Saturday, December 31, 2005

FM Canfell Canned

Here is a neat finish from the Australian Championships'second round game between Greg Canfell and Western Australian, Jay Lakner.

Sydneysider, Canfell, sees a free piece - but, BOOM, it's all over.

After 33. Kg2

How should black, Jay Lakner, continue the attack?

After 3 rounds, both players involved here are on 1 point. There's still plenty of time to catch up, so c'mon Greg mate!

Hysterical Highlights

US newspaper The Seattle Times looks back at some of the funnier moments of 2005.

At 62, he's no rook

March: Former U.S. chess champion Bobby Fischer, calling himself a political pawn after being held in detention since his immigration arrest in July 2004, finally left Tokyo for exile in Iceland with bride-to-be Miyoko Watai, head of Japan's chess association.

A Japanese fiancée? Guess Bobby couldn't find a Czech mate.

Yeah, very funny. Not!

The full 12-month review is available here. But wait, is that chess in the Sports section?

Laylo on High

As a side note to the Singapore Masters, I should mention that Darwin Laylo will be the Philippines' newest international master. His 5 points at this event was good enough to secure his third and final IM norm requirement.

2005 has been very successful for Mr Laylo. While his first IM norm came in 1999, he roped in the last two in the second half of this year. Well done, sir!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Ni Hua Wins

After leading for much of the tournament, Azmaiparashvili could manage only a draw against Chinese GM Zhang Zhong in the ninth and final round of the Singapore Masters. Both players complete their event on 7 points.

That draw on first board permitted Ni Hua to win the tournament with 7.5 points as he defeated Pinoy player Julio Sadorra in a marathon 105-mover Slav.

There was a 3-way jam on 6.5 points between Paragua, Koneru, and Indonesian player, Salor Sitanggang. Against the Israeli, Victor Mikhalevski, Paragua was at his customary attacking best. Mikhalevski blundered terribly with 58...Rd2 and could have resigned immediately. He played on another five moves but the cause was hopeless.

Top placers:

7.5 Ni Hua
7 Azmaiparashvili, Zhang Zhong
6.5 Paragua, Koneru, Sitanggang
6 Mikhalevski, Sadorra, Megaranto, Zhao

Official site

Tips for Round 3

This really is turning out to be an exciting tournament with 13 games in the top section ending decisively yesterday . The Aussies, Smerdon and Solomon, held their foreign GM opposition to draws. While New South Wales player, Vladimir Smirnov, disappointed somewhat managing only a draw against less fancied Victorian, Malcolm Pyke.

Here are my tips:

1 IM Lane, Gary (2) .5-.5 GM Rogers, Ian (2)
2 Obst, James (2) 0-1 GM Chandler, Murray (2)
3 GM Ftacnik, Lubomir (1.5) .5-.5 IM Zhao, Zong-Yuan (2)
4 GM Schmaltz, Roland (1.5) .5-.5 IM Smerdon, David (1.5)
5 GM Johansen, Darryl (1.5) .5-.5 IM Solomon, Stephen (1.5)
6 FM Levi, Eddy (1) 0-1 IM Wohl, Alex (1)
7 FM Bjelobrk, Igor (1) 1-0 FM Dougherty, Michael (1)
8 Lakner, Jay (1) 0-1 FM Goldenberg, Igor (1)
9 FM Humphrey, Jonathan (1) 1-0 WIM Moylan, Laura (1)
10 Ly, Moulthun (1) 1-0 FM Guthrie, Aaron (1)
11 FM Xie, George (0.5) 1-0 Smirnov, Vladimir (0.5)
12 Pyke, Malcolm (0.5) 0-1 WIM Caoili, Arianne (0.5)
13 FM Canfell, Greg (0) 1-0 Song, Raymond (0.5)
14 Booth, Stewart (0) 1-0 Wallis, Christopher (0)
15 Bird, Andrew (0) 1-0 Frame, Nigel (0)

Chess in Mongolia

One fellow I'll never forget is Taivanbaatar who played in the 1999 Australian Open in the Sunshine Coast. He came all the way from Mongolia with hardly a cent to his name. At first, he stayed with a whole bunch of us at the Ginger Mountain motel. But it was soon discovered that he couldn't pay! Luckily, a local family came forward and provide Taivanbaatar with a billet.

The Mongolian finished on the creditable score of 7/11 points.

I am remembering all this thanks to Gangsuh's little story. Gangsuh is head coach of the Halimak CC, in Inner Mongolia.

My aim is to help about 10,000 people in Hohhot know and play chess within three years and foster some competitive players that are capable of winning world junior titles.

He must be doing something right as his own daughter came fifth in the World Juniors last year.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Aussie - Round 2

What about Ftacnik? And Chandler?

In my haste to bang out a post yesterday - I totally forgot about these two gentlemen. But, of course, they are playing in the event. In fact, they each won their games against fide masters. Despite this oversight, I maintain that Aussie GM Rogers is still the man to beat and will be my bet out point all other competitors.

What a great start to the tournament! Two games deserve a mention. Schmaltz - Smirnov and Johansen - Caoili had me on the edge of my seat. It seems to me that the former involved a miscalculation by Smirnov when he played 35...Bxf2+. Whereas in the latter game, Caoili had good winning chances and it surely would have been a sensational start if a grandmaster had lost in round 1.

Good luck to all players!

Round 2 tips:

1 IM Smerdon, David (1).5:.5 GM Ftacnik, Lubomir (1)
2 GM Rogers, Ian (1)1:0 FM Bjelobrk, Igor (1)
3 IM Solomon, Stephen (1)0:1 GM Schmaltz, Roland (1)
4 GM Chandler, Murray (1)1:0 FM Humphrey, Jonathan (1)
5 IM Zhao, Zong-Yuan (1)1:0 Ly, Moulthun (1)
6 WIM Moylan, Laura (1)0:1 IM Lane, Gary (1)
7 WIM Caoili, Arianne (0.5)1:0 Obst, James (1)
8 Song, Raymond (0.5)0:1 GM Johansen, Darryl (0.5)
9 IM Wohl, Alex (0) 1:0 FM Xie, George (0.5)
10 FM Canfell, Greg (0)1:0 Lakner, Jay (0)
11 FM Goldenberg, Igor (0)1:0 Booth, Stewart (0)
12 FM Guthrie, Aaron (0).5:.5 Bird, Andrew (0)
13 Wallis, Christopher (0)0:1 FM Levi, Eddy (0)
14 Smirnov, Vladimir (0)1:0 Pyke, Malcolm (0)
15 Frame, Nigel (0)0:1 FM Dougherty, Michael (0)

Asian Chess Updates

Finishing on 31.5 points out of a possible 40, the Indian mens side secured the gold medals at the Asian Teams in Iran. Vietnam placed for the silver, while Iran 'A' had to settle for bronze.

In the 10th and last round, India blanked out Iran 'B', 4-0. The Indians were undefeated throughout this double RR tournament between 6 teams. Congrats to India but I would suggest that this event is probably not as impressive as it looks.

Closer to home, in Singapore, Azmaiparashivili holds a slim lead over his rivals. After 6 rounds, the Georgian grandmaster is on 5.5 points. He is hotly pursued by Zhang Zhong, Ni Hua and Victor Mikhalevski who are all on five.

The closest Pinoy chasers are Paragua and Gonzales - both on 4.5 points. The defending champ, Paragua, went down to Azmaiparashvili yesterday in their individual match-up.

For more, don't forget to check out the Singapore Masters official site.

Packer Postscript

According to cricinfo, in its tribute to Kerry Packer, Gary Kasparov had apparently once expressed the opinion that what chess needs is its own Kerry Packer.

I did not know that!

This link is all about cricket, but Aussie readers, I'm sure, will find interesting.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Australian Championships - Round One

The local championship is off and running today. While the juniors began their fight at the unfriendly hour of 9AM this morning - the seniors will commence theirs this afternoon.

For our international readers - live games, results and pairings are available from the official site. I think I've said this before but the organisers deserve a big congrats for creating such a user-friendly chess website. Very competent indeed!

Now, as is the Aussie tradition, I suppose I should get in on the tipping. For the seniors here are my tips for round 1.

1 FM Guthrie, Aaron 0:1 Ftacnik, Lubomir
2 GM Rogers, Ian 1:0 FM Levi, Eddy
3 Smirnov, Vladimir .5:.5 Schmaltz, Roland
4 GM Chandler, Murray .5:.5 FM Dougherty, Michael
5 WIM Caoili, Arianne .5:.5 Johansen, Darryl
6 IM Zhao, Zong-Yuan 1:0 Lakner, Jay
7 Booth, Stewart 0:1 IM Lane, Gary
8 IM Wohl, Alex .5:.5 Ly, Moulthun
9 Bird, Andrew 1:0 IM Smerdon, David
10 IM Solomon, Stephen 1:0 Pyke, Malcolm
11 Wallis, Christopher 0:1 FM Bjelobrk, Igor
12 FM Canfell, Greg 1:0 WIM Moylan, Laura
13 Song, Raymond 0:1 FM Xie, George
14 FM Goldenberg, Igor 1:0 Obst, James
15 Frame, Nigel 0:1 FM Humphrey, Jonathan

I have not seen a field like this before for the local title event. Very impressive.

German GM Roland Schmaltz, who is temporarily living in Queensland, is certainly a welcome personality in the local chess scene. However, I think that the man to beat is still GM Rogers. His outing 2 years ago in Adelaide was a downer and the old maestro will be more determined than ever. Defending champ Gary Lane will make a strong showing but he won't retain the title. Johansen, as usual, will likely have too many draws. While of the international masters, I count Solomon to be the only serious challenger.

For the sake of friendship, I hope fide masters George Xie, Canfell and WIM Arianne Caoili will do well.

Chess and Kerry Packer

The passing of Australia's richest man, Kerry Packer, is naturally big news. At times like these, friend and foe alike always have plenty to say. And it is often when we reminisce that we discover some odd bits of detail.

And so it is that professor Rodney Tiffen recounts a chessic moment in the Packer life:

IT'S almost 25 years since Kerry Packer came to speak to a media politics class that I taught with Professor Henry Mayer. Finding myself alone with him, I tried to make light conversation by saying that I had read in the paper that he had just bought a chess computer.

Instead of a pleasant conversation about chess and computers, my remark provoked an outburst of anger that such an item had been published. He said he could not see why such a trivial fact should be in the paper, and was outraged by this invasion of his privacy.

From The Age.

Noisy Phone Beats IM

International master Luis Chiong of the Philippines sufferred a loss in round 3 thanks to his ringing mobile phone! My friends and relatives from RP tell me that mobile phones are the latest vice in the country. Worse than drugs. Everybody's got a mobile phone. The models available over there are even more advanced than those here in Australia. Well, whatever, but I hope master Chiong learns his lesson quickly.

After 4 rounds, Azmaiparashvili is in the lead on 4 points. His next opponent is Mark Paragua who is on 3.5 points.

Update from the Manila Standard and from the official site.

At the Asian Teams, India defeated Vietnam 3-1 thus taking the lead in the competition. The Indians are now on 27.5 points closely chased by the Vietnamese on 26. Iran 'A' is presently in 3rd spot on 24.5 points.

Two New Aussie Blogs

I've just discovered two new fellow Aussie chess bloggers. The first comes courtesy of the ACF's weekly newsletter. Dr. A.J. Bellette is running the Correspondence Chess Australia blog. If you're into corro chess, then this blog might be for you.

I first met the good doctor online, via, and he strikes me as a gentleman. So all power to him!

Second, is a newer blog - Chess Moves. The blog is a very young and so there is not much content yet. Again, all power to Chess Moves too.

I must say, it is very nice to see a lot more Aussie chess bloggers popping up all over the place. I especially encourage those who live interstate and who play in tournaments regularly. Nothing beats that immediate first-hand report.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Website for WA

I should mention this news from Western Australia. The chess guys way out west have launched a new website. Technical aspects aside, it certainly does loook good.

Don't expect any frequent updates until February 2006. The volunteers over there surely deserve their rest.

News from Asia

At the Asian Teams in Iran, the Vietnamese are once again showing their powers after completely dominating the 23rd SEA Games held recently in the Philippines.

After seven rounds, Vietnam is in the sole lead on 22 points. While India, another chess superpower on the rise, holds second spot on 21 points, after managing only a 3-1 win over Iran 'A'.

Meanwhile at the Singapore Masters International Open, Pinoy chessers are off to an excellent start. I suppose there is an extra bit of motivation here after that horrible gold medal shutout at the SEAG recently.

Somone to watch here is the 12-year old Wesley So. In the first round, he downed the 10th seed, WGM Zhao Xue of China.

Led by last year's champ, Paragua, the Filipinos are a 15-man strong delegation and is reportedly bankrolled by Congressman Prospero "Butch" Pichay. As we noted in this blog a few days ago, the congressman is expected to contest the presidency of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) in elections next month. Incumbent head Go Teng Kok has already expressed opposition to Pichay citing Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham Tolentino as his preferred replacement.

All I can say is, I hope that whoever becomes the next NCFP head won't treat the organisation like his own little kingdom. And you know, these politicians - especially the Filipino kind, well, you've just got to keep an extra eye on the bastards.

Commonwealth Chess Association

Did everyone have a good break? I hope so. I did nothing but eat, saw a movie or two. How about that King Kong flick? Awesome!

Anyway to chess.

Like any activity, chess is represented by a variety of different organisations. And I had no idea that there was such a group as the Commonwealth Chess Association. I have not been able to locate a website, but if you're unfamiliar with the "Commonwealth" - then you can at least read all about that.

However, I did find the CCA's first newsletter courtesy of the FIDE website. There is an interesting trivia quiz: "Which country boasts of being the holder of the oldest, continuously running national chess championships in the world?"

Reactions to the newsletter are available on the FIDE site.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays

Allow me to wish all my fans and fellow bloggers a happy Christmas. Or, if you're the cynical type, you can always have yourselves a Happy Festivus and settle for an aluminum pole.

What ever turns you on, do have fun. As the good book says, "eat, drink and be merry so long as you do not sin". Well I think that's what it says.

I must say, this year has been fun. Lots of stories to tell - politics, tournaments, a few interviews. I am definitely looking forward to next year. That's the good thing about chess - you can never run out of things to write about. And, of course, next month we begin with the 113th New Zealand Championships to be held in what must be paradise - Queenstown. I will be there, providing daily updates (as much as possible anyway) which will include photography. So, my dear fans, look out for that!

But before NZ, is the Australian Championships in Brisbane which is due to commence next week. Good luck to all!

Finally, I wish to extend my congratulations to Mr Andrew Bird. Last Thursday, he became the latest name in list of NSW State Champions. Andrew defeated former champ, FM Max Fuller in their 4-game playoff. Good job man.

'Til next time folks!

Broken Promise

The Mt Buller Australian Open, played between December 2004 and January 2005, will go down in Australian chess history as the Ghost Who Walks.

After having died then revived as a sort of Frankenstein tournament, it died again only to have its spirit literally hang around Aussie chess circles like a bad smell. For nearly a year now, chess fans Down Under have been waiting, demanding and waiting some more for their memento from the event: a CD full of tournament bulletins and games. Each CD cost these fans AUS$12.

This week, however, the Australian Chess Federation's head honcho, ex-lawyer Denis Jessop, was forced into an humiliating backdown. Writing in the latest ACF newsletter, Mr Jessop admitted, "The ACF Council has decided not to proceed with the production of the CD that was to have included material relating to these events".

The ACF head then went on into a long explanation as to how this laughable situation came about. You can just about read all of it as saying, it's all been too hard, tough luck! Instead of receiving their CDs, disgruntled fans will now either receive a refund or they can choose to have their monies redirected towards the ACF's Olympiad Appeal.

Central in this laughable episode is South Australian chess organiser and himself an ex ACF president, George Howard. By all accounts, it was he who announced and promised the CDs. For whatever reason, he failed to deliver. A natural question is: what action will the ACF be taking against Mr Howard?

This is all very upsetting, not to mention embarassing, for Australian chess. Let's hope there is no repeat. And to do that, the ACF must get it into their collective heads not to be so easily mersmerised by the promises of a salesman. In the Mt Buller fiasco, the ACF certainly got their fill - not one, but two salesmen!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Drams for Levon

In recognition of his fine victory in the World Cup tournament in Siberia, the government of Armenia has awarded Levon Aronian 5 million drams (US$11,000). Of course, this amount is really nothing compared to the $100,000 prize awarded to Levon by FIDE.

“I was more relaxed during the final game,” Aronian told reporters on Wednesday when asked to explain his successful performance at Khanty-Mansiisk. The grandmaster said he was also greatly helped by strong moral backing which he received from members of the local Armenian community. He said he socialized and even went hunting with them between games.

More from Armenia Liberty.

So Much Talent

12-years young pinoy FM Wesley So is demonstrating his poweful potential by leading his Tagaytay B team to victory over Tabilog Cargo Services in the Prospero "Butch’’ Pichay Chess Challenge tournament. So's team outpointed their opponent's by 2.5 - 1.5 points.

ABS CBN reports:

So waylaid veteran International Master Richard Bitoon on Board 1, while teammate Truman Hernaez downed Raymond Salcedo on Board 3.

On Board 4, Allan Macala settled for a draw against Nelson Villanueva to cushion the loss of Edmundo Gatus to FM Jesse Noel Sales on Board 2 and secure the win for Tagaytay B.

Mayor Tolentino had this to say of So, "I’m not surprised that Tagaytay “B” topped the eliminations. I have great faith in the talent of Wesley So and his teammates."

More from the Manila Standard.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Strengthening the Soul

It all gets a bit confusing you know. Sometimes they say it's bad; sometimes they say it's all good. For the mayor of the Iranian town of Isfahan, Morteza Saqqaian-Neja, chess is definitely good.

Isfahan is presently hosting the 14th Asian Chess Team Championships. As far as its mayor is concerned, "Chess is among those sports that strengthen the mind and soul and at the end, too, man succeeds in harnessing his temptations."

More from IRNA.

Dlugy Called Home

For eight months, GM Maxim Dlugy has not been able to call home. He's been stuck in prison on fraud charges that included allegedly stealing some $9M from a magnesium works as well as improper spending on his expense account.

We now have news that he's been cleared of all charges last Tuesday.

The North Jersey reports.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Useful Stuff from Kenilworthian

For our Aussie readers who are into chess and computers, here is a useful entry from The Kenilworthian.

A link to various programs and engines is also provided.

Battle for NCFP

The upcoming elections for leadership of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines looks set to be a hotly contested showdown.

Go Teng Kok, incumbent president, is likely to face local Congressman Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr.

The politician appears to have the support of the top players. Paragua has described him as a "proven leader". While Antonio said, "We need someone like the congressman to lead chess today".

More from ABS-CBN Interactive.

Dlugy in Prison

Grandmaster Maxim Dlugy, a US citizen, is in prison on charges of suspicion of attempted fraud. That is according to his wife Marina. The GM is locked up in a town called Solikamsk, in central Russia.

The North Jersey reports:

Wife, daughter and son pray that Max Dlugy will be acquitted and allowed to return home.

They are confident of his innocence, but less sure that the truth, as they see it, will prevail in the Russian judicial system, where the assumption is that a defendant is guilty until proven innocent.

The son, Matthew, was quoted as saying, "I miss my dad and really want him to come back."

Here's hoping that the Dlugy family will get back together soon. But with such a ridiculous justice system that Russia apparently has, it will be an uphill battle.

Actually, this is not terribly new news. We first heard about Dlugy's troubles with the law earlier in the year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Who's the Grinch?

Diabolical tactics, it seems, are not the sole preserve of northern presidents. Webmasters across the land, lock up your domain names. The Grinch is coming!

South Australian chess personality and organiser, Alex Saint, made the stunning announcement the other day on the site (Australia's most popular and lively chess bulletin board):

The South Australian Junior Chess League (SAJCL) has had the website for about 3 years. Earlier this year, we had a switch of webmaster and for a short while the website was closed down. We did not realise this. During this time, Chess World came along and grabbed it (the domain name). Yes we should have been more on the ball but I am quite annoyed.

In a phone call with David [Cordover], I was shocked to hear how he "wanted to teach us a lesson about professionalism". He also "wanted more bargaining power".

Out of frustration, Mr Saint also included a copy of David Cordover's email in which he stated his terms. These were, "$50 for 2 years lease on domain name", "$35 per month hosting" and "some small admin fees..."

Of course there is nothing procedurally incorrect about Mr Cordover's actions. But why in the world would a business, that only recently made a $100,000 sponsorship announcement, be taking a volunteer organisation to the cleaners? And whatever happened to “Community and Commercial working together”?

Mr Cordover give back that domain!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Gold Galore in Paralympics

Filipino chessers competing in the 3rd SEA Paralympic Games are doing what their "normal" counterparts failed to do: win gold!

The Manila Times informs us that Pinoy players have bagged both the individual and team gold for the visually handicapped and totally blind classification sections.

National Master Henry Lopez scored 5 points for the gold in the BI category, relegating Indonesians Eddy Suryanto and Maksum Firdaus, who each had 4 points, to second and third, respectively.

Lopez’s golden triumph anchored the squad also composed of FIDE Master Sander Severino and Alexis Elinon to the team championship in the category.
The tally of gold medals by the handicapped Pinoy woodpushers means that RP has now managed to win 5 out of the 6 chess events.

National coach, GM Antonio was quoted as saying, "I’m really proud of them despite their disabilities but the team is very determine to sweep the remaining three golds in this event of the Asean Paralympics Games".

Championships Playoff

The playoff for the 2005 NSW State Championships between Andrew Bird and ex-title holder Max Fuller will commence tonight. They will battle it out over the next four nights.

I have no particular preference over these two gentlemen but, for the sake of drama, I'd go for the older guy. Max will probably kill me for that!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Short on Fischer Sale

A few days ago, chessbase reported on the sale of Bobby Fischer's memorabilia on ebay. My, if only I had the millions to spend on those! I will likely never find the time to read the stuff - but the idea of owning such material does tickle the ego a bit.

British GM Nigel Short recognises a familiar handwriting, Bob Wade's, on of the items for sale. He adds:

The books, numbering around 500 in total - 300 of which are foreign - are not of great value, but are nevertheless of interest to the practical player. Interestingly, it is only a quarter of the size of my own chess library, which, although decent, is not considered particularly noteworthy. In our brave new computer age, there is an entire generation of young chess players who barely possess any books at all, and if they do, it is unlikely they have looked at them.

From the Guardian.

ADSL Tournament

While in Topalov's Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company has launched the country's first ADSL online chess tournament.

Gold for RP

The Philippines wins gold in the 3rd Asean Para Games. The Manila Standard reports of 3 gold medals in various events.

Fide master Sander Severino turned back Vietnamese Le Hua Binh in 53 moves of Reti Opening to score a perfect 5.0 points and bag the first chess gold in the physical handicapped individual event.

More from the Standard.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Little Good News

Based on his impressive performance in Siberia recently, GM Mark Paragua is expected to hit the 2600 rating mark in the January list of the FIDE ratings. Well, that may very well be - but somebody over there needs to pay for whatever it is they owe FIDE. Right now the Philippine ratings are still unavailable.

Mark's next event is set to be the Singapore Masters International Open.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Exclusive: George Xie Interview

In this exclusive interview, Australia's latest chess superstar, FM George Xie, gives us a few insights into his recent successes in overseas tournaments. As you can see, George is a man of few words. Just as well, as he is really the kind of gentleman who prefers to do his talking over the board.

Well, first of all George - congrats and well done on the international master title.

Thanks, but I am still not IM yet.

Tell us - how did you feel finally earning the title? What went through your mind? (I realise of course that the next step is to raise your rating to 2400+).

I was very happy that I can made 2 norms form 2 tournaments, and my next step is to get my rating [to] go up to 2400.

During the World Juniors event, was there some particular moment when you knew you'd earned your last norm? I imagine you had calculated what you needed to score and all that.

During the event, the only thing in my mind is play well. I didn't really know I made a IM norm when I got 5.5/9.

We followed your progress quite closely in Australia and I can say that we are all very happy for you. You played some really strong opponents in the World Juniors; who would you say was your toughest opponent and why?

I think Zhigalko (2537) is the toughest opponent I had played in the tournament because his very good at opening theories, and also understand how to continued after opening.

Which was tougher: World Juniors or 5th Asian Championships?

Asian Championship is much strong, as we can see the players average rating was much higher than World Junior.

Can you nominate your best game from both events?

I was quite happy with my black colour against IM Laxman in Asian ch, and black colour against IM Lenic in World Junior.

Where to from here - the grandmaster title?

Get IM first. But it is not easy to become GM.

Tell our readers again what you're studying at university.

I [am] actually in TAFE. The main subject I study is languages (English).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Nightmare on Pinoy Streets

Unbelievable! My beloved Philippines failed to win a single gold medal in the chess event of the 23rd SEA Games held in the Philippines. This is surely the tragedy of tragedies!

Fellow SEA neighbour Vietnam dominated the sport proving their rise as a superpower in the region. Now if only the 23rd SEA Games site can come online so I can quote the exact scores. But hey, that's Pinoy incompetence for you.

And are the FIDE dues paid yet? Nope, not yet. Just checked that. Totally hopeless.

Responding to comments that he had abandoned the team, GM Mark Paragua (a triple gold medalist in Vietnam 2 years ago), who did his nation proud recently in Siberia, had this to say: "I did not abandon the team. I did not qualify for the team".

He added, "The NCFP has to make up its mind whether to seed players outright or hold elimination. It would be unfair to remove one player to accommodate another".


Brains Beat Brawn

"The Western District Interschool Chess Championships were held last Friday attracting several schools from the west."

From Star News Group.

Monday, December 12, 2005

We're Back!

After a week in London, I'm back. I'm sure all my fans have been looking forward to it. I had planned for updates every now and then while I was away, but even 5-star hotels, it seems, still can't manage a decent net connection. And there was no way I was going to pay for a net cafe. Everything in London is mighty expensive!

The flight over was terrible. Were it not for the Qantas flat beds, I'd be absolutely beside myself. I mean, get this: you pay a fortune for the ticket but the food's absolutely terrible, there was no wine list, the Club Lounge was over-rated and, most of all, the on board chess program was a bloody patzer!

Actually that last one wasn't my biggest problem. The fellow next to me, supposedly an educated financial type, kept disturbing the air with his indigestion. It was an especially sharp odour - you know, like rotten cheese.

Anyway, I had a great time away. Even got to shoot a shot gun (clay shooting). So folks, we're back to normal coverage of chess. Coming soon is an interview with Australia's latest superstar!

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Readers are advised that I will be visiting the United Kingdom between 5 December to 9 December. During this time the blog will be updated less frequently. Well, it all depends on my net access and how busy I will be. I will return Down Under on 12 December and I'll resume regular activities from then.

You may also have noticed that all comments submitted are now moderated, though I publish them completely unedited. The kerfuffle over the NSWCA AGM last Sunday, unfortunately, provoked a couple of unsavoury comments that do not fit the high intellectual standards we like to maintain. Of course, we also like to continue our existence without having to be distracted by some litigious petals.

Having said that, please continue to submit comments. You may be anonymous if you wish. In the words of a great Australian, "See youse all!"

Pinoy Duo Leading

At the Tagaytay International Convention Center (in the Philippines), Eugene Torre and fellow local Beverly Mendoza are leading the standard chess competition of the 23rd South East Asian Games.

Tempo reports. (Please note that these Tempo news items seem to disappear after a couple of days. So if you've clicked on one of the links I've posted previously, you'll see a blank page).

Paragua Eliminated

Pinoy player Mark Paragua was eliminated from the World Chess Cup event overnight, losing to Russian, Alexey Dreev. The mini match went into tiebreaks after both players split the points in their regulation games.

Paragua drew first blood in the first rapid game, but Dreev struck back quickly on the reverse with the White side of a Queen's Gambit Accepted. The two players were then forced into a blitz play-off with Dreev eventually prevailing 1.5-0.5.

WCC 2005
Paragua, Mark
Black "Dreev, Alexey

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 a6 6. a3 Nbd7 7. b4 g6 8. Bd3 Bg7 9. O-O O-O 10. Bb2 b5 11. cxd5 exd5 12. e4 Nb6 13. Ne5 Bb7 14. exd5 Nfxd5 15. Rc1 Nxc3 16. Bxc3 f6 17. Ng4 Qd6 18. h4 Bc8 19. Nh2 Be6 20. Re1 Bc4 21. Bb1 Rfe8 22. Qf3 Bd5 23. Qh3 Be6 24. Qf3 Bd5 25. Qh3 Bh6 26. Rcd1 Be6 27. Ng4 Bg7 28. h5 Bxg4 29. Qxg4 f5 30. Qf3 Nd5 31. Bb2 Qf4 32. Qxf4 Nxf4 33. hxg6 hxg6 34. g3 Nd5 35. Ba2 Kf8 36. Rxe8+ Rxe8 37. Kf1 Rd8 38. Ke2 Ke7 39. Rc1 Kd6 40. Bxd5 Kxd5 41. Kd3 Rh8 42. Rc5+ Kd6 43. Bc1 Rh1 44. Bf4+ Kd7 45. Bd2 Ra1 46. Bc1 Ra2 47. f3 Bf8 48. Rc2 Ra1 49. g4 Bd6 50. gxf5 gxf5 51. d5 cxd5 52. Kd4 Rb1 53. Rc3 Bg3 54. Kxd5 a5 55. bxa5 b4 56. axb4 Rxb4 57. Rd3 Rb5+ 58. Kc4+ Kc6 59. f4 Rc5+ 60. Kb4 Rxc1 61. Rxg3 Rf1 62. Rc3+ Kb7 63. Rc4 Ka6 64. Rd4 Re1 65. Rd6+ Kb7 66. Kc5 Ra1 67. a6+ Kc7 68. Rc6+ Kd7 69. Rg6 Ra4 70. a7 Kc7 71. Rg8 1-0

Meanwhile the top players like Shirov, Kamsky, Ponomariov and Bacrot have made it. For my money, I'm betting on Kamsky to win the whole thing. It's certainly satisfying to see this powerful American making a come-back.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lane Goes Down

In a tragic day for Australia, the country's sole representative at the World Cup, international master Gary Lane, went down to Baadur Jobava in Game 1 of the second round. It was a tough struggle with the game lasting 88 moves.

The good thing about having dual loyalties is that you can always have a 2-way bet. So I am happy to say that Pinoy chesser GM Mark Paragua managed to hold Russian super-GM Alexy Dreev to a draw.

World Cup, Khanty Mansyisk RUS
Dreev, A.
Paragua, M.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 e5 4. Nf3 exd4 5. Bxc4 Bb4+ 6. Nbd2 Nc6 7. O-O Nf6 8. e5 Nd5 9. Nb3 Nb6 10. Bb5 Qd5 11. Nbxd4 Bd7 12. Bxc6 Bxc6 13. Nxc6 Qxc6 14. Bg5 h6 15. Rc1 Qd5 16. a3 hxg5 17. axb4 g4 18. Ng5 Qxd1 19. Rfxd1 Rh5 20. f4 gxf3 21. Nxf3 Rc8 22. b5 Nd7 23. Re1 Kf8 24. Re4 Rh6 25. Nd4 Rh5 26. Nf3 Rh6 27. Rd1 Ke8 28. Rg4 Rg6 29. e6 Rxe6 30. Rxg7 Rg6 31. Rh7 Nf6 32. Rh8+ Rg8 33. Rxg8+ Nxg8 34. Ra1 Ra8 35. Kf2 Nf6 36. Ke3 Ke7 37. h3 Ne8 38. Kf4 Nd6 39. Nd4 Kf6 40. Re1 a6 41. Ra1 Re8 42. bxa6 bxa6 43. Kf3 Rb8 44. Rxa6 Rxb2 45. g4 Rb4 46. Ke3 Rc4 47. Nf3 Rc3+ 48. Kf4 Rc4+ 49. Kg3 Kg7 50. Ra2 Ne4+ 51. Kg2 c5 52. h4 Rc1 53. Re2 Nf6 54. Ne5 Nd5 55. Rd2 Nf4+ 56. Kg3 Ng6 57. Nxg6 Kxg6 58. Rd6+ Kg7 59. Rc6 c4 60. g5 c3 61. Kg4 c2 62. Kh5 Kf8 63. Rc7 Ke8 64. Kh6 Rh1 65. Rxc2 Rxh4+ 66. Kg7 Rf4 67. Re2+ Kd7 68. g6 fxg6 1/2-1/2

Getting the Boot

Here's a story that I can personally relate to. A few years ago, when the Galleries Victoria was finally opened in Sydney, a few chessers from Hyde Park immediately took up positions in the very comfy food hall. It was perfect under any conditions, rain or shine. Problem is, a few guys were too noisy and just plain foul-mouthed. Pretty soon, the building management, Ipoh, decided to kick us out.

It looks like a bunch of chess players in Rochester, New York have just sufferred the same fate. From

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Australian Chess Magazine

Earlier today, I had mistakenly identified Shaun Press as the publisher of Australian Chess Magazine. In fact, he published the Australian Chess Forum - which is now defunct.

The Australian Chess Magazine is alive and well. That is published by Brian Jones. To subscribe, go to

Power and Dishonour

There was a time when men honoured their words.

Last Sunday, I walked into the NSW annual general meeting (AGM) with the expectations of a new a day in our chess leadership. The ancien regime has, for a long time now, been a dying geriatric, barely able to stand. Starved of new ideas and beset with controversy and crisis, the NSWCA, under the leadership of one Bill Gletsos, was a marked body.

More than a month before the AGM, the first whispers of revolt began. I was in the Philippines in '86 and, I tell you, I know a revolution when I see one. Led by two ex-Olympiad captains, Jason Lyons and Peter Parr, we can now reveal the main players of that rebel faction. They are: Andrew Bird, Laura Moylan, Nicholas Kordahi, Brett Tindall and the gentleman player, Max Fuller.

But seeing the need for long-term harmony, Jason sought no blood - figuratively speaking, that is. Instead, he approached the incumbent president, Bill Gletsos, to see if a more amicable plan could be adopted to ensure a smoother transition. Says Jason, "My motivation for being upfront with Bill was to create harmony and continuity in what is a very fractured and political landscape".

On 13 October this year, Jason made the following public announcement:

For the record, there's no ambush. I had a coffee with Bill last week to discuss my nomination at the November AGM. I outlined my intentions and we had a good chat. Bill said that he would support my nomination.

I updated him on others who are joining me in seeking election to Council, at least one of which (sic) he was already aware of, and I expressed the wish that he remain on Council. Bill said he'd like to take up the Ratings portfolio again (the current holder of this position has recently moved to far north NSW).

This was the first sign that the AGM will see a bloodless coup. With that, we allowed ourselves a big sigh of relief. After all, at the end of the day, we are all friends.

Yet what transpired last Sunday is something that will either kill you with laughter or make you weep. It all depends on your politics.

As we now know, Mr Gletsos delivered a surprising bombshell by declaring, last Sunday, that he was standing for the presidency. For Mr Lyons, a FIDE international arbiter and organiser of the prestigious QVB Chess Festival in 1999 - it was a shot well below the belt. By all accounts, it appears that there was some kind of agreement between Mr Lyons and Mr Gletsos and which the latter had reneged on.

Mr Lyons:

It is absolutely unequivocal that Bill agreed to not run for President. I did not ask him for this - I simply stated my intentions, to which he explained he was only in the position in a de facto sense, having acquired a vacant Presidency when he was VP. He welcomed my candidacy, in conjuction with the other team members I had assembled, and offered his full support.

Of course, this is bluntly disputed by Bill. The well-informed Canberra chess personality, and himself an Olympiad player as well as publisher of the highly regarded (but now defunct) Australian Chess Forum, Mr Shaun Press had this to say on an Australian chess bulletin board: "[W]hat I heard was promised was that BG (Bill Gletsos) would be happy to continue as Ratings Officer if Jason became President. This was 'interperated' (sic) as Bill was not standing [for the presidential post], when it seems that no such statement was actually made."

Mr Press' statement is consistent with what Mr Gletsos informed me last Sunday when I queried, "Where is Jason's mob?" It is also corroborated by Jason himself.

Some 10-15 minutes before the scheduled commencement, word filters outside the meeting room that Bill is running. No-one is certain. Suddenly everyone's talking. Parr approaches Bill, some sort of argument ensues, I enter the conversation, and Bill offers this gem: "I never said I wouldn't run for President, I only said that if you were President, I would be the Ratings Officer."

It's all a bit confusing. While I am not familiar with Mr Gletsos on a closer personal basis, he has always struck me as honourable and trustworthy. Thus, it's important that he make a public statement sooner than later. It is rather odd that several days have passed and despite all the shots fired his way from various angles - so far, there has been no formal communication from our president. He seems content to leave us all guessing. This cannot be a good start to his 2006 tenure.

Mr Gletsos must make a statement now to tell his side of the story. Or else, we the chess public can feel no confidence whatsoever in his leadership.

I will leave the last word to Jason Lyons: "I'll continue to support ACF initiatives, the GP if I can help in some way, Olympiad Appeals and the like, and Junior Chess. But these blokes have lost me."

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

New Zealand's Future

Visiting NZ, grandmaster Nigel Short thinks he's found our neighbour's chess future. They are the young juniors Harry Wuan and Bobby Cheng.

On Bobby, Short says, "Bobby was the last player left at the table . . . But that six-year-old was just incredible, he was really, really good."

From Stuff.

Grand Prix Tease

That master of promotion, Brian Jones, has been teasing the Australian chess public. If Mr Jones were a woman, he'd quite likely make the perfect pole dancer. He turns you on and leaves you wanting for more.

On the hot looking 2006 GP official site, Mr Jones announces: "23 November 2005 7.02pm - Sponsorship for 2006 Grand Prix found. Details to be announced soon". And a couple of days later added, "Here is a small clue to wet (sic) your appetite. The prizes for the 2006 Grand Prix will include some overseas air fares".

All good stuff. Now some folks are guessing it might be an airline. But I'm betting it's a condom company!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

World Chess Cup

So much news to cover! Some days there's hardly anything.

Anyway, I suppose I should mention that somewhere in cold Siberia a lone Australian (well, his chaperone doesn't count) is battling away against the world's best chessers. He is, of course, international master Gary Lane. And who else but an Aussie would have the luxury of a walkover when his opponent, Akopian, failed to front up? Gary is into round 2. I'm sure he won't mind me saying, "lucky bastard".

But there is also another player that I should like to mention. Who else but a lone Filipino - the Philippines' latest GM, Mark Paragua.

Unlike his much distracted countrymen back home, Paragua is doing the Pinoy chess culture proud. He needed no luck. Crossing swords with GM Segei Movsesian, the Pinoy grandmaster vanquished his opponent 1.5-0.5. On the return match, Paragua forced a resignation after 41 moves when he was already up by 2 major pieces.

This wonderful news brings much needed comfort to our Philippine nation after our chess team failed to win the gold medal in the individual rapid chess event in the 23rd South East Asian Games. We might need a miracle to win the teams event - but I hope they can do it!

Coming From Behind

Well, evidently we're a bit behind the news. Thanks to Boylston Chess Club, it seems that the news item on the World Chess Beauty Contest had already struck the blogosphere a day earlier.

Here is an item from the New York Times, no less, that mentions Vaness Reid straight out of the first paragraph.

There are also entries from the Daily Dirt as well as Susan Polgar.

To Susan Polgar, all I can say is: well, like, whatever! At least I had a hand in this.

A Nation of Chessers

In cities right around the world, there is bound to be some park or street corner that is home to chess players. In Sofia, Bulgaria - that special place is right in front of the National Theatre Ivan Vazov.

The Sofia Echo sets the scene:

Even when the brisk autumn air chases away park fans in the sunny afternoons, the chess fanatics are still there. The place with the marble chess tables near the fountain is usually crowded.

The group of chess lovers is often clamorous, but always concentrating, with more gazers and supporters than real players; each viewer a potential undercover chess player. One thing is for sure: everybody here is an expert on everything, always ready to give his opinion.

Read more here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Sex Appeal

After the flurry of news regarding Vaness, Melbourne's The Age newspaper has now picked up the story through AAP.

Soft Pawn by The Age.

Vaness Reid on Top

The chess world has known about it for some time but now it seems that even the mainstream media has caught on. The World Chess Beauty Contest features 3 Australians the last time I checked. These are Vaness Reid, Shannon Oliver and Queensland's, Arianne Caoili.

Aussies will be glad to know that Wollongong player, Vanness, has been on top of the rankings for at least a couple of months now.

The Independent Online had this to say:

The World Chess Beauty Contest ranks a 16-year-old Australian as the world's most beautiful woman in the game. Vanessa Reid plays competitive chess and indeed once represented Australia at a tournament in Malaysia and played in New Zealand this year. But ranked only 47,694th among both men and women, she is no grandmaster.

The Joannesburg-based Mail & Guardian also mentions the young Aussie's exploits.

What can I say? Unbelievable! After our win in the Miss Universe last year, I think Australia has found itself an entirely new achievement. After all, we can't win in rugby, not in cricket, and hec, not even in netball!

Empire Strikes Back

Continuing our special coverage of recent association AGMs, we have just been informed of some interesting developments down south. Never a boring bunch, Victorians produced their own little drama at their annual general meeting.

A loyal Victorian fan of yours truly writes in:

There was a moment of drama early in the meeting when the easy acceptance of Croydon to move from provisional affiliation to full affiliation was not mirrored in the next motion to affiliate the Dark Horse Club. Apparently one large south eastern Club was concerned that Dark Horse does not disclose an address for club activities. At first vote count, it seemed that the vote would be tied at 4-4 and a casting vote required. Oddly, none of the four were willing to speak against the motion, leaving all other delegates in the dark as to the issue of concern. Dark Horse’s credentials as a chess club were in evidence since they collected the A Grade Interclub trophy for 2005, whereas the nay-sayers did not even field a team in A Grade. This matter was resolved on the second count at 8 to 4.

Perhaps in an effort to avoid this controversy - Chess Victoria tightened its entry criteria for affiliation by Clubs. From next year onwards, only incorporated clubs will be able to have the status of fully affiliated. This means Geelong and Dark Horse will need to take action to become incorporated else they lapse back to provisionally affiliated.

More significantly, however, and in a move which seemed to have stunned the members present, the Chess Victoria president announced a proposal for the formation of a Chess Victoria Junior Chess Council to be headed by experienced chess organizer,
Gerrit Hartland.

My loyal fan again:

After the AGM, CV Executive members were handed a planning document covering Junior Council purposes, membership, procedures, voting entitlements, responsibilities, and standing agendas. One might be inclined to think that the Empire is striking back to tackle recent problems caused by competing commercial interests and missed opportunities.

Finally, Chess Victoria welcomes new faces: Garry Lycett and Grant Bultman. While Steve Frost was elected as auditor for the first time.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Revolutionaries Outflanked

In an outflanking maneuver, not seen since the days of the Great Battles of the Hellenes, the NSWCA ancien regime today beautifully executed a play that forced the would-be challengers, Jason Lyons and Peter Parr, to spit the dummy and walk out of today's annual general meeting.

"They've really got all the bases covered", was about all Mr Lyons could say.

The trouble began when Mr Bill Gletsos, incumbent president, suddenly announced that he was, in fact, standing for re-election. This came after an apparent agreement from weeks earlier that he would not stand in order to assure Mr Lyons a likely victory.

According to Bill, he made no assurances whatsoever that he wouldn't stand for re-election. But when I spoke to Mr Peter Parr earlier in the afternoon, his take on the so called agreement was the exact opposite.

The details are sketchy and, no doubt, these will be a hot topic of debate between both camps in weeks to come. All this makes me wonder if the agreement was crystallised over verbal exchanges or emails. If the latter, then perhaps Mr Lyons and Mr Parr can be persuaded to share so that we, the chess public, can decide for ourselves.

Mr Gletsos' 2-step cha-cha was finished off nicely when he apparently declined Mr Lyons' application for membership into the NSWCA. To stand for office or to partake in discussions (including to vote) in the AGM, one needs to be a member of the NSWCA. Fair enough. But since Mr Lyons already had his application form with him, and his intention was clear, what grounds did Mr Gletsos have to decline the application? Was there supposed to be a cut-off time?

On the flipside, here's a question for Jason: why, oh why, did you only think to submit an application form today? Sorry mate, but that strikes me as piss-poor planning.

In other news from today's AGM, Bill Gletsos did make some positive announcements. Next year's City of Sydney tournament will be played at the Bridge Centre. This is a dramatic move and one which truly deserves congratulations. And if this trial venue turns out to be a success, Bill informed his audience that it is also likely that the State Championships later next year will be held at the same location. We can only cross our fingers and pray.

Moreover, in an announcement that got me nodding in heartfelt agreement, there will be now two, that's right - two, Teams Challenge events in 2006. This is based on the massive success of this year's edition and which drew much positive feedback. Again, well done!

And after strained relations this year, over the Grade Matches stuff-up, there are signs of a thaw between the NSWCA and the Sydney Academy of Chess. Three SAC representatives managed to get themselves into the 2006 NSWCA Council that is mostly comprised of the old guard. Andrew Bird will hold the VP post, Brett Tindall is the new tournament officer while ex-junior powerhouse, Laura Moylan, will replace Lloyd Fell as communications officer.

Finally, I should make mention that the 2005 NSW Lightning Champion is international master Zhong Yuan Zhao. He routed the opposition finishing on 11/11 points.

IM Zhao in action against Jason Hu
For more photos, check out my flickr set.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Short Duct Tape

British GM Nigel Short, who is on tour in New Zealand, took on some 30 challengers the other day and won 28, drawing 2. One of those who manage to tie down the former world-title challenger is Hilton Bennett. For those who don't know, Mr Bennett is a frequent visitor to Aussie shores, having played in a number of Aussie Opens and Doeberls.

One of the simul challengers, Hugh Forlong-Ford, described the experience against Short like this:

In one sense it was excellent because . . . you got the chance to take the stage with someone who's right up there, and we don't often get the chance to see such quality at work. But at the same time it was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. He just bound me up in duct tape. Pin after pin after pin.

I wonder if Mr Short has any plans to make a quick stopover in Australia. More from Stuff.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Maitland's Obsession

The New South Wales town of Maitland is obsessed with chess - the local paper, Maitland Mercury, reports. Three of the town's young woodpushers, Trent Armitage, Matthew Thompson and Brandon Hopkins will be in Sydney tomorrow to compete in the Country Districts Primary Schools One-Day Chess Team final.

Big Business in Chess Sets

Americans, to my absolute amazement, apparently buy "tens of millions of chess sets each year". That is, according to Elizabeth Gann,quite possibly America's only woman specializing in chess sets. She's a dealer.

The NYT:

The market for antique chess sets is quite strong. In June 2003, Sotheby's sold a 1923 Russian porcelain set for $22,800, on which the Reds (Communists) fought the Whites (Capitalists). At the same sale, a 19th-century Indian set that depicted Bengal fighters and their British colonial overlords sold for $21,600. Last year, Christie's London sold an early-20th-century amber animal set for $65,000, a world record for a set of that kind. Even without a Bobby Fischer, interest in chess grows.

I'll probably never be able to afford one of these sets. But I wouldn't mind test driving them with a few rounds of blitz! That Russian porcelain set sounds most appropriate for a game or two.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Latest Action Hero

Veselin Topalov has another title to add to his personal collection. After winnng the FIDE World Champion title, he has enjoyed much attention in his home of Bulgaria. This time, the country has accorded him honour of "Action Hero" for 2005.

Topalov shared the limelight with Ivet Lalova.

From SNA.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

6/13 for George

Sydney's George Xie ended his World Juniors campaign in Turkey today with a loss to Andrey Kvon. The Australian completes the event on 6 points. His tail-end finish wasn't so positive but did face fairly tough opposition so can be forgiven. More important, of course, is that George brings home a final IM norm. As previously noted, he now needs to just get his rating over the 2400 mark and the international master title is his.

We say well done indeed George! Next stop, 2400 rating, then that grandmastership. I almost can't wait.

Anti-draw Slugfest

Sick of all the draws in chess, Bainbridge Island (in Washington state in the US) resident Clint Ballard had this to say: "It just sends the wrong message about chess. It’s like they don’t put anything on the line ... As a chess fan, it completely kills the dramatic suspense. It’s so predictable."

So, on 10-11 December this year, Clint and his mates will host a chess "slugfest" using an entirely different scoring system.

From the Bainbridge Island Review.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Draw for Xie

FM George Xie drew his 12th round game against Marko Krivokapic to go up a notch to 6 points. Xie will face Andrey Kvon of Uzbekistan in the 13th and final round.

GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov maintains the his lead on 10 points. His closest chasers are Ferenc Berkes and Tomi Nyback who are both on 8.5 points.

Official site.

Short in NZ Tour

Queenstown Chess organiser, Paul Spiller, happily speaks of GM Short's tour in the "Land of the Long White Cloud" (Aotearoa). This week, Short will be in some town called Pakuranga.

Maitland Concentrates Perfectly

Maitland High School has taken out a division of the Junior Chess League Country Secondary Schools Knockout.

"We started off competing against 27 schools and we are thrilled to have won the second division", school coordinator Michael Scobie was quoted as saying.

The editors over at the Maitland Mercury could do well to practice their concentration. This story is repeated on the same page!

Monday, November 21, 2005

Two-time Stumble

After 11 rounds, George Xie suffered two losses in a row. In round 10 he went down to IM Evgeny Romanov followed by another setback to IM Andrey Zhigalko in round 11. The Australian remains on 5.5 points.

Xie will face the untitled Marko Krivokapic (2361) in the next round.

World Junior Championship (Boys) U20
Xie, George Wendi
Zhigalko, Andrey

1. e4 c5 2. d4 cxd4 3. c3 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. cxd4 d6 7. Bc4 Nb6 8. Bb3 d5 9. h3 Bf5 10. Nh4 Bxb1 11. Rxb1 e6 12. g3 a5 13. O-O Be7 14. Ng2 a4 15. Bc2 Nb4 16. Bd3 O-O 17. Nf4 Qd7 18. Qg4 Nxd3 19. Nxd3 Kh8 20. h4 Rfc8 21. Bg5 Bf8 22. h5 h6 23. Bd2 Nc4 24. Rfd1 Nxd2 25. Rxd2 Rc4 26. b3 axb3 27. Rxb3 Raa4 28. Qd1 Rxd4 29. Qb1 Ra7 30. Rdb2 Qc8 31. Rxb7 Rxb7 32. Rxb7 Rxd3 33. Kh2 Rd1 34. Qb3 Rd2 35. Rb8 Qc5 36. Kh3 Rxf2 0-1

Official site.

Check the Inmates

World renowned Princeton University in New Jersey, USA, has come up with an interesting idea. For the past 3 years, the university's chess club has visited the local state prison to play chess with some very mean bunch of people.

Who knows what the idea is supposed to be: community relations, just teaching prisoners the game, or just something to do? But I tell you what, if it were myself, I wouldn't go anywhere these inmates. One of them was overheard to have said to a chess player: "Make sure you lose at least one, or we're not letting you leave". Umm....scary!

From the uni's student paper, The Daily Princetonian.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

NSWCA Annual General Meeting

Readers in the state of New South Wales are reminded that next weekend, 27 November, is the NSW Chess Association's Annual General Meeting. The event will commence with the usual lightning championships. This will be followed by the meeting proper which is set to see a changing of the guard.

More details here.

Igor Ivanov Dead, Age 58

On 17 November, Igor Ivanov passed away of brain cancer in the US state of Utah. Born in 1947 in Leningrad, Russia - Ivanov learned the game when he was just 5 years old. During his career he scored wins against Karpov, in 1979, and draws against such luminaries as Spassky and Kasparov. He became a grandmaster only this year.

Tributes from TWIC by John Donaldson and the Salt Lake Tribune.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Kasparov Dissenting

Gary Kasparov is one of 23 people signing a letter, published on the Moscow Helsinki Group, denouncing the suppression of human rights and dissent in Russia.

In brief from the Moscow Times.

George Earns IM Norm

Australia is soon to gain its next International Master in George Xie of Sydney. The youngster scored two straight wins in rounds 8 and 9 against stronger opposition. In round 8 he downed International Master Luka Lenic of Slovakia on the black side of a Queens Indian.

Then in round 9, he faced another 2400+ player in Armenian, Levon Babujian who is still an untitled player. Again, our mate proved himself more than capable and won! Thus he is now on 5.5 points and thereby earning his final IM norm requirement. All that George needs to do now is reach the 2400 rating mark and he becomes a full IM!

World Junior Championship (Boys) U20
Lenic, Luka
Xie, George Wendi

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 b6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. Bg5 Bb7 6. e3 h6 7. Bh4 g5 8. Bg3 Ne4 9. Nd2 Nxc3 10. bxc3 Bxc3 11. Rc1 Bb4 12. h4 Rg8 13. hxg5 hxg5 14. Rh7 Be4 15. Rh6 Nc6 16. f3 Bg6 17. d5 Na5 18. e4 Qe7 19. Be2 g4 20. Bf4 e5 21. Be3 Bc5 22. Nf1 O-O-O 23. Qd3 gxf3 24. gxf3 Nb7 25. Kd2 Rh8 26. Bxc5 Nxc5 27. Qe3 Rxh6 28. Qxh6 Na4 29. Kd1 Qb4 30. Qd2 a5 31. Qxb4 axb4 32. Kd2 Kb7 33. a3 Nc5 34. Kc2 bxa3 35. Ra1 f5 36. exf5 Bxf5+ 37. Kc3 Ra8 38. Bd1 a2 39. Kb2 Bb1 40. Nd2 Nd3+ 41. Kb3 Rf8 42. Kc3 Ne1 43. c5 Rf5 44. Nxb1 axb1=Q 45. Rxb1 Nxf3 0-1

Grandmaster Shakhriyar Mamedyarov leads the boys tournament on a staggering 8.5/9 points with a massive rating performance of 2959. His only draw came in the 5th round against GM Radoslaw Wojtaszek of Poland.

Official site.

Out Again

A few days ago it was reported that Indonesian GM Utut Adianto will play in the SEA Games due to be held in RP later this month. But now it seems that he is, in fact, playing in the World Cup, in Siberia.

Adianto confirmed his participation in the Russian tournament in an email to Pinoy GM Eugene Torre. This development has been welcomed by the Pinoy chess squad.

Noli Cruz of Tempo writes (some Tagalog).

Friday, November 18, 2005

Xie on 3.5 Points

George Xie, of Sydney, beat Amanov Mesgen (2273) to move up to 3.5 points at the World Juniors in Turkey. His next match is against IM Lenic Luka (2476). According to some calculations it seems that Xie is still on track for his final IM norm.

Official site.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Philippines Chess A Shambles

What else is new?

Go to the FIDE ratings database and look for Paragua. Being RP's highest rated player and newest GM, you'd surely expect to see his name. But nope, nothing there. OK then, how about searching for all Pinoys. Nada! No result!

What happened? Is the FIDE database corrupted? Has RP been wiped off the planet? Nope. My friends, those drongos are at it again. The national fed, NCFP has fallen in arrears with their payments. As is their typical action, FIDE withheld publication of Pinoy ratings. For a country that is about to go into chess combat in the SEA Games, on home soil no less, this kind of humiliation in front of our neighbours is the last thing we need.

Speaking of Paragua, it seems that the poor bloke is being ostracised by the head honchos within the NCFP. His request for funding has not been endorsed. We recall that Paragua failed to qualify for the SEA Games team but was later offered a slot anyway by the NCFP. Paragua declined and, instead, opted to play in Malaysia which, of course, scored him a spot in the World Cup. What we're seeing here is an ugly bitch fight.

More from Tempo (in English).

Kasparov in the books

Called the United Civil Front, Kasparov's inter-regional social organisation has finally been registered by the Russian Justice Minisry.

According to Kasparov, the group's aim is:

[to] work to preserve electoral democracy in Russia. We have started to set up the United Civil Front together with those who share our views not because we like the word ’front’, but if the authorities declare a war on us, we should somehow respond to this.

From Mosnews.

Kok to Contest Fide Post

Bessel Kok, organiser of the world chess trophy is reported to be in the contest for post of FIDE president. He has the support the following federations: Dutch, Turkish, Czech, Maltese and Slovak.

The full press release is available here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Adianto in SEA Games

In a decision that is set to send shivers up the spine of other SE Asian chessers, Indonesian GM Utut Adianto has decided to play in the 23rd SEA Games in the Philippines later this month.

However, NCFP boss Sammy Estimo remains positive.

"[Indonesia's line up is solid] but still I believe that we have a deepest team in the field", Estimo was quoted as saying.

Tempo reports.

Better Maths Through Chess

Is your child poor in Maths? Forget tutors! Play chess instead. Mathematicians in India claim that playing chess develops mathematical skills. Well I suppose we have the likes of Dr Vladimir Smirnov, Jason Chan and Bradley Loh - all guns in Mathematics.

Chess promotes the thought process in the light of which the complexities of the maths books appear very small in comparison to the moves of chess.

The Times of India reports.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Xie Beats Estonian

George Xie has gone up one point again by beating Estonia's Vitali Shlykov in round 5. The Australian now has a total of 2.5 points. Next stop is a tougher opposition in GM Moradiabadi Elshan.

Official site.

A chess debt

Madonna's hubby, Guy Ritchie owes actor Jason Statham a load of cash. All from playing loads of games of chess.

I played more chess with Guy on that set than I've ever played in my life...He owes me a lot of money because he lost so many times.

From As for myself, I think the most of I've ever owed from losing games is a schooner or two.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

World Junior Update

After 4 rounds, Aussie George Xie is on 1.5 points. He began his campaign positively holding GM Wang Yue to a draw in round 1. But in round 2, he lost to another grandmaster, Igor Kurnosov. Round 3 was a win against a low-rated opponent but in the last round, George dropped the point again - this time to strong IM Khairullin Ildar.

George's next assignment is Shlykov Vitali (2238) of Estonia.

World Junior Championship (Boys) U20
Xie, George Wendi
Wang, Yue

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Nf3 Bg4 6. Nbd2 Nc6 7. Bc4 Bxf3 8. Qb3 Na5 9. Bxd5 Nxb3 10. Nxf3 Nxd5 11. axb3 cxd4 12. Nxd4 e5 13. Ra5 exd4 14. Rxd5 dxc3 15. bxc3 Rd8 16. Re5+ Kd7 17. Be3 a6 18. Ke2 Bd6 19. Rd1 Kc6 20. Rf5 f6 21. Rfd5 Be7 22. R5d4 Rxd4 23. Rxd4 b5 24. Re4 Bd6 25. b4 f5 26. Rd4 Re8 27. Kd2 Be5 28. Rd3 g6 29. h3 Bc7 30. Rd4 a5 31. bxa5 Bxa5 32. g4 Bb6 33. Rb4 Rd8+ 34. Kc2 Ba5 35. Rb1 fxg4 36. hxg4 Bc7 37. Ra1 Rd7 38. Ra6+ Kd5 39. Kb3 Rd6 40. Ra7 Kc6 41. Kb4 h5 42. gxh5 gxh5 43. Ra6+ Kd5 44. Ra8 Kc6 45. Bf4 Rd8 46. Ra6+ Bb6 47. Be3 Rb8 48. Bxb6 Rxb6 49. Ra8 Rb7 50. Rc8+ Rc7 51. Rh8 Rf7 52. Rh6+ Kc7 53. Rxh5 Rxf2 54. Rxb5 1/2-1/2

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Pinoys Chase 5 Golds

Local paper, Tempo, reports. that the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) is aiming for at least five gold medals in the upcoming SEA Games due to be held in the Philippines later this month.

With the country's numero uno, GM Paragua, playing in the World Cup in Russia - the RP team will, instead, be led by GMs Torre and Antonio. Support crew are Dimakiling, Dableo and Barbosa. As reported in the Australian Chess Magazine, the circumstances surrounding the formation of this team were quite controversial. But no matter - all Pinoys should now pull together and dig deep into their Catholicism, say a dozen or two Hail Mary's, a few rounds of the Stations of the Cross and repent.

Goog Luck Philippine Chess!

Topalov a Fraud?

An Hungarian website has reported allegations that Veselin Topalov, recent winner of the FIDE World Chess Championship in San Luis Argentina, may have cheated. It seems that the allegations came from one of the participants who is still unnamed.

This from the Sofia News Agency.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Short Shot

Sitting in a cafe in Athens, Britsh GM Nigel Short fires a quick one at FIDE:

Next year people will be playing chess on their mobile phones...but FIDE are just not up to the job. They do not have any business skills to promote chess and they have not managed to harness long-term sponsorship for the game.

From Reuters.

West Ulverstone Tassie Champs

The 8-member team of West Ulverstone Primary School has won the Tasmanian Primary School Chess Team Championships. The Mercury reports that the school will now represent the Apple Isle at the Australian championships in Melbourne on 3 and 4 December this year.

School spokesman Russell Horton was quoted as saying, "This year the championships had its largest number of participants and the skills demonstrated were stronger than they have ever been in Tasmania".

More by Gill Vowles.

Question: which national championships is it?

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Guardian on Chess Boxing

Stephen Moss:

Apologies if this piece is not up to my usual exacting standards but my nose hurts, on account of having been punched by a German policeman in Berlin. This should not necessarily be taken as a reflection of German policemen. We were both wearing boxing gloves at the time; we had also just started a chess game. This is not easy to explain. Where to begin?

Longish piece.

Lonesome Xie

The World Junior Championships begins today, in Turkey, and will finish on 23 November. Australia has a single representative in Fidemaster George Xie.

With the likes of Alekseev (2632), Berkes (2596) and L'ami (2541) - George will face a tough campaign ahead of him. But I think that's just how this ambitious young man likes it. We wish him all the best and hopefully he can earn his final IM norm.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Afterwork Chess

The other day I caught up with an old mate of mine - Nick Kordahi. I was on my way home and he, apparently, on his way to play chess. I asked where and he replied, "Just around the corner".

At first I didn't believe him. So I followed and sure enough, there in the food hall, next to Town Hall train station and just under St Andrews Cathedral is Sydney's newest chess hang-out.

All comfy and clean, away from the elements, the place is ideal. Hopefully this venue will actally survive unlike the old one over at Galleries Victoria. Of course, this can only happen if the dirty and foul mouthed crowd stay away.

Here's a picture I took yesterday.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Up Yours Sergey

In "Just Checking" section of NIC no. 7, the Soviet-born Dutchman, Sergey Tiviakov had this to say when asked, "What will be the number one chess country in the world 10 years from now":

Nothing will change in the current hierarchy. Russia will remain one of the strongest countries in the world because of the deep chess culture, as will Ukraine, probably. China, India and other chess developing countries have no chess culture and will not be strong enough to break the hegemony of the present leading chess countries.

While Russia, as well as the long established chess powers of Europe, will definitely remain at the top, it is hard to believe the claim that neither India nor China will break that hegemony. Of course this is just nonesense.

Their internal politics notwithstanding, the ambition of the AICF is enormous. And with Anand being one of that country's leading stars, chess is as popular as ever. Plus, only days ago, Harikrishna clinched the Essent title and is well and truly on the path to super-GM status which can only further heat the attraction for chess.

As for China, well, who's leading Beer Sheva then? Up yours Sergey!

New Beginnings - in a Mausoleum

I should like to congratulate the hard working folks over at the Box Hill chess Club. After having been evicted by a heartless local government from their very comfortable home, the club members scurried around to find a replacement. Well now the search is over.

Club treasurer, Trevor Stanning, informs us that a new venue has been found some 3 kilometres away. Check it out.

Looks like a bloody mausoleum!

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Rogers Coaches Malaysians

The South East Asian Games is due to begin later this month. It will be the second time that chess will be part of the competition after having been introduced 2 years ago in Vietnam. From that tournament, Malaysia walked away with 3 bronze medals.

This time around, it may not be so easy. Two top players will be out of action due to some exam - Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM). However, they will still enjoy the services of top player Nicholas Chan as well as IM Mas Hafizulhelmi.

And, of course, the Malaysians have apparently secured the services of GM Ian Rogers for some last minute advice. With all the SEA powehouses in play, the Malaysians will surely have a tough time. But just for Rogers, we wish them all the best.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Turkey Needs Home

Our new Mexican mate, the Mechanical Turkey, needs a new home - a chess club, that is. It seems he may be taking up some sort internship with ANSTO with a posting at Lucas Heights. Heaven knows why anyone would want to work in that place, what with it being Al-Qaeda's number Aussie target. But there you have it.

So MT wants to know if there are any chess clubs around that area of Sydney. For helpful comments please post directly in his blog.

2005 NEC Cup

No, not a chess tourney.

If you have not been to the ANU Open (chess) and you have not seen what a Go tournament looks like, well this is it.

Just look at that. They even have a fancy banner.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Sport of Academics

The Batemans Bay Public School scored a total of 20.5 points out of 24 to win the local inter-school competition reports Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

Teacher Trina McCallum was quoted as saying, "Chess is a really helpful learning tool; it helps children learn to think strategically, it helps with forward planning and analytical thinking skills and self-esteem".

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A Cultured Fellow

Finally, let me say that Australian Chess Magazine editor Brian Jones is truly a cultured gentleman. In his latest issue, he has a special mention of Philippine chess achievements and, of course, there is also the politics. Ugh! That's just ugly.

Just for that here's a little plug: Australian Chess Enterprises. But mate, the ads on page 45 are not "book reviews".

Between Dark and Dark

The latest Australian Chess Magazine is out. And in it are a couple of interesting items. The first that caught my eye was an ad for a book by David Lovejoy - "Between Dark and Dark".

I have not read this book but it sounds quite interesting. In the ad Lovejoy says:

You might know me. I'm the patzer halfway down the weekender losing to juniors. Or maybe I sent some of my rating points your way. But although I've never been at the top of the Australian tree I've had some great times playing chess over the years, and some of that is contained in my memoir Between Dark and Dark.

For a review, check out Drugs, fast cars and - gasp! - chess in the Echo. Please note that The Echo Newspaper is a paper founded by David Lovejoy.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bendigo Bank Chess Championships

For our foreign readers, I wish to get one thing straight. The state of Victoria (sometimes we call it Mexico) is definitely stronger than the state of New South Wales (where Sydney is and where I live). They also have a much richer "chess culture". Normally for a Northerner like myself this is very hard to accept. But one need only look at the line-up of any Victorian tournament.

Take the recent Victorian State Championships. It featured a GM, international masters and fide masters. New South Wales can barely put together a tournament at all. And now, once more in Victoria, is this little tournament: the Bendigo Bank Chess Championships.

Jazz Like Chess

If you're a jazz lover, you might check out the Anthony Braxton Sextet. The Philadelphia Weekly says:
Anthony Braxton once gave up music to be a chess hustler. Not surprisingly, much of his composition style reflects similar aspects of the game. As with chess, Braxton's free jazz arrangements are based on highly theoretical rules and complex formations. Yet once a player is able to comprehend the versatility of these rules, there's greater flexibility to creatively improvise each individual move. With the saxophone often acting as Braxton's queen component, he's able to maneuver each note in boundless multiphonic intervals. All phony analogies aside, Braxton is a man who's reached legendary status with his fearless and influential sonic jazz sounds.

Rankings for Xbox

One of the most popular games consoles around is Microsoft's Xbox. Like chessers, Xboxers are also able to play online - in something called Xbox Live. In this interesting paper, Microsoft outlines exactly how they will rank XBox Live participants using a ranking system called TrueSkill™.

The paper makes mention of ELO, noting that it is used in chess but that it is inadequate where there are two teams or players involved.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Kamsky Finish 16th

Today, Australian sporting history was made. The mare MaKybe Diva became the first horse to win three Melbourne Cups. For our foreign readers, the Cup is the equivalent to the Kentucky Derby (US) or the Queen's Plate (Canada) or Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (France). Basically, it's THE race.

So why in the world are we talking about this in a chess blog? Well, because it just so happens that one 'Kamsky' ran in the race and finished 16th place! I wonder if the horse was named after you-know-who. We must find out.

World Wide Weird

The Australian has picked up the story I featured on this blog last Saturday. But, as you can see, what was originally in The Times' Middle East section has now been relegated to what The Aussie calls "World Wide Weird".

Only the uneducated and uncultured drongos of an Australian newspaper would consider such a story "weird".

Monday, October 31, 2005

13 Rounds in Turin

A couple of months ago FIDE canvassed the opinion of member federations on the Turin organisers' proposals to reduce the number of Olympiad rounds from 14 to 13.

In this communique, post San Luis, FIDE agreed with the organisers' proposal. It seems that most federations apparently supported the decision. Quite surprising! Surely excising one whole round is a drastic decision especially considering that it may affect standings and norm posibilities. Also, did not the Italians take into account their own holidays? It would be interesting to know which nations supported the Turin organisers' proposal.

What was the NCFP position? What about the ACF? And the USCF (for our American readers)?

Young and Old Tied

Max Fuller, 3-time champ, and young gun Andrew Bird finished their 2005 NSW title campaigns on 7/9 each. Thus they go into a play off sometime later this year. For Fuller, it surely is an outstanding performance especially considering his recent experiences in health matters as the NSWCA informs us. I'm going to make a bet that Fuller will win the play-off. If you haven't met Max, then you're missing out on something. He is a fine gentleman and great story teller. Go Max!

But I had absolutely no idea that Andrew Bird only took up chess 8 years ago! At the rate this guy's going, he could very well be a titled player in no time. Then I can say, "hey, I beat that guy". Yep, I did, years ago, when he was much weaker. All the best to Andrew.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Enter Queenstown 2006

Organiser of the Queenstown 2006 tournament wishes to remind everyone that tomorrow, 31 October, is the last day on which to enter the tournament at a lower price of NZ$150. From 1 November, you need to add another NZ$30. So enter now. Details can be found here.

From the list of latest entries, it looks like an Australian invasion spearheaded by GM Rogers. This really is set to be an exciting event right in the heart of the aventure capital of the world!

See you there.

$100K Sponsorship

David Cordover of Chess Kids, has recently announced what they claim to be sponsorship in the amount of $100,000.

"Wow", was my first thought. I had no idea they made so much money. I think I might have to switch careers.

Now no doubt there will be some sceptical readers. And many of them will want an itemised list of payments (Melbourne's David Beaumont has done just that). Fair enough I say. After all, chess, 5 zeros and a dollar sign are rare company - at least in the local scene.

But at least Mr Cordover gets to the point:
We hope that through our support and involvement with the chess community we will be rewarded with a stronger and more active chess community as well building the Chess Kids brand and customer loyalty for our business and our franchisees. We hope also to secure a greater market share and improve profitability for our shareholders to be able to increase our support of chess in the future.
Did he say "shareholders"? I've gotta get me one of them stocks!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Strongest Chess City

From 31 October to 11 November, the World Team Championship will be held in the Israeli immigrant town of Beer Sheva. There is no more appropriate a place for such an event. Beer Sheva has a higher percentage of grandmasters per capita than any other city in the world.

This reputation began with Eliahu Levant - the ex chess coach of the Spartak Chess Club, in Leningrad.

Read Stephen Farrell from The Times Online.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Kasparov in Court

But the chances of Gary playing in Mtel is unlikely given his political ambitions. Moscow Times reports that the former World Champion has "filed a case against the Russian government at the European Court of Human Rights over alleged irregularities during State Duma elections in 2003".

Says Kasparov:
People in Russia do not believe courts. For them, Strasbourg is often the only hope. They hope that somewhere out there is an institution that will help them.
Poor Gary. I can't help thinking: with a single careless blunder, he could very well end up in the cross-hairs of his enemies. I hope not! But how tragic that will be? Good luck to him I say.

An Interview with Topalov

Hardly a day goes by when Veselin Topalov is not featured by the Sofia News Agency. Yesterday, they had an interview with their latest favourite son. Here, the San Luis winner tells us that he is "definitely very aggressive".

When asked what his favourite piece was: "My favourite pieces are my own pieces - no matter black or white. The ones I have left to play with - those are my favourite".

And for next year's MTel, the organisers have invited the now retired Gary Kasparov.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Drama Queen

While my good mate Peter Parr has set his eyes on the NSWCA, my other mate, Brian Jones, seems to have well and truly set his sights on the bigger fish - the Australian Chess Federation. The attacks so vicious that ACF webmaster, Paul Broekhuyse, could do no better a defense than to call Mr Jones a "drama-queen".

I think to myself, what has BJ been eating? In the last few days he has delivered blow after blow that has basically sent the ACF officialdom reeling. Take this uppercut:

I am accusing it [the ACF] of being secretive beacuse (sic) it does not having (sic) the ability to be productive and to easily communicate with the chess world.

Followed up with this left hook:

The Council appears to have developed into a talking shop for State reps, many of whom have little high level business experience.

And there you have it: the Australian Chess Enterprises could one day be running the Australian Chess Federation. It all begins with this.

Hail The King

In Bulgaria, they now call Veselin "The Chess King". This week, he was met by the country's Members of Parliament and received a brand new Volvo S40. I suppose any day now they'll probably also give him the keys to Sofia!

And speaking of the Bulgarian capital, it is possible that it will be the next battleground for the next Championship.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Smarts Through Chess

New Fed Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, is an intelligent man. I mean this guy could very well be the patron saint of Asian students - you know, that mob who have their faces stuck in books 24/7.

Ben graduated summa cum laude from Harvard and, four years later, finished his doctorate at MIT. All this was followed by teaching stints in a couple of Ivy Leagues and NYU. So how do you suppose he got there?

Says the Christian Science Monitor:

As a child, he honed his analytical mind by playing chess and studying Hebrew at the local synagogue. He was just "an outgoing and well-rounded" kid growing up in the small town of Dillon, S.C.

Only in Australia

This is just hilarious. And I do owe this to Boylston and the Mechanical Turkey blogs.

MU is hosting a "Chess Drinking tournament". This reminds me of Frank Gerdell telling me once that there's some tournament in Germany where they actually stop after every round and drink beer. That's my kinda tournament.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

On the cheap

Can't afford a vinyl board and pieces? Well, just print this pdf file and fold away. Found courtesy of Paper Forest.

Master PR Man

What ever may one think of Mr Cordover, proprietor of Chess Kids, he is certainly doing a hec of a lot better than the ACF in the PR stakes. Today he appears in Victoria's Herald Sun.

Cordover says,
Typically, people don't think of chess as a sport, but it's become a real sporting event . . . Nearly 300 kids in one room playing chess is a really electric atmosphere.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Kasparov Divided by 20

And that's how the modest FIDE champion, Veselin Topalov, described himself to the New York Times.

On his preparations for his black games:
As black I got stable positions . . . For me, the most important thing was that I did not get inferior positions as black.
As for a match with Kramnik, I believe Topa is right to decline it. Man on man matches are relics of the past. Their continued practice only serve to perpetuate the problem of disunity. A true world championship for the 21st century shouldn't be the exclusive contest of the two noisiest players and their financiers. The San Luis experiment is partly the way to go.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

In the service

The things you do for love. Love of chess, that is. I had no idea our friend Goran was in the army. Yet he manages to still find time for his fine blog - with news and results of tournaments from around the world.

And for those in the war zone, there is always time for a game or two.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Chess in the Undergrounds

The so-called Jamaican Chess Champion, who spent much of last year travelling around Australia, has recently been spotted in Europe. International Master Javier Gil, Spain, informs me that Pablo Williams (our Champ) was in Berlin earlier this year.

And this month, he made his way to Barcelona where he has set up his little show in the Metro. According to this article, it seems Pablo has now relegated himself to Jamaica's No. 3!

Below is a photo I took of him playing along George St in Sydney. His opponent is Oliver Koeller, of Germany, who had the pleasure of upsetting GM Rogers at the 2004 ANU Open.