Chess Down Under: The Australian Women's Masters

by Deimante Daulyte
2/4/2016 – Melbourne is remarkable. It is no coincidence that the Economist Intelligence Unit has ranked Melbourne as the world's most liveable city for five times in a row (2011 to 2015). Deimante Daulyte had the pleasure and the chance to play chess in this city. She became second in the Australian Women's Masters and shares her impressions in a large pictorial report.

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DIS 2016 Australian Women's Masters

Report from Melbourne

The Australian Women's Masters tournament took place from 14th to 22nd January in Melbourne. Ten players from Australia, China, the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Russia took part, and made it the strongest Australian Women’s Masters tournament since its debut in 2013, giving the participants a chance to make WIM and WGM norms.

 

The Melbourne Chess Club

The Melbourne Chess Club was founded in 1866 and is the oldest chess club in the whole Southern Hemisphere! The club is located in a very lively part of Melbourne: Fitzroy, a district that is famous for its street art, restaurants, bars, and night life.

Fitzroy is famous for its street art and
the walls of the chess club are full of it.

The main sponsor of the tournament was the FIDE DIS (Chess for the Disabled) Commission. I must admit that this slightly surprised me, but the newly founded commission wanted to get more exposure to let chessplayers know what it is and what it does.

The main organizers of the tournament are Jamie Kenmure and Gary Bekker who invited the players and took care of us throughout the entire event.

Jamie Kenmure- one of the organizers and the arbiter of our tournament

From left to right: Gary Bekker, Christopher Zuccala
(Deputy Chief Arbiter), and Jamie Kenmure

The tournament was convincingly won by the Chinese WGM Gu Xiaobing who took an early lead by winning the first 5 games of the tournament. I also had a pretty good start with 4.5/5, but round six brought some intrigue to the event. Gu Xiaobing suffered a loss against Hungarian WGM Ticia Gara, but I did not use this chance to catch or overtake Gu Xiaobing but lost against WGM Julia Ryjanova from Russia. Thus, after six rounds Gu maintained the lead with 5.0/6, while I was clear second with 4.5/6, and Gara followed on third place with 4.0/6.

In round seven all the grandmasters won their games except me! I was unable to convert a big advantage against Polish WFM Maria Gosciniak, who missed a WIM-norm by half a point because she lost her game in the last round.

Thus, round eight was crucial. I was playing Gu Xiaobing while Ticia Gara faced Chinese WGM Jilin Zhang, and Julia Ryjanova had to play against Kristyna Novosadova from the Czech Republic.

The crucial round eight begins.

Combative: WFM Maria Gosciniak plays with white
against WFM Dr. Anita Stangl.

Kristyna Novosadova plays with white against WGM Julia Ryjanova

WGM Gu Xiaobing, wondering what to do against my set-up.

In my game against Gu Xiaobing we both missed chances and the evaluation of the position was constantly changing until Xiaobing finally offered me a draw in a better position – her compatriot Jilin Zhang had beaten Ticia Gara and now a draw against me almost guaranteed Xiaobing first place. I say 'almost', because if she had lost in the last round, there would have been a tie for first place, but Gu was playing German WFM Anita Stangl, who was the lowest rated player and had had a tough tournament.

But things went smoothly for Gu: she quickly drew her last round game and won the tournament. Ticia Gara and I both won our games, finishing second and third respectively.

Final standings after nine rounds

Rk.   Name Rtg FED 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Pts.  TB1   TB2   TB3 
1 WGM Gu Xiaobing 2286 CHN * ½ 0 1 1 1 1 1 1 ½ 7,0 0,0 6 27,75
2 IM Daulyte Deimante 2378 LTU ½ * 1 0 ½ ½ 1 1 1 1 6,5 0,0 5 24,75
3 WGM Gara Ticia 2347 HUN 1 0 * ½ 0 ½ 1 1 1 1 6,0 0,0 5 22,25
4 WGM Ryjanova Julia 2387 RUS 0 1 ½ * ½ 1 ½ 0 1 1 5,5 0,5 4 22,25
5 WGM Zhang Jilin 2250 CHN 0 ½ 1 ½ * ½ ½ 1 1 ½ 5,5 0,5 3 22,00
6 WFM Gosciniak Maria 2090 POL 0 ½ ½ 0 ½ * ½ ½ ½ 1 4,0 0,0 1 15,25
7 WIM Leks Hanna 2192 POL 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ * 1 ½ 0 3,0 1,0 1 11,75
8   Novosadova Kristyna 2231 CZE 0 0 0 1 0 ½ 0 * ½ 1 3,0 0,0 2 10,75
9 IM Berezina Irina 2178 AUS 0 0 0 0 0 ½ ½ ½ * 1 2,5 0,0 1 7,00
10 WFM Stangl Anita Dr. 2052 GER ½ 0 0 0 ½ 0 1 0 0 * 2,0 0,0 1 9,25

Games of rounds six to nine

 

The happy winners in front of the Melbourne Chess Club (from left to right):
your author Deimante Daulyte, Gu Xiaobing, Ticia Gara

Hanna Leks, Maria Gosciniak and Kristyna Novosadova after the event

Players and arbiters

After working hard, it's time to have some fun!

When you travel half the world to play a chess tournament, it does not hurt to spend some time to do a little bit of sightseeing. For a chessplayer one of the 'must-see' things in Melbourne is the State Library of Victoria which has a great collection of chess books!

The entrance to the Victoria State Library

The Anderson Chess Room

Chess lovers in front of the library entrance

In the chess room you find a great number of chess books, magazines and encyclopedias, and you can play a game or use a chess set while reading a book and analysing. I visited the library a few times during my stay in Melbourne, and every time I came, the chess boards were occupied. I had the impression that some chess lovers come every day to share their passion with others.

The Victoria State Library has books in English, Russian, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, and other languages. It also offers chess magazines from all over the world: New In Chess, 64, Rochade, Europe Echecs, Chess, the New Zealand Chess magazine, and many others.

Chess periodicals

Chess magazines from all over the world

The State Library has one of the finest chess collections in the world, and the credit for that goes to Magnus Victor Anderson (1884-1966). Anderson was a wealthy Melbourne accountant, a chess lover, and an enthusiastic collector of chess books. His enthusiasm became even bigger when he went into retirement at the age of 65. With more time on his hands Anderson began to expand his chess library. In 1958, Anderson then sent a letter to the Chief Librarian of the State Library to ask if they would be interested in his chess collection.

The collection at that point comprised about 1,700 chess books in different languages and about 6000 games published in newspapers. Anderson was not only willing to donate his collection to the library, but he was also ready to help to keep it up-to-date and to donate the money needed for binding and repairing the books. Needless to say, his generous offer was accepted. One reason Anderson decided to give his collection to the library was the fact that he was simply running out of space for all his chess books!

Before he died in 1966 Anderson added another 5000 chess books to the collection in the State Library. Today visitors usually do not have full access to the collection because some books are centuries old and too valuable for permanent public access.

Shelves and shelves of chess books! A dream of every chess player.

Impressions

However, not all my activities were chess related, but I would still like to share some of them with you.

The Royal Exhibition Building

The Fitzroy district, where the Melbourne Chess Club is located.

'Sleeping beauty' - the koala bear

Another 'must-see' attraction in Australia are the koalas, very cute and very lazy creatures. They sleep up to 20 hours per day and spend the remaining four hours eating eucalyptus leaves. What a life! But as eucalyptus leaves have only limited nutritional value, it is no wonder that koalas are sitting/laying and sleeping most of the time.

Another Australian 'symbol', the kangaroo,
was not in a photo-session mood during our visit

If you visit Melbourne in January you can enjoy the nice summer weather,
and you have an opportunity to visit the Australian Open with tennis stars, such as...

...Novak Djokovic, six-time winner of the Australian Open!

The 'Twelwe apostles' at the Great Ocean Road

If you ever have a chance to visit Australia, do not miss the opportunity to see the Great Ocean Road. It is an absolutely amazing experience and for me it was a perfect way to get rid of all the stress accumulated during the chess tournament. In case you got interested, girls, mark your calendars for next year: the Australian Women's Masters 2017 is going to take place in Melbourne again from the 22nd to 31st January.

I relax from the stress of chess and enjoy the fantastic scenery.

No, it's not a postcard, it's a real picture.

 

The tournament is being held with the support the Melbourne Chess Club,
which provides the venue, the FIDE DIS commission and Chess Victoria.


Links

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Deimantė Daulytė (born 22 February 1989) is a Lithuanian chess player who holds the FIDE titles of International Master and Woman Grandmaster. She won the women's Lithuanian Chess Championship in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013.
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Eigenfunction Eigenfunction 2/7/2016 01:47
Great pictorial report!
KOTLD KOTLD 2/5/2016 10:32
I'm impressed that you drove all the way out to the 12 apostles.
That's a hell of a long drive from Melbourne.
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