For Wang, who is on a chess scholarship at the University of Texas, it was a good outing overall as he also took out Zonal champ, David Smerdon. But the Kiwi himself also dropped a point to none other than Sydney junior Max Illingworth! Both finished with 5.5 points along with GM-elect Smerdon and IM Stephen Solomon.
Top finishers are as follows:
5.5 Wang, Smerdon, Solomon, Illingworth
5.0 Xie, Schon, Morris, Wongwichit, Jones, B.
Yours truly finished with just 2.5 points. I actually considered finally "coming out" by beating FM Gene Nakauchi in the first round, but then I thought, nah. Maybe next time.
In round 3, I played my only other victory. This one was against Western Australia's Marc Vlietstra.
Gold Coast Open 2009
The Closet Grandmaster
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Nf3 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. a4 Once essayed by no less than super-GM Magnus Carlsen. He beat fellow super-GM Alexander Morozevich with it back in 2006 Biel tournament. Look up that game and compare its finish to this one. 9...Nh5 10. b4 f5 11. Ng5 Nf4 12. Bxf4 exf4 13. Rc1 Bh6?! apparently aimed at dissuading Ng5-e6. But I play the move anyway since I figured that the resulting position was OK for white, plus I was kinda curious about what will happen. 14. Ne6 Bxe6 15. dxe6 f3 16. Bxf3 Bxc1 17. Qxc1 c6 18. Rd1? (18. Re1 might have been better in order to support that e-pawn.) 18... Rf6 19. exf5 Nxf5 20. b5 Qc7? 21. bxc6 bxc6 22. Nb5 Qb6
Position after 22...Qb6
At this moment I began to consider 2 moves: a4-a5 and c4-c5. You know, playing for tricks. But I was doing my head in, losing time and so finally settled on the text! 23. Nxd6 Nd4 24. c5 Nxf3+? (24... Qb4 25. e7 Re6 26. e8=Q+ Raxe8 27. Nxe8 Rxe8) 25. gxf3 Qb3 26. e7! Qxf3 27. Qc4+ Kh8 28. Qd4 Kg8 29. Re1 (I was seriously even considering 29. e8=N Rxe8 30. Nxe8 Rf7 31. Rd3 just for the sake of promoting to a knight.) 29... Rf4 30. e8=Q+ Rxe8 31. Rxe8+ Rf8 32. Qc4+ Kh8 33. Rxf8+ Qxf8 34. Qf7 Qb8 35. Qe8+ Qxe8 36. Nxe8 Kg8 37. Nd6 1-0
It was a fun tournament overall and there were quite a few notable moments. IM Solo and his opponent Tristan Stevens shared a laugh OTB when the former tried one last desperate trick to avoid defeat: promote to a Queen that, if captured, would have led to stalemate.
Then there was the wonderful struggle between the young kid Alex Stahnke and David Castor. Castor lost that one, but the sizable crowd appreciated both their efforts and gave a loud applause!
Finally, there is my new mate, the PNG's Joselito Marcos. Like a typical Pinoy this man played to hustle. Down to his last few seconds, he somehow moved quick enough, eventually raising his time back to over a minute, and created enough confusion OTB that his opponent, Vlietstra, was forced to defend a won position! It was amazing to watch. Still, Marcos lost. The next day he insisted that it was only because he gave the wrong check.
There was one other thing I learned from Marcos. PNG chess politics. My God, that's ugly.