Round 9 could be interesting. Ben Hague, the only player who can seriously challenge Scott at this stage, has already played all the highest ranked players, but Scott will have to play number 1 seed Anthony Ker tomorrow. This is a tough result to predict, but remember that Scott won their previous encounter in the Julian Mazur Memorial tournament only a little over a month ago. If Scott can win again this time then victory in the championship is surely in sight.
Mike Steadman and Ewen Green played an 18 move draw, so now Ben Hague has second place all to himself.
Leading scores are
Scott Wastney 7/8
Ben Hague 6/8
Ewen Green 5.5/8
Mike Steadman, Bob Smith 5/8
Here are a couple of games from round 8. Mark van der Hoorn appeared to be in trouble to start with against Athula Russell, but turned the tables and finished the game off very attractively
The Major Open is also very interesting. Just as it seemed that the young Australian Max Chew Lee was going to run away with it, he was stopped in his tracks by the number 2 seed Edward Rains. Now they are level pegging on 6.5/8 with 3 rounds to go
It's a very encouraging sign for the future of chess in our region that the top 5 players in the Major Open (by tiebreak) are all juniors.
Max Chew Lee, Edward Rains 6.5/8
Jack James 6/8
Layla Timergazi, Timothy Rains, Ross Jackson, David Paul, Simon Lyall 5.5/8