We have just finished the first week of November which, in Melbourne, means only one thing.   Yes!   It’s a public holiday long week-end so that we can all enjoy the Melbourne Cup …. of Chess!    This annual event, played at the Melbourne Chess Club attracted a very strong field including some of Australia’s better juniors plus IMs Solomon and Rujevic representing us oldies.

Unfortunately I could only follow the event from afar as I was in Mildura (playing tennis against some other oldies).   My iPad refused to get on the internet (must be too far away) but my iPhone fortunately kept me in touch with many of the better games being available on Tornelo.

The top seed, George Xie, played like a budding GM to score 8.5/9 and edge closer to that elusive 2500 rating which will secure him the the grandmaster title.   In second place was Bobby Cheng who scored 7.5/9 (including a half-point bye) who played like a budding IM for most of the time.   He drew with George and faced a tough game against Max Illingworth who had Bobby tied up for most of the game.   Bobby (as Black) managed to swap off into an endgame and to create chances with the following position arising after Black’s 55th move Nc7.   Now Black’s N is trapped on c7 to stop the White “a” pawn whilst White’s B is trapped on g1 to stop Black’s “h” and “c” pawns.   Perhaps it’s a draw?   Perhaps one side can get a pawn home?   I’m not sure so I need your help.  White to play.   What is the result and what do you think were the next couple of moves?   That is today’s puzzle.

[fen caption=”White to play …what result?”]8/1Kn5/P1pk4/5p2/5P2/7p/8/6B1 w – – 5 56[/fen]

ANSWER:

Black wins!    56.a7 Na8!! 57.Bb6 Kd7 58.Bg1 c5 59.Kxa8 Kc8 0-1. Well done Bobby against a strong opponent and rival.   I have a feeling that both these promising players will be in Australia’s Olympiad team next year.

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