Saturday, 11 January 2014

Australian Chess Championships - new Champion Crowned!

The Australian Chess Championship at Springvale has now been run & won, with Sydney International Master Max Illingworth taking out the title with a score of 8/11 after defeating FM Anton Smirnov in the final round. Second place was shared between GM Tu Hoang Thong, IM Moulthun Ly & Karl Zelesco, all on 7.5/11, after they defeated their final round opponents (IM Stephen Solomon, IM Igor Bjelobrk & GM Darryl Johansen respectively). A further five players tied for fifth place on 7/11.
The Reserves was already decided prior to the final round, with FM Doug Hamilton the winner, but a sleepless night (largely spent trying to figure out the Brilliancy Prize for the Championship) meant he was not at his best for the final game & he lost to Kevin Sheldrick, meaning he finished the tournament with 9.5/11 & was a most popular winner of the event! Oladoyin Fasakin finished in outright second with 8.5/11 after winning his final round game, while Mark Grabovac, Kevin Sheldrick & Milenko Lojanica finished in a tie for third on 8/11.
At the Prize giving, the prizes for the 2013 ACF Grand Prix were awarded, as well as the annual ACF awards. Bobby Cheng won the Steiner Medal for player of the year, Ari Dale won the Arlauskas award for junior player of the year, while the Koshnitsky medal for chess administration was awarded posthumously to Andrew Saint (the award was accepted by his brother Alex & father Bruce).
The Mayor of the City of Greater Dandenong, Jim Memeti was at the closing ceremony to award prizes to the winners (photos from Official Website thanks to Mike Loh)

Reserves winner FM Doug Hamilton receiving his cheque from Mayor Jim Memeti

Australian Champion IM Max Illingworth receives his trophy from Mayor Jim Memeti

I also took some of my own photos during the final round:

Max & Anton before the beginning of their game

Doug Hamilton looking relaxed playing a concentrated Kevin Sheldrick on top board of the Reserves. Although Kevin won the game, Doug won the tournament!

The fight for second in the Reserves was intense. Derek Yu against Marko Grabovac in front, with David Beaumont against Oladoyin Fasakin behind.

A souvenir for the club - a chess board signed by participants in the Championship

A crowd gathers sensing an upset in the Zelesco-Johansen clash

Tournament winner IM Max Illingworth with his trophy

I also managed to get a few brief interviews with some of the players after their final round games, talking mostly about the event & their performance.

Karl Zelesco, who finished in equal second place place

IM Moulthun Ly who finished in equal second place

IM Aleks Wohl shares his thoughts about foreigners in the Championship, the DoubleRoo Chess Academy & the tournament generally

New Australian Champion IM Max Illingworth talks about the tournament, his support team & his plans for the rest of 2014.

To finish off, some of the more spectacular games from the tournament. With both a Brilliancy Prize & Best Finish Prize on offer, players had plenty to play for even in the final rounds!

Brilliancy Prize winner in the Challengers - Alanna Chew Lee (round 3 win against Manny Chua)

Brilliancy Prize winner in the Reserves - Max Chew Lee (round 11 win against Enoch Fan)

The runner-up in the Brilliancy Prize for the Championship (judge Doug Hamilton commented that if the prize was for Best Game rather than Brilliancy that this game would have likely won the award) - IM Igor Goldenberg (round 9 win against IM Aleks Wohl)

Winner of the Brilliancy Prize in the Championship - IM Andrew Brown (round 4 win against Jason Tang)

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