Saturday, 28 January 2023

Kuybokarov and Ryjanove win 3.6 Zonal events

 GM Temur Kuybokarov and WGM Julia Ryjanova have won the Open and Womens Zone 3.6 Championship. While Ryjanova won her event outright (8/9), Kuybokarov had to win a playoff against IM Gary Lane to claim the title.

Going into the final round GM Zong Yuan Zhao held a half point lead over the field, but IM Stephen Solomon threw the tournament wide open after beating Zhao. One the other results had come in, there was a 6 way tie for first, involving Kuybokarov, Lane, FM Patrick Gong, FM Yi Liu, Solomon, and IM James Morris (all on 7.5). The playoff was between the top 2 finishers on count back (Kuybokarov and Lane), which Kuybokarov won 2-0. FM Patrick Gong finished 3rd on tie-break, but as it was part of a tie for first, he received the IM title. Liu was unlucky in this regard, missing out on the title by a very narrow margin.

Ryjanova needed at least half a point to ensure 1st place but made sure of it by beating WFM Kristine Quek to finish half a point ahead of WGM Jilin Zhang. WFM Vyanla Punsalan finished 3rd on tie-break, to earn a WIM norm.

Apart from the winners, who qualified for the next World Cup, the remaining interest was in seeing who could earn various direct titles. It turns out quite a lot, although in a large number of cases, there will still be rating requirements that have to be met.

Thursday, 26 January 2023

2023 Oceania Zonal - After round 6

 GM Zong Yuan Zhao is is outright first after round 6 of the 2023 Oceania Zonal, with 6 wins from 6 games. In today's only round he beat Rebo Fu, while GM Temur Kuybokarov and FM Patrick Gong drew. Kuybokarov and Gong share 2nd place on 5.5, while there is a large pack of players on 5/6. 

In the Women's event WGM Julia Ryjanova has also scored 6/6 and leads by 1.5 points. Sharing 2nd place are WGM Jilin Zhang, Luna Xu, and Om O'Carroll. Again there is a large group of players on 4 points hoping to catch Ryjanova.

Tomorrow there will be 2 rounds, starting at 10am. Board 1 sees Kuybokarov v Zhao, while FM Patrick Gong is up against IM Igor Bjelobrk. Gong is not only hoping for a win in this game, but is also on track for an IM norm, either by performance, or by placing in the tournaments top 3.

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

2023 Oceania Zonal - quick impressions

 I dropped in towards the end of the third day of the 2023 Oceania Zonal to get a quick overview of the event. Most of the games were completed by the time I arrived, so I am yet to get a sense of how large the event actually is.

The venue is quite nice, although the tournament is spread out across 4 rooms. All games being broadcast live are in one room, while the rest of the games are spread out. There is no specific analysis room, but players seem to be happy meeting in the foyer area. With so many players/rooms, the tournament has 5 or 6 arbiters who each have a room to supervise. There are alos a large number of volunteers, who handle things like bags and mobile phones.

As for the chess WGM Julia Ryjanova is the sole leader of the Women's Zonal. She has scored 5/5 and is a point ahead of Om O'Carroll and Jody Middleton. WGM Jilin Zhang  is off to a slow start (3.5), but has yet to play Ryjanova.

In the Open there are 4 players on 5/5. GM's Temur Kuybokarov and Zong Yuan Zhao have been joined by  FM Patrick Gong and Rebo Fu. Curiously 3 of the leaders are all from Western Australia, and all played in the recently completed Australian Open.

Tomorrow has a blitz event in the morning, with Round 6 starting in the afternoon. With 4 rounds to play, the field is starting to sort itself out, but it will take another round or 2 before a likely winner (or winners) will emerge.

Travel day for me

 Today is a travel day for me. Heading down to Melbourne in a couple of hours to catch the end of the 2023 Oceania Zonal  (and to hold at least one important meeting). By the time I touch down, four and a bit rounds should be completed, and a clearer picture of the eventual results should emerge.

Monday, 23 January 2023

2023 Oceania Zonal - Day 1

 The 2023 Oceania Zonal has started today, with big numbers in both events. So large in fact that to discuss standings and likely winners won't make sense until much later in the tournament. Instead I'd thought I'd pick one of the games from the top boards. 

Current Asian Seniors Champion IM Gary Lane plays both sides of the Ruy Lopez equally well (as I recently discovered). In this game he takes the Black pieces, and manages to destroy his opponents king side position before launching a winning attack. I suspect if the colours had been reversed, he probably would have won the same way, with the White pieces.

Ni,Lucas (1641) - Lane,Gary W (2343) [C60]
Oceania Zonal Open 2023 Melbourne, Australia (1.6), 23.01.2023

Sunday, 22 January 2023

2023 Oceania Zonal

 The 2023 Oceania Zonal starts on Monday 22nd January in Melbourne. In what may well be the largest Zonal ever held anywhere, there are over 250 players in the Open, and another 42 in the Women's event. While there is a chance to qualify for the next FIDE World Cup (1 spot only!), the real attraction is the chance to receive a direct title. A score of 50% is required for a CM title, while a score of 66% is need for an FM title. Players earning this title must also have a FIDE rating over 2000 for the CM title, and 2100 for the FM title, at some point in their career.

For online coverage just visit the tournament website at

I will be heading down on Wednesday, wearing both my Zone 3.6 President hat, and my FIDE Qualification Commission Secretary hat. I will do some on the spot blogging when I get there, and hopefully will be able to report on the good performances of players from the Pacific region.

Friday, 20 January 2023

2023 World Championship Match to be held in Astana

FIDE has just announced that the 2023 World Championship Match will be held in Astana, Kazakhstan from the 7th April to the 1st May. It will be played between Ian Nepomniachtchi and Ding Liren, after Magnus Carlsen (the current title holder) chose not to defend his title.

The full FIDE media release is here