I popped in to my favourite chocolate shop at Chadstone yesterday to find that it was filled with Easter eggs which can mean only one thing.  The Doeberl Cup in Canberra is nearly upon us!  For the last 52 years Australian chess players have migrated to Canberra at Easter time for Australia’s largest and strongest week-end tournament.

Looking back to 1985 the “British Chess Magazine” reports that “The strongest weekend open in Australia was played over the Easter weekend … the Doeberl Cup with $4200 in prize money.  First prize was shared between G.Hjorth, I.Rogers, D.Johansen and M.Fuller on 6/7 in a field of 103 players.”  Contrast that with last year’s Doeberl which had 248 players including 11 grandmasters and 10 International Masters and around $18,000 in prize money, and this year’s event should be even better.  Someone named Kasparov is apparently attending the tournament as part of his campaign to be elected to the Presidency of the World Chess Federation.  It would be great to go to Canberra to meet him but I haven’t yet decided whether or not I shall make the trip.

I am however excited to note that some Chess Kids will be going to Doeberl, including Gary Lin (playing in the Premier for the first time), Sam Trewin and Rebecca Strickland.  It should be a memorable experience to watch all those really good players competing for 9 rounds over 5 days.  I think it’s true that you can’t become a good chess player without first playing lots of games against strong opponents so Doeberl is a good chance to get another 9 hard games under your belt.  My top student, Gary, is now at the stage where he is regularly drawing with players around 1900-2000 rating so I’m trying to teach him how to have the confidence and understanding to play for wins against such players.  To even play in the Doeberl Premier event you have to be around 1900 rating and Gary is currently ranked 89th of the 93 players accepted so far so every opponent will be an ideal challenge for him.

For today’s puzzle I will also go back to 1985 when Sydney player Stephen Kerr was playing in England but was on the wrong end of a nice little finish from the diagram below.   White to play and win.

[iframe width=”500″ height=”685″ src=”http://chessmicrobase.com/microbases/1565/games/50760?token=6vtwxtq2&embedded=1#hcp-” frameborder=”0″>]