Gareyev grabs O2C Doeberl Cup

by Irene Sukandar
4/6/2018 – The strongest open tournament in Australia, the Doeberl Cup, has been held annually for 56 years in the capital city, Canberra. This year saw a new winner from Uzbekistan who represents the USA, GM Timur Gareyev, who edged out Australian IM James Morris on tiebreak score. The "Blindfold King" also swept the field by winning 10-0 in a blindfold exhibition prior to the tournament and had a perfect score in the 2018 Doeberl Cup Lightning. A successful trip to the land down under by Gareyev, but also for our reporter IM Irene Sukandar, who won the prize for the best woman. | Photo: O2C Doeberl Cup

Trompowsky for the attacking player Trompowsky for the attacking player

Tap into your creative mind and start the game on a fresh note. The Trompowsky (1.d4 Nf6 2.Bg5) is an opening outside of conventional wisdom. Create challenges and make your opponent solve problems early on.


King of Canberra

Many chess travellers — even the most avid globetrotters — might find the trip to Australia an ocean too far. Indonesia, where I live, looks fairly close on a map, but it took me seven hours for a flight from Jakarta to Sydney and then another hour to reach Canberra, not including the stopover time. So I can imagine many of my European and American readers here would be hesitant to undertake the trek. However, I can assure you it will be well worth visiting as totally new experiences await. Nature, wine, food and kangaroos — what is there not to like?! Now onto chess…

Playing hall

Spacious hall at the Canberra Southern Cross Club | Photo: O2C Doeberl Cup

This was my third time playing this event and if I was not so busy I would play here every year. This time around they changed the time control to become more favourable for the players on double game days, just 90 minutes with increment of 30 seconds from the first move, and without a second time control. As for the date of the tournament, it changes slightly from one year to another but is always held over the long Easter weekend.

Doeberl organisers

The people behind the success of the tournament: (L to R) Charles Bishop, Steve Rohan-Jones, Rosemary Doeberl and Erich Doeberl | Photo: O2C Doeberl Cup

In the third game, I scored my biggest victory over the first seeded from China, GM Ma Qun. I was lucky that we came to a complicated game that boosted my chance against him. A piece sacrifice I made to muddle the waters was met by inaccurate play. Not to mention that it was a morning game. If only this was what happened whenever I played 2600 players…


Ma Qun and James Morris

The tournament's top seed, GM Ma Qun from China and Australia's IM James Morris | Photos: O2C Doeberl Cup

Besides Gareyev’s successful quest in the Land Down Under, this tournament also saw a great performance by Australia’s very own IM James Morris who finished equal first and nearly made his GM norm. Morris’s victory will definitely increase his chance of getting selected for the Olympic team in Batumi, Georgia this year.


The Sicilian Tajmanov-Scheveningen

The Sicilian has been known for decades as the most reliable way for Black to obtain an unbalanced but good position. Among the most popular Sicilians at the top level the two that certainly stand out are the Najdorf and the Paulsen.

In the last round, the standings were pretty much clear as Gareyev and Morris were in a close race. Morris took a short draw against a Chinese player Mu Ke, while Gareyev had to work harder against Ma Qun, who had finally made his comeback after a rough journey to the top. In the game, Gareyev missed a win — a chance to take clear first place.


Ian Rogers

The commentary from the one and only GM Ian Rogers, who has won the tournament 12 times, was highly anticipated | Photo: O2C Doeberl Cup

The Australian prodigy, GM Anton Smirnov, who won the Best Australian Junior and will have his name engraved on the Bedi Cup for the 6th time.

Baldev Bedi and Anton Smirnov

Baldev Bedi (left) sponsors the junior prize won by Anton Smirnov | Photo: O2C Doeberl Cup

Zulfic and Press

Fedja Zulfic from South Australia won the Best U2200 prize for the second year in a row, pictured with arbiter Shaun Press | Photo: O2C Doeberl Cup

It is always enjoyable if you succeed in finding straightforward tactics in some games. It is almost as if you are solving a study. The following position happened right next to my board in the 7th round. I was not sure why White played so hastily despite the sufficient time on the clock, but it definitely cost him a great deal.


Move the pieces on the live diagram! (Solution below)

Final standings (top 20)

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Gareyev Timur 7,5 43,5
2 Morris James 7,5 39,5
3 Bjelobrk Igor 7,0 38,0
4 Ma Qun 6,5 38,0
5 Mu Ke 6,5 38,0
6 Ikeda Junta 6,5 35,5
7 Sengupta Deep 6,0 40,5
8 Clarke Brandon G I 6,0 37,0
9 Lane Gary W 6,0 35,5
10 Dale Ari 6,0 34,0
11 Sukandar Irine Kharisma 5,5 40,5
12 Stojic Dusan 5,5 39,0
13 Kunte Abhijit 5,5 38,5
14 Smirnov Anton 5,5 35,5
15 Chen Pengyu 5,5 34,5
16 Solomon Stephen J 5,5 33,5
17 Puccini Jack 5,5 29,5
18 Liu Yi 5,5 28,0
19 Lam Daniel King-Wai 5,5 25,5
20 Tao Trevor 5,0 37,5

All available games

Solution to tactic

White is skewered through and through after 33...Rd2 after which 34.Be2 Rxe2 35.Qxe2 Qxe4+ picks up the rook 0-1


Irene was born in Jakarta, Indonesia and became the country's first Woman Grandmaster and female International Master. Recently she graduated from Webster University, St. Louis, USA with a degree in Master of Arts in International Relations. In 2012 and 2014 she won the Asian Continental Championships which qualified her to play in the Women's World Championships in 2015 and 2017. With one Grandmaster norm in hand, she is currently pursuing her dream to complete the title in the near future.


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