James is continuing to fulfil the promise he has shown, and as he approaches the final years of his junior career, he is proving to be one of the top players in Australian chess. Lets hope he can continue his rise in Australian chess, and that we see him playing some long play events at the Melbourne Chess Club.
While James may be more interested in the big weekend event which occurs at the MCC in November (more about that nearer to the event) the current longplay tournament of the MCC is reaching its climax. Last Monday saw the penultimate round and there was a lot of tension on the top boards. After 8 rounds, Ari Dale holds a clear lead of 1 point over a group of 5 players and must be favourite to win the event outright after his draw with Malcolm Pyke on Monday. I didn't see much of this game, but at one point Ari had 2 rooks and a knight for a queen and perhaps a couple of pawns, though Ari's king was a bit exposed. To be honest, I thought Ari was winning, but I could have been completely off the mark. Rad Chmiel played a very solid Catalan against me and try as I might, I never really got anything from the position and the Rad managed to comfortably hold the draw (in fact, he may have been able to go for more at times, but I think he was happy with the half point). On board 3 I thought Laurent Michaille had blundered and lost the game as he expressed himself quite vocally at the conclusion of his game with Justin Penrose. However, the game was a a draw, so things weren't so bad for him! Boards 4 and 5 saw upsets with Anthony Hain and David Lacey beating higher rated opponent's. Anthony looked to be dead against David Beaumont, and even offered a draw himself at one stage, but when the score was put up, the result was a win for Hain. David on the other hand seemed to play a powerful game against Gary Lycett where he had much the better pieces from the opening. So Anthony an David Lacey join Justin Penrose, Malcolm Pyke and myself a full point behind Ari Dale going into the last round.