Hrant Melkumyan wins Doeberl Cup

by André Schulz
4/21/2022 – With 7.5/9 the Armenian Grandmaster Hrant Melkumyan was sole first at this year's Doeberl Cup in Canberra, Australia. The tournament has been held since 1963 and is Australia's most prestigious chess event. It is named after the Austrian self-made businessman Erich Doeberl, who emigrated to Australia in 1955. | Photo: Rosemary Doeberl, daughter of Erich Doeberl, with Hrant Melkumyan (Photo: Chesslife)

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Melkumyan wins Doeberl Cup

The Doeberl Cup (photo: tournament page) is an annual tournament that has been held in Canberra, Australia, since 1963. In 2020, the tournament was suspended due to the Corona pandemic. The tournament is one of the biggest tournaments in Australia in terms of number of participants and is played over the Easter holidays.

The main sponsor and name giver of the tournament was Erich Doeberl (1931-1994). Doeberl was born in Austria but in 1955 he came to Australia with his wife Lucy on their honeymoon and decided to stay. Doeberl, who was an unskilled miner, first worked as a carpenter and eventually started building entire houses. He founded a construction company and built up to 200 houses a year with his companies Perfect Perfection Homes and Fairlane Canberra Pty Ltd. In private and also in business dealings, Doeberl must have been very uncomplicated and even his business partners just called him "Erich". Doeberl loved chess and when his friend and colleague Toni Wiedenhofer, born in Austria like Doeberl, asked him to sponsor a chess tournament, Doeberl donated £100, which was a very handsome sum in the mid-1960s. This donation developed into a permanent sponsorship for the Doeberl Cup named after him.

In 1991 the Australian Chess Federation thanked Doeberl for his services to chess in Australia with the "Special Appreciation Award". Doeberl died in 1994 from the consequences of a heart attack while skiing. His daughter Rosemary continues her father's commitment to chess.

The first winner of the Doeberl Cup was John Purdy, father of Cecil Purdy, the first World Champion in Correspondence Chess, who was also an International Master in over-the-board play and a popular and renowned author. Cecil Purdy won the tournament in 1964 and was shared winner in 1970. But the record winner is GM Ian Rogers, who the Doeberl Cup no less than 12 times.

This year 53 players took part in the Premier. 104 players started in the main tournament (Major) and 114 players in the youth tournament (Minor), so in total almost 300 chess friends came to play in the Doeberl Cup.

For the second time after 2019, the Armenian grandmaster Hrant Melkumyan won the tournament. He finished with 7.5/9 and was half a point ahead of GM Temur Kuybokarov and a full point ahead of GM Daniel Howard Fernandez and IM Sardana Rishi. With his rating of 2640 Melkumyan was also the tournament favourite and one of four grandmasters in the field.

Final standings after 9 rounds

Rk. Name Pts.  TB1 
1 Melkumyan Hrant 7,5 42,0
2 Kuybokarov Temur 7,0 37,5
3 Fernandez Daniel Howard 6,5 40,5
4 Sardana Rishi 6,5 38,5
5 Cheng Bobby 6,0 41,0
6 Puccini Jack 6,0 36,5
7 Lane Gary W 6,0 33,0
8 Ikeda Junta 5,5 39,0
9 Winkelman Albert 5,5 38,5
10 Wallis Christopher 5,5 38,0
11 Bjelobrk Igor 5,5 35,0
12 Clarke Matthew 5,5 34,0
13 Kargosha Bahman 5,5 33,0
14 Litchfield Frederick 5,5 33,0
15 Prasad Lalit 5,5 32,0
16 Banerjee Niki 5,5 31,0
17 Rodgers Jack 5,5 30,5
18 Datar Tejas 5,0 35,0
19 Zhang Jilin 5,0 33,5
20 Leaver Kyle 5,0 31,5
21 Kuan Julian 5,0 27,5
22 Johansen Darryl K 4,5 38,5

53 players




Doeberl Cup Winner: GM Hrant Melkumyan (ARM) 7.5/9
Major 1st Place (Saint Memorial): Mars Qi (AUS) 6.5/7
Minor 1st Place: Mark C Stokes (AUS) 6.5/7
U1200s 1st Place: Joy Liu (AUS) 6/6


Best Female: WGM Jilin Zhang (AUS)
Bedi Cup (Best Australian Junior): Ryder Testolin (AUS)
U2200 Medallion: Matthew Clarke (AUS)
U2000 Medallion: CM Lalit Prasad (AUS)
Fighting Fund: IM Rishi Sardana (AUS)
ACF U2000 "Courage & Self-Belief" Prize: Niki Banerjee (FRA)


Best Female: Fiona Shen (AUS)
U1800 Medallion: Zerui Xing (AUS)
U1650 Medallion: Micah Young (AUS)
Max Illingworth Award: Micah Young(AUS)


Pooja Cup (Best Female Australian Junior): Sophia Ahern (AUS)
U1200 Medallion: Ethan Chang (AUS)
U1400 Medallion: Austin Chen (AUS)
Best Unrated: Shivam Pant (AUS)


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.