"In retrospect, this was perhaps my easiest win," admitted Darryl Johansen after his record-equalling fourth win of the Australian title this week. Johansen admitted to tiredness in the final stages of the two week competition in Mingara but the Melbourne Grandmaster still found the energy to win two of his last three games.
Needing only a draw in the final round to take the title and the $3,600 first prize, Johansen offered an early draw to 14-year-old NSW Champion Kuan-Kuan Tian but the youngster, after some consideration, declined, saying "But I will take one if I get a bad position." "If you get a bad position, I'll go on and beat you," came the response from Johansen and a few moves later Tian decided not to tempt fate and returned a draw offer to the top seed. Johansen was sorely tempted to play on but took pity on the youngster and concluded peace, only the fourth draw Johansen had conceded in the eleven rounds.
The extra half point pushed Tian into a tie for fourth one of three sub-16-year-olds among the top finishers, including Coff's Harbour's Zhao Zong Yuan, 13, who tied for second place and also scored his first International Master 'norm'.
Normally such a result would ensure a place for Zhao in the Olympic team, but the field
in Mingara was missing so many top players that success or failure in other stronger
events will probably rank higher in the Olympic selectors' list of priorities.
1999/2000 Australian Championship
1. Johnasen(V) 9/11;
2eq. Zhao Zong Yuan(N), Depasquale(V) 8.5;
4eq. Solomon(Q), Chapman(SA), Smerdon(Q), Rujevic(V), Kuan-Kuan Tian(N),
10. Canfell(N) 5.5;
11eq.Booth(V), Dwyer(WA) 4.5;
13. Ilic(N) 4;
**In the Australian Senior (Over 60) Championship, Phil Viner dominated
with such ease that he might have done well in the main event.
Mingara Australian Senior Ch.
Opening: Queen's Indian Defence
#1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 b6 3.g3 Bb7 4.Bg2 e6 5.0-0 Be7 6.c4 0-0 7.Nc3 Ne4 8.Qc2 f5?!#
Exchanging on c3 is much safer.
Realising that something has already gone wrong, Lilly sacrifices material. 9...d5 10.Bf4 was ugly but perhaps a better try.
#10.c5! bxc5 11.dxc5 Bxg2 12.cxd6 Bxf1 13.dxe7 Qxe7 14.Kxf1 d6 15.Nf3 Na6 16.a3 Kh8 17.b4 c5 18.Rb1 cxb4 19.axb4 Rab8 20.Ba3 Rfc8 21.Qd3 Rb6?#
Black has kept Viner under control until now, but walks into a stunning finish. 21...Qd7 was playable.
#22.Na4 Rbc6 23.b5 Rc4 24.bxa6 Rxa4 25.Rb7! Qf6 26.Bb2! e5 27.Qc2!! Rac4 28.Qxc4! 1-0#
On 28...Rxc4, 29.Rb8+ checkmates.
Leading final scores:
1. Sutovsky(Isr) 6.5/9;
2eq. Dreev(Rus), Speelman(Eng) 6.
New Zealand Championships
Leading final scores:
2eq. Sermek(Slo), Kulashko(NZ) 8.5;
4eq. Garbett(NZ), Van Riemsdijk(Brs) 7;
6. Ker(NZ) 6.5.