Surprising Winner in Sydney
Sydney International open took place 27.04-01.05 immediately after the Canberra open. These two events represent best Australia, and give a chance for the foreign players to visit this beautiful continent.
There was a great danger that the SIO will not take place this year. The previous organizer FM Brian Jones announced at the closing ceremony in 2010 that he quits doing the event; GM Murray Chandler also withdrew his support. Yes, financial crisis had reached this continent too. Still, due to the efforts and dedication of some chess men the tournament took place. Some of those need to be mentioned- Shaun Press and Charles Zworestine (the arbiters of the event) and Shane Burgess, the new organizer. All of them dedicated lots of their time and efforts to keep the open alive.
Sixty-nine players took part in the open sections, and fifty two competed in the Challengers tournament.
The tournament took place in the city hall of Parramatta, a district of Sydney. It is a lovely place, with many shops and restaurants, delicious food, and a river which can take you to the heart of Sydney. Parramatta becomes especially lively on Saturdays when an open market is placed on its main street.
My last year’s experience told me that Sydney’s open is somewhat more promising for the foreigners who get adjusted to the Australian time after the jet-lag. I also hoped that I can defend my title from the previous year. Alas, this time Lady Luck had a new favourite.
FM Akshat Khamparia started fiercely with 5/5. On his triumphal way he grounded down the experienced GM Daryl Johansen, and yet another local surprise- FM Chris Wallis. He then kept his own by drawing against GMs Deviatkin, Arutinian, and IM Goh, and managed to keep his lead till the final round. Still, his task seemed very difficult as he needed to hold in the final round as Black against the Aussies’ top rated Zhang Zong-Yuan. On second and third board respectively four players on six points were fighting to join the leader but none of them succeeded and all the games were drawn. The peace treaty was also signed soon on the top board, thus Akshat triumphed with a clear first, scoring 7/9. This is by far his best achievement ever as he confessed. In addition to the four grant price that he was afforded for his efforts, the Indian flies back home as an IM, as the result achieved on both Canberra and Sydney let him overcome the 2400 elo barrier. “I come completely unprepared here, and did not have any expectations”, said he, “as I had too much to study. The computer that I brought with me was recently bought, and the only thing that I had on it was the chessbase program. I downloaded the bases in the process of the events. I will repeat this system though”, said the lucky winner.
There was a big group sharing the second place and David Arutnian took second on tiebreak, while Angrei Deviatkin was declared third. The Georgian GM also won the lightning tournament.
The last day was also the twenty-seventh anniversary of the chess couple Cathy and Ian Rogers who were once more entertaining the chess auditorium.
I can only wish these nice people to see them here again doing the great job on their platinum wedding anniversary.