Friday, September 30, 2005

Oh so close!

This morning, Topalov came close to winning against Anand. Or, at least, that's what most kibitzers on ICC thought, armed with all their forms of silicon aid. But even to non-master eyes it was an exciting game. With a black pawn on b2, white had absolutely no margin for error.

After 59...Bf6, the following position arose.


In response, Topalov now played 60. Bd4. Could this have been the move that lost the game? Courtesy of krechet(FM) who was kibitzing on ICC, the site gave the following variation in their running commentary: 60.g5 Qe7 61.Qxe7 Bxe7 62.Bd4+ Kh7 63.Bxb2 Bxg5 64.Bg7+-.

All other games ended in draws. I only got one prediction right, in Leko - Morozevich. For the next round, here are my tips.

A. Morozevich-Veselin Topalov, 0-1
Peter Svidler-Peter Leko, 0-1
Judit Polgar-R. Kasimdzhanov, 1-0
Vishy Anand-Michael Adams, .5-.5

Observing the games on ICC is quite interesting. With the likes of McShane, Kotronias and Yermolinsky freely giving away their rapid analyses - that alone is worth the subscription fee!

Highway to San Luis

ICC'er "hangin" mentioned this little parody of his while kibitzing in the Topalov - Anand game this morning. This song is based on the AC/DC classic, Highway to Hell.

Highway to Chess Immortality.


Former prez of Doncaster CC, Stephen Mayne, takes aim at the government:

Why the hell do we pump more than $100 million into the Australian Institute of Sport yet chess gets diddly squat from government?

Chess is the second most popular junior participant sport in Sydney after soccer with an estimated 150,000 players, yet only two of the 500 global grandmasters are Australian; Rogers, who achieved the rank in 1985 and Darryl Johansen, who got there in 1995.

What Mr Mayne is really on about is the recent decision by the White Horse City Council to evict Box Hill Chess Club from Carrington Rd, Box Hill. A truly disgraceful decision.

In this piece for Crikey, we learn a tidbit or two. For example, I never realised that Rogers has twice beaten the indefatigable Victor Korchnoi. Although, the last time I checked, Junta Ikeda is a "he".

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Topalov Gets Lucky

As I logged on to ICC at 6AM this morning, the following position arose in Leko - Topalov. Several kibitzers, aided by Shredder, were agog over the move 20. Nb6. Indeed, the chip GM judges the position as +- for white. Instead, the Hungarian banged out 20. Nf5.

After 19...Qc7

After 20. Nf5, the room went ballistic. One observer wrote that he couldn't stand watching Leko's games. And a smart-ass IM wondered, "I looked away for 5 minutes and now Topalov is back in it." Lucky for me, as Topa is my pick to win the tournament, the Bulgarian eventually won! Actually, that took me by surprise.

For fuller coverage of results, check out or

Here are my tips for round 2.

Veselin Topalov - Vishy Anand, 1-0
Michael Adams - Judit Polgar, 0-1
R. Kasimdzhanov - Peter Svidler, 0-1
Peter Leko - A. Morozevich, .5-.5

NZ Chess Movie

A documentary film about NZ player, Genesis Potini has won the top prize DOCNZ film festival. Genesis, it is reported, is a keen speed chess player and also suffers from bipolar disorder.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Asian Indoor Games

Our beautiful game always needs every boost it can get. And it may yet receive another one by being featured in the Asian Indoor Games event. In this report, the Olympic Council of Asia "is considering including some of the sports like Bowling, Kickboxing, Chess and Darts from the Asian Games Summer Sports Program to that of Asian Games".

Shopping Spree

Here's one of those "what the ....?" stories. When the list of players for the Malaysian zonal event was released, I swear I saw the name Beverly Mendoza. Yet by the time the first round began, she was gone and I always wondered why. Thanks to Bobby Ang, we find out why.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

No News

It's one of those days. When there's little interesting chessic news, you kinda just make things up. Well, not really. But what can one do but try and make a chess connection?

Today, we learn from the Sydney Tele that S. Irene Virbila of the LA Times considers Sydney as the best place to eat! Here's part of what she had to say:

Not only are those restaurants-with-a-view astonishing — by rights, they needn't be very good at all — but Sydney also has enticing candidates of nearly every ilk, including high-concept French, serious seafood houses, contemporary Asian and cafes that serve breakfast with such sunny optimism you feel nothing can go wrong again. Ever.

Looking at Virbila's list of places to eat, we can spy 5 restaurants located in Surry Hills. And here's the chess connection. Peter Parr's Chess Discount Sales is in Surry Hills. In fact, Spice I Am, a Thai place, is just around the corner! And Longrain is about 2-3 minutes walk to Commonwealth St. I must say, I can only agree with our American writer. But I will add, Longrain's communal table is a rather disconcerting experience.

And oh, here's another chessic connection. Surry Hills was once the proposed venue for the Sydney Chess Centre. For now at least, that idea seems to be well and truly dead.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Respecting Chip Head

Back in the late '50's, some guy predicted that computers will eventually solve chess. It hasn't happened yet. And I doubt that this will happen. Actually, truth be told, I am hoping that it will never happen.

As if there's hasn't been enough write-ups on chess and computers, the LA Times featured this interesting little piece on the weekend.

For that reason, computing and artificial-intelligence professionals still seem to regard Deep Blue's victory as somehow unsatisfactory, the cybernetic equivalent of a boxer who pulverizes every opponent by sheer muscle, but doesn't have the slightest sense of technique or finesse.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Milov - Barcenilla

For Pinoy chess fans, make sure to make a stop at Robert Byrne's corner in the NYT. In his column Sunday, Mr Byrne discusses the game Milov - Barcenilla from the 106th US Open.

Song in Lucky Escape

Song and Capilitan drew their game today in the 5th round of the NSW Championships. After finding himself in a terrible position, the junior made a tactical draw offer. Luckily, it seems that Capilitan had somewhere else to rush off to and so happily accepted.

On other boards, Cabilin and Atzman-Simon had quick wins against Reitmans and Mendes da Costa respectively. These games are available below.

Whereas in the U1600 section, Miranda finally surrendered the tournament lead to Hoving. Miranda could manage only a draw against Wong, while Hoving won a piece against NSWCA PR officer, Trent Parker.

2005 NSW Championships
Mendes da Costa, A.
Atzman-Simon, B.

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. f4 Bg7 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Bc4 c5 7. d5 Nbd7 8. Qe2 Nb6 9. O-O Nxc4 10. Qxc4 a6 11. Qe2?! (11. a4) 11... b5

After 11...b5

12. Nd1 e6 13. c4 exd5 14. exd5 (14. cxd5 Re8 15. Nf2 (15. Nc3 b4) 15... Nxd5) 14... Re8 15. Ne3 (15. Qc2 Bf5) 15... Ng4 16. Qd3 Nxe3 17. Bxe3 bxc4 18. Qd2 Rb8 19. Rab1 Bf5 20. Kh1 c3! 0-1

2005 NSW Championships
Reitmans, Q.
Cabilin, J.

1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e4 Bb7 5. Qc2 Qh4 6. d5 f5 7. Bd2 fxe4 8. dxe6 Nf6 9. O-O-O Qxf2 10. Nh3 Qf5 11. Ng5 dxe6 12. Be2 Qe5 13. Be3 Bc5 14. Bxc5 Qxg5+ 0-1

Saturday, September 24, 2005

World Chess Championships

Next week, FIDE's "official" World Championship Tournament begins. Just about everyone has their opinion on who will win. So I thought, I may as well jump on the bandwagon.

Michael Adams
Runner-up from the Tripoli event. But let's get serious here. An Englishman winning the World Championship? I don't think so. Individual triumph by the English are so near impossible that one wonders why Adams bothers to turn up.

Rustam Kasimdzhanov
He got lucky last time. I mean, who really takes this guy seriously? Still, he'll be good punching bag for the 2700s. But you'll never know - he could do an Arkadij!

Peter Leko
Boring as bat shit. Just look at the score table for Linares 2005. He won Wijk this year but results since are dismal. Finished near bottom at Dortmund. The nerves will get to him.

Peter Svidler
Four-time winner of the Russian Championships and a semi-finalist in Tripoli. Solid but unexciting. Like Leko, he scores too many draws for my liking.

Vishy Anand
Will this Indian ever be World Champion? Now that Kasparov is retired, his chances have shot up. But I think he's wishing the time control in San Luis was faster. Good odds, but not my pick.

Judit Polgar
A woman? A woman as World Champion? Naah...get real.

Alexander Morozevich
Probably the most exciting player, what with his penchant for unusual lines. I hope he does well with them, but against super-GMs the chances are thin. Is there a World Blitz Championship? Moro will win that.

Veselin Topalov
The man! Consistent top finisher this year with wins in Linares (beating Kasparov) and Sofia (beating Anand). This world number 3 from Bulgaria is definitely in red hot form. My money's on him.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Of Mind and Body

In this wonderful column, Quah Seng Sun, from Malaysia, shares his experiences of the 22-day Malaysian Chess Festival. Many of us can connect with what he's saying. Chess is, indeed, downright physically demanding.

However, chess can be physically very demanding on players. The tension builds up in your body during a game. You are coiled like a spring, all tensed up in attack or defence. After a day of hard thinking, there is little time to uncoil before you subject yourself to the same tension again.

Pocket Fritz

Our man in KL, Gilachess, has resumed activity on his blog (but not frequent enough to be featured on the sidebar). His latest post includes some screenshots of Pocket Fritz in action. Gila's promised a full review, so hopefully that's coming soon.

Amazing Sports Hero

Indian chess superstar, Vishy Anand, has been nominated for the most amazing sports hero award.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

When is FREE not FREE?

The self-proclaimed chess guru, David Cordover, Australia's most successful chess entrepeneur has once again found himself in hot water. His latest venture is what he calls the "National Schools Open". The name has caused so much confusion that it forced the normally impotent ACF to send a letter to schools around the nation clarifying the difference between David's event and the ACF's own, "Australian Schools Team Championships".

But here's an interesting tidbit about David's tournament. His PR announcement includes the following bullet point: "The top team entered from each State receives FREE accommodation, food and coaching at the Finals (for 5 players and 1 adult supervisor)." Now being the host state, Victoria gets 5 school entries.

An interested Victorian parent if wondered if Essex Heights might avail of the FREE offer. Answer? No way, said the Guru. Essex will be one of the 5 but will need to pay $100 per player! Huh? Yeah....I don't get it either. Let's take a moment to recall that in the recent Victorian Interschools competiton, Essex scored a total of 27 points out of a possible 28. So, does that not make them the top school? If not, how is Mr Cordover measuring "top team"?

Lakemba Lightning

Sydney chess personality and hard-working volunteer, Paul Sike, sent me this report on the Lakemba Lightning tournament.

In the end club stalwart Fred Flatow and Ernesto Puzon came equal first with 7.5/9. Mario Parissis (rated tenth out of the 12 players) did well to come fifth and his was the best result relative to rating. Lee Forace did well to get 7/9 while being DOP.

Final results (9 rounds) and split up of the modest $100 prize money was as follows:
Fred Flatow 7.5 (Equal First - $25)
Ernesto Puzon 7.5 (Equal First - $25)
Lee Forace 7 (First U1800 - $15)
David Castor 7
Mario Parissis 5 (First U1500 - $20)
Armando Rizzardini 4 (Equal First U1700 - $5)
Graham Allison 4 (Equal First U1700 - $5)
Paul Sike 4 (Equal First U1700 - $5)
Leif Andersen 3.5
Ivan Mitrovic 2.5
Leo Soto 2
Sami Ullah 0

According to Paul, the only significant challenge was the absence of a laptop. The club's aging machine decided to keel over that night. As a result, Lee Forace, Australia's famous arbiter, had to perform the draws by hand. For those familiar with this procedure - it is a mind numbing job!

My thanks to Paul for sending me the report!

Why debate?

In the latest ACF newsletter, we are informed:

Aust Championships Debate: The organisers of the Australian Championship have received a number of requests from overseas players, including from GMs and IMs, for information about their eligibility to enter the Australian Championship. The persons in question are, in the main, intending to come to New Zealand for the Queenstown event later in January 2006 and would like to play in a major Australian event on the same trip. The ACF Council is now debating whether to allow some of these foreign players to compete in the national titles.

Well blimey, what's there to debate? I say just let the foreigners in. Paragraph 5 of By-law No. 1 will take care of that. Now I'm no expert on ACF Constitutional matters but on reading the text, it strikes me as being overly nationalistic. For example, why is paragraph 2 necessary? Given our lack of titled players, especially Grandmasters, the last thing we want to state at the top of the By-law 1 is to restrict alien GMs from entering. I say remove the paragraph.

But oh great CG, you now protest, if you want norms - then there's always the Open. And CG, what if there's too many blow-ins, you also ask. Yes, true; and unlikely to be a real problem. As for the first, it's in our overall national interest to have strong players coming in. Look, just imagine the publicity, the potential for sponsorship. And for the second, this is a "problem" this year because of Queenstown. But why put up barriers? We should encourage players to come here for both our Championships and the Open event.



Funny. Not!

Dan's silly chess humour.

Karpov Takes Aim

It wouldn't be the World Chess Championships without some kind of controversy. As usual, it involves some former title holder. Speaking from Argentina, Karpov says that the selection process for the San Luis event is invalid.

And in separate news, Karpov says that he's ready to take on fellow ex-Champion, Bobby Fischer.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Matrix Attack

How about this Nakamura fellow? At the 6th Lausanne Young Masters, he once again banged out his so called Matrix Attack. This time, he lost to Volokitin. Earlier in the year, he tried the same opening against Sasikiran at the Sigeman & Co tournament. The result there was also a loss to Nakamura.

So is this arrogance and an insult to the opponent? Or is it "normal" and to be accepted? I am leaning more towards the latter. My view is, if the moves are there on the board - then play them. To not play certain moves or systems in order not to bruise some player's sense of self-importance is surely to kill off chess quickly. As you'll see in the games, Nakamura actually obtained playable positions (and at one point, even winning against the Indian player).

Nakamura is a very exciting player, one with a winning attitude. His game against Smirin at the Foxwoods Open this year is another example of this. Just beautiful attacking play. If this young American spends more time in Europe, he will soon become a super-GM, 2700+. No doubt about it.

To view the encounter against Volokitin, check out Chess News & Events. This is Goran's site. I now use it as my quick one-stop shop for world tourney results.

Karpov On Tour

This is old news, I know. But here's a couple of photos of the ex-World Champ's tour of Argentina. Photos by AP here and here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

St Louis Chess

If you're ever visiting Missouri, USA - then the St Louis Loop is the place to be for some fast chess. On his tournament experience, local personality Don Pace had this to say, "Certain people get taxed in tournament chess . . . They take certain things personally, and you can come out with what we call attitude."

NOTE: Apologies in advance if it asks you to register. But I did manage to get to the article straight from Google without registering.


How else was I suppose to entitle this entry?

In his typically brutal manner, famed chess columnist Bobby Ang lets his readers in on some juicy Pinoy chess goss. Bobby reports on some of the hilarity surrounding RP's contigent for the 23rd SEA Games.

All we can add is, at least these Pinoys are Catholics. For we'll surely need a thousand Hail Mary's to win at least a single medal. Good luck boys.

ICC 10th Year Anniversary

2005 is Internet Chess Club's 10th anniversary. In the current NIC, #6, Larry Christiansen celebrates this milestone by featuring some very nice tactical games of ICC luminaries like Nakamura, GM Schmaltz (who is presently residing in Australia), McShane and so on.

I have been a member since December 29, 2000 and have enjoyed my time there. Unlike some poor losers who continue to complain about how ICC was supposedly nicked from ICS (Internet Chess Server) - most people, I'm sure, enjoy ICC and couldn't care less about all that nonsense. To those with their ill-feelings still intact, I say, "Get over it. Just move on".

Following Larry C, then, here's a game I played in 2001 and one which I still remember for its very nice finish.

[Event "ICC 3 0"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2001.05.24"]
[White "MerKavA"]
[Black "Veigar"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E34"]
[TimeControl "180+0"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. e3 O-O 6. a3 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 Nbd7 8. Bd3 c5 9. cxd5 exd5 10. Ne2 c4 11. Bf5 Qc7 12. O-O b5 13. a4 a6 14. axb5 Bb7 15. Ba3 Rfe8 16. bxa6 Bxa6 17. Ng3 Bc8 18. Rfe1 Nb6 19. Bc5 Bxf5 20. Nxf5 Ng4 21. g3 Nd7 22. Bd6 Qd8 23. h3 Ngf6 24. Qe2 Ne4 25. Qg4 Ng5 26. Bf4 f6 27. h4 Ne6

After 27...Ne6
28. Nh6+ Kf8 29. Bd6+ Re7 30. Rxa8 Qxa8 31. Qxe6 Qe8 32. Qg8# 1-0

Nice eh?

Open or closed?

In a single careless moment, the current Australian Chess Federation president, Denis Jessop, had this to say:

What I am suggesting tentatively is that the qualification rules for a restricted entry tournament cause so much wasting of time on these kinds of discussions that I can't see why the Championship isn't an Open every year. It's already much of the way there as there is no limit on the number of players and in the last couple, at least, several players have been let in whose rating was well below the cut-off and the present by-laws allow the ACF to invite anyone it wants to play. Thus with the current Closed event actually Semi-open why not go the whole way?

And with that, Australia's most fave chess bulletin board is suddenly ablaze after days of quietude.

Let the record reflect that the world famous Closet Grandmaster is entirely opposed to the highly esteemed president's idea. It is a step backwards and makes our situation quite laughable to outsiders. If the president has no better things to do than to put the problem in the "too-hard" basket, then perhaps he should now begin to reconsider his own position?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Never be a vegetarian

If you ever needed further proof of why no one should be a vegetarian, then this report by Chessbase should do it. Will somebody please tell that Vera Nebolsina to eat some meat?

As for Almira Skripchenko - well now, there's a good sort with an adequate diet.

GM Norm for Kerr

In his column today in the SMH, Peter Parr informs his readers that Sydneysider Stephen Kerr has earned his first ever GM norm in correspondence chess. Mr Kerr, presently an IM (corro), continues the long tradition of fine Australian performances in Corro chess. For the uneducated it was, of course, an Aussie who held the inaugural World Correspondence Chess Champion title: one C.J.S Purdy.

Mr Kerr is a former Australian (1979) and British Junior Champion in OTB play.

Peter Parr's column cannot seem to be accessed via the SMH site. However, he does upload his weekly entries on his own website here.

Park Chess News

It looks like Sydney and New York (Washington Square) park chess venues are affected by some sort of government activity. Last week, it was reported that 34 trees will be removed from Sydney's Hyde Park because they were suffering from some form of disease. Looking at the map, the giant chess location should have only minimal disruptions. I was there yesterday and there were no signs that the chess board will be removed. And there was no barrier around it either.

Whereas over in NYC, city officials are planning to refurbish the chess playing area. Kudos to NY officials!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

War as Chess

So I'm reading this book, "The Amazing SAS - The inside story of Australia's special forces". As you can probably tell it's about the exploits of what is no doubt the best unconventional military unit in the world. It talks about the regiment's missions in East Timor, 2000 Olympic Games, Afghanistan and finally Iraq. Written by journo, Ian McPhedran, the book was produced with the direct participation of the soldiers themselves and some of the big-wigs within the DOD. Anyway, in one passage, an SAS trooper describes contact with the enemy as:

It's like a game of chess. It's how you move - set all your pieces up, okay. Good, okay, whack. Otherwise, if you don't take that time, it's going to be a long, drawn-out fight, you're just bouncing from one bad idea to the next. And that was the key with the guys. Each man could look around [and say], "Okay, that's over there, there's a better fire position over here, move. Engage.

And just for that alone this book is surely well worth a read!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Wei on Way to Win

Michael Wei is the 2005 ACT Chess Champion. With one round to go, he is 2.5 points ahead of his nearest chasers. In the following clash, Wei defeats fellow junior, Junta Ikeda.

2005 ACT Championship
Wei, Michael
Ikeda, Junta

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 a6 5. Bd3 Bc5 6. Nb3 Be7 7. c4 Qc7 8. O-O (8. Nc3 Nf6 9. Be3 b6 10. Na4 Bb4+ 11. Kf1 Bc5 12. Nbxc5 bxc5 13. Bxc5 d6 14. Ba3 Bb7 15. f3 Nc6 16. Kf2 O-O 17. Re1 Rfd8 18. Kg1 d5 19. cxd5 exd5 20. e5 Nxe5 21. Rc1 Qxc1 22. Bxh7+ Nxh7 23. Qxc1 Nd3 24. Qc7 Nxe1 25. Qxb7 d4 26. Be7 Re8 27. Kf2 {1/2-1/2 Sax,G (2570)-Chernin,A (2640)/Budapest 1997/CBM 62}) 8...d6 9. Nc3 Nf6 10. Qe2 Nbd7 11. f4 b6 12. Bd2 Bb7 13. Rae1 Rd8 14. Nd4 g6? This cannot be good as it just weakens the k-side position. 15. b4 O-O 16. f5 gxf5 17. exf5 e5 18. Nc2 Rfe8 19. Ne3 e4 20. Bxe4 d5 21. Nexd5 Nxd5 22. Qg4+ Kh8 23. Bxd5 Bxb4? (23... Bf6 is probably better to give extra protection to g7. 24. Rxe8+ (24. Bxb7 Qxb7 25. Nd5 Rg8) 24... Rxe8 25. Bxb7 Qxb7 26. Nd5 Rg8) 24. Bxb7 Qxb7 25. Nd5 Bxd2 26. Qd4+ f6 27. Qxd2 b5 28. Qh6 bxc4 29. Nf4 Qb6+ 30. Kh1 Rxe1 31. Rxe1 Qd6 32. h3! c3 33. Re7 Qxe7 34. Ng6+ Kg8 35. Nxe7+ Kh8 36. Qc1 Re8 37. Nd5 1-0

Kasparov Faces Execs

While he may be out of the tournament circuit, Kasparov is still very much involved with chess in some form or other. His column in NIC, for example, is a must-read.

And now this:

Chess master Kasparov takes on tech execs…and Putin by ZDNet's Dan Farber -- At the Disruptions 2005 technology conference put on by Deloitte in San Francisco today, world renowned chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov gave a brief speech and then simultaneously played against about 20 of the executives attending the conference. I talked to Udi Manber, CEO of Amazon’s A9 search engine, who proudly told me he lasted 23 [...]

Friday, September 16, 2005

Jude Acers on TV

I had no idea who Jude Acers was until Boylston made this entry last month. Some days later, we find that Mr Acers escaped the hurricane and is doing fine. Here is a story available on Chessbase. (Two weeks ago, GM Ian Rogers mentioned Mr Acers' plight in his Sun-Herald column).

Today, WBIR-TV of Knoxville, Tennessee features this video report on the plight of Jude Acers himself. Well worth watching! I tell you what, this Acers fella has a strange accent. If you're interested, here's a quick primer on why New Orleaneans sound the way they do.

And I'm pretty sure it's ACERS and not ACRES! I'm sure our American readers will tell us.

Distractions at the chess board

It is my enduring misfortune to have been taught by a pretty and petite English teacher. I was in junior high and I was a distracted young man. Might also have had to do with the way she over pronounced her syllables. You know, to seem well educated. Her lips formed the sounds as if like a come-on. And so, I'd sit there thinking black laces. Being a helpless young fella I really couldn't resist my mind wandering off into all sorts of nook and crannies. If I were caught with a blank face, I'd be chastised thus, "you're physically present but mentally absent". Yep, that's what I was!

Believe it or not, this was a Catholic boy's school. Sad to say, I seem to still suffer from these moments of imaginary lapses during chess play. I cannot count the number of times when I'm suddenly surrounded by a dozen vixens while contemplating my 10th move in a Bayonet Attack KID. I just sit there like a stunned mullet. But who can blame me, eh? Ann Regentin is right, you know:
The language of chess is very sexual. I mean, what are you supposed to think when somebody declares that they're going to mate you in five moves so you might as well surrender now? Things get taken in chess. They can also be pinned and skewered. If you're going to nab the queen, you have to move in carefully, obliquely, much like a tricky seduction.
Recently, Kramnik had certain problems with his performance. Apparently all due to some poor "concentration". Well, God knows what he's been thinking about!

Chess and Marriage

The Punkerslut asks: "After all, if you can have fun playing chess with many individuals, why may you not have emotionally uplifting, sexual experiences with various men and women?"

I suppose the Punkerslut had in mind like a simul or something.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

US Chess League

We're a bit behind with this - what with the Zonals and all.

The US appear to be laying the foundations of an exciting league competition. The inaugural matches occured on 31 August. For chess diehards Down Under the games are relayed on ICC.

Our mate over at Boylston is probably the fastest source of info. And introducing a whole new concept, to me anyway, live blogging coverage of week 3.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Chess Master Arrested

How do you know that your chess coach is trustworthy? Does he have a criminal background? Perhaps it's an idea that any coaching accreditation system should include some sort of police clearance. Just a thought.

Today, US chess master and coach, Robert Snyder was arrested by Colorado police on charges of "sexual assault".

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Live Chess

Don't worry. This is just a dance.

Short's New Home

After having been banished from the UK's The Daily Telegraph, it hasn't taken long for GM Nigel Short to find a new home for his unique brand of chess writing.

The former world title challenger now writes for The Guardian. To journo, Stephen Moss, Short says:
Chess has huge advantages over many other sports in that it is played all over the world. It's a game for the computer age, a game for the internet age, a game where I can be sitting here in a village with goats and chickens and donkeys, and I can go on the internet and be playing some leading grandmaster in Russia or the Philippines.

Chess in Politics

A couple of months ago, I wrote something about the exploitation of chess. The chessic metaphor is just about everywhere. Sports, self-improvement, insurance, and, of course, politics - all these exploit chess in some form or other.

Just today, some bloke claimed he played chess with a terrorist. But who else deploys the chessic metaphor more competently than a Pinoy paper - the Manila Times?

Fiji News

Here is our first ever news from Fiji. Men's champion Calvin Prasad goes in the 26th Carlton Brewery Open as one of the favourites.

I reckon the Fijians are doing something right being sponsored by a beer company. If only we can follow suit. Imagine this: Tooheys New Australian Chess Championships. Some of us would all be drunk even before the first move.

RP to Dominate SEAG

Paragua predicts that the Philippines will dominate the 23rd South East Asian Games. But the RP team will not have his services. During the qualification rounds, Paragua was actually eliminated by countryman, Fernie Donguines.

In this Tempo report, we also gain a little insight into Paragua's state of mind while waiting for his GM title and why he performed so well in the recent Zonals.

The 21-year old has now set his sights on breaking into the world's top 100 ranked players. His next events are: Asian Individual Championship on Oct. 5-16 in India, the Calvia Open on Oct. 21-28 in Spain and the Bastia Rapid on Oct. 30-Nov. 5

FIDE rated or not?

Early this year, a small controversy erupted in Victorian chess circles. Was the Victorian Junior Masters able to be FIDE rated or not? As it turns out, it wasn't eligible for FIDE ratings. It seems that the tournament wasn't using the correct time control. To his credit, the organiser acknowledged this.

Alright then, so what is that tournament doing in the FIDE list for October?

Monday, September 12, 2005

UAE Gets Sponsorship

This is one of those little tidbits in chess that has always surprised me. How is it that chess is quite big in the United Arab Emirates? Well, whatever it is - we have no complaints. After all, the country hosts a couple of events that now serve as gatherings for Asia's (and the world's) best talents. Earlier there was the 7th Dubai Open (won by Wang Hao) as well as more recently the Abu Dhabi International Chess Festival.

And now, chess in the UAE gets a monetary boost. The Sulaiman Al Fahim Group has just announced a 4-year sponsorship deal of the UAE's national team. It is worth some Dh500,000.

By the way, this is the same Al Fahim that is involved with constructing the International Chess City in Dubai.

Mabuhay LA Times

IM Jack Peters, chess columnist for the LA Times, features three Filipinos in his 11 September edition. Well, OK, so Sevillano is now an "American" - but we still claim him.

And yesterday, I heard rumours that even Kasparov is a fraction Pinoy. In fact, it may be that all top players in the world have some Pinoy blood in them. Don't look at me - that's just what I heard.

Photos from WA Champs

The Chess Association of Western Australia has now updated their site to include photography from their recently concluded State Championships.

Just follow the links from here.

Not Close Enough

Rated at 1177, Queenslander Garvin Gray sat down to play local, IM Stephen Solomon (2391). Unlike many who feel "lost" before even the first move, when facing such an opponent, Mr Gray just went about his business. Here, he nearly caused an upset of upsets in all of Australian chess history.

2005 Nell Van Der Graff Classic
White: Gray, Garvin
Black: Solomon, Stephen

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Nc6 8. Nxc6 bxc6 9. e5 h6 10. Bh4 g5 11. fxg5 Nd5 12. Nxd5 exd5 13. Qh5 Bg7? Tony Kosten cites 13...Qb6 14. Be2 (else the immediate 14. g6 loses to 14...Qe3+) Bf5 14. gxh6 Qa5+ 15. c3 Bxh6 16. Bg5 Bg7 17. Qf3 dxe5 18. Bf6 e4 19. Qf4 Bxf6 20. Qxf6 Rh5?? 21. Qxc6+ Ke7 22. Qxa8 Qc5 23. O-O-O Qe3+ 24. Kc2 Be6 25. Bxa6 Rg5 26. Rd2 f5 27. h4 Rg8 28. Qb7+ Kf6

After 28...Kf6

29. Qb4 Here, White should just have pushed on with 29. h5. 29...f4 30. Qd4+ Qxd4 31. cxd4 e3 32. Re2 Bf5+ 33. Bd3?? And all of a sudden White is in trouble. 33...Rc8+ 34. Kd1 Bxd3 35. Rhe1 Rc4 36. g3 Rxd4 37. gxf4 Bg6+ 38. Kc1 Rc4+ 39. Kd1 Bh5 40. a3 d4 41. Rg1 d3 42. Rg5 dxe2+ 0-1

Sunday, September 11, 2005

What the . . . .

... hec is this?

How do pawns promote, I wonder.

I've actually been thinking of learning Chinese chess. It's the one with some sort of river in the middle. But this 'round chess', above, looks to be far more interesting!

Chronos II

Over the past fortnight or so, the boys at Hyde Park chess have been testing a new digital chess clock - Chronos II. This cost one of our members a small fortune, about A$200. But my, what an impressive piece of equipment. It has a very robust build - nearly all metallic. So, you don't get that nagging feeling that you might break the thing with each bang on the clock. And this is thanks to the touch sensor technology instead of the traditional 'lever' mechanism.

The timing appears to be accurate and, most of all, the clock is very easy to reset after each game. The general opinion so far is that we definitely love this clock. If you're looking for an alternative to the plasticky DGT and want a clock for blitz and rapid - then this could be the clock for you.

Checkmate America!

For Jane Stillwater, Bush and his Cabinet are a cabal of grandmasters playing "a very deep game" of chess against Americans.

If you want to know what is going on in America today, here's a clue: Just think of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rove and their various corporate sponsors as world-class chess Grand Masters. Seen from this perspective, it becomes immediately obvious that they are playing a very deep game. And who are they playing it against? Us.

As far as I can tell, these Americans are a bunch of patzers. Where was Michael Moore? In any case, I suppose when you're playing against POTUS with God on his side, it's really hopeless. The situation is so dire that Jane even resorts to quoting Harry Potter! So we quote Harry now?

The piece was picked up by Al-Jazeera (who else?) here. Or you can read the original blog entry here.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Chessic News & Headlines

Here are some news with a chessic touch. The first has particular importance to the locals.

The Ashes: Warne finally checks Strauss' opening gambit in chess game
Andrew Strauss is unlikely to play a better or more important innings in his Test career than that he played yesterday . . .

The England Puzzle
Against Wales on Saturday, he played a game of chess and won . . .

Sunday Break

Unfortunately, The Closet GM will not be in attendance at tomorrow's round 4 session of the NSW State championships. Need to take a break. Actually, we'll be most likely enjoying some Sunday avro jazz and chess at the Strawberry Hills hotel.

This is the problem with the current State Champs format: at 1 round a day, that's basically 9 of your Sundays gone. Kaput! You can forget about long-term plans. The deal is that the current format just drags on far too long. And that, I suspect, is partly why current numbers are so dismally low. Click here and count the total number of people actually playing in this event. If you don't think there's a crisis, then (i) you're a NSWCA Council member or (ii) to rerun my favourite phrase - you're a fly in the mist of a fart and can't see the crap you're sitting on.

But don't bother telling that to the NSWCA. "The survey says . . . ", they'll tell you. Talking to this Association is like trying to wake the dead. It's hopeless.

And here's another problem. The Association will not guarantee prizes for the state's premier tournament. Now of course I realise running the event costs money. But this is our main Championship, the big kahuna. Just lay out the dough I say. But get this. The NSWCA is paying an arbiter $100 per day to manage the tournament. At that rate, one may as well become an arbiter than be a player.

With the present situation, we can only dream of a truly classy State Championships. By the way, the Victorian Championships is also presently running. It boasts a grandmaster, 4 international masters and 2 FMs. The winner gets a plaque plus a gold medal. Fancy that!

Lunch at the Grand Divan

Find the winning move in this position and win a lunch for two at London's Grand Divan restaurant. Of course, you've actually gotta haul yourself over there.

"Chess For Success"

This one is more for the locals.

Grandmaster Maurice Ashley recently released a book entitled, Chess for Success. So far it has had largely favourable reviews. This one by Don McKim is particularly comprehensive. And this one yesterday by the Carib World Radio.

I don't have the book myself, but looking at the content it seems that a more appropriate title may have been , "The Tao of Chess".

Friday, September 09, 2005

Paragua and Adianto Win

RP's, Paragua and Indonesia's, Adianto will represent zone 3.3 at the World Championships. Both finished on 7 points. In round 9 today, the Pinoy GM drew with Wu Shaobin while Adianto beat Wong Meng-Kong.

Asia's first grandmaster, Eugene Torre, ended the tournament on 6.5 points - putting him in outright second place.

Tables for men and women are now available.

Thus ends the 22-day long Malaysian Chess Festival. It was quite exciting to observe even from afar. I think I might actually make a visit next time. In fact, I'm already in training. Over the past two days I've enjoyed some rather delicious Malaysian cuisine. And I reckon all that exciting chess up there has a lot to do with the hot curry.

Finally, let me thank Gilachess for his daily updates on his website. Great job indeed!

My kind of lifestyle

I suppose for some newspapers, it's a bit confusing exactly where to locate a chess column. In the Philippines, we have it firmly in the sports section - where it should be. Maybe in the puzzles and games section, like in the NYT? Or, like in the SMH, lost somewhere in the backpages of Business? Malaysia's Star Online, on the other hand, has a different take. They have chess in 'Living'.

Quah Seng Sun summarises the Malaysian Festival quite nicely. It is probably one that GM Rogers would rather not read. I mean, ' a drubbing'? Come off it.

Most Important Chess Possessions

I was just thinking about my most important chess possessions. I thought perhaps it might be my books. Then I realised that you could always replace them. So I asked myself again what might be my most important chess objects that I could not possibly let go. More than anything, it's my scoresheets. I have a few hundred of these by now and it all began way back in '96. Some games are in my database, but the vast majority haven't even been looked at since the games were played. Aaahh...if only I had more time.

Bayanihan News

I'm happy to inform my fans that yours truly scored a gig with a local Sydney newspaper. My first chess column appeared in the September issue of Bayanihan News. It's a Filipino community newspaper produced right here in Sydney and, I believe, distributed Australia-wide. The idea is basically to inform Pinoy expats mainly of the chess achiements of their compatriots. It's been fun so far. Hopefully, the column will stick around for a long time! Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Paragua in Sole Lead

GM Paragua beat IM Wynn Zaw Htun today to take the solo lead in the Zone 3.3 tournament in Malaysia. He is now on 6 points, ahead of two chasers, Adianto and Wong Meng-Kong who are on 5.5 points.

The all-Pinoy contest Torre-Antonio was a win for the White player. And on board 7, Mariano lost out to GM Wu Shaobin. On board 8, Gonzales settled for a draw against Ly Hong Nguyen. Gonzales will now need to wait for another tournament to earn his final GM norm.

Full table here.

Northern Exposures

From today's ACF newsletter:
David Cordover of Chess Kids has asked the ACF for a Development Grant of $5000 to promote chess throughout the Northern Territory. The money would be spent on travel, accommodation and equipment from February to October, 2006.

The proposal will be discussed at the next ACF Council Meeting on October 10.
This is the same David Cordover who found himself in a verbal brawl with the ACF but who later retracted:

I apologise to you and all other ACF office bearers for my implicaions. I withdraw all statements made.
Well now it seems all is truly forgiven.

Seriously, I wish Mr Cordover every success. After all the promotion of chess can only be good and certainly falls within the ACF's organisational aims. However, I would suggest this one condition: that the ACF takes a cut in whatever market Mr Cordover finds or creates in the Northern Territory.

* Kevin Bonham - Senior Selection Coordinator, ACF

Record Attempt - Underwater Chess

The latest issue of the Australian Chess Federation newsletter reports of a planned attempt at "the longest underwater chess tournament".

Some 2 years ago, a similar attempt was undertaken by a group in South Africa. I have no idea if it was successful or not as I can find no citation in the Guinness World Records site.

History Lessons

Still quiet on the sourcing front. So, I'll rant a bit.

The national hero of my beloved Philippines, Jose Rizal, once said that "he who does not look back at his past cannot reach his intended destination". At a basic level he was talking about the lessons of history. How true is that for many endeavours? Including, of course, chess!

Opening theory, for example, relies much on the battles of years gone by. Any serious chess player cannot really appreciate the Queen's Gambit without examining the games of Capablanca or Bronstein's on the King's Indian or Fischer's on the Najdorf. More than openings we also study middlegames and endgames. And here, too, the past masters have plenty to teach us. One of the oldest rook endgame maneouvres, for instance, the Lucena was discovered as far back as 1634.

Yet what we are talking about here is technique over the board. You know, the "how to's". All part and parcel of chess training. What about the study of the human history of chess: the personalities, the politics, all those stories that make up the vast canvass of our game? I always wondered if, among the quizzes on mates in 2 or 3, chess coachess actually take the time to ask, "who can tell me the name of the first Australian chess champion?" Or what made Daryl Johansen's GM title application "controversial"? And even to ask about how Paul Morphy died. Or whatever.

The point of all this is that there is really no reason why chess coaches should limit their curricula to only technique. By including some history lessons, students, I think, will appreciate chess more broadly. Or at the very least, observe a part of chess that is just as interesting and satisfying as merely playing a game. I mean, some of the best boooks I've read have hardly any games in them. "Linares! Linares!", by Dirk Jan ten Geuzendam, is one example. And who can forget Sosonko's historical series for New In Chess? Such are full of wonderful stories. They are sometimes inspiring, tragic, triumphant - tales worth paying attention to.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

A Crucial Game

The Zonal tournament website has kindly put up the Dao - Paragua game. According to my database Dao's 16. Rfc1 is a novelty.

Going into the seventh round, Adianto and Paragua are on 5 points - a half point ahead of the nearest chasers. On the women's competition, WIM Lomibao shares the lead on 4.5 points with four other players.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Scacchierando - Italian Blog

We recently received the following compliment from an Italian blogger: "Congratulation[s], your blog is very interesting!" Our friend is Stefano Bellincampi and he is responsible for this. Without my prompting, Stefano proceeded to add a link to TCGM in his sidebar. And so, owing to the "get a link, give a link" rule - I must reciprocate. It appears to be an interesting site. One for my Italian fans and Italophiles!

Paragua Triumphs Again

The 5th round clash between the top two seeds proved a victory for the Pinoy player - the Philippines' latest grandmaster, Mark Paragua. He overcame GM Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam. Paragua is now on 4.5 points, just a measly half point ahead of Adianto. The Indonesian drew with Grandmaster Antonio today.

Other Pinoys in action were Gonzales and Barbosa whose duel on board 6 ended peacefully. Both are now on 3.5 points. As for Torre, he did manage to win against compatriot Dimakiling and moves up a point to 2.5.

Our man in KL, Gilachess, has once again provided some photography. Look out for recent visitor to Australia, Jesse Sales who seems to have settled into the 'Matrix' look. I wonder how he sees the board given that he normally wears prescription glasses. Today, he lost to IM Situru. Also in that link above is a short video of a post-game analysis. Great job Gila!

And here is the drawn game between Paragua and Adianto from the fourth round.

Zone 3.3, Malaysia
Paragua, M.
Adianto, U.

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 d6 5. Nf3 Nf6 6. Bb5+ Nfd7 7. a4 O-O 8. O-O Na6 9. Re1 Nc7 10. Bf1 b6 11. Bf4 Bb7 12. Qd2 Re8 13. Rad1 Nf6 14. h3 a6 15. Bc4 Qd7 16. Qe2 Nh5 17. Bd2 b5 18. axb5 Bxc3 19. bxa6 Bxd2 20. axb7 Bxe1 21. bxa8=Q Bxf2+ 22. Qxf2 Rxa8 23. e5 Rf8 24. Ra1 Na8 25. Ng5 Nb6 26. Be2 Ng7 27. Bg4 Qb7 28. exd6 exd6 29. Bf3 Qe7 30. Qh4 h5 31. Qf4 Nf5 32. c3 Re8 33. Be4 Qe5 34. Qxe5 Rxe5 35. Bxf5 Rxf5 36. Ne4 Kg7 37. Ra6 Nxd5 38. Nxd6 Rf4 39. Ra1 f5 40. Re1 Ra4 41. Re5 Ra1+ 42. Kh2 Rd1 43. Nc4 f4 44. Re6 g5 45. Rd6 Kf7 46. b4 cxb4 47. cxb4 Ke7 48. b5 g4 49. hxg4 hxg4 50. b6 g3+ 51. Kh3 Rh1+ 52. Kg4 Ne3+ 53. Nxe3 Kxd6 54. Kxf4 Ke6 55. Kxg3 1/2-1/2

A slow down and toot

Interesting tidbits on chess are a bit thin lately. Unless, of course, you'd like to read another story on Man vs Machine. And while we're enjoying the zonals, chessers do need a healthy distraction. So my dear readers, I ask for your pardon in advance as I indulge in a little slow down and toot. For you blokes out there, wouldn't you like to play against this?

Monday, September 05, 2005

Torre in Shock Loss

Grandmaster Torre's campaign hit a bump today losing his 4th round game to Vietnamese player, Hoang Thai Tu (2389). Torre remains on 2 points - just a point and half behind the leaders, Paragua and Adianto, who drew their game on board 1. Adianto now meets Antonio in the fifth.

Meanwhile, Jayson Gonzales is on course for that final GM norm by downing Jesse Sales. Also of note is WGM Anya Corke's first point in the tournament, scoring a win against Francis Tan.

For more, check out Gilachess daily updates here - which includes pictures from each round.

No Tame Game

Chess is definitely not one for the weak. Participation in competitive play, especially, demands a lot - both physical and mental. I agree with Jeff Aldrich: "Chess is a battle where you're out to destroy your opponent".

Note that you may see an intervening page. Just enter some bogus US postcode like 90210.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Zonal Update

After three rounds, two players are on perfect scores - Indonesian numero uno, GM Utut Adianto and the Philippines', GM Mark Paragua. They face each other in round 4.

One story of the tournament so far was Anya Corke's decision to play in the men's event instead of the women's. Perhaps that was a bad idea since after 3 rounds, the WGM from Hong Kong has so far netted three ducks in a row. On the other hand, we can only appreciate her efforts and fighting spirit.

I notice that the Gilachess blog has just posted some new pictures. For full tables, click here.

Miranda Undefeated

Adrian Miranda remains undefeated by drawing his third round game against Eliot Hoving today at the NSW State Championships. Rated at 1579, Adrian is the top seed in the U1600 section.

2005 NSW Championships
Hoving, E.
Miranda, A.

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. a3 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 dxe4 6. f3 exf3 7. Nxf3 Nf6 8. Bd3 b6 9. O-O Bb7 10. Bg5 Nbd7 11. Qe2 h6 12. Bh4 g5 13. Be1 Nd5 14. Bd2 Qe7 15. Ba6 Bxa6 16. Qxa6 Qd6 17. Rae1 f6 18. Qe2 e5 19. dxe5 fxe5 20. Nxe5 Nxe5 21. Rf5 O-O-O 22. Qa6+ 1/2-1/2

In the Reserve section, the young William Xu, current Under 12 Champion of NSW, went down to regular weekend warrior Sim Navarro. Juniors these days are very well taught to keep on fighting til the bitter end. And that's exactly what William did. (He did so against Rachmadi last week, too, despite being a whole Queen down). Such a quality is important I think in order to instil that fighting spirit. Besides, miracles can happen. But today, there were no miracles.

You can play through the game here.

Seen in the foreground above, on the right, is Angela Song. Before the start of play, Norm Greenwood announced that FIDE had just conferred upon Angela the WFM title. To which the gallery rightly applauded. Well done indeed!

Over on the next board is the game Tse - Baterowicz. That ended 1-0. As the gruesome finish to that duel approached, Baterowicz's play increasingly became louder and louder. With each move, he banged the clock in anger. And when it was finally over, his face grew red, his eyes watered, as he lightly tapped his King off the table. He remained in his seat for some time. As I looked at him, I knew exactly how he felt. "Where did I go wrong?", I'm sure he asked himself. He sat there motionless, replaying in his mind's eye a game that never was. The other players just let him be, knowing that they, themselves, have all been there.

Finally, in the top section, Canfell continued on his winning run by defeating a careless Cabilin. The Pinoy player managed to trap his own Queen. He was so oblivious to his own terrible mistake that he accompanied the blunder with a draw offer. In reply, Canfell uncorked the diabolical, 16. c4! Realising White's follow-up (17. Nf3), Cabilin looked up at me, smiled and shook his head. One question was surely in his mind: "how the hell did I miss that?" To save the Lady, there was no choice but to forsake a Knight. It was pointless. Canfell was just too good.

2005 NSW Championships
Canfell, Greg
Cabilin, Jeff

1. e4 e6 2. d3 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. Nc3 Ne7 5. h4 h6 6. Bf4 d6 7. Qd2 e5 8. Be3 c5 9. g3 Nbc6 10. Bg2 Qb6 11. O-O Nd4 12. Nd1 Bg4 13. Nh2 Bxd1 14. Rfxd1 Qxb2 15. Bxd4

After 15. Bxd4

15...Qxd4?? Jeff was probably afraid of 15...cxd4 16. Rdb1 Qa3 17. Rxb7 16. c4 Nd5 17. cxd5 Qa4 18. Rdb1 b6 19. Qb2 O-O 20. Qb5 Qxb5 21. Rxb5 Rfb8 22. a4 a6 23. Rb3 Rb7 24. Ng4 Rab8 25. Ne3 b5 26. axb5 axb5 27. h5 Kf8 28. Rab1 Ke8 29. Nc4 Kd7 30. Na5 Rb6 31. hxg6 fxg6 32. Bh3+ Kc7 33. Nc6 R8b7 34. Ra3 1-0

Paragua Attacks!

What exactly did GM Paragua eat? Maybe he had some of that local hot curry. Whatever it was, his play against compatriot Barlo Nadera left the board ablaze. The attack was unrelenting, prosecuted with such an intensity of young man screaming, "Paragua in da house!" In the following position, what would you play?


The game continued: 18. Nxd5!! Qd8 (18... exd5 19. Bb4) 19. Bb4+ Nd6 20. Nf4 Kf7 21. Rad1 Qf6 22. Rxd6 axb5 23. Nd5 Qe5 24. Qc2 Rf8 25. Qc7+ Kg8 26. Bc3 exd5 27. Bxe5 Bxe5 28. Rxg6+ hxg6 29. Qxe5 Ra6 30. Qxd5+ Be6 31. Qxb5 Rf7 32. a3 Rc6 33. Re1 Rfc7 34. Qg5 Bf7 35. h4 Rc5 36. Qd8+ Kg7 37. Re7 1-0

To play through the game, click here.

On board 1, Roca did not survive against Vietnamese grandmaster, Dao Thien Hai. And the same fate befell Torre - losing to Indonesia's Edhi Handoko. For the rest of today's results, check out Gilachess' website.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Filipinos On Winning Start

Pinoy players are off to a positive start in the Zone 3.3 tournament in KL, Malaysia. Except for FM Sales, who settled for a draw against first round opposition, IM Myo Naing (2516) of Myanmar, all the Filipinos are on 1 point. Unfortunately in the second round, Pinoys must face off against each other. Paragua has white against Nadera on board 2 while Dableo and Dimakiling will fight it out on board 10.

On the other hand, our thoughts must go to Petronio Roca. He will exchange blows with top seed Dao Thien Hai of Vietnam. Looking at the women's group, I'm not sure what happened but it looks like WIM Beverly Mendoza has withdrawn. This leaves just WIM Sheerie Joy Lomibao as our sole representative.

Our friend Gilachess has uploaded some new pictures. You can access them here. I hope he can send us some games very soon.

Boardgame for Psychopaths

I always thought chessers to be individualists, maybe even selfish, strong-willed definitely. But psychopaths? The Haaretz newspaper calls us exactly that! I say, send in the SAS!

Lessons from America

These days, the number of school children playing chess is in the thousands. In the state of New South Wales, this wonderful achievement is due mainly to the leadership of the NSW Junior Chess League and the many volunteer parents that make up its ranks. Among some important events they run are the Primary Schools, the Metropolitans and the Schools Chess Challenge. Scholastic chess, then, is surely a success. But just out of curiosity, allow me to pose these questions:

1. Is it bringing in lots of new players to chess?
2. Is it developing many new chess talents to enhance the sport?
3. Is it bringing in lots of money to Australian Chess Federation?

Well OK, no agenda here, just an echo of this interesting discussion on Chessville. And I do encourage you to download and read the PDF of the article by Braunlich.

By the way, Chessville is an excellent resource. They have trivia, puzzles, annotated games and even fiction. All for FREE! The link is going to the sidebar now.

Chess Player Survives Katrina

A former member of SWAT and a chess master, Rene Phillips, had just secured 2nd spot in the Louisiana Blitz Championship when Hurricane Katrina struck. Mr Phillips, a resident of New Orleans, lost everything. According to this item in The Chess Drum, he is now stranded in Louisiana.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Zone 3.3 Showdown

As of this writing, the first angry moves in Zone 3.3 will be well on the way. The event is held in the Hotel Sanford in KL, Malaysia.

Looking at the tentative list of players, we can count eleven rated 2500+, seven of whom sport the GM title. Of course, I have no choice but to support the Pinoy masters among whom is none other than RP's latest GM, Paragua. Let's hope that he can silence his critics and bulldoze the opposition without mercy. And speaking of GM titles, IM Gonzales will be gunning for his third and final norm. I hope he gets it!

On the distaff side, Mendoza and Lomibao will face their toughest test against the Mongolians and Vietnamese. Good luck to them.

Box Hill Evicted!

Trevor Stanning, treasurer of the Box Hill CC in the state of Victoria, has just announced that their esteemed club will be without a home as at 1 January, 2006. The local government Council sent the eviction notice to Mr Stanning and co way back in June. Since then the club has been frantically lobbying the local government council to reverse its decision. But apparently to no avail.

This is, of course, a sad moment even for me. Last year I visited and played in the club's Victorian Open championships. Truly it was a great experience. I have not oberved a more efficient and dedicated bunch of chess lovers. And more importantly, the Box Hill guys were very hospitable. It showed that they were quite cultured. I assure you my dear readers, this is a club that is surely one of the best in Australia. As such, they deserve all our efforts and support in ensuring their continued survival.

Let us hope that Mr Stanning can provide us with the necessary contacts in the local Coucil so that we can lobby them and express our unhappiness.

Just Not Cricket

While cricket remains the national obsession, the increasing interest in chess shows no signs of abating. Inspired by Vishy Anand and now by Sahaj Grover , it seems that Delhi youngsters are turning in droves to chess. The Delhi Chess Association claims a 200% rise in registered players.

Read the complete TOI report.

Nuts & Bolts Chess Set

Last month I posted something on DIY Chessboards. But that's only if you have at least above average woodworking skills. God knows I certainly don't! Well, here's something that, I think, most of us can manage. It's chessboards made out of nuts and bolts.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Georgian Troubles

Georgia, Georgia, no peace do I find
Just an old sweet song
Keeps Georgia on my mind

Trouble seems to be brewing over at the Georgian Chess Federation. A local English lingo daily, The Messenger, reports that the current and past GCF presidents are accusing each other of corruption.

The ruction is causing a split among Georgia's elite. In one corner are Nona Gaprindashvili and Zurab Azmaiparashvili. While in the other is Maia Chiburdanidze.

En Garde!

The Belfort saga continues. Courtesy of the ACF, this morning I got hold of Touze's response to FIDE's action against Jean-Paul Touze, organiser of the recent World Youths in Belfort, France. The text, in both English and French, are available here.

The translation is amusing reading - but you get the drift. In his letter, directly addressed to Ilyumzhinov, Touze accuses the FIDE president of ignominy, mystification, inciting to denounce, disinformation and censor and denying Touze the right to defend himself.

And in a separate statement, Monsieur Touze responds directly to complaints about the Belfort event. For example, many parents were apparently unimpressed with the food. To that Touze had this to say:
The quality of meals was very good and those that say they were sick should look to other causes. In France, for those who do not know, food service is surveyed very strictly by the sanitary services (we were controlled two times during the Championship).

Well, tell that to Mrs Oliver, pointperson for the Australian crew. She reported:

The salads were all dripping in mayonnaise or dressing and the only stuff that was fresh was the fruit. Fortunately they had huge quantities of this, so it served as a replacement. The quality of the meat and fish was very bad as well.
This in the centre of gastronomy? Sacre bleu! Note to Monsieur Touze: hire Alain Ducasse.

But what could really have been the root cause? In words perhaps only a Frenchman could produce, it all boiled down to "supplementary accompanying persons". Touze's conclusive remarks are worth quoting if only for their musicality.
All would have gone well if we could, as should always be the case, to look after the officially qualified and not to have to look after the supplementary accompanying persons. We didn’t do this, which was an error which should call into question that FIDE should take as a model the International Federations which are worthy of this name!

We esteem that our organisation can be called into fault in certain sectors which was essentially for two reasons:

  • the consequence of the inflation of entries cause by the thoughtless decision of the FIDE to lower the prices at any price,
  • that beyond the qualified players we also had to administer supplementary accompanying persons.
This should nevertheless not hide the sporting success of this Championship. FIDE has good Champions to which we wish brilliant careers and that is really what is essential!

Chess and Islam

It's all a bit confusing in Iraq. And that's, I guess, putting it mildly. When asked by a follower if chess is permissible in Islam, the country's preeminent Shiite cleric, Ali al Sistani, answered: "Chess is abolutely forbidden!"

Yet just a couple of days ago, the Communications and Post Minister had honoured the Iraqi Female Chess Champion!

For more on this issue - you can read a short discussion here or a longer but well considered one here. Basically, the situation does not appear to be clear. Some, like The Bishop of Hip Hop, reckon that chess is definitely allowed provided the following conditions are met:

1- One should not get so absorbed in it that he delays his prayer; chess is well-known to be a stealer of time.

2- There should be no gambling involved.

3- The players should not utter obscenities or vulgarities. If any of these conditions are not met it should be considered as haram