Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Arianne Caoili Grabs Lead

The much anticipated showdown between the first seed, IM Irina Berezina, and the second seed, WIM Arianne Caoili, turned out to be a fizzer. A draw.

Of both players it was Arianne, holding the white pieces, who had the better position. She knew that and wasn’t happy about the result. Later in the officials’ room she was harsh on herself saying, “I'm totally gutless". That is, referring to her decision to settle the game peacefully.

But Arianne did step on the pedal again by beating the ACT’s Emma Guo in the second session yesterday afternoon. With that win the Aussie women’s number two increased her tally to 5.5 points after six games and ensured that she maintains a clear full point lead from Irina who faltered in the sixth round by conceding another half point to the much less fancied, Sally Yu.

Let’s not take anything away from the young Sally, however. She played well and handled the endgame finish impressively.

Over in the men’s section, three players share the lead with 5 points apiece. These are Smerdon, Bjelobrk and Morris.

Newly minted grandmaster David Smerdon unexpectedly went down to Bjelobrk in the fifth round but then exacted “revenge” on Sydney’s FM Greg Canfell in the sixth. Now Greg is a seasoned player but, for some strange reason, his play against Smerdon showed no signs of his long experience. The 3-IM norm holder went down to David in just 21 moves.

Inside the officials’ room, GM Ian Rogers, who is providing live commentary, was at his jocular best.

No doubt following the recent news about the so-called “Utegate”, GM Rogers observed that David could have joined Macquare Bank and become Gordon Gecko; but instead he joined the Treasury and will become Godwin Grech!

Finally, how about FM James Morris of Melbourne? So far he hasn’t dropped a single point. His win over IM Lane, especially, was beautiful. According to Swiss Manager, Morris’ rating performance here is around about 2500+. It’s an impressive display and an emphatic “up yours” to those who place a question mark over his “FM” title and that, I have to admit, includes yours truly.


Anonymous said...

"It’s an impressive display and an emphatic “up yours” to those who place a question mark over his “FM” title and that, I have to admit, includes yours truly."

That doesn't follow. One could validly claim that his FM title at the time was a soft title, without precluding the possibility of dramatic future improvement. The same goes for Gene Nakauchi: his title was soft at the time, but he's bound to reach at least FM strength soon.

Anonymous said...

It's almost impossible now for Irina to come back, as there isn't really a strong enough opponent to take half a point off Arianne, let alone a whole point!

Anonymous said...

ariiane rocks! great determination

Anonymous said...

From Anon #1, cont.

The ChessChat thread on the Zonal has very complimentary comments about James' play from undoubted real masters who are also outspoken critics of soft titles (see pp. 8 and 11).

Kevin Bonham said...

Much as I dislike the practice of anonymous commenting on this blog, I agree with the first anonymous.

At least the good thing about strong juniors winning soft Zonal titles is that they are likely to eventually reach the standard indicated by the title, even if it takes them a few years. Much better than having 1900-2000 rated adults who will never be 2300 strength helping themselves to alphabet soup out of a cornflake packet then pretending it means something. :)