Doeberl Cup in Canberra

Doeberl Cup in Canberra‎

GM dbojkov
4 | Other

The Doeberl Cup took place between April 21 and 25 in Australia’s capital. It was the 49-th edition of the event, which features the who's who of Australian chess.

The tournament is named after the architect Erich Doeberl who strongly supported the tournament for the years that he lived, supplying the bigger part of the price fund, and some times giving additional funds when he was especially satisfied with the course of the event (unfortunately that noble chess lover passed away some years ago, but the tournament is still named after him).

It was a nine-round Swiss Premier open, including additional sections-- Major, Minor and U 1200. Four GMs from abroad took part in the event, as well as half of the Aussies’ GMs- Smerdon and Johansen. A third Australian GM-Ian Rogers was providing his excellent commentaries throughout the event. Those annotations attracted a great share of attention. Due to his work commitments Smerdon started with a half point bye at the start. So did Australia’s highest rated female Arianne Caoili who took two. Byes are allowed in Canberra for the first couple of rounds.

The tournament was once again hosted by the Hellenic club and started smoothly for the titled players. With two rounds per day we quickly passed the tournament's half-way point when Andrey Deviatkin was most successful, with 5.5/6 score. The seventh round appeared to be the longest, as Daryl Johanson pushed hard to overcome the young Mountlyn Ly. The game lasted more than 150 moves, and he finally managed to convert the tricky rook and bishop versus rook endgame. The eighth round was postponed for half an hour, while they finish the game. That feat proved too much for both the opponents and they both lost in the next round.

Remarkably, there were many long full-blooded games. Part of that is due to the fighting prize fund which the Doeberl Cup provides. To claim it, a player is not allowed to make a draw before move thirty throughout the event, and to win their final game with a score equal to the lowest player’s score on board four in the final round.

The situation before the final round promised suspense. Two players on 6.5 were facing two GMs on 6 points with the white pieces. A third pair on six points was playing on board three where the top seeded Sune Berg Hansen managed to grind down the local surprise Eugene Schon. I totally messed up the opening against David Smerdon on board two. The danger to find my way into the basic textbook of how not to play in the opening was there, but the Aussie was also nervous. He made a few inaccuracies and offered a draw, which I gladly accepted. Unfortunately-- as it turned out the position was already much better for me.

Fortune favours the brave. In the meantime Andrei Deviatkin showed guts by rejecting a similar draw offer against the Georgian GM David Arutinian. He won a pawn, then a second, and converted it in an opposite-coloured bishop endgame. Thus, the Russian took clear first place, scoring 7.5/9. This win also granted him a share of the thousand dollar fighting prize fund. The other two who took a bite were Max Illingworth and Akshat Khamparia. They both made a performance over 2450 but for technical reasons could not fulfill the IM norm

Here is the decisive game of the tournament:

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