Sunday 28 March 2021

Oceania Zonal - Final Day

 GM Temur Kuybokarov (AUS) has one the 2021 Oceania Zonal, after a marathon playoff against GM Anton Smirnov (AUS).  Both players won their final round games to finish on 6.5/7. The first playoff games (25m+10s) were drawn, with the next set (10m+10s) ended with one win each. The 5,+3s games were also drawn, leaving the top spot to be decided by an Armageddon game. Smirnov had the choice of colour and chose Black, meaning he had 4m against 5m (with a 2s increment from move 61) but a draw was good enough to win the title. In an exciting game, Kuybokarov won a queen for 2 pieces but tough defence from Smirnov meant that both players were down to their last few seconds, but Kuybokarov swapped everything off to reach a won king and pawn ending.

Both players still share first place, and under the new World Cup regulations, should both qualify for the World Cup (Kuybokarov as Oceania Champion, Smirnov as Australian selection). FM Nick Croad (NZ) finished in 3rd place, with Elmer Prudente (Guam) the best of the 'small' chess nations.

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