Another 6.0/6 — Ni Hua Still Perfect At Australian Open

Another 6.0/6 — Ni Hua Still Perfect At Australian Open

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
Jan 5, 2015, 6:10 AM |
10 | Chess Event Coverage

Like his compatriot GM Zhao Jun in Hastings, GM Ni Hua started with six straight wins at the Australian Open.

At the start of the new year Australia sees one of its strongest events of the calendar: the Australian Open. It takes place January 2-11 at The Lyceum at Castle Hill, a suburb in northwest Sydney. 

The record-breaking total prize fund is 20,250 Australian dollars (€13,700, $16,350), with a first prize of 6,000 Australian dollars (€4050, $4850).

It's the biggest prize pool for any chess tournament held in Australia — an excellent achievement for the young organizers Kevin Tan (21) and Peter Yang (22).

The Castle Hill RSL Club. | Photo Cathy Rogers.

As a result, nearly all top national players are playing, but the top favorite is GM Ni Hua (2689) of China. He's more than 100 points ahead of number two, GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev (2573) of Kazakhstan.

There are 16 GMs in total among 150 participants. Local heros include GM Zhao Zong-Yuan (2564), GM David Smerdon (2519, now living in The Netherlands), IM Max Illingworth (2476), IM Moulthun Ly (2460), IM Bobby Cheng (2436) and IM Anton Smirnov (2432).

Only 13 years old, Smirnov is Australia's big hope. He recently was very close to his third and final GM norm, and now he has another chance. However, so far Smirnov is on 4.0/6 with a disappointing 2134 performance rating.

Anton Smirnov, no doubt Australia's next GM soon! | Photo Cathy Rogers.

Six rounds have been played so far, with double rounds on January 3 and 5.

The top seed hasn't erred yet: Ni Hua started with six straight wins! And that includes second-seeded Kazhgaleyev, who was surprisingly helpless.

Ni Hua defeated Murtas Kazhgaleyev convincingly. | Photo Cathy Rogers.

Illingworth did better, but also lost. The 22-year-old IM managed to get a clear advantage with the white pieces and rightly avoided a move repetition. However, he couldn't find a way to make progress and then missed some chances to draw the ending.

Max Illingworth with his trademark ear plugs before the game. | Photo Cathy Rogers.

A nice game was the following:

Two other Aussie GMs: David Smerdon and Darryl Johansen (a draw in 20 moves). | Photo Cathy Rogers.
And of course retired GM Ian Rogers is present as well, giving commentary. | Photo Cathy Rogers.

2015 Australian Open| Round 6 Standings (Top 20)

Rk. SNo Title Name FED Rtg Pts. TB1 TB2 TB3
1 1 GM Ni Hua CHN 2689 6 22,5 15,5 22,5
2 7 GM Khusnutdinov Rustam KAZ 2476 5 23,5 16 19,25
3 17 IM Morris James AUS 2378 5 22,5 15,5 18
4 2 GM Kazhgaleyev Murtas KAZ 2573 4,5 26,5 17,5 18
5 6 IM Illingworth Max AUS 2476 4,5 26 17 17,75
6 3 GM Zhao Zong-Yuan AUS 2564 4,5 24 17 17
7 5 GM Papin Vasily RUS 2513 4,5 23,5 15,5 17
8 23 FM Schon Eugene AUS 2318 4,5 22,5 15 15,75
9 8 IM Ly Moulthun AUS 2460 4,5 22 15,5 15,25
10 20 FM Wallis Christopher AUS 2348 4,5 21,5 14 15,25
11 16 GM Johansen Darryl K. AUS 2404 4,5 21 14 14,5
12 12 IM Ikeda Junta AUS 2416 4,5 20,5 13 13,75
13 9 IM Cheng Bobby AUS 2436 4,5 20 13,5 15,25
14 18 IM Solomon Stephen J. AUS 2372 4,5 20 13 14,25
15 28 FM Nakauchi Gene AUS 2213 4,5 19 13,5 12,5
16 4 GM Smerdon David AUS 2519 4 24,5 17 15,75
17 21 FM Li Zuhao Luke NZL 2337 4 22 15 13
18 34 Loh Zachary AUS 2076 4 22 14,5 12,75
19 26 IM Brown Andrew AUS 2276 4 22 13 13
20 33 Atzmon-Simon Barak AUS 2087 4 21,5 14,5 14

(Full standings here)

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