The growth of chess in schools around Sydney through the 1990s has been remarkable,
with active junior players now outnumbering tournament playing
adults by a ratio of more than 10 to 1. Most juniors confine their chess activity to interschool competitions (plus playing on the internet) so the introduction of a national schools competition in 1998 has provided a new challenge to which these players can aspire.
The 1999 National Schools Final in Canberra last weekend was attended by all states except WA, with many schools going to the trouble of bringing top class coaches (such as WGM Daniela Nutu-Gajic and IM Mikhail Gluzman) to the event.
Hot favourites Sydney Grammar convincingly won the Open Secondary title for the second
successive year. Any school which can put the NSW Junior Champion on first board and the
youngest ever NSW Champion on second board will be hard to beat and Michael Lip and
Kuan-Kuan Tian did not let their supporters down.
Lip fully justified his selection as first board ahead of Tian with a 100% score, including wins over IM David Smerdon and Melbourne star Denis Bourmistrov (see below).
NSW fared less well in the other divisions, with Queensland schools capturing the Open
Primary and the two girls' titles. The girls' events, introduced this year, generated some
controversy, with two girls forced to choose between representing their school on the Open
or Girls event. With Judit Polgar and Irina Krush as role models for modern female
players, both chose the Open.
Opening: Queen's Pawn Game
#1.Nf3 g6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3!? d5 4.Bf4 Bg7 5.e3 0-0 6.Be2 b6?!#
Black underestimates the venom in White's seemingly quiet system. 6...c5 is best.
#7.Ne5 c5 8.h4! Ne4? 9.Nxe4 dxe4 10.h5 f6?#
Exchanging a kingside defender was not a bright idea and now one further error leaves Black in dire straits.
#(Diagram) 11.Bc4+ e6 12.hxg6! fxe5 13.Qh5 h6#
13...gxh6 14.Qh7+ Kf7 15.Bxe5 Rg8 16.Rh4 g5 17.Rh6 is hardly encouraging for Black but the game is even worse.
#14.Bxh6 Qc7 15.Bg5 Rf5 16.Qh7+ Kf8 17.Bh6 Na6 18.Qh8+ Ke7 19.Qxg7+ Kd6 20.Qxc7+ Nxc7 21.dxe5+ Kc6 22.g7 Ba6 23.Bxa6 Nxa6 24.Bf4 Rg8 25.0-0-0 Nc7 26.Rd6+ Kb5 27.Rd7 Nd5 28.Rh8 1-0#