Canberra Times, April 1 2001

Rarely has an Australian rating list generated such debate as the April 2001 list released last week by the Australian Chess Federation.

Chess ratings are among the most sophisticated in the sporting world, providing not only a ranking system but also a reliable estimate of the probable result of a series of games between any two rated players, even Kasparov and an amateur.

However this week cries of anguish were heard from a number of top Australian players as their rankings plummetted by 20 places or more.

International Masters Guy West and Vladimir Feldman were the hardest hit, dropping around 150 points despite each completing only two tournaments in the rating period.

West and Feldman were victims of recent changes which have increased the volatility of ratings while also providing virtually no credit for beating lowly ranked players. The result is an increasing emphasis on current form over past victories; a move which has benefited improving juniors but hit some of the established masters hard.

Change at the top of the ACT list has been less dramatic. The relatively high numbers of tournaments played by many ACT players has, under the new system been rewarded with lesser variability per game for the most active players.

April 2001 ACF Ratings
Top 25
1.Rogers(N) 2589; 2.Johansen(V) 2501; 3.Wohl(N) 2496; 4.Wallace 2397; 5.Solomon(Q) 2386; 6.Tao 2376; 7.Gluzman(V) 2369; 8.Sandler(V) 2361; 9.Laird(Q) 2350; 10.Teichmann(V) 2346; 11.Rujevic(V) 2337; 12.Smerdon 2327; 13.Chapman(SA) 2326; =14.Speck(V), Reilly(N) 2323; 16.Samar(N) 2320; 17.Zhao Zong Yuan(N) 2317; 18.Drummond(V) 2310; 19.Flatow(N) 2307; 20.Baron 2304; 21.Depasquale(V) 2294; 22.Curtis 2293; 23.Stephens(N) 2286; 24.Leskiewicz(Q) 2277; 25.West(V) 2273.

ACT Top 25
1.Smirnov 2106; 2.Farrell 2097; 3.Reeves 2056; 4.Bliznyuk 2055; 5.O'Brien 1998; 6.Kolossovski 1993; 7eq.I.Wright, De Gier 1989; 9.Mautner 1982; 10.G.Butler 1958; 11.Gmizic 1956; 12.Bartlett 1921; 13.Rout 1899; 14.Rafizedah 1896; 15.P.Jovanovic 1873; 16.Moylan 1860; 17.Hosking 1854; 18.B.Fitzpatrick 1848; 19.R.Morton 1838; 20.Press 1835; 21.Grcic 1833; 22.B.Butler 1825; 23.Oakes 1819; 24.Doel 1816; 25.Ramakrishna 1800.

Australian number two Darryl Johansen in currently competing in the Max Wotulo Memorial Grandmaster tournament in Jakarta. He started brilliantly, defeating Australian Open Championship Stefan Djuric in the first round.

Jakarta 2001
White: D.Johansen
Black: S.Djuric
Opening: D.E.R.L.D.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Bxc6

The Delayed Exchange Ruy Lopez Deferred is a favourite of Australian IM Guy West; White tries to prove that the developed Black bishop and knight are less than ideally placed.

6...dxc6 7.Nc3 Bg4 8.h3 Bxf3

8...Bh5 9.g4 Nxg4!? 10.hxg4 Bxg4 is more combative.

9.Qxf3 Qd6 10.d3 Nd7 11.Nd1!? h5

Losing a tempo. 11...Nc5 12.Ne3 Ne6 13.Nf5 Qd7 was consistent.

12.Ne3 Qe6 13.Bd2 0-0-0 14.Qf5! Qxf5 15.Nxf5 Bf6 16.Bc3 g6 17.Ne3 Bg5 18.Nc4 f6 19.g3 Bh6 20.a4 b6 21.f4

Already White has a model position from this line; whichever way Black plays he will be left with weak pawns.

21...exf4 22.gxf4 Rhg8 23.Kg2 f5 24.exf5! gxf5+ 25.Kf3 Nf8 26.Bf6 Re8 27.Rae1 Ne6 28.Be5 Rd8 29.Rg1 h4?! 30.Bf6 Rxg1 31.Rxg1 Re8 32.Be5 Kd7 33.Rg6 Bf8 34.Ne3

Simply winning a pawn. Djurc does his best to generate counterplay but Johansen calmly retains his boa-constrictor grip on the game.

34...Bd6 35.Nxf5 Bxe5 36.fxe5 Nc5 37.Rg7+ Kc8 38.b3! Rxe5 39.Ne7+ Kb7 40.d4 Ne6 41.dxe5 Nxg7 42.Kg4 c5 43.Kxh4 c6 44.Kg4 Kc7 45.Nf5 Ne6 46.h4 Kd7 47.h5 Nf8 48.Ng7 c4!? 49.bxc4 a5 50.Kf5 b5 51.e6+ Ke7 52.cxb5 cxb5 53.axb5 a4 54.b6 a3 55.b7 1-0

The 39th edition of Australia's premier Grand Prix tournament, Canberra's Doeberl Cup, will be held April 13-16 at the Italo-Australian Club. With a $10,000 prize list, the Doeberl Cup traditionally attracts most of Australia's best players but has separate categories (and excellent prizes) for players of lesser strength. Details 02-62516190 or Roger.McCart@anu.edu.au