Round 7 saw the top 4 seeds in the tournament paired up. Tournament leader FM Junta Ikeda was up against 2010 winner Andrey Bliznyuk, while WIM Arianne Caoili played IM Andrew Brown. Both games were hard fought contests, and at one stage it looked as though the tournament front runners might come unstuck.
Although her Grand Prix Attack did not gain Caoili any advantage from the opening, Brown's oddly placed knight on h6 proved to be his undoing. A tactical shot in the middle game allowed Caoili to win a piece, and although Brown did get a couple of pawns for it, the ending proved winning for his opponent. Bliznyuk looked to have a good position in his game against Ikeda, and even won a queen for rook and piece. However he did not feel this was enough and went on the defensive. This allowed Ikeda to make threats and the win of another piece was all it took.
In the other game of the evening Miles Patterson defeated Ethan Derwent. The game started as a Benko Gambit declined, and for the first half all the action was on the queenside. The Derwent decided to go after Patterson's king, but in doing so weakened his own kingside. It then became a matter of whose king would get chopped first, and Patterson was able to deploy his pieces more effectively. Derwent resigned when faced with forced mate.
With two rounds to play Ikeda seems to have an unassailable lead. He is 1.5 points ahead of Brown, with the rest of the field too far back to catch him.
Caoili,Arianne (2260) - Brown,Andrew (2215)
2012 ANU Masters Canberra AUS (7), 21.03.2012