Thursday, 9 February 2012

FIGJAM in the first half of 2012

by Junta

Apologies for neglecting to post, I will be writing on the second half of Queenstown in the next few days. After this blog started up in July last year, the five of us have only written a little less than 60 posts, but there have been a lot of viewers, and we are about to hit 10,000 views. Thank you for reading, and I hope we can bring you many more posts this year.

I thought it might be good to write a post on what we, the FIGJAM team members, are up to this year. The summer holidays are traditionally the time for chess tournaments (personally, since January 2002 when I played in my first Australian Juniors as a 10-year old, it has been 11 years in a row, and counting), and the end of Queenstown marks the end of this summer (in the chess sense), so we are back into the real world where the outcome of each day does not depend on how we go over the 64 squares.

After 2011, when some of us took time off university to travel and play in overseas tournaments, this year we are all students, as Andrew, Sam and I are all studying in Canberra, while Moulthun is studying up in Brisbane. And lucky Fedja is studying in the Netherlands on exchange (you may have seen the post where he took photos at Tata Steel)!

In Canberra, of course, this Easter marks the 50th edition of the Doeberl Cup, the biggest tournament, and annual get-together of chess players, in Australia. Before that, though, the three of us here have the opportunity to play in two FIDE-rated events - the ANU Masters, and ACT Championships.

The former is a 10-player round robin with a game each Wednesday night until the Doeberl, with the field made up of invited players (such as Andrew, Arianne Caoili and myself) and tournament winners from last year's ANU Chess Club calendar. The draw can be seen here, and crosstable here.

The latter will be held over two weekends: February 17-19th, and 25-26th (9 rounds). I will be attempting to defend my title from last year.

After the Doeberl, many of the players will move to Parramatta for the Sydney International Open - it should be another great event.

When returning from Queenstown, I thought 4 events through Semester 1 was quite enough. However, a few days after catching up on rest and sleep, another tournament was put into my diary. Asked by Moulthun and Irene (from Indonesia, who we became friends with in Queenstown) if I was interested, I decided to play in the HD Bank Open in Vietnam, running March 1st-8th.

With a 1st prize of US $10,000, the event will see many strong players fly into Ho Chi Minh City from all around Asia, and three weeks before the tournament, the list of entries looks very exciting. Le Quang Liem (2714), Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son (2662) and Ni Hua (2641) are the top three seeds so far, with 50 of the 80 players rated above 2200!

Later on, as the first semester concludes in June-July, some of us may set our sights on other shores in the holidays until Semester 2 - we shall see...

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