Now in its 44th edition, the Doeberl Cup is the Aussie chessers annual haj. To play in the Doeberl is "the done thing". One may never play in any other tournament throughout the year, for whatever reason, but the 4 days of chess in the Australian capital, over the Easter long weekend, is hard to miss. You've just got to be there.
Of course, for some a yearly trip is not so feasible.. What with our tyrrany of distance, it's nearly as expensive to fly internally (from as far as Western Australia, say) as flying on an overseas holiday! But at least the occassional visit will do.
Over the years the event has played host to some famous names. In 1997, for example, GM Simen Agdestein lost his first round game to local player, Brett Tindall (who has since become a Fide Master). Shaun Press, organiser and arbiter of the event, called that game, "the biggest Doeberl Cup upset in a number of years".
Doeberl Cup Open, 1997
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bg5 Bg7 7.Qd2 Nc6 8.Nb3 Be6 9.f4 O-O 10.Be2 a5 11.a4 Rc8 12.Ra3 b4 13.Bf3 Qb6! 14.f5 gxf5 15.Be3 Nxc2+! 16.Qxc2 Qxe3+ 17.Kd1 Nxe4 18.Bxe4 fxe4 19.Nc1 Bg4+ 20.N1e2 Qd3+ 0-1
On some rare occassions, chess finds itself in the mainstream media and, six years ago, Doeberl struck the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The news was so big, it reverberated right around the world! Try googling "Doeberl Cup" and "punch up". I think even our most attentive international readers will surely remember.
While Doeberl has enjoyed loyal patronage, with some 200+ players attending each edition in the last few years, the event's organising committee face a constant problem: the financial one. To maintain the Cup's high prize levels it is essential that patronage to this event is maintained or, preferably, increased. This cannot be achieved when the likes of Bill Powell, Chess Association of Queensland PR Man write such media releases as this in promoting their own Easter tournament:
Can you trust the weather in Canberra? The answer is no as it can be very cold or too hot. Brisbane is such a great place with great weather. The people are nice too.
READ: Canberra has lousy weather and the people are nasty.
Well of course this is ridiculous. I've been to Canberra several times and the weather is always perfect at Easter time. A touch nippy, perhaps, but the sun is always out. As for the people, Canberrans are very nice and attentive. After all, this is a town full of public servants. Now, I must admit - I did walk into Brisbane Hooters once (during this year's Aussie Chess Championships) and that's always hard to beat!
Bill also added:
As you poor guys put up with all that fast pace in Sydney, you deserve a break, so why not come to Brisbane and play Chess over Easter in The Qld Open and have a great relaxing time[?]
What makes him think that Canberra isn't relaxing? In fact, some may say, too relaxing! How else is one to explain that more than any other group of Australians, Canberrans perfected the art of al-fresco dining? A short two-minute walk from the venue is the Manuka shopping strip. There you'll see chess players, perving and beeing seen among the locals, sitting outside under the sun, whiling away their free time between rounds. Mr Powell, that is relaxing! No one but a metrosexual Sydneysider like me can tell you this.
So - to close, then, and in the spirit of Tourism Australia's latest campaign, we can very well ask you dear readers, "Where the bloody hell will you be this Easter?" I have an idea.
Come to Doeberl!
More information here on venue, schedule and accomodation options.