Canberra Times, July 29
At the Smith and Williamson Young Masters tournament in Witley, the Coffs Harbour 15-year-old finished third in an invitation-only 22 player field.
"I really enjoyed the hospitality and the atmosphere," explained a satisfied Zhao after the tournament.
"The event was my best experience of any tournament so far."
In the past Zhao's weakness has been his stamina, fading out of contention from tournaments thanks to a poor finish.
In contrast, in Witley Zhao started modestly but stormed into the prize list with a 2.5/3 finish.
However the Australian could not keep pace with his roommate, the 16-year-old Hungarian talent Gergely Antal, who shrugged off a 1/3 start to take the lead with five straight wins taking a short draw in the final round against second placegetter Oleg Gladysev from Russia.
Zhao did have the satisfaction of beating Antal at table-tennis and prevented an Eastern European sweep of the top prizes by beating Galdysev's compatriot in the following game played in the penultimate round.
Comments to the game have been provided by Zhao.
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 e6 4.0-0 Nge7 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bxc6 Nxc6 7.d4 cxd4 8.Nxd4 Qc7!? 9.Re1 Be7
If 9...Bd6?!,10.Nd5! exd5 11.exd5+ Ne7 12.Nf5 Kf8 13.Rxe7 Bxe7 14.d6 Bxd6 15.Nxd6 gives White a very dangerous initiative.
10.Qg4!? may have been better, meeting 10...Nxd4 with 11.Qxg7.
10...bxc6 11.e5 0-0 12.Bf4 f5?! 13.exf6! Qxf4 14.fxe7 Qxf2+ 15.Kh1 Re8 16.Ne4?!
This was my original intention but I missed 16.Rf1! Qh4 17.Rf8+ Rxf8 18.exf8Q+ Kxf8 19.Qd6+ Qe7 20.Rf1+ Ke8 21.Qc7 when White is probably winning.
White's compensation for the pawn is quite obvious as the knight on d6 is a monster and the rook on e7 bad.
17...Rxe7 18.Re4 Qf6 19.Qd2 a5 20.Rf4 Qe5?
The greedy 20...Qxb2! was best. I thought White was winning after 21.Raf1 Ba6 22.Qxa5 h6 23.Rf8+ but I missed 23...Kh7!!.
21.Re1 Qc5 22.Rc4 Qh5 23.Qe3 h6 24.h3 a4? 25.Qb6! Ba6 26.Rxa4 Qd5 27.Rxa6 Rxa6 28.Qd8+! Kh7 29.Qxe7 Rxa2 30.Rf1 Rxb2 31.Ne8 1-0
The latest Australian rankings see recent English migrant Gary Lane on the Australian list for the first time, replacing Byron Bay's peripatetic IM Alex Wohl in third place.
Zhao languishes in 14th place with both his and Wohl's excellent recent results in Europe not yet included on the FIDE list.
August 2001 Australian Rankings (Average of latest FIDE and ACF ratings) Top 20 1.Rogers(N) 2555; 2.Johansen(V) 2523; 3.Lane(N) 2466; 4.Wohl(N) 2432; 5.Gluzman(V) 2403; 6.Sandler(V) 2393; 7.Solomon(Q) 2392; 8.Tao(SA) 2383; 9.Wallace(N) 2361; 10.West(V) 2352.
Jan De Gier made his move up to third place on the new ACT rankings.
August 2001 ACF Ratings ACT Top 20 1.Smirnov 2123; 2.Farrell 2109; 3.De Gier 2062; 4.Bliznyuk 2050; 5.Reeves 2049; 6.O'Brien 1996; 7.I.Wright,1987; 8.Gmizic 1958; 9.Mautner 1951; 10.G.Butler 1939; 11.Bartlett 1922; 12.Rout 1893; 13.Rafizedah 1889; 14.L.Moylan 1876; 15.Hosking 1850; 16.P.Jovanovic 1847; 17.B.Fitzpatrick 1844; 18.Doel 1842; 19.R.Morton 1838; 20.Press 1837.
Andrew Greenwood scored an upset victory over top seed Ian Wright in the third round of the ANU Championship and hung on to the lead until the finish.
Leading final scores: 1.Greenwood 5.5/7; 2.Wright 5; 3.Press 4.5; 4eq.G.Oliver, McCoy 4.
The ACT women's team bounced back from their humiliating 0-10 loss to NSW in the Dorothy Dibley Shield telechess competition to record an excellent 6-4 victory over South Australia in the following DDS match.