Tony Sturges ANZAC Memorial a success!
The second annual Tony Sturges ANZAC day memorial was a great success. The main competition, a 7 round thematic swiss, attracted 12 entrants, with the evening Blitz competition attracting 11 entrants. In both tournaments we had an outstanding turnout of junior competitors (7 in both events) who had a lot of fun and showed a great interest in playing more single-day tournaments!
This was a truly great way to commemorate one of the HICC's best junior coaches with openings picked from Tony's very own book collection which he bequeathed to the HICC, and has now formed the HICC library.
In a day where a half point was nowhere in sight, Kevin Bonham triumphed on both events with an unblemished pair of picket fences! Ian Little and David Rolph shared second place in the main event, with Ian taking outright second in the Blitz, and David taking outright 3rd.
Thematic competition, 15+0
Blitz competition, 3+2
Round 1 started in the normal chess position with white to move. From there the other rounds gradually played more moves alternating between black and white to take the opening move. As all the openings were less than main stream, it was a gamble in each round weather you got the side of the opening you wanted!
Round 2 saw 1.b3 already on the board with black to move. This was a hard choice as Tony was a fan of the "Grob" (1.g4) and owns a book called The Tactical Grob. However, as Tony also read a book simply called Play 1.b3 it was decided that would take the round 2 spot.
Round 3 was a hat tip the the "Grob" with the combination 1.e4 g5!? - the "Reverse Grob". The usefulness of this move is debatable, but several players (junior and senior) struggled with its peculiarities.
Round 4 is known as "The Wayward Queen Attack", a fitting name for an opening that hurtles the queen out early in a number of attempts to gain some form of scholars mate. While the aggression is easily dealt with, with both players arriving at equality with best play, there were many players who unwittingly fell in spectacular fashion!
Round 5 was the Lisitsin Gambit (accepted). 1.Nf3 f5, 2.e4 fxe4 (white to move). White must decide what to do about the attacked knight, do they try and regain it with Ng5, or do they centralise the knight and go for accelerated development? One thing is certain - there is no benefit to sacrificing the knight, and happily there were no reports of that happening on the day!
Round 6 got players into the classical lines of the King's Gambit Declined - specifically, the Falkbeer countergambit with 3.exd5. After 1.e4 e5, 2.f4 d5, 3.exd5 (black to move) black has a number of options and the game can either become every tactical and sharp, or lead to a quick trade down the e file and a queen-less middle-game. The one sure thing in round 6 was that not very many people knew the theory, and if they did, they got the opposite colour to what they wanted!
Round 7 was a randomly selected opening from 5 options that only the organiser (Ian Little) knew. To follow the theme of increasing the depth of the opening by one move each round, the openings for round 7 where all up to move 4, with white to move.
By his own admission Ian had selected 1 "dodgy" opening 1 "solid" opening and 3 positions that were about the same as the previous rounds. As Murphy's Law would have it, the "dodgy" opening was selected out of the hat and the "Troon Gamibt" was played.
1.e4 g5, 2.d4 h6, 3.h4 g4 - with your selection of !? or ?! or just ?
The other openings not selected included:
- The Keene Defence: 1.g4 d5, 2.h3 e5, 3.Bg2 c6;
- The Fajarowicz Defence: 1.d4 Nf6, 2.c4 e5, 3.dxe5 Ne4;
- The Englund Gambit: 1.d4 e5, 2.dxe5 Nc6, 3.Nf3 Bc5; and
- The Edinburgh Variation of the Caro-Kann: 1.e4 c6, 2.d4 d5, 3.Nd2 Qb6.
Most, if not all, of the players had never seen the position after the Troon Gambit moves had been placed on the board. Many experienced juniors and most of the senior players resisted the urge to grab the gambit pawn, but no one knew why it was going to be bad! In the end it didn't matter as everyone had fun playing from such a crazy position, and in most cases the stronger player triumphed due to experience, not any great advantage out of the opening.
After such a successful event this year, raising $355 for the TCA and having a great junior turnout, the Tony Sturges ANZAC Day Thematic Memorial and Blitz will return in 2016. The 25th of April is a Monday in 2016. The long-weekend will provide increased opportunities for the HICC to run a classical tournament as well as the Thematic Rapid, and Blitz! This could truly be an ANZAC weekend chess extravaganza! If you have any suggestions to help make next years event even better than this years, contact the HICC with your ideas!
Thank you to all those who attended this years events, and to Kevin Bonham and Ian Little for organising and running the tournament on the day. See you all next year.