Check mates compete at Australian National University Chess Open
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Check mates compete at Australian National University Chess Open

Canberra's chess queens and kings battled it out at the Australian National University Chess Open at the weekend, marking the competition's 25th anniversary in style.

ACT Labor backbencher Michael Pettersson became the first politician to take part in the event, but Canberran Fred Litchfield was declared the overall winner on Sunday after scoring six points from seven games.

Labor MLA Michael Pettersson taking on 7-year-old Garran primary school student Hannah Ni on Sunday.

Labor MLA Michael Pettersson taking on 7-year-old Garran primary school student Hannah Ni on Sunday.Credit:Rohan Thomson

More than 40 players joined the competition at the ANU School of Art, played across seven rounds, with players given 60 minutes per game and 10 seconds per move.

Mr Litchfield defeated international master Andrew Brown in the sixth round, before drawing his final game against womens' international master Emma Guo.

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Ruofan Xu during the ANU Open Chess Tornament on Sunday.

Ruofan Xu during the ANU Open Chess Tornament on Sunday.Credit:Rohan Thomson

The competition's minor event ended in a tie for first place between John Adams and Ruofan Xu, a junior player from Canberra.

Mr Pettersson, the Yerrabi MLA, bounced back from a hard fought loss in round five, recovering quickly to score a strong win in round six.

Oladoyan Fasakin and Dillon Hathiramani were considered standout players on the first day.

Mr Adams, returning to competitive chess after a break of 15 years was the surprise leader on Saturday, with four points from four games.

Fred Litchfield during the competition.

Fred Litchfield during the competition.Credit:Rohan Thomson

The participation of the former economic adviser to Industry, Innovation and Science Minister, Arthur Sinodinos, was dubbed a bipartisan effort to promote chess in the ACT.

Previous winners of tournament have included many of Australia's top players, with grandmaster Ian Rogers winning event a record 10 times.

ACT Chess Association president Cam Cunningham said Mr Pettersson's was thought to be the first state, territory or federal politician to have competed in an official tournament in recent chess history.

"It is a positive development in the history of Australian chess to have the first ever sitting member of the Legislative Assembly in ACT history to compete in an officially sanctioned Australian chess tournament.

"The ACT Chess Association welcomes Michael's decision to compete in the tournament and his ongoing support and advocacy for chess.

"Chess has a very rich and strong history in Canberra, particularly over the past three decades, with many schools encouraging their children to actively learn and compete in chess. Michael as a keen school student competitor is a product of Canberra's rich junior chess culture.

"The ACT Chess Association is committed to working with all interested parties to advance chess in the ACT both as an educational and social activity as well as a competitive sport," he said.

A software countback later determined Mr Adams to be the winner of the open minor tournament.