Surprising winner at the Sydney Open

5/13/2011 – The Sydney International Open took place from April 27 to May 1st, immediately after the Canberra Open. These two events represent best Australia has to offer, and give foreign players a chance to visit this beautiful continent. There was a major upset at the SIO, where a lowly FM, Akshat Khamparia of India, finished ahead of all the GMs participating. Illustrated report by GM Dejan Bojkov.

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Surprising Winner in Sydney

By GM Dejan Bojkov

There was a great danger that the Sydney Open would not take place this year. The previous organizer, FM Brian Jones, announced at the closing ceremony in 2010 that he would no longer do the event. GM Murray Chandler also withdrew his support. Yes, the international financial crisis had reached Australia too. Still, due to the efforts and dedication of some chess people the tournament eventually took place. Some of them need to be mentioned: Shaun Press and Charles Zworestine (the arbiters of the event) and Shane Burgess, the new organizer. All of them dedicated lots of their time and efforts to keep the open alive.


The venue: the City Hall of Parramatta


A round of play under way

Sixty-nine players took part in the open sections, and fifty-two competed in the Challengers tournament. The venue was the City Hall of Parramatta, a district of Sydney. It is a lovely place, with many shops and restaurants, delicious food, and a river which can take you to the heart of Sydney.


Parramatta becomes especially lively on Saturdays when there is an open market on its main street

My experience from last year told me that the Sydney Open is somewhat more promising for foreigners who get over jet lag and adjusted to Australian time quickly. I hoped to defend my title from the previous year. Alas, this time Lady Luck had a new favourite.


The winner: FM Akshat Khamparia of India, rated 2328

FM Akshat Khamparia started fiercely with 5/5. On his triumphal path he ground down experienced GM Daryl Johansen and another local surprise- FM, Chris Wallis. He then kept his own by drawing against GMs Deviatkin, Arutinian, and IM Goh, and managed to keep his lead till the final round. Still, his task seemed very difficult as he needed to hold in the final round as Black against top rated Aussie GM Zhang Zong-Yuan.


Top seed Australian GM Zhao Zong-Yuan, rated 2579

On second and third boards respectively four players on six points were fighting to join the leader, but none of them succeeded and all games were drawn. The peace treaty was also signed soon on the top board, thus Akshat triumphed with a clear first, scoring 7/9. This is by far his best achievement ever, as he confessed. In addition to the cash prize he received for his efforts, the Indian flies back home as an IM, since his results both in Canberra and Sydney let him cross the 2400 Elo barrier. “I come completely unprepared here, and did not have any expectations”, he said. “My computer was a recent purchase and the only thing that I had on it was the ChessBase program. I downloaded the databases during the course of the events. I will repeat this strategy, though. It brought me luck.”


The author of this report with the winner of the tournament

Top final standings (after nine rounds)

# Player Ti. Nat Rtng
Pts
TB1
TB2
1 Akshat Khamparia FM IND 2328
7.0
52.5
42.5
2 Arutinian David GM GEO 2575
6.5
54.5
43.0
3 Deviatkin Andrei GM RUS 2566
6.5
54.0
43.0
4 Goh Wei Ming Kevin IM SIN 2382
6.5
52.5
41.5
5 Wallis Christopher FM AUS 2305
6.5
51.0
41.0
6 Solomon Stephen J IM AUS 2398
6.5
50.5
40.5
7 Zhao Zong-Yuan GM AUS 2579
6.5
50.5
39.5
8 Steadman Michael FM NZL 2217
6.5
46.5
37.0
9 Bojkov Dejan GM BUL 2523
6.0
49.0
38.5
10 Smirnov Vladimir FM RUS 2395
6.0
47.5
37.0
11 Ikeda Junta FM AUS 2296
6.0
46.5
37.5
12 Ly Moulthun FM AUS 2381
6.0
46.0
36.0
13 Illingworth Max FM AUS 2345
6.0
45.5
35.5
14 Johansen Darryl K GM AUS 2419
5.5
51.0
39.5
15 Canfell Gregory FM AUS 2313
5.5
49.5
40.0
16 Hansen Sune Berg GM DEN 2603
5.5
42.5
33.0
17 Samar Raul AUS 2236
5.5
42.5
32.0
18 Hu Jason AUS 2190
5.5
41.0
32.0


There was a seven-player follow-up group, with David Arutnian taking second on tiebreak,
while Angrei Deviatkin was declared third. The Georgian GM also won the lightning tournament.


Second: GM David Arutinian of Georgia, rated 2575, with 6.5/9


Third: GM Andrei Deviatkin, RUS, 2566, 6.5/9


IM Kevin Goh Wei Ming from Singapore, 2382, came fourth with 6.5/9


WFM Helen Milligan, 2023, from New Zealand, scored 4½ in nine rounds

The last day was also the twenty-seventh anniversary of the chess couple Cathy and Ian Rogers (above), who once again entertained the chess auditorium. I can only wish to see these nice people here again doing the great job on their platinum wedding anniversary.


The author, Dejan Bojkov, at Sydney Harbour


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