A Report on the 2009 Australian Schools Teams Championships by Kerry Lyall and Charles Zworestine The 2009 Australian Schools Teams Championships were held in the beautiful grounds of Scotch College, Hawthorn, Victoria in the Cardinal Pavilion on 5-6 December 2009. There were over 110 children competing in four separate competitions: Open Primary, Girls Primary, Open Secondary and Girls Secondary. In 2009, the following states were represented – Victoria, SA, QLD, NSW, ACT and WA. In some instances, not all states fielded a team for every competition, and Victoria provided a fill-in team to try and avoid byes: Spensely Street Primary School back-filled WA in the open primary section, Mount View Girls Primary School back-filled WA in the primary girls section and Lauriston back-filled South Australia in the primary girls section. Unfortunately, a backup team to fill the WA vacancy in the secondary girls section could not be organised in time for the competition; so this event had a bye (5 teams).
Teams started arriving around 8.15 am on 5 December ready for the Opening Ceremony at 9.00 am. Mr Tom Batty, Principal of Scotch College, welcomed competitors, parents, teachers and coaches to the competition. Games started shortly after 9.30 am. All four divisions were played at a time control now common to Australian weekenders: 60 minutes for the whole game, plus ten seconds per move from the start (Fischer). Of course, only the secondary players ever really use this allotted time; with a few notable exceptions, the primary school players usually play blitz, and often all their games are over inside the first hour!
Round 1: The Primary Girls saw convincing 4-0 wins by Somerville House (QLD) over Mount View (VIC) and Curtin (ACT) over Summer Hill (NSW); while Lauriston drew 2-2 with fellow Victorian side PLC. In the Primary Open, Victorian favourites Mount View showed no mercy to fellow Victorians Spensely Street, beating them 4-0. The NSW side, Carlingford West, were 3-1 victors over Magill (SA). Meanwhile the match between Kings (QLD) and Kaleen (ACT) looked closest on paper, ratings leaving them very evenly matched. The result, however, was a 3-1 triumph to Kings, Martin Jack defeating Yijun Zhang on Board 1 and Kees Huband-Lint beating Jamie-Lee Guo on Board 3, but Matthew Pyper losing to Marat Rostov on Board 2.
Only 2 matches in the Secondary Girls; and while PLC enjoyed the bye (4 points), St Peter’s (SA) and Hornsby (NSW) had a dogfight resulting in a 2-2 draw. Meanwhile Somerset (QLD) beat Radford (ACT) 3-1, winning the bottom two boards and drawing Board 1 (Jessica Kinder vs Tamzin Oliver) and Board 2 after Joanne Mason agreed to a draw in a won position a pawn ahead against Danielle Kinder! The Secondary Open saw more ACF rated players than any of the other events; but it did not help Radford (ACT), who went down 4-0 to the overwhelming favourites Scotch College (VIC) despite Derek Yu having initially slightly the worse of a drawn knight vs bishop ending against Willis Lo on Board 3 and Nicholas Liu sacrificing a piece unsoundly against Bevan Lee on Board 4. The 4-0 win by Kings (QLD) against Seton (WA) was less eventful. Meanwhile North Sydney (NSW) did well to defeat Prince Alfred (SA) 3.5-0.5, Board 1 Kevin Tan agreeing to a draw after a wild game against Anthony Milton and Jack Ruan positionally beating Fabian Ivancic in a pure opposite coloured bishop ending on Board 2.
Round 2: Once more Somerville House were too strong for their opposition in the Primary Girls, 4-0 victors over Lauriston. PLC did likewise to Summer Hill; but Curtin dropped a point to Mount View, winning 3-1 after Lucinda Flood was upset on top board by May-Yi Foo. In the meantime, the Primary Open saw Mount View motor along to 8/8 with a 4-0 win over Magill; but the other two matches were far tougher! Carlingford West won 2.5-1.5 against Kaleen, losing Board 3 and drawing Board 4 but Raymond Han scoring an upset win over Marat Rostov on Board 2. Meanwhile Lauriston scored upsets on both the top two boards to draw 2-2 with Kings.
So to the Secondary Girls, where St. Peter’s relaxed in the luxury of the bye while Radford were 3-1 winners over Hornsby, losing only on Board 4. The match between PLC and Somerset was crucial, ending up 2-2 after the Victorians won on Board 4 but lost on Boards 2 and 3, leaving Sally Yu to level by tying up Jessica Kinder on Board 1. Scotch confirmed their tag as favourites by beating Kings 3.5-0.5 in the Secondary Open, Jaydon Blackman drawing with Nicholas Liu in an upset result on Board 4. But Zhigen Lin positionally outplayed Sam Grigg, winning a pawn; Eugene Schon won two bishops for a rook to defeat Sebastian Jule; and a knight fork saw Derek Yu beat Caleb Eriksson. North Sydney joined Scotch on 7.5/8 by beating Seton 4-0; while Prince Alfred beat Radford 2.5-1.5, winning Boards 3 and 4 but Anthony Milton suffering an upset loss to Edward Xing on Board 1 and Fabian Ivancic an upset draw with James Li on Board 2.
Round 3: Somerville College rounded off a perfect day in the Primary Girls with another 4-0 win (against PLC) to reach 12/12; but even then they were not safe, as Curtin’s own 4-0 win against Lauriston left them on 11/12 and only a point behind! Summer Hill’s Board 4 snared them their first point in their 1-3 loss to Mount View... The same school (Mount View) were still dominating the Primary Open, despite conceding three draws in their 2.5-1.5 win against Kings; the Kings players were all thrilled to register the upset draws on Boards 1, 3 and 4, but Zachary Loh put paid to Matthew Pyper on Board 2 to give Mount View the win. Carlingford West suffered a massive blow to their chances with a shock 2.5-1.5 loss to Spensely Street, their top board Andrew Pan pushing too hard to win a drawn position against Ari Dale and losing instead! Meanwhile Magill stunned Kaleen 3-1, Natasha Bortsova beating Yijun Zhang and Ted Wachtel upsetting Jamie-Lee Guo.
It was Somerset’s turn to rest in the Secondary Girls; but PLC ensured that they went into Day 2 level with them on 9/12 after beating Hornsby 3-1, suffering a shock loss on Board 3. The other match between Radford and St. Peter’s resulted in a tough 2.5-1.5 win to the ACT team, Radford losing on Board 3 and Board 1 seeing a tough fight between Sophie Eustace (White) and Tamzin Oliver end in an agreed draw despite White’s weak pawns. Meanwhile the Secondary Open saw the crucial battle between Scotch and North Sydney begin well for Scotch, Eugene Schon winning the exchange to grind down Jack Ruan after Derek Yu had earlier crushed Oscar Wang with tactics in 20 moves (see game below). But Jerry Xu had winning chances before drawing his Board 4 ending with Nicholas Liu; and Scotch completed a 3.5-0.5 victory when Kevin Tan on Board 1 missed a golden winning opportunity against Zhigen Lin, winning his queen for rook and bishop but soon allowing him back rank counterplay and a forced winning combination in time pressure. (See game below). Kings thus entered Day 2 half a point ahead of North Sydney in second place after beating Radford 4-0; while poor Seton were still yet to register a point after going down to Prince Alfred 4-0.
Wang, Oscar - Yu, Derek, 2009 ASTC Secondary Open Board 3, Round 3 05/12/2009
The competitors had earlier been very excited to obtain their lunches, which most people had ordered from Subway. There was an opportunity for participants to catch up with friends from interstate before the third round. After Round 3, most people stayed for the evening meal. There was a long queue for the 10 types of entree and the many varieties of pizza and salad, as almost 180 people waited to collect their dinner. Leteisha Simmonds, who was celebrating her birthday, cut the ice cream cake – which had three different flavours – one cake had a chess board decorating it, one had the Australian Junior Chess League written on it and the final cake had Australian Schools Teams Championships decorating it. No one went home hungry!
Round 4: Another beautiful Melbourne day dawned on the 6 December for the final two rounds. Excitement pervaded the girls events, starting with the Primary Girls where Curtin, having drawn Board 3 against Somerville House, actually took the lead when Yi-Jing Zeng upset Jenny Yum on Board 2! Then Emma Dunstone (Curtin) won Manasi Hegde’s queen on Board 4, and it looked like Curtin would pull off an upset win; but Manasi fought back to draw an exciting ending, and Leteisha Simmonds was always in control with her extra pawns to beat Lucinda Flood and level at 2-2. So Curtin stayed a point behind, while Summer Hill leapt out of last place with a 4-0 win over Lauriston. PLC then beat Mount View 3-1 to all but sew up third place.
The Secondary Girls was almost as thrilling, Radford’s bye leaving them likely third while PLC and Somerset fought for the title. Sally Yu’s positional win against Sophie Eustace, cramping her up and winning a key pawn, left PLC looking good after their 4-0 win against St. Peter’s; but Danielle Kinder fought from behind to draw by perpetual check in Somerset’s 3.5-0.5 win against Hornsby, leaving them only half a point behind. Less excitement in the Primary Open, where Mount View wrapped it up with a 4-0 win over Kaleen; Spensely Street beat Magill 3-1 (Ari Dale upset Natasha Bortsova – see game below), and Kings looked good for second after drawing 2-2 with Carlingford West. Of course Sensational Scotch already had the Secondary Open wrapped up after beating Prince Alfred 4-0; while Seton scored their first point on Board 4 in their 3-1 loss to Radford (Taiga Yano beating Jak Carty). The key match for second between North Sydney and Kings saw the Sydney side prevail in spite of Sam Grigg’s exciting win against Kevin Tan on Board 1 (see game below); but Jack Ruan was too active for Sebastian Jule, and wins on the bottom two boards gave North Sydney a decisive 3-1 victory.
Dale, Ari - Bortsova, Natasha, 2009 ASTC Primary Open Board 1, Round 4 06/12/2009
Round 5: No more thrills in the Primary Girls, as Somerville House were clinical in dispatching Summer Hill 4-0 to claim first on 18/20. Curtin were shocked by PLC’s resistance in their 2-2 draw, happy in the end to take out second on 15/20 after upset losses on Boards 2 and 4. This left PLC third and Mount View fourth after they drew 2-2 with Lauriston. Mount View were just as clinical in the Primary Open, drawing Board 1 but winning the rest against Carlingford West for a 3.5-0.5 win to leave them first on 18/20. Kings were second on 12.5/20 after dispatching Magill 4-0; while Kaleen finally got it right in their 4-0 win against Spensely Street, not soon enough for them but happily for Carlingford West who thus took out third place on 9.5/20.
There was still some excitement left in the Secondary Open, despite Scotch predictably beating Seton 4-0 to finish first on 19/20; but Jack Ruan on Board 2 dropped queen for rook in his upset loss to James Li, and when Jerry Xu on Board 4 declined Jak Carty’s draw offer and went on to lose instead, North Sydney were only able to draw 2-2 with Radford. Could Kings beat Prince Alfred 4-0 to overtake them? Tough wins by Sam Grigg over Anthony Milton and Sebastian Jule against Fabian Ivancic gave them a chance; but Caleb Eriksson pressed too hard on Board 3, and his loss to Owen Yang left Kings 3-1 victors, third on 12.5/20 half a point behind North Sydney in second on 13/20. Meanwhile the Secondary Girls saw a less thrilling finish than expected, when Tamzin Oliver maintained her good record against Sally Yu and Joanne Mason won Sakthi Ravitharan’s queen to leave Radford level at 2-2 with PLC. Somerset thus needed only 3 points, and duly registered them on the bottom three boards to leave Jessica Kinder’s draw with Sophie Eustace irrelevant; so Somerset took out first with 16/20, PLC second with 15/20, Radford third with 12.5/20 and Hornsby fourth when their 4-0 bye enabled them to overtake St. Peter’s.
At the Closing Ceremony Kerry Lyall, the Chief Organiser of the tournament, thanked the many people who had assisted with the competition – especially Howard Chan and Michael Loh, two parents from the Mount View Primary School. Zhigen Lin, Board 1 for Scotch College, was presented with a book by FM Geoff Saw for his exemplary competition website. (Geoff also worked tirelessly over the weekend entering the games from the event). Kerry then introduced Mr Hugh Delahunty, Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation, Youth Affairs and Veterans’ Affairs who gave a short speech and presented the certificates of participation to team captains and the trophies to the prize winners. Feedback from the tournament was that participants really enjoyed it, that everyone was nice and that they liked the trophies: a most successful event!
The final standings were as follows:
Primary Girls 1st Somerville House (QLD) 18/20; 2nd Curtin (ACT) 15; 3rd PLC (VIC) 11;
4th Mount View (VIC) 7; 5th Summer Hill (NSW) 5; 6th Lauriston (VIC) 4.
Primary Open 1st Mount View (VIC) 18; 2nd Kings (QLD) 12.5; 3rd Carlingford West (NSW)