The local championship is off and running today. While the juniors began their fight at the unfriendly hour of 9AM this morning - the seniors will commence theirs this afternoon.
For our international readers - live games, results and pairings are available from the official site. I think I've said this before but the organisers deserve a big congrats for creating such a user-friendly chess website. Very competent indeed!
Now, as is the Aussie tradition, I suppose I should get in on the tipping. For the seniors here are my tips for round 1.
1 FM Guthrie, Aaron 0:1 Ftacnik, Lubomir
2 GM Rogers, Ian 1:0 FM Levi, Eddy
3 Smirnov, Vladimir .5:.5 Schmaltz, Roland
4 GM Chandler, Murray .5:.5 FM Dougherty, Michael
5 WIM Caoili, Arianne .5:.5 Johansen, Darryl
6 IM Zhao, Zong-Yuan 1:0 Lakner, Jay
7 Booth, Stewart 0:1 IM Lane, Gary
8 IM Wohl, Alex .5:.5 Ly, Moulthun
9 Bird, Andrew 1:0 IM Smerdon, David
10 IM Solomon, Stephen 1:0 Pyke, Malcolm
11 Wallis, Christopher 0:1 FM Bjelobrk, Igor
12 FM Canfell, Greg 1:0 WIM Moylan, Laura
13 Song, Raymond 0:1 FM Xie, George
14 FM Goldenberg, Igor 1:0 Obst, James
15 Frame, Nigel 0:1 FM Humphrey, Jonathan
I have not seen a field like this before for the local title event. Very impressive.
German GM Roland Schmaltz, who is temporarily living in Queensland, is certainly a welcome personality in the local chess scene. However, I think that the man to beat is still GM Rogers. His outing 2 years ago in Adelaide was a downer and the old maestro will be more determined than ever. Defending champ Gary Lane will make a strong showing but he won't retain the title. Johansen, as usual, will likely have too many draws. While of the international masters, I count Solomon to be the only serious challenger.
For the sake of friendship, I hope fide masters George Xie, Canfell and WIM Arianne Caoili will do well.