Thursday, 21 February 2019

2019 Oceania Zonal - Day 4

The 2019 Oceania Zonal is entering the final stages, with round 7 seeing the joint leaders, CM Clive Ng and GM Max Illingworth meet on board 1. Both players are on 5/6 with Illingworth losing one game (his first), while Ng has had two draws. Ng has the White pieces and is hoping to get at least half a point against an opponent who outrates him by 450 points.
Shaun Press and John Duneas share third place on 4.5/6. Their 6th round game ended in a draw although Press was in a position to play on. There is a group of four players tied for 5th on 4/6. With 3 rounds to play, they are all looking at both catching the lead groups, as well as reaching the 6/9 score required for an FM title.
In the Women's event, WGM Julia Ryjanova leads with 6/6. She is playing WFM Vyanla Punsalan in the first of tomorrows 2 rounds, but if she negotiates that game without slipping up, then the tournament should be hers.

2019 Oceania Zonal - Day 3

The 2019 Oceania Zonal is still proving to be a hard fought affair, at least for now. After 5 rounds there are 6 players sharing the lead on 4/5, including tournament favourite GM Max Illingworth. Illingworth has recovered from his first round loss, and is once again the man to beat. Also in the leading group is Felix Lacno, who beat Illingworth in the first round. Lacno is proving very underrated at 1711, as he has a performance rating of over 2200.
With 4 rounds left to play, Illingworth is still favoured to win. The battle for 2nd and third is a little more wide open, especially as a lot of the leading group has yet to face Illingworth.
WGM Julia Ryjanove has maintained her perfect score in the Women's Zonal. She defeated Rebecca Stones in the morning round and Olga Szekely in the afternoon. WFM Vyanla Punsalan is currently in 2nd place on 4/5, but  a loss to Stones in round 5 leaves her with tough task of getting something against Ryjanova if she hopes to finish 2nd.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

2019 Oceania Zonal - Day 2

After 3 rounds of the 2019 Oceania Zonal, only Clive Ng has maintained a 100%, beating Paul Spiller in today's only round. A number of draws on the top boards sees a pack of 5 players tied for second place on 2.5.
Top seed Max Illingworth scored his second win of the tournament to keep his chances of winning the tournament alive, while I once again had a lucky escape, drawing an ending which started with me two pawns down.
In the Women's Zonal, a draw between Olga Szekely and Rebecca Stones means that GM Julia Ryjanova and WFM Vyanla Punsalan are the only players on 3/3. They meet in round 7, in agame that might very well decide the tournament.

2019 Oceania Zonal Day 1

The 2019 Oceania Zonal got off to a surprising start, with top seed GM Max Illingworth losing his round 1 game. Underestimating a strong kingside attack from Felix Lacno, he went pawn hunting with his queen and walked into a mating attack. While Max bounced back to win his second round game, it is clear that the Zonal is proving more competitive than people may have believed.
At the end of the first day there are 6 players on 2/2. Angelito Camer (Aus), Clive Ng (Aus), Efron Manuel (GUM), Elmer Prudente (GUM), Shaun Press (PNG) and Paul Spiller (NZL) all managed to score 2 wins from 2 games, although in my case, it was a fortunate win in a game I was worse in for almost its entirety.
In the Women's event, top seed WGM Julia Ryjanova  avoid any trouble, winning both her games. She is joined by Rebecca Stones (Aus), Vyanla Pusalan (NZL), and Olga Szekely on 2 points.
Tomorrow is a single round day, so my preparation may involve a bit of swimming and site-seeing. The playing conditions for the tournament are excellent, and the venue provides fantastic views of the Pacific.
While there isn't live coverage of the games, results (and some replayable games) can be found at the New Zealand Chess Federation Website. The link is

Sunday, 17 February 2019

2019 Oceania Zonal - Day 0

The 2019 Oceania Zonal begins tomorrow in Guam. GM Max Illingowrht and WGM Julia Ryjanova are the strong favorites in the Open and Wonen's events respectively.
Tonight saw the welcoming dinner at the Pacific Start Resort, and those that attended found it very enjoyable. There were traditional dances, nice music and singing, and excellent food. The speeches did not go on for too long, and it proved to be an excellent opening for the tournament.
Tomorrow sees the first two rounds for both events, with FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich making the ceremonial first move. At the moment I don't know where the results will be posted (or even who my opponent is going to be) but when I find out I will post a link.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

On the road again

I'm heading off to the 2019 Oceania Zonal in a couple of hours. The usual comments about blogging schedules, wifi access, and general tournament coverage apply. The 20 hours of travel is a little shorter than Europe/Olympiad etc, so hopefully I will remain in a good mood.

Friday, 15 February 2019

This looks familiar

The post you are about to read wasn't what I had originally intended to write about this evening. (BTW This isn't unusual, as I often cycle through a few ideas before settling on a topic). What I had planned to talk about was the lack of games I could find from the 1982-83 Australian Open. Chessbase only seems to have one or two, but in looking for these games, I came across the one that changed today's topic.
Having featured Valentina Gunina's nice win from the Cairns Cup, I came across a game from 1982 that seemed to share a lot of the same features (and a few differences). Played by Ian Rogers against Pat Halpin (possibly at the Australian Open), is saw an attack on f7, with the idea of catching the Black king in the Open. However, unlike the Gunina game where the attack was winning after the piece sacrifice, the Rogers Halpin game was a lot more turbulent. Halpin actually missed a winning defence on move 17 (17...h6) while two moves later 19.Ba4+ would have brought the game to a swift conclusion. But given how complicated the position was, I wouldn't be surprised if most of the game was played in time trouble (for both players), which would explain some of the missed opportunities.

Rogers,Ian (2355) - Halpin [B94]
AUS Australia, 1982