The second ever Junior Rapid Play was held in the first two days of the school holidays. A small number turned up to play, 32, but this was probably due to a tournament organized by Chess Ideas and Gateways that was on the next day.
Offering reasonable prizes seems to bring all Victoria’s strong juniors out of the woodwork. The only players missing were the Russians. The top seed, Sam Low, lost his first game to young, improving player David Lau! Poor Sam has no control over his clock, it keeps running away from him and then he finds that he has lost the game, or blunders while trying to catch it again.
Round 2 saw the start of the rise of Michael Chow. Michael defeated Joel McDonald who has a low junior rating in comparison with his ACF rating. Brian Herlihy was held to a draw by Tom Haines. The top games produced some decisive results. Cordover lost to Joseph Chow and Geoff Saw moved into 1st by defeating Narelle Szuevges while Kagan and Zeve drew. Michael Chow lost his game to Brian Herlihy. Michael Kagan dropped another half point, this time to Brian Herlihy. Of the other top seeds that played; Ladislav Zeve and Michael Chow drew; and Joseph Chow drew with Geoff Saw.
The last round of the day and all the top seeds played each other. Sam Low took revenge for his interschool loss by crushing Joseph Chow. Michael Kagan showed his greater experience and current good form by defeating Geoff Saw while Cordover executed the ever pleasing swindle against Szuveges. McDonald was losing badlyto Ogada-Osir, but Ibrahim failed go find the simple winning moves and shortly afterwards lost. Of the players competing for rating prizes Denis Bourmistrov, John Nemeth, Tan Ly, Murray Lynch and Raf Kaplan all had 3 points.
The battle of the Chow brothers again ended in a victory for the younger one. We suspect that this is 4 in a row!
Other exciting games saw Sam Low finally meet and play another reasonable player, only to again lose on time…. against Brian Herlihy! Michael Kagan offered a draw in a much better position against McDonald just because they both had 10 minutes to play the rest of the game and he was worried about losing on time! Saw managed to hold Cordover to a draw when they were both in time trouble. With Herlihy in outright first with 5 and a host of people on 4.5 things started to heat up. Cordover and Kagan eventually drew, and Herlihy consolidated his outright first position by defeating McDonald. Michael Chow and Geoff Saw both kept in touch with the leaders with wins.
The crucial penultimate round saw Herlihy a clear point in front of the rest. Unfortunately for him he played Cordover and was ground down in a rook ending that started off as better for Herlihy. Kagan won very quickly against Joseph Chow and poor Sam Low lost on time again but this time to Michael Chow. Michael Chow needed a win to secure first place, but could only draw against Kagan, who also needed to win. Sam Low completed his shocking tournament by losing to Ibrahim Ogada-Osir. Of course it was due to the clock! McDonald declined a draw offer from Cordover, who only had seconds left, but then allowed a queen and knight attack and was mated. Herlihy and Saw both needed a win to share in first place but only one could win, and that was Herlihy. Joseph Chow lost his last game on position and clock to Tan Ly, giving Tan the ratings prize.
A lightning playoff was held for the medallions. Cordover defeated Chow and then drew with Herlihy to secure first place. Michael Chow beat Herlihy to finish in second place. And Herlihy of course finished in third place.
7.0 /9 David Cordover
6.5 Michael Kagan
6.0 Geoff Saw, Ibrahim Ogada-
Osir, Tan Ly, David Blom
5.5 Joel McDonald
5.0 Sam Low, Narelle Szuveges,
Ladislav Zeve, Raf Kaplan, David
Lau, Joe Connolly
4.5 Joseph Chow, Tom Haines,
John Nemeth, Julian McDonald
4.0 Sam Chow, Denis Bourmistrov,
Jerry Smyrk, Chris Wong
3.5 Chris Bell, Paul Leong,
Tomasz Korab, Reuben Endean, Josh
3.0 Murray Lynch, Abigail Ogada-
Osir, Amit Khazanchi
2.0/5 Peter Drew
2.0 Mark Leong
1.5 Jessica Baker
David Cordover was the only one of the top seeds not to lose to a lower ranked player. Michael Chow and Brian Herlihy both performed exceptionally well. This was a good tournament for those players who have just a little less experience than the top players as there is a much more realistic chance of winning with the faster time-control. Well done to those such as Ogada-Osir, Blom and Ly, as well as Kaplan and Lau who all played very well for their ratings.
We saw with clarity that Sam Low cannot play in time pressure, nor can Joseph Chow (although he was the only one to defeat Cordover!).