Last weekend was the Labour Day long week-end in Victoria so chess players did what they have been doing for around 50 years, namely journey to Ballarat for the Begonia Open Chess Tournament.   This 3 day event attracted 117 players to their new venue at Clarendon College, after having been in the School of Mines for many years.  The new venue was modern, spacious and well lit and the draw was displayed on two big overhead screens for all to see.  All-in-all a big improvement on the previous venue, except it is a little further out of town and away from the cafes/restaurants.

Ballarat Playing Hall

Ballarat Playing Hall

The tournament resulted in a tie for first between Chris Wallis, who defeated defending champion James Morris in the last round to finish on 6/7 and new-comer Kanan Izzat, an 18 year-old Fide Master from Azerbaijan who seems to be visiting Australia for a while.

I dropped in for a visit on the Sunday as a number of “Chess Kids” were playing, including Gary, Ryan, Max, Daniel, Harry, Liam and Zoe.  None did particularly well this time but all gained valuable experience against strong senior opposition.  Gary got to play IM Stephen Solomon (down from Queensland) whilst Ryan played 3-times Australian Champion FM Doug Hamilton and I’m looking forward to seeing their games against these top players.

Meanwhile, in the search for a suitable puzzle from the tournament, I naturally gravitated towards Karl Zelesco’s games as Karl seems to play games which include a lot of tactics.  I’ve chosen his game against Ari Dale as per the diagram below.  Karl, playing Black, is two pawns ahead and appears to be winning but Ari is trying to win the “e7″ pawn then get his central pawns moving.   Karl has a number of options but chooses the wrong one and loses.   Can you do better?  What is Black’s best move?

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