Sunday, December 31, 2006

Australian Open Update

Round 3 of the Australian Open saw the first big clashes on boards one to three with each game going to the higher seeded player. I quite liked this game, Johansen vs Smirnov. It's very typical of Smirnov's style of play. He just goes straight for the throat. But GM Daryl Johansen is a very solid player.

Daryl's next opponent is the only other Aussie grandmaster, Ian Rogers.

And as promised, the organisers have produced the first of their regular bulletins. The first one can now be downloaded here. A PGN file is also now available.

Official site

Sadorra Gets IM Norm

This is yet to be confirmed but Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino has submitted a news report to RP press stating that FM Julio Catalino Sadorra has earned an IM norm from the Singapore Masters which ended yesterday. Wesley So, on the other hand, failed to bag a GM result. A last round draw with Vietnamese IM Vinh Bui was insufficient to meet norm requirements.

So and Sadorra had a total tally of 6 points each. Other Filipino results are as follows:

5.5 - Enrique Paciencia
5.0 - Luis Chiong IV, Roderick Nava
4.5 - John Paul Gomez, Ronald Dableo, Chito Garma, Anthony Makinano
3.0 - Alfredo Paez

Chinese grandmaster Zhang Pengxiang was the outright winner on 7.5 points. Complete round 9 results are now available while final rankings are here.

The Aussies, Raymond and Angela Song, appeared to have had a tough time scoring only 3.5 and 3 points respectively. Jim Rogers also posted just 3 points in the Challengers section.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Old Chess Manuscript Found

A chess strategy manuscript written by Luca Pacioli has been reportedly found in Italy.

UPI is currently reporting this story.

Double Win by Song Siblings

The Song siblings scored wins in yesterday's round 8 at the Singapore Masters. Raymond defeated FM Daniel Howard Fernandez while sister Angela was a winner against Indonesia's Basri Hasan. Going into the ninth round, Ray has 3.5 points while Angela is currently on three.

After scoring a hat-trick of wins from the fifth to the seventh rounds, including a win over Indonesian GM Susanto Megaranto, Wesley So stumbled last round in his bid for a GM result. So remains on 5.5 points which is, according to a report I've seen from Marlon Bernardino, just a point shy of that grandmaster norm. This means that So finds himself in a must-win situation against Vietnamese IM Vinh Bui in the ninth and final round.

Other Pinoy high scorers are Chiong, Sadorra and Ranola. All have 5 points after 8 games. Early pace-setter JP Gomez, who began on 3/3, faded somewhat on 4.5 points. He dropped his last 2 games to GM Wu Wenjin and IM Ashot Nadanian.

More results are available here.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Australian Open 06/07

One of the biggest tournaments in Australia began yesterday - the Australian Open. Disappointingly, however, this year's edition has suffered from a very poor turnout. Just 58 players are participating. Canadian GM Mark Bluvshtein is top seed for the event.

First round results are already available. Nothing special there except for a handful of draws and an upset. On board 11 Queenslander Alex Jule held the 2189-rated Malcolm Tredinnick to a draw. Our keen readers will remember that Alex was the giant killer in Queenstown, New Zealand earlier this year where she downed local IM Russell Dive.

Speaking of New Zealand, Kiwi visitor Hilton Bennett, who sports an ACF rating of 1983, lost out to West Australian Marc Vlietstra (ACF 1735).

The organisers have promised regular bulletins as well as live games broadcast.

A Lesson from Poker

Can chess learn a lesson or two from poker? Jennifer Shahade - blogger, author, web editor of the USCF's website and US women's champion - thinks so. In a longish interview with the Gothamist, she talks about range of issues like her fascinating book, "Chess Bitch" (a must read).

Chess can learn a lot from poker. First, chess media and sponsors should emphasize its glamorous aspects: worldwide traveling, parties and escape from real world responsibilities. Poker made it big on the travel channel, after all.

I deeply believe in chess on TV, even for those who don’t know the rules. Chess can learn from poker on making itself telegenic. Elements that could make chess work on TV include lots of graphics demonstrating the basic moves, funny, entertaining commentators and background on the personalities and careers of the players.

And the biggest challenge in a simul? Finding the right shoes!

Read more from the Gothamist.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Song vs Song in Singapore

The Songs, Angela and Raymond, had to play each other in round 5 of the Singapore Masters and the game ended a draw. Both now have 1.5 points each. Alone in the Challengers section, Jim Jones has just 1 point from his win over Seah Xun-Hang in round 2.

JP Gomez, Wesley So and Yves Ranola are the leading Pinoy point scorers with 3.5 points each after five games. Gomez drew with Indonesian GM Susanto Megaranto in round 5 while So and Ranola defeated Madjibov and WGM Xu respectively.

More round 5 results.

No Disqualification for Topalov

From Bulgarian news sources we hear that FIDE has apparently turned down a request to disqualify Veselin Topalov. There was an earlier report that FIDE may disqualify the Bulgarian grandmaster for three years for his claims that Vladimir Kramnik received assistance from the KGB - a violation of FIDE's Code of Ethics.

Read the Focus News.

Topalov and Kramnik are set to meet again for the first time, since their World Championship duel, in the Corus Chess tournament next month.

10 Year Ban for Cheater

Umakant Sharma, the Indian player caught cheating with a wireless device, has been slapped a 10-year ban by the All India Chess Federation.

From DNA India.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

JP Gomez on Fire in Singapore

John Paul Gomez is on fire! So far he is on a perfect 3 out of 3 in the Singapore Masters section after beating GM Wang Rui in round one, FM Graham Chua in the next, then he pulled it off again by beating GM Li Shilong in the third!

The other notable round 3 result was FM Roderick Nava's victory over Vietnamese GM Nguyen Anh Dung. Still in his early 20's, Roderick is another member of the Philippines' young guns. In 2005, he participated in the World Juniors in Istanbul. Columnist Bobby Ang had a little story about that experience and also features an annotated game in this December 2005 writeup.

In an all-Pinoy match-up, Eric Gloria vanquished IM Ronald Dableo; while Wesley So, much under the spotlight, has steered his tournament back on track by winning rounds 2 and 3 after a first round loss to China's GM Zhao Jun.

For complete updates, check out

Sweeney's "Three R's"

Bureaucrats in the Australian Chess Federation and the New South Wales Chess Association, especially president Bill Gletsos, must all be scratching their heads. A question that must be surely plaguing their minds is: how will we ever shut up this Matthew Sweeney guy?

While the NSWCA may be absolutely intent on extending his ban for alleged foul and crude language, Brian Jones, Australia's most prominent organiser and publisher, has no problems giving Mr Sweeney space in his magazine - Australian Chess.

In what looks set to be a regular fixture, the enfant terrible of the local chess scene now has his own column - "Matt's Corner". For his first effort, Mr Sweeney writes about the three R's- rulers, reformers and revolutionaries.

Matthew Sweeney:

State based rivalries and politics threatens to direct energies away from chess administration, and toward power play. Chess can ill afford to waste its time on the self interests of individual states when everyone could benefit from a unified national strategy for the promotion of chess. If you want chess to grow in Australia, get involved - tell your state association that you want national direct elections for ACF executive positions.

UPDATE: Mr Sweeney did send his cheque for $10 and membership application to the NSWCA. This is what they wrote back (quoted from the Australian Chess Club Forum):

We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 24 December 2006 and your Application for NSWCA Membership for 2007.

Unfortunately your Membership Application was not accompanied with a letter of apology for your crude, foul and vulgar language and an assurance that there will be a cessation of such language in future.

Accordingly, your Application for Membership has been rejected and we return to you your cheque for $10 and advise that your membership will not be accepted until the apology and assurance requested are given.

What a laugh. And with that, we can at least thank the New South Wales Chess Association for the entertainment. These guys are a bunch of jokers.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Coins for Armenian Team

The Armenian central bank has issued a commemorative coin in celebration of their chess team's win of the 37th Olympiad. Naturally, the coin is made of gold.

From A+ Armenia.

Singapore Masters & Challengers

Boxing Day was no rest for a group of Filipino and a three Aussie chessers as they opened their campaign in this year's Singapore Masters and Challengers event. Rated 2432, IM Enrique Paciencia spearheads the RP contingent that also includes fellow IM Wesley So - who, of course, last week won the 2nd Prospero "Butch" Pichay Open.

With 14 grandmasters, mostly from China, in the Masters section - there will be plenty of opportunities for the Filipino players to score those highly sought-after GM norms. Also hoping to improve on their international ratings as well as sharpen their skills will be Aussie juniors Angela and Raymond Song. All power to these two as they mix it up against some awesome opposition. A third Australian, Jim Rogers of Queensland, is in the Challengers section.

In Round 1, John Paul Gomez scored a big upset by beating GM Wang Rui (2463). A full list of Pinoy results are available here. The three Australians are yet to get off the mark. Raymond lost as white to FM Graham Chua of Singapore while sister Angela suffered the same fate to the 2244-rated Ahmad Bachtiar of Indonesia. Angela has a date with RP's FM Julio Sadorra in the next round.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Santa Dearest, I want...

1. "My Predecessors..." series by Kasparov
2. Fritz 10
3. Chessbase Mega Database 2007
4. The Immortal Game: A History of Chess by David Shenk
5. and a Playstation Portable



Merry Christmas from TCG

Before I forget, let me wish you guys a merry Christmas. And to those playing in tournaments, like the Aussie Open, good luck and happy hunting! If you don't read again until next year, then let me also wish you a happy and prosperous 2007.

It's been fun this year. We covered quite a bit of news and even scored some real hits. I think I've said it before but "Gormallygate" was a real catalyst for the blog. That single story brought in a large amount of traffic from across the world thanks mostly to search engines and cross-links from fellow bloggers. We even scored a citation in no less than For this reason, Gormallygate takes the prize for the biggest blog story of 2006. It all began with this post.

Without hesitation I'd have to say that our second biggest story was none other than the Turin Olympiad. But for that I shall be forever indebted to our man in Turin at the time, Larry Ermacora. Larry, a former recipient of the Koshnitsky Medal (awarded for chess administration), provided blog readers with very memorable updates directly from Turin. You can read his unforgettable writings again in our May and June archives.

For the third biggest story, I'd have to say that it was what we dubbed "Forum Wars". Earlier this year, Matthew Sweeney set up a rival chess site to Australia's most popular chess bulletin board - Chess Chat. Our series of posts, including open threads, generated quite a bit of debate. Read them again here, here and here.

The fourth item on my list isn't really a single story as such but a bunch of them. These posts had a common theme, something close to my heart: the story of Philippine chess, its renaissance, its young heroes and their achievements. There were so many posts, just look in my archives if you wish, but we satisfy ourselves with just this single post. Young Wesley is currently spearheading a movement by young masters in RP who seem determined to retake RP's place as a chess powerhouse in Asia.

Finally, who can forget the ugly events of the World Championship in Elista earlier this year between Vladimir Kramnik and Veselin Topalov? I suppose it is near impossible to forget especially when the Bulgarian just keeps reminding us! Worth remembering though was that very satisfying 45. Rb7+ by Kramnik that finally signalled the end of Topalov's challenge.

Other big stories this year were the (6) Queenstown, won by GM Murray Chandler, and (7) City of Sydney tournaments, taken out by Raymond Song - mainly because - well, I played in both them. And then there was Arianne Caoili's appearance in (8) Dancing with the Stars. Too bad she didn't win in the end - but what a thrill ride for the 19-year old. None of us expected the whole thing. One day she was just a regular chesser then, suddenly, she was on our TV sets the next!

While not so big a story in terms of word or post count, Queenslander Moulthun Ly's recent performances was important news for TCG. Last October he competed in the Essent Open, in The Netherlands, and finished with 5 points - good enough for his second IM norm. (Moulthun's first was at the World Open). There is really no doubt about Moulthun's talent. Let's hope that the complete IM title isn't too far away. Then again, why settle for the IM? With so many young and talented players, Australia today is in a good position to finally produce a third home-grown grandmaster. Sadly, however - with such an absence of leadership - that may yet be a just a dream. The chess bureaucrats in this country are too busy banning people.

In tenth spot, my pick is our recent coverage of an unusual tournament condition of entry in a little-known Tasmanian tournament. No sign yet if the Burnie Chess Club has decided to discard the ridiculous rule for later events. Let's hope they do!

And that's our quick roundup of 2006. Of course, our dear readers may have different picks. As usual, your comments with nominations are welcome. See you next year and, if you have any tips, do drop us a note!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Wesley So Wins Open

Pinoy international master Wesley So, just 13-years old, has just finished on top of a strong field in the 2nd Prospero "Butch" Pichay Open in the Philippines. Scoring 7 points, he outpoined two grandmasters and a strong field of his fellow IMs. For his win, Wesley goes home with a cheque for P100,000.

In outright second place was Ronald Dableo. With thanks to Marlon Bernardino, final standings by points and tie break are as follows:

1st 7.5-IM Wesley So
2nd 7.0-IM Ronald Dableo
3rd 6.5-IM Darwin Laylo
4th 6.5-GM Mark Paragua
5th 6.5-IM Oliver Dimakiling
6th 6.5-GM Nelson Mariano II
7th 6.5-NM Julius Joseph de Ramos
8th 6.5-IM Yves Ranola

IM Title for George Xie

Australia has a new international master. George Xie has, at long last, earned the required number of points to reach a rating of 2400 and thus earn the IM title. He achieved the feat thanks to an undefeated performance in the Dandenong International Chess Festival. The complete standings are as follows:

G.Xie 9
D.Johansen 8
J.Sales 7.5
I.Goldenberg, V.Smirnov, D.Antic 7
D.Stojic 6
C.Depasquale 4.5
E.Levi 4
C.Gorka 3
D.Hacche 2
M.Dizdarevic 1/7

Sadly for Pinoy FM Jesse Sales, his loss to GM Dejan Antic in the last round meant that he'll have to wait another day for that IM norm.

Beers with a Champion

Last night, I had a few Christmas drinks with some chess folks in Criterion Hotel. Among us was one Serge Rubanraut. For those who need reminding, Serge was the 1976 Australian Chess Champion.

Serge is still pretty much in good health, thankfully. Even manages to put in a few paid hours of coaching - just for a couple of close friends for now I think. It keeps him busy. You'll also see him at Hyde Park, chatting to old friends and, maybe, play a few games of blitz. I have to say, he's still got some moves even after all these years. Beyond the national championship n '76, Serge also appeared for the Australian men's Olympiad squad in that same year. Here is a nice game against Italy's Andrea Grinza.

In 1980, Serge fronted up for another Australian Championships, this time in Adelaide, South Australia. The man had a very interesting motivation for playing in that event. He was there, he said, to meet "pretty females". (For an excellent round-by-round account of this tournament, see GM Ian Rogers' Australian Chess Into the Eighties).

It's been a while since Serge's last official competitive game. Over the years he's occupied himself with, for instance, writing a book. That one is entitled, Ugly Australian. So far it remains unpublished. He also writes essays and dabbles in poetry. He promised to let me publish one or two of them. That should be interesting.

Topalov Faces Ban

The Sofia Weekly is carrying this report that Veselin Topalov is facing a ban by FIDE for his latest outbursts against Vladimir Kramnik. In an interview with a Spanish paper, translations available in Chessbase, Topalov claimed that his Elista opponent received assistance from the KGB. (Actually, maybe he meant the FSB - the KGB's successor?)

Friday, December 22, 2006

Former NSWCA Man Speaks Out

In yet another embarrassing turn of events for the New South Wales Chess Association, and especially for its president - Bill Gletsos - former NSWCA official Trent Parker is having a go at his ex colleagues. Writing about the NSWCA's ridiculous threat to effectively extend Matthew Sweeney's banning, Mr Parker, in his blog writes:

This movement has Bill Gletsos written all over it. I do not believe that there had been a vote on this and if there was I would like to know what the result was. The councils last meeting was after the NSWCA AGM as it always is. If no reply is recieved i will be requesting to see the minutes for that meeting. Further evidence; When I was on council, Bill was suggesting to the Council that Matt's membership does not have to be accepted on many occasions. I just thought that Bill was having a bit of a joke. I did not think that Bill or the NSWCA would fall that low.

From Blog of a Chess Nut.

Well, Mr Parker, they have certainly fallen that low. So low, in fact, that all their hits are hitting well below the belt. What we need now is leadership from Bill Gletsos. We demand that he rally his troops, pull their heads in together, do the right thing, stop being such a bunch of (in Sweeney's words) "vengeful and malevolent" bureaucrats and accept Matthew Sweeney's membership.

It is time for the NSWCA to return to its real business: to promote and encourage the game of chess! Stop playing politics and witch hunts!

Jesse Checkmated!

Pinoy FM Jesse Sales, currently residing in the Australian state of Victoria, walked into a mate against Dusan Stojic in round 9 of the Dandenong Chess Festival. A terrible loss which nails Jesse to 5.5 points. Apologies in advance to our Pinoy readers for presenting this game.

Worth a mention also is Vladimir Smirnov's draw with GM Daryl Johansen. Vladimir is a regular blitzer in the Sydney's Hyde Park and Town Hall train station where some locals hang out for some post-work relaxation. He frequently drops by with his son who has also learned to play chess. It is very nice to see Vladimir do well in this tournament.

Giant Chess in Queenstown

Months after that very memorable tournament, Queenstown seems to be retaining its connection with our game. A giant chess set will now be created at Coronet Peak to complement the mountain biking activities.

Operations manager Alli Edwards: "These giant chess set pieces are so much fun. There is just something fascinating about walking amongst the pieces while considering your next move. The pieces are scaled to regular chess size with the King standing 640mm tall".


Oh by the way, our deal offer to Murray Chandler still stands.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Update of Dandenong Festival

By special request we have another game from the Dandenong Festival. This one is a win by Sydneysider FM George Xie over Chris Depasquale. George, by the way, needs just 25 more ratings points to be awarded the full international master title.

And here is an amusing line from the Star News: "Melbourne underdogs are turning international chess champions into pawns – and are ready to throw them on the barbie this summer."

Papoose in Da House

A what is in the house? Papoose! In an interview with Sound Slam, he briefly talks about chess:

Every wise man knows that life is like a game of chess. I was just passing the word on to people that don't know. Chess is a very strategic game, and so is life, there's obstacles that we got to face to overcome them. Just me noticing that metaphor myself, I had to put it into song format, and that's what I did. As far as the process and how long it took, when it comes from the heart, you don't even notice. The hours, you don't even notice them. Time flies when you're doing something that you love and enjoy doing.

Read the full article here. Not exactly my style of music, but it's interesting.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

2nd Prospero "Butch" Pichay Open

RP masters are once again in action in a local tournament. After 4 rounds of the 2nd Prospero “Butch” Pichay Jr. Cup National Open Championship, 13-year old IM Wesley So is in the sole lead on 4 points. Wesley defeated Oliver Dimakiling in the fourth game. Courtesy of Marlon Bernardino, here are the standings:

4.0 points-IM Wesley So
3.5 points-GM Mark Paragua, GM Nelson Mariano II, IM Darwin Laylo, FM John Paul Gomez, NM Oliver Barbosa
3.0 points-IM Oliver Dimakiling, IM Ronald Dableo, FM Fernie Donguines, FM Emmanuel Senador, FM Jan Emmanuel Garcia, FM Julius Joseph De Ramos, NM Rudy Ibanez, NM Rustum Tolentino, Jerome Balico, Paulo James Florendo

NSWCA Bullies Matthew Sweeney

Just a day after we have some warm words to say about the NSWCA, we immediately find ourselves completely gobsmacked at their seemingly complete stupidity. Led by president Bill Gletsos this body seems intent on behaving like a schoolyard bully. No, actually, make that the Ministry of Censorship. They recently sent Matthew Sweeney the following letter:

Dear Matthew,

It has been noted by Council that your ban on participating in NSWCA events and activities is due to expire on 31th December 2007. It has been further noted that your crude, foul, and vulgar language, is still evident on websites associated with chess and available to the public.

The council hereby advises that should you intend to apply for membership under the constitution of the NSWCA for 2007, an apology for your crude, foul and vulgar language and an assurance that there will be a cessation of such language in the future, should accompany your application for membership.

You should be aware that clause 3(1) of thew constitution provides the following:
" ...The council of the NSWCA shall have the right to refuse the application of any person who has been suspended ...

We look forward to receiving your genuine apology and assurance with your application for membership.

Yours faithfully,

So, recognising that the ban is over, the NSWCA is pretty much doing everything it can to stop Matthew Sweeney from becoming a full participant in NSWCA events. Just how low can these guys get?

Why in the world does the NSWCA concern itself with Mr Sweeney's pronouncements on a internet bulletin board? How does Mr Sweeney's online behaviour affect NSWCA events and their members? Whatever crude language that Mr Sweeney has to say, they surely affect only himself; that is, to possibly make him look crude and foul in the eyes of the general public! In other words, the public can decide for themselves. We don't need the NSWCA's protection.

This afternoon, I had the good fortune of accosting Bill Gletsos in Chess Chat's online chat facility. I asked him, "On what basis do you not accept Matt Sweeney's application for membership after his current ban expires?"

His reply was predictable: "That is a matter between Matt and the NSWCA. It is no business of yours."

On the contrary. When the state's chess association pokes its nose in matters that doesn't concern them (someone's language in an internet site) - it is, in fact, everyone's business.

We should mention that Mr Matthew Sweeney currently maintains his own bulletin board - the Australian Chess Club Forum. Their members, though infrequent posters, include a number of prominent chess organisers in Australia who are evidently happy to interact directly with Matthew.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Dandenong Festival Update

RP's Jesse Sales, who is so far unbeaten in the tournament, had a good win over Victorian player Igor Goldenberg in round 4 of the Dandenong International Chess Festival.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Smart Move by NSWCA

At least for me anyway. I arrived home today with the latest NSWCA newsletter in my letterbox and the first thing I read was some good news from our state chess administrators. The 2007 City of Sydney tournament will be played to a different format. Instead of spanning across 9 Sundays, at one game a week, the event will next year be played over just two weekends - 24-25 February and 3-4 March.

Of course, the change won't suit most players but for time-poor folks like myself, it's definitely the ideal choice. The event will have 7 rounds and played at a rate of 2 games a day (except the final Sunday). That will still make the City of Sydney fully compliant with FIDE rating requirements which, again, is another incentive.

I'm marking this one in my calendar.

ASTC Handbook

The chess organisers in Canberra continue to show the rest of Australia exactly how it's done. Libby Smith, tournament director of the Australian School Teams Championships, and crew have produced an outstanding handbook for that tournament. I especially like how sponsors and business partners have very prominent positioning.

Download the booklet here.

About the experience of producing the publication, Libby had this to say (in a posting in the now comatose Australian Chess Club Forum), "A lot of swearing, near-divorce moments and banging my head against things (plus the sponsorship of FUJI Xerox & Canberra Tourism) led to the end result."

And while we're at it, we might as well remind everyone of the upcoming events in Canberra later this month and in January 2007. The Junior Championships will begin mid-Jan while the Australian Open begins in just a few days time.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Dandenong Chess Festival

Noble Park CC is hosting a strong tournament - the Dandenong International festival. The event includes the Australian Masters as well as a FIDE-rated reserves tournament. Some of our Pinoy readers will be interested to note that FM Jesse Sales is playing in the Masters section against the likes of grandmasters Daryl Johansen and visitor Dejan Antic. The latter drew against FM George Xie in round one then lost to Victorian player Eddy Levi in round three. (The round 2 game Antic-Gorka will be played next week).

The festival will run until 23 December.

I notice also that the Noble Park website has a link to the blog. Thanks very much for that. All power to these folks. According to their website, they have "big plans for the future".

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Kasparov Marching Forward

This morning I woke up to the voice of Gary Kasparov as he was being interviewed by the BBC radio. He was talking about Russian politics, the slow death of democracy in that country and the effort of an opposition front, "The Other Russia", to try and stem the powers of Russian president Vladimir Putin. As reported by Chessbase, Kasparov will today, Moscow time, lead a protest march in the Russian capital.

What is happening in Russia sounds very alarming. If you believe the ex-chess world champion, Putin is forming himself into a 21st century dictatorial tsar whose regime, according to some dissidents, is guilty of the same bad habits as the old Soviets.

In an interview with Britain's The Times newspaper, Kasparov has mixed feelings about his country's political fortunes:

If we can keep The Other Russia united for the next six months there will be more and more losers in the Kremlin battle who are looking for other options. The momentum will be on our side. It gives me some optimism, although not much because it could go either way. There could be repressions and arrests.

Let's hope that Kasparov can keep himself fairly safe. From time to time, it's tempting to think that the same fate suffered by Alexander Litvinenko could also befall the chess maestro - a horrible thought, I know. After all, Putin himself has his own supporters. The Independent reports that on Sunday, a pro-Putin march is being organised by the "Nashi" youth movement that is expected to attract as many as 100,000 people.

Jesse's Mother Arrested for Threat

Jesse Gilbert's mother has been arrested by British police for allegedly threatening to kill Ian Gilbert, Jesse's father. Last Thursday, UK time, Ian Gilbert was cleared of rape charges by the Guildford Crown Court.

Angela Gilbert was quoted as saying, "We believe that Jessie died because of the evil acts of one man, who stole her childhood and systematically destroyed her".

From the Evening Standard.

Jason Chan's Blog

Here I am, on this dreary Saturday morning, researching some topic to write about when suddenly I found an interesting incoming link to my blog. I thought the URL looked a bit familiar - "1mingrandmaster". Well there is only one and genuine 1-minute grandmaster I know. Lo and behold, the incoming link was Jason Chan's blog - "Life and the Universe According to Jason Chan"!

I had no idea Jason has been a regular blogger. He's been at it since December 2005. The blog, surprisingly for me though, is a lot less about chess (since I met and know him mainly through this beautiful game). Jason's post are quite personal and thoughtful. But while not about chess, a handful of chess personalities do make an appearance.

This post, under the category of "Amazing People I Know", about my good friend Nick Kordahi made me LOL. And it is difficult to disagree with this one about another friend of mine, Jose Escribano.

It is probably true that Jose could make his life a little easier and improve his image as seen by others, but I think he is largely a very considerate person and does not want to cause trouble. He is not perfect, but he usually thinks from the perspective of other people and tries to treat them well.

Canberra chess organiser, Jenni Oliver is also featured. We're just not sure if we agree with this: "She does not seem to make any enemies."

Jason Chan is presently completing his PhD thesis in Computer Science. He is actually one of the most intelligent I know. This guy once created a rating system for the chess players at Hyde Park, in Sydney. I remember that we all used to get quite excited about how we went after a day's play, what was our rating, who was on top, and so on. I miss those days actually.

Finally, I must say, Mr Chan might consider switching careers to Psychology! He seems to have the feel for it.

Singapore Masters and Challengers

One of the biggest events in Asia, the Singapore Masters and Challengers Open, is due to commence on Boxing Day. The event is often attended by some of the best Pinoy talents and this year is no different. Some familiar names are Mark Paragua, Wesley So, Oliver Barbosa and John-Paul Gomez plus many others.

Of interest to our Aussie readers is the participation of Raymond and Angela Song who are both currently residing in China with their parents.

The Australian and Pinoy entries will go head-to-head against some of the region's strongest players like grandmasters Zhang Pengxiang, Ni Hua, Utut Adianto and Indian female star Humpy Koneru.

As ususal, we'll try to keep an up-to-date coverage of this event. Hopefully there will also be a few games available for download.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Jesse's Father Cleared

As promised, here is an update on the Jesse Gilbert story. Her father, Ian Gilbert, facing several charges of rape was yesterday cleared of those charges by a court in the UK.

From the BBC and the Guardian.

Tournament in Kalgoorlie

A small tournament was held in the William Grundt Library in Kalgoorlie, WA. Monies raised went into toy boxes for the local hospital. A great effort it seems. Actually, that's an interesting idea: a chess tournament for charity with most proceeds going into some charity. Eastern chess administrators should consider it.

From the Kalgoorlie Golden Mail.

Indians Take Chess Gold

The powerful Indian team took out the team gold yesterday in the mixed team's classical chess event of the Doha Games. India's final total was 22.5 points after drawing with the Kazakhs in the last round at 1.5 points apiece.

Various news sources are quoting Humpy Koneru as saying, "It is a good feeling to win another gold for the country. We were confident of winning the title before the competitions started, and its great to have done it".

Team Philippines also had a peaceful end to their campaign by splitting the points with Turkmenistan. RP end Doha on 14.5 points overall.

Leading finishers:

22.5 - India
17.5 - China
16.5 - Iran
16.0 - Kazakhstan, Indonesia
15.0 - Qatar

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jesse Gilbert Update

Some months ago we reported on the terrible news of Jesse Gilbert's death. I understand that the 19-year old was well-known to some Australians, especially those in the junior chess scene. Chessbase also featured an item on her life.

Since that news broke, Jesse's father - Ian Gilbert, 48 - has actually been appearing in court on charges of five counts of rape. Mr Gilbert denies those charges. The latest update is that the jury is now out and will return today, Thursday UK time, to deliver the verdict.

We'll, of course, let you know of the result as soon as we pick up the news.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

India Edge Closer to Gold

The Indian trio of Krishhan, Pentala and Koneru are powering forward to team gold as they hit the 18.5 points mark after 7 rounds of the mixed team's classical in the Doha Games. Yesterday they defeated the Iranians, coached by British GM Nigel Short, 2.5 points to half.

Team Philippines drew their encounter against Bangladesh at 1.5 points all. ROnald Dableo defeated GM Reefat Bin Sattar and while Darwin Laylo drew his game against IM Enamul Hossain. On board 3, RP's female rep Jedara Docena went down to Samima Akter. The Philippines now has 10 points in total.

Leading teams are:

18.5 - India
14 - China
13 - Kazakhsktan, Indonesia
12 - Iran, Qatar, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan

Russian Police Raid Kasparov

The offices of former world chess champion Gary Kasparov was reportedly raided by Russian police. Kasparov, now one of the most vehement critics of Russian president Vladimir Putin, leads the so-called "The Other Russia" - a pro democracy group.

Reports by Bloomberg and India's DNA.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Cheating by Indian Player

Indian player Umakant Sharma was recently caught using some kind of electronic gadget during play. The All India Chess Federation is considering what to do with the guy.

From The Telegraph.

Levon Aronian in Queensland

We were a bit vague about this earlier but we now have permission to announce that Levon Aronian is in Australia. In fact, as I write these words he is on his way to visit Seaworld in the Gold Coast.

Doha Games Chess Update

We're trying folks, desperately trying to make an effort of updating - but the jet lag, sadly, is getting to me. I'm completely exhausted. I landed at 7.30AM last Sunday, home by 9AM, did my washing, then off to bed for a few hours. Still, the body clock hasn't quite readjusted.

Anyway there is a big sporting event happening in Doha, Qatar - the 15th Asian Games and chess, as I think you know, is one of the sporting events. So far six rounds have been played in the Mixed Team's Classical phase and team India is powering ever closer to gold. Yesterday - Krishan, Pentala and Koneru blanked out their Uzbek opposition 3 points to nil.

The Uzbeks comprised of Rustam Kasimdhanov, Aleksei Barsov and WIM Olga Sabirova.

Team Philippines (Laylo, Dableo and female player Jedara Docena), on the other hand lost out to Mongolia 2 games to 1. The boys drew their matches but Docena lost to WGM Munguntuul Batkhuyag.

Leading team scores after six rounds:

16.0 points – India
11.5 – Qatar, Iran
11 – China
10.5 – Kazakhstan
10 – Vietnam, Indonesia

The Philippines has 8.5 points.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The future of chess

In the wake of Fritz's victory over Vladimir Kramnik, George Dvorsky offers some interesting ideas about the way forward:

In regards to human versus machine situations, the only option at this point is to start handicapping the computer. Otherwise, there’s no point to these match-ups.


[A]s far as the advancement of chess is concerned, it is time for humans to take a backseat to the computers. Chessbots have moved beyond us now and are playing the most sophisticated matches in the history of the game.

From the Institute of Ethics and Emerging Technologies

On my way home

Aah, after a little under a fortnight - I'm finally on my way back home. Now sitting in this very comfy British Airways business lounge where I just had for myself a nice drop of Californian Cab Sav. Yumm! I should be landing back in Sydney on Sunday morning. And I know my dear avid fans just can't wait for me to get back to full steam ahead blogging.

My God, did we miss some real action? NSWCA annual general meeting, wanna-bes in Queensland failing to win office and, of course, the Doha Games were just some of the news we missed. No matter, there's always more to come. I hope so anyway.

Traffic to the blog has markedly fallen over the last few days. It'll take a lot to get it back up again. We need another Gormallygate!

Still, I really enjoyed my brief time here in the UK and Brussels. Loved the latter, especially the shopping. I don't know, maybe it was my already overheated credit card, but things seemed so cheap in Belgium! Couldn't help myself. Enough talk. I gotta catch my flight. See you when I get back.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Lost in Brussels

Just another quick update. After a few days in London (where a well-dressed Italian tried to rip me off just outside of Harrods for God's sake), I finally made it to the Brussels. This place is beautiful. I just spent a good couple of hours walking around the streets of the Grand Central Market. Tonight, the town put on a spectacular light show that illuminated the facades of the old buildings that surround the main square. Quite magical. And, of course, I could not really detain myself very much from immediately seeking out the city's most popular chess cafe, The Greenwich. Thanks to my old buddy Jelle Marechal, himself a Belgian, for recommending this place. This joint is exactly how one would have found it a hundred years ago. There were about two dozen old men playing there. It wasn't long before I found an opponent. He had an espresso, while I enjoyed a glass od Duvel. I won two games! Not a bad start.

That's about all the garbled post I can manage for now. My time is running out. The net access here in Europe is ridiculously expensive (not to mention the overpriced but hopelessly substandard sushi). See you next time.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Fischer's Partner Vows Silence

Ah, we have some time now to update. Just one post, though, on this very chilly English morning. I'm actually off on a go-kart race later today.

There are so many things that the chess world would like to know about Bobby Fischer. And there is one person who holds a wealth of knowledge on the ex-world champion. But Fischer's long-time companion, Miyoko Watai, says that she will never reveal those details.

Link: Bobby Fischer's longtime companion still angry over treatment of chess icon

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Arianne Caoili Loses Grand Final

We interrupt our short break from blogging to bring to our OS readers this news. WIM Arianne Caoili tonight Australia time lost the grand final of Dancing with the Stars. The winner was Australian rules football star Anthony Koutoufides.

No doubt the controversy over Arianne's alleged cheating, sparked off last Tuesday by judge Todd McKenney's comments, drew away many voters from the chess star. But many pro-Arianne watchers are tonight left aghast with some taking aim directly at the program.

One poster on the official DWTS message boards wrote, "This show is a sham". Some are claiming that the whole thing is rigged.

The past 7 days has been a very unglamorous experience for Caoili. Who knows where she goes from here? A break will do her some good from all that whirlwind publicity. But, from our talks with her throughout the show, she seems to be coping rather well. We also understand that a special visitor might drop in sometime this week. If true, that will be a bonus.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

TCG Blog Shut Down

It's that time again when I pack my bags, get on a 747 and head off across to the other side of the globe. I'll be off to the UK for work then taking personal time off to see Belgium. Should be fun. I'm heading here first.

The same as last year, this means that I won't be able to update the blog on a regular basis for the next 2 weeks. I'm sure you'll miss me; and I'll miss you, too, dear readers.

My timing is a little bad. Today is actually the NSWCA annual general meeting. But I think it will be a less exciting affair than last year. In 2006, no serious challenger to one Bill Gletsos has emerged. So I think I won't miss out on anything juicy! Well, at least, I hope not.

The AGM scene is not likely to be as quiet in Queensland, slated for 2 December. This year, arbiter Garvin Gray and chess podcaster Dion Sampson have nominated for the president and veep positions respectively. They will go head-to-head against other nominees John Surridge and current state association PR officer, Bill Powell. It's pretty hard to pick a winner. There's been no policy statements from all sides. Mr Gray, for instance, appears to have learned an important lesson from his Mt Buller experience when, after every provocation, he just kept digging and digging an ever deeper hole. And Dion Sampson, a normally enthusiastic podcaster and dubbed by ex-CAQ boss Howard Duggan as "Debater Boy", has gone, well, compeletely cold! We don't know too much about Mr Surridge whereas Mr Powell appears to have baggages of his own.

All I can say is, good luck boys.

What about Victoria - the state with most highly politicised chess scene? As far as we can tell the "Unity" ticket is pretty much a shoo-in. There's plenty of noisy opposition but no alternative ticket. One such opposition is this guy.

Over the past week, we've been eyeing a story coming out of Tasmania. It involves a little club called the Burnie CC. I won't repeat the background but here's our first post followed by this response from Burnie CC's Phil Donnelly.

The matter is extensively debated here, in Australia's most popular chess forum, and as we can see, the informal poll is firmly against Burnie CC. Now you'd think that all that will be enough for the Burnie CC to reverse, or at least reconsider, their position. Nope! This morning, I woke up to this stubborn announcement by club spokesman, Phil Donnelly: "[T]he bottom line is the BCC will probably exercise the right to claim publicity rights for its future tournaments."

We sincerely hope that both the Tasmanian Chess Association and our ACF do something about this. It's a complete joke!

Time now to just quickly shift gears before I burst a blood vessel. Leading into the festive season it's only apt that we present to our readers some Christmas stories. I received an email from David Evans, of Rooty Hill CC (noted also for their strong Pinoy membership), who pointed me to their 2006 Christmas story. This year's edition is Die Götterdämmerung.

See also The Santa Gambit from 2005. Santa Claus was worried because the Wicked Witch of the West had cast a spell over the reindeer and they could no longer fly. The solution? A chess match. And a short fable from 2004.

Of course, the year-end also means it's time for the Australian Open. There's still time to enter the event. The two Aussie GMs will be in attendance as well as Dejan Antic and Canada's Mark Bluvshtein. We understand that negotiations are under way with two other grandmasters.

The juniors, on the other hand, better get a move on if you want to save $15 from your entry into the 2007 Australian Junior Championship. Early entry discounts will expire in 4 days! This event will be massive. So far there are 175 players who've signed up and the list is growing.

Well, that's about it. I'm now on my way to the airport. I may see you or I may not. If I don't, let me wish you guys a happy Christmas and a good year for 2007. Two thousand and six was, from a blogging perspective at least, a fun one. "Gormallygate" was definitely the highlight. That one incident put us on the map with traffic coming in from all directions. But 2006 was also important for one thing: we made a few new friends along the way - many from my beloved Philippines.

Sydneysider to Face IM

FM Lee Jones will play against Indian international master R.R. Laxman in the seventh round after yesterday defeating WCM G.V. Wijesuriya. With that win the Sydneysider improves his position to 3 points after 6 games.

English grandmaster Nigel Short leads the tournament on 5.5 points alongside international master M.R. Venkatesh.

In unrelated news, last Friday - Lee Jones' father, Brian, played host to the Sydney International Open fund raising dinner. Brian reports that it was a big success. Nearly 100 people attended and over AUD$5000 was raised.

Pinoy Player Under Suspicion

Just this week we reported on an excellent performance by a certain Hamed Nouri in the just concluded 1st GMA Cup in Manila. I don't too much about this guy but he is apparently referred to as the "Pinoy Kasparov" in RP chess circles. After beating those three GMs, the nickname seems entirely justified.

Sadly, though, Nouri's performance in the GMA has been cast in some rather malicious light in GM Alex Baburin's "Chess Today" publication. Writing about Nouri in issue no. 2207, Andrey Deviatkin said:

[O]ne of the 6-scored players is absolutely unknown – it is Hamed Nouri from the Philippines, who doesn't even have a FIDE ranking. He began the tournament from 2/4, but in the rounds 6-8 he beat 3 grandmasters in a row – the Philippinos (sic) Antonio and Villamayor and, finally, Vladimir Belov from Russia (2589) with Black pieces! In the last round he will be faced with the 4th GM, Mikhalevsky, so it's interesting to see if he continues his outstanding series. I may add that this all looks rather strange.

Strange? What is so strange about it? Bobby Ang, our favourite chess columnist, was moved to fire back. This is a portion of his letter published in issue no. 2208:

I don't know what is being implied by this "... it all looks rather strange". Hamed Nouri is a Philippine National Master from Bacolod, and he is a very strong player. He has beaten our GMs in the past during team tournaments and national championships. Nouri is a typical player who is not based in Metro Manila and therefore has not had an opportunity to shine. Please do not take away from him this magnificent achievement for which he trained intensively.

To be fair, Alex Baburin did reply to Bobby and offered some clarification. In this day and age when people are worried about computer assistance, Baburin said, it's easy to be suspicious when an unknown like Hamed Nouri strings together a hat-trick of wins as he did. Alex also writes:

Or perhaps [Andrey Deviatkin] found it strange that such a strong player, capable of beating GMs, was not FIDE rated yet. In any case, I trust in the presumption of innocence in chess and gladly accept that Mr Nouri is a strong and talented player, who simply had little exposure in international chess. I have come across such players often enough.

Fair enough but a pointblank apology would have been preferred. Something like: "We apologise to Hamed Nouri, to his opponents and to the organisers for any suggestion of underhanded business."

Ode to Arianne

Since last Tuesday's episode of DWTS, Arianne Caoili has once again found herself embroiled in controversy. Australia's chess starlet can at least be happy that most viewers of the Channel 7 program appear to be firmly behind her. One such viewer, a fan of Arianne's, has even taken the time to pen this ode to our fave dancer.

Ode to Arianne and Carmello
Sung to tune of "Dancing Queen" by Ulvaeus/Andersen)
by "Allison"

You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, diggin’ the dancing queen

Tuesday night and the lights are low
You’re on a very high rating show
Listen now to the music, getting in the swing
You’re gonna get a bollocking.

Watch out for Todd, that moody guy
With criticism he’s never shy.
With a bit of Chong’s music, everything is fine
Youre in the mood for a dance
And when you get the chance...

You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only ni-ineteen
Dancing queen, feel the hate from that old has-been, oh yeah
You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, Todd’s not diggin’ the dancing queen

He’s a teacher, or so he said
Pity most of his students are probably dead.
Looking out to annoy you, any taunt will do
He say’s you’ve secretly trained at dance
You salsa at every chance…

You are the dancing queen, young and sweet, only ni-ineteen
Dancing queen, feel the hate from that old has-been, oh yeah.
You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, Todd’s not diggin’ the dancing queen


Well OK, it's kind of cheesy. But since I'm off away from blogging for a couple of weeks, I just thought I'd take the plunge.

In the mean time, Caoili has come out swinging in today's Sunday papers. The Herald Sun quotes her as saying, "I don't feel guilty and I've done nothing wrong".

She also denies having studied ballet at the prestigious Academy of London. The London connection seems to have first popped up in this story by the Courier Mail last week. I have to admit that this story was pretty hard to accept. We have unconfirmed information that Arianne's ballet training was basically for 30 minutes, once a week, given by a dance teacher who had "RAD" qualifications. RAD is the Royal Academy of London. So it seems that someone either mispoke or misquoted!

Annette Caoili, Arianne's mother, says: "She was just a six-year-old with no teeth doing ballet after school and then we were living in a suitcase travelling the international chess circuit for the next eight years."

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Lee Jones Draws Fifth Game

The only Australian rep in the Commonwealth Chess Championships, FM Lee Jones, last night drew his fifth round game against Malaysian player Subramaniam Sumant. Lee's next opponent is WCM G.V. Wijesuriya of Sri Lanka.

Now some of you are probably wondering what "WCM" is. I've never heard of it myself. Or maybe I have, but just considered it irrelevant. Well "WCM" is a title for women and it means '"Woman Candidate Master".

Personality of the Year

FIDE head Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has been awarded the Personality of the Year 2006 award by the Russian Biographical Centre.


Kramnik vs Fritz

The Kramnik vs Fritz match will begin tonight, Australia time. I know some of our readers are eagerly waiting for that. But for me, these sorts of man versus machine type matches are not very interesting. There's just something missing.

Anyway, you guys can follow the action on the usual chess servers. The ICC will have the famous Mig as well as US grandmaster Joel Benjamin in their program. I have to say that I always prefer ICC's audio coverage. Plus the kibitzes on ICC game viewers are themselves absolute classics!

And just so my friend Goran Urosevic won't be cross with me, I should also mention the World Chess Network. WCN will also have audio coverage with GM Alex Finkel handling the first 2 rounds while Larry Christiansen and Irina Krush will be on duty for all other games. The good thing is that audio is not restricted; anyone can listen. The downside is that only gold members can watch the live game broadcast, unless the game is on Friday when all members have access to all features. Some readers may prefer to check out WCN as it's less chaotic than ICC.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Super GM in Sydney

I'd love to see that.

Really? Honestly? Are you sure? Those were my questions.

Prisoners make their moves

After our post on police and chess, it's fair that we must have a little story about those on the other side of the law. In Bulgaria, they just completed a tournament for teams of prisoners. The inaugural champs was a group of inmates from Varna Prison.

From the Sofia News Agency.

The Journalist Chess Foundation

A couple of columns ago, former RP Olympiad captain and writer Bobby Ang mentioned a group called the "Journalist Chess Foundation". Parents and chess fans are advised to watch out. This is what Mr Ang had to say:

Important Notice: There are some chess reporters (no, they do not qualify as journalists) who are going around soliciting funds for a “Journalist Chess Foundation” from chess enthusiasts and parents. Oftentimes they have used my name as one of its founders.

I want to be absolutely clear here:

1. To my knowledge there is NO such thing as a Journalist Chess Foundation;
2. Even if there were, I have never been and do not intend to ever be connected with it. Indeed, if the people going around to ask for money are any indication of the caliber of its members, then no good will ever come of it;
3. I have not asked anyone to solicit funds for any foundation; and
4. If someone should approach you with such a request please take steps to make sure that he is beaten up within an inch of death.

Our Australian, indeed all non-Pinoy, readers are advised to just ignore Bobby's point 4 above. That's just the way we talk in RP. Lots of machismo. Every guy likes to talk and act like Lito Lapid or worse, ERAP. In truth, Pinoys are very nice people. Just trust me on that.

Read more from Bobby's 10 November column. We are wondering, though, if Bobby would be kind enough to name names.

Jones Settles for a Draw

Lee Jones could only achieve a draw against Indian player Divyasri in the fourth round of the commonwealth Chess Championships. The Sydneysider, son of Sydney International Open organiser Brian Jones, is so far on 1.5 points after 4 rounds. His next opponent is Subramaniam Sumant (rated 1996) of Malaysia.

Also yesterday was the board 1 drawn encounter between top seed GM Nigel Short and international master M.R. Venkatesh. That result means that for the time being, at least, local IM Abhijeet Gupta holds the sole lead on 4 points.

Speaking of Nigel Short, he has this advice for super-GM Vishy Anand: get fit!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Chinese GM Tops GMA

Thanks Iggy for the following! Chinese grandmaster Zhang Pengxiang has emerged winner of the inaugural Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Cup Chess Challenge on a score of 7.5 points out of nine. Mikhalevski and Onischuk shared second place on 7.

Zhang Zhong-Zhang Pengxiang 0-1
Dableo-Onischuk, 0-1
Mikhalveski-Nouri, 1-0
Zhou- Ni Hua, 0-1
Akobian-Garma, 1-0
Wang Rui –Paragua, 1-0
So-Belov, 0-1
Sadorra-Vakhidov, 1-0
Severino-laylo, 0-1, default
Bitoon-Senador, 0-1
Bancod-mariano, 1-0
Gonzales-Barbosa, 1-0
Ranola-Tolentino, 1-0

7.5-Zhang Pengxiang
7-Mikhalevski, Onischuk,
6.5- Ni Hua, Wang Rui, Akobian
6.0- Zhang Zhong, Nouri, Belov, Laylo, Ranola, Bancod, Senador, Sadorra, Gonzales

BREAKING NEWS: Torre Defaulted

We have advance news from Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino of this near-unbelievable piece of news. Asia's first grandmaster, Eugene Torre, lost his last round game today by default. The poor fellow apparently forgot that the last round was slated for 1PM and not the normal 3PM. Torre's opponent was my fellow Cebuano, FM Anthony Makinano.

In his report, Bernardino quotes Torre as saying, "Hindi ko ma recall pero ito yata ang unang beses na natalo ako ng default sa international tournament" (Trans: I can't recall [exactly] but I think this is the first time that I've lost by default in an international tournament).

The Filipino legend ends his GMA campaign on the measly score of 4 points. He was not the only one to lose by default today. FM Sander Severino also failed to turn up at the scheduled start of play.

Arianne: I did not lie

When asked by judge Todd McKenney if she's ever had prior dance training, Arianne said, "Absolutely not". Yet The Gold Coast Bulletin has now revealed that Australia's favourite chess starlet did, in fact, attend at least 3 beginner classes with Rio Rhythmics.

Queensland paper The Courier Mail yesterday also quoted Annette Caoili, Arianne's mother, as saying:

She was at that time full on with her classical ballet and she was getting distinction awards from the Academy of London . . . at that young age, six . . . seven. Of course, the ballet teacher was telling me she's cut out to be a ballerina.

Distinction awards from the Academy of London?

Anyway, we think that there's something very strange about all this. As some posters on the DWTS official message boards have said, it's hard to believe that Channel 7 didn't bother to check Arianne's background. Could all this be just a PR stunt?

As I hit this paragraph, Arianne is appearing on Channel 7's "Sunrise" program. She has just labelled her mom's remark above (i.e. "full time with classical ballet") as "ridiculous". She accepts that she had 4 salsa beginner social lessons and some tiny tot ballet classes.

"I did not lie, I simply misunderstood [Todd's question] in the heat of the moment", she said.

Hat Trick of Upsets for Nouri

National Master Hamed Nouri is emerging as RP's giant killer in the currently running GMA Cup in Manila. He has just strung together a hat trick of wins over grandmasters Antonio, Villamayor and now, in yesterday's 8th round, Vladimir Belov of Russia.

Below are some games results from yesterday's round 8. At the moment, we're providing these updates faster than the official site. In our effort to do this there are times, sadly, when some detail is missed. Therefore these results are still subject to some corrections.

Onischuk-Mikhalevsky, draw
Zhang Pengxiang-Akobian, 1-0
Ni Hua-Zhang Zhong, draw
Belov-Nouri, 0-1
Barbosa-Dableo, 0-1
Wang-Severino, 1-0
Paragua-Ranola, draw
Vakhidov-Gonzales, draw
Garma-Dimakiling, 1-0
Laylo-So, draw
Nolte-Zhou Weiqi, 0-1
Torre-Sadorra, 0-1

6.5-Zhang Pengxiang
6-Mikhalevski, Onischuk, Zhang Zhong, Dableo,
5.5-Akobian, Ni Hua,

Aussie Scores First Point

After dropping his first 2 games, FM Lee Jones is finally off the mark in the Commonwealth Chess Championships in Mumbai, India. Lee yesterday defeated Shah Jitesh in the third round. The win should hopefully boost Lee's confidence for today's 4th round clash against a Divyasri, rated 2010.

The official site now carries daily reports but no games are available for download.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Round 7 from GMA

Early results from round 7 of GMA, courtesy of Iggy. These are only preliminary and are subject to corrections.

Zhang Zhong-Onischuk, draw
Mikhalevski-Belov, 1-0
Zhang Pengxiang-Laylo, 1-0
Dableo-Ni Hua, draw
Akobian-Wang Rui, still playing
Gonzales-Paragua, draw
Severino -Torre, 1-0
So-Vakhidov, draw
Dimakiling-Nolte, draw
Bitoon-Barbosa, 0-1
Nouri-Villamayor 0-1

Arianne Caoili in Grand Final

In next week's Dancing with the Stars grand final showdown, Arianne Caoili will fight it out against AFL star Anthony Koutoufides. Last night, Arianne's main rival Tamsyn Lewis was unbelievably booted out of the show.

TCG actually missed the episode last night (off to see "Little Miss Sunshine") but we understand that Australia's chess starlet came in for some right royal shellacking from judge Todd McKenney. He'd apparently effectively branded Arianne a liar on national TV! It seems the question that's being asked is: did Arianne have any dancing experience, either as a student or dance teacher, prior to her appearance on DWTS?

Todd McKenney's comments last night has got the DWTS message boards abuzz. Most posters are on Arianne's side, with some even accusing Todd of being a racist.

To be frank, we don't really understand what the fuss is all about. The fact is, Arianne has never been a pro dancer. Two previous celebrity contestants, Nikki Webster and ex-Miss Universe Jennier Hawkins, also had dance backgrounds.

If nothing dramatic happens between now and next Tuesday, Arianne Caoili will hope to emulate the achievement of another Pinoy who won Dancing with the Stars. Last week, Fillipino-American Cheryl Burke was the winner of the United States' own version of DWTS. Cheryl's partner was Dallas Cowboys running back, Emmitt Smith.

Lee Jones in Mumbai

The Commonwealth Chess Championships began the other day in Mumbai, India. Lee Jones, the Australian rep, is so far on nil after 2 rounds. He sufferred back-to-back losses to Indians GM Praveen Thipsay in the first round, then in the second to 1943-rated Khosla Shiven.

English GM Nigel Short is the top seed of this event. Most participants are, naturally, from India. There are a couple of Sri Lankans and Bangladeshis, a Singaporean, one from Namibia, a South African, there is one each from Malaysia and Pakistan - plus, of course, Lee Jones. A total of 168 players are competing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Antonio Withdraws from GMA

In a sensational turn of events, RP grandmaster Rogelio Antonio Jr. has just withdrawn from the 1st GMA Cup. He cites sinusitis and a high fever as the reasons for the withdrawal. It should be noted that GM Antonio lost his last 3 three games - to Akobian in the fourth round, followed by a loss to Oliver Barbosa in the fifth and, finally, to Nouri Hamed in the sixth round today.

Antonio was quoted as saying, "Masama na talaga ang pakiramdam ko. Hindi ko na kayang maglaro kahit gustuhin ko mang tapusin" (Trans: I really feel ill. I can't manage to play even though I really want to finish [the tournament]).

Other early 6th round results:

Onischuk 4.5 pts. vs Zhang Pengxiang 4.0 pts.,draw
Belov 4.0 pts. vs Akobian 4.5 pts. Still playing
Barbosa 4.0 pts. vs Zhang Zhong 4.0 pts., 0-1
Wang Rui 4.0 pts. vs Laylo 4.0 pts, draw
Paragua 3.5 pts. vs Dableo 4.0 pts, draw
Ni Hua 3.5 pts. vs Ranola 3.5 pts, 1-0
Weiqi Zhou 3.5 pts. vs Mikhalevski 3.5 pts,0-1
Vakhidov 3.5 pts. vs Severino 3.5 pts, draw
Nolte 3.5 pts. vs Bitoon 3.5 pts, draw
Villamayor 3.5 pts. vs So 3.5 pts, draw
Torre 3.0 pts. vs Bancod 3.0 pts., 1-0
Hamed 3.0 pts. vs Antonio Jr. 3.0 pts, 1-0

Thanks to Marlon Bernardino and Iggy Dee for the information contained in this post.

GMA Round 6 Pairings

Onischuk 4.5 pts. vs Zhang Pengxiang 4.0 pts.
Belov 4.0 pts. vs Akobian 4.5 pts.
Barbosa 4.0 pts. vs Zhang Zhong 4.0 pts.
Wang Rui 4.0 pts. vs Laylo 4.0 pts.
Paragua 3.5 pts. vs Dableo 4.0 pts.
Ni Hua 3.5 pts. vs Ranola 3.5 pts.
Weiqi Zhou 3.5 pts. vs Mikhalevski 3.5 pts.
Vakhidov 3.5 pts. vs Severino 3.5 pts.
Nolte 3.5 pts. vs Bitoon 3.5 pts.
Villamayor 3.5 pts. vs So 3.5 pts.
Torre 3.0 pts. vs Bancod 3.0 pts.
Hamed 3.0 pts. vs Antonio Jr. 3.0 pts.

Arbiter Attacked by Spectator

A very serious incident reportedly took place at the Ralph Seberry Memorial Weekender played over the last weekend. It seems that the arbiter was physically assaulted by a spectator just as the tournament was ending. NSWCA head Bill Gletsos says that the arbiter has been advised to file charges with the police.

On more chess related matters, we can say that FM Igor Bjelobrk won this event with a score of 6.5 points from 7 games. He drew his penultimate game against Sydney junior Max Illingworth. Johny Bolens and IM-elect George Xie were the second placers with 5.5 points each.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Round 5 Results from GMA

Initial round 5 results are in:

Akobian (USA) vs GM A. Onischuk (USA), draw
Zhang Penxiang (China) vs Wang Rui (China), draw
Zhang Zhong (China) vs V. Mikhalevski (Israel), 1-0
V. Belov (Russia) vs C. Garma (RP), 1-0
R. Dableo (RP) vs E. Torre (RP), 1-0
R. Antonio Jr. (RP) vs O. Barbosa (RP), 0-1
Y. Ranola (RP) vs T. Vakhidov (Uzbekistan), drag
D. Laylo (RP) vs Nadera (RP), 1-0
Wesley So (RP) vs Weiqi Zhou (China), draw
S.Severino (RP) vs Bong Villamayor (RP), draw
J. de Ramos (RP) vs Ni Hua (China), 0-1
John Paul Gomez (RP) vs Paragua (RP), 0-1
Bitoon (RP) vs Merben Roque (RP), draw
Nolte (RP) vs GM Nelson Mariano II (RP), 1-0

Above results are courtesy of Marlon Bernardino.

Arianne Caoili - Pinoy Aussie of 2006

While we have our attention at the GMA Cup in Manila, it's only fitting that we take a moment to mention another award for one Arianne Caoili. The woman international master, currently competing in Dancing With The Stars, was recently announced as the Pinoy-Aussie of the Year (2006) by the Filipino Communities Council of Australia.

There is an SBS radio interview with Arianne but the web link is, sadly, broken. We've emailed the executive producer for an emergency fix. As soon as that's available, we'll let you know.

Wesley So Draws with Ni Hua

CORRECTION: We've now just been advised that Antonio, in fact, lost to Akobian. The pairings, therefore, stand.

Here are some preliminary results from round 4 today in the GMA Cup. Important outcomes here are So's draw with Ni Hua and Antonio's win over Akobian.

Onischuk-Belov, 1-0
Mikhalevsky-Zhang Pengxiang, draw
Akobian-Antonio, 0-1 Akobian-Antonio, 1-0
Torre-Zhang Zhong, draw
Ni Hua-So, draw
Wang Rui-Bitoon, 1-0

And here are some preliminary pairings for round 5. Cheers Iggy. Note that these pairings don't look 100% correct. We're double checking.

Akobian (4) vs. Onischuk (4)
Zhang Pengxiang (3.5) vs Wang Rui (3.5)
Zhang Zhong (3) vs. Mikhalevski (3.5)
Dableo (3) vs. Torre (3)
Antonio (3) vs. Barbosa (3)
So (3) vs. Zhou Weiqui (3)
Belov (3) vs. Garma
Ranola (3) vs. Vakidov (3)
Laylo (3) vs. Nadera (3)
Severino (3) vs. Villamayor

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Short: Do Away with Titles

English grandmaster Nigel Short is in India to compete in the Commonwealth Chess Championships that is scheduled to commence tomorrow 20, November. Speaking to the Indian press, Short says:

My personal opinion is to do away with these titles in chess. I know several instances of tournaments being fixed in order to help players attain the required norms and then get the GM titles. There have been instances of players throwing away matches for money to enable their opponents get these titles.

From the Financial Express.

Australia will be represented in the Mumbai event by FM Lee Jones. We wish Lee all the very best in his battles! No doubt Lee would have had a few tips from brother-in-law IM Gary Lane. In 1988, Gary, then playing under the English flag, was the Commonwealth Chess Champion.

GMA - Standings At Round 3

Via Ignacio Dee, we have some standings info as at the round 3 mark. Source: People's Journal Tonight.

All on 3 points are Onischuk, Zhang Pengxiang, V. Akobian, V. Belov, V. Mikhalevski, R.Antonio Jr.

And on 2.5 points are W. So, Zhang Zhong, Wang Riu, Torre, R. Bitoon, Ni Hua, A. Makinano, M. Paragua, F. Donguines, O. Dimakiling, B. Mendoza, D. Laylo, T. Vakidov, R. Dableo, B. Villamayor, E. Senador, C. Garma, Y. Ranola, O. Barbosa, R. Nolte, B. Nadera, R. Bancod, J. Sadorra, S. Severino, A. Khairul, R. Tolentino.

Leading round 4 pairings:

Torre-Zhang Zhong
Mikhalevski-Zhang Pengxiang
Bitoon- Wang Rui
Ni Hua-So
Bancod-Zhou Wequi

Gerrit Hartland's Art

Gerrit Hartland, candidate for the Chess Victoria presidency, has a very interesting hobby. I urge our readers to check out his website and discover some delightful sketches by Mr Hartland from his trips around Europe. Being a photography fan myself, I also enjoyed these photos in Italy.

And here is an addendum to our "Sunday Art" post last weekend. We must thank Western Australian Rob Maris for providing more info on artist Kelvin Rabey.

Police Forces Learn from Chess

Dr. Bill Lewinski, executive director of the Force Science Research Center, believes that police can learn a few things from our game:

In a confrontation with a suspect who’s resisting arrest, an officer with less experience and training may cast about desperately along the force continuum, trying to find something that brings compliance. An officer who’s highly experienced and trained in dealing with resistant subjects will quickly read what he’s up against and promptly and confidently select the level of force necessary to swiftly control the situation.

In chess (and analogously in policing) this kind of instant recognition is possible because, through experience and study, a master player has accumulated a vast storehouse of knowledge about chess games and chess positions. During a game, he can quickly tap into this “well-organized system of connections” and “manipulate” it to meet the challenge at hand.

From How are 5 percenters created?

And in Nigeria, local police there are embracing the game.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

GMA Cup Prelim Round 3 Results

Two rounds were played today. Below are some initial round 3 results.

Laylo-Onishuk, 0-1
Zhang Pengxiang-Vakidov, 1-0
Zhang Zhong-Wang Rui, draw
Dableo-Akobian, 0-1
Belov-Zhou, 1-0
Mikalevski-Villamayor, 1-0
Torre-So, draw
Antonio-Senador, 1-0

Dr Bonham Responds

Our thanks to Dr Kevin Bonham for responding to this earlier post on the Burnie CC's very unusual condition of entry for the Burnie Shines Weekender.

Kevin's post, complete and unedited, can be read here.

So Upsets Paragua

This was always bound to happen. Thirteen-year old IM Wesley So defeated RP's number one, Mark Paragua, in round 2 of the GMA Cup. We are constantly receiving pool reports from Iggy Dee and for this we are deeply grateful.

Onishuk-Gonzales, 1-0
Mariano-Zhang Pengxiang, 0-1
Paragua-So, 0-1
Garma-Zhang Zhong, 0-1
Akobian-Ranola, 1-0
Barbosa-Belov, 0-1
Nolte-Mikhailevsky, 0-1
Torre-Donguines, 1-0
Sadorra-Joey, 0-1
Villamayor-Villanueva, 1-0
Ni Hua-Nava, 1-0

Here's a segment from the round 2 press release.

Onischuk, a mainstay of the United States team which finished third in the last World Chess Olympiad in Turin, Italy, crushed GM-candidate Jayson Gonzalez after only 23 moves of the Nimzovitch, while Pengxiang whipped GM Nelson Mariano II in only 29 moves of the Sicilian.

Also hurdling their second-round assignments were No. 4 GM Zhang Zhong of China, who subdued IM Chito Garma in 60 moves of the Scotch; No. 5 GM Varuzhan Akobian of the United States, who downed IM Yves Ranola; No. 6 Gm Vladimir Belov of Russia, who trounced NM Oliver Barbosa in in 48 moves of the Caro Kann; and GM Viktor Mikhalevski of Israel, who outclassed Nm Rolando Nolte.

Except for Paragua and Mariano II, the country’s three other GMs also won their matches against their lower-rated opponents.

GM Eugene Torre outplayed FM Fernie Donguines, GM Rogelio Antonio Jr. dumped FM Julio Sadorra, and GM Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor overwhelmed Nelson Villanueva Jr. NM Emmanuel Senador outwitted IM Oliver Dimakiling and IM Ronald Dableo humbled Richard de la Cruz to join the elite group of two-pointers.

Third seed GM Ni Hua of China, who barely escaped with a draw against little-known Rustum Tolentino of Cagayan de Oro City in the first round late Friday, bounced back in contention by beating FM Roderick Nava.

A primer on cheating

I'm still a little amazed at the level of our readership. Yesterday I received a tip from a reader in Chicago, Illinois! Tom Panelas pointed us to this blog post, "How To Cheat at Chess", by Bill Hosch.

This is an interesting little article that comes with links to videos that I hadn't seen before. The YouTube chess nuggets should occupy some of our readers for hours!

However, missing from Mr Hosch's post was a mention of this.

Burnie Chess Club Responds

A couple of days ago, we told you about a strange condition of entry used at the Burnie Shines Weekender held in Tasmania. There just had to be a reason for such a radical rule. We fired off an email to Phil Donnelly to find out more. Below is his response and we have his permission to cite verbatim.

Yes I agree the condition of entry would seem a bit odd if you didn’t know the reason for it which you obviously don’t.

We have a local self-professed chess expert and self-appointed scribe down here in Tasmania who has, in the past, written Chess reports that in my view, while being largely factually accurate, have included some subjective comments and/or omitted some relevant facts. In one particular event in Burnie a report was written that, again in my view, cast the Burnie Club and in particular one of its members (not me), in an unfavourable light. Again in my view needlessly negative and subjectively judgmental reporting of a Chess event is something that should be discouraged as it is likely to bring Chess into disrepute.

I put a proposal to the BCC that we should avoid this happening again by making it one of the conditions of entry to the Burnie Shines event that the Club reserved reporting rights to the event. This was accepted OK by the members.

In the event no entrant made any reference to or complaint (sic) about the restriction with the sole exception of the local scribe referred to above. He indicated on a public bulletin board sometime before the event that he was not unhappy with this condition. He also turned up to compete in the event at the last moment.

The event went off well and I reported it in the positive and favorable light that it merited. I also prepared the report that appeared in the local newspaper.

We're almost 100% certain that Mr Donnelly's "self-appointed scribe" is none other than Dr Kevin Bonham - Tasmanian Chess Association secretary, ACF senior selection coordinator and a regular guest to TCG.

We await Kevin's response and it would also be nice to get our hands on that report which apparently cast the Burnie CC and one of its members in an "unfavourable light".

Friday, November 17, 2006

GMA Update: First Round Results

Some quick news from the GMA event. We are indebted to journo Ignacio "Iggy" Dee.

Pacis-Onischuk, 0-1
Zhang Pengxiang-Estimo, 1-0
Rustum Tolentino-Ni Hua, 1/2-1/2
Zhang Zhong-Yutuc 1-0
Perena-Akobian, 0-1
Belov-Wang Li, 1-0
D. Ramos-Paragua, 0-1
Mikhalevsky-Lomibao, 1-0
Paez-Torre, 0-1
Antonio-Beverly Mendoza, 1-0

A portion from the pool report:

The biggest casualty was IM Barlo Nadera, who fell in an upset to unheralded Ramon Manon-og Jr. in 42 moves of the Slav. No. 13 seed IM Wang Rui of China also won his match against Edmudno Legaspi.

Other early winners were IMs Chito Garma, who subdued Boris Diez; Nm Rolando Nolte, who dumped Christian Flores; NM John Paul Goemz, who nipped Jenny Mayor; FM Mirabeau Maga, who stopped Merben Roque; FM Fernie Donguiens, who trounced Kamil Rzoska of Poland; Anam Khairul, who overwhelmed Qurino Sagario; Anthony Makinano, who ourtplayed Victoria Chan of Singapore.

Live Coverage: GMA Cup

Live broadcast is now available for the 1st GMA Cup. For the moment, there are only 2 boards being shown. It's a start.

View games here.

Hartland: A Program of Change for CV

We sent a short Q&A to Chess Victoria boss candidate Gerrit Hartland and, thankfully, he agreed to answer them. We appreciate Mr Hartland's very frank approach. His involvement in Victorian chess affairs, we understand, goes back to the 60's. He also currently holds the position of CV vice president as well as captain of his club, Box Hill. Good luck to him and his team.

TCG: What motivated to you form the Unity ticket?
GH: I wanted to present a program of change to CV and I needed a committee with me that agreed with the program. It would be counterproductive to have a program and then elect a committee that does not agree with it.

TCG: Except for Kerry Lyall and Elliott Renzies, most personnel on your ticket are pretty much drawn from the current officialdom.
GH: The people on the ticket were selected because they liked the reform proposals, and have worked with me before. They are my friends and believe me when you get to my age you do need a little help from your friends .

TCG: Some, like Michael Baron and Dromagoj Dragicevic, have expressed concerns at your proposal to move all CV activities to BHCC facilities on a rental share basis. Given that you're a current committee member of BHCC, you can see where their concerns are coming from - specifically, that the club now appears to be a financial winner from such an arrangement. Isn't there conflict of interest at play here?

GH: It is a misconception to think that the proposed rent from CV would reduce the rent to BHCC It is increased rental for the whole building allowing CV The Box Hill Ches Club and Canterbury Junior Chess club unlimited and unrestricted access to the venue. It will not reduce the rent to the latter 2 organisations. The venue will make an excellent chess centre with storage for CV equipment. There is no conflict of interest in proposing an arrangement which willl benefit all of Victorian Chess. Conflict of interest is usually shouted by Bulletin [board] (Gerrit is referring to Chess Chat, Australia's most popular online discussion forum - TCG) afficionadi who have nothing useful to say.

TCG: Give us your quick assessment of the Wastell leadership.
GH: Gary is a meticulous administrator who has a tendency to cross all his tees and dot every i. He is also an excellent arbiter and I was most surprised when he made that embarrassing mistake at Elwood. He usually stuck to his decisions. He decided, for instance, never to read the bulletin board or post on it or read Amiel's blog. And stuck to it. I wish I could do that, I am a bulletin board junkie .

TCG: You're proposing Wastell to be a life member of CV. You know, that's not going to be popular. Isn't this proposal a potentially bad start for you?
GH: Gary Wastell has been president of Chess Victoria for well over 20 years and any self respecting organisation would honour a president after such long and loyal service. Those who oppose this proposal should be ashamed of themselves.

TCG: David Beaumont observed that there is a lack of representation from the Western clubs. How will you reach out to these Western clubs?

GH: There is indeed a lack of that representation and the team hopes that during the year people from other districts will come to us with help and new ideas. There is plenty more that needs changing.

President Arroyo Opens GMA

I must thank, firstly, Iggy Dee for the info. Yesterday, President Arroyo dropped in at the Duty Free Fiesta Mall in Paranaque to formally open the 1st GMA Cup Open and Chess Challenge.

The president and top seed of the tournament, American GM Alexander Onishuk, executed the ceremonial moves at 10AM local time.

Via the press release, NCFP boss Congressman Prospero "Butch" Pichay was quoted as saying, "It’s all systems go. The players , both local and foreign, are all ready to make the first move in this biggest international chess tournament to be held in the country in recent years."

And an update on the list of foreign combatants: Zhang Pengxiang (2636), Ni Hua (2621) and Zhang Zhong (2609), all of of China; GM Varushan Akobian (2598) of the United States; GM Vladimir Belov (2589) of Russia; GM Utut Adianto (2589) of Indonesia, GM Viktor Mikhalevski (2580) of Israel; GM Edhi Handoko (2441) of Indonesia; and IMs Tahir Vakhidov (2522) of Uzbekistan, Wang Rui (2463), Zhou Weigi (2435) and Wang Li (2226), all of China.

Locals will include GM Eugene Torre, of course, and grandmasters Mark Paragua, Rogelio Antonio Jr., Nelson Mariano II and Buenaventura “Bong” Villamayor. Recently returned from their European stint - Wesley So, Darwin Laylo and Oliver Dimakiling will also play.

One item we must mention is that the prize fund, contrary to the NCFP info page, is actually as much as US$30,000. Six thousand US dollars will go to the overall winner, $4000 to second placer and $3000 to third.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Strange Happenings in Tasmania

A couple of weekends ago, the Burnie Shines Weekender tournament took place in Australia's southernmost state, Tasmania. Twenty-five players participated. Locals Andrew Todd and Kevin Bonham shared first place and they each took home $250.

We bring you this obviously belated news now because we've just learned of a very strange condition of entry to this event. All participants were required to agree to this:

All public reporting rights to the event are reserved exclusively by the Burnie Chess Club.

This type of condition is understandable for big events - chess or whatever. But a weekender in Australia's most remote state? What could have possibly possessed the organisers to impose such a ridiculous demand as to prevent people from talking about their experience? Are they making money from those exclusive rights? If not money, then what is the advantage to be gained?

We find this very strange and can only hope that it is not repeated. Meanwhile, we'd like to get some answers from the Burnie Chess Club. An email is on its way to Phil Donnelly.

GMA Chess Challenge

Players are expected to begin arriving today for tomorrow's opening round of the 1st President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Cup Chess Challenge event in Manila. This is a 9-round tournament lasting until 23 November.

The list of foreign players who have registered is quite impressive: Zhang Zhong, Ni Hua, Zhang Pengxiang, Utut Adianto, Edhi Handoko, Alexander Onishuk and Varuzhan Akobian. "Wow" is about all we can say! We understand that Michal Krasenkov may be a possible entry but that is awaiting confirmation.

Hopefully, the NCFP will provide daily updates to the GMA via their new website. Failing that, we'll have to rely on some of our friends there in RP to relay some info to our Pinoy readers here in Oz and elsewhere. This looks set to be a big tournament and we're very excited. Good luck to our local masters!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Secret Chess Tapes

The Hollywood story of the moment is the marriage break-up between Britney Spears and dancer Kevin Federline. We won't bore you with the details, dear readers, but this little item did catch our attention. Quoting an unidentified source, just about all the news sources include this: "They did nothing all day but have sex - and play the odd game of chess".

The same also caught Stephen Moss' attention. And he's right about this:

Chess is not a genteel pursuit; it is a violent struggle for survival and domination. Demonstrations of potency and fears of emasculation are central to chess.