Monday, December 22, 2014

Chess Christmas Cheer


Look what I spotted in Sydney's Pitt St yesterday. When I saw the chess boards, my first thought was that Pablo Williams, The Jamaican Champion, must have expanded his operations! You can usually see him here this time of year. But, nope; no Pablo. This bloke who's hosting the simul is, in fact, none other than Sydney local Jason Chan.




Monday, November 24, 2014

Chess on The iPad

I don't get much chess action myself these days, at least not over the board. But I still follow the top events closely. Thanks to Apple, I can do this, last night's World Championship game that ended it all for Vishy ("screwed"). That is my iPad tethered to my iPhone. And in case you're wondering, the red is a not too shabby Chilean merlot.

When I tweeted this last night, a couple of folks asked me what the app is. It is Playchess for the iOS, which is not too bad. I like the game board. But I think the Chess24 app is way better overall. Chess24's game board is not to my liking but you get access to their video coverage and the app is free!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Vishy Anand Is Screwed


Boom! Just like that, Magnus Carlsen goes one up against Anand in their ongoing combat for the World Chess Championships. And it is only game two. Last year, it took until game five before we saw a decisive result. Honestly, why do we even bother?

Early this morning on Twitter I was amused to see a number of experts - GMs, journos and even an ex-World Champion herself - offer suggestions to the Anand camp. That perhaps Vishy should re-strategise and get a shrink. GM Jonathan Tisdall suggests that the Indian should play like, well, Vishy; that is, the younger, fearless Vishy. Play the Sicilian, tweets Tisdall. Mark Crowther, of TWIC, reckons it is time for plan B. But what that is supposed to be is unclear.

Without being disrespectful of the man, the fact is Anand is simply outclassed. This, my friends, is the bottom line. The Norwegian is too good. GM Nigel Short said it best: Anand is basically screwed.

So I say, save yourselves some late nights and get some sleep. Nothing to see here folks.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Guardiola on Chess


Former Barcelona football club coach Pep Guardiola had this to say about chess:

The process of picking a line-up is a bit like sitting in front of your chess pieces. You’ve no idea how similar the two things are.

You can read more about his observations on chess here

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

End of Chess in New York Times?


Is it really the end of the chess column in the New York Times? Many people certainly thought so when this appeared at the foot of the 11 October edition.

Then again, perhaps not.

As quoted by Poynter, a spokesperson for the NYT said, "We are considering eliminating the chess column in order to keep freelance costs in line. A final decision for the column (on all platforms) has not been made yet.”

However, just to be sure that chess doesn't get the cut from the NYT's pages, you could take the pro-active approach and write to the paper's exec editor. The email addy is executive-editor@nytimes.com.

Monday, October 06, 2014

Evelyn Koshnitsky, 1915-2014


Such is the world today that the first thing I log on to is my social media feed. And one of the first tidbits I read this morning was a status update from a friend with the very sad news that Evelyn Koshnitsky has passed away, aged 99. Actually, it looks like the first news of this is via Kevin Bonham over on ChessChat.

I did not know Mrs Koshnitsky deeply, but I certainly knew of her reputation and the immense good she did for Australian chess over the decades.

Cathy Chua has a brief mention specifically of Evelyn Koshnitsky in an old post:

Evelyn Koshnitsky has made her life’s work the promotion of chess among the young and her special passion has been to get girls to play. First in Sydney and then in Adelaide from the early 1960s when the couple moved there she cajoled, begged and bullied support. Manpower, money, venues – she is an expert at getting what she wants from parents, schools, government, business – whoever might have something of use.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Illingworth GM Hunting in Hungary


UPDATE (16 Sep): Max scored 3.5 from the last 4 rounds of his event. Thus, he not only won that tournament but also gained himself a GM norm!

(Original text below)

International master Max Illingworth, who starred for Australia at the Tromsø Olympiad last month, is extending his European stint in the hunt for another GM norm. And obviously in the process, hopefully, also raise his rating ever closer to that magic 2500.

Max is currently in the First Saturday GM event in Hungary. After 5 rounds there, the Sydneysider is undefeated on 3.5 points. With 4 rounds to go, he'll be desperately needing to double that tally for that prized grandmaster norm. Looking at his upcoming opponents, I must say that his chances are very good, indeed.

Good luck Max!

Monday, September 08, 2014

Carlsen Will Play in Sochi


And it's on!

After days of uncertainty, the World Championship match between Carlsen and Anand is finally set to happen after the defending title holder signed the contract.

No doubt many will be relieved, happy that a potential split in world chess has been averted. On the other hand, FIDE will be quite satisfied by the outcome; they can carry on business-as-usual. Others, particularly the average fan, will just be glad that there is yet another big event to look forward to.

I am, however, slightly disappointed. I was hoping that Carlsen would stick to his guns. I was very curious about what would happen next if he didn't sign. That surely would have made things a lot more interesting.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Japan's First International Master


As far as chess news go this is hardly up there with Caruana's incredible 5/5 at the ongoing Sinquefield Cup, Carlsen possibly losing the world championship title by default or whatever else is happening in the world of chess. But since I am in the country, I might as well mention this little bit of news.

Japan is set to gain its first ever international master - Nanjo Ryosuke. News was broken by FM Shinya Kojima over on his blog. The irony, of course, is that FM Kojima himself was once touted as possibly Japan's first IM!

Obviously, Nanjo-san is not the first ethnic Japanese to achieve the international master title. There is, for example, Australia's Junta Ikeda as well as GM Nakamura who, I think, held the title once, too, before becoming a grandmaster in 2003 (at the time breaking Fischer's record as the youngest American to earn the title).

As they say here, "おめでとう"!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another Split in World Chess?


This is what I like to see, a World Champion who’s prepared to throw his weight around.

Magnus Carlsen is, for now, dragging his feet over the re-match against Anand that is slated for November. The Norwegian and his team have to date not signed the contract papers, queried the suitability of the venue, asked for more prize money and also raised questions about media coverage.

This is good. For if there’s anyone who really ought to do more to, at least, ruffle FIDE’s feathers – it’s the numero uno, the World Champ.

How is the world body supposed to react?

Already there is speculation that if he doesn't front up, Carlsen could be replaced by Karjakin. Of course, that would also mean stripping the Norwegian of his title!

Unlikely scenarios, I think, for what a disaster the situation would be for FIDE itself! First, there will once again be the problem of the FIDE champ's (il)legitimacy; and, second, lost revenues. Who would want to bankroll a match involving an alternate?

I am truly hoping that Carlsen will hold his ground on this one. A media star as big as him need not be FIDE's poodle.

How do you say "up yours" in Norwegian?