Applecross Senior High School was the setting for the new WA Open tournament, and we thank the school for allowing us to use their excellent venue. Unfortunately, a number of our stronger players were missing from the field, including Stephanus Kurniawan, Michael Horstmann, Tim Hare, Tom Donaldson, Yita Choong, David Ellis and myself, and only 23 players ended up taking part. However, with less than a week to go, I had only 9 entries so, from my point of view, the final result is not so bad! Rightly, or wrongly, I choose to believe that we were the victims of multiple coincidences, not a general lack of interest in the event. Anyway, one advantage of having so many strong players absent was that the battle for the 3 qualifying places for the WA Closed Championship was thrown wide open, and we saw a very interesting struggle for those places.
The tournament proved to be a close affair all the way, with Tristan Boyd, Dennis Holland, Marc Vlietstra, Edik Gilmetdinov and Derek Elkington sharing the lead at various stages. Although Tristan did not have things go totally his way, he was never out of the lead and managed to finish just in front, conceding just two draws (Marc Vlietstra & Edik Gilmetdinov). Dennis Holland had an excellent result, losing only to Tristan, and would have finished equal first if he had been able to find a way to win against Eddy Seah in the last round. Marc Vlietstra’s loss to Dennis in round 6 ended his chances of winning but he played some good Chess throughout. Edik Gilmetdinov and Derek Elkington each had amazing tournaments, achieving high scores against strong fields. Eddy Seah and Guy Booth both started slowly but fought their way back to finish equal fourth. Guy managed three consecutive wins against higher rated opponents.
The 3 qualifying places for the WA Closed Championship were taken by Tristan Boyd, Dennis Holland and Marc Vlietstra. Since Tristan is certain to qualify by virtue of his rating, Edik Gilmetdinov will take his qualifying place. If Marc ends up qualifying by rating, then Derek Elkington will also get a qualifying place.
Dennis Holland won his second WA Reserves Championship by a clear point. Veronica Williams won her second WA Womens Championship (by scaring off all challengers?). Aaron McHugh and William Williams each won their respective rating groups the hard way, by winning their last two games.
There were many interesting struggles, and the lower rated players did not always come off second best. The following players each managed to defeat an opponent rated more than 200 points above themselves: Aaron McHugh (twice!!), Peter Zylstra, Grant Bultman, Guy Booth and Edik Gilmetdinov. Also worthy of mention are the four players who drew with an opponent more than 400 points above them: Edik Gilmetdinov (against Tristan Boyd!), Gary Donaldson, Steve Mijailovic and Veronica Williams.
I believe that the event was a success, there seemed to be a good spirit amongst the players, and the two games a day seemed quite comfortable. The possibility of qualifying for the WA Closed Championship added an extra dimension. I would like to repeat the experiment next year and then assess its success. Any comments on the format of the WA Open would be appreciated.
Haydn Barber, DOP