Sun-Herald, March 18 2001

Since abandoning the nomadic life-style of a professional chessplayer in the late 1980s, Darryl Johansen has dominated the local scene, with the annual Begonia Open in Ballarat a particularly happy hunting ground.

Last weekend's 35th Begonia Open resulted in Johansen's 12th title, with the 42-year-old Melbournian winning his first six games before taking a short draw against a grateful Igor Bjelobrk in the final round.

Speaking after his victory, Johansen explained one of the reasons he was always happy to play in Victoria's biggest weekend tournament.

"The Ballarat organisers are always trying to act [progressively]," said Johansen, citing the tournament's rapid distribution of his games from the event as an example.

This year Ballarat made the radical step of dropping out of the faltering national Grand Prix (with minimal effect on attendance) but surveyed the competitors at the 2001 tournament on whether that stance was justified.

(Johansen supported the tournament returning to the GP in 2002.)

Next week Johansen heads to Jakarta for a Grandmaster tournament commemorating Indonesian master Max Wotulo who died last year.

Johansen expectations for his performance are limited - the event will be Johansen's second GM round-robin in the past 8 years and his first outside Australia in more than a decade - but if the reigning Australian Champion can maintain his solid form of the past two years, a high placing is far from impossible.

Johansen's toughest and most exciting game was against the third seed Mark Chapman, Johansen recovering from near-disaster to record an unlikely victory.

Ballarat 2001
White: D.Johansen 
Black: M.Chapman 
Opening: King's Indian Defence
 

1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7 5.h3!? 0-0 6.Bg5 c5 7.d5 h6 8.Be3 e6 9.Bd3 exd5 10.exd5 Nbd7 11.Nf3 Re8 12.0-0 Nh5 13.Qd2 Ne5?!  
Very ambitious; 13...Kh7 would be normal. 
14.Nxe5 Rxe5 15.Bxh6 Bxh3!
 
The point behind Black's 13th. Now 16.gxh3 Qh4 would be murky but, after long thought, Johansen finds the right defence. 
16.Bxg7! Rg5 17.Be4 Kxg7 18.f4! Rg3 19.Ne2 Qh4 20.Nxg3 Nxg3 21.gxh3 Nxe4 22.Qe1! Qe7 23.Rd1?
 
Now Black is allowed to back up his knight. 23.f5! was correct. 
23...Re8 24.b4 Qd7 25.Rd3 f5!
 
Better late than never. 
26.bxc5 Nxc5 27.Re3 Ne4 28.Qa5 b6 29.Qb5 Qd8
29...Qxb5! 30.cxb5 Rc8 was fine for Black. 
30.a4 Rh8 31.Qb2+ Kf7 32.a5 Rh4 33.axb6 axb6 34.Kh2 Qc7 35.Rff3?
 
A bizarre move. With both players having only 30 seconds to reach move 40, Johansen moved his rook to a1, noticed that this would lose the f pawn and moved it back to f1 - without ever releasing the piece of course. He then decided on the text move as the lesser evil. 
35...Qxc4 36.Re2 Nf6 37.Rc2 Qxd5 38.Rc7+ Ke6 39.Re3+?! Ne4 40.Rc2 Rxf4
 
With time to think, Johansen surveyed the ruins of his postion for a few minutes, before realising that Black's exposed king continues to give White hopes for victory. 
41.Qg7! Qe5 42.Qxg6+ Qf6?! 43.Qg8+ Qf7 44.Qa8 Rh4 45.Rg2 Ke5 46.Qa1+ Ke6 47.Qa2+ d5 48.Rc2 Qd7 49.Qa8 Kf7 50.Ra3 Qd6+ 51.Kg2 Nc5 52.Rg3 d4?
 
52...Ne6 was necessary. 
53.Qg8+ Ke7 54.Rg7+ Kf6 55.Rg6+ 1-0
 

Ballarat Begonia Open Leading final scores (79 players, 7 rounds): 1. Johansen 6.5; 2eq. Bjelobrk, Rujevic, Baron 6; 5. Fenwick 5.5.