It’s been an eventful week in chess (as usual) with a lot of different things happening.

I gave my first lesson at a Primary School on Tuesday (Doncaster Gardens) and I discovered that Primary kids don’t play chess on tables and chairs but instead sprawl out over the floor.  This creates new challenges for the unsuspecting coach who has to tread very carefully over boards and players if he wants to watch the games!

On the national scene, ACF Life-Member Gerrit Hartland has proposed that grandmasters Ian Rogers and Darryl Johansen be awarded life membership of the Australian Chess Federation.  What a good idea!  They have dominated Australian chess for over 25 years from 1980 and been an inspiration to generations of junior chess players.  Perhaps this will be an opportunity for me to give another speech and tell some stories about Ian and Darryl from when they were juniors.

On the International scene there is also big news for Australia.  The world’s highest rated 12 year-old, Anton Smirnov, has been playing in the very strong Indonesian Open which has just concluded.  Anton drew with a GM in round one, then drew with GM Torre (Asia’s first GM and my old rival) in round two.   “Impressive” I thought, but there was better still to come.  Anton played 4 GMs for 1.5/4 and 5 IMs for 3/5 to finish on 6/11.  This is a performance rating of 2450 and a second IM norm for Anton.  If he keeps improving at this rate Australia will soon have another grandmaster.

This week’s puzzle is from the first round of the Box Hill Open played last Friday.  The first round of any chess tournament is often a good source of nice finishes as it matches the top players against players in the lower half.  I was following the games live on the internet and noticed that Chris Wallis managed to bring off a very spectacular finish in his game, with a little help form his opponent not choosing the best defence.  The first few moves are not forced but you can try to guess them if you wish, then see if you can spot the beautiful finishing combination.

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