2015 TCA Tasmanian Open


Ian Rout won the Tasmanian Open undefeated on a score of 5 from 6 recording 4 wins and 2 draws.  In rounds 4 and 5 Ian (No.2 seed) met stiff competition from the other top 3 seeds, Josh Loh and Kevin Bonham.  No.1 Seed Joshua Loh was absent in the last round due to work commitments but had accrued enough points to secure outright second.  In a pair of last round upsets Reg Harvey (1652) defeated Denis McMahon (1781), and Ian Little (1465) defeated Kevin Bonham (1918); as a result, Reg and Ian shared equal 3rd place.

The U1750 prize was combined with 3rd place, and the U1500 prize cascaded down to John O'Mara on 3 from 6.  Special mentions and incentive prices were also given to Andrew Smith and William Rumley for their performances.  Despite not recording a win William earned the respect of the playing field with his principled play and enthusiasm towards analysis.  Andrew's fearless exchange sacrifices and attacking play also gained notice.  We look forward to their play in future tournaments. 

Tasmanian Open List of Players

Tasmanian Open Final Scores

Tasmanian Open 2015 Crosstable

Round 1

The first round of the Tasmanian Open saw some short games, some long games, and an upset.  Ian Little fell to Denis McMahon in only 13 moves and David Rolph conquered John O’Mara in a long game that saw both players under 2 minutes at one stage.  Under time pressure O’Mara lost a pawn.  With an outside passed pawn Rolph was able to win O’Mara’s remaining piece to be King and Bishop against a lone King with both sides having equal pawns.

McMAHON, Denis (1781) - LITTLE, Ian (1465) [C52]

Tasmanian Open 2015 Havenview Primary School (1.4), 06.06.2015

Final Position after 13. Ng5

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.b4 Bxb4 5.c3 Ba5 6.0–0 Nf6 7.d4 Nxe4 8.dxe5 0–0 9.Ba3 Re8?

9. ... d6 is the move here, freeing the light squared bishop and staying in the game.

10.Qd5 Nxc3 11.Qxf7+ Kh8 12.Qh5 d5 13.Ng5 (diagram right)

13. ... Bf5 was the intended defence to mate on h7, but it fails to the fork on f7.  With no defence to both threats, and not enough counter play, the game was over.



Round 2

Going into Round 2, Loh, Rout, Bonham, Lewis, McMahon, Rolph, Harvey, and Rumley had all secured a point.  Ian Rout defeated Reg Harvey and Ian Little recovered to defeat Patrick Grace.  Nigel Lewis and Kevin Bonham played an interesting game resulting in Bonham having 2 doubled pawns and a lone rook, against Lewis’ lone knight and single pawn with Bonham eventually winning.  Dylan Kuzmic missed a win against Felix Ellis, and had to settle with a draw by perpetual, game below.

ELLIS, Felix - KUZMIC, Dylan [A40]

Tasmanian Open 2015 Havenview Primary School (2.5), 06.06.2015

1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.f3 Nc6 4.e4 Bb7 5.Be3 Bb4+ 6.Nd2 Qh4+ 7.Bf2 Qf6 8.a3 Bxd2+ 9.Qxd2 Nge7 10.Ne2 Na5 11.Nc3?

Position after Sideline 11. Qc3

11.Qc3 (diagram left) and the knight on a5 is looking a little silly.  b4 is coming and after that white can make plans to open the centre after securing his king.

11. ... 0–0 12.b4 Nac6 13.d5 Qxc3+ 14.Nxc3 exd5 15.cxd5 Ne5

11. ... 0–0–0 12.b4 Nac6 13.a4 with a5 and a swift queenside attack always being threatened.

11. ... Ng6 12.0–0–0 d5 13.cxd5 exd5 14.e5 Qe6 White retains an edge, but the game has stabilised, and blacks position is somewhat more straight forward to play over the next few moves.

Position after 21. ... Rad8

11. ... Nb3 12.Qd1 Nxa1 13.Qxa1 a6?!

Not a mistake, but not necessary, O-O was better here.

14.Be2 Ng6 15.0–0 0–0 16.Qe1 Nf4 17.Kh1 d6 18.Rg1 Nxe2 19.Nxe2 c5 20.Bh4 g5! 21.Bg3 Rad8?! (diagram right)

21. ... d5 22.e5 Qf5

22.Bd6 dxe4 23.Bxf8?? exf3 and white is in serious trouble.


White misses the equalising tactic of 22.Bxd6, when black loses a pawn or else returns the exchange, and suddenly the pawn breaks through the centre are not as effective.

Position after 30. ... Rd3

22. ... dxe5 23.Bxe5 Qe7 24.Qg3 Rd7 25.dxc5 bxc5 26.f4 f6 27.Bc3 h6 28.fxg5 hxg5 29.b4 Rfd8 30.h4? Rd3 (diagram left) 31.Qg4 Qf7

31. ... f5 and black wins.

32.Rf1 Rd1 33.Rxd1 Rxd1+ 34.Kh2 Qc7+

34. ... Rf1–+ White must now defend the f2 square or else black will invade.

35.Ng3 Qc6 36.Nh5 Qd6+




Round 3

The morning after the night that was the state Lightning Championships started with a bang.  Ian Little was involved in another miniature, though this time he was on the winning side against Dylan Kuzmic.  Top seed Josh Loh defeated Kevin Bonham after Kevin panicked in time pressure and lost from a winning position.  Junior Andrew Smith scored the point against Noel O'Mara in a well played Nimzo-Indian shown below.

O'MARA, Noel (1292) - SMITH, Andrew (1640) [E46]

Tasmanian Open 2015 Havenview Primary School (3.5), 07.06.2015

Position after 16. ... Bg4

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Bd2 0–0 5.e3 d5 6.Bd3 c5 7.Nge2 Nc6 8.a3 Bxc3 9.bxc3 cxd4 10.cxd4 dxc4 11.Bxc4 e5

Black has equalised out of the opening, and has great piece mobility.

12.Bc3 exd4 13.Nxd4 Ne5 14.Be2 Ne4 15.Bd2 Qh4

A little more aggressive is 15. ... Qg5 eyeing the g2 pawn and preventing castling 16.g3 (16.0–0 Bh3) 16. ... Qf6

16.0–0 Bg4?! (diagram right)

This is not a mistake, but it does allow white some forcing play to help clarify the situation and blunt blacks initiative.

Position after sideline 30. Nxe4

17.f3 Nxd2 18.Qxd2 Bh5 19.Qb2 Qe7 20.Nf5 Qf6 21.Nd4 Qe7 22.Kh1

22.Nf5 asking black if he wants a draw.

22.g4 and whites kingside play will prove too strong. 22. ... Bg6 23.f4 Nc6 24.Nxc6 Qxe3+ 25.Rf2 bxc6 26.f5

22. ... f5 23.Rab1 b6 24.Rfc1 Rf6 25.Nb5 Rg6

25. ... Nc6 26.Bc4+ Bf7 27.Bxf7+ Kxf7 28.e4 fxe4 29.Nc3 Rh6 30.Nxe4 = (diagram left) White has a slight edge due to his more harmonious piece placement, but this is a dynamic edge and black is essentially equal with proper play.


26.Rc7 Qg5 27.Bc4+ Nxc4 28.Rxc4 Qxe3 29.Qa2 Kh8 30.Rbc1 Re8 31.h3 Bxf3

31. ... Rxg2 was slightly more accurate, but black is crashing through in both lines.  32.Qxg2 Bxf3 33.Nxa7 Qe2 34.Qxf3 Qxf3+

Final position after 35. ... Qf4+


The decisive mistake, 32.R4c3 holds the position with 32. ... Qh6 33.gxf3 Rg3 (not 33...Qxh3+? 34.Qh2) 34.f4 and only now Qxh3+ 35.Qh2 Rxc3 36.Nxc3 Qe3.

32. ... Bxg2+ 33.Rxg2 Qxc1+ 34.Kh2 Rxg2+

Faster is 34...Qf4+ 35.Rg3 (35.Kh1 Re1+ 36.Rg1 Rexg1#) 35...Qxg3+ 36.Kh1 Re1#, but speed isn't everything and after the game line a mating attack was imminent.

35.Qxg2 Qf4+ (diagram right)


Round 4

3 down and 3 to go, competition was warming up heading into round 4 with the top 2 seeds Josh Loh and Ian Rout fighting it out on board 1.  Both the top seeds were undefeated on 3 points with 6 players hot on their heals with 2.  Largely round 4 saw the white pieces conquer with 5 out of 6 decisive results going white's way.  The only game to go black's way was the O'Mara derby on board 6 where Noel defeated his brother John with the black pieces in a yet another miniature.

O'MARA, John (1408) - O'MARA, Noel (1292) [A00]

Tasmanian Open 2015 Havenview Primary School (4.6), 07.06.2015

Final position after 16. ... Nxd5

1.b4 d5 2.Bb2 Bf5 3.e3 e5 4.Bxe5 Nf6 5.a3 Nbd7 6.Bb2 c5 7.b5 Bd6 8.c4 0–0 9.cxd5 Re8 10.Nc3 Ne5 11.d3 Nfg4 12.Nf3 Nxf2 13.Kxf2 Ng4+ 14.Kg1 Nxe3 15.Qd2 Bf4 16.Ne4??

An unfortunate game losing blunder, white will regain the piece with interest and prove his sacrificial ideas were worth it.

16. ... Nxd5 (diagram right)

When the knight on e4 is lost else white is mated or loses the queen.



Round 5

Round 5 (the evening round) saw the competition heating up even more as the 2nd and 3rd seeds battled it out on board 2 and fought to a draw.  A double blunder meant a winning continuation for white went unnoticed.  Ian Little was catapulted to board 1 against Josh Loh, and put up a decent fight until a late-in-the-day blunder saw him drop a rook and allow mate in 2.  Denis McMahon confronted Andrew Smith on board and endured an early exchange sacrifice in a French Advanced to come out on top.  The game was exciting and is shown below.

McMAHON,Denis (1781) - SMITH,Andrew (1640) [C02]

Tasmanian Open 2015 Havenview Primary School (5.3), 07.06.2015

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.e5 c5 4.c3 Qb6 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.Bd3 Bd7

Position after 11. Rxc3

Avoiding  6. ... cxd4 7.cxd4 Nxd4 8.Nxd4 Qxd4 9.Bb5+ as in McMahon - Pierce at the Tasmanian Lightning the evening before.

7.0–0 Rc8 8.a3 cxd4 9.cxd4 Nxd4 10.Nxd4 Qxd4 11.Nc3 Rxc3!? (diagram left)

This is a gutsy exchange sacrifice; while black will get a piece and 2 pawns for his rook, the plan is a long term one.  The aim is to remove the key knight and shatter the queenside pawn structure with the aim of running the central and queenside majorities later in the game.


Position after sideline 12. ... Qd6


With such little kingside development, removing a defender from the queenside is a bold move.  With correct play black can simply take a second pawn in the centre with some safety.  If he does this he'll be 2 pawns up in the centre, and still have options for a thematic exchange sacrifice later in the game.  The challenge after that is for black to develop on the kingside before being trapped or mated in the centre of the board. 11...Qxe5 12.Re1 Qd6 (diagram right).  But if he can do this, he'll simply be 2 pawns up with a very solid central pawn structure.

12.bxc3 Qxc3

The pawn is still available here. 12. ... Qxe5 13.Rb1 Qc7

13.Rb1 Bc6 14.Bb2 Qa5 15.Qb3 Bc5 16.Rfc1 Ne7 17.a4 Qb6 18.Qc2 Bd4 19.Ba3

19.a5 Will win white a piece.

Position after 20. ... O-O

19. ... Qd8 20.Bd6 0–0? (diagram left)

A rare case of the king being better off in the centre of the board.  Black needs to dislodge the pesky dark-squared bishop, and then place his king on the safe d7 square, but the immediate 20. ... Nc8 is not possible as it leads to a crushing attack.

21.Rxb7 Bxb7 22.Bb5+ Qd7 23.Qxc8+ Bxc8 24.Rxc8#

20. ... Bb6 looks to be a better idea with thoughts of Bc7 to free blacks position, but it fails to  21.a5 when the penetration on the b7 square, along with attacks along the a4–e8 diagonal are decisive; in all variations black goes down a piece or worse.

Position after sideline 26. Qxa5

21. ... Bxa5

21. ... Bc7 22.Bxe7

22.Qc5 Bxd6 23.exd6 Nf5 24.Rxb7 Bxb7 25.d7+ Qxd7 26.Bb5

22. ... Kxe7

22. ... Qxe7 23.Rxb7 Bxb7 24.Qxc7 Qxc7 25.Rxc7 0–0

23.Rxb7 Bxb7 24.Qxc7+ Qxc7 25.Rxc7+ Kd8 26.Rxb7

22.Rxb7 Bxb7 23.Qa4+ Bc6

23. ... Kf8 24.Bxe7+ Kxe7 25.Qa3+ Ke8 26.Bb5+

24.Rxc6 0–0

Position after sideline 22. ... Kxe7

24. ... Nxc6 25.Qxc6+ Qd7 26.Qa6 Bb6 27.Bb5

25.Bxe7 Qxe7 26.Qxa5 (diagram above)

Probably the best try is 20...f6 but this still leads to complications with white coming out on top.


21.Qd1 fxe5

21. ... 0–0 22.Bxh7+ Kxh7 23.Qxd4

22.Bxe5 Bxe5 23.Qh5+ g6 24.Qxe5 0–0

21. ... Qxd6 22.fxe7 Kxe7 (diagram right)

21.Bxh7+ Kh8 22.Rb4 f5 23.Rxd4 Kxh7 24.Qd2 Ng6

24. ... Re8 25.Rc3 Nc8 26.Rh3+ Kg6 27.Bc5 is still ugly for black, but better than the game continuation.

Position after 29. Rh3

25.Bxf8 Qxf8 26.f4 Qe7 27.Rc3 Kg8 28.Qe2 Qh4 29.Rh3? (diagram left)

White plays one of those heart skipping mistakes and allows black to equalise with tricky knight tactics. A better try would have been 29.g3, and black can resign.

29. ... Nxf4 30.Rxh4 Nxe2+ 31.Kf2 Nxd4 32.Rxd4=

The position has equalised, but it's not a simple position to hold for either side.

32. ... g6 33.h4 Kg7 34.a5 b6 35.axb6 axb6 36.Kg3 Kh6 37.Kf4 b5 38.g3 Kh5 39.Rd3 d4 40.Rxd4 Bd5?

The final mistake, white gives back the exchange and runs with the e pawn.

41.Rxd5 exd5 42.e6


Round 6

The final round was blown wide open when it was revealed that top seed Joshua Loh could not play due to work commitments.  Josh Loh was leading the field on 4.5 from 5 with second seed Ian Rout only half a point behind, and third seed Kevin Bonham only half a point behind him.  Behind the leaders group were 4 people on 3 from 5.  With all the top seeds having played each other already, it was looking likely that the group of players on 3 would be matched against the top seeds with odds on the final placings being: 1st Loh (5.5), 2nd Rout (5), and 3rd Bonham (4.5).  With the top seed out of action for the final round, all bets were off.

Ian Rout defeated Andrew Smith to claim first, and Loh retained outright second.  A pair of double upsets on boards 2 and 3 saw Reg Harvey and Ian Little clutch equal 3rd.  Little's upset over Bonham is shown below.

LITTLE,Ian (1465) - BONHAM,Kevin (1918) [C10]

Tasmanian Open 2015 Havenview Primary School (6.2), 08.06.2015

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Be2 c5 8.0–0 cxd4 9.Qxd4 Qxd4 10.Nxd4 (diagram right)

Position after 10. Nxd4

The game has taken a sudden and quiet turn, with a queenless middle game and no real weaknesses for either side, a draw is already looking a possibility. 

10. ... a6

Not an entirely useful move, development of the light squared bishop was better.

10. ... Bd7 11.Bf4 Nd5 12.Bg3 0–0–0

12. ... Bc5 13.Rfd1 0–0 14.c4 Nb6 15.Nb3 Be7

 11.Bf4 Nd5 12.Bg3 Be7 13.Bf3 Bf6 14.Rfd1 Ne7 15.c3 0–0 16.a4 Rd8 17.Nb3 Nf5 18.Bc7! (diagram below)

Position after 18. Bc7

Black's pieces are in a jam, and white now has forcing resources at his disposal.

 18. ... Rd7 19.Rxd7 Bxd7 20.Bxb7 Ra7 21.Nc5

More correct is 21.Na5 when after similar lines black has fewer tactical resources to equalise the position. 21...Bc8 22.Bxc8 Rxc7 23.Bb7 Nd6

 21. ... Be7??

The only move is 21. ... Bc8! 22.Rd1 Rxb7 (22...Bxb7? 23.Bb6) 23.Nxb7 Bxb7=

 22.Bb6! Bxc5 23.Bxa7 Bxa7 24.Bxa6?

24.Rd1! simply wins a piece.

 24. ... Kf8 25.b4 Nd6 26.Bb5!?

This is tactically not the best, but it gives black several questions to answer, and has some hidden venom if misplayed.

Diagram after sideline 28. ... Nc4

 26. ... Ke7

Black could simply take the bishop and weaken the queenside pawns, but this will only delay the inevitable. 26...Bxb5 27.axb5 Bb6 28.Ra6 Nc4 (diagram right) and white can soon dominate with his rook after checking on the back rank and making an attempt to clean up the kingside pawns, or simply march his own king up to dislodge the c4 knight.

 27.Bxd7 Kxd7 28.Rd1 Kc7 29.Kf1 Ne4 30.Rd3!

White holds onto the 2 pawns and activates his rook at the same time. Given time white will put his king on an active square on the queenside, and then try to freeze the kingside pawns before marching the queenside ones through.

 30. ... Nxf2??

Position after 38. g3

Black blunders into either a lost king and pawn endgame, or drops material saving his minor pieces.

31.Rf3 f5 32.Rxf2 Bxf2 33.Kxf2 e5 34.Ke3 e4 35.h4 h6 36.h5 Kc6 37.c4 Kb6 38.g3 (diagram left)

The kingside is now completely frozen, and black is in zugzwang.  The 3 connected passers don't even need their king to help them queen.

38...Kb7 39.b5 Kb6 40.Kd4 Kc7 41.c5 Kb7 42.a5 Kc7 43.a6 Kb8 44.b6