Archive for January, 2014

Well the holidays are nearly over and it has been a busy time for chess players.  Today I want to update you on the Australian Chess Championships which were organised by the Noble Park Chess Club and held at the Springvale Town Hall.

I dropped in to watch the event several times and it culminated in a very exciting finish with 21 year-old IM Max Illingworth playing 13 year-old FM Anton Smirnov on top board in the last round to see who would win the title.  Max prevailed and thus becomes the Australian Champion for the next two years.  It is interesting that the field included two strong foreign grandmasters but neither was able to win the event!  Perhaps better knowledge of the local players helped the Australians but this result still reflects very creditably on the local players.  We have in the past occasionally allowed foreign GMs or IMs to play in our championships and they have invariably towelled up the locals, with the exception of Tony Miles in 1994 who could not catch local IM John-Paul Wallace.

Some of the keener Chess Kids played in the Reserves and Challengers Events which was great experience for them, but I was especially keen to follow former Australian Champion Doug Hamilton who was not allowed to play in the Championships (despite it being the 50 anniversary of his first title win in 1964).  Doug played brilliantly to win the Reserves with a round to spare and thus qualify for the 2016 Championships!   I’m told that he easily received the biggest round of applause when accepting his trophy and his play truly demonstrates that chess is a game for all ages.


IM Max Illingworth receives his Australian Championship Trophy from the Mayor of the City of Greater Dandenong

Of course there were lots of interest games played in the Championships, but for this week’s puzzle I have selected an amusing finish from one the games.  Black has been a little better for some-time but the presence of bishops of opposite colour make winning difficult for either player.  Black has just played …g3+ in an effort to break into the White position but it allows White to activate his King.  Will this work out well for White or Black?  Play through a few moves to get to the puzzle position then see if you fall for the same trap that one of the players did.

[iframe width=”500″ height=”685″ src=”″ frameborder=”0″>]