Last week was a very big week at Chess Kids culminating in the RJ Shield Finals on Sunday and then the National School Finals on Monday and Tuesday, all played at Melbourne University’s Queens College.

There were 60 players in the RJ Shield Finals with Shawn Zillmann emerging victorious on 6.5/7 followed by Gavyn Sanusi-Goh and Oliver Cordover finishing in second and third places on 6 points.  Shawn played excellent chess, drawing with Oliver and defeating the defending champion Gavyn.  The Warm-Up Tournament had 83 players and was won by Victor Sun and Akshayan Manivannan both on 6.5/7.

RJ with Shawn Zillmann – winner of both the RJ Shield Finals and the Primary School Finals.

The National Finals were contested in three divisions with teams from across Australia and New Zealand competing for the titles.  As always, Melbourne High dominated the Open Secondary scoring 23.5/28 from Mazenod on 18 points.  David Cannon scored a perfect 7/7 for Melbourne High.

The Middle Years event was also won by Melbourne High with 23.5 points from three teams tied on 20.5 points in second place.

The most exciting event however was the Primary Competition where the result was in the balance until the final game had finished.  Atlas Baillieu from Geelong Grammar was battling Shawn Zillmann on top board and needed a draw for his team to win the tournament but again Shawn came out on top scoring 6.5/7 to be the highest scoring player.  This left Geelong Grammar tied on 20.5 points with Doncaster Gardens who retained their title on count-back.  A mere half point further back on 20 points were Balwyn North and Tucker Road with Balwyn North securing third place on count-back also.  You can’t get much closer than that!

Instead of a puzzle today I think I will show you a whole game from the State Primary Finals.  It is full of tactics, blunders and missed opportunities.   Black gets an overwhelming attack but somehow manages to go astray and ends up losing.   See if you can spot the mistakes both players make and come up with some winning moves.

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