Monday, 23 January 2012

This is how a tournament should finish

The 2012 Queenstown International was come to an end, in a way that please even the most impassive chess fan. With first prize on the line, the final two games to be finished in the tournament were the top two boards. Trevor Tao, untitled for the moment, was paired against top seed Li Chao, and very quickly the game reached an ending. However the players then fought it out for a further 5 hours before Chao exchanged his rook for Tao's final pawn, leaving a drawn K+B v K ending. On board 2 Hansen sacrificed a piece in the opening, and while it did not bring immediate rewards, Hansen ended up with plenty of pawns  in compensation. Again resolute defence was the order of the day, with a draw being the final result.
These draws allowed Darryl Johansen to catch the leaders, after defeating Gawain Jones. Jones also tried a sacrificial attack, and spurned the opportunity to repeat the position in trying to gain the full point. However Darryl was equal to the task and when Jones's attack came to halt, Johansen took the point. A great result for Darryl. but on another day Jones may have been rewarded for his inventive play.
This win saw Johansen take the first place trophy on countback (most wins), after the first countback (direct encounter) did not apply.
While that was happening on the top boards, there was plenty of interest further down. Chris Wallis just missed his IM norm after losing to GM Dejan Bojkov, but three other aspirants had happier tales. Trevor Tao scored his third IM norm by virtue of turning up, while Junta Ikeda and Irene Sukandar also scored IM norms. Ikeda walked a very fine line between victory and defeat before catching Eugene Schon's king in a mating net, while Sukandar did what she had to do by beating Nadig Kruttika.
So Queenstown 2012 has finished on a high note for Australia, with a tournament winner, and a couple of norms. From the New Zealander's point of view, the win by Michael Steadman over Herman Van Riemsdijk has meant a new name is to be added to the championship trophy, as this was Steadman's first NZ Championship. There were also good performances by platers from both countries but they will be noted in future posts.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Mr Shaun Press for your highly informative and well researched commentaries!
'The Begonia Boys and Girls' appreciate that you let us have our say.
God Bless all of you chess players.
Stay well, and remember it's only a board game in the end (but a really good one at that!)

MelbourneGamesCoach said...

Well done to Darryl, however does the 'most wins' countback seem a little odd, given that Johansen lost to Zhao Jun during the event (and Jun scored 1.5/2 against his co-winners)? Would this not have given Johansen an 'easier' draw for the final few rounds, being on 4.5/6 (rather than 5.5/6 as his co-winners were)?
Also thanks for the coverage Shaun - always good to look at more than just the results from a tournament to get a better idea of what is happening there.

Anonymous said...

The tiebreak is, as I understand, the officially recommended method of FIDE. I'll chase up the details and put them on the main website when I get a chance...