The last week in Melbourne has been eventful not only for a horse race at Flemington but also for a chess race at the Melbourne Cup of Chess.

Three highly rated stallions from interstate came to Melbourne to tackle the local colts and, regrettably, it turned out to be a one horse race.
IM Max Illingworth bolted to the lead at the Melbourne Chess Club and stormed home down Leicester Street to score an impressive 8.5/9. Of course it would have been nice for a locally trained competitor to have won the race but our big names like Cheng and Morris were not in the field. Probably something to do with a injured fetlock or two, but in their absence our younger stayers were given their chance.

Justin Tan, no stranger to being on a horse, was so close to having a drawn rook ending against Illingworth, but chose the wrong plan. Karl Zelesco had an even simpler draw there for the taking in his ending against Max, but he too went astray. Even Ari had the better of a Q+R ending against IM Andrew Brown but got his rook offside and was unable to recover.

I plan to use these three positions in my chess lesson next week as they show the difference between an IM and a good junior when push comes to shove. “Don’t be too hard on the kids” counselled Check Norris, when I told him of my plans “everyone makes mistakes” and, of course, he is right.

Even grandmasters sometimes come up with the wrong idea. If you don’t believe me (and would like a good laugh) have a look at today’s puzzle.
It’s from the game Beliavsky v Johannessen Linares, 2002. White to play.
He is tossing up between 1.f6 to lock the Black King out, 1.fxg6+ to open up the Black King or 1.Kf4 to get his own King into the action. Alas, he made the wrong choice. What move did he play?

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