“It has to be one of the most dominant performances I’ve ever seen in Australian Chess.”

So said Check Norris on Chess Kids Live last night.  He may have been talking about his 7/7 in the Box Hill Rookies yesterday, but more probably he was referring to Bobby Cheng’s outstanding performance in winning the 2013 Australian Open Championship.  Bobby scored 9.5/11 (including a half point bye in rd 1) to out-distance 3 grandmasters and most of Australia’s top players.

Equal second on 8.5 were GM Zhao, IM ly and IM Illingworth with visiting GM Igor Khenkin (FIDE 2659) languishing back on 7.5 points.  To complete his triumph Bobby tied with IM James Morris on 9.5/11 in the lightning then won the play-off 2-0.

A month ago, before the Australian Masters, I blogged that it was about time Bobby kicked on and became an IM. Looks like I was one tournament too early.  Hopefully this great result, his second IM norm, will spur him on to work hard on his chess and become a grandmaster.

The hallmark of his play seemed to be accurate analysis.  His game v the German GM was a typical example.  He almost had a mating net set up and everyone on-line was trying to suggest the winning move.  I think we came up with 4 different candidates but Bobby played a strange move that we hadn’t looked at which appeared to lose a rook. “Has he blundered?” I thought, so I quickly set it up on my computer which proclaimed that Bobby had mate in 5 moves!  Well done Bobby!

I’d been keeping a close eye on the games from the Open to find a suitable puzzle for your enjoyment and was watching the game Ikeda v Brown whilst discussing it with Check Norris.  It looked like Ikeda must have a win somewhere, but it was complicated.  Suddenly an idea hit me and I exclaimed “I think I’ve got my puzzle!” Fortunately Ikeda played my line and it worked perfectly with a very nice move at the end.  It was only then that I realised I’d overlooked something really obvious, but fortunately it didn’t matter.  See how you go with it.  White to play and win.

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