Saturday 24 July 2021

2021 ACT Winter Open - Day 1

 The 2021 ACT Winter Open got off to a cold start (in terms of weather), but a good one, in terms of participation. With a temperature of 5c outside, the players were grateful to be inside the Campbell High School  Library, and out of the wind and freezing rain. 

For the first time the tournament had a Friday evening round, and apart from a few pre-planned byes, everyone else turned up to play. The Friday evening start is usual in weekenders in the UK, but hasn't really been tried/worked for Australian events. Given the good numbers for this tournament (maxed out at 64 for space reasons), it is something that should be continued next year.

In terms of play there were no upsets in the 20 player open section. IM Junta Ikeda won a nice attacking game against James Aldrich, while Harry Press showed the importance of choosing the correct exchanges against Lachlan Ho. Given the size and strength of this field, round 2 already sees some all titles match ups, with CM Hui Li playing FM Michael Kethro on board 2.

There were more upsets in the Minor (Under 1600), including a loss by top seed Matthew Maltman against Hunter Sanchez. In a curious game, Sanchez looked to be aiming for a draw in a queen plus lots of pawns ending (Sanchez being a pawn down), but when I returned, it was a Q v 6p ending, which Sanchez (having the queen) converted. A few of the unrated players also surprised there rated opponents, meaning that the likely winner of the 44 player tournament way no appear for a few rounds yet.

No comments: