The last two weeks have probably been the best two weeks in the chess calendar if you are an Australian following our chess tournaments from home.

Over Easter there was the Doeberl Cup in Canberra, now in its 48th year, which attracted a huge field including many Grandmasters, International Masters and overseas players.  Straight after Doeberl many players moved on to Sydney for the “Sydney International Open” where something very unusual happened!  Yes, an Australian player won a grandmaster tournament in Australia.  The lucky player was Moulthun Ly, a 21 year-old from Queensland, who also pocketed a grandmaster norm for his trouble.  Ly finished undefeated on 7 points out of 9 games and played no less than four grandmasters along the way.  A very impressive effort which will ensure that Ly is on a very high board in our Olympiad team later in the year.

Another contender for Olympiad selection, Junta Ikeda from the ACT, has probably also fought his was into the team by securing 6.5 points in Sydney and sufficient extra rating points to allow him to claim the IM title, following on from a good Doeberl Cup performance.  It’s strange how events can turn based on a little bit of luck.  Ikeda got a unexpected present in Canberra when Bobby Cheng’s phone rang during his game with Ikeda (an automatic loss on forfeit) and this lucky break propelled Ikeda onto the higher boards and gave him a big boost in confidence.  He certainly seized the opportunity and registered an IM norm at Doeberl.

Of course there were many great games and interesting positions from these two tournaments so for this week’s puzzle I have a multitude of choices.  There is however no doubt as to which position I shall use.  The last round game Vajda v Li will probably be published around the world.  Let me set the scene.  I was watching the game live and chatting about the position with Laurence Matheson when suddenly the game became very tactical with pieces en-prise everywhere.  Laurence thought that White was winning if Black played the obvious main line.  I begged to differ and was trying to find a way for Black to save the game when Laurence suddenly exclaimed ….OMG and typed in a new move for White.  Almost immediately this move was replicated on the board and poor Luke  had to resign.  Your task – from the diagrammed position Black played Nxf1.  What was White’s killer reply?

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