Overcoming the pressure of the last round game is something that tournament winners need to master. For the top players this is something that they face all throughout their careers, but it can be tough for players who haven't reached the upper rungs of the chess ladder. Years ago a player who was playing for first place in the Doeberl Cup *Major* told me his pre-game preparation consisted of throwing up his breakfast.
In the 2010 Sydney International Open there were a number of things riding on the last round games, and players coped in different ways. Joint leaders Zong Yuan Zhao and Gawain Jones solved their issues by playing a quick draw, while GM Dejan Bojkov joined then first place by defeating GM Dibyendu Barua, with the black pieces no less. FM Daniel Fernandez was playing for a GM norm against GM Abhijit Kunte, but drawing with 2B+PvQ+P was in the end a good result, and his IM norm was a consolation. GM Vladimir Malaniuk salvaged something from his Australian trip by grinding down Doeberl Cup winner GM Li Chao, finishing third on tie-break. Unfortunately the only other player playing for a title norm, Max Illingworth, was up against GM Magesh Panchanathan, who seemed to be a road block for a couple of other norm aspirants earlier in the event.
Panchanathan,Magesh Chandran (2543) - Illingworth,Max (2289) [B06]
Sydney International Open Parramatta, NSW (9.5), 11.04.2010
1.Nf3 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.e4 d6 4.Nc3 a6 5.a4 b6 6.Bc4 e6 7.h4 h6 8.Ne2 Ne7 9.Be3 Nd7 10.Ng3 Bb7 11.Bd3 Nf6 12.c3 Qd7 13.Qe2 0-0 14.h5 Ng4 15.Bd2 e5 16.dxe5 dxe5 17.Bc4 g5 (D)
18.Nxg5 hxg5 19.Bxg5 Nh6 20.Rd1 Qe8 21.Nf5 Nexf5 22.exf5 Kh7 23.f6 Bh8 24.Rh4 e4 25.Rd5 Rd8 26.Rxe4 Bxd5 27.Bxd5 Qd7 28.Re5 Ng4 29.Qe4+ Kg8 30.Qg6+ 1-0