Saturday, 11 January 2014

Max Illingworth - 2014 Australian Champion

By defeating FM Anton Smirnov in the final round, IM Max Illingworth is the 2014 Australian Champion. Illingworth and Smirnov shared the lead on 7/10, and a win for either player would be enough for the title. Smirnov had the black pieces and decided to sacrifice a pawn on the queenside for open files, and seemed to have enough compensation. But on move 27 Smirnov allowed Illngworth to open up the kingside, and after that the advantage was with Max. A late attempt to whip up a mating attack came to naught, and Illingworth had enough pawns to secure the title.
Second place was shared between IM Moulthun Ly, GM Tu Hoang Thong, and Karl Zelesco. Zelesco defeated GM Darryl Johansen in the final round to skip past a number of other young players to be the best finishing junior.
FM Doug Hamilton scored a popular win in the Reserves tournament with 9.5/11. His victory, which was secured with a round to spare, elicited animated comments from those who thought it was unfair that the 3 times Australian Champion was denied entry into this years championship event, 50 years after winning his first Australian title.

Illingworth,Max - Smirnov,Anton [A22]
2014 Australian Championship Melbourne, 11.01.2014

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