Thursday, 25 April 2019

2019 Sydney International Open - Day 2

FM Raymond Song is continuing his impressive form, leading the 2019 SIO with 4/4. He scored his second win in a week over WGM Padimi Rout, this time with an early piece sacrifice, which while not giving him an immediate reward, gave him enough pawns to win the ending. Half a point behind are GM Abhijit Kunte, IM Junta Ikeda, GM Daniel Fernandez, FM Jack Puccini and FM Daniel Gong. Round 5 sees Song against Kunte and once again, a win for Song (or even a draw) will put him on track for at least an IM norm.
Round 5 starts at Noon, with Round 6 at 6 pm. There will be live commentary at the venue by GM Ian Rogers, while you can follow the games online at

The e pawn then the d pawn

Some opening advice I read when younger was "if you start with e4 then your aim is to play d4. If you start with d4 then your aim is to play e4". A bit simplistic of course, but when it works, it works!

Kunte,Abhijit - Steadman,Michael [E65]
Sydney International Open (2), 24.04.2019

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

2019 Sydney International Open

The 2019 Sydney International Open, which is part of the Macquarie University Chess Festival, has just started. The returning event (which previously ran up until 2014) has attracted over 170 players across the 3 events. The top tournament has 60+ players, while the Peter Parr Memorial Challengers has more than 70 players taking part.
GM Abhijit Kunte is the top seed, followed by English GM Daniel Fernandez. Another player looking to do well is FM Raymod Song, who is hoping for a second IM or GM norm, following on from his outstanding performance at the 2019 O2C Doeberl Cup.
The tournament runs for the next 5 days (until Sunday), with rounds at 12 noon and 6pm. There is also a junior tournament taking place on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and eligible players can still enter that event.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

2019 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 5

GM Hrant Melkumyan has won the 2019 O2C Doeberl Cup with an impressive 7.5/9. He lead FM Raymond Song by half a point going into the final round, and they were paired together on the top board. After a combative game, which saw Melkumyan sacrifice a couple of pawns, a repetition left the top two standings unchanged. Song finished outright second, and collected a GM norm as well. A quick draw on board 2 between GM Abhijit Kunte and IM Igor Bjelobrk meant Kunte finished in a tie for third, along with GM Anton Smirnov (who beat GM Darryl Johansen) and GM Deep Sengupta (who beat IM Junta Ikeda).
The Major was won by Jaime Frias who scored 6.5/7. A full point behind were Vladimir Chugunov, Zhiyuan Shen and Anthony Fikh. The Minor finished in a tie between Jordan Brown and Jason Pan, with Brown winning the first place trophy on countback.
The tournament attracted 254 players across the 4 sections, as well as another 114 players in the Blitz event. The organisers were happy with both the numbers and the overall event. There were no major disputes and the tournament ran smoothly across the entire 5 days.

Song,Raymond (2329) - Padmini,Rout (2364)
2019 O2C Doeberl Cup Premier Canberra, Australia (7.3), 21.04.2019

Monday, 22 April 2019

2019 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 4

After 8 rounds of the 2019 O2C Doeberl Cup there are now only two players who can take first place. GM Hrant Melkumyan won both his games yesterday to maintain his tournament lead. He is on 7/8, half a point ahead of FM Raymond Song, who also scored two wins.
Song started the day with a very quick win over WGM Padmini Rout, and followed it up by beating IM Trevor Tao. Not only did these wins keep him in contention for first place, but also earned him a GM norm, as even a final round loss would leave his TPR above 2600.
Fittingly, the board 1 pairing for the final round has Melkumyan against Song, and with the pressure off Song in terms of his title norms, an interesting battle is expected. 
GM Abhijit Kunte finished the day in outright third on 6/8, but has already drawn his final round game with IM Igor Bjelobrk. The draw caps a good tournament performance for Bjelobrk, but a first round bye for Igor meant there were no title norm opportunities for him.
The Major is set for a close finish with Jaime Frias and Zhiyaun Shen on 5.5/6. They drew in round 6, and are therefore watching both their own moves, and moves on the other boards in the final round. The Minor is even closer, with 5 players tied for first on 5/6. In this case 4 of the leading players are paired against each other, but a tie for first is the most likely outcome.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

2019 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 3

GM Hrant Melkumyan is the outright leader of the 2019 O2C Doeberl Cup after 6 rounds. Melkumyan was the only leading player to win both his games on the third day, and he now holds a half point lead over the 5 players who share second place.
Melkumyan started the day with a win over IM George Xie in round 5, and defeated GM Darryl Johansen in round 6. Xie had a shocker of a day on Saturday, losing to Melkumyan, and then being defaulted in round 6 after 15 moves, when it was discovered he was carrying his mobile phone in his pocket. While the phone was switched off (this being checked by the arbiting team), this is still ground for an instant loss. Xie accepted this ruling, but then decided that as the loss left him with little chance of winning a prize, he would withdraw from the event.
Round 7 sees Melkumyan versus GM Anton Smirnov on board 1, with GM Deep Sengupta v IM Igor Bjelobrk on board 2 and FM Raymond Song v WGM Padmini Rout on the third board. Song drew both his games yesterday, but is still on track for a GM norm.
Last night also saw the 2019 Doeberl Cup Blitz event, with 114 players taking part. Tom Maguire won the tournament with 8/9, ahead of Fred Litchfield and Sravan Renjith on 7.5.

Saturday, 20 April 2019

2019 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 2

The second day of any Doeberl Cup is when the tournament really kicks into gear. All 4 events (Premier, Major, Minor and Mini) are running simultaneously, which means over 250 players all gathered in the one room. In past years this has resulted in some organisational headaches, but this year everything is running much more smoothly.
The Premier is of course the main focus of the weekend, and adter 4 rounds there is a 5 way tie for first. WGM Padami Rout, GM Deep Sengupta, FM Raymond Song, GM Anton Smirnov and GM Darryl Johansen are all on 3.5/4. The standout performance from this group is FM Raymond Song, who is already well placed for both an IM and GM norm. His current TPR is just above 2700 and more importantly, he has already played the right mix of titled and overseas players. He is playing GM Anton Smirnov in the 5th round, and a win or draw would leave him well placed for the rest of the event.
There are a number of strong players still with a chance on 3 points, including top seed Hrant Melkumyan. Melkumyan was held to a draw in round 3 by young FM Jack Puccini, but returned to the winners list in round 4, beating Canberra junior Albert Winkelman. One other player of interest on 3 points is FM Jason Hu, who won his 4th round game against IM Stephen Solomon.
The Major and Minor got of to their predictable starts, with a large number of upsets on the top boards. The top 4 seeds in the Major scored a combined 50% against there lower rated opponents, while the top 10 seeds in the Minor did a little better, scoring 60%.
Tonight is the traditional Doeberl Lightning, which starts at 7pm. This event will be FIDE rated for the first time, and organisers expect around 100 players for the 9 round event.