Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Black Jacket Required - Bluff Australia's profile on Gary Benson

As we all know, Poker has taken off in Australia. I play it, my mates play it, everyone's playing it.It is possibly even hurting chess a bit. But could chess gain some players from the Poker playing arena? I know that Parramatta Chess Club have gained at least one member from the poker ranks when Shane Burgess and a few other Parramatta Chess Club members took to their local Poker competition with a chess board or two and at Campbelltown Collegians chess club we have had one enquiry from a poker player willing to give up a nights poker for chess.

Chess got some good publicity in the recent issue of Bluff Australasia with a profile on Gary Benson.

In 1970, aged just 13, Benson started plaing competitive chess and joined the
Correspondence chess league of Australia. In 2003, he became the australian
champion and 12 months later, he was awarded the International Master title for
Correspondence chess in 2004, and later earned the Senior International Master

As for his Poker milestones: Played in First Australian Poker Championship played in Adelaide in 1987 and has played in every major tournament in Australasia since then. Gary Benson took out the 7 card Championships in 1989. Benson became the first Australian born player to win a WSOP Bracelet, less than 12 months after quitting his partnership in an accounting firm. The gold bracelet was won in the seven card Stud title in 1996. Benson became Australian Champion in 1997 and again in 2001.

A full profile on Bensons Poker career can be found in the March/April 2007 edition of Australasian Bluff Magazine.

Anyhow back to Chess. What Conclusions can we draw from this article. Perhaps that because Poker players are so fixated about their game over the table they do not have time to go to a chess club. Perhaps the Correspondence Chess League of Australia should attempt to get more members by chucking in an ad every now and again in the Bluff Magazine? Other peoples comments are welcome!

Too Low Key Toukley

Once again i trek off on the 4.53 train from Picton, heading from toukley. And i'll first say that Toukley is a beautiful place for a tournament but a bitch to get to by public transport. From Wyong train station one must catch a bus from Wyong to Lake Haven shops and another bus to Toukley. But, hey, Busways was the bus operaters and I know Busways Campbelltown/ Camden do a reasonably good job at providing public transport.... so i thought. Getting to Toukley on the Saturday was the easy bit.

With a disappointing field of 20 starters there were two clear cut contenders for the top two prizes. IM Gary Lane and former ACF Webmaster and Newsletter editor were the only two players rated over 2000. Andrew Phillips was the Third seed with a rating of 1717 and an astonishing 9 players rated in the 1400-1500 bracket.

In round One I was lucky enough to play Gary Lane who smashed me in the Ruy Lopez. The upsets had already started when Paul Broekhuyse could only muster a draw against Radislav Ivanovic. I reckon there must be a curse or something at Toukley. Players who have good results against much higher rated opponents early in the tournament seem to get low scores. This year it was Ivanovic's turn. He only ended up on 2/7 for the tournament. Last year I defeated Johny Bolens in the first round and I only ended on 1.5/7! However the Radislav - Broekhuyse result could have been different though because Radislav's phone went off during the first round but apparently the Director of Play Kieth Farrell was out of the room and his opponent did not claim the win. Lets just say that i have already learnt my lesson.....
Other upsets includedGary Losh (1438) over Victor Liuga (1676), Graeme Deacon (1403) drew with Bill Egan (1530), and on the 10th board father Aurel-John Buciu (1485) travelled all the way from Queensland to be defeated by his son Alex Buciu (833).

Round Two saw Lane Defeat Joe Frias while Paul Broekhuyse started climbing his way to the top by defeating Bill Egan. Meanwhile Andrew Phillips (1717) was knocked off the top of the leaderboard by drawing to Luka Tubic (1486). Meanwhile in other upsets Radislav Ivanovic (1449) started his slide down the boards by drawing with Graeme Deacon (1403). and tournament organiser Gary Losh (1438) drew with Stephen Barnes (1653).

So by Round three there were only two players on two points: Gary Land and Richard Eccles. After round three Garry Lane was the sole leader through to the end of the tournament. He started in round three by dispatching Richard Eccles. Meanwhile on board two Paul Broekhuyse defeated Stephen Barnesand on Board three it was a battle of the locals. Andrew Phillips of Warnervale against Gary Losh of Budgewoi. Andrew Philips won on this occasion. There were no real upsets except for Graeme Deacon (1403) defeating George Smit (1429) and Michael Weltner (1530) drawing with Bill Egan (1530).

On the top board a long battle from a Saemich Kings Indian Defence occured with Gary Lane on the black side with a knight up giving two pawns as compensation for Andrew Phillips. Both in time trouble, Gary lane was able to find a way to swap off the Queens which brought the resignation. On board two Broekhuyse defeated Luca Tubic. Board three and board four both had minor upsets with Richard Eccles (1611) drawing with Ben Ryan (1448) and Joe Frias (1507) drawing with the undefeated 17th seed Graeme Deacon (1403). Gary Losh (1438) also caused an upset by defeating Bill Egan (1530). Young Alex Mehan (1390) defeated the out of practice Victor Liugia (1676).

And at the conclusion of round 4 it was time to get to my accomodation; a friend of the family at Wyee. Discovering earlier in the day that the last Busways bus from Toukley to Lake Haven was at about 7-7.30 I had to find a lift to a station or otherwise i had to pay for a taxi. I ended up getting a lift from Andrew Phillips to Wyong station where I was able to catch a train two stops (or one stop express) to Wyee..... With fun to come in the morning....

I caught the 8.18 train from Wyee to Wyong to catch a bus to Lake haven to discover that the next bus to Toukley was at 10.12 arriving at the RSL 10.20 - 20 minutes past the scheduled start time for round 5! And i was at Lake Haven at 9.30. So I decided to pay the $15 taxi fare to get from Lake haven shops to Toukley so that i wouldn't be late. And it paid off!

In round 5 It was the battle of the big guns on board one. Lane won to extend his lead from half a point to one and a half points. Whilst Broekhuyse was joined in equal second by Andrew Phillips, Richard Eccles, Ben Ryan and Luca Tubic who were all on 2.5 and won their games. Out of those games Ben Ryan (1448) defeated Joe Frias (1507) and Richard Eccles (1611) defeated Stephen Barnes (1653) to clam minor upsets. Other upsets included an improving Alex Mehan (1390) defeating Michael Weltner (1422) and Alex Buciu (833) drawing with Victor Liuga (1676).

In round 6 Gary lane secured the top prize by defeating Luka Tubic, Paul Broekhuyse defeated the well performing junior Ben Ryan and Richard Eccles drew with third seed Andrew Phillips. I racked up a minor upset when i (1483) defeated Joe Frias (1507) in a Nimzowitch come Scandinavian come Kings indian Attack where Joe at one stage missed mate in two. Other upsets included Alex Mehan drawing with Gary losh, Graeme deacon drawing with Stephen Barnes and Victor Liuga losing to Aurel-John Buciu.
After 6 rounds Gary Lane had it all wrapped up on 6/6 followed in second by Paul Broekhuyse on 4.5/6. Equal third was shared between Andrew Phillips, Myself and Richard Eccles. In contention for podium honours: Ben Ryan, Alex Mehan and Luca Tubic on 3.5/7

Round 7 saw the Top seed play the number 18 seed. Gary land defeated Alex Mehan to take out the Toukley Open with a Picket fence score of 7/7. Paul Broekhuyse defeated Andrew Phillips to bump him out of podium contention. I offered a draw to Richard Eccles quite early in the game where i had a bit of a spacial advantage after an Anti Grunfeld. He declined but later offered the draw once again. Ben Ryan Defeated Luca Tbic on Board 4 to claim equal 3rd. Other upsets included Stephen barnes drawing with Bill Egan, Gay Losh defeating Joe Frias, Victor Liuga drawing a very long game with Michael weltner, Radislav Ivanovic losing to George Smit. But the unluckiest person on the sunday was Alex Momot. Alex Momot is the blind person who plays at a lot of country tournaments and he is a very nice fellow. But he left his mobile phone on going into the 7th round. And it rang....And the arbiter was in the room to forfeit him. Just when he had a player close to his rating of 848, Alex Buciu rated 833. They played out the game anyway and Alex Momot won the game. Due to this forfeiture he ended up on 0/7.

With all proceedings over and done with, it was time to go home..... and i had no lift to the railway station.... The time is 5.40. Oh Well there's a bus from Toukley at 6.14. Caught this bus to Lake Haven to find out that the next connecting bus to Wyong was at.......7.22!!!! And the one previously was at 6.12. Talk about connectivity......So I get to Wyong at about 8.00pm......The next train to Sydney isn't until 8.45!!! Streuth this is beyond a Joke. I finally arrive at campbelltown just after midnight. I am lucky that i have a great mother otherwise i would have had to wait on Campbelltown Station for hours to get a train to Picton....Thanks Mum!

So - To next years Toukley. I think improvements can be made in several areas. Circluation of flyers to clubs rather than just relying on everyone to view the tournament details on the internet, perhaps the RSL club could be convinced to use their courtesy bus to pick up participants from the local railway station and back for a fee. This would drastically reduce the burden on people who have to rely on public transport. For me, I have decided that i will not play this excellent tournament this year unless the Public Transport problem is ironed out.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Boom Crash Opera

Hello folks!

I really appologise for the anticlimax that was my coverage of the City of sydney. I had intended to do a post earlier in the week but we have had lots of thunderstorms and electrical storms in the area and Telstra have had to do some works to the telephone lines in the area so every time i went to post on my blog I had no dial tone.

Anyhow in the Open section Ronald Yu drew with Johny Bolens and Swiercz defeated Jason Hu to be joint City of Sydney Champions. Congratulations to them both.

In the under 1700 Division I lost my game against Dennis Wan, David evans drew and Herman rachmadi won. Evans and rachmadi took out equal first whilst I and Dennis Wan equaled for third

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Who turned out the lights?? Was it Yu?

Round 5 started late today as the DOP couldn't figure out how to open the combination lock to access the pieces!! Finally Amiel Rosario (The Closet Grandmaster) finally figured it out. so we got under way a bit late today.

I appologise but i dont have the results of Round 5 for the Open. Some person decided to make the results disappear from the table. Will get them tomorrow hopefully.

In the Under 1700 division saw the David Evans match up with Myself on board one, Rachmadi against Horst Bleicher on two and Mary Wilkie against young Kinto Wan on board three. Rachmadi defeated Bleicher and Kinto Wan won a rook and eventually the game agains Wilkie. On the top board I blundered away a knight however on the next move David Evans allowed me to exchange knights to get a passed pawn which i used in an elaborate combination that allowed me to come out with a queen and a pawn for three minor pieces. We eventually agreed on a draw after I attempted some tactical tricks that were easily parried by David.
Upsets for the round include Phil Willis drawing with Thai Pham, Dennis Wan (1525) defeating Mark Baterowicz (1625).
Leaderboard: Rachmadi 4.5, Parker, Evans, Kinto Wan 4

Round 6 started a bit late as there were some late running games. Half way through round 6 the Norths Club had a blackout! some players stopped their clocks and some one was bright enough to pull up the blinds to let some sunshine in but the lighting was still poor in the u1700 division area which was further away from the windows that the Open division. After a while lighting was restored.
In the Open division Ronald Yu and Dariusz Swiercz occupied top board where at one point Dariusz had an extra pawn on the queenside but ronald had good kingside pressure in what looked to be a Grunfeld. Yu was the victor in this game. On board two Zirdum and Bolens played out a draw whilst sebastian Herman had his kingside pawns smashed to smitherines against Greg Canfell. Herman's Queenside pawn majority was not compensation enough. Canfell won. So with one round to play Ronald Yu leads on 5 points, Swiercz holds second with 4.5 points and Canfell, Rej, Bolens and Zirdum all have 4 points. Upsets in the open division included Emil-Lion Nomat defeating Amiel Rosario and Ilija Ilic losing to Anthony Lo.

In the under 1700 division: Evans had to play Rachmadi on board one. Rachmadi lost a rook and could not get enough counterplay to avoid his first loss of the tournament. On board two I played Kinto Wan. It was a very tough game! It took a possibly dubious move to allow me to fork two unprotected pawns in a knight and pawns endgame to gain the edge. I had to slowly grind his counterplay down. He had chances but he just didnt take them. I had ended Kinto's unbeaten run. I have to say Well Done to Kinto for lasting so long without loss for his rating. Meanwhile on Board three Father Dennis Wan dispached of Horst Bleicher.
Standings: Evans, Parker 5, Rachmadi 4.5, K Wan, D Wan, Greenwood 4

So can Yu become a multiple City of Sydney Winner? Can I win my first tournament? All these questions and more will be answered tomorrow

PS the lightning will be on tomorrow as well.

I'm sure i published the second installment: City of Sydney half way point

Open division round three saw no players on a perfect score after Canfell and Bolens drew as well as Yu and Rej. Swiercz defeated chan to be equal to the leaders on 2.5/3. Upsets for the round included Hamish Selnes (1770) draw against Ivan Zirdum and Joseph Nguyen defeating Ilija Ilic.

In the under 1700division Rachmadi defeated Thai Pham in a Kings indian where black left his king too open on the light squares; Trent Parker defeated Mary Wilkie in an interesting battle where TCN was able to go a pawn up due to Mary's poor Queenside pawns. So only two people remained on the top score of 3/3: Trent Parker and Herman Rachmadi.
Upsets included Michael Tracey (1486) losing to Kinto Wan (847). Also Phil Willis (1323) defeated Terence Wall (1488).

In round 4 the top two seeds played out a draw in the Open division. Swiercz defeated the eccentric Johny Bolens who put on an act for the youngster and German Sebastian Herman drew with Yu; Whilst Hu defeated Illingworth to join Canfell, Rej and Hu in second place on 3/4. The sole leader was Dariusz Swiercz on 3.5/4.

In the under 1700 division Parker drew with Rachmadi and David Evans recovered from being a piece down to defeat Norm Greenwood. Kinto Wan (847) drew with Phil Willis (1323). On the lower boards Charmaine Zhang (777) upset Nicholas Mann (1186). So leaders in the U1700 Division are: 3.5, Herman Rachmadi, David Evans, Trent Parker
3, Kinto Wan, Mary Wilkie and Horst Bleicher.

Friday, March 02, 2007

In Profile: Dariusz Swiercz

Dariusz Swiercz is currently leading the City of Sydney on 3.5/4 (which everyone would know the results if i had published my blog correctly on Monday night. Will try to repost it today).

Dariusz in a young FM from Poland. Dozy from Rooty Hill RSL gives the following information:

It's not surprising if you know his background. He's the top player in Poland
for his age group, finished level with Raymond Song in the U12 World Youth
Championship last year (just two points behind the winner), has a FIDE rating of
2235, and has already earned his FM title.

Dariusz has been a busy little boy - In the last lot of fide ratings he played 21 Fide rated games consisting of the European Youth Championships where he scored 4/5 fide rated games of which he was the higher rated of all his opponents. He also played in the world Youth Championships, and played in the Polish Mens Championship (maybe second division?)

Earlier in the year Dariusz played in the 14th international E Lasker memorial "A" tournament scoring 4.5/6 Fide rated games of which only one player had a rating close to his fide rating. He also has played in tournaments in Poland and greece in thi past year.

So My question now is..... What is Dariusz doing in Australia??? Just on Holiday or here for longer??? For such an active young player it would seem a shame to take him away from the abundant availability of FIDE rated tournaments thet could broaden his chess.