Sunday, March 12, 2006

Doeberl Cup 2006

It's almost hard to believe but it is nearly that time of year again when Australia's premiere weekend tournament takes place in Canberra. Our international readers are hereby informed that Canberra is actually Australia's national capital - not Sydney!

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
White: Agdestein,Simen
Black: Tindall,Brett

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.


Anonymous said...

Dear Amiel

I am pleased to see you supporting the Doeberl these days, although I am puzzled by your present day support for the Doeberl (BTW, I agree with your criticisms on this issue of CAQ Official Bill Powell). I remember a few years ago you were a big supporter of Peter Hanna's Sydney Easter Cup (which as you know came close to closing the Doeberl for good), so why are you now a big fan of the Doeberl? If I remember correctly you wrote articles for organisations like NSWCA supporting Peter Hanna's destructive Sydney Easter Cup and criticising the Doeberl. Speaking of Peter Hanna, what is he doing these days? Is he going to run a Sydney Easter Cup this year?

The Closet Grandmaster said...

My friend, it is not that I am against other organisers holding their tournament during the Easter period. The deal is, they can do so provided they keep their efforts modest. Peter Hanna's SEC was always designed to be modest, in terms of prizes, mainly, and was never positioned to compete against Doeberl. As for CAQ's current effort - I think we can pretty much see that their press release is very much half in jest. Of course, good luck to them, but they must know their place. Do you understand my meaning?

Anonymous said...

LOL, this is the first time i heard about the punching incidence. Maybe somebody should've catch it on video. But i dont blame the person who threw the punch, some ppl are just asking for it eg. nakamura, just go read his bloody interview and u'll understnad

Anonymous said...

The Queensland tournament is a serious threat to the Doeberl.

Some of Bill Powell's comment were in jest, but others were not! What about Bill's letter in the ACF Newsletter specifically addressed to SYDNEY chess players where he stated among other anti-Doeberl things "Our event cannot match the Mecca event in Canberra held over Easter, however your odds at gaining Grand Prix Points are better in Brisbane then Canberra as all the top guns go to Canberra." Well, I know of chess players who plan to go to Brisbane instead of Doeberl because of Bill's comments!

I also understand that Peter Hanna is involved in the running of the Queensland tournament, due to him having moved to Byron Bay recently, which explains why Bill Powell posted a letter on ACF website hostile to the Doeberl.

I've met Peter Hanna once, and there is a lot I could say about him. However, lets just say his views on Australian chess are not in the interests of Australian chess, and are unusual, to say the least!

Why are some people in Australian chess so hostile to the Doeberl that they deliberately compete against it? The Doeberl is Australian Chess biggest competition, and should be protected. Why is the ACF allowing two competitions to be held at the same time that BOTH have GP points on offer? And why is the ACF promoting rival events like Queensland comp and Sydney Easter Cup on its website, when it knows very well that the Doeberl needs as many people as it can get from Sydney to be viable in its present form? More importantly, why is the ACF allowing free advertising space on its website to encourage Sydney chess players (which the Doeberl needs to survive in its present form) to play in anti-Doeberl tournaments?

Maybe we should just close the Doeberl down and have lots of little tournaments in Australia instead over Easter?

Oh well, the ACF wants to get rid of Australia's biggest tournament and have lots of little ones instead, as can be seen on its website. Well, I disagree with the ACF and think that Australia's biggest tournament needs protection (the have EARNED it) and I will be playing in the 2006 Doeberl in defiance of the ACF, which would no doubt prefer that I played in Queensland or Sydney instead over Easter!

Anonymous said...

Garvin, maaaaate. You don't fool anyone.

Queensland gets the same amount of long weekends as anywhere else in Australia.

As for your claim that CAQ is catering to Queensland players not going to Doeberl, I would agree with you if:
1) The Queensland Open was not part of the GP (a Cat 2 event).
2) The prize money was modest (eg about the same as Hannah's Sydney Easter Cup).
3) CAQ were not encouraging Sydney players to play in the Qld Open instead of Doeberl as per Bill Powell's letter which asks for Sydney chess players to play in Qld Open instead of Doeberl.

While Queensland contributes less players to Doeberl than Sydney, the actions of you and CAQ will ensure that less Queenslanaders will play in the Doeberl this year due to your selfish actions.

If you are truly catering to Queensland players not going to Doeberl, then why is:
1) The Qld Open part of the GP (a Cat 2 event)?
2) The prize money significantly more than Hannah's Sydney Easter Cup?
3) CAQ encouraging Sydney players to play in the Qld Open instead of Doeberl as per Bill Powell's letter?