For two decades, Alex Wohl has been trying to win the Doeberl Cup, Australia's premier Grand Prix tournament. On a few occasions Wohl has tied for first at the prestigious Canberra Easter tournament but every time the tie-breaker went against him.
Wohl, 36, has finally broken the drought, with a convincing win of the 38th Doeberl Cup last weekend ahead of one of the strongest fields in recent years.
International Master Wohl completed the tournament undefeated to take the $2,200 first prize and prove to any doubters that he is ready to hold down board three in the Australian Olympic team later this year. Wohl began the tournament shakily but came into his own on the third day, scoring 1.5/2 against the two Grandmasters in the event including a 103 move marathon win over the top seed in the fifth round.
195 players competed in the three divisions at the 2000 Doeberl Cup, with the best game of the tournament being played in the Major (2nd) division. Canberra's 17-year-old Laura Moylan, another Olympic aspirant, demolishes the second seed Milenko Lojanica in the game given below on her way to a tie for first place.
Doeberl Cup Major
Opening: Sicilian Dragon
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nxd4 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.Be2 Nf6 8.Qd2 0-0 9.h4
This and the ensuing attacking moves do not fit with White's quiet 7th move. 9.0-0 was quite reasonable.
9...h5 10.f3 d5 11.Nxc6 bxc6 12.0-0-0?
Asking for trouble. Having opened the b file, the White king will only be safe on the kingside.
12...Qa5 13.a3 Rb8 14.Rdg1?! Be6 15.e5 Nd7 16.f4 (Diagram)
White's play has been quite provocative and a slow build-up should now give Black a big attack. However Moylan sees the opportunity for a brilliant sacrificial combination and goes for it.
16...Rxb2!!? 17.Kxb2 Nxe5!! 18.fxe5
18.Bd4 was another tempting defence but Black remains well on top after 18...c5! 19.Bxe5 (19.fxe5 Rb8+ 20.Ka2 cxd4 21.Qxd4 Bxe5! is no better.) 19...Bxe5 20.fxe5 Rb8+ 21.Kc1 Qxa3+ 22.Kd1 Qa1+ 23.Qc1 Qxc3.
18...Bxe5 19.Bd4 Rb8+ 20.Ka1?
This leads to a quick finish and 20.Kc1 Qxa3+ 21.Kd1 Qa1+ 22.Qc1 Qxc1+ 23.Kxc1 Bxd4 leads to an ugly endgame. However White may yet have been able
to hold with 20.Ka2! Bxd4 21.Qxd4 c5 22.Qe5!, spotted by Sun-Herald reader Steve Kerr. If Black now tries 22...d4+ then 23 Nd5! Bxd5+ 24 Qxd5 Qc3
25 Rb1 Qxc2+ leads to a draw, and 22...c5!? 23.Rb1! also seems to leave Black with nothing better than a spectacular draw after 23...cxd4 24 Rxb8+ Bxb8 25 Qxd4 Be5! 26 Qxe5 d4+ 27 Nd5 Bxd5+ 28 Kb2 Qc3+ 29 Kb1 Ba2+!.
20...Qxa3+ 21.Na2 Rb2! 0-1
Leading final scores:
2eq.Johansen(V), Chapman(SA) 5.5;
4eq.Rogers(N), Smirnov(ACT), Depasquale(NT), Sandler(V) 5.