smerdon ACT 2546, T.Tao SA 2494, GM D.Johansen VIC 2493, IM G.Xie NSW 2466, IM A.Wohl NSW 2456, IM V.Smirnov NSW  2442, IM M.Ly QLD 2436, FM J.Ikeda ACT 2423, IM G.Lane NSW 2418.

 Women WM A.Caoili QLD 2223, IM I.Berezina-Feldman NSW 2131, WM E.Guo ACT 2107,  WM B.Dekic NSW 2070, WFM S.Oliver ACT 1930. Over 80 P.Viner NSW 1957, over 70 - FM A.Flatow NSW 2193, over 60- IM M.Rujevic VIC 2309  U20 -  FM M.Illingworth NSW 2407,   U18, U16  - FM B.Cheng VIC 2362, U14, U12  - A. Smirnov NSW 2190, U10  K.Willathgamuwa  NSW 1474.

Morozevich wins Petrov Memorial

Peter Parr (27/2/12)      

 Alexander Morozevich has won the Vladimir Petrov Memorial tournament in Jurmala,Latvia scoring 5/7 (rating performance 2832).   A. Shirov (LAT 2710) and I.Kovalenko (UKR 2587) were equal second on 4.5 points.

 Morozevich,Alexander (2763) - Fridman,Daniel (2660) [C11] (7.4)   1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Nce2 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Nf3 Qa5 8.a3 cxd4 9.b4 Qc7 10.cxd4 b5 11.Bd2 Qb6 12.Rb1 Be7 13.Bc3 f6 14.Nf4 fxe5 15.dxe5 Nf8 16.Nd4 Nxd4 17.Bxd4 Qb7 18.Bd3 g6 19.00 Bd7 20.Qg4 a5 21.Rfc1 axb4 22.axb4 Ra4 23.Bc5 Bxc5 24.Rxc5 Qb6 25.Rcc1 Qd4 26.Qg5 Rxb4 27.Nxg6 hxg6 28.Bxg6+ Nxg6 29.Qxg6+ Kf8 30.Qf6+ Kg8 31.Qd8+ Kf7 32.Qxd7+ 10

 Vladimir Petrov from Latvia was one of the leading players in the world from 1935 - 1942. Petrov was second behind Ragozin in Sverdlovsk 1942 in his last tournament. He was arrested by the KGB on Aug 31st  1942  and perished in a gulag on 26 August 1943.  The innocence and rehabilitation of Petrov and many others by the Supreme Soviet was agreed on Jan 17th 1989.

 Petrov tied for first at Kemeri 1937 with Flohr and Reshevsky ahead of Alekhine,Keres and Fine. He played 7 olympiads for Latvia with an outstanding performance at the 1939 Buenos Aires,Argentina Olympiad scoring 72% (undefeated) on first board against the best players in the world. There are only 265 games of Vladimir Petrov that have been found.

 The nineteenth annual weekend chess festival in Bunratty Castle,Ireland was the strongest so far with 10 grandmasters and 10 international masters. Michael Adams (ENG 2709 top seed) beat Nigel Short (ENG 2641 second seed) in the blitz play-off for first place.

 Astaneh Lopez,Alex (2414) - Istratescu,Andrei (2628) [A40] (2)  1.d4 g6 2.Nf3 Bg7 3.Nbd2 c5 4.dxc5 Na6 5.Nb3 Nxc5 6.c3 Qc7 7.g3 b6 8.Bg2 Bb7 9.00 Nf6 10.Bf4 d6 11.Qc1 00 12.Bh6 e5 13.Rd1 Ne6 14.Bxg7 Kxg7 15.Nbd2 d5 16.Nf1 Rad8 17.Ne3 Rfe8 18.b3 h6 19.Qb2 Nc5 20.Rac1 b5 21.Rc2 Qb6 22.Qc1 Nce4 23.Rf1 a5 24.Ne1 Rc8 25.Nd3 h5 26.Bh3 Rc7 27.Nd1 h4 28.Ne3 hxg3 29.hxg3 Rh8 30.Bg2 Nxg3 31.Re1 e4 32.Nf4 Ngh5 33.Nxh5+ Rxh5 34.Rd1 Bc8 35.c4 d4 36.Nd5 Qd6 37.Nxc7 Qh2+ 38.Kf1 Bh3 39.Ke1 e3 40.fxe3 Qg3+ 41.Kd2 Qxe3+ 42.Ke1 Qg3+ 43.Kd2 Qe3+ 44.Ke1 Bxg2 45.Qxe3 dxe3 46.Nxb5 Rh1# 01

 Ten players competed in the  Guam International held in the resort of Tumon in the western Pacific Ocean Island of Guam. The event resulted in a tie for first place between Efren Manuel (Guam) and Leon Kempen (AUS) each scoring 7/9 ahead of Tony Davis (AUS) 6 and Anthony Whitt (Guam) 5.

 Top board  results of the third round of the City of Sydney championship at the Sydney Chess Centre, Burwood : - FM G.Canfell (2341) 1 v  M.Hall (1920) 0, P.Abbott (1968) 0.5 v FM T.Rej (2265) 0.5, M.Morris (2106) 1 v  P.Bogdanoski (1598) 0

Leading scores (28 players,7 rounds) :- Canfell and Morris 3/3, Rej,Abbott and I.Ilic (2010) 2.5.  FIDE Masters Greg Canfell and Max Illingworth are in the joint lead with 3/3  ( 39 players, 6 rounds) in the 1st annual Hornsby Grand Prix Weekender at Asquith Leagues Club.

 The 50th annual Doeberl Cup Easter weekend Tournament 5-9 April in Canberra has so far attracted 11 grandmasters.  This event will be followed by the Sydney International Open at Parramatta Town Hall 11-15 April with 8 grandmasters entered so far.   Grandmaster Roland Schmaltz (GER 2546) who has lived in Brisbane for the last seven years is returning to  live in Germany.

Bartel wins Aeroflot Open

Peter Parr  (20/2/12)      

GM Mateusz Bartel ,aged 27 and the Champion of Poland, won the Aeroflot Open on tiebreak (more games with black) in a freezing cold  Moscow.  12-year-old FM Wei Yi (CHN) was impressive with a 2551 performance.   Bartel,Mateusz (2658) - Caruana,Fabiano (2736) [D11]  (7) Slav 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 Bg4 5.Nc3 e6 6.h3 Bh5 7.Qb3 Qc7 8.Nh4 Nbd7 9.Bd2 Nb6 10.cxd5 exd5 11.Rc1 Bg6 12.Nxg6 hxg6 13.Bd3 Be7 14.00 Kf8 15.a4 a5 16.e4 dxe4 17.Nxe4 Rh5 18.Rfe1 Nxe4 19.Bxe4 Bd6 20.Qf3 Nxa4 21.Bxg6 Rh8 22.Bg5! 10 (There is no defence against 23.Re7! or 23.Be7!, If 22...f6 24.Bxf6! wins)

Zvjaginsev,Vadim (2688) - Rodshtein,Maxim (2634) [C00]  (9.6)  1.e4 e6 2.Nf3 d5 3.e5 c5 4.b4 cxb4 5.a3 Nc6 6.axb4 Bxb4 7.c3 Be7 8.d4 Bd7 9.Bd3 Rc8 10.00 a6 11.Nbd2 Na5 12.Qc2 Qc7 13.Bxh7 Qxc3 14.Qb1 Qb4 15.Bb2 Nh6 16.Bc2 00 17.Rc1 Rc6 18.Bh7+ Kh8 19.Rxc6 Nxc6 20.Bd3 Rc8 21.Qa2 Na7 22.Nb1 Bb5 23.Ba3 Qa4 24.Qe2 Bxa3 25.h3 Rc1+ 01   Leading final scores (86 players including 80 ! grandmasters, 9 rounds): M.Bartel (POL 2658), A.Korobov (UKR 2660) and P.Eljanov (UKR 2690) 6.5: A.Khalifman (ex-world champion RUS 2632), M.Rodshtein (ISR 2634), F.Caruana (ITA 2736), H.Melkumyan (ARM 2620), D.Andreikin (RUS 2688) 6.

Boris Schipkov of Siberia has produced some interesting statistics from the Jan 2012 world rating list. There are 133549 players on the list with an average rating of 1954. Germany has the largest number of rated players 15442 followed by Russia 14422, Spain 12054, France 10099, India 7954. Australia has 791 rated players.  The largest number of titled players is Russia with 206 grandmasters, 475 international masters, 926 FM, 42 WGM, 91 WIM. Ukraine has 76 GMs, 192 IMs and 114 FMs. Germany 75 GMs, 223 IMs and 718 FMs. GMs -  USA 69, Serbia 52. Hungary 49, France 45, Israel 39.Australia has 4 GMs and 20 IMs.

World No.2 Levon Aronian (ARM) who won the  super GM tournament last month above World No.1 Magnus Carlsen (NOR) in Wijk aan Zee,Netherlands returned to Broadbeach, Queensland last week with his partner WIM Arianne Caoili,Australias leading female player.  GM Sergei Movsesian (ARM 2700) is also in Broadbeach assisting Aronian to prepare for his 6 game match 21-28 April against former World Champion and world No.3 Vladimir Kramnik to be held in Zurich, Switzerland.

Max Illingworth won the Newcastle Open Grand Prix weekend tournament defeating International masters Gary Lane and George Xie to reach 5/5 and drew his final round game against Ron Scott. Lane lost to Illingworth but beat IM Vladimir Smirnov and top seed IM George Xie (2474).   Leading final scores (43 players, 6 rounds):- FM.M.Illingworth (2434) 5.5:  IM G.Lane (2362) 5: IM V.Smirnov (2399), R.Scott (2275), A.Smirnov (2132), T.Parker (1622) 4.5.  Trent Parker won the 2012 NSW Country Championship Title.

City of Sydney championship (28 players, 7 rounds) leading results round 2:- N.Kordahi (1927) 0 v FM G.Canfell (2341) 1 , FM T.Rej (2265) 1 v  A.Miranda (1673) 0 , B.Zoud (1943) 0 v M.Morris (2106) 1. Canfell surprised Kordahi with 1..Nc6 in response to 1.e4    Six players lead with 2/2 G.Canfell, T.Rej, M.Morris, P.Abbott, M.Hall and P.Bogdanoski.

The first annual Hornsby Grand Prix weekender (25-26 February) will be held at Asquith Leagues Club.  Early entries include IM G.Xie 2474,FM M.Illingworth 2434,IM G.Lane 2362,FM G.Canfell 2349,FM I.Bjelobrk 2292.  The Canterbury Allegro with 15 mins per player per game will be a 9 round event held on Monday 27 February and Monday 5 March at Lakemba Services Memorial Club.

Candidates in London

Peter Parr  (13/2/12)            

 The President of the World Chess Federation (FIDE) Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (Kalmykia,Russia) has announced that the World Championship Candidates Tournament will be held in London 23 October 13 November. The participants will be Carlsen, Aronian, Kramnik, Radjabov, Ivanchuk, Grischuk, Svidler and the loser of the Anand Gelfand World Title Match (May in Moscow). The eight player event to be a double round robin. FIDE has transferred the rights to the next World Championship cycle for men to Agon, a new company founded in January 2012, with American businessman Andrew Paulson as the organiser. Paulson is an entrepreneur working in Russia with no previous connection to chess. Why Paulson is ready to invest a very substantial amount into chess is a mystery.

 The Moscow Open attracted 1400 participants among them 95 grandmasters and 70 international masters. The top group (190 players,9 rounds) was won by 25-year-old  GM Igor Lysyj (RUS 2633). The Aeroflot Open  in Moscow started just after the Moscow Open ended.  Aeroflot is held in three rating divisions with 77 in A (above 2549),  116 in B (2300-2549) and 115 in C   for lower rated players (under 2300).

 Sokolov,Ivan (2641) - Pap,Gyula (2533) [D31]   1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 a6 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nf3 c6 6.Qb3 Nf6 7.Bg5 Be7 8.e3 00 9.Bd3 Nbd7 10.00 Re8 11.Rad1 Ne4 12.Bf4 Ndf6 13.Ne5 Nxc3 14.bxc3 Nh5 15.Qb1 g6 16.Bh6 Bd6 17.f4 Ng7 18.e4 f6 19.exd5 cxd5 20.Bxg6 hxg6 21.Qxg6 Bf8 22.f5 fxe5 23.f6 Re6 24.Bxg7 10 Leading scores after 5 rounds :- M.Rodshtein ISR 2634,H.Melkumyan ARM 2620 and A.Korobov UKR 2660 all 4 points.

 The worlds oldest grandmaster Yuri Averbakh celebrated his 90th birthday last Wednesday in Moscow. Averbakh was awarded the USSR Master Title in 1943 and won the USSR Championship in 1954. He has defeated World Champions Euwe,Botvinnik and Petrosian. He has composed hundreds of endgame studies,written books and edited magazines. Averbakh was President of the Soviet Chess Federation 1972-1977.

 Averbakh,Yuri L - Estrin,Yacov [D39] Moscow-championship 1964     1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.Bg5 Bb4 6.e4 c5 7.Bxc4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qc7 9.Qb3 Bxc3+ 10.Qxc3 Nxe4 11.Nb5 Qc5 12.Qxg7 Rf8 13.Bh6 Qxf2+ 14.Kd1 Nd7 15.Re1 Nef6 16.Bxe6 Qxb2 17.Rc1 10

 The following FIDE  International  Organiser  Titles were awarded at the World Chess Federation Presidential Board Meeting last week in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates:- G.Hartland (VIC), IM L.Sandler (VIC), S.Burgess (NSW), N.Greenwood (NSW), IA P. Parr (NSW), W.Anderson-Smith (SA). Australia now has a total of eight  FIDE International Organisers.

 The seven - round  28 player City of Sydney Championship organised by the NSW Chess Association started last Monday evening at the Sydney Chess Centre, Burwood.  Leading results round 1:- FM G.Canfell (2341) 1 v V.Ibrahim (1536) 0,  S.Harris (1505) 0 v FM T.Rej (2265) 1, M.Morris (2106) 1 v S.Steinitz (1466) 0,  M.Tracey (1691) 1  v M.Van Renen (2066) 0.

 The two largest chess clubs in Sydney - St. George Leagues Club and Norths, Cammeray start their annual club championship tournaments tomorrow evening Tuesday 14 February.  The top divisions in each event will be rated by the World Chess Federation. There are 77 entries so far at Norths.  Former Australian Champion IM Gary Lane will be giving a simultaneous exhibition at Rooty Hill RSL Club on Friday evening 17 February.

Aronian Wins Wijk aan Zee

Peter Parr (6/2/12)

 The 74th Tata Steel Super GM Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands was won by World No.2  Levon Aronian who won 7 games - the highest number of wins since Kasparovs 7 wins  in 1999. World No.1 Magnus Carlsen 2835 who performed exactly in accordance with his rating tied for second place with Fabiano Caruana and the only undefeated player  World no.5 Teimour Radjabov.  Former World Champion Veselin Topalov (BUL) and Boris Gelfand (ISR) who will play a world title match in Moscow in May 2012 against the defending champion Viswanathan Anand (IND) each scored a disappointing 5/13.

 Leading final scores (14 players,2755 average rating, 13 rounds):- L.Aronian (ARM 2805) 9: M.Carlsen (NOR 2835), T.Radjabov (AZE 2773), F.Caruana (ITA 2736) 8: V.Ivanchuk (UKR 2766), H.Nakamura (USA 2759) 7.5:  G.Kamsky (USA 2732) 7: S.Karjakin (RUS 2769) 6.5.

 P.Harikrishna (IND 2655) won the B group with 9/13 and M.Turov (RUS 2645) won the C Group with 10.5/13.  Australias no 1 female player WIM Arianne Caoili (2260) and partner of Levon Aronian increased her rating with 6/8 in a supporting event. The top 4 players on the March 2012 World Rating List will be Carlsen 2835, Aronian 2824, Kramnik 2801, Anand 2799.

 Hou Yifan, the seventeen-year-old Womens World Champion scored her best result to date by finishing equal first with former World Title Challenger Nigel Short in The Tradewise Gibraltar Festival. Hou Yifan scored 5/6 against players rated above 2700 for an overall colossal performance rating of 2872. Short was undefeated and performed at 2838.  The official website hits over the 10 days was a staggering quarter of a billion hits.

 Jussupow,Artur (2569) - Shirov,Alexei (2710) [A00] 8.7   1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nbd2 00 5.c3 d5 6.e3 Nbd7 7.Bd3 Re8 8.00 e5 9.e4 exd4 10.cxd4 dxe4 11.Nxe4 h6 12.Qb3 Re7 13.Ne5 hxg5 14.Nxf7 Nc5 15.Nxf6+ Bxf6 16.dxc5 Rxf7 17.Bxg6 Qf8 18.f4 g4 19.f5 Bd7 20.Rf4 Bc6 21.Kh1 Rd8 22.Rxg4 Bd5 23.Qh3 Rg7 24.Bh7+ Kf7 25.Bg6+ Ke7 26.Qa3 Kd7 27.Rd1 Kc8 28.Qxa7 c6 29.Qa8+ Kc7 30.Qa5+ Kb8 31.Ra4 Be5 32.h3 Kc8 33.Re1 Bxg2+ 34.Kxg2 Qxf5 35.Rg4 Rxg6 36.Qb4 Rd4 01

Hou,Yifan (2605) - Le,Quang Liem (2714) [A00] 8.3   1 e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.f4 e6 7.Be2 Qc7 8.00 Be7 9.Kh1 00 10.a4 Nc6 11.Be3 Re8 12.Bf3 Na5 13.Bf2 Nd7 14.Qe1 b6 15.e5 Bb7 16.Bg3 dxe5 17.fxe5 Rac8 18.Rd1 Bb4 19.Qf2 Rf8 20.Ne4 Nxe5 21.Bf4 Bxe4 22.Bxe4 Bd6 23.Nf3 f5 24.Bxe5 Bxe5 25.Bd3 Bxb2 26.Rb1 Bc3 27.Ng5 Qe7 28.Qe3 Nc4 29.Bxc4 Rxc4 30.Rxb6 Bd4 31.Qd3 Rxa4 32.Rxe6 Qa3 33.Qe2 h6 34.Rxh6 ! gxh6 35.Qe6+ Kg7 36.Qd7+ Kg6 37.Ne6 Bc5? (37..Rf7 was better) 38.Qg7+ Kh5 39.Nxf8 Bxf8 40.Qf7+ 10. Mate is forced.

Leading final scores (256 players from 59 countries,10 rounds) :- Hou Yifan (CHN 2605),N.Short(ENG 2677) 8 ; M.Adams(ENG 2724),S.Mamedyarov (AZE 2747),V.Bologan(MDA 2680),E.Sutovsky(ISR 2703) 7.5. J.Attwood(AUS 2072) scored 4.5/10

Nigel Short won the rapid play-off match 1.5-0.5.

Jason Hu, seeded ninth, won the NSWCA Australia Day Grand Prix Weekender at Norths by winning his first six games and drawing with Blair Mandla in the final round. Hu defeated the top two seeds George Xie and Max Illingworth. Xie was lost by move 20 when his queen was trapped.  Leading final scores (74 players, 7 rounds) :- J.Hu (2095)  6.5, FM M.Illingworth (2434),IM G.Xie (2474),B.Mandla (2136),IM A.Brown (ACT 2242) all 5.5

The Newcastle Open incorporating the  NSW  Country Championship six round GP weekender will be held at Gallipoli Legion Club, Hamilton 11-12 Feb.    The World Rated City of Sydney Championship organised by the NSW Chess Association starts this evening 6 February at Sydney Chess Centre, Burwood. The event will be held over seven consecutive Monday evenings.

Levon Leads before last round

Peter Parr (30/1/12)

World no 2 Levon Aronian has emerged a full point ahead of World no 1 Magnus Carlsen and World no 5 Teimour Radjabov with one round left to play in the Tata Steel Super GM Tournament in Wijk aan zee, Netherlands. Radjabov is undefeated and plays Aronian in the final round.   A.Giri 2714  v L.Aronian 2805  D37 Queens Gambit  1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Be7 4 Nf3 Nf6 5 Bf4 0-0 6 e3 Nbd7 7 Be2 dxc4 8 0-0 Nb6 9 Qc2 Nh5 10 Be5 f6 11 Ng5 fxg5 12 Bxh5 Bd7 13 Bf3 Rxf3! 14 gxf3 Bd6 15 Qe4 Bc6 16 Qg4 Qe7 17 Bxd6 cxd6 18 Ne4 h6 19 Qg3 d5 20 Nc3 Rf8 21 Ne2 Rf5! (black has compensation for the exchange sacrifice) 22 Kg2 Nd7 23 Rh1 Nf8 24 h4 Ng6 25 f4 Nxh4+ 26 Kf1 Qb4 27 Rb1 Be8 28 Nc3 Qe7 29 b4 Rf8 30 Rb2 Bg6 31 Ke1 Bd3! 32 fxg5 Nf3+ 33 Kd1 hxg5 34 Qh3 Qf6 35 Kc1 Bg6 36 a4 Rd8! 37 Ne2 e5 38 Qg4? exd4 39 exd4 Re8 40 Qd7 c3 41 Ra2 Ne1!! 42 Rxe1 Qf4+! 43 Kd1 Qe4 0-1

Leading scores after 12 rounds  (14 players, 2755  average rating ,13 rounds):- L.Aronian (ARM 2805) 8.5, M.Carlsen (NOR 2835), T.Radjabov (AZE 2773) 7.5, V.Ivanchuk (UKR 2766), F.Caruana (ITA 2736), H.Nakamura (USA 2759) 7.

P.Harikrishna (IND 2665) leads the BGroup on 8.5/12.  M.Turov (RUS 2645) and H.Tikkanen (SWE 2549) lead the C Group with 7.5/12.    Aronian will play a six game classical match 21-28 April against World no 3 Vladimir Kramnik, former World Champion (RUS 2801).  The Gibraltar Festival is in progress with 256 players (52 rated above 2500) from 59 countries.   M.Adams (ENG 2724), G.Gopal (IND 2566), N.Dzagnidze (GEO 2535) and K.Sasikiran (IND 2700) share the lead with 4.5/5.  J.Attwood (AUS 2072) has scored 2/5.

The third Queenstown, New Zealand Classic, with generous sponsorship of $ 50,000 from NZL  Grandmaster Murray Chandler was the most prestigious chess event ever in New Zealand.   14th seed Grandmaster Darryl Johansen,who won the Australian Championship for a record sixth time earlier this month, won the event on count-back (most wins). Johansen 2403 beat Commonwealth Champion and second seed Gawain Jones (ENG 2653) in the last round.  Li Chao and Zhao Jun met the strongest opposition and were undefeated.

Trevor Tao of Adelaide scored his third and final IM norm in the event. Tao (2422) had a winning position against top seed Li Chao (2693) in the last round but only drew costing him a tie for first place. Junta Ikeda of Canberra scored his first IM norm. Former NSW Champion Andrew Bird was placed 11th after defeating IM Xie and IM Garbett in the last two rounds. Michael Steadman won the New Zealand Title scoring 6.5/11.

Leading final scores (148 players from 19 countries including eleven grandmasters, 9 rounds ) :-  GM D.Johansen (AUS 2403), GM B. Li Chao (CHN 2693), GM J.Zhao (CHN 2569) 7.5, IM A.Khamparia (IND 2414), GM E.Rozentalis (LTU 2592), T.Tao (AUS 2422), GM Shansen (Den 2572), GM S.Ganguly (IND 2639) 7.

The Australian Junior Championships in Melbourne attracted 273 players in age and gender divisions from under 18 to under 8. The winners were :- U18 Alistair Cameron (SA), U18 G Miranda Webb-Liddle (VIC), U16 Bernard Chau (NSW), U16 G Stephanie Gu (VIC), U14 - Andrew Pan (NSW), U14 G- Denise Lim (VIC), U12- Rowan Willathgamuwa (NSW), U12 G- Alanna Chew Lee (VIC).

Forthcoming tournaments include East Sydney Summer Challenge at Club Bondi Junction 9 rounds starting Thursday  2 Feb , Canterbury Rapid at Lakemba Services Club  9 rounds over 3 Mondays commencing 6 Feb. The World Rated City of Sydney Championship organised by the NSW Chess Association will be held over 7 Monday evenings commencing 6 Feb at Sydney Chess Centre, Burwood .

Carlsen or Aronian

Peter Parr (23/1/12)

 World no 2 Levon Aronian surrendered the lead when he lost to World no 1 Magnus Carlsen in round three of the Tata Steel GM Tournament in Wijk  aan Zee, Netherlands. Aronian re-joined Carlsen in the lead with 3.5/5 and moved ahead of Carlsen in round six. Carlsen defeated World Title Challenger Boris Gelfand in round 7 leaving Carlsen and Aronian equal leaders with six rounds to play. Former World Champion Veselin Topalov (BUL 2770) is out of form with 3/7.

Leading scores after round 7 (14 players, average rating 2755, 13 rounds):-  M.Carlsen (NOR 2835), L.Aronian (ARM 2805) 5, T.Radjabov (AZE 2773) 4.5, F.Caruana (ITA 2736), A.Giri (NED 2714), V.Ivanchuk (UKR 2766), H.Nakamura (USA 2759) 4.

 The following game was played on Saturday in the B Group.    GM I.Nyzhnyk  (UKR 2568, aged 15) v GM D.Vocaturo (ITA 2545) A56 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 d6 4 Nc3 g6 5 e4 Bg7 6 Nf3 0-0 7 Be2 e6 8 0-0 Re8 9 Nd2 Na6 10 Re1 Nc7 11 a4 Na6 12 Bf1 Nb4 13 h3 b6 14 a5 bxa5 15 Nb3 Ba6 16 e5 dxe5 17 d6 Rc8 18 Bg5 Rc6 19 Ne4 h6 20 Bxf6 Bxf6 21 Nxa5 Rb6 22 Nb3 Bh4 23 Nbxc5 f5 24 Nxa6 fxe4 25 c5 Rxa6 26 Bxa6 Rf8 27 Rxe4 Bxf2+ 28 Kh1 Nc6 29 Qg4 Rf6 30 Bb7 Na5 31 c6 Qf8 32 c7 Nxb7 33 d7 h5 34 Qe2 1-0.  GM P.Harikrishna ( IND 2665) leads with 5.5/7. GM M.Turov  (RUS 2645) leads C Group on 6/7.          The 10th Tradewise Gibraltar Festival  24 Jan-2 Feb  boasts the participation of 57 grandmasters ( 11 are rated 2700 or over)  in the 240 player masters division.

 Leading scores in the Queenstown, New Zealand  Classic after round 7 (148 players from 19 Countries including 11 GMs, 9 rounds) :-  GM B.Li Chao (CHN 2693), GM E.Rozentalis (LTU 2592), GM J.Zhao (CHN 2569) 6 ;  FM J.Ikeda (AUS 2349), GM D.Bojkov (BUL 2553), T.Tao (AUS 2422), GM D.Johansen (AUS 2403), D.Dragicevic (AUS 2277), WGM X.Gu (CHN 2244), GM S.Hansen (DEN 2572) , IM M.Ly (AUS 2376), GM S.Ganguly (IND 2639) 5.5.  The three grandmasters in the joint  lead have each scored five wins and two draws.

 Nine players including five Australians are only half-a-point behind with two rounds to play. Justin Ikeda (loss to Li Chao 2693) and Trevor Tao (loss to J.Zhao 2569) have each scored 5 wins,1 draw and one loss and are performing above 2500 rating. A 2450+ performance over 9 games is required for an IM norm result 3 results for the IM Title. Other players including FM Christopher Wallis (AUS 2259) are also in the running for an IM norm. Wallis has 4.5/7 including 50% against five Grandmasters. Grandmaster Darryl Johansen (2403) who won the Australian Championship for the record sixth time earlier this month is also performing well above 2500.  IM Paul Garbett (2290) and IM Russell Dive (2345) are leading the New Zealand Championship with 5/7. 

 Alistair Cameron (SA) is half-a-point ahead of Justin Tan (VIC) and Anton Smirnov (NSW) with one round left to play in the Australian Junior U-18 Championship in Melbourne. Winners in the lower age divisions were :- Under 8 Bobby Yu (VIC) Girls: Emily Lin (VIC), Under 10: Kevin Willathgamuwa (NSW), Girls: Jody Middleton (VIC).  The Under 18 lightning was won by Anton Smirnov (NSW), Girls Miranda Webb-Liddle (VIC) and the Under 12 lightning winner was Kevin Willathgamuwa (NSW). 

 Fifteen-year-old Dominic Mah won the NSW Junior Leagues Summer Two-Day Tournament,after wresting the lead from top seed Methew Yan in the last round the lead had already changed hands several times during the course of the closely-fought tournament. Leading final scores (123 players,12 rounds): Dominic Mah 10.5,Methew Yan 10,Daniel Cheng 9.5.

 The Australia Day weekend tournament organised by the NSW Chess Association will be held at Norths, Cammeray, Sydney 28-29 January. There are four rounds on Saturday and three on Sunday with an overall prize fund of $2340 based on 60 entries. There are Open and divisional prizes for  players rated U-1800, U-1600 and U-1400.

Tata Steel Strongest Ever

Peter Parr (16/1/12)

 The 74th annual Tata Steel GM tournament 14-29 Jan in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands is the strongest ever . The   A Group event is  category 21 with an average rating of the 14 players being 2755. Eight of the worlds top 12 rated players are participating .

World no 1 Magnus Carlsen (NOR 2835) gained a slightly better position from the opening with his pieces being a little more active and won in 67 moves against Vugar  Gashimov (AZE 2761). World no 2  Levon  Aronian won the following complicated game. 

 S.Karjakin (RUS 2769) v  L.Aronian (ARM 2805)  C84 Ruy Lopez Centre Attack 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 d3 b5 7 Bb3 0-0 8 a4 b4 9 Nbd2 Bc5 10 h3 d6 11 c3 Rb8 12 Re1 Re8 13 a5 Ba7 14 Nf1 Ne7 15 Ng3 Ng6 16 d4 h6 17 Bc2 c5 18 dxe5 dxe5 19 Bd3 Be6 20 Bxa6 c4 21 Ra4 Qc7 22 cxb4 Bxf2+ 23 Kxf2 Qa7+ 24 Be3 Qxa6 25 Kg1 Red8 26 Qc1 Rd3 27 Rd1 Rb3 28 Qd2 Kh7 29 Kh2 Rb7 30 Qf2 Bd7 31 Ra2 R7xb4 32 Nh5  (32 Bxh6 ! is interesting) Bc8 33 Nxf6+ Qxf6 34 Kg1 Bb7 35 Nd2 Qxf2+ 36 Bxf2 Rd3 37 a6 Bxe4 38 Re1 Ba8 39 Ne4 Nf4 40 a7 f6 41 h4 c3 42 Nc5 c2 0-1 (after 43 Nxd3 Nxd3 44 Raa1 Nxe1 45 Rxe1 Rxb2 leaves black two pawns ahead with a winning position).

 The other first round results were :- 2012 World Title Challenger  B.Gelfand (ISR 2739) 0 v A.Giri (NED 2714) 1 black won in 70 moves.   D.Navara (CZE 2712) 0.5 v ex-World Champion V.Topalov (BUL 2770) 0.5,  T.Radjabov (AZE 2773)  0.5 v F.Caruana (ITA 2736) 0.5, H.Nakamura (USA 2759) 0.5  v  V.Ivanchuk (UKR 2766) 0.5 , G.Kamsky (USA 2732) 0.5  v L.Van Wely (NED 2692) 0.5.

 GM Pentala Harikrishna (IND 2665) is top seed in the category  15 (average 2603) B GM Group and GM Matthew Sadler (ENG 2660) is top seed in the C GM Group. There are also numerous events for amateur players in the seaside resort of Wijk aan Zee.

 The top  seeds in the  Queenstown, New Zealand Classic (15-23 Jan) are GM B. Li Chao (CHN 2693), GM G.Jones (ENG 2653), GM S.Ganguly (IND 2639),GM E.Rozentalis (LTU 2592), GM S.Hansen (DEN 2572), GM Zhao Jun (CHN 2569), GM D.Bojkov (BUL 2553), GM Zhao Xue (CHN 2551), GM K.Bischoff (GER 2537), IM G.Xie (AUS 2459),GM K.Haznedaroglu (TUR 2455),T.Tao(AUS 2422).  There are a total of 148 players including 64 (NZL) and 56 (AUS) from 19 Federations including eleven grandmasters.

 Chess will be one of 25 disciplines in the official program of the South East Asia (SEA) Games in 2013 to be held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar (Burma).

 The NSW Junior Leagues Sydney Summer One-Day Tournament has been won jointly by 15-year-old Nicholas Brown and 13-year-old Daniel Cheng. Several younger players performed well, including 10-year-old Rishi Dutta and 8-year-old Kerry Lin, who shared sixth place. Leading final scores (135 players,8 rounds): Nicholas Brown, Daniel Cheng 7,Methew Yan, Shavin  Wijeyaratne, Louis Long 6.5.

 The Junior Leagues next Sydney event will be a two-day tournament on Wednesday and Thursday this week. One-day tournaments are also being held in Mingara (Central Coast),Orange and Wollongong. For details see www.nswjcl.org.au or contact Richard Gastineau-Hills, phone 0403 962 442.

 The Australian Junior Championships 14-22 Jan organised by Melbourne Chess club  with a record entry of 273 players has commenced at the Spensley St Primary School, Clifton Hill, Melbourne. There are 6 open and 6 girls divisions from under 8 to under 18 . The top three seeds in the Under 18 open event  -  Anton Smirnov (NSW ), Justin Tan (VIC )and Alistair Cameron (SA ) all won their first round games.

Johansen Six Times Australian Champion
Peter Parr
Grandmaster Darryl Johansen of Melbourne has won his sixth Australian Championship in Geelong after drawing his final round game in an equal endgame position after 32 moves against former Champion Aleks Wohl.  Johansen defeated each of  the top three seeds -  Zhao, Xie and Khamparia   and lost no games finishing a full point ahead of his closest rivals.   
Johansen tied for first in the 1977 Australian Junior and won  the Australian championship for the first time 28 years ago in 1983/4 after defeating Solomon in a play-off match for the title.  Johansen, aged only  52, is expected to represent Australia in his fifteenth Chess Olympiad later this year. The late IM Cecil Purdy was aged 68 when he was selected  for the Australian Olympiad team  in  1974.  
The top seed GM Zong-Yuan Zhao won the following game in the final round :-    Yi  Liu v Zhao  1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 d5 d6 5 Nc3 exd5 6 cxd5 a6 7 a4 g6 8 h3 Qe7 9 Bf4 Bg7 10 e3 0-0 11 Bd3 Nh5 12 Bh2 f5 13 0-0 Nd7 14 Nd2 Ne5 15 Be2 Nf6 16 f4 Nd3! 17 Kh1 Nb4 18 Nc4 Bd7 19 Bf3 Rae8 20 Re1 b5 21 Nb6 c4 22 e4 Nd3 23 Qd2 fxe4 24 Nxe4 Nxe1 25 Rxe1 Bf5 26 Nxf6+ Qxf6 27 Rxe8 Rxe8 28 axb5 Qd4 0-1
Khamparia-Smirnov was agreed drawn in 57 moves due to forced repetition. Solomon beat Cheng due to a passed pawn on each side of the board in a rook and knight endgame.
Leading final scores  (30 players, 11 rounds) :- GM D.Johansen (VIC  2403) 8.5, GM Z.Zhao (NSW 2564),IM V.Smirnov  (RUS,NSW 2401),IM G.Xie (NSW 2440),IM IM S.Solomon (QLD 2384) all 7.5, IM M.Ly (QLD 2376), IM A.Wohl (NSW 2404), FM J.Ikeda (ACT 2349) 6.5, IM A.Khamparia (IND 2414), D.Dragicevic (VIC 2247), J.Tan (VIC 2160) 6. The four players who tied for second place each scored well over 80% with the white pieces but each scored only 50% or less with the black pieces. Zhao lost 12 rating points he had also finished 2nd equal when he was only thirteen years old.
  Johansen, V.Smirnov , Dragicevic, Tan, Liu and A.Smirnov (aged only 10 scoring 50%) each gained over 20 rating points.  Teenagers FM Max Illingworth,the 2011 NSW State Champion and ACF 2011 Player of the year, (who recently scored a grandmaster result in Hungary), IM James Morris and FM Bobby Cheng were unable to challenge their older rivals on the leading boards. The Australian Championship is played at a slower time control and one game per day.  
Many juniors (and some adults) are playing too many  one minute bullet games on the internet. Weekenders with four games in one day against low rated opposition is also fun but is very different from the Australian Championship restricted to the top players.   Improvement comes from serious study, tuition, and strong opposition with slow time controls.  Nineteen of the 30 players from the Australian Championship including Johansen are competing in the Queenstown, New Zealand Classic being held in the ballroom of the Millennium Hotel 15 23 January.
Leading final scores in the Australian Reserves Championship (76 players,11 rounds) :- J.Penrose (VIC 2031) 9,  A.Dale (VIC 1892) 8.5,  F.Lekkas (VIC 1939), D.Spuler (QLD 1936) , O.Khaled  (Bangladesh 1936) 8.
The Presentation of the ACF Medal Winners was held at the prize-giving in Geelong, Victoria.   Steiner Medal 2011 (player) - Max Illingworth,  Koshnitsky Medal 2012 ( administration) - Trevor Stanning,  Arlauskas Medal 2012 (junior) -  Yi Liu, Whyatt Medal 2011 (problems) -  Geoff  Foster.

Johansen Marches On
Peter Parr
Grandmaster Darryl Johansen marched his pawns to victory in the tenth round of the Australian Championship in Geelong, Victoria increasing his lead in the event to a full point with only one game left to play.  Johansen advanced all his queenside pawns and sacrificed a knight for a strong attack. Akshat  Khamparia, winner of the Sydney International Open 2011, fought back with his own piece sacrifice but Johansen could have won with  34 e7. Johansen was a pawn ahead in the endgame and exchanged pieces after calculating that the tricky king and pawn ending was just winning by one move.
GM D. Johansen (VIC 2403)  v IM A.Khamparia (IND 2414)  1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 d4 0-0 6 Be2 Na6 7 0-0 e5 8 Re1 Qe8 9 Bf1 Bg4 10 d5 Nh5 11 h3 Bd7 12 Rb1 Nc5 13 Nb5 Na6 14 b4 f5 15 Rb3 f4 16 a4 Qe7 17 Ba3 Rfc8 18 Rc3 Bf8 19 c5 Nf6 20 Qe2 Be8 21 Rec1 Rd8 22 R3c2 dxc5 23 bxc5 c6 24 d6 Qg7 25 Nxe5! cxb5 26 axb5 Nxc5 27 Bxc5 Bxd6 28 Bxd6 Rxd6 29 Rc7 Nd7 30 Nf3 Rb6 31 e5 Qf8 32 e6 Nf6 33 Qe5 Nh5 34 Qe4 ?  Qd6 35 Rxb7 Nf6 36 Rxb6 Nxe4 37 Rxd6 Nxd6 38 Rc5 Kg7 39 Rd5 Rd8 40 Rd4 Kf6 41 Rxf4+ Kxe6 42 Ra4 Rd7 43 Nd4+ Kd5 44 Nc6 Nc8 45 Rd4+ Kc5 46 Re4 Bf7 47 Ne5 Re7 48 f4 Bd5 49 Re1 Nb6 50 Kf2 Kd6 51 Rd1 Rc7 52 Rd2 Ke6 53 h4 Nd7 54 Nxd7 Rxd7 55 g3 Rc7 56 Bh3+ Kd6 57 Bg2 Rc5 58 Rxd5+ Rxd5 59 Bxd5  Kxd5 60 Kf3 Kc5 61 g4 Kxb5 62 f5 gxf5 63 g5 1-0 (after 63..a5 64 h5 a4 65 g6 hxg6 66 h6 wins ).  
Top board results round 9 :- Ly v Johansen draw, Solomon 1 v Zhao 0, Smirnov 1 v Ikeda 0,  Xie 1  v Steadman 0.  Round 10 :-  Xie 1 v Solomon 0, Smirnov  v  Ly  draw , Zhao 1 v Stojic  0.   Leading scores after round 10 (30 players, 11 rounds):- GM D.Johansen (VIC 2403) 8, IM V.Smirnov (RUS,NSW 2401), IM G.Xie (NSW 2440) 7 , GM Z.Zhao (NSW 2564), IM S.Solomon (QLD 2384) 6.5, IM M.LY (QLD 2376), IM A.Wohl (NSW 2404) 6. Johansen only needs to score a maximum of half-a-point against former Australian Champion Aleks Wohl in the last round to secure his sixth title.
Leading scores in the Reserves event  after round 10 (76 players,11 rounds):- F.Lekkas (1939),J.Penrose (2031) 8, A.Dale (1892) and FM D.Hamilton (1999) 7.5 all from Victoria.
Australian Lightning Championship leading final scores (76 players,11 rounds) :- IM M.Ly (QLD) 9.5, FM M.Illingworth (NSW) and IM G.Xie (NSW) 8.5, FM B.Cheng (VIC), B.McClymont (QLD), FM J.Ikeda (ACT) 8.  Last year in Sydney  Moulthun Ly won the title scoring 10/11, Illingworth was second and Xie third .
The NSW Junior Leagues first event of the year, the Sydney Summer three-Day Tournament, has been won by 13-year-pld Andrew Pan. The long-time-limit tournament, designed for experienced players, was used by several (including the winner) as a warm-up for the Australian Junior Championships which will be held in Melbourne 14-22 Jan.   Leading final scores (61 players,9 rounds):- Andrew Pan 8, Joshua Lau 7.5, Vincent Chen and Daniel Cheng 7.
The Junior Leagues next two Sydney events, a one-day tournament on Wednesday of this week and a two-day tournament on Wednesday and Thursday of the following week, have faster time limits and are designed for players of all strengths, particularly those new to competitive play. For details see http://www.nswjcl.org.au or contact Richard Gastineau-Hills, phone 0403 962 442 .
Anish Giri, aged 17,has won the super-grandmaster tournament in Reggio Emilia (Italy). Giri, born in St Petersburg, Russia became a grandmaster at the age of 14. Final scores (6 players, 10 rounds):-  A.Giri (NED 2714) 6, A.Morozevich (RUS 2762), H.Nakamura (USA 2758), F.Caruana (ITA 2727) 5.5, V.Ivanchuk (UKR 2775) 4.5, N.Vitiugov (RUS 2729) 3.    Wang Yue CHN 2697 won the traditional Hastings Masters (launched in 1895) in England scoring 7.5/9.

Johansen Chasing Sixth Title     

Peter Parr (6/1/12)

 Five-times Australian Champion Grandmaster Darryl Johansen who has competed in every Australian Championship for over 30 years has taken a full one point lead with only three games left to play in the current Title event which is held once every two years.  The game in round 7  between the leaders Johansen v IM Vladimir Smirnov was an uneventful 17-move draw leaving them equal first but ahead of the field.  Johansen had already defeated the top seed and defending champion GM Zong-Yuan Zhao in round 6.

  His next opponent was IM George Xie, the second seed, and current Australian Open Champion.  Xie excels in tricky unclear positions and he has defeated Johansen before with his tactical skill.

Johansen adopts a very sound quiet positional opening and his control of the open file left him with a comfortable middle-game. Johansens strategy paid off  leaving little counter-play and his outside passed pawn was sufficient to win.

 GM D. Johansen ( 2403) IM G. Xie (2440)  1 Nf3 d5 2 d4 Nf6 3 c4 c6 4 cxd5 cxd5 5 Nc3 g6 6 Bf4 Bg7 7 e3 0-0 8 h3 b6 9 Be2 Bb7 10 0-0 Ne4 11 Rc1 Nd7 12 Qb3 e6 13 Nxe4 dxe4 14 Ne5 Nxe5 15 Bxe5 Bxe5 16 dxe5 Qg5 17 Rc7 Bd5 18 Qc3 a6 19 a4 Qd8 20 Rc1 Qb8 21 b4 a5 22 Bb5 Kg7 23 bxa5 bxa5 24 Qc5 Qd8 25 g3 Qg5 26 Qc3 Rfd8 27 Be2 h5 28 h4 Qf5 29 Kg2 Rdb8 30 Rc2 Rb3 31 Qc5 Qxe5 32 Qe7 Qf5 33 Rc8 Kh7 34 Qd8 Rxc8 35 Rxc8 Qe5 36 Qg8+ Kh6 37 Qxf7 Rb7 38 Qf8+ Qg7 39 Qf4+ Kh7 40 Qg5 Qe7 41 Qxe7+ Rxe7 42 Rc5 Bb3 43 Rxa5 Rd7 44 g4 hxg4 45 Bxg4 Kg7 46 Ra6 Kf6 47 a5 Rd2 48 Rb6 Bd5 49 Kg3 Ra2 50 Rb5 Ke5 51 Bh3 Ra1 52 Bg2 Kf6 53 Kf4 Ra2 54 Bxe4 Bxe4 55 Kxe4 Rxf2 56 Kd4 Rh2 57 Kc5 Rxh4 58 a6 Rh5+ 59 Kb6 Rh8 60 a7 g5 61 Kc6 Rc8+ 62 Kb7 Rh8 63 a8 = Q Rxa8 64 Kxa8 g4 65 Kb7 e5 66 e4 g3 67 Kc6 1-0 

Meanwhile joint leader Smirnov and former Australian Champion Stephen Solomon, who has competed in every Championship since 1982, had reached a simple drawn ending of queen and two pawns each. It was clear that within a few moves a draw would be agreed. Solomon gave a check Smirnov moved one square up the board  (other moves drew) Solomon delivered  checkmate with his queen.  An amazing and unexpected  finish . Former World Title Challenger Viktor Korchnoi made a similar blunder 25 years ago costing him a full point against GM Ian Rogers (AUS).

 FM Bobby Cheng was the exchange ahead against Xie in rd 7 each side queened a pawn - but Chengs king was exposed to multiple checks and Xie won.   Zhao won the exchange and beat Domagoj Dragicevic in rd 8. Ikeda-Ly was drawn in 15 moves. The game between 4th seed IM Aleks Wohl and 3rd seed IM Akshat Khamparia (India) was drawn after a long equal endgame.

 Leading scores after round 8 :- GM D.Johansen (VIC 2403) 6.5 ;  GM Z.Zhao (NSW 2564), IM S.Solomon (QLD 2384), IM V.Smirnov (RUS,NSW 2401) 5.5 ;  IM G.Xie (NSW 2440), FM J.Ikeda (ACT 2349), IM M.Ly (QLD 2376) 5; with 8 players on 4.5 points.

 Colin Savige( VIC 2079) the early leader in the 76-player main supporting event lost to David Spuler (QLD 1936) in round eight. Spuler leads  with 7/8 and plays Douglas Hamilton (VIC 1999) in 2nd place in round nine. The winner of the tournament qualifies for the 2014 Australian Championship. FM Hamilton has won the Australian Title three times. 2014 would be 50 years since he first won the title event in Hobart 1964.    The final three rounds will be played in the afternoon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Sphinx Entertainment Centre in North Geelong, Victoria.

Champions lose in round six
Peter Parr (4/1/12)
The top two seeds  Zong-Yuan Zhao, the defending champion, and George Xie, the Australian Open Champion were defeated on the top two boards in the sixth round of the Australian Championship in  North Geelong , Victoria.  Zhao had a slight advantage in the opening but accurate play by the former five-time Australian Champion Darryl Johansen led to  black winning a pawn in the late middle-game. This was Johansens fourth consecutive win.  
GM Z. Zhao  2564 v GM D. Johansen 2403    1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e5 Qd7 5 a3 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 b6 7 Qg4 f5 8 Qg3 Ba6 9 Bxa6 Nxa6 10 Ne2 0-0-0 11 0-0 Nb8 12 Qd3 Nc6 13 c4 Nge7 14 Bg5 h6 15 Bxe7 Nxe7 16 a4 dxc4 17 Qxc4 Qd5 18 Qa6+ Qb7 19 Qd3 Nc6 20 a5 Nxa5 21 Nf4 Rhe8 22 Rfb1 Nc6 23 c3 Nxe5 24 Qc2 g5 25 Nh5 Nd7 26 Ra4 Re7 27 Qa2 Kb8 28 Ra1 a5 29 Rb1 e5 30 Ng3 exd4 31 Nxf5 Re5 32 Nxd4 Rde8 33 h3 Nc5 34 Ra3 Re1+ 35 Kh2 Rxb1 36 Qxb1 Qe4 ( black is in control ) 37 Qf1 Qe5+ 38 g3 Qe1 39 Qg2 Qe4 40 Qf1 Rf8 41 Ra2 Nd3 42 f3 Ne5 43 Rf2 Qd5 44 f4 gxf4 45 gxf4 Nc4 46 Qe2 Nd6 47 Qe7 Re8 48 Qd7 Kb7 49 Rg2 Re1 50 Qh7 a4 51 Qxh6 a3 52 Qh4 Qe4 53 Qf6 a2 54 Rxa2 Qh1+ 0-1 (after 55 Kg3 Ne4+ wins the queen).
Australian Open Champion George Xie was defeated by Vladimir Smirnov who has been very impressive in the event so far.  Smirnov, aged 37 from Sydney,  has worked hard and steadily increased his strength  by 166 rating points over the last six years. Smirnov is black against Johansen in round 7 after playing white in 4 of the first 6 rounds.  FM Junta Ikeda was outplayed in the opening by former champion and higher rated  IM Aleks Wohl.  Ikeda was in desperate time-trouble by move 15 but kept the position tactical.  Wohl played what he thought was the winning 31st move but overlooked a check forcing mate and resigned.
 Wohl explained later that for 30 years he had made unnecessary blunders in winning positions. Wohl had 16 minutes left so the lesson is never to play a quick tricky move (use all your time) when your opponent has only seconds left on his clock.  Teenager Ikeda from Canberra is often very short of time  (not recommended) but he won the 2010 Australian lightning and plays very well under severe time pressure.  IM Moulthun Ly beat the higher rated  FM Max Illingworth in another tactical game on board four.
Former Australian Champion IM Stephen Solomon sacrificed the exchange against  FM Dusan Stojic  in one of the best games of the tournament.  IM S. Solomon 2384 v FM D.Stojic 2287     1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Be2 c5 6 Nf3 0-0 7 0-0 Bg4 8 Be3 Nfd7 9 d5 Na6 10 h3 Bxf3 11 Bxf3 Nc7 12 Qd2 Re8 13 h4 e6 14 Bg5 Bf6 15 Rfe1 a6 16 e5! (Whites exchange sacrifice leaves blacks forces in disarray). 16.. Nxe5 17 Rxe5 dxe5 18 d6 Bxg5 19 hxg5 f5 20 gxf6 Rf8 21 Bg4 Ne8 22 Bxe6+ Kh8 23 d7 Nxf6 24 Qd6 b6 25 Qxe5 Qb8 26 f4 Kg7 27 Rd1 Rd8 28 Rd6 Qc7 29 Nd5  (The four white pieces dominate the central squares and mate is threatened as well as the queen) 1-0
Leading scores after round six ( 30 players,11 rounds):- GM D.Johansen (VIC 2403), IM V.Smirnov (RUS,NSW 2401) 5, GM Z.Zhao (NSW 2564),IM G.Xie (NSW 2440), FM J.Ikeda (ACT 2349),IM S.Solomon (QLD 2384), D.Dragicevic (VIC 2247),FM B.Cheng (VIC 2345),IM M.Ly (QLD 2376) all  4, IM A.Wohl (NSW 2404) 3.5.  Ikeda, Dragicevic and Cheng who all won in round six need a 2450 performance for an IM result. There are 8 players on 3 points including 10-year-old Anton Smirnov, one of the top three rated players in the world born in the 21st century. Colin Savige (VIC 2079) leads the 76 - player supporting event with 5.5/6.

Champions in Hard Fought Draw
Peter Parr (2/1/12)
The defending Australian Champion GM Zong-Yuan Zhao and Australian Open Champion IM George Xie drew a hard fought game in the fifth round of the Australian Championship in Geelong,Victoria. Zhao playing black gained a slight advantage and won a pawn but Xie defended the resulting rook and opposite bishop endgame and a draw was agreed with neither side able to make any progress.  Four players now share the lead with six rounds to play.
GM Darryl Johansen has won his last three games and the two grandmasters meet in the sixth round this afternoon (Monday).  FM Bobby Cheng (World Under-12 Champion 2009) defeated third seed FM Akshat Khamparia in round 4 winning a piece in the opening.      B. Cheng 2345 v A. Khamparia IND 2414    1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 d5 e6 4 Nc3 exd5 5 cxd5 Bd6 6 e4 Bc7 7 d6 Ba5 8 e5 Ne4 9 Qg4 0-0 10 Qxe4 and white won.  
IM Dr Vladimir Smirnov joined the leaders with a decisive win in the following round five game.   V. Smirnov 2401 v B.Cheng 2345  1 d4 e6 2 c4 f5 3 g3 Nf6 4 Bg2 c6 5 Nh3 Be7 6 0-0 0-0 7 b3 d6 8 Bb2 Qc7 9 Nd2 e5 10 c5 d5 11 dxe5 Ng4 12 Nf3 Nd7 13 Nf4 Nxc5 14 h3 Nh6 15 Rc1 Qa5 16 a3 Ne4 17 Nd4 Re8 18 b4 Qb6 19 Kh2 Bf8 20 Qc2 a6 21 Nd3 g6 22 Nb3 Bg7 23 f3 Ng5 24 Qd2 Ne6 25 f4 Bf8 26 Ndc5 Nxc5 27 Nxc5 Bxc5 28 Rxc5 Be6 29 Bd4 Qd8 30 Rfc1 Nf7 31 a4 Qe7 32 b5 axb5 33 axb5 Bd7 34 bxc6 bxc6 35 Rxc6 Bxc6 36 Rxc6 Qd7 37 Rc5 Rad8 38 e3 Rc8 39 Ra5 Qb7 40 Qa2 Rc1 41 e6 Nd6 42 Bxd5 Qe7 43 Ra7 1-0.
Twenty of the thirty players in the championship are under the age of 24 but after 5 rounds there are 5 older players (average age 38)  in the top 5 places. Leading scores after round five (30 players,11 rounds):- GM Z.Zhao  NSW 2564, IM G.Xie NSW 2440, IM V.Smirnov (RUS,NSW 2401),GM D.Johansen VIC 2403 all 4 points, IM A.Wohl NSW 2404 is fifth on 3.5 points. There are eight players on three points including six titled teenagers.  Colin Savige VIC 2079 is the sole leader with 4.5/5 in the 76-player reserves event. Savige won the Sydney International Under 2000 rated Challengers in 2009 scoring 8.5/9.
The top  players on the January World Rating List are :- M.Carlsen NOR 2835, L.Aronian ARM 2805, V.Kramnik RUS 2801, World Champion V.Anand IND 2799 , T.Radjabov AZE 2773, V.Topalov BUL 2770,S.Karjakin RUS 2769, V.Ivanchuk UKR 2766, A.Morozevich RUS 2763, V.Gashimov AZE 2761. Women:- J.Polgar HUN 2710, World Womens Champion Y.Hou CHN 2605, H.Koneru IND 2589.  Australia :-  GM Z.Zhao 2568 (World active ranking 352), GM D.Smerdon 2512 (World 714), IM G.Xie 2459 (World 1215), IM A.Wohl  2412 (World 1926), GM D.Johansen 2403, IM M.Chapman 2394, FM M.Illingworth 2388, IM I.Goldenberg 2385, IM M.Ly 2376, IM S.Solomon and FM B.Cheng 2375.
Ten-year-old Anton Smirnov of Sydney has increased his rating by 93 points in 4 months and is now 2117 Geelong will take him higher again - outstanding !  Women:- WIM A.Caoili 2260, IM I.Berezina-Feldman 2190, T.Nguyen 2118, WIM B.Dekic 2111,WIM E.Guo 2010. Country rank (average of top 10 players, 24 countries financially in arrears have been excluded ):- Russia 2748, Ukraine 2693, France 2661, China 2657, Hungary 2657,Armenia 2657,India 2645. Australia 2427 is ranked 51, New Zealand 2303 is ranked 67 out of 121 countries with a total of 140627 rated players.    Leading final scores in the Womens World Team Championship in Mardin,Turkey (10 teams,9 rounds) : - China led by Womens World Champion Yifan Hou 16/18,Russia 13,Georgia 12, India and Ukraine 11.