Dear fellow Club members,
The Club’s golden era continues. 2012 has been a year of pure gold - a year of notable milestones and many dazzling and historic triumphs, some of which may never be surpassed!
The year began on a high note when our chess Mozarts, father IM Vladimir Smirnov and his primary school son Anton (still only 11 years of age!) finished second and third, respectively, in the Australian Chess Championship in Geelong and the Australian Junior Chess Championship in Melbourne. In the Australian Junior Lightning Championship and Problem Solving Competition Anton finished first and equal first, respectively.
On 31 January 2012 our Club Champion FM Greg Canfell simultaneously played 23 opponents, finishing with 14 wins, 1 draw and 8 losses – a very creditable result in view of the fact that Greg generously did not limit the number of his opponents’ passes, resulting in a very late finish.
On 7 February 2012 our 2011 Steiner Medallist FM Max Illingworth won our Club Lightning with a perfect score of 9/9, from Greg and our able Secretary and resident Australian visa expert Peter Abbott, both on 7.
On 1 May 2012 Greg successfully defended his title of Club Champion, with an outstanding score of 10/11. (I should mention that IM Vladimir Smirnov and FM Max Illingworth did not enter this year.) Our 2010 Club Champion Michael Morris finished second on 8½, and young Anton third on 8 – two points clear of the next 3 competitors!
Recent star performer Donato Mallari won our Candidates with 9½/11, from redoubtable veteran Peter Lay on 8½, ex-Hong Kong University student Julian Kuan on 7/10, and former Club Champion Frank Hutchings on 7/11.
Rising North Sydney Boys’ High School junior Joshuar Behar won our A Reserves with 9/11, from Allan Richards on 8, and Ian Dickson on 7½.
Harry Kolotas and Gordon Miller tied for first in our B Reserves, with 6½/10, from Peter Brennan on 6. Harry won a play-off 1½-½.
Andrew Johnson won our C Reserves with 8½/11, from Michael de Mello on 7½/11 and Michael Tracey on 6½/10.
Matthew Carden won our D1 Reserves with 7½/8, from unrated Brett Marsh on 5½/8, and Bob Quek on 5/7. Roger Jeffreys won our D2 Reserves with 6/7, from Iurie Draganov and David Bavin on 4. Roger won a D1/D2 Reserves play-off against Matthew Carden 1½-½.
During winter months this year we entered 2 teams in the severely depleted Interclub Grade Matches. Our under-1600 team, captained by our dedicated Webmaster David Stern, finished third with 19½/36, whilst our under-1400 team, captained by Andrew Johnson, finished second with 18½/36.
As well as top-scoring in our under-1600 team this year, dark horse Shane Dibley won our 27-strong Winter Ladder Competition, both as outright ladder leader and with the best strike rate of 8½/9. Another dark horse Justin Vowles followed closely on Shane’s heels with a strike rate of 9½/12.
On 20 July 2012 at a dinner at norths to celebrate the 80th birthday of our modest, tireless and ever dependable Treasurer, Norm Greenwood, Gary Wastell, President of the Australian Chess Federation, presented Norm with honorary life membership of the ACF in recognition of his immense and unremitting services to chess over the past 20 years or so. Our Club now also honours Norm by naming the “Ford Greenwood” Norths Seniors Open Chess Tournament after a past Club giant, John Ford, and Norm, jointly. John Ford was Club President in 1931-2 and from 1946 to 1958 (a total of 15 years) and was Club Champion 3 times (in 1942-3 and 1949).
On 31 July 2012 Peter Lay comfortably won the “Ford Greenwood” with 8½/9, from Frank Hutchings and Polish poet/chess lover Marek Baterowicz, both on 6½. The challenge for Norm now is to win the “Ford Greenwood”!
This year our Club again hosted the New South Wales Chess Championship: a closed 9-round-robin tournament. Half of the field were from our Club! FM Max Illingworth comfortably defended his 2011 title with a commanding score of 8½/9. IM George Xie placed second on 6½ and Sattar Nazari, FM Tomek Rej and our Club member/past Club Champion FM Malcolm Stephens tied for third on 4½.
Over many years the “Ford Memorial Open Chess Tournament” commemorated John Ford, until we renamed it the “John Purdy Memorial Open Chess Tournament” this year in order to perpetually commemorate one of our Club’s greatest giants of all time, the recently departed and much loved John Purdy, who was Club Champion a record number of 11 times, Australian Champion twice, and ever a Club stalwart.
On 21 August 2012 FM Max Illingworth and young Anton jointly won the inaugural John Purdy Memorial Open Lightning with 6½/7. Patrick Champion, WIM Biljana Dekic, Shane Dibley and Dr Vasil Tulevski tied for third on 5.
Between 27 August and 10 September this year our Club members FM Max Illingworth and WIM Biljana Dekic represented Australia with distinction in the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul, Turkey. Max top-scored for our men’s team with 7/10 and Biljana top-scored for our women’s team with 6/9! By gaining a double IM norm at the Olympiad, Max gained an International Master title!
On 28 August 2012 John Purdy’s widow Felicity honoured us by attending the first round of the inaugural 73-strong John Purdy Memorial Open Chess Tournament and making white’s first move on the top board. The joint winners of this 9 round open Swiss tournament were Michael Morris and young Anton, with 8/9, followed by North Sydney Boys’ High School talented pianist/chess player Oscar Wang, on 7.
On 20 November 2012, after Michael Morris was found to be the trophy winner by applying FIDE’s recommended tie-break system, Felicity Purdy presented Michael with an impressive silver cup perpetual trophy to hold for the next 12 months.
The John Purdy Memorial Open Chess Tournament Senior Prize was shared by Peter Lay and myself, on 6/9. The Junior Prize was shared by Joshua Behar and school-mate Thomas Xuan, also on 6/9.
After the John Purdy Memorial Open Chess Tournament prizegiving ceremony another Lightning Tournament was held that night and was won by IM Vladimir Smirnov, with 8½/9, followed by young Anton on 9, and Michael Morris on 7½.
This year we retained both the Centenary Shield and the John Kellner/Terrey Shaw Memorial Trophy by winning both the Little and Big Board Matches against Harbord Diggers and our long term great adversary St George, by overall scores of 19½-13½ and 67-34 (!), respectively. Our literary and classics scholars have been searching for a suitable verse or anthem to commemorate our truly emphatic and historic second leg defeat of St George at home on 27 November 2012 - by 30 points (39-9!), which contributed to our amazing overall winning margin of 33 against St George this year. That night, on board 1, our Melbourne Cup of Chess winner FM Max Illingworth finally scored his first win against St George’s GM Zong-Yuan Zhao!
On 4 December 2012 the dynamic duo, Vladimir and Anton, in tandem, simultaneously played 34 opponents, who were limited to 2 passes, and finished with 21 Smirnov wins, 5 draws and 8 losses.
During the past year our Committee has functioned diligently, energetically, efficiently, and harmoniously, and each member has carried out his allotted tasks very capably.
It came as no surprise, therefore, that at our AGM on 11 December 2012 our Committee was re-elected en bloc, and in the same positions, with the addition of only one new committee member, David Webster. Accordingly, I continue as President, Rex Simmonds as Vice President, Peter Abbott as Secretary, Norm Greenwood as Treasurer, David Stern as Web-Master, and Fred Schuetz, Peter Lay, Michael Morris and Robert Pike, supplemented by David Webster, as general Committee members. It continues to be a great honour for me to serve as Club President, for which I am grateful.
It is a tribute to the strength of our Club and of our Committee that the ACF has entrusted us with organising and hosting the 22nd Australian Open Chess Championships next month at norths, that Hancock Prospecting Pty Ltd is sponsoring this event, and that the Oceania Chess Confederation has invited us to organise and host the Oceania Seniors and Zone Chess Championships at norths in 2014 and 2015, respectively (both of which invitations our Committee has accepted).
And now a historic stop press: 11 years old Anton has just become the Australasian Masters Champion, finishing 2 points ahead of his IM father, with whom he drew in the final round! According to GM Ian Rogers, Anton is now the highest rated 11 years-old chess player in the world!
For more achievements by Club members this year please visit our Club website and click on “Achievers”.
May I extend to each of you and your families Season’s Greetings and my very best wishes for a safe, happy and chess-successful New Year! May I also extend to those members who have been suffering from health problems best wishes for a speedy return to good health.
Finally, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in the Celebrity Room during the forthcoming Australian Open between 2 and 13 January 2013!
Paul R Glissan