My database records the game Smerdon - Jianu, World Juniors U10, (1-0) as the earliest game specimen featuring the Alapin by the 24 year old Australian. But no doubt there are a few more unrecorded games even much earlier than that. What is clear is that David's long love affair with this system remains undying. He's had a few losses but the wins far exceed the setbacks.
Yesterday's match in the penultimate round, Smerdon - Mastrovasilis, would have involved some serious preparation on both sides. And it was the Greek grandmaster who changed course from Smerdon - Ris, Hoogeven 2006 (0-1) with 8...Nc6. At the 30th move, the computer's evaluation was that the situation was about even. But with his time running short, Mastrovasilis went for an exchange of Queens that suddenly gave an edge to David. In another seven moves, he was lost. Let there be no doubt: Mastrovasilis resigned his position.
As if there wasn't enough said about their outstanding campaign here across the Tasman, the Victorians again showed excellent play with Chow and Saw drawing with their more classy opponents. On board 16, Dusan Stojic even managed to draw against Englishman Mark Lyell after finding himself in an awkward spot right out of the opening - the Schliemann of the Ruy Lopez.
Congrats to Ikeda, Drummond, Duneas and Levi who each beat the foreign women - Zawadzka, Krivec, Smokina and Motoc respectively. I can only speculate on what's going on with these women. Can't seem to keep their minds on the job. Maybe having too much fun in this fun capital of the world!
With one round to play, our current leader, IM Smerdon, needs only a draw with GM Jones to bag this tournament. On the other hand, a win, it seems, will mean that he'll be just one FIDE rating point short of that all-important 2500 rating mark to finally reach the height that he has so longed pursued. To become a grandmaster.