The 2016 Nell Van de Graaff Classic (NVDG), named after the 101 year old lady of the same name, got underway with 83 participants. Fresh from his Olympiad efforts, GM-elect Moulthun Ly headlined a strong field with IM’s Brodie McClymont and Stephen Solomon and FM’s Gene Nakauchi and Dusan Stojic. With the whole top 10 being over 1800 ACF and plenty of solid club players through the middle of the event it promised to be challenging for all.
The great thing about the NVDG is that all players have a chance of a prize, with rating groups and a special team’s component being added to give the event a unique flavour.
The first round matched the top half versus the bottom half as usual and there were no upsets in this case as the seeded players all avoided any hiccups to begin the day.
Round 2 however saw some casualties. Oliver Yang defeated James Kay whilst Aaron Huang got a win for the juniors over Gail Young and Jordan Chan upset Alexander Dong.
Round 3 saw more upsets with CAQ President going down to JP Bargo for the first time (probably won’t hear the end of that for a while!). James Kay continues his rusty streak being held to a draw by the rapidly improving Lucas Su, whilst Brisbane junior Aditya Anand took out one of the coaches, Gary Sands. In the battle of the juniors, Jonathon Lo trumped Jack Luke-Paredi and William Ilka defeated Byron Morris.
At the top of the draw, the players were made to work for their wins but the top 10 seeds all still went according to rating.
A fourth round is always a big ask in these types of event as the long games start taking their toll on the players – especially poor Dusan and Moulthun who only got off a plan yesterday morning from Baku, Azerbaijan!
With some big name match ups on the top board, there were some gruelling games between the top seeds with the Stojic-McClymont game going down to increment with McClymont getting the best of a complex middlegame to get the point. With Ly beating Nakauchi on board 1 and Solomon defeating Parle on board 3, the Sunday was set up for some cracking games!
Upsets of course happened, with Kabilan Manuneedhi holding Mike Duffin to a draw as did Jacob Chan with Michael Ostapenko. Sze-Yong Ng had an impressive win over Jason Wang, while Bernard Sakran beat Don Hamilton, Jonathan Lo continued his impressive run to beat Jordan Uscinski. Upset draws also Aditya Anand against Ronald Bourke, and William Ilka drew with Lucas Su.
Round 5 proved to be an exciting affair as the top seeds battled it out. The longest game was between Alex Stahnke and Tom Maguire who played off increment for nearly 60 moves in a rook and pawn ending. Tom could have made everything much easier had he not missed a way to win a queen for a rook much earlier using a discovered attack and check combination.
On board 1, Ly defeated Solomon (pictured above) after a drawn out minor piece endgame whilst McClymont was made to work hard on board 2 to defeat Zhong. With Stojic and Nakauchi also winning along with others on 3 points, the pressure at the top remains strong. PJ Bargo continued his good run with a draw against Mike Duffin as the only big upset of the round.
Round 6 saw the big clash between Ly and McClymont headline the boards, however the game ended well before many others with a draw. On board two, the longest game was between Tom Maguire and Stephen Solomon. Heading into Tom’s second rook and pawn ending in a row, Tom was pawn up but was going to have a very tough time converting the position – that is until Solomon took too long to think on one move and ended up losing on time!
The next few boards went according to seed, but on board 8 Michael Ostapenko was held to a draw by Ronald Bourke. The upsets continued with Jack Luke-Paredi continuing James Kay’s horrid run, Jonathon Lo continued his giant killing with a win over Peter Bender, Andong Zhao defeated Jordan Uscinski, Cooper Douglas (below) beat Rover-Leigh Mercado and Riley Granger beat Allan Menham. Draws against higher rated opponents also went to Bernard Sakran, Aaron Huang and Evan Fraser.
With 3 players tied going into the final round, anything could happen, especially with Brodie v Tom on board 1 and Dusan v Moulthun on board 2. Gene and Tony were paired on board 3 only a half point back.
The all Redcliffe battle on board 1 was a tight tussle as Brodie aimed to get revenge on Tom after the last meeting between the two. Brodie was able to put his nous to use and get the result needed for the outright victory, after Moulthun and Dusan had a reasonably short draw on board 2. Board 3 was the longest game and kept everyone waiting as Tony attempted to convert K+R+3P v K+R+P. Gene sacrificed his lone pawn in order to create some serious weaknesses in Tony’s pawn structure. This enabled Gene to round up Tony’s lone h-pawn, leaving him with double f-pawns – according to Stephen Solomon as soon as that happened, it was as good as drawn – though it took another 50+ moves for the draw to come to fruition.
Upsets happened across the draw, with Don Hamilton holding Oleg Kitikov to a draw as did Jack Luke-Paredi with Michael Ostapenko. Alexander Dong defeated Peter Bender, Aaron Huang defeated Jack Micklesson, Evan Fraser beat Gail Young, and Jordan Chan beat Elena Jule.
Final Standings can be found here, however a list of prize winners is below:
1st Place – IM Brodie McClymont
2nd Place – IM Moulthun Ly
=3rd Place – FM Dusan Stojic, FM Gene Nakauchi, Tom Maguire, Tony Zhong, Alex Stahnke
Rating Group A 1st Place – Jason Wang
Rating Group A =2nd Place – Leon Lee, Bruce Harris, Jack Luke-Paredi, Jacob Chan, Gary Sands, Don Hamilton
Rating Group B =1st Place – Jonathon Lo, Andong Zhao, Alexander Dong, Daniel Tseng
Rating Group C 1st Place – Aaron Huang
Rating Group C =2nd Place – Jordan Chan, Kanak Relekar, Riley Granger, Shubh Patel
Photo 1: Photo of playing hall
Photo 2: Dusan Stojic, Aaron Fahey and Oleg Kitikov the picture of concentration
Photo 3: Bernard Sakran v Tyson Walker.