John-Paul Wallace's decision to drop out of the 2000 Australian Olympiad team has unexpectedly provided a career boost for two players.
Not only did Wallace's withdrawal provide a vacancy in the Olympiad team which was more than capably filled by 14-year-old Zhao Zong Yuan; Wallace also found himself on the right side of the world to compete in the 2000 NSW Championship, an event which clashed with the Olympiad.
Wallace, who turned 24 during the tournament, expected a strong challenge from the other International Master in the field, Vladimir Feldman, but Feldman, handicapped by work extensive commitments prior to the games, played well below his best. Instead Wallace found himself in a neck and neck struggle with unfancied 60-year-old Paul Dosza.
Dosza was one of Australia's top players in the 1960s but now attracts more attention for his 150+ convictions as a restaurant freeloader. Dosza beat Wallace in the fifth round - Wallace's only loss - and, amazingly, led the event until a penultimate round loss to Brett Tindall, with whom Dosza tied for second place.
Wallace had no regrets over his absence from the Olympiad. "I used to only want to play very tough opponents. Now think I am beginning to like playing weakies," he admitted, only half jokingly.
2000 NSW Championship
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.f3!? d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nb6 6.Nc3 Bg7 7.Be3 Nc6?!
7...0-0 is more precise, delaying ...Nc6 until after 8.Qd2.
8.d5 Ne5 9.Bd4! 0-0 10.f4 Ng4 11.Bxg7 Kxg7 12.h3! Nf6
Not 12...Ne3? 13.Qd4+.
13.Qd4 e6! 14.g4 Kg8 15.0-0-0 exd5 16.e5!? Ne8 17.Nf3 Ng7?!
After 17...c6 Black can at least claim a pawn as compensation for his troubles.
18.Ne4! Ne6 19.Qe3 Qe7 20.Nf6+ Kg7 21.Nxd5 Nxd5 22.Rxd5 Qb4 23.f5 gxf5?
After 23...c6 Black is still in the game.
24.gxf5 Qf4 25.Rg1+ Kh8 26.Qxf4 Nxf4 27.Rd4
Black's knight is now stranded and soon lost.
27...Nh5 28.Bd3 Ng7 29.f6 Nf5 30.Rf4 Nh6 31.Rg5 Rg8 32.Rh5 1-0
Christmas Chess Competition - Last Chance
From the following position - White: Kh6, Bf1, Ne4, Pf3; Black: Kh4, Bb5, Pg3 - White is to move and win. How?
The first five correct entries opened after December 21 will win a chess book from Everyman. Entries to: Sun-Herald July Chess Competition, GPO Box 506, Sydney 2001 or faxed to 02-92822151.
FIDE World Championship Semi-finals
Anand(Ind) def Adams(Eng) 2.5-1.5
Shirov(Spa) def Grischuk(Rus) 2.5-1.5
Women's World Championship Final
Xie (Chn) def Qin (Chn) 2.5-1.5