Just when things appeared to be settling down a little bit in the Victorian Championship, round 7 once again shook things up! This was the round of the uncharacteristic blunder, with a number of games decided by blunders that the players involved would normally not make. James Morris was held to a draw by Leonid Sandler, while David Hacche upset Igor Goldenberg to get off the mark in the event!
Sandler, Goldenberg 5/7
West, Zelesco 3/5
Garner, Hacche 1/7
Domagoj Dragicevic has worked his way back into some form over the last few rounds & continued this improvement with a win over his good friend Dusan Stojic. After a fairly even opening, Dusan appeared to be getting slightly the better of the position, although Domagoj was still very much in the game. Uncharacteristically, Dusan made a horrible blunder where he removed one of the defenders of his c3 knight & Domagoj snapped up the free piece, forcing Dusan to resign shortly afterwards.
Eddy Levi's game against David Garner appeared to be fairly level in the early middlegame, before David made a few poor moves that allowed Eddy to take a number of pawns & achieve a winning position, which was enough for David to call it a night.
The clash of the round was between two of the leaders, James Morris & Leonid Sandler. After another fairly quiet opening, James got the best of the middlegame & after a series of exchanges found himself a pawn ahead in a queen ending. James seemed to have the ending under control, picking up two more pawns to have four pawns against one in what looked like a commanding position. James held his pawns with tactical threats & then appeared to miss a tactic that would have allowed queens to be exchanged (52.Qg1+ Kd2 53.Qg5+, although the position may not be correct - scoresheets can be tough to read sometimes!). Ultimately in an effort to promote his a-pawn, James allowed Leonid's queen near his king, which allowed Leonid to begin a series of checks with his queen. In an attempt to avoid perpetual check, James returned some of his extra pawns, but ultimately found himself in a position with a single pawn & queen against Leonid's queen, which Leonid defended successfully, ultimately forcing the trade of queens in a position where James could not keep his extra pawn & the players agreed a draw.
Igor Goldenberg appeared to be cruising to victory against David Hacche, neutralising David's early central control before winning a pawn & slowly moving an imposing wall of central pawns forward. Just when it appeared as though Igor's central pawns were almost ready to secure the point, David threw his queen towards Igor's king & Igor panicked, playing a poor king move that allowed David to seize the initiative & develop threats against Igor's king. In another uncharacteristic display, Igor defended poorly & David played well enough to improve his position, forcing Igor to sacrifice material. This only delayed the inevitable, as David then went about exchanging pieces, ultimately forcing Igor to resign in a hopeless position.
I'd also like to wish Guy West a speedy recovery from his illness, which has forced him to postpone his last two games.
As usual, results are posted on ChessChat.
Full results & tournament crosstable are available on the Chess Victoria website.