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