I’m back in Brisbane now, ready to enjoy Christmas and play in the Australian Champs/Reserves in January.
The end of our tournament was slightly anti-climatic. Our round 6 game against Bangladesh didn’t go the way we planned. Isaac’s opponent found a tactic that wins a pawn in his middle game and Isaac lost. As for my game, I overcomplicated a better position and completely threw it away by missing a rook sacrifice by my opponent. Sophie got a good draw against a much stronger opponent and Gordon also got a solid draw.
The next day was a double round day. Double round days are usually quite rough on players, especially at the end of the tournament. In round 7 we had Mozambique in the morning. We won 4-0, which was a very good victory for the team and the moral of the team. In the afternoon we had South Africa. South African players are common extremely underrated as many players may only participate in one tournament per year. Therefore, if a player studies chess for an entire year, their ability could be 300/400 rating points above their rating.
Our game against South Africa began relatively smoothly. Bridgette began playing quite well and reached a relatively equal middle game. However, she made an endgame blunder and lost a knight. Isaac misplayed his opening and slowly began to lose more and more space. Unfortunately despite having the two bishops, his pieces became very cramped and not able to activate themselves. Isaac in the end lost. My game was ridiculous as usual. I played an opening sideline that reaches a relatively equal position. However, by move 13 I found my king on e4, and somehow safe. I then misplayed the end of my middle game and lost a pawn due to my lack of development. Although being probably the last game to finish, my opponent found all the right resources and in the end, I lost. Gordon played a good game and won a piece in the middle game. However, he soon began feeling nauseous and decided to take a draw, as he believed his state would risk him losing.
Unfortunately, our loss against South Africa and the interesting last round pairing system, we got the bye. We finished the tournament 24th, yet being seeded 21st.
Although, some of the team hoped for better, we all had an amazing experience. Visiting the country and playing international players is very beneficial to our development in chess, even if some of us (me) were completely beaten up. I recommend this tournament to any passionate and confident under 16 players. I wouldn’t recommend this tournament for rating points or for a holiday, but for match experience against higher rated players.
All in all, it was a great experience.
Thank you and Merry Christmas