Speaking of my students, several did very well this weekend, performing well above their ratings! Let's begin our Australian Road Trip in Havenview, Tasmania...
This tournament had a solid turnout, with many of Tasmania's top players participating. I was following the tournament results with interest during my own NSW Open, as my long-time student and friend Ian Little was playing. And he performed vastly ahead of his 1549 rating, such as in the following game against ACF Vice-President Kevin Bonham (rated 1886).
Ian also drew with a 2071 rated player, and won a key last-round game against an unrated player whose playing strength seems in the 1800s to share second place with 5/7 and share his first Tasmanian State Championship title!
Congratulations Ian! It's been a long but very rewarding journey, and I've enjoyed every step of the way thus far!
Perhaps an even bigger success relative to rating was that of my student Eva Wang (who is the reigning Under 10 Australian Girls Champion), who I've been coaching since the start of this year. She asks good questions during our lessons - a quality worth cultivating as it is by finding the answers to our questions that we become a stronger player.
I don't have the games from the Victorian Open, so let me list Eva's results for this tournament:
Round 1 - Draw with Bobby Yu (1921 FIDE, 1878 ACF)
Round 2 - Half-point Bye
Round 3 - Draw with Brendan Zou (1730 FIDE, 1672 ACF)
Round 4 - Loss to Haran Salasan (1707 FIDE, 1601 ACF)
Round 5 - Win against Richard Voon (1607 FIDE, 1614 ACF)
Round 6 - Draw with Surjeet Singh (1657 FIDE, 1556 ACF)
Round 7 - Loss to Felix Wyss (1679 FIDE, 1604 ACF)
Now I intentionally omitted Eva's ratings to this point...she is currently rated 1276 FIDE and 946 ACF. However, it is clear from these results that her rating belies her true strength. And one can only be impressed with her stamina and consistency in a tournament with 7 rounds in four days - a format most chess professionals would find difficult!
So a huge congratulations to Eva for a stupendous result! You've been applying yourself extremely well - keep it up and more successes will come.
I had a lot of students playing in the NSW Open with me, and it is always a very nice feeling for me to play in the same tournament as them, so I can follow their progress, talk to them between rounds and, with this greater purpose, keep my perspective over the course of the tournament. Most of my students in this tournament are young players who really love their chess, and they have worked hard for their triumphs.
While I had quite a few former students in the NSW Open, I want to focus on the NSW Minor tournament as that's where most of my current students played. I should mention that every year, a number of talented young Singaporean players come to play the NSW Open as it coincides with school holidays over there. This is refreshing for the local players as well, given that one tends to come across the same people at each tournament, due to there being not so many active players in Australian chess (compared to the largest chess nations).
One of my students scored as many points in his first tournament as I did in mine, scoring 2/5 (he had to miss the last two rounds). Well done Frank, and I look forward to seeing you try your hand in more tournaments!
Another good result was had by Toby Huey, who had an upset draw with Ivan Case (rated 1484) and an upset win over Jason Yan (rated 818) en route to a very decent 2.5/7. With more practice in such events, these results will only get better.
However, I saved the biggest success stories of the tournament to last! First, I have to congratulate Bill Goh for winning the Best Under 1200 prize! He didn't let a first-round loss to one of the top seeds deter him, and he beat four higher-rated players in the tournament - Philip Tan (1487), Peter Zekic (1422), Bruno Khodadadi (1287) and Mark Tatam (1376)! Very nicely done Bill, but now you won't be able to win the Under 1200 prize again!
My other student to have a great performance in the NSW Minor was Sterling Bayaca. I've been coaching Sterling for a while, and have always been impressed by his discipline and curiosity about all things chess. Having previously been the Most Improved Player on the NSWJCL Ratings, he made the step up into equal third place in the NSW Minor with an undefeated 5.5/7. Let me share with you his round-by-round results:
Round 1 - Win vs. Maxwell Zoldos (169)
Round 2 - Win vs. Frank Low (1524)
Round 3 - Draw vs. Michael Gong (1505)
Round 4 - Win vs. Daniel Melamed (1227)
Round 5 - Draw vs. Peter Boylan (1468)
Round 6 - Win vs. Makoto Suwama (1433)
Round 7 - Draw vs. Anthony Fikh (1366)
Congratulations Sterling on a fantastic result, you fully deserve the success and I am very keen to see the games in our next lesson!
PS - After that fabulous long weekend, it's time to relax for a bit and revel in the success! If you wish to become a part of the successful Team Illingworth, please contact me for chess coaching. My rate is $50 per hour, I give Grandmaster feedback on your games and help you improve your chess thought process, providing very decent PGN files at the end of each lesson to direct your chess study.