The record books need to be rewritten after the conclusion of the 2001 ACT
Championship at Belconnen last week.
After a bizarre final round no less than six players had tied for first place, including three teenagers.
Of the three youngsters, two - Peter Jovanovic and Svetozar Stojic - were forced to play their last round games early in order to travel to the World Age Championships which began in Spain last weekend. (Jovanovic later decided that he would stay in Canberra and not compete in the World Under 14 Championship.)
The games played in advance left tournament favourites Ian Wright and Ian Rout knowing that the winner of their head-to-head encounter in the final round would take the ACT title outright.
Rout seemed set for victory when he entered an endgame with an extra pawn but stubborn defence by Wright eventually forced a draw and ensured a log-jam at the top of the tournament table.
While the ACT title will be shared, a playoff may now be necessary to decide who takes the ACT Champion's qualifying place in the upcoming Australian Championship in Melbourne.
While Michael Wei, the youngest co-winner, will be the most satisfied with his result, the most surprised co-winner would probably be Svetozar Stojic.
After seeing his brother Dusan lead the tournament for the first five weeks and then fade out, Svetozar not only overtook Dusan but somehow found his way into the tie after the following miscarriage of justice.
A.De Noskowski - S.Stojic
ACT Championship 2001
A hyper-trendy variation, with the main point well illustrated by the game continuation.
White could have capped off his fine opening play with 25.e5 Ng8 26.Ne4.
Now Black gets back into the game. 26.Ba7! Rb7 27.Nd6! was decisive, with the idea 27...Rxa7 28.Nxc8 Bxc8 29.Rd8+.
30.Rxd7 Bxd7 31.Rxd7 keeps White in the driver's seat.
33.Bxc3+ Rxc3 34.Kb2 was strong, as 34...Rxf3 loes a piece after 35.c4.
2001 ACT Championship
Leading final scores:
1eq. Rout, Doel, Wright, S.Stojic, Wei, P.Jovanovic 6.5/9
8eq. McCart, Griffiths, Bragin 5.5.
Viktor Korchnoi was not satisfied by his visit to the small Dutch town of Hoogeveen.
The 70-year-old living legend had enjoyed a clear lead at the halfway stage of the Essent Grandmaster tournament but dropped two games in the second cycle and was overtaken by the tournament favourites Judit Polgar and Loek Van Wely.
Despite having earlier explained that "my grey hair gives me the right to explode", Korchnoi had taken his losses in good grace, saying philosophically that he "simply couldn't play" after his first loss. Yet it clearly hurt that he could not add to his formidable series of strong results in 2001, which included a win at an elite tournament in Biel, Switzerland, in August.
Korchnoi expressed his unhappiness at some of the tournament conditions but it was clear that the person he was most dissatisfied with was himself. "I want to be invited [to top tournaments] because I am a strong player who plays interesting games, not because people [find amusement] in seeing a grandpa at work," said Korchnoi, the oldest world class player by two decades.
However if he maintains his current form, Korchnoi need have no fears that he is being invited to tournaments for the wrong reasons.
Hoogeveen final scores:
1eq. Polgar(Hun), Van Wely(Ned) 3.5/6; 3.Korchnoi(Swi) 3; 4.Bruzon(Cub) 2.
Milan Grcic secured a perfect score in winning the Namadji Naturals
tournament at Tuggeranong.
3eq.Galli, Whitely 4;
5eq.Hoang, Gowor 3.5.