Deviatkin Successful in Canberra
This year’s edition of the Doeberl cup appeared somewhat weaker than the previous one. The usual Indian flock was missing. Still four GMs from abroad took part in the event, as well as half of the Aussies’ GMs- Smerdon and Johansen. The third one, Zhao will represent them on the coming Sydney International open, while the last, but not least Ian Rogers was once again providing his excellent commentaries throughout the event. Those annotations attracted a great share of attention. Due to his work commitments Smerdon started with a half point bye at the start. So did Australia’s highest rated female Arianne Caoili who took two. Byes are allowed in Canberra for the first couple of rounds.
The tournament was once again hosted by the Hellenic club and started smoothly for the titled players. With two rounds per day we quickly passed the tournament equator when Andrey Deviatkin was most successful, with 5.5/6 score.
Seventh round appeared to be the longest, as Daryl Johanson pushed hard to overcome the young Mountlyn Ly. The game lasted more than 150 moves, and he finally managed to convert the tricky rook and bishop versus rook endgame. Eight’ round was postponed for half an hour, while they finish the game. That feast came too much for both the opponents and they both lost in the next round.
Remarkably, there were many long full-blooded games. Part of them is due to the price fund which Doeberl Cup provides. To claim it, a player is not allowed to make a draw before move thirty throughout the event, and to win their final game with a score equal to the lowest player’s score on board four in the final round.
The situation before the final round promised suspense. Two players on 6.5 were facing two GMs on 6 points with the white pieces. A third pair on six points was playing on board three where the top seeded Sune Berg Hansen managed to ground down the local surprise Eugene Schon. I totally messed the opening against David Smerdon on board two. The danger to get in the basic textbook of how not to play in the opening was there, but the Aussie was also nervous. He made a few inaccuracies and offered a draw, which I gladly accepted. In vain, the position was already much better for me.
Fortune favours the brave. In the meanwhile Andrei Deviakin showed guts by rejecting a similar draw offer against the Georgian GM David Arutinian. He won a pawn, then second, and converted it into the opposite coloured bishop endgame. Thus, the Russian took clear first place, scoring 7.5/9. This win also granted him a share of the thousand dollar fighting price fund. The other two who took a bite were Max Illingworth and Akshat Khamparia. They both made a performance over 2450 but for technical reasons could not fulfill the IM norm requirements.
While we were dealing with the price fund, the locals enjoyed themselves in the lobby of the hall with a game called “two up”. It is a rather simple gambling game, which the Australian soldiers used to play during the First World War, and which is repeated each year in their memories.
This year’s slogan for the Doeberl cup shirts was “It’s been a hard day’s knight.” But one other slogan attracts the attention- “Lost your bishop? Better start praying now…” It could be seen on the shirt that a two meter man wore. His name is Charles Bishop and he is the organizer of the event. It might really be trouble if Doeberl Cup loses their Bishop. The organization stuff that he does vary to wide ranges. His children played in the tournaments, and his wife Lara is involved in the organization as well. Charles was also our guide in the Australian life, showed us the wild kangaroos, and invited us to a delicious dinner. In previous years he even drove the bus from Canberra to Sydney to personally bring the guest players to their second event.
The next year is the 50-th jubilee edition of the tournament. We are looking forward for it.