Thursday, August 29, 2013

World Amateur Chess Championships 2014

All these chess news, the good and the very sad, have got me itching for a proper game again. I think my last “official” tournament was back in 2011, in some low key event near where I live in Tokyo. But if I ever play, I always want to treat it as part holiday. Luckily, I found just such an event – not too far from Japan.

It looks like the next so-called World Amateur Chess Championships is going to be hosted by Singapore. Always wanted to visit Singapore and this is just perfect. Problem is, this being some sort of national representation event it looks like I will need my federation’s endorsement! I will email them. Hopefully, I still have some friends in the ACF.

One thing I did find a bit odd in the WACC’s tournament regulations, however, is the rate of play. They are using the rather retro 40 moves in the first 2 hours, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game. I hadn’t realized that people still use this time control. Just imagine all the headaches that could ensue over rule 10.2! Anyway, what with all things vintage these days, why not this time control? It will at least bring back long old memories.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

RIP Max Fuller

2013 has turned out to be an annus horribilis for Australian chess and, indeed, for world chess as well. So many players passing away. Just last week I posted about Peter Parr's passing. And today we learn of yet another sad news. One of the true greats of Australian chess, FIDE Master Max Fuller has passed away.

The initial news about Max having been taken to hospital a few days ago was posted by FM Greg Canfell to ChessChat. He suffered a stroke and, sadly, never recovered.

Max Fuller won just about every major title in Australia, including the national juniors as well as the Doeberl Cup on three occasions. He was also champion of New South Wales on multiple times and represented Australia at the Olympiad nine times. He was a true legend of Australian chess.

Rest in peace, Max.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Polgar's Short Shrift To Short

This ongoing Chess World Cup in Norway has got me up til late and up early in the morning to check on results. And that has been thanks mostly to the wonderful video coverage hosted, at first, by the duo of GM Susan Polgar and IM Laurence Trent. Their fun and relaxed commentary made the games quite accessible. Sadly, Polgar and Trent have now been replaced by New In Chess editor Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam as well as GM Nigel Short.

I have to say, this switch in commentary pairings has really dampened the experience a bit. The latter pair are just not as good. Dirk Jan doesn't know enough chess and GM Short is too dry. Like many spectators on Twitter I'd demand a return to Polgar and Trent, but I hear the latter is en route to Bulgaria to play in an event there.

It is possible that the change in commentators was all pre-planned, but I wonder if Polgar is at least trying to grab her old seat back. Last night, she (or someone behind her official Twitter account) blurted out these tweets (recent to oldest).

I can only imagine what it must be like at the venue right now between Polgar and Short. If she does get her seat back in the commentary room, I say pair her with the just eliminated Korobov. Those two would make for an interesting duo of commentators.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Chess Academy

Here’s a new site that is attracting some commentary over on Hacker News. In fact, it was a real surprise to see this trending up. Chess Academy ( The idea looks basic enough – learn chess via online videos. But the most important thing is that, as far as the site says, it is all for FREE!

They’re apparently taking some feedback on Hacker News, too, so you can check out some of the early comments here

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

RIP Peter Parr

Just heard the terribly sad news that Peter Parr has passed away.

I don't personally have any further details about Peter's passing, except to say that his usual Monday column in the SMH was apparently missing from yesterday's issue and that caused the alarm.

Well, where do you even begin in summarising the life of a man who was no doubt one of the biggest and most influential personalities in Australian chess? He was captain of the Australian men's Olympiad team 6 times, an administrator in various capacities - including as organiser, arbiter (notably, the Doeberl Cup on twenty occasions), president of the NSWCA - as well as a TV personality!

He also founded and ran Chess Discount Sales, one of the most successful chess businesses in Australia. By my count that business continued for over 40 years! He was a publisher of a chess magazine and, for many years, the chess columnist of the Sydney Morning Herald.

While he was himself a decent player, Peter never managed to earn the usual master titles. But in 1997, he was awarded the OAM or the Order of Australia Medal for services to chess.

Just a little under three years ago, I did a 3-part interview with Peter Parr. In that interview we get to learn just a wee bit more about the man's story. You can read part 1, part 2 and part 3.

I will miss Peter. He was a friend and, in some ways, a mentor particularly in the politics and history of Australian chess.

Farewell, Pete!