Tuesday 4 September 2007

Chessboard cross the Mersey

The Liverpool Open has just started and a couple of Australian players are taking part. IM David Smerdon (soon to become Canberra's strongest chess player) has got off to a good start with 2/2 while FM Manuel Weeks recovered from a first round loss to be on 1/2 after the first day.
A couple of other interesting names popped up in the field including Stewart Rueben, who most chess players would know more as an arbiter, rather than a player. Just to prove he can play a bit, he is on 1.5/2.
The tournament is using accelerated swiss pairings for the first few rounds, which may account for a few odd pairings.
The other result that looked interesting was the first round draw between Mohd Omar Ak Hirawan Pg, and GM Danny Gormally. Ak Hirawan Pg is an Olympiad player for Brunei and that such a result is an indication of the amount of effort that has gone into developing chess in that country over the last 5 years. In 2000 Brunei would have been of the same level as Papua New Guinea (we beat them 2.5-1.5 in Istanbul) but in 2002 they turned up with a completely new team (or an old team with new names), and have since shown steady improvement, including a silver medal for Ak Hirawan Pg in Turin.

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