The 2015 Victorian Chess Championships have been run & won, with International Master James Morris prevailing, scoring an impressive 8.5/11, going through the tournament undefeated. Second place was shared between GM Darryl Johansen & FM Chris Wallis on 8/11, with Darryl also going through the event undefeated, while Chris managed to win the most games of any player throughout the tournament.
I was once again arbiter for the event & the event was once again played with a friendly atmosphere, with very few hassles. The main issue with the tournament at present has to do with the 'maximum one postponement per player' rule & how this is to be managed/enforced. As the arbiter for the event, I was fairly liberal with this 'rule' & the players for the most part did not seem too bothered by it. However the related issue for the tournament has to do with the format & venue(s) used. At present, the tournament is played as a 12-player round robin, with the tournament being run over a two month period, with the playing days/venues shared amongst the three largest chess clubs, Melbourne, Box Hill & Noble Park. This means that players effectively need three potentials days of the week free to play in the event, as well as being able to travel to a number of parts of Melbourne. This is a discouragement for some players & means that the tournament is not as strong as it potentially could be.
In terms of alternatives, the previous incarnation of the Victorian Championships, largely supervised by Gary Wastell, saw players nominate suitable times & venues from around 18 possible options & a playing schedule was drawn up that suited all players. This solved some problems, but often meant that you did not know where you were in the event, as players were on differing schedules, with many players being multiple games ahead or behind other players.
Interstate, the options seem to take on one of two standard formats - either weekly at a standard venue (as is done in NSW & SA), or sometimes over a week (Qld) or a weekend (Tas). The obvious differences between both are the length of time required for the weekly format, while the week/weekend format does not allow for the depth of preparation for games that the weekly format allows.
Personally I think whatever attracts the strongest field would be the best, but what that is in the Victorian context is something that I don't know.
Although he only placed second, as arbiter I felt that some of the most entertaining & interesting games were played by Chris Wallis - here is a sample of two of his wins from the event.