Wednesday, 23 April 2014

2014 Sydney International Open - Day 1

The 2014 Sydney International Open and Challengers began today with close to 120 players taking part. The Open has a field of 72 players while the Challengers has 46 competitors. The top seeds of the Open look very similar to the top seeds of the recently completed Doeberl Cup (Nisipeanu, Van Wely, Melkumyan, Vajda), although below that some new players have joined the field.
The first couple of rounds went mainly to seeding, although the effects of a second week of '2 game a day' chess was beginning to show on some of the competitors. FM Luke Li and GM Luke Van Wely played a draw in the second round, while WIM Heather Richards battled sickness to score an upset win over IM Igor Bjelobrk.
Coverage of the tournament can be found at with the top games being broadcast live, If you wish to see the tournament in person, round 3 starts at 10:00 am at the Parramatta Town Hall, just up from the Parramatta railway station.

Atzmon-Simon,Barak - Melkumyan,Hrant [D97]
2014 Sydney International (1.3), 23.04.2014

Nice picture, nice game

Although Garry Kasparov was the main attraction for the crowds at the 2014 O2C Doeberl Cup. it was local FM Junta Ikeda who had the big photo in the Canberra Times (print version). Certainly the coverage of Ikeda's tournament was deserved, as he was playing on the top board in the final round, and had already secured his third IM norm with a draw in the previous round. Along the way he won a number of nice games (as well as one by 'mobile phone'). His win over IM Russell Dive was particularly striking, and was finished with a clever queen sacrifice.
The online version of the Canberra Times article is here, featuring both Kasparov and Ikeda.

Ikeda,Junta - Dive,Russell [A06]
2014 O2C Doeberl Cup Canberra, Australia (6.5), 19.04.2014

Monday, 21 April 2014

2014 O2C Doeberl Cup - Nisipeanu edges Vajda on tie-break

The 2014 O2C Doeberl Cup saw a fighting finish with GM Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu and GM Levente Vajda finishing in a tie for first with 7.5/9. Both players won their final round games to stay half a point ahead of GM Hrant Melkumyan and surprise packet  Ke Mu. In fact the top 7 games were all decisive, while even the drawn game on round 8 between GM Loek Van Wely and FM Endre Ambrus was a titanic struggle.
When the smoke had cleared Nisipeanu had the higher tie-break than Vajda, meaning he was the winner of the actual Doeberl Cup. The players drew their individual game in round 6 before both finishing with 2.5/3.
The tournament saw a number of players earning title norms. FM Junta Ikeda scored his third IM norm (despite losing the final round) and now needs to get his rating over 2400 for the title. Untitled Chinese player Ke Mu scored a GM norm but apparently he has 3 GM norms already! The reason for a lack of title (even an FM title) is that he has never had a rating over 2300. New Zealand player Luke Li scored another IM norm (to match the one he scored at last years event), while WFM Sengeravdan Otgonjargal scored a WIM norm.
Eu-Han Chin won the Major (U/2000) event with a win over Andrey Bliznyuk in the final round. The Minor (Under 1600) saw a three way tie for first between Zoe Harrison, Jamie-Lee Guo and Tim Priest. Former World Champion Gary Kasparov was on hand to present the prizes, which was an added bonus for all the winners.
Overall the tournament was a big success with a 315 players taking part over the 4 tournaments. Of course such a big tournament requires an extra big effort to keep the whole thing on track and the organisation team of O2C (headed by Charles Bishop and Steve Rohan-Jones) did a magnificent job. The front desk team of Shun Ikeda, Jenny Mason, Mirabelle Guo (plus other helpers) did its usual efficient job, while the arbiting team of Charles Zworestine, Lee Forace, Alana Chibnall and Miona Ikeda made sure the event ran without any major incidents. There was one incident at the prize giving where GM Ian Rogers and ACF President Gary Wastell put a decades long feud on public display, to the dismay of  many in the crowd, but hopefully that won't detract from what was otherwise a very successful event.

Full results from the tournament can be found at while a selection of game from the top boards of the premier can be download from the Results page.

Nisipeanu,Liviu-Dieter - Zhao,Zong-Yuan [D10]
2014 O2C Doeberl Cup Canberra, Australia (7.1), 20.04.2014

Sunday, 20 April 2014

2014 O2C Doeberl Cup - A belated update

The 2014 O2C Doeberl Cup is charging along, so much so I have barely had any time to keep this blog up to date. The Premier is particulalry exciting, with the overseas GM's finding local players more than a match.
Going into round 8 Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu holds a half point lead over the chasing pack. His play has been particulalry impressive, with very nice wins over FM Kanan Izzat and GM Zong-Yuan Zhao being the standouts. In the group on 5.5/7 GM's Hrant Melkumyan and Levente Vajda are joined by a trio of young Australian players in the form of IM James Morris, IM Andrew Brown, and FM Junta Ikeda. In the case of Brown and Ikeda, they both have a chance of being the first local players to win the event since Tony Wiedenhofer in 1973.
Other players doing well include Canberaa chess coah FM Endre Ambrus who defeated IM Gary Lane in round 7. Fred Litchfield and Willis Lo are carrying the flag for the local juniors, sitting mid field after 7 rounds.
Last not saw a very busy Lightning event with around 100 players taking part. IM Bobby Cheng led from start to finish, winning his first 8 games before dropping the last round to leave his winning margin at half a point. While I was too busy to check out much of the action, there were a number of exciting games and close finishes. One suprise entrant was FM Ignatius Leong who is in towwn as part of Gary Kasparov's visit to the tournament. He lameneted that Blitz is much more a young persons game these days, but enoyed the tournament nonetheless.
The last round of the event is tomorrow, starting at 9:30 am at the Woden Tradies Club. The tournament should finish around 1pm (or possibly later) and the prize giving, attended by former World Champion Gary Kasparov, will take place soon afterwards.

Friday, 18 April 2014

2014 O2C Doeberl Cup - quick facts

A record turn out of over 300 players has made this an exceptionally busy Doeberl Cup. The venue is filled to capacity, and we have even had to move some of the lower section boards into the top room to give everyone some breathing space. The Premier eventually settled down to 94 players ( after some no shows ) while the Major, Minor and Under 1200 are full or nearly full.
You can catch all the results plus live games from the Premier at
I will try and bring more news on the tournament when I can, but if you are after a more instant news fix, check out the live blog on the tournament web site

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Gashimov Memorial

The next "Super-GM" event on the calendar, the 2014 Gashimov Memorial, starts this coming Sunday. The top group contains Carlsen, Nakamura, Karjakin, Caruana, Radjabov and Mammedyarov (every player rated over 2700!). The B group is a 10 player tournament head by Wang Hao and Pavel Eljanov.
The schedule is 5 rounds, 1 rest day and then another 5 rounds. The games start at the reasonable time of 8pm (Canberra time), so you can probably catch most of the action before bedtime. Further details, as well as links to live coverage can be found at the tournament website.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

2014 O2C Doeberl Cup - 2 days till kick off

The 2014 O2C Doeberl Cup starts in 2 days, and already entries have passed the 300 mark. The Major (U/2000), Minor (U/1600) and Under 1200 event are all filled up, so the only way to get into these events is hope for a last minute drop out. The Premier still has some space left, but you need to enter by midday tomorrow to guarantee a spot.
As in previous years the pairings for the first round of each of the tournaments will be done the night before. The drawing of lots for the Premier will take place at the ANU Chess Club, and then the pairings will be posted at both and the tournament website. There will be a live broadcast of the top 5 games from the Premier, as well as the top game from the Major. And if you are present at the venue, GM Ian Rogers will be doing live commentary of the games each round.

(** I am a paid official for this event **)