Round 8 of the Melbourne Cup Weekender at the Melbourne Chess Club saw Luke Li wrap up a share of first place with a win over Max Illingworth, while his nearest competitors, James Morris & Bill Jordan, drew their game to be a point behind Luke. Igor Goldenberg & Jack Puccini joined in the tie for second place with wins over Bill Kerr & Dusan Stojic respectively.
As with other rounds, there were upsets this round, with Finley Dale beating Anthony Hain, Yang Wu beating Dan Dobos & Nick Ilic beating Giles Lean. Paul Cavezza held David Hacche to a draw, as did Gary Lin against Sam Low, Bobby Yu against Andrew Footner & Dai Cheng against Calvin Bennett.
Board 1 clash between Luke Li & Max Illingworth
An exciting game between Jack Puccini & Dusan Stojic
A tactical slugfest between Max Chew Lee & George Lester
The final round of the tournament was somewhat anti-climatic, with a number of top board games ending in short draws. Luke Li achieved a strong position early against Bill Jordan, who was happy to accept a draw rather than risking defeat. The all-Queensland pairing of George Lester & Stephen Solomon also saw a draw agreed without much of a struggle, while the same occurred in the all-South Australian game between Bill Kerr & Colin Cloudsdale. James Morris & Jack Puccini decided to buck the trend & played a fighting game, with the winner getting second place, which ended in a win for Morris. This left Luke Li in front on 7.5/9, James Morris in second on 7/9 & Igor Goldenberg & Bill Jordan tied for third on 6.5/9.
As with other rounds, there were upsets to finish the tournament, with Paul Cavezza beating Dimitry Partsi, Geoffrey Hilliard beating Kevin Willathgamuwa & Calvin Bennett beating Andrew Footner. There were also a number of draws in apparent rating mis-matches, including George Lester against Stephen Solomon, David Hacche against Ari Dale, Gary Lin against David Lacey, Dai Cheng against Michael Addamo, Tanya Kolak against John Beckman, Christopher Lim against Mukesh Krishnamurthy, Samuel Trewin against Vishal Bhat & Licia Lao against Giles Lean.
This left the rating group prizes to go to Paul Cavezza on 6/9 for rating group 1, half a point ahead of Jason Chew & Max Chew Lee, while rating group 2 went to Geoffrey Hilliard on 5.5/9, half a point ahead of Rowan Willathgamuwa.
The fight for second place between Jack Puccini & James Morris
A nice finish by Dusan Stojic against Eamonn O'Molloy
A quick win for Karl Zelesco against Gary Bekker
A speculative sacrifice turns into a quick victory for Paul Cavezza against Dimitry Partsi