2023 St George Summer Open: Round 2 Report
It’s still calm waters after two rounds of the bayside tournament, with 10 players on 2 out of 2, and a further 10 on 1.5. Conditions will no doubt get more turbulent after our final round for 2023, next Tuesday, December 19, before the two-week holiday break.
The following players had victories against players at least 10 positions above them on the initial ranking list or a draw against a player 20 points above: (the number in parentheses shows the difference): Wins: Ted Power (56; unrated); Dominic Ou (45; unrated); Volkan Soker(42); Peter Swinton (26); Stephen Elliott (17); Draw: Ludwig Wolf (21).
2023 Summer Open Round 1 Report
Chess-life slows down over summer – but not at St George! One of our big annual events – the Summer Open – kicked off last night, November 29, and continues for six more rounds, with just a short two night break (Dec 26, Jan 2) over Xmas /New Year.
The bayside tournament is a classical, ACF-rated event, with 75 minutes per player, and a 30 second increment. Sixty players have registered, and round one saw quite a few upsets.
The following players had victories against players at least 10 positions above them on the initial ranking list or a draw against a player 20 points above: (the number in parentheses shows the difference): Wins: Dominic Ou (42; unrated); Christian Lagarez (32); William Liu (28); Ashton Li (28); Ted Power (28; unrated); Boris Paceskoski (28; unrated); Draw: Peter Swinton (29).
2023 NSW State Blitz Championships Report
Last Sunday, November 26, Ryde-Eastwood Leagues hosted the 11-round State Blitz Championship (3 mins/2s increment). In the field of 82, St George was well represented with eight players. The arbiting itself was a Dragons affair entirely, with myself acting as deputy to chief arbiter, Charles Zworestine, and Tim Hanrahan kindly helping out with entering of scores.
State champ was clear winner Samuel Asaka (10.5/11), whose near perfect score was spoiled only by a single draw. FM Jason Hu was second on 9, and club regular FM Clive Ng third on 8.5. The full list of final positions can be seen here.
The other St George results were: Daniel Melamed, John-Stuart Plant and Arthur Huynh (all on 7.5); Mario Falchoni, Anthony Karnaout and Rupert Coy (all on 6); and Samuel Slingo with two wins.
Even though the room supplied by the club was rather minimalist, there was a friendly vibe that seemed to leave people very happy with the event. Being blitz, a steady stream of illegal moves kept both the arbiters on their toes, but again, the decisions made were not any source of ill-feeling.
One of the traditions of the State Blitz is that it is immediately followed by the NSWCA AGM. That involved much heated discussion of the association’s 2023 policy of not allowing juniors below a rating threshold to take part in some of its Open tournaments. There seemed to be an agreement that the policy needed reviewing, perhaps by making the rating requirement only applicable to juniors under 12. The other matter of interest to St George was the election of Celina Wu and Charles as the two council members without portfolio, and Rupert Coy as the communications officer.
2023 Big Boards Home Match: Brave Dragons go down fighting
Despite heroic attempts by all the 45-strong St George team, Norths managed to erase the two point advantage we had coming in, and then move ahead by a further three points. After four losses to Norths over the last two years, St George had put on a mighty performance to win the away match, 26.5 to 24.5, but in the end it was a 49.5 to 46.5 victory to Norths for 2023.
We did well on the top 14 boards (9-5), and were still up by 2 after winning Board 20. But then they won 8.5-2.5 with no losses on the next 11 boards! They then won the bottom 14 boards by 1 point for their overall 5 point victory.
All the results can be seen here.
As always, the rivalry between Sydney’s two biggest clubs exists across the board only, and the conviviality of the event was very obvious as old friends chatted before and after their games. Next year it might be an even better event, if a proposal that has been put to Norths is taken up. Currently team selection is based purely on one’s ranking within the club – this means that there is not really a fair representation of our membership. In the proposed format, each club would put forward 6-7 players in six ratings divisions, each division with a 200 point spread (e.g. one division might be 1400-1600). This would avoid the very unbalanced matches that have occurred in the recent past (where Norths have outrated us by an average of 300 points on each board). This year the average rating for St George was 1708 versus 1655 for Norths, but that has only been achieved by Charles’ very active recruiting of strong, past St George players. We are very indebted to them for turning up and making the match competitive!
But the high average rating also tells us that a lot of current lower-rated St George players are missing out on the fun of the night. The ACF-rated Little Boards event that runs alongside the Big Boards is better than nothing, but the proposed structure promises an event truly in the spirit of St George.
2023 Club Presentation Night
Having wrapped up all of the tournaments to be completed in 2023, it was time to celebrate the stars of the year. Last night, forty-eight trophies, across all the ratings divisions, made their way into the hands of their new owners. Club Champion for 2023 was Daniel Melamed, having won the Club Championship by a half-point from John-Stuart Plant. Daniel was kept busy during the night, coming up to receive awards for his many other accomplishments at the club throughout the year. John-Stuart Plant also had a fantastic year at St George, with two outright first places (both of the Lightnings) and two shared firsts (Summer Open and the Allegro). Other multiple visitors to the trophy table included William Liu, Sait Buzgan, Celina Wu, Aaron Hu and Darren Curtis. A full list of the awardees will be included here soon. The award for most improved player of the year went to Samuel Slingo, who has been logging a truly impressive number of over-the-board-games across the length and breath of the city.
One of the most social events of the year is the Internal Teams Tournament, and 2023 saw first place award go to Charles Checkmating Cherries, the team of Club Captain, Charles Zworestine.
Throughout the year, Charles never misses an opportunity to thank people for helping out at the club, but it’s really the club who owes Charles its thanks. There’s a lot of often-unappreciated work in running a chess club, for example, organising and ordering all of last night’s trophies! Charles does the lion’s share of the heavy lifting at St George, in addition to his work as a much-loved maths lecturer at Western Sydney University, his president’s position at the NSW Junior Chess League, and in his role as an International Chess Arbiter. But even more important than the amount of work Charles does at St George, it’s the ethos of inclusion he has cultivated at the club that is most impressive. No-one puts more value on making sure that every player, whatever their standard, gets to enjoy their Tuesday nights at Carlton. Charles’ commitment to this equality of opportunity means that St George, as well as having great players, is simply a great club.
2023 November Lightning: come-from-behind win for John-Stuart Plant
In a night of dramatic sports matches, John-Stuart Plant pulled off a Glenn Maxwell-like win, after trailing leaders Daniel Melamed and Fred Flatow at the start of the final round. He won, they didn’t, and JSP emerged the tournament champion with 7.5/9 points.
The full list of winners:
1st in Open: John Stuart Plant 7.5/9
2nd in Open: Fred Flatow, Arthur Huynh, Daniel Melamed, Bruce Urdanegui. 7/9
1st U1800: Srijan Badam, Ted Power. 5.5/9
1st U1500: Maan Beydoun, Ali Murtazaev. 5/9.
1st Unrated: Anthony Andreas 5.5/9
Forty players had turned up for the night, a great turn-out, with many returning to St George for the highly social night. Many participants had their photo taken with Fred Flatow, former Australian champion, and three times winner of the Doeberl Cup. Several players shared fond memories of being coached by Fred, including Lou Udovitch, who said his third place in the 1968 NSW Junior Lightning Championships would not have happened without Fred’s mentoring. One of Fred’s current pupils, Samuel Slingo has made great strides recently, and he scored three wins in the tournament. One could not help but be charmed by Fred’s humble manner – he even helped in setting up, and packing away, the boards and clocks. A true chess gentleman!
The final crosstable is here.
Daniel Melamed’s big year at St George got even bigger on the night of the final round of the 2023 Swiss. Daniel finished the tournament with a win, and, on 8/9 points, he took first place in the tournament overall. This added to Daniel’s sole first place in the 2023 Club Championship, his equal first (with John-Stuart Plant) in the Club Allegro and his second place to John-Stuart in the August Club Lightning. Daniel’s FIDE rating (2005) has already climbed 100 points in 2023, and will no doubt finish the year even higher. In second place was Terrence Tang, on 7/9, and third place was shared between JSP, Jeremy Plunkett and FM Clive Ng, all on 6.5. The final crosstable is here.
The final round was quiet in terms of numbers, and in terms of unexpected results: only one of the latter, a win to Kane Phillips who beat an opponent 25 points above him in the initial standings.
2023 St George Swiss: Round 8 update
With one round to go, Daniel Melamed (7/8) has held onto his half point lead, but those on his heels have been reduced from three to one – Terrence Tang. John-Stuart Plant and Nicholas Kordahi, on 6, are still in with a chance. In his Round 8 game, JSP was able to capitalise on a few errors by his opponent, FM Clive Ng, in what he feels was one of his best-ever games. See the game here, including some comments by JSP.
It was a relatively quiet night, in terms of unexpected results. Only five players scored a win or draw against opponents ranked 10 or more spots above them in the initial standings (the number in parentheses indicates the size of the ranking gap): Emad Nasif (win, 20); Ted Power (draw, 45); Kevin Liu (draw, 21); Jason Touma (draw, 19); Stephen Manwarring (draw, 16).
Old is Gold: 2023 NSW Seniors Open
Thirty five genial geriatrics (including myself) managed to find their way to Norths last weekend (October 21/22) for the NSWCA’s annual state Seniors Open. Incredibly, everyone saw out the event alive and well; some of us can even recall the odd game.
Tournament champ was mere whippersnapper, 56 year old Joerg Raichle (ACF 2013) on 5/6. His only loss was an upset in the first round to the wily Kamal Jain (ACF 1511), who barely made the tournament age threshold of 50. St George ex-president, the most affable Sarwat Rewais (ACF 1878), returned to competition after a long break, and did so in great style: on 4.5 points, he was one of four players who finished equal second (IM Gary Lane, Barak Atzmon-Simon and Pieter Bierkins). Sarwat is hoping to get back to club play in the not too distant future.
St George had four other participants, and the Vega tournament software seemed committed to pairing club members against each other (e.g. see photos). Best of the rest was Mario Falchoni (3.5), followed by Mal O’Donoghue (2.5) and, on 1.5, both Ralph Shaw and Geoff Hyde. The final crosstable is here.
One might imagine that a seniors tournament would be notable for its tranquility. But one of the quirks of weekenders at Norths is that afternoon and night sessions are often joyfully accompanied by the rehearsals and performances of rock bands in the adjacent auditorium. The music kept our nodding off to a minimum, and of course, with our advanced age-related hearing loss, we were really only aware of it when the bass made the pieces vibrate across the board.
2023 St George Swiss: Round 7 update
Round 7 saw far fewer unexpected results across the field than in previous weeks, and Daniel Melamed (6/7) regained his sole position at the top of the standings. But Terrence Tang, FM Clive Ng, and Jeremy Plunkett are all hoping to change that in the final two rounds, all sitting just a half-point back.
Nine players scored a win or draw against opponents ranked 10 or more spots above them in the initial standings (the number in parentheses indicates the size of the ranking gap): Kevin Liu (win, 27); Chris Brown (win, 17); Robert O’Connor (win, 12); Jason Touma (draw, 15) and Andrew Li (draw, 10).
2023 St George Swiss: Round 6 update
The top of the table saw a major reshuffle, as Terrence Tang’s win against Daniel Melamed means that Terrence now shares the lead with Daniel and Clive Ng, all on 5/6. Jeremy Plunkett and Ted Power sit a half-point back.
Nine players scored a win or draw against opponents ranked 10 or more spots above them in the initial standings (the number in parentheses indicates the size of the ranking gap): Volkan Soker (win, 39); Kane Phillips (win, 32); Maan Beydoun (win, 24); James Robbie (win, 24); Ramu Srinirasa (win, 19); William Liu (win, 19); Emad Nasif (win, 19); Dimitrios Stathos (win, 11); and Ted Power (draw, 38).
Three more rounds to go!
2023 St George Swiss: Round 5 update
Daniel Melamed, fresh from a strong performance at the Ryde Eastwood Open, increased his lead in the St George Swiss with his win against John-Stuart Plant. Daniel (5/5) now sits a full point clear of four players: Terrence Tang, FM Clive Ng, Ted Power and Mal O’Donoghue. The surprise item on that list is unrated young gun, Ted Power, who had his strongest win yet, against club captain Charles Zworestine (ACF 1903).
Eleven players scored a win or draw against opponents ranked 10 or more spots above them in the initial standings (the number in parentheses indicates the size of the ranking gap): Ted Power (win, 49); Volkan Soker (draw, 45); Pascale Maddock (draw, 23); Kane Phillips (win, 20); Kevin Liu (win, 20); Emmanuel Vardakis (win; 19); Jason Touma (win, 14); Stephen Manwarring (draw, 14); Ethan Currie (win, 14); and Brian Connell (win, 12).
The Ryde Eastwood Club held its annual seven-round tournament over the three days of the Labour Day weekend. Eighty-five players contended for the $3200 total prize-money, including four IMs, 5 FMs and 4 CMs. Vietnamese CM Tri Ken Le (FIDE 2144) provided the main surprise of the event when he beat the tournament leader IM Igor Bjelobrk in the second last round. Tri had a chance for outright victory on board 1 in round 7, but his draw with Samuel Asaka meant that they shared first prize, together with IM George Xie. Kye Walls topped the U1800-1600 division, JonLuke Corona, Katherine Pan and Benjamin Tee shared the win of the U1600-1400s, and Nestor Chan topped the U1400s. Full results are here.
St George had five players in contention. Arthur Huynh and Daniel Melamed led the charge, both scoring 5/7. Nick Kordahi finished with 3.5, Ralph Shaw 3, and Volkan Soker 2.5. Yours truly also took part, not as a player, but in my first outing as an arbiter. It was a very gentle introduction to the task: the players themselves were as civil as can be imagined, and I was also in the hands of a most experienced FIDE Arbiter, Rob Watson. Bill Gletsos and Peter Abbott also lent their help at the start and end of the tournament, and Bill returned at one point to explore some quirky behaviour of the Vega pairing software.
One unexpected bonus of arbiting was that I found it as instructive, about chess itself, as playing would have been. One gets to watch a lot of good chess! I would choose an interesting game, examine the position on the board and try to guess the next move. Basically, I felt like most of my time was spent doing chess puzzles- my favourite chess activity!
If you are interested in becoming an arbiter yourself, Rob Watson and Bill Gletsos are running a 2 day workshop this weekend, October 7-8. It’s only $30, which is a real steal. For all the details click here.
2023 St George Swiss: Round 4 update
Round 4 saw a clear-cut single leader emerge: Daniel Melamed, still on a perfect score of 4 points after his win against FM Clive Ng. Four players sit a mere half-point back: Jeremy Plunkett, Terrence Tang, John-Stuart Plant and Richard Eccles. It was a week for upsets across the table with the following players getting a win or draw against opponents ranked at least ten spots above them: Peter Swinton, Emmanuel Vardakis, Kane Phillips, Ramu Srinirasan and Emad Nasif, and three real outperformers scoring wins against players ranked at least 30 spots above: Maan Beydoun, Ted Power and Volkan Soker.
In the tourney, each player has 60 mins for their moves, with a 30s increment per move. It’s a Swiss-structured event, which means that if there are 60 players, ranked 1 through 60, then in round one, player #1 is paired with player #31, player #2 with player #32 etc. In subsequent rounds, the same logic is used, but is applied within groups of players on the same score, and with adjustments made such that (amongst other considerations) people never play each other twice, and ideally alternate between black and white.
National Arbiters Workshop Report – AND a QUIZ!
One month back, September 19-20, the NSWCA ran a weekend workshop to train candidates for FIDE’s National Arbiter (NA) position. Held at the Sydney Academy of Chess, Burwood, it was an intense affair, run by the very affable International Arbiter (IA) Peter Tsai, and ably assisted by Ryde-Eastwood’s Rob Watson (IA) and the ACF’s National Ratings Officer, Bill Gletsos (NA). St George had three participants, Clive Ng, Anthony Karnaout, and myself, among an overall total of twenty-two.
The content covered a wide range of topics including: the laws of chess, tournament types; tournament conditions; types of tie-breaks; the theory and practice of pairings; the conduct of players and arbiters; ensuring fair play; clock handling; and the submission of results. For most attendees, even the introductory section, an exposition of the rules of chess and tournament play, held many surprises. As Anthony says:
The seminar was a great experience, as I was able to learn some of the finer points of the Laws of Chess. Not only did I learn about arbiting, but it also added to my knowledge as a chess player.
If you want to test your own knowledge of the rules, I’ve created an anonymous 10 question quiz based on the workshop content, and my reading of two official FIDE documents: The Laws of Chess and the FIDE Arbiters Manual.
I’ve set the ‘pass mark’ for the quiz at 50%, but at the end of the workshop itself, we all had to sit a two-hour exam, and to get our NA accreditation, we had to score at least 80%. Like the workshop, the exam was exacting, and even included an exercise in pairing players manually, based on ‘first principles’. The idea was that even though all FIDE-rated Swiss tournaments in Australia use the Vega application to determine pairings automatically (and we practised that too), an arbiter should be able to explain to players what is going on in Vega, under the hood, as it were.
All three St George participants passed the exam comfortably, and we are now listed on the FIDE list of National Arbiters. The National Arbiter accreditation even shows up on one’s individual FIDE page. Anthony has already gone on to act as an arbiter for our recent Allegro tournament. My first gig will be at the upcoming Ryde-Eastwood Open (see upcoming events below) where I will assist Rob Watson.
The workshop was such a success that the NSWCA has already announced a second NA Workshop, to be run by Bill Gletsos and Rob Watson at the Sydney Academy of Chess, on the weekend of October 7-9. Highly recommended!
New England Open 2023 Report
Update October 5: Rick Torning has now annotated all 115 games of the tournament!!!
His 83-page report is here. He also provided a pgn file of all the games, which I have imported into Chessbase: the games can be played through here.
St George was represented by Mal O’Donoghue and myself. Mal of course had the better result scoring 4 points in the six-round, Swiss event, narrowly missing a chance at a tournament win when he got into time trouble in the penultimate round, while in a winning position. His performance was all the more impressive because he was soldiering on throughout the event while suffering from a debilitating head cold.
I scored 2.5 points, with a most enjoyable back-rank mate in round 5 against a higher rated player from Norths. He ended up rueing the decline of my draw offer earlier in the game when he was ahead materially, but down to about a minute on the clock. The time control was 60 minutes plus a 10s increment.
The outright tournament winner on six points was Bradley Lucas (ACF 1770), who being a resident of rural NSW, was also thus declared the NSW Country Chess Champion for 2023. The U1600 high-scorer was Tim Hanrahan, and the top junior was the unrated Ben Gordon. The final standings are linked here, and the crosstable sorted by initial ranking can be seen here.
It was a very friendly and well-run tournament, thanks to the efforts of tournament director Chris Martin, the chief arbiter, NSW Junior Chess League stalwart, Rick Torning, and a bevy of assistant arbiters who diligently recorded moves once any player’s clock dropped below 5 minutes. Armidale itself was itself a star turn, with its charming architecture, old parks and depth of culture. Culinary choices for dinner were a highlight of the stay, and there were many other as-yet unsampled options that both Mal and I are already looking forward to for 2024.
2023 St George Allegro: Daniel Melamed & John Stuart Plant equal first.
The leaders from week 1 prevailed in the second and final night of our one Allegro tournament of the year. Both had just the one loss across the nine rounds, Daniel to JSP and JSP to Mario Falchoni. The latter game, in the final round, had a particularly exciting finish, with Mario getting a checkmate with one second left on his clock. Mario’s win took him to outright third place, on 7 points, followed by Celina Wu and Nick Kordahi on 6.5. Rising junior, Ashton Li, had a strong tournament, finishing on 5.5. Click on this link to see the final crosstable.
St George Lightning Tournament: August 15, 2023
On a dark and rainy night at Carlton, a lightning chess tournament brought even the dead to life as flashes of brilliance and craziness illuminated twenty one chessboards deep in the bowels of St George Leagues Club.
Yes, it was one of our three annual blitz-style tournaments (5 minutes per player, 9 rounds, Swiss pairings), and it drew in forty two players with an average rating of 1253, and four rated over 2000. Clear winner, and undefeated, was John Stuart Plant (2178). Daniel Melamed (2195) only lost one game – his fourth round match against JSP, and thus came in second. Third was CM Anthony Chan (2216), whose only two losses were, as you might suspect, to Daniel and JSP. Anthony secured his third-place spot on tiebreaks from equal-scoring Nick Kordahi. Other rating division winners will be announced in due course or you can make educated guesses from looking through the final crosstable.
As is typical of lightning tourneys, the frenetic pace resulted in many an illegal move, some detected, others not. Luckily, we had International Arbiter Charles Zworestine to adjudicate and to reveal, in his in-between-rounds chats, some of the subtler finer points of the rules.
The fruit-favoured edition of this club favourite had its dramatic finale on August 9th, with Charles’ Checkmating Cherries finishing strongly to win the tournament by a massive margin of six points. Darren’s Doubled Durians also put in a mighty performance against Hyde’s Hacking Hawthornes to leapfrog over them into second place, with the HHH team happy to get onto the podium for the first time. It was a great tournament with fewer forfeits than in previous years. Thanks to all competitors and the team captains for their efforts in helping a logistically complex event run so smoothly. The full updated team results can be seen here.
2023 NSWCA August Weekender Report
The 2023 NSWCA Autumn weekender was an intense 7 round affair, held over August 5-6 at Norths, Cammeray. Seventy-six players, with an average rating of 1656, took part in the 60 minute/10sec increment, single-division Swiss tournament.
Prizes were awarded on a ratings basis, with the open prize won by Rooty Hill’s IM Cameron McGowan (ACF 2388), who won all his games. St George’s own Daniel Melamed came in equal second (5.5/7), tying with Niki Banerjee. Arthur Huynh, was equal 4th, on 4.5 points, with Mario Falchoni a half point back.
In the other prize categories, where St George was represented by Nikola Vujasin, Mal O’Donoghue, James Bullen and Geoff Hyde, there was no joy apart from that of the game-play itself and the calm atmosphere maintained by the chief arbiter, St George regular Nick Kordahi. Full results can be seen here.
2023 NSW Junior Championships Report
In the second week of the July school holidays, St George had five juniors competing in the U12s and U18s Reserves Swiss-format tournaments. In the latter, Leo Xu had our best result, scoring 5.5/9 (equal 5th), followed by Lucas Zhai (5/9, equal 13th), Kevin Liu (4.5/9, equal 22nd) and Huey Teng (4/9, equal 30th). William Liu was the sole dragon in the U12s, scoring 5/9 for equal 22nd.
A separate, round-robin tournament for the state’s top ten U18s was held concurrently, and was won by Seth Peramunetilleke (8/9), followed by Saisiddharth Naraharasetty (7/9) and Yifei Hu, Anh Quan Nguyen and Ethan Chang (all on 5.5/9).
Club captain Charles Zworestine (also president of the New South Wales Junior Chess League) was, as usual, one of the tournament arbiters.
International Chess Day
Ninety-nine years ago on July 20 1924, FIDE, the international chess federation was founded. Since 1966, that date has been celebrated as International Chess Day, after FIDE took up a proposal made by UNESCO.
While no related events appear on the Australian chess calendar, Chess.com has taken up the challenge of giving you ways to celebrate, if so inclined, including a well-put together documentary on the history of the world chess championship.
NSW Open Report
The King’s Birthday long weekend saw many a king survive and many another end their reign at the NSW Open. In seven rounds at the Russian Club, Strathfield, IM Gary Lane (FIDE 2335) squeaked past FM Michael Kethro (FIDE 2162) and IM Mihajlo Radovanovic (FIDE 2459) on tiebreaks, all scoring 6/7 in a field of 72 players in the Open division. St George had four current, or recent, members taking part: Brendan Anderson, Rupert Coy, Anthony Karnaout, and Gordon Yang. Gordon (FIDE 1859), who now studies in Queensland, had the best finish, on 4/7, equal 21st. Full results for the division are here.
In the other division, Under 1600, there were four current Dragons: Kevin and William Liu, Ralph Shaw and Geoff Hyde. As in the 2023 Doeberl Cup’s Mini Division, Kevin led the way, with 4/7 (equal 22nd) with yours truly happy to score 3.5, equal 34th in a field of 75. The U1600 first place was shared by Trent Parker and Alexander Thuaux, both on 6/7, with Nathan He and CJ de Mooi equal third on 5.5. Full results for the division are here.
As also in the 2023 Doeberl Cup, Club Captain Charles Zworestine acted as an assistant arbiter, and ever the multitasker, was at times seen busily organising the player lists for our upcoming Teams tournament.
2023 St George Club Championships: Congrats to Daniel Melamed!
With his Round 9 win against club president Graham Saint, Daniel Melamed (8 points) secured his place as the St George Club champion for 2023, holding off a strong challenge from John Stuart Plant (7.5). You can follow seven of Daniel’s games here. In Divisions 2 and 3, the top scorers were club regular Michael Babic and newcomer, Stuart Taylor. The next three divisions saw three players play their strongest chess so far at the club to claim the honours: Sait Buzgan, Faaiz Malik and Ethan Currie. The full list of Club Championship trophy winners for 2023 is shown below.
Over the years, a huge part of the success of the Club Championships has been Charles’ weekly newsletters, and as usual he continued the tradition this year. In addition, for the first time he also somehow managed to convert nearly all of our often shockingly written scoresheets into a meaningful collection of digital files. While I played a part in getting those game files onto the website, I can assure you this was a minor effort compared to that of our seemingly indefatigable club captain.
Charles’ final newsletter for the championships (plus some Big Boards coverage) is now out. For earlier editions, see the Results page. The results up to the end of Round 9 (including nearly all the adjourned games within those rounds that have now been played) for all six divisions are up here. Most games from Rounds 1-9 are also now accessible via the links in the tables at the top of the Results page.
The 2023 Club Championship started Tuesday March 7 – nine rounds, classical time-control. The turn-out was very pleasing, with sixty players. Thus, the tournament has six divisions, each with 10 contestants, of roughly equal rating. The structure of the tournament is described here.
Update: Thanks to Charles’ efforts, you can now play through three of the top games from the match.
After four losses to Norths over the last two years, St George put on a mighty performance to win the away match, 26.5 to 24.5. Charles did a great job of recruiting 24 past St George players to the cause, to add to the 27 combatants who are current club regulars. Among the returning crew were WGM Jilin Zhang, IM Igor Bjelobrk and FM Pengyu Chen. Many thanks to all those who heeded the call! A full list of the results can be viewed here.
Although we had more titled players than Norths on the night, we were still at a ratings disadvantage: Norths averaged 1617 to our 1555. But undaunted by the numbers, a dozen Dragons defeated their higher-rated opponents, helping to make the night a cause for celebration.
An annual event since 1987, the night saw St George take on one of the other big clubs of Sydney, Norths, in the first of two matches, this one being our away event. After the second leg, a home match in November, the overall winner will have the honour of holding on to the John Kellner/Terrey Shaw Trophy (see photo) for the year. A record of results throughout the tournament’s life can be viewed here.
Intergenerational Chess Competition Round-up
Geoff Hyde & Charles Zworestine
The third edition of this event was a great success with 106 players of all ages playing in a six-round, 15 minutes a side, Swiss tournament at Blakehurst High School. Co-organised by the Sydney Academy of Chess and the Georges River Council, it returned to an outdoor venue for 2023, and luckily the forecast rain did not eventuate. The St George Chess Club turned up in force, with more than 20 players attending and many of those winning prizes in their age division. Last year’s winner, former St George Chess Club member James Griggs, turned up as a spectator and played some blitz; and former Australian Number 1 player (for 30 years!) Ian Rogers and his wife Cathy Rogers were also there.
Undefeated in the current Club Championships, John Stuart Plant was also an engaging MC for the event, keeping spirits high with his remarkable treasury of chess puns and jokes. John also runs the Hurstville Junior Chess Club, a local branch of Sydney Academy of Chess, and his young proteges loomed large in the prize-giving line-up. The local Lions Club put on a sausage sizzle, and provided free soft drinks.
Three players ended up on 5.5/6, with club visitor (and perhaps future member) Fernando Pinget winning on tiebreaks. The other top scorers were the indefatigable former Australian Chess Champion, Fred Flatow, and our own club captain, Charles Zworestine. Other club members who won prizes in their age divisions were: Ashton Li (4.5), Lisa Brandenburg (5/6), Sait Buzgan (5/6), and Sam Sharkawy (5/6).
The results of current, past and future club players are shown below:
Fernando Pinget, Charles Zworestine 5.5/6
John Abd-Mariam, Lisa Brandenburg; Sait Buzgan; Navroop Ichhponani; Sam Sharkawy 5
Anthony Karnaout, Ashton Li, Peter Swinton 4.5
Srijan Badam, Geoff Hyde, Ryan Mangini, Nathan McLean, Ralph Shaw, Huey Teng, Elijah Udovitch 4
John Parissis, Peter Slingo 3
Mark Boan, Samuel Slingo 2.5
Robert Kovacs 2/4 withdrawn
Doeberl Cup 2023 Round-up
Chess itself was one of the big winners at the 2023 Doeberl Cup with a record 403 entries across the five divisions. In the Premier division, four GMs (including 2600+ rated Armenian Hrant Melkumyan), and seven IMs led the 69-strong starting field. Melkumyan (8/9) just pipped Aussie GM Temur Kuybokarov (7.5) to claim the honours, with Melbourne-based IM James Morris third on 6.5. Seven top-level games can be viewed here and some snippets from the video commentary presented live by regular club visitor, GM Ian Rogers, are available here.
St George’s only player in the Premier, Cedric Koh, had a great tournament, finishing on 5/9, sitting at 21 in the final standings, and performing almost 250 points above his international rating.
In the 66-player Major division (1600 to 2100), Mal O’Donoghue was our standard bearer. He was disappointed with his own performance (3/7) but cheered by a crushing final round win against a rising star, Luna Xu.
St George’s only other three entrants, Kevin and William Liu, and Geoff Hyde, were all in the newly-introduced Mini division (any rating below 1500; 100 players). Kevin performed above his rating, and had our best result (4.5/7), while Geoff and William scored 3.5 and 2 points respectively. Like Mal, Geoff had a strong final round win. The Liu brothers are now competing in the Oceania Junior & Youth Championships, which is running (April 11-15) at the same location. (Update: Both Kevin and William scored 4/9 in their divisions, that is Under 16 and and Under 12, respectively).
The tournament had the best atmosphere of any tournament I have been in so far. The Southern Cross Club in Canberra is a superb venue that makes everyone feel welcome. Tournament organisation ran very smoothly – although I never made it to the somewhat notorious U1200’s room! Club captain, Charles Zworestine, was one of the hard-working arbiters who silently moved around the boards, dealing with the odd question or illegal move.
The Doeberl Cup is held each year in Canberra over the Easter break. Keep it in mind for 2024!
Vale Geoff Britton
In very sad news, one of our oldest members, Geoff Britton, recently passed away. Geoff was an absolute gentleman, and is remembered fondly by all in the club.
You can follow one of Geoff’s finest games at St George here.
2023 St George Summer Quickly
Congratulations to Mario Falchoni for winning the 2023 St George Summer Quick Play tournament! John Stuart Plant was a half-point behind, and Malachi O’Donoghue came in third. See the final standings here.
2022-23 St George Summer Open
Congratulations to Arthur Huynh for winning St George 2022 to 2023 Summer Championship, final results can be found here. Here all the rating-group winners:
2023 Summer Open Lightning Prize Winners =1st Arthur Huynh, John Stuart Plant 8.5/9 3rd Mario Falchoni 7/9 1st Under 1700 Anthony Karnaout 6/9 2nd Under 1700 Srijan Badam, Sean Pyke 5/9 =1st Under 1400 Kevin Liu, Euan Marquez Zarauz, Pieter Stoltz 5/9 1st Unrated John Abd-Mariam 6/9