Happy New Year to all. Hope you all had a good one. As for me, I spent the night with a few chess buddies directly under the Harbour Bridge. As far as I'm concerned, nothing ever beats the Sydney fireworks. There was hardly any chess talk, though, except for a brief discussion on - would you believe(?) - Peter Leko. It was decided that this guy was as boring as bat crap. That one was just kind of out of the blue, but there you have it. I'm almost tempted to hand out a "most boring player" of the year award!
On that note, Shaun Press now has his pick for the 2008 Aussie Player of the Year. And the gong goes to GM Zong Yuan Zhao. Hard to disagree with that one. Zhao was absolutely tremendous last year, topping off 2008 with an excellent outing in Dresden then followed by a brief stint as a gun-for-hire in China. He even has his own entry in Wikipedia which I only discovered today!
For a more international flavour - check out also Peter Doggers' (ChessVibes) nice wrap up of his 2008. Plenty of good stuff there, although I preferred much of his earlier work, especially those that included game walkthroughs by the players themselves. Like this one.
Year 2008 was definitely a biggie for TCG with Dresden being the main highlight. This year, we're off to yet another big one - the Queenstown Chess Classic, followed soon after by the regular fixtures (Doeberl and SIO) and, of course, the Oceania Zonal.
Finally good luck to all Australian Open participants. (I'd provide a link to the tournament website, but it looks like the NSWCA have ran out of bandwidth). A note to you guys, especially those staying in hotels/hostels south of the bridge, that if you want to play some blitz on Friday nights, you can catch some of us locals in the Spanish Club. Come join us. We'll teach you a few moves. OTB, that is.