Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Junior competitions coming on strong

(from the Times Colonist newspaper, Sunday, October 12, 1980.)

Junior competitions coming on strong
chess by Ray Kerr
Junior chess is again making its presence felt on Vancouver Island.

And in a big way.

A while back, a small junior tournament in Victoria showed there was still plenty of potential for this type of competition.

And then came the Island zonal chess championship, played in Victoria two weeks ago.

It was to provide two qualifiers for this month's provincial junior championship in Vancouver, in addition to Nanaimo's Tyler Johnson, who had qualified earlier.

As it turned out the Island got an extra qualifier into the provincial final, due to an unexpected threeway tie in the Victoria tournament.

The three players who tied for first place with 4-1 records were Kent Munro, the highest rated competitor in the tournament, Gary Basanta and John Banky, all from Victoria.

Originally, tournament director Lynn Stringer of Victoria was going to hold a special playoff to decide the two qualifiers.

However, when it was discovered there was not enough time, Munro advanced into the final by rating and Basanta and Banky as the two qualifiers from the Island zonal.

You would think then that everybody went home happy.

Hardly, especially the two Johnson brothers - yes, Tyler already in the final, is from the same family.

But brothers Damon and Chris had a fine chance of making it into the final as well, as they led the field in the Victoria tournament with 3 1/2-1/2 scores after four rounds.

The only half-points they lost happened to be through a quick draw against each other.

But in the final round disaster struck for the young brothers.

Munro, who has earlier lost to Damon Johnson, got even with the brothers by defeating Chris and putting him out of the running.

And Gary Basanta, a real dark horse, beat Damon in the final round to pass him and tie for first with Munro.

The first place troika was completed when little known Banky defeated Elisabeth Kneth and vaulted over the Johnson brothers into a three-way tie.

In any case, it was a fine tournament with an excellent turnout of 18 players.

We're staying with junior chess for our Game of the Week and we see Allison Bert of Atlanta defeating Ben Ault in a Georgia tournament. Even though Ault was rated 300 points higher than the 16-year-old girl facing him across the board.

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