Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Carlsen's Heathy Obsession

Reuters UK has a special report on GM Magnus Carlsen.

He brushes aside comparisons with the world's troubled chess geniuses such as Bobby Fisher, a prodigy and champion who became engulfed by chess and detached from the rest of the world.

"Bobby Fischer was obviously one of the greatest chess players of all time -- one of the inventors," Carlsen told Reuters in an interview.

"The difference between him and me, for example, is that he was obsessed with chess in a way that is not healthy and that's a line I don't intend to cross."

Read more in Norwegian teenager to be crowned new chess king.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

FM Dmitry Gedevanishvili

In my post yesterday I included a link to a list of FIDE-rated Australian players. One fellow whose name stood out to me is FIDE master Dmitry Gedevanishvili (or just Gedevani). He's been out of action for a number of years, I think over a decade, yet amazingly there he is - still among the top.

I mention Gedevani because there are a couple of guys at the Town Hall CC who apparently have never of him! And no doubt there are still many more, especially the young guys, who also might have never heard of one of the strongest players in this country.

Well, this much we know: Gedevani has 4 IM norms and, according to Cathy Chua in her book "Australian Chess at the Top", was a former champion of Georgia. Yes, that's the ex-Soviet state of Georgia, not the US version. He came to Australia in 1988.

I used to see him in weekenders as well as big events. In 1995, he participated in the Australian Championships (the one that IM West won). Here's a nice game from that tournament.

1995 Cepacol AUS ch
Gedevani, Dmitry
Dinh Duc Trong

1. Nf3 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. Be2 Nf6 5. Nc3 c6 6. O-O O-O 7. h3 Nbd7 8. Bf4 Qa5 9. Nd2 Qc7 10. a4 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Be3 Rd8 13. Bg4 Nxg4 14. Qxg4 Nf8 15. Qh4 Ne6 16. Nf3 Nd4 17. Nxd4 exd4 18. Bf4 Qd7 19. Rad1 Qe8 20. Bg5 Rd7 21. Ne2 b6 22. Rfe1 Ba6 23. Ng3 c5 24. Nf5

Position after 24. Nf5

24...gxf5 25. exf5 Qc8 26. f6 Bf8 27. Re5 Bb7 28. Rde1 Kh8 29. Bh6 Qc6 30. Rg5 Qxf6 31. Bxf8 Rxf8 32. Rg8+ Kxg8 33. Qxf6 Rd5 34. Re4 Bc8 35. Re7 Bf5 36. Qg5+ Kh8 37. g4 Be6 38. Qf6+ Kg8 39. Rxe6 1-0

As far back as 1970, he fell victim to a certain Tal! Again involving a pesky knight.

1970 GEO-ch
Tal, Mihail
Gedevanishvili, Dmitry

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. Nc3 e6 4. d4 Nxc3 5. bxc3 d6 6. f4 c5 7. Nf3 cxd4 8. cxd4 dxe5 9. fxe5 Bb4+ 10. Bd2 Qa5 11. Bd3 Nc6 12. O-O Bxd2 13. Nxd2 Qc3 14. Rf4 O-O 15. Kh1 Ne7 16. Ne4 Qb2 17. Rb1 Qxa2

Position after 17...Qxa2

18. Nf6+ gxf6 19. Bxh7+ Kh8 20. Rh4 Kg7 21. Qc1 Ng8 22. Bxg8 1-0

So there you have it, just a few tidbits about FM Dmitry Gedevanishvili. Another one who dropped off the scene, sadly a talent lost to our game. I'm sure there are good reasons.

I have no idea where he is today. Last I heard, he was driving taxis around Sydney.

Monday, December 28, 2009

So to Rejoin Top 100

There's big news coming from The Philippines regarding the ascent of GM Wesley So back into the world's top 100 players. Marlon Bernardino reports in Business World:

His sterling performance in this year’s World Chess Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, after beating World no. 12 GM Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in round 2 and last year’s World Chess Cup titlist GM Gata Kamsky of the US in round 3, gained him 15.8 points and he is expected to climb to 2656 when the Jan. 1, 2010 FIDE-RP rating list is formally released in a few days. He currently has an Elo rating of 2640. His best Elo rating is 2646 in July 2009 then lost two Elo in September 2009 (2644) and four Elo in November 2009 (2640).

Of course, the Australians don't have anyone with the firepower of Wesley So. The Aussie top dog is only a distant 2572. He can still play, but he ain't going anywhere near Corus anytime soon.

In next month's Corus event, grandmaster So steps up from Group C to Group B.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tourns on the Cheap

Over on Australia's number one chess bulletin board, user "michael.mcguirk" posted the following question: "How do YOU get accommodation when you go to a chess tournament?"

Well, he could just follow the example of some backpackers: buy a campervan and pretty much park and sleep anywhere. There's just one issue:

Residents in Wolseley Road, Coogee, open their curtains each morning to million-dollar ocean views across to Wedding Cake Island. But with the warmer weather a convoy of campervans has arrived.

One homeowner, Lee, said: "It has become a problem. I'm presently looking at five campervans parked in front of my place. I'd rather them not be there but, because we are smack-bang beside the ocean and there are no parking restrictions, they flock here."

He said confrontations had erupted in the street. "There was a group that would go down to Coogee, get on the booze all night and then return here to have a few more.

That's from today's SMH.

Another option is basically to "couch surf". In fact, there's even a website dedicated to the whole business. Check out Female readers, though, should probably take extra precaution by travelling in pairs or more.

One likely down side to couch surfing is that some couches may not be available for the entire stretch of a weekender, let alone a whole week (if you're playing in a big event like the SIO). You may need to arrange multiple couches.

For those with a little bit more dough but still want to realise some savings, I recommend a try of "Secret Hotels".

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Time on Magnus

Time magazine has a Q&A session with super GM Magnus Carlsen:

Your coach, former world champion Garry Kasparov, says your strength is not calculation, but rather your ability to intuit the right moves, even if their ultimate purpose is not clear. Is that right?

I'm good at sensing the nature of the position and where I should put my pieces. You have to choose the move that feels right sometimes; that's what intuition is. It's very hard to explain.

Read more in Magnus Carlsen: The 19-Year-Old King of Chess.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Japan Chess Association

I received a rather nice Christmas message from Canberra's Bill Egan yesterday who sent in his congrats about my upcoming move to Tokyo. I just hope that he's right: that my three years there would be interesting chess-wise. But I don't know about his suggestion of me becoming a big fish in Tokyo (as opposed to being a small fish here). After all, and I've just checked the FIDE ratings list, Japan does have a few master strength players.

Their current number one is FM Yoshiharu Habu, rated 2404, followed by two other FMs, Loren Schmidt and Akira Watanabe. Not exactly mugs.

The first thing to do, however, is to pick up some Japanese lingo skills quickly or at least find myself a translator just to get around the JCA's pretty comprehensive website. From what I can tell, the site is updated frequently and has most info one could possibly need. This page, for instance, appears to have a list of clubs, though I can't find one anywhere near central Tokyo itself.

In case you want to check out Japanese chess, then see this page from a recent tournament.

And by the way, speaking of Bill Egan, the signature down the bottom of his emails reminded me of a couple of things. First, his book on jazz singer Florence Mills. I thought that this was only recently published. But, in fact, the book came out a number of years ago now. I haven't read the book myself, so you'll have to read others' reviews here, including a brief recording by NPR. There's also a short Q&A here with the author himself.

Secondly, I'm reminded of another book that Bill is supposed to be writing! It's one about the history of the Doeberl Cup (which he "abandoned in favour of the Florence Mills book"). I just hope he'll finish the thing by the time I'm back in this country. C'mon Bill!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Christmas All

The BBC wonders about how common a white Christmas is in the United Kingdom. Well, it just so happens that around about the same time in 1970, it snowed during the famous Hastings Congress. In fact, they have the picture to prove it.

Picture courtesy of Getty Images

Anyway, on that note, I hope you, dear readers, will have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. It's been another fun year in 2009. And to all those participating in the upcoming Aussie Chess Championships: Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My First Tourney Game

Last Sunday, in prep for my move to Japan, I spent some good time packing away stuff, archiving personal items and deciding what bits to keep and what to discard. In the process I also rediscovered a number of long forgotten, but still memorable belongings - like my old cassette tapes. Cassette tapes!

But of even older vintage were a couple of my old records. Yep, it turns out that I actually own records. Among a pile of New in Chess magazines, I stumbled across Jimmi Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic" and Nina Simone's "Little Girl Blue". Good stuff, actually.

And then there were my scoresheets, in the hundreds. They brought back memories. Like this first ever game that I played in a tournament.

1996 NSWCA Queen's B-day we
The Closet Grandmaster
Tidswell, Duncan

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3 c5 8. Be2 Nc6 9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O Bg4 11. d5 Ne5 12. Nxe5 Bxe2 13. Qxe2 Bxe5 14. Rac1 Qa5 15. c4 Rac8 16. f4 Bg7 17. f5 Qc7 18. Bf4 Be5 19. Bxe5 Qxe5 20. Rf3 Rfd8 21. Rcf1 b5 22. fxg6 fxg6 23. Rf7 Qd4+ 24. Kh1 Rf8 25. Qf3 Rfe8 26. Qh3 Qh8 27. Qe6 1-0

That one was played back in the days when tournament chess in Sydney used to be held right near the CBD. The venue then was in front of St Mary's Cathedral, what is today the Cook and Phillip Park. I miss those days.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jones for Aussie Champs

The upcoming Australian Chess Championships is going to be an exciting one. The field now features no less than three grandmasters - locals Zhao and Johansen as well as the Englishman Gawain Jones. Also fronting up will be IMs Solo, Lane and Wohl, themselves ex-winners of the title (one each), plus the highly ambitious IM Xie.

If I had to pick a winner, though, there's only one obvious name. I know it's a kind of treasonous thing to say, but I've got a couple of hundred yen on Jones to outpoint the rest of 'em. The man will be too good. In the majors section, the recent PhD recipient Jason Chan is my pick. He's been in training over the last couple of weeks and he's looking red hot. My yen's on Dr Chan.

One more thing.

In case you still don't know how to get to the venue, just look at this map.

View Larger Map

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chess Through a Leica

As we again find ourselves in the summer season, almost each day is a perfect day to stay out in the park for a few, actually many, games of blitz. I imagine that it was a summer day back in '69 when Aussie photog Roger Scott snapped this photo. Last weekend, I snapped my own version.

There's more about Roger Scott here. His book, "From the Street", is very good and I recommend it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Earth vs Space Chess Match

It's a winto Earth.

Photo courtesy of NASA

State of Chess in Israel

As we all now know, of course, Israeli grandmaster Boris Gelfand won the World Cup. He defeated Pono with 7 points to five in the finals. As one might expect, the result made its way to the mainstream papers in Israel.

While Israel may possess one of the world's best players and a strong national side, you would think that chess gets some serious government backing. Actually, just like in Australia, it doesn't. And two writers lament this fact.

First, Eli Shvidler:
"The budget of the Israel Chess Federation doesn't exceed NIS 2 million," said federation director Yigal Lotan in a voice that seemed to betray a bit of embarrassment. He said the state's funding doesn't amount to a portion of the salary of an average player in Israeli soccer's Premier League. Without support from the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, the chess scene here would have become truly catastrophic, he added.
Secondly, Eitan Bekerman, who wonders why chess is pushed to the sidelines:
The answer might lie, paradoxically, in the fact that chess is considered a "Jews' sport." The list of male and female Jewish champions may be as long as your arm, but our Sabra, the New Jew, is better off excelling at surfing, mastering a bow and arrow like the Maccabees, shooting a rifle, or kicking a ball. What do we have to do with Boris, a bespectacled Russian Jew untouched by the Mediterranean sun? Give us a Gal or Shahar or Yael or Arik.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chess From the Outside

I found this surprisingly refreshing. A top level chess tournament from an outsider's point of view.

Carlsen squirmed in his seat. On the stage alongside him, three other games were also in progress. He turned his head to examine the big screen backdrop, which mapped out the progress of all four matches in real time. He slouched, wagged his foot, sipped his drink, toyed with his cuff again, and then got up and walked up and down the row of tables, staring over the shoulders of his rival players to examine their matches.

Ten minutes ticked by before Carlsen exited stage left. Fifteen passed, and he returned stage right. Howell has still not moved.

Chess is not a great spectator sport.

Read more in "A half-hour's inaction and wagging feet – chess is a world beyond my grasp".

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Caoili Wins Womens Invitational

Australia's WIM Arianne Caoili finished outright first in the London Chess Classic Women's Invitational with an emphatic 8 points from nine games. Her nearest rival and the only player to steal a full point was IM Susan Lalic who ended the tournament with 6 points.

For Caoili, it was yet another successful campaign after her win in the women's Oceania Zonal earlier this year. And for the Aussie selectors, the only question that matters now is who will fill boards 2 to four in the next women's Olympiad team.

London Classic - Womens Invitational
Ikonomopoulou, Maria
Caoili, Arianne

1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. Rb1 e5 9. d5 Ne7 10. b4 h6 11. Ba3 g5 12. c5 f4 13. Nd2 fxg3 14. hxg3 Ng4 15. Bf3 Qe8 16. Kg2 Qh5 17. Rh1 Qf7 18. Nde4 Ne3+ 19. fxe3 g4 20. cxd6 Nf5 21. Bc1 gxf3+ 22. exf3 cxd6 23. Qe2 Bd7 24. b5 Qg6 25. g4 h5 both players were now down to their last half-minute 26. Rxh5 Nh6 27. Rg5 Qh7 28. Bd2 Nf7 29. Rh5 Qg6 30. Rbh1 Rac8 31. Nd1 Rc2 32. Ndf2 Rxa2 33. Nd3 Bxb5 34. Nc3 Qxd3 35. Qf2 Rb2 36. Kg3 a6 37. Kh4 time, but black was clearly winning anyway 0-1

In the main event, GM Magnus Carlsen was victorious finishing with 13 points ("football scoring system" in case you're wondering), while Kramnik secured second place with 12.

Last round. Photo courtesy of John Saunders

Chessvibes has a vid interview with the winner here. And by the way, a mate of mine keeps telling me that Carlsen once called Kasparov an idiot.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Law Firm Sponsors Juniors

Just a few hours after my last post featuring GM Ian Rogers, I receive a press release from the man. It's very exciting news for junior chess. I'm just going to cut and copy the whole thing here.

Australian junior chess, already feting their first World Champion in Melbourne’s Bobby Cheng, has a new reason to celebrate with the signing of a new sponsor for the national chess Junior Elite Training Squad, JETS.

The JETS squad, founded in 2000, features 30 of the best junior players from around Australia, with an emphasis on developing the skills of young talents of 14 years or less. Johns-Putra Limited has agreed to fully fund the 2010 JETS squad, including the national camp in Sydney in July.

Managing Director of Johns-Putra Limited, Geraldine Johns-Putra expressed her pleasure at the agreement struck with the Australian Junior Chess League, the organiser of the JETS squad; “As someone who has benefited tremendously from chess as a junior, I feel privileged to be in a position to do something for Australian juniors today. Many of the opportunities I gained through chess would not have been possible without the support of individuals who donated time and money. I wish all of the juniors in the JETS squad the best and hope that they learn and grow as much as they can from this wonderful initiative. "

Johns-Putra Limited is a London-based boutique legal consulting practice focussing on cross-border China mergers and acquisitions. Its mission is to help clients build bridges between China and the West and to secure success across cultures. It is committed to advancing cross-cultural business in China and is one of the few boutique legal consulting practices in cross-border corporate transactions in China.

The Australian Junior Chess League is dedicated to organising and promoting chess among young people around Australia. In January the AJCL will be backing the Australian Junior Championships in Hobart and later in 2010 will select players to represent Australia at the Asian and World Junior Championships.

For more information, please contact Geraldine Johns-Putra, on +44 (0)20 7286 7664 or at, or Ian Rogers, Deputy President AJCL, on +61 (0)416599230 or .

I think the first time I saw Geraldine, although we never formally met, was way back in the 1995-'96 Aussie Championships. It's that one that IM Guy West won. Now if you don't know her, she, of course, was once a regular competitor. Here's a sampler.

1999 Oceania zt (Women)
Johns Putra, Geraldine
Lip, Catherine

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bc4 e6 6. f5 Nge7 7. fxe6 fxe6 8. O-O O-O 9. d3 d5 10. Bb3 a6 11. Bg5 Qd7 12. a4 b6 13. Qd2 Bb7 14. Bh6 Nd4 15. Nxd4 Bxd4+ 16. Kh1 Bg7 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. Qg5 Qd6 19. Rae1 Rae8 20. exd5 Rxf1+ 21. Rxf1 exd5 22. Ne4 Qe6 23. Nf6 Rf8 24. Nh5+ Kg8 25. Rxf8+ Kxf8 26. Qh6+ Ke8 27. Ng7+ 1-0

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rogers on London Classic

GM Ian Rogers looks to be doing a coverage of the London Chess Classic for the USCF magazine, Chess Life Online. It's all a bit thin at the moment, but hopefully there'll be more in the next few days.

Ni Hua - Carlsen, 0-1. Photo courtesy of John Saunders

And speaking of GM Rogers, I just read my mate Shaun Press' latest post over on his blog. Umm...looks like a good opening this 1. c3. So, in the midst of writing this post, I head over to ICC and give it a try.

ICC 1 0 (Yes, it's only bullet)
The Closet GM

1. c3 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Qc2 Nc6 4. d4 Nf6 5. Bg5 Bd6 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. e4 h6 8. Bh4 dxe4 9. Nxe4 Be7 10. Nxf6+ Bxf6 11. Bg3 Bd7 12. Bd3 e5 13. d5 Ne7 14. c4 Ng6 15. Bxg6 fxg6 16. Qxg6 e4 17. Nd2 Qe7 18. O-O e3 19. Nf3 Rae8 20. fxe3 Qxe3+ 21. Bf2 Qe2 22. Rab1 Qxc4 23. Rfc1 Qd3 24. Qxd3 Bf5 25. Qxf5 Re7 26. Re1 Rfe8 27. Rxe7 Rxe7 28. Re1 Rxe1+ 29. Bxe1 Kf7 30. Bc3 a6 31. Nh4 Ke7 32. Qe6+ Kd8 33. Bxf6+ gxf6 34. Qxf6+ Kd7 35. Nf5 c6 36. Qd6+ Ke8 37. Qe7# Black checkmated 1-0

Cool opening!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chess by the Roadside

I stumbled across this photo on Flickr. It's a street scene somewhere in RP, although it's not exactly clear from the photographer where in The Philippines it is. Can you solve the puzzle?

In case you need reminding of how the pieces work or their relative values, then this article might help!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Carlsen Leads London

Kudos to GM David Howell. In his round 3 game of the London Chess Classic, the Englishman held Magnus Carlsen to a draw. But not without a little oversight from the super grandmaster Norwegian.

After Howell's 52. Nf5, Magnus could grabbed victory with 52...Ra2+.

But the game continued: 52...Rd7 53. Rh8+ Kf7 54. Kg3 Rb3 55. Kf4 Rb1 56. Kxe4 Rf1 57. Rh7+ Ke6 58. Rh8 Rc7 59. Nd4+ Kd6 60. Rd8+ Rd7 61. Rc8 Rg7 62. Rd8+ Rd7 63. Rc8 Re7+ 64. Kd3 Rc7 65. Rd8+ Rd7 66. Rg8 Rg1 67. Ke2 Kc5 68. Kf2 Rb1 69. Rf8 Rd6 70. Rf7 Rb2+ 71. Kf3 Ra2 72. Ke4 Kb6 73. Rf8 Rg2 74. Kf3 Rh2 75. Rb8+ Kc7 76. Ra8 Kb7 77. Rf8 Rh7 78. Kf4 Rh1 79. Kf3 1/2-1/2

And this from John Saunders' press release:
As the players signed their scoresheets, Malcolm Pein took upon himself the lugubrious duty of informing the world number one what he had missed at move 52. Magnus took it pretty well, on the whole – a pained expression briefly crossed his face, and sotto voce he uttered the comment “that’s a bit embarrassing”. It broke his streak but he will come back refreshed after the rest day (Friday 11th). The last word must be for David Howell – he showed true grit to defend a horrendous position through two time scrambles. OK, ‘England’ lost the four-game ‘match’ by the odd point to the ‘Rest of the World’ but I think David’s performance on its own deserves the singing of a few choruses of the country’s favourite footie chant. Altogether now, everyone, there’s only word to learn: "Eng-er-land!, Eng-er-land!, Eng-er-land!..."

Meanwhile, Caoili still leads the Women's Invitational by a full point, on 4/5, despite her expected setback against IM Susan Lalic. The good thing is that games from the women's are now available and can be viewed here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy 40th, Vishy

Today is a special day for Indian super star GM Vishy Anand. He turns 40. Thanks to Rediff for the tip.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kasparov Has Hairy Back

With an estimated population of about 3.25 million people, Armenia is a small country. In chessic terms, however, the Armenians are a powerhouse. Exactly how did this small nation come to achieve such distinction?

That's the question that David Edmonds seeks to answer in his article for Prospect magazine last month. Now I could have quoted any number of more relevant passages, but I really cannot help myself and must quote this:

The long-time world champion and now political activist Garry Kasparov was born Garry Weinstein, but his mother was Armenian. Levon Aronian has an Armenian mother and a Jewish father too. With those genes, he said mischievously during a break in the competition, “my genius was guaranteed.” He was eating supper in the dingy dungeon dining hall along with Arianne Caoili, a rare female player who accompanied Aronian to the tournament. “But you have two advantages over Kasparov,” said Caoili. “You speak better English, and your back is less hairy.” Three years ago, when Armenia won the gold medal at the chess Olympiad for the first time, Caoili briefly and inadvertently helped propel the game into the mainstream news. The brainy, beautiful Filipino-Australian, a master-strength player, was dancing with Aronian when an English GM, Danny Gormally, became jealous and punched him. Another Armenian took umbrage at this assault on his nation’s idol and later thumped Gormally back. Typically, Aronian proved the more astute tactician; he and Caoili are now together.
Which naturally begs the question: how does our beautiful Ari know the hairiness of Garry Kasparov's back?

The entire article, "The lion and the tiger", can be read here. There is also an accompanying photo essay by one of my favourite photogs, no less than Magnum photographer, Stuart Franklin.

Some of our non-Pinoy readers may wonder about Aronian's attire in the photos. That is a Barong Tagalog, a traditional formal wear for Filipino men.

Caoili Posts Second Win

WIM Arianne Caoili posted her second straight win yesterday, going up to 2/2, after beating WFM Maria Yurenok in the Women's Invitational section of the ongoing London Chess Classic event.

WIM Arianne Caoili. Photo courtesy of John Saunders

For Caoili, currently the top ranked Australian woman, the event should serve as a good workout (probably one of many she'll enter) leading up all the way to next year's Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Her biggest challenge in London is likely to be IM Susan Lalic.

Unfortunately, it looks like all the resources for the event are focused on the main classic, hence PGNs from the women are not available. Hopefully, that will soon be corrected.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Not Short of Moves

I could be mistaken but the McShane - Short game in the first round of the London Chess Classic might just be the longest top level game this year. The whole contest lasted 163 moves! In the end, the younger McShane emerged the winner after he finally managed to outflank Short and successfully exploited his pawn advantage.

Chess Classic
McShane, L.
Short, N.

The following position arose after Short's 119...Nf8.

McShane now continues with 120. Kd3 Nd7 121. Kc2 Nf8 122. Be1 Nd7 123. Bg3 Nf8 124. Kb2 Nd7 125. Ka3 Ba5 126. Ne7+ Kb6 127. Bd6 Ka6 128. Nd5 Bd8 129. Bg3 Ba5 130. Ka4 Bd2 131. Bc7 Bc1 132. Bd8 Bb2 133. b4 Bd4 134. b5+ Kb7 135. Kb3 Be5 136. Kc2 Bd4 137. Kb3 Be5 138. Be7 Bd4 139. Bd6 Bf2 140. Kc2 Ka7 141. Kd3 Kb7 142. Ke4 Bd4 143. Be7 Be5 144. Ne3 Bf4 145. Ng2 Bg3 146. Kd5 Bf2 147. Ke6 Ne5 148. Bxf6 Nxc4 149. Bxg5 Na3 150. f6 Bd4 151. f7 Bg7 152. Bf6 Bf8 153. Be7 Bg7 154. Bxc5 Nxb5 155. f8=Q Nc7+ 156. Kf7 Bxf8 157. Bxf8 Kc6 158. Nf4 Kd7 159. g5 Nb5 160. g6 Nd4 161. g7 Nf5 162. g8=Q Nh6+ 163. Bxh6 1-0

Of course, the big news from the event is the much-awaited encounter between Carlsen and Kramnik. Carlsen, playing the white side of an English, won that one with seeming ease.

In the women's section, WIM Arianne Caoili is also off to an excellent start by beating WFM Olivia Smith.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Carlsen Wins Opener

Well, sort of. Before the actual hostilities with his fellow super grandmasters, GM Magnus Carlsen sat down to a friendly with a local English player, Stephen Moss. This game was played just prior to the opening day's press conference.

My thanks to John Saunders, chief press officer of the LCC, for sending me this along with a bunch of photos (one of which can be seen below).

Moss, Stephen
Carlsen, Magnus

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. d4 cxd4 6. cxd4 d6 7. Bb5+ Bd7 8. Bxd7+ Qxd7 9. O-O Nc6 10. Nc3 Nxc3 11. bxc3 Rc8 12. Ba3 dxe5 13. Bxf8 Rxf8 14. Qb1 "Imaginative", according to John's annotations and for which Magnus was apparently complementary. 14...exd4 15. cxd4 g6 16. d5 exd5 17. Qb2 f6 18. Rfe1+ Kf7 19. Nd4 Rfe8 20. Qd2 Nxd4 21. Qxd4 b6 22. Red1 Rc5 23. Rd3 Qc7 24. Rad1 Re4 25. Qa1 Qe5 26. Qxe5 fxe5 27 Rxd5 Rxd5 28. Rxd5 0-1 Saunders: "I think Stephen may have actually resigned some time after the rook left d1 and arrived on d5, as he suddenly noticed the 'down train' which is on its way to the 'terminus' on e1."

Moss - Carlsen, 0-1Moss - Carlsen, 0-1

Short: Chessers Shoot Themselves

On the eve of the strongest tournament in London, an event that will attract hundreds of thousands, Jonathan Clegg considers why chess has so far failed to attract the big dollars. He quotes Nigel Short:

Chess has simply failed to tap into its enormous potential: We have too many people shooting ourselves in the foot, or in the head if you like, and we're not enough progressive enough as a sport," says Nigel Short, a former world championship challenger and current British No. 1.

He blames the International Chess Federation, known by its French acronym FIDE, for failing to leverage the sport's enormous global reach. With 158 member nations, FIDE is the second largest world-wide sporting organization after FIFA, the governing body of world football.

From the WSJ's, "Chess Wants Sponsors as Mates".

Note that, as I posted last week, WIM Arianne Caoili will also be playing in the Women's Invitational.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Ang on So vs Ivanchuk

Bobby Ang's column today in the Philippines' Business World paper features the recent mini-match between GM Wesley So and super GM Vassily Ivanchuk. Hurry before this goes into the archives.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Young Talent Time

The Norwegians have Magnus, while Filipinos have Wesley So. Of course, the latter isn't quite in Magnus' league (maybe not yet), but both have certainly stirred excitement aplenty in each others' homelands.

After his powerful performance in the World Cup, GM Wesley So returns to a hero's welcome in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, writing for the UK's Telegraph paper, Max Davidson has this interesting quote by Magnus' father, Henrik Carlsen: "Boys are very good at focusing their attention on one thing at a time...Girls are better at multitasking. I would not say Magnus is naturally hard-working. In fact, he can be quite lazy at times. But when he is following his intuition and curiosity, there is no stopping him."

Read more in Magnus Carlsen: the rise and rise of chess's answer to Mozart.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Heading Back to Tokyo

Well it's just been announced at work, so I suppose I can now also say it here.

As a matter of fact, the reason for my recent trip to Tokyo was to recce the place. To orientate myself with the city, to find apartments and meet my new colleagues. Yes, that's right: I'm moving to Tokyo for work.

In January I'll be packing my bags, head off to the Japanese capital and begin a 3-year stint as an expat. Thus, very sadly, I'll be MIA from the upcoming Australian Championships as well as from the couple of biggies that I normally attend - SIO and Doeberl.

What does all this mean for the TCG blog, you ask. Very little, except for the fact that I'll be doing my blogging from Tokyo. After all I do most of this now 'remotely'.

As soon as I arrive in Tokyo, probably one of the first things I'll do is to find out where the local chessers hang out. If none exists, well, I'll just have to set one up! Also, I plan to meet up with a certain Miyoko Watai - Fischer's wife. I understand that she's the head of the Japan Chess Association. That should be an interesting meet-up.

So, it's not goodbye yet. But that's my big news for the day.

So Set to Join Elite

His run was always going to come to an end sooner or later in the World Cup. Pinoy talent GM Wesley So was stopped in the rapid game phase by GM Vladimir Malakhov. The Russian was too good. However, So can at least return to RP knowing that his rating edges ever closer to that magic 2700!

Even The Freeman newspaper in the province of Cebu (where I come from) is getting all excited with their headline, "RP chess prodigy Wesley So steps closer to Super Grandmaster norm".

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

London Chess Classic 2009

Top level chess is set to return to the city of London. And I only wish that I could be there.

From 8 - 15 December this year the 1st London Chess Classic tournament will be held at the Olympia Conference Centre in London. As the website says, this event "will be the first in a series of events designed to reinvigorate UK chess and promote the game and its undoubted educational benefits in schools and communities."

The top section will feature no less than the likes of Carlsen, Kramnik and Naka. But there will also be supporting events including a Women's Invitational. WIM Arianne Caoili is currently slated to play in that event. With a super GM for a support crew, I reckon she'll be the one to beat!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Parr and Sandler Win Elections

Why did the NSWCA have its AGM out in the middle of nowhere in Rooty Hill? Could it be because they like to stop as many people attending and ensure that only friends turn up? Who knows?

But the far distance certainly didn't stop regular ACF and NSWCA critic Peter Parr from getting himself voted in as next year's NSWCA boss. He did so, according to Aussie chess big wig Brian Jones, by bringing along a number of his loyal mates and signing them up as members on the day of the AGM. This is amazing stuff. That's democracy for ya - New South Wales style.

Meanwhile, down south in Victoria, the chess businessman David Cordover, who talks like a Harvard MBA and Anthony Robbins in one, failed in his bid to become Chess Victoria president. The huff and puff of his much hyped PR campaign turned out to be pointless. What probably didn't help his cause were some unexpected salvos from up north across the border!

So, congrats to my mate IM Leonid Sandler for bagging the presidency and to GM Daryl Johansen the veep position. As to what these guys have in mind for 2010, well, that's for our southern friends to worry about.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kamsky Goes Home

Last night GM So sent another superstar, this time Kamsky, back to the comforts of home. It's quite evident that one reason for their demise at the hands of Wesley So is that they've simply underestimated the young Filipino.

Kamsky on his defeat: "Everything is clear: my opponent was better prepared and I was always choosing the wrong openings. In the first game I played recklessly and got a problematic position. I thought I could manage to beat this fellow on class. But he turned out to be very serious chess player."

In a must-win situation, the American managed just a draw. With that, So proceeds to the next phase of the World Cup.

World Cup 2009
So, Wesley
Kamsky, Gata

1. c4 f5 2. d4 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. Nc3 O-O 6. Nf3 d6 7. O-O Qe8 8. Re1 e5 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. e4 f4 11. gxf4 Bg4 12. Nd5 Na6 13. Nxf6+ Bxf6 14. Qd5+ Be6 15. Qxb7 Nc5 16. Qb5 Nd3 17. Qxe8 Raxe8 18. Rd1 Nxf4 19. Bxf4 exf4 20. e5 Bg7 21. Nd4 Kh8 22. Bc6 Re7 23. Bd5 Bh3 24. Rd3 Rxe5 25. Rxh3 Rg5+ 26. Kf1 Bxd4 27. Re1 Bc5 28. Re6 Bd6 29. Rb3 Rh5 30. h3 Kg7 31. Rb7 Kh6 32. Bf3 Rxh3 33. Kg2 Rh4 34. Rb5 Rf7 35. Rd5 Bf8 36. c5 Bg7 37. b4 Bc3 38. a3 Bb2 39. Ra6 Re7 40. Rxa7 Re1 41. Rd1 Rxd1 42. Bxd1 1/2-1/2

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ivanchuk Sulks

Meanwhile, GM Ivanchuk cries like a baby. Chessbase quotes him: "To my mind I should leave professional chess now. Chess will become hobby for me from now on. As for the signed contracts, yes, I will play in all tournaments which I have to. Perhaps I will even participate in a tournament before the new year. I should win something! And that will be the end. No serious plans, no professional goals."

He's still one my fave players around, but Jeez, man up man. This is just hopeless. So you lost to some kid who, by the way, is not so unknown.

Now you know! It's Wesley So.

Kamsky - So, 0-1

Yesterday's talk among the Pinoys in Town Hall was, of course, none other than Wesley So. He might never be as rich as another of our other heroes, Manny Pacquiao, but Wesley already deserves to be as equally venerated, I think. Whatever happens now in the ongoing World Cup, the young Pinoy's accomplishments are just wonderful and amazing.

Last night I left his game against American powerhouse super GM Gata Kamsky after 24...f6 and thought, well, this should at least be a draw, although according to my engines he had a slight plus. I wake up this morning and it's, it's, yes, Wesley won!

World Cup 2009
Kamsky, Gata
So, Wesley

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 Qb6 8. a3 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Bc5 10. Na4 Qa5+ 11. c3 Bxd4 12. Bxd4 Nxd4 13. Qxd4 b6 14. Be2 Ba6 15. Bd1 Qb5 16. b4 Rc8 17. Nb2 Qc6 18. Rc1 O-O 19. a4 Bc4 20. Bg4 Bb3 21. O-O Bxa4 22. f5 Bb5 23. Rfe1 Rfe8 24. Re3

Position after 24. Re3

24...f6 25. fxe6 Nxe5 26. Bf5 g6 27. Bh3 Qd6 28. Rd1 Rcd8 29. Rd2 Qe7 30. Rf2 Nc6 31. Qd2 d4 32. Re4 dxc3 33. Qxc3 Rf8 34. g4 Rd6 35. Bg2 Ne5 36. g5 Rxe6 37. gxf6 Rfxf6 38. Rxf6 Qxf6 39. Re3 Bc6 40. Nd1 Qg5 41. Rg3 Qf4 42. Nf2 Bxg2 43. Kxg2 Nc4 44. Qd3 Ne3+ 45. Kg1 Nf5 46. Qd5 Qc1+ 47. Nd1 Kf7 48. Rc3 Qg5+ 49. Kf2 Qf4+ 50. Kg2 Qg4+ 51. Kf2 Qe2+ 52. Kg1 Qe1+ 53. Kg2 Kg7 0-1

In this interview on the official site, Wesley is quoted as saying, "I am 16 and the greatest achievement for me so far is the second place in one tournament with average rating about 2700. At the moment my rating is 2640. I dream that sooner or later I will come to the magical point 2700. I don't know how much time I will need for that."

Oh, he'll get there. No doubt about it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Where's the NSWCA AGM?

According to the NSWCA website, the AGM and the state lightning championships will be held tomorrow. Unlike the Victorian AGM, the NSWCA version looks to be a fairly boring affair this year. Probably the only gossip I can share that is midly interesting is that Peter Parr may attempt another try at forming some sort of ticket. I got that from an old mate of mine whom I ran into a couple of days ago. We'll see.

Now if you're wondering where this AGM will be, I can't tell you. The NSWCA website still says 'TBA'.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ivanchuk Falls to Pinoy

And GM Ivanchuk bombs out.

World Cup 2009
So, Wesley
Ivanchuk, Vassily

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. cxd5 cxd5 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bf4 a6 7. Rc1 Bf5 8. e3 e6 9. Qb3 Ra7 10. Ne5 Nxe5 11. Bxe5 Nd7 12. Bg3 Be7 13. Be2 O-O 14. O-O Qa8 15. Nb1 Rc8 16. Bd3 Bxd3 17. Qxd3 Rc6 18. Rc2 Nb6 19. Rfc1 Nc4 20. Nd2 Nxd2 21. Qxd2 a5 22. Qd3 a4 23. f3 Raa6 24. e4 Qd8 25. Rxc6 Rxc6 26. Rxc6 bxc6 27. Bf2 h5 28. Be3 Qa5 29. Kf2 h4 30. g4 h3 31. Kg3 Qe1+ 32. Kxh3 dxe4 33. Qxe4 Qf1+ Chessvibes reckons that 33...Qe2 would have given Ivanchuk some hopes. 34. Kg3 Bd6+ 35. Bf4 Bb4 36. g5 Be1+ 37. Kg4 Qg2+ 38. Bg3 Bxg3 39. hxg3 Qxb2 40. Qxc6 Qxd4+ 41. f4 g6 42. Qc2 a3 43. Kf3 e5 44. fxe5 Qxe5 45. Qd3 Qb2 46. Qd5 1/2-1/2

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wesley So Beats Chukky

As is only natural, the Philippines, unlike Australia, still has hopes in the World Cup. It is none other than in the powerful GM Wesley So. Smerdon was very lucky not to have faced the young Pinoy in the first round, I have to say. Otherwise, the Australian might have had to come home much sooner.

Not surprisingly, GM So has made it into the next stage of the World Cup. He accounted for GM Gadir Guseinov in the first round, dropping just a single game and winning 4-1.

In the second round, then, So had to face off against the very powerful superstar of world chess, GM Ivanchuk. A walk in the park for the Ukrainian, you reckon? No bloody way!

World Cup 2009
Ivanchuk, Vassily
So, Wesley

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. exd5 exd5 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. Nge2 O-O 7. O-O Bg4 8. f3 Bh5 9. Nf4 Bg6 10. Nxg6 hxg6 11. Bg5 c6 12. f4 Qb6 13. Na4 Qxd4+ 14. Kh1 Ne4 15. c3 Nf2+ 16. Rxf2 Qxf2 17. cxb4 f6 18. Qg4 fxg5 19. Qe6+ Kh8 20. Nc5 Qxb2 21. Qh3+ Kg8 22. Qe6+ Kh8 23. Rf1 Qf6 24. Qh3+ Kg8 25. g3 Re8 26. Nxb7 gxf4 27. Rxf4 Re1+ 28. Kg2 Qe6 29. Qxe6+ Rxe6 30. Nc5 Re7 31. b5 Nd7 32. Nxd7 Rxd7 33. bxc6 Rd6 34. Bb5 Re8 35. Rd4 Kf7 36. Rf4+ Ke6 37. Rg4 Ke5 38. Kf3 Rf6+ 39. Ke3 0-1

The two other Pinoy reps, GMs Antonio and Laylo, are en route back to RP after both lost to Kamsky and Navara respectively.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Smerdon Bows Out of Siberia

GM David Smerdon bows out of the World Cup, but not before giving Cuban maestro Leinier Dominguez one hec of a big scare. The Australian held the 2719-rated Cuban, who won the World Blitz championship last year, to draws in the two long games and three rapids, a pretty wonderful feat!

Then this happened:

World Cup 2009
Dominguez Perez, Leinier
Smerdon, David

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. Be2 O-O 8. O-O Nc6 9. Qd2 Bd7 10. Rfd1 Rc8 11. f3 a6 12. a4 Ne5 13. Nd5 e6 14. Nxf6+ Bxf6 15. b3 d5 16. f4 Nc6 17. e5 Bg7 18. Nxc6 Bxc6 19. Bd4 f6 20. exf6 Bxf6 21. Qe3 Bxd4 22. Rxd4 Qf6 23. Re1 Kg7 24. Bd3 Rce8 25. g3 Kg8 26. Qe5 Qxe5 27. Rxe5 Kf7 28. h4 h5 29. Kf2 Kf6 30. Ke3 a5 31. c3 Rb8 32. c4 b6 33. cxd5 Bxd5 34. Bc4 Bxc4 35. bxc4 Rfd8 36. Rb5 Rxd4 37. Kxd4 Rd8+ 38. Kc3 Rd6 39. c5 bxc5 40. Rxc5 Rd1 41. Rxa5 Ra1 42. Kb2 Rg1 43. Rg5 Rg2+ 44. Kb3 Rg1 45. a5 Ra1 46. Kb4 Rb1+ 47. Kc5 Ke7 48. a6 1-0

In his latest blog entry, Smerdon says, "Well folks, I write to you on our last night in Khanty-Mansiysk. My dream run has come to an end, after I lost the final rapid game to go down in the tie-break 2.5-1.5. Painfully, the loss was due to a brain explosion right at the death, while the ‘obvious’ move would have seen a probable draw and progression into the blitz play-offs. And wouldn’t that have been something – blitz tiebreaks against the former world blitz champion!"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Melburnian Bags World Title

Ex-Kiwi Bobby Cheng has just become a world champ. Cheng, who now plays under the Aussie flag, scored 9 points and topped outright the field of 142 players in the U12 section of the World Youth Chess Championships. Among his wins were these two nice ones.

Cheng, Bobby
Mousavi, Seyed Khalil

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 d6 4. Nc3 g6 5. e4 Bg7 6. h3 O-O 7. Bd3 e6 8. Nf3 exd5 9. cxd5 b5 10. Bxb5 Nxe4 11. Nxe4 Qa5+ 12. Nfd2 Qxb5 13. Nxd6 Qa6 14. N2c4 Rd8 15. Bf4 Bf8 16. Qe2 Bb7 opting to follow Schandorff - Berg, 0-1, Politiken Cup 2007. 17. Nxb7 Qxb7 18. O-O Here, Schandorff castled long and his king quickly came under pressure. 18...Rxd5 19. Rad1 Rxd1 20. Rxd1 Nc6 21. Qf3 Rd8 22. Rxd8 Nxd8 23. Qxb7 Nxb7 24. Kf1 f6 25. Ke2 Kf7 26. Kd3 Ke6 27. b3 g5 28. Bd2 Be7 29. g4 f5 30. Ne3 fxg4 31. hxg4 Nd6 32. Nc4 Ne8 33. Bc3 Bd8 34. Be5 Kd5 35. Bc3 Ke6 36. Be5 Kd5 37. Bb8 a6 38. Ne3+ Kc6 39. Ke4 Be7 40. Be5 Bd8 41. Kf5 Nd6+ 42. Bxd6 Kxd6 43. Nc4+ Kd5 44. Ne5 Be7 45. Nf7 Kd4 46. Nxg5 h6 47. Nf7 Kc3 48. Ke4 Kb2 49. Kd3 Kxa2 50. Kc2 Bf8 51. f4 Ka3 52. Kc3 Bg7+ 53. Kc4 Kb2 54. Ne5 Kc2 55. Nd7 Kd2 56. f5 Ke3 57. f6 Bh8 58. f7 Bg7 59. Nxc5 Bf8 60. Ne6 Be7 61. g5 hxg5 62. Nxg5 Kd2 63. Ne6 Kc2 64. f8=Q Bxf8 65. Nxf8 Kb2 66. Kb4 a5+ 67. Ka4 1-0

The next is from the eleventh round and how fitting that Cheng should front up against the top seed, the 2344-rated, Suri Vaibhav of India.

Vaibhav, Suri
Cheng, Bobby

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Ndf3 cxd4 8. cxd4 a5 9. Bd3 a4 10. a3 Nb6 11. Ne2 Na5 12. O-O g6 13. Qc2 Nb3 14. Rb1 Bd7 15. g4 Rc8 16. Nc3 Nc4 17. f5 Nxd4? What is this? This is just bluff I reckon. 18. Nxd4 Bc5

Position after 18...Bc5

19. fxg6?
Why not 19. Qf2? 19...Bxd4+ 20. Kh1 hxg6 21. Bxg6 Nxe5 22. Bh5 Bc6 23. Qe2 Bxc3 24. bxc3 d4+ 25. Kg1 Qd5 26. cxd4 Rxh5 27. gxh5 Nd3 0-1

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Smerdon Draws in World Cup

Unlike the singularly most useless group of Australian sportsmen, the Wallabies, GM David Smerdon is giving some local chess fans plenty of reason to be jolly. The Canberra resident drew his first game in the ongoing World Cup against Leinier Dominguez. With black no less!

The return match will see Smerdon hold the white pieces, so hopes are high that he can cause an upset. Here's the first round encounter.

World Cup 2009
Dominguez Perez, Leinier
Smerdon, David

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O d5 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. Bd4 Nxc3 13. Qxc3 Bh6+ 14. Be3 Bxe3+ 15. Qxe3 Qb6 16. Qxe7 Be6 17. Bd3 Qe3+ 18. Rd2 Rfe8 (18... c5) 19. Qh4 Bxa2 20. Qf2 Qe5 21. Be4 Rab8 22. Qd4 Qa5 23. Rd3 Qg5+ 24. Rd2 Red8 25. Qc3 Rxd2 26. Qxd2 Qf6 27. c3 Rd8 28. Qe3 Qe5 29. g3 Bb3 30. Re1 Qa5 31. Bb1 Qa1 32. Qe7 Qa5 33. Qe3 Qa1 34. Qe7 Qa5 1/2-1/2

As an added bonus to his fans, GM Smerdon actually has a blog. Head over to to follow his adventures!

Play Smarter Opponents

So I'm back from Tokyo. The Qantas pilot lied. He said it'd be a nice 24 degrees celsius today in Sydney. It's actually 41 degrees! Here I am, then, stuck indoors - but not before a quick trip to the video rental store to grab a couple of DVDs. If I'm going to be inside all day, I might as well have some movies.

And it's there that I spot something that I hadn't seen before. Guy Ritchie's 2005 movie, Revolver. The film features chess.

Quote: "Rule one of any game or con: you can only get smarter by playing a smarter opponent." And here, director Guy Ritchie explains how the scene was made.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Chess in Chrome

Last day in Tokyo. Finally after a few days here I've been able to unravel this labyrinth that is Shinjuku station. What a crazy place. Hec, even the locals get lost around here. And, of course, I found myself a sort of temporary "local". It's an English pub! God save the poms.

It's just on 5.26AM as I type. And the first chess-related news I spot is about the much-awaited release of the new Chrome operating system. Check out what it has in store for chess fans.

ZDNet News has some screenshots and other details of the upcoming release.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Magnus is Number One

No one but the Japanese can transform the grand old tradition of the English breakfast into a performance art with all the precision and delicacy of a tea ceremony. For that reason alone, it's worth spending at least a night in Tokyo's Hyatt Regency hotel. Sure you'll drop a few thousand yen, but those carrying Aussie dollars will find it pretty affordable, thanks to the Aussie's rising strength.

Anyway, as I sat down this morning to that impressive brekky experience, I flipped my copy of the IHT to page two and what did I find but chess news. Yes, right on page 2 was news of super GM Magnus Carlsen becoming the world's youngest ever number one chess player. The news came courtesy of Dylan McClain in the NYT (The NYT Co. also owns the IHT).

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Off to Tokyo, Japan

It's that time of year again when I ship myself off somewhere. This time I'm heading for that hi-tech metropolis, Tokyo! I'll be there for a week. So that means that there could be some disruption to normal programming over the next 7 days or so. And that's not because I expect problems with internet connectivity (which, in Japan, is ahecofalot more advanced and faster than backward Australia), but because I expect to be quite busy with work.

I'll be back Down Under next Sunday.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fischer: Brilliant & Idiotic

Writing for the Skeptical Inquirer, Martin Gardner counts chess genius Bobby Fischer among those whom he considers both "extremely intelligent" as well as being "simple minded". Take, for example, Isaac Newton and A. C. Doyle. The former, being a Christian, apparently tried to calculate the exact date of the Second Coming; while the latter, wait for this, believed in fairies!

Martin Gardner:

Aside from chess, Fischer came close to being a moron. I once thought his refusal to play chess on Saturday was because he was Jewish. No, it was because he had become a convert to the Worldwide Church of God, a strange sect founded by former Seventh-day Adventist Herbert W. Armstrong. Like the Adventists, Armstrong believed that Saturday is still the God-appointed Sabbath. In 1972 Bobby gave $61,000 to Armstrong, part of the prize money he had won by defeating Spassky.

More in Bobby Fischer: Genius and Idiot.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Smerdon To Face Super GM

As I mentioned last week, there is a large group of young Aussies headed for Turkey to participate in the World Youth Chess Championships. Canberra's Alana Chibnall has posted some photos on Facebook of a few Aussie team members, while ChessDom has an album with just a handful of images so far. Let's hope that they'll keep adding a few more from here on end.

Also en route to OTB action in the upcoming World Cup, in far away Khanty-Mansiysk, is GM David Smerdon. For such a terribly long trip I hope he'll manage to survive his first round opponent who is none other than Cuban numero uno, super GM Leinier Dominguez.

Someone with probably slightly better chances to move beyond the first round is Pinoy GM Wesley So. He has the advantageous white bits against GM Gadir Guseinov. But fellow Pinoy grandmasters Laylo and Antonio will hold the black pieces against no less than Navara and Kamsky, respectively.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Piss Off Tal

The very strong Tal Memorial tournament is on right now and it is in that light that GM Ian Rogers related a story, an encounter he had with the great man, in his column last Sunday for the Sun Herald. Actually, he first shared this story with me back in Dresden. It amused me then and it amuses me now.

While analysing with his opponent post game, Rogers saw "a bony hand from an old codger" reach for a central pawn with the idea of apparently sacking it. The Australian shooed the hand away, but the hand keeps on reaching, Rogers turns and, whoops(!), it's Tal! Naturally the pawn sac was a "powerful" one.

It makes me wonder how many wonderful stories GM Rogers has in his memories. When is his autobiography coming out?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Setting Up a Breakaway Fed

Talk of a breakaway national chess body that will replace the Australian Chess Federation pop up now and then, mostly these days in local online chess forums. But they are mostly that: talk and more talking. This is because a breakaway is, quite frankly, unrealistic.

For a rival body (to the ACF) to succeed, it would require popular support. Plus, the conditions that make a breakway popular simply do not exist, other than perhaps in the minds of a handful of disgruntled chessers. They know who they are.

Well, if anyone out there wants to set up a new Australian national chess fed, you could take a few tips from the so-called Chess Association of India. The CAI isn't recognised at any level, but they know exactly how to attract attention: lure people with money.

There's more from the Hindustan Times.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Not a Real Chess Champ?

If you missed it, there is still some action happening in my earlier post "Not a Real Geek". Thanks to Dr Kevin Bonham, perhaps we should be asking if Jeremy Reading is actually a real "chess champion".

This from the official website:

"Some people consider chess a sport. You need to be strong mentally – I’ve played for up to 4.5 hours – and to be able to concentrate for that long I would consider it a sport. My chess playing is probably my geekiest attribute. I’m the ACT champion – it’s really annoying not being able to say state champion."

But according to research done by Dr Bonham, there's absolutely no record of this bloke having won the ACT Championships!

To be fair to Mr Reading, who now looks like he's been deep fried in a vat of tanning solution, that claim of him being state champion is probably the work of some PR hack in Channel 7. Reading was ACT Junior champ in 2004 and he also won the ACT Rapid championship 2 years later.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The Filipino Defence

There's a new system doing the rounds of blitz games in Sydney. It's called the "Filipino Defence", so named because its main exponent is, of course, a Pinoy ("Johny from Manila"). The big idea is apparently to win games on time, especially when the position is hopelessly lost.

Anyway, one group of Pinoys who might have made use of this new system is the RP team in the Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam. Spearheaded by GM Antonio, the boys and girls have so far failed to win a single medal in the chess events. Very disappointing, indeed.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Chess as a Stress Reliever

I like this story from the St Louis Today. It's a surprising benefit (to me, anyway) of playing chess:

"When you play chess have to focus your mind on the game and strategies," said Suzanne Corbett, 56. "It gave him a relief and a quiet space."

It also helped her as his caretaker, she said. "Sometimes we feel so helpless on what we can do to make it better, and a simple game like chess is something you can do with an individual without smothering them."

From Chess helps cancer patients de-stress.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Frenchman Wins World Juniors

Congrats to Frenchman Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Swaminathan Soumya, of India, for winning this year's World Juniors in the boys and girls sections, respectively. It was not a particularly positive showing by the trio of Australians, but I suppose they can finish their South American stint with plenty of good experience.

Final Aussie scores are as follows:

6.0 Guo, Emma (Girls)
4.5 Guo-Yuthok, Sherab (Boys)
3.5 Anton, Sarah (Girls)

Despite her terrible run, Sarah did pull off this win. It's a good, domineering one.

2009 WJun Girls
De Leon, P.
Anton, S.

1. d4 f5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. c4 d6 6. Nc3 O-O 7. O-O Qe8 8. Qc2 c6 9. b3 Na6 10. a3 e5 11. e3 e4 12. Nd2 Nc7 13. Bb2 d5 14. Rfc1 g5 15. Re1 Qg6 16. f4 gxf4 17. gxf4 Ng4 18. h3 Nxe3 19. Rxe3 Bxd4 20. Nd1 Bxe3+ 21. Nxe3 Be6 22. Be5 Rac8 23. b4 a6 24. c5 Kf7 25. Kf2 Rg8 26. Ndf1 Qh5 27. Qc3 Nb5 28. Qd2 d4 29. Bxd4 Nxd4 30. Qxd4 Rcd8 31. Qc3 Rd3 32. Qc2 Rgd8 33. Re1 Qh4+ 34. Ke2 Rg8 35. Rd1 Rxd1 36. Qxd1 Qxf4 37. Qe1 Rxg2+ 38. Nxg2 Qf3+ 39. Kd2 Qxg2+ 40. Qe2 Qxh3 41. Ne3 f4 42. Nc4 e3+ 43. Kc3 Kf6 44. Nd6 Bd5 45. Nxb7 Qf3 46. Qe1 e2+ 47. Kb2 Qb3+ 0-1

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Aussies in 2009 World Youths

While the Aussie contingent in the currently ongoing World Juniors in Argentina is somewhat anaemic, the group headed for the upcoming World Youths in Turkey will be a far bigger one. No less than 28 people - that includes parents, players and coaches - will turn up under the Australian flag. Lucky for the Aussie boys and girls is that they'll enjoy the services of 2 grandmasters as well as IM Lane and FM Smirnov, so we can expect a good showing particularlly from the likes of Bobby Cheng and Yi Yuan.

The even will run from 11 November until 23 November. Chessdom has a preview (and I thank the guys for bringing this to my attention).

Monday, November 02, 2009

2009 Melbourne Cup

The race that stops the whole nation will be on again tomorrow afternoon, and for chess fans two horses are surely worth a bet. These are last year's winner "Viewed" and "Roman Emperor".

What's so special about these two, you ask. Well, apart from the fact that both horses finished one-two in last month's Caulfield Cup and trained by Cup legend Bart Cummings (who is gunning for his 13th win), the pair are also owned by Malaysian chess stalwart, Datuk Tan Chin Nam.

My tip, however, is Allez Wonder.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Bad, Bad Chess Coaches

Chess may be said to be the "gymnasium of the mind", but P.E. grads teaching chess?

Commenting on this piece of news ("Azerbaijani chess schools lacking coaches: deputy education minister") in today's Sun Herald, GM Ian Rogers writes:

While Australian Education Departments are notorious for using humanities teachers to cover for the shortage of maths and science teachers, the Azeri idea of asking physical education teachers to also teach chess is probably a step too far.

Sydney has suffered from a number of under-trained and even bogus chess coaches and it could be argued that the students would have been better off with no coach at all. Certainly the opportunity cost of having phys-ed teachers teach chess rather their speciality would be great.

That's an interesting comment he makes about Sydney chess coaches. Who the hec accredits these people?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Arbiter Caught on Tape

Over on Chess Chat, they are talking about a very strange arbiter's decision that was caught on tape. Instead of resulting in, what seems to me, a likely win for black - the game ended peacefully. Take a look!

Pay close attention to the positions at 0.51 and 2.33.

Australian chess mandarin and deputy boss of the Australian Chess Federation, Bill Gletsos, summarises it neatly in his usual brutal style: "Total screw up by the arbiter".

Chess in Warrnambool

Well, of course, chess isn't nerdy. Kudos to those pupils over at the Warrnambool East Primary School!

3rd Asian Indoor Games

The powerhouses of Asian chess are once again gathering in the Hanoi, Vietnam for this year's Asian Indoor Games event. The Pinoy team will have the services of GM Paragua, GM "Joey" Antonio and WFMs Catherine Perena as well as Sherily Cua.

The Indonesians, on the other hand, have made an interesting decision. Instead heading for Vietnam, the Indon team will head for a tour of Europe in the hope of gaining tough practice for the 2011 Southeast Asian Games. The Jakarta Post has the details on this one.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Varshavsky Strikes Again?

The National Sudoku Championship event in the US finds itself in a minor controversy due to alleged cheating by a certain Eugene Varshavsky. What makes this of interest to chess fans is that back in 2006, a player in the World Open, in Philadelphia, was among a number of players also suspected of cheating. His name? Yep, Eugene Varshavsky!

NPR has the juice.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

FIDE Creates Player Market

These recent rule changes (taking effect from 1 July, 2010) governing the transfer of players from one federation to another has at last placed an "official" value on players' heads. Destination federations must now pay up, a so-called "compensation fee".

For example, a GM rated 2700+ will cost €50,000; it's €30,000 for anyone rated 2600 to 2699 and €10,000 for a GM rated below 2600.

So, for Serbian GM Dejan Antic, who so desperately wants to move Down Under - the ACF will now have to fork out as much as €10,000 or roughly AUD$16,200 based on today's exchange rates.

The new rule was suggested by FIDE General Secretary Ignatius Leong and when I asked him about that, his point seemed to me perfectly valid. Said he: "Several federations have been investing in developing their players and receive nothing when players transfer. Hence, the adopting federation pays a compensation fee to the previous federation. Federations adopting players should be ready to pay both transfer fee and compensation as otherwise they benefit from other federations' long-term investment and simply takeover a "ready product".

On one level all of this makes sense. For at last we now recognise, not only the value of players, but also the investments made by their originating federations.

Imagine, just for a moment, if GM Zong Yuan Zhao suddenly decides to head for China and play for that country: to rediscover his roots, as it were. Why should the ACF not receive compensation from the Chinese? That's €10,000, thank you very much. I can just imagine the ACF boss rubbing his hands with glee!

And there lies another side effect of these new rules. By placing values on players' heads, FIDE has effectively also created a market. Now it will be possible for federations to trade players between themselves. Of course - federations being federations, busy with admin matters and politics - someone else must worry about the buying and selling. Who else should fill that gap but brokers?

With these developments, I might just consider a whole new career. After all, who's going to stop me from adding a little extra % for moving one player from fed X to fed Y?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Sachdev Walks Down the Aisle

I wonder if India has its own "Dancing with the Stars" program. They sooo need to get this chick Tanya Sachdev in that show. There's a real chess champion who can make chess utterly sexy. She's even managed to march down the catwalk for local Indian fashion design team Ashima-Leena.

When asked what it was like to walk down the ramp for the first time, Sachdev said, "After playing chess for so long I always thought walking the ramp would be easy, but now I can easily say that chess is much easier. Initially I had butterflies in my stomach, but once I was there, it was good fun."

From the Times of India.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Obama is World Champion

Adding to his totally undeserved Nobel Peace Prize, the big talking all promise messiah-like United States president, Barack Obama, stuns the world by becoming the next World Chess Champion. Yes, you read that right.

The World Chess Federation today announced that Barack Obama had become the world chess champion, nudging aside former undisputed champion Viswanathan Anand of India.

The news surprised some in the chess world, because Obama has never participated in tournament play. But FIDE officials said they felt certain Obama could become world champion if he ever decided to try.

Others were less surprised. Hungarian grandmaster Judit Polgar noted the world championship is just the latest in a string of triumphs for the American president.

From the Tampa Bay Online.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Paragua To Break World Record

The 500-board simul world record that is currently held by Iranian GM Morteza Mahjoob could soon be broken by Pinoy GM Mark Paragua. Marlon Bernardino reports that the Mark will aim for 600 boards!

Taking on mostly 600 patzers at the same time, well, that's always an achievement, ain't it. Frankly, GM Paragua, the first Pinoy to reach "Super Grandmaster" status as Bernardino reminds us, ought to try and return to that elite company. Stick to serious chess, not this sideshow stuff.

But then again, when you've got a giant like a certain Wesley So casting such a shadow, what can you do?

By the way, go to the FIDE database, select Philippines, list by rating, then search. I get zero results. Nada.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Queen to Play

Attention Mr Reading and his supporters, here's a film for you, "Queen to Play". From the Miami Herald:
Attention all nerds and former high-school science-club members: Finally, there is a movie that shares your belief that chess should be a magnet for hot babes and sex. The French drama Queen to Play (Joueuse) is more eloquent and dignified -- here, chess serves as a gateway for self-discovery -- although the end result is still sex.
If that Mr Reading reference is a bit lost on some, then read here. Anyway, I found this trailer. Looks good, must watch this one, I think.

Aussies in World Juniors

The World Juniors are on again, this time in Argentina. Melbourne's Sarah Anton and Canberra's Emma Guo are participating in the girls, while the sole Aussie boys representative is Sherab Guo-Yuthok.

The official website in English is here, but the page downloads so slowly that I recommend accessing the critical info from the Argentina chess fed homepage here. Live games are also available.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

FIDE Tax on Tardiness

Has the FIDE Presidential Board lost its mind?

Last week, the executive Board met in Halkidiki, Greece. The report on that meeting by Herman Hamers (available for download from the ECF website) notes the following discussion item:

A proposal by the Presidential Board that players who fail to appear at the start of a game, not only lose the game by default, but also give them a penalty of €500 (a second time €1.000 and a third time €2.000) met a lot of opposition and was taken back. Possibly it will return next year in the General Assembly.

Are they kidding? A €500 fine for being late? Heaven help the poorer teams who can barely scrape together their air fares!

Feel free to vent or say what you want here or over on the ECF forum where discussion was sparked off by John Saunders. As John said in that thread, "The zero default time rule is bad enough without FIDE trying to make money out of defaults. The fact that they should even propose such an absurd penalty shows that they are completely out of touch with most of the world's competition players."

Too right!

NZ Chess on Facebook

The New Zealand Chess Federation is taking a dip into a whole new way of connecting with their audience. They're on Facebook! Thanks to Helen Milligan, the NZCF now has a fan page on the popular social networking site.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Holey Wohly

My memory seems to keep telling me that I've heard of this before, but I can't be absolutely certain. Anyway thanks to's archives, I've just now read an article that talks about an opening named after Aussie international master Alex Wohl. It's the so-called "Holey Wohly".

Alex, of course, is a long-time campaigner who continues to have good successes. He topped a tourney in Wiesbaden this year and, more recently, the Munich Open (with a performance rating of 2600+).

Here's the article by Tony Miles on the Holey Wohly.

By the way, as I searched around the net for that Yermolinsky - Wohl game that Miles mentions in the article (and which is, I think, the same game mentioned here in the third paragraph), I also stumbled upon another system that happens to have the Miles/Wohl connection. This one will be particularly special to our South Australian readers. It's the "Adelaide Counter Gambit".

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Chess Notation

Thanks to reader 'Scott' for pointing this out.

A Mr. Slavoljub Stojanović, of Serbia, clearly had too much time on his hands as he apparently just woke up one day and decided to invent a whole new chess notation. Chessdom has the juice.

I've quickly scanned through the accompanying PDF document that describes this new chess notation and my first impression is that it's simply ridiculous!

I wonder if Mr. Slavoljub Stojanović is joking.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Chess League in Indonesia

Percasi, the Indonesian Chess Association, is embarking upon an exciting development - a national league.

Local hero GM Utut Adianto was quoted as saying, "With the league, we expect chess players will take part in regular tournaments necessary to hone their skills while they can earn financial income from their game."

More from the Jakarta Post.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Up the Nerds

It's been a long while since we've had a such a rowdy little post - one that brought out a number of luminaries, including no less than legend IM Guy West. Even I hadn't expected it.

That little post, "Not a Real Geek", about Canberra chesser Jeremy Reading, who appears in the Channel 7 reality show Beauty & the Geek, turned out to be a touchy one. As you saw, I had a poll up accompanying that post and now the results are in!

On the proposition that "Jeremy is damaging chess", we had 48 voters, of whom 24 disagreed while 21 agreed; 3 people were undecided. Well, that's just too close to call if you ask me. This is very scientific stuff, you understand.

Anyway, we leave the last word to WIM Arianne Caoili, who is currently studying OS, in response to IM West:

However, my only real point is, that the whole nerd image will not make chess popular, which a lot of us are interested in doing.

Maybe, Guy, you have alluded to a very valid point: that chess will never be popular because the great unwashed aren't attracted to chess naturally.

Sad but true? I was hoping that one day, chess for young people would be a good distraction from mindless crap such as drugs etc, etc - a way to focus our energy into something useful. I just don't see this whole thing as good publicity to market chess to the great unwashed.

Maybe there will be other ways.

Other than that, go the nerds!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

SA Open Report

Back in June this year, I mentioned the South African Open. It was an innovative event in that it featured players from as far as Melbourne who participated and played their games via the online chess playing site,

Now months later, ChessCube have released a report and in it, Melbourne's IM Mirko Rujevic scores a special mention under the subheading, "Glitches":

There were only two major glitches.

On Wednesday 08‐07‐2009 in the Mirko Rujevic vs Solomons game (round 8) there was a mouse slip on move 21 by Solomons.

On move 21 Solomons, playing black, executed 21...Bxd5 on the physical board but then played 21...Bc6 on the computer. He immediately realized his mistake and called the attending arbiter while also using the online functionality (the online system notes the position and clock times of the players).

Unfortunately Rujevic also responded immediately to the move, obviously thinking he was winning and not seeing that Solomons had called the arbiter.

After the arbiters confirmed the situation between themselves, Solomons asked for a takeback which was accepted. However, for an unknown reason he could no longer move a piece after this ‐ it could be because Rujevic already replied to his mistake. This left no other course of action but to reconstruct the position, using the player's notation sheets and noted position, and reset the clock to the correct time using the noted times.

The report can be downloaded from this post on the ChessCube blog. Hat tip to Sarah Blake over there for bringing this to my attention.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Zatonskih Bags Championships

Really rubbing salt into Irina Krush's wound, international master Anna Zatonskih has clinched her second straight US women's championships title with a round to spare. This time there is absolutely no dispute. No playoffs. No controversial rulings. No tantrums.

Anna scored 8.5 points from nine games, dropping just a single draw to Camilla Baginskaite. Krush, on the other hand, managed just 5.5 points and even ended her run with a loss to Tatev Abrahamyan in the ninth and final round.

Meanwhile, over on the Wall Street Journal, Barbara Jepson argues that it's time we dumped women's chess titles.

The time has come to drop gender-segregated titles for women, which make even less sense today than when they were introduced in 1950 (WIM) and 1976 (WGM). "I don't see their benefit," says 25-year-old IM Irina Krush. "Women's titles are really a marker of lower expectations." Ms. Krush, part of the bronze-medal-winning American women's team at the 2008 Chess Olympiad in Dresden, tied for third place with 18-year-old rising star Alisa Melekhina in the U.S. Women's Championship, which concluded yesterday at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. Top-seeded IM Anna Zatonskih, 31, won first prize.

In some idealistic future, it might be best to phase out such separate tournaments for females as well. But those events remain valuable at this point for several reasons. "All-girls tournaments allow participants to make friends, share hotel-room expenses, and compete in Open tournaments," says two-time U.S. Women's Champion Jennifer Shahade, author of "Chess Bitch," an informative and entertaining history of women in the game. "So rather than take women away from mixed competition, I think they actually encourage them to compete in the end."

Read more in Abolish Women's Chess Titles.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

ACF Membership Scheme

In the 8 September, 2009 issue of the Australian Chess Federation newsletter - former Olympiad men's team captain Peter Parr proposed an ACF Membership Scheme. Actually, that proposal seems to be more about financial matters than an actual membership scheme as such.

Now in the latest newsletter we have the ACF's response through their veep, Denis Jessop.

Speaking of newsletters, also out is CAWA's October newsletter. The first positive news there is about Tristan Boyd winning yet another state championships. Congrats to him.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chess, A School of Silence

There's plenty of quite impressive and must-watch chess-related videos at the moment. Of course, ChessVibes has the juice on the recent discovery of Fischer memorabilia, presented in vid format, while one of our RP-based readers pointed our attention to this.

And now the NY Times features an old French doco film of Marcel Duchamp. It runs for nearly an hour and comes with subtitles.

Interviewer: "The problem with this game is that I came here to ask lots of questions, but chess makes you silent."

Duchamp: "Chess is a school of silence."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kasparov, the Freedom Fighter

Nearly missed this one. It's Kasparov appearing on CNN just a few days ago. Kasparov: "Fighting for freedom in my country is the most important thing now".

If the video doesn't appear in this post, just click here instead.

2009 Canterbury CC Open

Starting tomorrow will be the 2009 Canterbury Chess Club Open to be held at the Lakemba Services Memorial Club (Corner Quigg Street and The Boulevarde, Lakemba). It's a 7-rounder spanning over 7 consecutive Monday evenings.

Time control will be 40 moves in 90 mins, then 30 mins to finish. $500 in prizes will be split over 3 rating divisions and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each (tie break).

For enquiries, contact Henk Jens on hwj at zip dot com dot au.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Krush Fails in Revenge Bid

Remember that incident last year when Irina Krush not only lost the game but also her marbles? Well, it's on again in the 2009 US Women's Championships and fans would have have eagerly awaited the all-important round 3 match up between last year's finalists. Will Irina exact revenge against Zatonskih?

Nope! This is what happened.

2009 US Women's Ch.
Krush, Irina
Zatonskih, Anna

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 O-O 7. e3 Ne4 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Rc1 Nxc3 10. Rxc3 c6 11. Qc2 Nd7 12. cxd5 exd5 13. Bd3 Nb6 14. O-O Be6 15. Rb1 a5 16. Nd2 Nc8 17. Ra3 Nd6 18. Qc5 Qc7 19. Rc3 Rfc8 20. Rbc1 Qd8 21. h3 Bf5 22. Bf1 b5 23. Rb3 Nb7 24. Qa3 b4 25. Qa4 c5 26. dxc5 Nxc5 27. Qb5 Rab8 28. Qe2 a4 0-1

And, as can be seen in Macauley's and Jen Shahade's vid report, Irina was clearly disappointed. I suppose for her, it's a wound that will be left opened for at least another year.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Not a Real Geek

The first episode of the Australian version of Beauty & the Geek aired tonight on Channel 7. And, of course, we've been talking about this because among the so-called geeks is Canberra chesser Jeremy Reading. Looking at his performance in tonight's episode, however, I couldn't help but wonder how this guy made it past the auditions. He's simply no geek!

Compare him to Toby, who's studying for three degrees (maybe Jeremy should fix him up with Arianne Caoili), or Alan the Asian child genius (yeah, Asians are geniuses with nasty moustaches) or some physicist named Xenogene (he could be a Greek geek related to some chess big wig), our Jeremy is pretty, well, "normal".

Jeremy's geekhood seems to be founded solely on his chess-playing. And herein is my problem. Why should this guy put his mug on national TV, make a song and dance about his chess, and call himself a geek? Does he not, in fact, damage all chess players?

Have your say. Look right and vote in our poll!

By the way, in yesterday's Tele the following appeared:

Jeremy Reading is always on a mission to find his next challenge and starring in a reality television series was one of his ultimate goals.

After three attempts at
Big Brother and a single swipe at gaming competition Wipeout failed to deliver his 15 minutes of fame, he decided to look for thrills elsewhere by jumping out of a plane and taking part in a 42km triathlon.

"I've applied for heaps of other reality shows but I guess I just haven't been the right fit for those shows", the 24-year old Canberra resident says.

So he gets his 15 minutes of fame at the expense of ...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Carlsen Sees Red Luck

As Norwegian powerhouse GM Magnus Carlsen posts yet another win, his fifth, in the presently running Pearl Spring super tournament in China, I am beginning to wonder about his remarkable success in this event. Of course Magnus has been successful in past outings, but here it seems that his run has that extra "oomph" to it.

Except perhaps for his last game yesterday, Magnus is making it look so easy. Just take, for instance, his round 2 bout against Topalov. So smooth, very impressive. What, then, is Magnus' secret?

Well, OK, there's that partnership with Kasparov, but I reckon I found another reason.

It's that damn red shirt that the Chinese organisers have got him wearing!

In Chinese culture red can stand for all things positive: happiness, good luck, good health, whatever. Now compare that to what all the other players are wearing. A couple of them have that silvery/greyish colour, colours associated with death; same goes for Jakovenko's blue. Wang Yue wears green, a colour normally linked to prosperity, so that is possibly why he's not doing too badly.

I realise that this is all a bit of a stretch, but I reckon that what we have here folks is a Chinese fix-up.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Kiwi Saves Aussie Tournament

After coming close to extinction, the Sydney International Open was last week saved thanks to a determined fund raising effort by a number of members in Australia's most popular chess forum, Chess Chat, but most especially thanks to a Hail Mary from kiwi grandmaster Murray Chandler. The SIO's organiser FM Brian Jones sent in this press release:

Entries are invited for the 2010 Sydney International Open and Challengers Chess Tournaments, to be held 7-11 April 2010.

The organisers have received financial support from a variety of sources and the principal sponsor for 2010 is GM Murray Chandler.

The venue is again the historic Parramatta Town Hall in Western Sydney and free hotel accommodation (twin share room) is offered to International Chess Grandmasters.

There are two nine-round FIDE-rated swiss tournaments, the Sydney International Open (SIO) and the Sydney International Challengers (SIC).

Cash prizes exceed A$16,000 and visas can be arranged on request for overseas players (please provide passport details).

More Information is available [on the official site].

For those players that want even more chess, the Doeberl Cup will be held in Canberra from 1-5 April 2010. See Transport from Canberra to Sydney on Tuesday 6 April 2010 will be provided free of charge for all overseas players.

We look forward to welcoming all players to Sydney and to Australia.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Russia Wins Youth Olympiad

Our Kiwi neighbours sent four school-aged reps over to Turkey to participate in the 2009 World Youth U16 Chess Olympiad. The event ran from 24 September to 3 October. Australia failed to send a team.

The NZ team consisted of Hans Gao, William Li, Sean Tang and Michael Zeng. Unfortunately for them, the opposition was a tad too tough as they managed to garner just 12 points overall and finishing third from bottom (out of 22 teams). Team Russia won the event with 30 points.

In round 7 the Kiwis scored what was perhaps their most impressive outing, a 2-2 draw with Turkmenistan. That encounter included the following win by William Li over the 2152-rated Govher Jorayewa.

2009 World Youth U16 Olympiad
Jorayewa, Govher
Li, William

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Qb6 8. Qd2 Qxb2 9. Rb1 Qa3 10. f5 Nc6 11. Bxf6 gxf6 12. Nb3 Qb4 13. Bd3 Qb6 14. Na4 Qa7 15. Nc1 b5 16. Nb2 Ne5 17. Nd1 Nxd3+ 18. Qxd3 Be7 19. Ne3 O-O 20. O-O Bb7 21. Kh1 Rad8 22. Qe2 Kh8 23. Ng4 Qd4 24. Nf2 Rg8 25. Nb3 Qa7 26. Ng4 Qa8 27. Nh6 Rg7 28. Rf4 Rf8 29. Re1 d5 30. exd5 Bxd5 31. Rg4 Rxg4 32. Nxg4 Qc6 33. Nh6 Qc4 34. fxe6 Qxe2 35. Rxe2 fxe6 36. Nd4 e5 37. Ndf5 Bc5 38. c3 Rc8 39. Rd2 Be6 40. h3 Bf8 41. g4 Bxh6 42. Nxh6 Rxc3 43. Rd6 Rxh3+ 44. Kg2 Rxh6 45. Rxe6 Rg6 46.Kf3 Kg7 47. Rxa6 e4+ 48. Kxe4 f5+ 0-1

Actually, I only found out about this event and the Kiwi team's participation thanks to this article in the NZ Herald.