Monday, 10 August 2009


The other day I dug up an old notebook of mine that contained a number of tournament crosstables from ACT events in the mid to late 1980's. Most of the tournaments were Belconnen Chess Club tournaments, but there was crosstables from weekend events.
One interesting event was the ACT Village Open, which was held at (and sponsored by) the National Capital Village, which was a Motel on the northern outskirts of Canberra. The event was held mid-winter and I guess could be considered the fore-runner to the ANU Open.
The event was run in two sections with the Open attracting 18 players(!) and the Under 1800 attracting 35 players. The results themselves were interesting, but what is of greater interest to me is how many players in that tournament are still playing.
My estimate is that of the 53 players who took part, only 16 are still active players. Of course there has been some natural attrition (players having passed on), and I've excluded players who play the odd game, "for old times sake". Given that tournament numbers by and large have been getting better, it is an interesting measure of turn-over, rather than decline. It also shows how difficult it is to hang on to players for an extended period of time, as only 30% of the players are still going 20 years later.
As for the results, the tournament was won by IM Greg Hjorth. In second place was Lloyd Fell, after he famously mated IM Guy West with KNB v K in the final round with less than 5 minutes on his clock. The Under 1800 event was won by Ian Hosking after he beat (CC IM) Shane Dibley in the last round. I actually played and scored 3/5, while further down a much younger Gary Bekker finished on 1.5!


Anonymous said...

Hi Shaun,
I too remember that tournament, although it was called the “Australia Park Open” on my scoresheets.
Given that 21 years have passed, are you now able to tell the story about how a certain soft drink manufacturer provided sponsorship, on the condition that it received absolutely no publicity!
Stephen Davies (2 points in the U1800)

Shaun Press said...

Ah yes. The Coca-Cola sponsorship. An interesting experience in that Coca-Cola were approached to sponsor the tournament, but they declined to offer cash. Instead they supplied us with product, which we sold to underwrite the costs. However they wanted it all kept on the hush-hush as they felt that chess tournaments (and I guess chess players) didn't fit with the marketing image they were trying to portray!