April 7-9, 1999

The first ever National Junior Open was played in Canberra at the Burns Club in Kambah. This tournament was the brainchild of ACT Junior Chess guru, Geoff Butler. It follows very well the philosophy I was discussing earlier about trying to encourage junior players to continue playing chess when they reach the ripe old teenage years . To assist this the tournament was open to anyone 20 years young or younger.

The top junior players of the previous generation (Rutherford, Cordover, Kagan, Low, McDonald, Chow etc) have all retired from competitive chess. There is no doubt they could have become as highly ranked as Smerdon and Saw now are, but their interest in chess was not maintained. This was a lost opportunity for Australia. Having a junior tournament up to the age of 20 (as it is in the World Championships) was a hope to bring some of them back to chess, and to keep the older junior players we have now. I think it is a great idea, and will prove
successful in years to come.

The tournament attracted a large number of local players as well as a handful from interstate. Top seed and probably the oldest player (certainly he felt the oldest) was David Cordover. Second seed was runner-up in the Australian Junior Championships, Laura Moylan. Notable absences were David Smerdon and Geoff Saw, who were preparing to play in the Zonal.  Perhaps next year?

As the age, and ability, was varied so greatly there was a reserves section for players rated under 1200 ACF. It was good to see many of the juniors eligible for the reserves elect to play in the Open to gain experience, including Victorian Lance Truong. Other Victorian players were Gordon Lindberg, Will Heyward and Daniel Bluzer-Fry. All the Victorian players in the tournament had also participated in the Doeberl Cup, an adult tournament over the Easter weekend. This proved tiring for some and a warm-up for others. Lance Truong played particularly well in the Open scoring 5/9 against strong opposition. Will Heyward performed well in the Reserves finishing in third place!

A game from Canberra.

Will Heyward – Ruperto Lugo
Doeberl Cup
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.0-0 Nf6
This is a slight inaccuracy. White still has the option of playing c3 and d4. Black should play .. .d6 before committing the knight to f6. Maybe it wants to go to e7 instead?

5.Re1 is also good, planning c3, d4 and having the rook ready on the open file.

5…0-0 6.Bg5 d6 7.c3 Bg4 8.Nbd2
White has the much better position because of his flexibility. He can play on the Q-side with b4 and a4 or in the centre with d4. Black has no possible pawn breaks at this stage so is confined to running his pieces round in circles.

8…h6 9.Bh4 Na5
A waste of a tempo. …g5 then …Ne7 and …Ng6 would have been strong.

10.b4 Nxc4 11.Nxc4
This exchange allowed White to gain 2 moves. Black wasted 2 moves with his knight which is now no longer on the board. Always allow your opponent to capture your pieces and then recapture with a developing move.

11…Bb6 12.a4
Gaining space.

12…a6 13.h3 Bh5 14.d4!
Striking a blow in the centre!

14…exd4 15.cxd4 Bxf3?!
This wins a pawn, but again wastes a move taking something when White will just be recapturing with a developing move.

16.Qxf3 Bxd4 17.Rad1
A great pawn sacrifice! White now has every piece on an attacking square, and Black loses another tempo to save his Bishop. A pawn is worth only 3 tempi.

17…Ba7 Not the most ideal place for a bishop
Hill Weyward-Ruperto Fluke-o

18.e5! g5
The only thing to not lose a piece. But now White has a forced win.

Playing 19.exf6 would have been better. Black couldn’t take the Bishop on h4 because of Qg4+ and Qg7++.

19…hxg5 20.exf6
Here the threat of Qh5-h6-g7 is hard to meet.

20…Qd7 21.Qh5 Qf5 22.Qh6?
Missing the brilliant 22.Rd5!! If 22…

23.Qh6 and mate is to follow.
Always try to bring more pieces into the attack. 22.Rd5 brings another very powerful piece into the attack.

If Black is allowed to exchange Queens the attack is finished. Black will then have the better endgame with a bishop and a passed d-pawn.

23.Qxg6+ fxg6
Winning chances have now slipped away from White. Black will be better off in this endgame.

Too late, too late! (He cried as he waved his wooden leg).

24…Rxf6 25.Rxg5 Kf7 26.Re1?? Bxf2+
After this blunder Black picks up a heap of material. So, White resigned. 0-1