The 4th day of the O2C Doeberl Cup Premier often decides most of the important outcomes of the tournament. Not only does it indicate who is going to win the event (and what they need to do), but also which players can and cannot get title norms.
Going in to the final round top seed GM Li Chao has at least a share of first place, with a full point lead over 4 players. These are GM Vladimir Malaniuk (who Chao plays tomorrow), GM Magesh Panchanathan and GM David Smerdon (who play each other) and IM George Xie (who needs to beat GM Abhijit Kunte for his third GM norm). Also shooting for glory are FM Tomek Rej (at least a draw against GM Gawain Jones for an IM norm), FM Erik Teichman (a win over IM Igor Goldenberg for an IM norm) and Moulthan Ly (win over IM Gary Lane for an IM norm).
Round 8 saw some interesting battles, with the board 2 clash between GM Zong Yan Zhao and GM Abhijit Kunte going for almost 6 hours. The ending was that well known "arbiter killer", the Queen and Pawn ending. The usual script (which was basically followed in this game) is a lot of checks, then a pawn move or capture, a lot more checks, another pawn move or capture (just so the 50 move rule doesn't come into play), followed by ... well you get the picture. Eventually the game was drawn in 115 moves, to the relief of those waiting for the round 9 pairings.
Further down 2 Canberra players jumped up the ranking with important wins. David Smerdon defeated early tournament leader GM Dibyendu Barua, giving him a chance at some hefty prize money, while Junta Ikeda didn't do his Olympiad CV any harm with a win over GM Darryl Johansen. Unfortunately for Ikeda his poor tournament start (a loss in round 1) rules out any late tournament run at an IM norm.
Live coverage of the top 4 boards will begin at 9:30am tomorrow (AEST), with the top board of the Major (Sam Dalton v Allen Setiabudi) and the Minor (Michael Addamo v Wenlin Yin) also being broadcast.