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2017 QLD Junior Recap

2017 QLD Junior Recap


By FM Dusan Stojic

2017 Queensland Junior Championship

The recent winter school holidays were packed with chess. The Gold Coast Open featured many of the top players from around Australia. We then had a week of the Queensland Junior Championship and associated events, followed by the Winter Holiday program. For the keen kids, there was chess virtually during the whole holiday period.

This year’s Queensland Junior Championship featured the best young talent from across the state, and all the age titles (Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18), were extremely hard-fought. At stake was nothing less than a small slice of immortality: the name on one of the perpetual trophies.

State junior titles are universally regarded as one of the most prestigious achievements for a young chess player. I remember with such vividness the days when I played in the junior state championships in ACT and Victoria. Watching the Queensland Juniors reminded me of the intense competition, and also the friendships that are made along the way.

Day 1: Problem Solving and Blitz

All the events were held at the picturesque Arundel Hills Country Club. In all, we had ten separate events: Problem Solving, Blitz, U8, U10, U12, U14-U18, three Reserves tournaments and two Beginners tournaments. Thus we certainly covered all age levels and abilities!

On Monday, we kicked things off with the inaugural Problem Solving Championship followed by the Blitz. The kids had to try to solve fifteen puzzles in two hours, under proper exam-style conditions. I can testify that some of the problems were very tough (having tried them myself!). The first winner of the Problem Solving was Aditya Anand, just scraping ahead of Jason Wang.

Result of the Problem Solving Championship

The Blitz was light-hearted, and gave some of the more serious juniors a chance to blow off some steam after the gruelling Gold Coast Open weekend. The top-seed, Tom Maguire, crushed the competition with 10/10, winning the overall title of Queensland Junior Blitz Champion.

Final standings of the top:

Place Name                 Rating         Score

1   Maguire, Tom         2130           10

2   Chan, Jason          1417           7.5

3   Wang, Jason          1762           7

4   Ly-Liu, Alexavier    1122           7

5   Norouz, Bardia       1149           6.5

6   Chan, Jacob          1459           6.5

Full results of the Blitz

The highlight of the day was a mini-tournament among the coaches and juniors during lunch. It was almost as well contested as the main event!


Under 8

The Under 8 Championship was held on Tuesday. Henry Liu was off to an early lead, beating the pre-tournament favourite Jayden Ooi in Round 3. But Jayden bounced back, winning his next five games to claim the title. The Under 8 field was full of talent, but their youth and lack of experience also resulted in some blunders. It was certainly entertaining to watch! I won’t be surprised if some of these players develop into some of the strongest in our region given enough time.

Final standings (8 rounds):

Place Name                  Rating        Score

1     Jayden Ooi            941           7

2     Henry Liu               711           6.5

3-6  Michael Dullaway  751           5.5

Io Kubo                  880           5.5

Aurora Lannon       619           5.5

Tiffany Tran            574           5.5

Under 8 Results


Under 10

Fresh from his Under 8 win, Jayden Ooi was keen to contest the Under 10 title on Wednesday. But the heavy favourite, Eason Wang, couldn’t be stopped. Eason finished on a “picket fence” score, 8/8.

Final standings (8 rounds):

Place Name                    Rating      Score

1     Wang, Eason            1271        8

2-3  Ooi, Jayden              941         6

Chen, Austin             873         6

4     Simic, Filip                906         5.5

Under 10 prize winners: Melody Yang (1st girl), Eason Wang (1st), Austin Chen (2nd) and Jayden Ooi (3rd)


Under 12

The Under 12 Championship was one of the best contested events this year. Our Under 8 and Under 10 Champions, Jayden Ooi and Eason Wang, were joined by older kids that were all keen to get their name on the perpetual trophy. There were two leaders on 4/4 after the first day (Thursday): Dashiell Young and Eason Wang, due to play on Friday morning.

All the important clashes occurred on Friday. In round 5, Dashiell kept control against Eason and had nice positional win. But he wasn’t in the lead for long: Sze-Yong Ng stopped Dashiell’s run in Round 6 with what looked like an excellent exchange sacrifice. But then crucially, Dashiell bounced back and defeated Alexavier Ly-Liu, to retake the lead. You can replay their encounter below:


The same Round 6 saw Sze-Yong Ng and Bardia Narouz draw in their game, effectively clearing the way for Dashiell. Dashiell won his last round game in style, thus carving his name on another trophy.


Place Name                       Rating           Score

1     Dashiell Young             1518             7

2     Sze-Yong Ng                1349              6.5

3     Bardia Norouz              1177              6

4-6  Eason Wang                 1313             5.5

Alexavier Ly-Liu           1219              5.5

Brodie Hansen             1019             5.5

Under 12 Results


Under 18

The most prestigious event, the Under 18 tournament, also had the Under 14 and Under 16 players competing for their prizes. The reason why many events for older age groups are combined in Australia, is that we typically have fewer numbers with older kids. The turnout this year was excellent, with 32 players competing across the three age groups. Just about all of the top contenders for the overall Under 18 title took part, which made it a very tough field.

The event was held from Tuesday to Friday, with two games each day. The games were FIDE rated. This was a rare opportunity for the juniors to increase their international rating, as well as for some to obtain their international rating for the first time.

The top seed in the event, Tom Maguire, was defending his title again, and was going for an incredible four-straight Queensland Junior Champion title. Tom had an early setback, losing in the second round to Jacob Chan.

After two days, Hughston Parle and Tom Slater-Jones emerged as a leaders with 4/4. One of the highlights for Hughston was a win against Tim Harris, in a very interesting endgame. Hughston and Tom Slater-Jones drew against each other in the fifth round, both staying in the lead. The turning-point came in the penultimate round, when Tom Slater-Jones drew with Tony Zhong, while Hughston Parle beat Jacob Chan to take the outright lead.

Meanwhile, Nadula Tennakoon (U14) was doing brilliantly in his quest for a state title, overcoming rivals Jason Chan and Rover-Leigh Mercado.

All along the way, the tournament was played in great spirit. Despite the intensity of the competition, all the kids seemed to be having fun. The longer time control allowed them to analyse their games, and hang out with each other in between games – below you can see some of players and arbiters playing Chess Trivopoly!

It all came down to the final round. Hughston Parle, the leader, played Tom Maguire, the top seed. Tom Maguire was coming back from a bad start and if he wins, could potentially reclaim his title. You can replay the game below:


Decisive moment in the last round: Hughston (right) about to play 37…cxb4


And so Hughston Parle became the new Queensland Junior Champion! Tony Zhong won the Under 16 title and Nadula Tennakoon won the Under 14.

On a slightly sad note, three of the players are turning 18 this year and so won’t be able to play the junior events again: Tom Maguire, Tom Slater-Jones and Tim Harris. In the Australian Junior Championship in January, Tom Slater-Jones and Tim Harris tied for equal first, losing in the play-off to Ray Yang from Victoria, while Tom Maguire has won 3 Queensland Junior Championships previously. I hope that they all continue with their chess into their adult years.

All in all, the Queensland Juniors were so much fun to watch, and it will be interesting to see the progress of these players in the years to come!

Place Name                        Rating           Score

1     Hughston Parle             1972             7

2     Tom Slater-Jones          1950             6.5

3     Tony (Junhao) Zhong    1987             6

4-5  Tom Maguire                  2072             5.5

Henry Slater-Jones       1758             5.5

Full results for the Under 18

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