Sunday Mail, February 18 2001

The 2001 Australian Junior Championship in Canberra drew 66 of our most talented young players from across the nation. In a class of their own were our two youngest international masters, David Smerdon, 16, from Brisbane and Zong-Yuan Zhao, 14, from Coffs Harbour. The battle for line honours between the two was the focus of attention – Smerdon won the event in 1999 while Zhao was playing for his first national title. Smerdon won his first six games, while Zhao conceded two draws. Their individual game in round seven was drawn, leaving Smerdon with an easy run home in the last four – or so it seemed. Entering the final round he was a half-point clear – a win would clinch the title or a draw would at least give him a share of first place. However he overplayed his attack against Sydney’s Michael Lip, losing the game and allowing Zhao a half-point winning edge.

Smerdon (2304) - Lip (1984)

Canberra 2001

Pirc Defence 150 Attack

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 c6 5.Qd2 b5 6.Bd3 Nbd7 7.Nf3 Bg7 8.0-0 0-0 9.h3 a6 10.Rad1 Qc7 11.Rfe1 e5 12.dxe5 dxe5 13.Ne2 Bb7 14.Ng3 Rfd8 15.c3 Rac8 16.Nh4 Nf8 17.Qc1 Ne6 18.a4 Rd7 19.Bc2 Rcd8 20.Rxd7 Rxd7 21.Bb3 Nd8 22.Bh6 Ne8 23.Qg5 Bxh6 24.Qxh6 Ng7 25.Nf3 Nde6 26.h4 c5 27.Bd5 Bxd5 28.exd5 Rxd5 29.Ne4 Qe7 30.g4 Nf8 31.axb5 axb5 32.Ra1 Rd8 33.Ra6 Qb7 34.Nf6+ Kh8 35.Nxh7 Nxh7 36.Rf6 Kg8 White resigns