"We're ready to rock n' roll", said ACF boss Gary Wastell. And so with that, the 2008 Australian Chess Championships began. One-hundred and thirty-eight players are here, not particularly strong (so said a 2200-rated player to me anyway), but considering that this tournament was near-death just few months ago, the organisers can only be very happy.
Some regulars are here. I spotted Jesse Sales who is up from Melbourne. The poor fellow looked nowhere ready to play as he'd just literally got off the bus. It seems that he's moving to Sydney and will be looking for a job. He's not sure exactly what he'll do, but Sydney-based chess coaching concerns should drop him a line.
Another ex-Pinoy is also competing. The last time I saw Israel Yadao was in the 2001 Australian Open in Canberra, I think it was. Little did I know that he actually moved to Oz years ago and is now a citizen. Good to see him back.
Of the large local Sydney Pinoy chess crowd, sadly, their turnout isn't positive. As far as I can see, the strongest attendee amongst these guys is my old friend Romy Capilitan. Even that famous TCG himself can't be bothered with competitive play these days. Too much stress! (And oh, what's this? The even more famous Gary Wastell has just been introduced to TCG, just a short sharp 90-second meeting. Already the ACF boss has a job for the blogger. How could I refuse? My God, what an honour).
As usual, those chess fanatics from Victoria are visiting in good numbers. There's about twenty of the lot led, of course, by GM Johansen. I almost didn't recognise that young talent James Morris; his hair is much longer these days. Pyke, Goldenberg, Dizdarevic and Pecori are here too. My friend Ascaro Pecori is making a comeback after months of layoff. He's here, he says, to take his mind off things.
Also caught up with locals IM Gary Lane and FM Brian Jones. I might as well give them a plug. Gary tells me that his latest book "Improve Your Chess in 7 Days" has been his best seller so far. I haven't read it myself but I'm sure some of us could probably do with that book. A better story from the friendly IM is that apparently some folks in England actually think that TCG might be a real grandmaster! What the? No ladies and gents, yours truly ain't Ian Rogers! And Brian Jones was busy showing off a new clock. The DGT2010, an updated version of the DGT2000, is a sexy-looking beast. Even the new levers feel much smoother. Australian Chess Enterprises sells them for $99.
That's all for now. We hope to bring you regular reports including photos from the venue. I was going to post first round photos but silly me completely forgot my cable for the damn camera. You'll have to wait til late tonight.
Below is our first featured game. Good finish by Arthur albeit aided by Mejzini's cooperation.
Australian Chess Championships 2008
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nf3 b5 8. Bd3 Bb7 9. Bg5 Be7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. a3 O-O 12. Nh2 Nd7 13. Ng4 Nb6 14. O-O Rc8 15. Qf3 Bg5 16. Rad1 Qe7 17. Ne3 Bxe3 18. Qxe3 Nc4 19. Bxc4 Rxc4 20. Rd2 f5 21. Qb6 Rc6 22. Nd5 Qf7 23. Qe3 fxe4 24. f3 Rc5 25. Nb6 exf3 26. Rxd6 Rxc2 27. Rd7 Rxg2+ 28. Kh1 Qg6 29. Rf2 Rg1+ 0-1