Sunday, April 30, 2006

Dubai Round 7

After a couple of successful rounds Victorian players Dusan Stojic and Nur Yachou both lost their 7th round games yesterday against strong opposition.

While Pinoy player Wesley So got his campaign back on track by drawing against GM Faruk Bistric.

Three players are leading the tournament on 6 points: GMs Sargissian, Fedorchuk and Tigran Petrossian. Here is a quick win by Sargissian over Darmen Sadvakasov in yesterday's round.

8th Dubai Open
Sargissian, Gabriel
Sadvakasov, Darmen

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 b6 5. Bg5 Bb7 6. Nd2 h6 7. Bh4 c5 8. d5 exd5 9. cxd5 O-O 10. e4 Re8 11. Be2 Qe7 12. f3 d6 13. Bb5 Nbd7 14. O-O g5 15. Bg3 Nh5 16. f4 Nxg3 17. hxg3 c4 18. Bxd7 Qxd7 19. Qh5 Kg7 20. Kh2 f6 21. fxg5 fxg5 22. Rf6 Re7 23. Rxh6 1-0

Official site

A Brief RP History

Our favourite columnist, Bobby Ang, writes about the Bandal family - one of the many so-called "chess clans" in the Philippines. This is a very interesting little piece and one wishes that Bobby will write more like these in the future.

"The Bandal Clan"

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Serge Rubanraut

This afternoon I was playing a few games of blitz at Hyde Park. While contemplating over my next move, I suddenly heard a familiar voice. He was speaking in Russian. It was none other than the 1976 Australian Champion Serge Rubanraut.

Looking a bit weightier these days, Serge appears in good health. I suppose for his health, he takes time to visit the park and his friends on a near daily basis. Everyone around here knows his achievement. And we all offer him the appropriate respect. I ask if he still plays regularly. Yeah, he says, but just social games.

I was quite keen to play him. He takes his place across me. It's 5 minute blitz.

Serge opens with 1. e4. I think for moment and respond with 1...d5 - my current experiment. 2. ed5 Qd5 3. Nc3 Qa5. And now, something unexpected: 4. b4 - the Mieses Gambit. What the hell do I do now?

I hold my game well, if I may say so myself. But I'm under pressure throughout. Serge is rather mean. The man still has a game. I lose.

Where is the win?

I have just received my first copies of Intchess magazine, from Singapore. The editor, Urcan Olimpiu, kindly sent these to me in return for an article I wrote on the Queenstown Chess Classic.

In issue number 6, Urcan himself wrote an interesting little piece entitled, Bonnie & Clyde - from a Transylvanian coffee shop. It's a little insight into the "happenings in Eastern Europe's coffee shops where amateurs and lesser lights meet to play chess".

From the title alone we can tell that the story involves a little sting, a position on the board, a little bet, and an over confident young man - the mark. But I won't spoil our story. I'll take you instead to the last few moments of our position. White to play and win.

Yachou Hat Trick

Victorian player Nur Yachou yesterday scored his third win a row at the Dubai Open 2006 tournament. Nur takes his tally to 3 points and will play Babu Lalith (2240) of India in the 7th round.

Dusan Stojic, on the other hand, yesterday went down to GM Neverov. The Australian has a slightly less tougher assignment next in Mohamad Abdul (2242). Like Nur, Stojic is also on 3 points and it looks like they will play right next to each other in the next round.

8th Dubai Open 2006
Neverov, Valeriy
Stojic, Dusan

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 g6 7. Nd2 Bg7 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 Re8 10. O-O Na6 11. f3 Nc7 12. a4 b6 13. Kh1 Rb8 14. Nc4 Ba6 15. Bg5 h6 16. Bh4 Qd7 17. Qd2 Kh7 18. b3 Nh5 19. Bd3 b5 20. axb5 Nxb5 21. Rxa6 Bxc3 22. Qc1 Bg7 23. g4 Nf6 24. Bg3 Qb7 25. Rxd6 Nxd6 26. Nxd6 Qxb3 27. Bc4 Qb4 28. Nxf7 Ra8 29. e5 Nd7 30. e6 Nb6 31. Bd3 Qb3 32. Be4 Nxd5 33. Qxc5 Ne3 34. Re1 Qxe6 35. Nd6 Be5 36. Nxe8 Bxg3 37. hxg3 Rxe8 38. Qxa7+ 1-0

Wesley So suffered a second straight defeat. The Indian IM Vishal Sareen outplayed So in a Sicilian Richter-Rauzer.

8th Dubai Open
So, Wesley
Sareen, Vishal

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bg5 e6 7. Qd2 a6 8. O-O-O Bd7 9. f4 b5 10. Bxf6 gxf6 11. Kb1 Qb6 12. Nxc6 Bxc6 13. Qe1 Be7 14. f5 Qc5 15. Bd3 b4 16. Ne2 e5 17. Nc1 a5 18. Qe2 a4 19. Bc4 h5 20. Bd5 a3 21. Nd3 Qb6 22. Bxc6+ Qxc6 23. Nxb4 Qb7 24. c3 axb2 25. Rd5 Rg8 26. Kxb2 Qa7 27. Kb1 Rg4 28. g3 Kf8 29. Ka1 Qa3 30. Rd3 d5 31. Nxd5 Rxe4 32. Qc2 Rea4 33. Rd2 Qc5 34. Qd3 e4 35. Qe2 e3 36. Qxe3 Rxa2+ 37. Rxa2 Rxa2+ 38. Kxa2 Qxd5+ 39. Kb2 Qxh1 40. Qh6+ Kg8 41. Qxh5 Qb7+ 42. Kc2 Qe4+ 43. Kb3 Kg7 44. Qh3 Bd6 45. Qf1 Be5 46. Qf2 Qd3 47. Qe1 Qxf5 48. Qe2 Qe6+ 49. c4 Qb6+ 50. Ka4 Bc3 51. Qe7 Bd4 52. Qe2 Bc3 53. Qe7 Be5 54. c5 Qb2 55. c6 Qxh2 0-1

There is no respite for So as he will face another grandmaster in the 7th round - Faruk Bistric (2430).

Friday, April 28, 2006

Malaysian Number One

Wong Zijing will soon become our northern neighbour's next international master. He is also that country's current number one according to the latest FIDE rating list.

By Quah Seng Sun in The Star Online.

New Time Control

From the 77th FIDE Congress Agenda:

The FIDE Presidential Board accepted the proposal of ACP for a single time control for all major FIDE events: 90 minutes for the first 40 moves followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game with an addition of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

The list of events where this single time control will be used:

Chess Olympiads
World Team Championships
Continental Team Championships
World Cup
Continental Championships
Zonal Tournaments
World Youth & Junior Championships
Continental Youth & Junior Championships
World School Championships
Continental Club Championships

Aussie Duo Win

Round 5 of the Dubai Open was a successful one for the Aussie players Dusan Stojic and Nur Yachou. Dusan defeated Stefan Schmid (2224) of Germany. The Aussie junior moves up to 3 points and will now face GM Valeriy Neverov in the sixth round.

Nur Yachou is proving to be a bit of a ladies man. Yesterday he scored his second straight victory over a WFM, this time Nora Mohd Saleh of the United Arab Emirates. Nur is now on 2 points.

Wesley So hit a bump in his campaign losing to GM Gabriel Sargissian. So's opponent in the 6th is the Indian IM Vishal Sareen

WIM Atousa Pourkashiyan (2311) of Iran is so far the event's giant killer. In round 4 she vanquised GM Neverov. Yesterday she followed up with a win over another grandmaster - Zurab Sturua (2524) of Georgia.

FIDE Man Hits Back

The upcoming FIDE elections will likely be won and lost in the 'poorer' member federations. This explains GM Rogers' pessimism in his Sun Herald column a couple of weeks ago. And it tells us much about why there is so much heat coming out of Africa.

Last month GM Nigel Short wrote a rather provocative piece in his column for the Guardian. That same article was later reproduced in

It is not often one sees the police summoned to attend a chess federation meeting, but that is what happened in Kabwe, Zambia, last week. Lewis Ncube, who stands to become the next FIDE vice-president should Kirsan Ilyumzhinov be re-elected in June, said the police presence was essential to ensure order. The opposition, headed by (Air Force) Colonel Barb Kausu, argued that the move was a deliberate attempt to intimidate the voters.

It all seems as if the British GM, a backer of Kok's Right Move campaign, is attempting to damage Ncube's candidacy. Naturally, Lewis Ncube, an ex-head of the Chess Federation of Zambia, is an unhappy man.

Courtesy of The Chess Drum, we now have Ncube's response. On Short's remark concerning the presence of an army, Ncube says:

Nigel's phantom army claims therefore need to be viewed in the context of his desire to discredit any individual or country that does not share his declared mission for whatever reason. It seems that if you do not agree with him you are fair game for any fabricated attack. With this background one begins to wonder how much of his pronouncements during his trip around Commonwealth and African countries were based on fantasy.

Who do we believe? Whatever happens, it is difficult to disagree with The Chess Drum: "In the coming weeks, the Chess Fidelity and The Right Move campaigns will ratchet up their activity to garner votes for the future of chess. It is hopeful that each party will take the interest of Africa and other developing nations to heart."

Thursday, April 27, 2006

So Thumps Taher

Twelve-year old Wesley So scored his second win a row against an international master yesterday in the 4th round of the Dubai 2006 Open. It's early days in the tourney yet but surely his achievements so far emphatically justify his position in RP's Olympiad team.

8th Dubai Open
So, Wesley
El Taher, Fouad

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 Bc5 4. Nc3 d6 5. f4 Ng4 6. f5 h5 7. Nh3 Ne3 8. Bxe3 Bxe3 9. Qf3 Bc5 10. Qg3 Rg8 11. Rf1 c6 12. Bxf7+ Kxf7 13. Qg6+ Kf8 14. f6 gxf6 15. Rxf6+ Qxf6 16. Qxf6+ Ke8 17. Ng5 Rf8 18. Qg6+ Kd8 19. Na4 Bf2+ 20. Kd2 Ke7 21. Qg7+ Ke8 22. Nh7 1-0

Round 4 was a day for the youngsters, according to the official site. Particularly impressive was WIM Pourkashiyan Atousa's win over GM Valeriy.

Our two Aussie heroes improved their situation by each scoring upset victories. Dusan Stojic, a recent joint top placer in the Doeberl Cup 2 weeks ago, defeated Pinoy player FM Antonio Molina. And fellow Victorian Nur Yachou is finally off the mark by downing WFM Bukhashem.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

"How stupid can the ACF be?"

The Matthew Sweeney banning episode refuses to die. Canberra chess organiser Jim Flood makes the following post (which you can see in that link above):

The e-mail proposing the motion (the wording of which seemed to prepared by the NSWCA) was couched in terms expressing concern that a player, banned by the NSWCA, had played in the Begonia. The obvious urgency was the request to pass the motion by 1 April. Whether the relevance of that date actually cross the minds of other recipients of the e-mail is not for me to say but it was evident that PR capabilities were in short supply by proposing such a date.

But here is the beauty:

However, it seemingly did not happen. As a result, all the vibes I heard from ACT people, and some interstate visitors, before and during the Deoberl were along the lines of “How stupid can the ACF be?” Not generally directed at any one person but at the body itself.

Where's My Dirt?

A poster in our comments section is wondering about Chess Ninja's Daily Dirt blog. No update for over a week.

Where is Mig?

Chess in Asian Games

If you have not read it, here is some good news from the FIDE site:
Chess shall be an official medal sport in the Asian Games this December in Doha, Qatar. Some 42 Asian countries shall field delegations for the chess competition which shall consist of three gold medal events: mixed team, Men`s individual and Women`s individual championships.
Too bad the Aussies won't be in it. But there are more important priorities. For instance, Australia could get back into the real zone, 3.2a, against the Asian nations instead of the pretend zone, 3.2b.

Dubai 2006 Update

After 3 rounds, a bunch of grandmasters lead the field on 3 points. A touch behind on 2.5 is our brave hero, the Filipino player Wesley So. The Aussies Dusan Stojic and Nur Yachou are struggling. Dusan is on 1 point and Nur is stuck on zero.

Standings and Official Site.

City of Sydney - Round 8

Into the eight week of this event and it's a damn struggle for motivation. At just one game a week, we're supposed to take it easy. You have time to prep, they say. Go out in the morning and do your business in the evening - that's how it was meant to be. But this whole arrangement is seriously cramping my style. Instead of being out and about on lazy Sundays, I'm actually sitting in front of a laptop looking at games. What a waste!

In any case, I'm the sort of guy who likes to get it over and done with. Finally, I've had it. An hour before this round, I'm out for a drink.

First stop, the Spanish Club, sometimes also a sort of proxy chess club. It's good on Sundays here, there's a raffle on. If you're lucky, you might win a leg of ham. The crowd is mostly old Latinos and Spanish folks. Friendly lot they are. But an old bloke standing at the bar looks at me funny. I think he must be thinking, what's this bloody Asian doing here. I just put that out of my mind. After all, they have the Philippine flag displayed right up above the front door. What with RP being a past Spanish colony and all.

There's about a half hour to go so I move over to the Macquarie Hotel - it's a pub. Just months ago, this joint was downright uncool. At least that's what my memory tells me. These days it's all hip and trendy. We're a mix of baby-boomers, metrosexuals with fancy hair cuts and homosexuals with even fancier hair cuts. They're all here to watch Dale Barlow and his crew. The guy on piano is a bloody genius. I want to stay but my real business is next door, over the board. Reluctantly, I leave.

As I walk into the playing hall, IA Jason Lyons greets me. For a moment, I'm a bit surprised. Ah, yes, Dr Zworestine is down in Canberra and Jase is filling in. Something's wrong though. Is that a black eye Jase? And what happened to all your hair? They're gone.

Once or twice I've been asked, "has Ray Song won the tournament?" Not yet, but he has a chance. At this penultimate round, he leads by a point on 6/7. His nearest chasers are Xie, Halpin and Moylan - all on 5. Ray needs a win against Ingram tonight. Unfortunately, Ingram plays a solid game and holds the draw. Our scoresheet for this game is incomplete and it's not worth posting it. We'll try and get the complete score later. Look out for that.

IM-elect George Xie lost to Ray earlier in the tournament and must now do all he can to catch his young challenger. What can Xie do against the wily Pat Halpin? Halpin has been around a long time and knows a few tricks. He's the sort of player against whom your position needs just a litte bit of extra nurturing. In some calm situation, suddenly, boom!

City of Sydney 206
Xie, G.
Halpin, P.

1. e4 Nc6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. Nc3 Qa5 5. Bb5 Bd7 6. O-O a6 7. Bxc6 Bxc6 8. d4 f6 9. Qe2 O-O-O 10. Rd1 e5 11. Be3 Bxf3 12. Qxf3 exd4 13. Qh3+ Kb8 14. Bxd4 Bd6 15. b4 Qg5 16. Be3 Qg6 17. b5 a5 18. b6 Ne7 19. Nb5 Qf5 20. Nxd6 cxd6 21. Qg3 Nd5 22. c4 Nxe3 23. Qxe3 Rhe8 24. Rxd6 Rxd6 25. Qxe8+ Qc8 26. Qb5 Qc6 27. Qxa5 Qxb6 28. Qh5 Rd2 29. c5 Qe6 30. h3 Qe5 31. Qxe5+ fxe5 32. Rb1 Kc7 33. Rb6 Rd1+ 34. Kh2 Rd5 35. Re6 Rxc5 36. Re7+ Kc6 37. Rxg7 Ra5 38. Rxh7 Rxa2 39. Kg3 b5 40. Re7 b4 41. Rxe5 b3 42. Re1 b2 43. Rb1 Kd5 44. f4 Kc4 45. f5 Kc3 46. Kf4 Kc2 47. Rxb2+ Rxb2 48. g4 Kd3 49. f6 Kd4 50. Kf5 Kd5 51. h4 Rf2+ 52. Kg6 Rf4 53. g5 Rxh4 54. f7 Rf4 55. Kg7 Ke6 56. f8=Q Rxf8 57. Kxf8 Kf5 58. g6 Kxg6 1/2-1/2

On paper at least, the final round looks to be easy for George. He plays Angela Song, the current Australian Junior U18 champion. I have no doubt there will be some serious preparation going on at the Song household to ensure a Raymond victory in this event. Ray himself has a tough assignment next round in Tomek Rej. That won't be easy. To make matters a little more interesting, 2 other players, Halpin and Moylan, still have a chance to finish on 6.5 and thereby catching Ray (if he loses to Tomek).

I suppose, like myself, Laura Moylan had preferred other more important things to do. She arrived late, about half an hour, for this game against Angela Song. It was straight to business - a Scandinavian.

City of Sydney 2006
Moylan, Laura
Song, Angela

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Nf3 Bf5 6. Bc4 e6 7. Ne5 Nf6 8. Bd2 Nbd7 9. Nxd7 Nxd7 10. Qe2 Bb4 11. O-O-O O-O-O 12. Ne4 Nb6 13. Ng3 Rxd4 14. Bxb4 Rxd1+ 15. Rxd1 Qxb4 16. Nxf5 exf5 17. Bxf7 Qf4+ 18. Kb1 Qxh2 19. g3 Qh6 20. Qe7 Qf6 21. Be6+ Kb8 22. Qxf6 gxf6 23. Bxf5 h6 24. Kc1 1/2-1/2

Below is a fragment of my game against Ken Hill. I often like to get to know my opponents before getting on with business. So I provoked Ken into a little conversation. I'd seen him around, but never played or exchanged words with him. He's a gentle fellow and a bit odd for some, particularly for his penchant for the colour red. I must admit I expected him to be a bit shy. He wasn't.

Just a week after the 44th Doeberl Cup, I nearly fell off my seat when Ken told me the most amazing thing. He is a former winner of the coveted Cup - way back in 1968! "Wow", was about all I could say.

After 37...Bd4

The game now continued 38. Kf5? After this I thought the best I can do now is to just scare my opponent a little. He was down to less than 5 minutes on the clock and he seemed the nervous type. (38. Nf5 Bc5 (During the game I was actually intending 38...Ba1 39. Rxg4 Rxh2 40. Rg7+ but of course it is completely losing.) 39. Kxe5 a5 40. a4 White, in my view, is winning.) 38... Rh8 39. Kxg4 Rc8 40. Rc2? b5 41. h4 bxc4 Suddenly, I'm thinking, "Shit, I can win this." 42. h5 Kd6 43. Nf5+ Kc5 44. d6 Rg8+! 45. Kf3 Rg5?! 46. Nxd4? Badly short of time, Ken makes a poor choice. (Best was 46. Ng3! Kd5 47. h6 Rg8 48. Nf5 Rf8 49. Kg4 c3 50. h7 Rh8 51. Rh2 c2=) 46... exd4 47. d7 Rd5 48. Rg2 Rxd7 49. Rg5+ Kb4 50. h6 d3 51. Rg7 Rd6 52. h7 d2 53. h8=Q (53. Rb7+ Kc5 54. Rc7+ Kb6) 53... d1=Q+ 54. Kf4 Qf1+! The most optimal check. At this moment. Ken said something inaudible. I could not make out if he was resigning or offering a draw. When I asked if he could make his intentions clear he came back with a reply, "you wouldn't take a draw, would you?" 0-1

City of Sydney 2006
Bird, Andrew
Wright, Neil

1. d4 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. Nf3 d6 4. Bd3 Nd7 5. O-O e5 6. c3 Ne7 7. Re1 O-O 8. Nbd2 exd4 9. cxd4 Nc6 10. Nb3 a5 11. Be3 Nb4 12. Bf1 d5 13. e5 Nb6 14. a3 Nc6 15. h3 Nc4 16. Bxc4 dxc4 17. Nbd2 Qd5 18. Rc1 b5 19. b3 cxb3 20. Rc5 Qd7 21. Qxb3 Rb8 22. Rec1 Bb7 23. Qxb5 Ba8 24. Qc4 Rb6 25. Ne4

After 25. Ne4

25...Nxd4 26. Bxd4 Bxe4 27. Rxc7 Qf5 28. Bxb6 Bxf3 29. gxf3 Bxe5 30. Rc8 Qg5+ 31. Qg4 Qf6 32. Bc5 1-0

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

J-P Wallace

International Master John-Paul Wallace is keeping himself busy doing some work for Here he is giving a helping hand to GM Tony Kosten.

Thanks to Andrew Bird for the tip.

I'm not a subscriber to Is it any good?

Weeks in Neckar Open

Men's Olympiad captain FM Manuel Weeks and his friend Alek Safarian saw action in the 10th Neckar Open in Germany. Both finished on 4/9 points.

10th Neckar Open A
Weeks, M
Shengelia, D.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bc4 e6 7. Be3 a6 8. Qe2 Qc7 9. O-O-O Na5 10. Bd3 b5 11. a3 Bb7 12. g4 Rc8 13. g5 Nd7 14. f4 Be7 15. Rhe1 Nb6 16. Bxb5+ axb5 17. Ndxb5 Qd8 18. Nxd6+ Bxd6 19. Qb5+ Qd7 20. Qxb6 Nc4 21. Qd4 Qc6 22. Qxg7 Rf8 23. e5 Be7 24. Qxh7 Nxb2 25. Bd4 Bxa3 26. g6 Nxd1+ 27. Kxd1 Qf3+ 0-1

Monday, April 24, 2006

FM Dougherty

Caught up with Canadian FIDE master Michael Dougherty this morning in Peter Parr's chess shop. Michael was there to pick up some books to read for a 10-hour flight to Honolulu. Apparently he was actually in Canberra for the Doeberl Cup last weekend but ended up staying on the wrong side of town - right in the Canberra CBD.

Michael walked the whole distance from his hostel to the Italo Club and it took him all of two and half hours! So he thought to himself, bugger this - I'm not playing. Something like that anyway. It seems he had no idea that there were accomodation services right near the venue.

Poor Michael, he had to settle for the Folk Festival instead.

If you're a potential foreign visitor like our Canadian friend, it might worthwhile if you bookmark this page by Canberra local, Ian Rout. That has pretty much all you need to know.

And just to side track a touch, Mr Parr has an idea for Doeberl. Why not have an over-20's event? Same as idea as having the Seniors section this year - basically, to have a "junior-free" tournament. At this time, I can't say I'm instinctively in favour of it. I'm always willing to play against anybody. Maybe when I'm a lot older I'll despise the little buggers.

Paragua: MIA

A poster has just brought to our attention that Paragua is not, in fact, playing in the Dubai 2006 event. Now I know his name was there as Goran also saw it. GM Mariano, too, appears to have changed his mind and not turned up. Well who knows what happened to these two gentlemen?

But 12-year old sensation Wesley So is definitely playing. He is on 1 point. His round 2 assignment is IM Farrid Abbasov.

The Aussies Nur Yachou and Dusan Stojic, members of Box Hill Chess Club in Victoria, are currently on zero.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Yoga for RP Chessers

They're very serious these guys. Pinoy chessers are getting some much needed training for Torino. According to this report, the players' training program includes "raj yoga".

What's the Aussie chessers up to?

(I'm pretty sure RP finished in position 19th, not 12th, in Calvia).

Another Pinoy Prodigy

This week 12-year old Wesley So made history when he became the Philippines' youngest ever representative at the Chess Olympiad. He outclassed 5 other seasoned campaigners in the play-off for the country's sixth Olympiad spot in the men's team. With a new leadership in RP chess, including programs aimed at the grassroots to reclaim RP's high placing in Asian (and, indeed, the world) chess hierarchy, I have dreams that Wesley and his peers will lead the way for the Philippines.

Another 12-year old we've just heard of is one Marc Christian Nazario.

The young man is aiming high, and so he should. Says he, "My goal is to become an International Master by 15, a Grand Master before I am 18, and to become a World Champion at 22."

But there is something out of the ordinary about Marc. He has "bilateral aural atresia, a congenital defect characterized by the absence of ear canals".

Here is a brief look into Marc's story from the Inquirer.

Liverpool: A Chess Capital

The north-western English city of Liverpool has big chessic ambitions. Famous for the Beatles, Liverpool FC, and for holding the title of "European Capital of Culture 2008" - the city now has plans to be the "Capital of Chess".

"An exciting prospect", says the BCM.

Well, just take a look at the numbers being quoted here and even I can't help being excited. Imagine if such ambitions were also in my beloved Philippines and, of course, Australia.

The first of the planned events takes place this autumn when Liverpool, agreed by the European Chess Union, hosts the "European Union Individual Open Championship", September 6-15, followed by the Liverpool Congress, September 16-17. Both events will be hosted free-of-charge in splendid accommodation by Liverpool’s World Museum in a gallery overlooking St John’s Garden. The CoC has agreed £40,000 for these chess activities in 2006; the World Museum and The Mersey Partnership are also confirmed partners; and further partners are being sought.

We will scale up the following year by organising a yet more prestigious event. The CoC has earmarked £100,000 for chess activity during 2007, and I have been exploring whether Liverpool can win the tender to host the full "European Individual Championship", a larger and more prestigious event than the "EU Individual".

More from the Atticus Chess Club.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Chess Etude

Strange art by US artist Lisa Lido. And here.

FIDE's PR Machine

The World Chess Federation's (FIDE) PR machine is in overdrive. According to this item, "FIDE today is a strong and vibrant organization."

I should say, at least Campo still looks good in a Barong Tagalog.

Australian Young Masters

Immediately after the Doeberl Cup last weekend, a bunch of chess-crazy Aussie juniors battled it out again in the Stratagem Masters tournaments. There are 3 sections: Juniors, Girls and the Young Masters.

After round 6, here are the top scorers:

Young Masters: T. Rej 5½, J. Ikeda 5, V. Suttor 3½
Junior Masters: T. Stevens 5, da Costa and Bo Wang 4
Girls Masters: D. Ng and J. Kinder 4½, T. Oliver and K. Smith 3½

2006 Australian Young Masters
Rej, Tomek
Suttor, Vincent

1. d4 b6 2. c4 Bb7 3. Nc3 e6 4. Qc2 Bb4 5. e4 Nf6 6. Bd3 d5 7. Qa4+ Nc6 8. cxd5 exd5 9. e5 Ne4 10. Nge2 O-O 11. O-O Nxc3 12. bxc3 Be7 13. Qc2 h6 14. f4 f6 15. Bd2 Na5 16. f5 c5 17. Nf4 c4 18. Ne6 cxd3 19. Qxd3 Qd7

After 20...Qd7

20. Bxh6 Rf7 21. Qg3 Bf8 22. Rf4 Re8 23. Nxf8 Kxf8 24. e6 Rxe6 25. fxe6 Qxe6 26. Re1 Qd6 27. Qg6 Qd8 28. Bxg7+ 1-0

In this all-sibling match up, there is no holding back. The powerful Gareth Oliver prevails over sister Shannon.

2006 Australian Young Masters
Oliver, Gareth
Oliver, Shannon

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. d4 e6 3. Bg5 h6 4. Bh4 Be7 5. c4 O-O 6. Nc3 d5 7. e3 Nbd7 8. Bd3 b6 9. cxd5 exd5 10. O-O Bb7 11. Rc1 Ne4 12. Bg3 Nxg3 13. hxg3 Nf6 14. Ne5 c5 15. Bb1 cxd4 16. exd4 Ne4 17. Re1 Nxc3 18. bxc3 g6 19. Qd3 Qd6 20. f4 Bc8 21. g4 Qf6 22. f5 g5 23. Qb5 Rd8 24. Nc6 a6 25. Nxe7+ Qxe7 26. Qc6 Bb7 27. Qxh6 Qf8 28. Qxg5+ Qg7 29. Qh4 Rd6 30. g5 Bc6 31. f6 Qh8 32. Qxh8+ Kxh8 33. Kf2 Re8 34. Rh1+ Kg8 35. Bh7+ 1-0

Sydneysider Robert Hvistendahl has been performing well recently with wins over stronger opposition. His Doeberl campaign last weekend went off to an excellent start when he vanquished Christopher Wallis in the first round. Two rounds later he overcame Aussie Olympiad rep WIM Laura Moylan. Robert is also a participant in the currently running City of Sydney championships.

But all this chess seems to be finally taxing his powers. After 6 rounds in Junior Masters section, Robert is placed last with the measly half-a-point.

2006 Australian Junior Masters
Guo-Yuthok, Sherab
Hvistendahl, Robert

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 a6 3. f4 b5 4. Nf3 Bb7 5. d3 e6 6. Be2 d5 7. e5 h5 8. d4 g6 9. Be3 b4 10. Nb1 c4 11. c3 a5 12. Bd2 Nc6 13. O-O Nh6 14. Qe1 Nf5 15. Bd1 a4 16. Qf2 a3 17. b3 bxc3 18. Bxc3 Qb6 19. Bc2 Nfxd4 20. Nxd4 Bc5 21. Rd1 Nb4 22. Kh1 Nxa2 23. Rxa2 cxb3 24. Bxb3 Bxd4 25. Bxd4 Qxb3 26. Nc3 Bc6 27. Rb1 Qc4 28. Qd2 O-O 29. Rc1 Rfb8 30. Ne4 Qa4 31. Nf6+ Kg7

After 31...Kg7

32. f5! Bb5 33. Nxh5+! gxh5 34. Qg5+ Kf8 35. Bc5+ Ke8 36. Qe7# 1-0

2006 Australian Girls Masters
Ng, Deborah
Smith, Kayleigh

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nc6 5. Nf3 cxd4 6. cxd4 Bg4 7. Nc3 Qd6 8. Be3 Bxf3 9. Qxf3 Nxd4 10. Bxd4 Qxd4 11. Qxb7 Rd8 12. Bb5+ Rd7 13. Qc8# 1-0

Official site

Friday, April 21, 2006

Kasparov Sold on eBay

Ever dreamt of playing against the great man himself, Gary Kasparov? Well, now you have a chance. All you need is a few thousand dollars to spare. eBay is auctioning 25 seats for a simul against Kasparov. Bidding will commence at $2000.

Not just a game, but a memory in the making, the head-to-head competition takes place on June 12th in Manhattan's famed New York Athletic Club. The 25 highest bidders will be able to invite up to three guests each to share in the evening of festivities, which also includes a cocktail hour, full sit-down dinner, photos and autographs with Garry, as well as a certificate commemorating the event. All proceeds will benefit the Kasparov Chess Foundation's chess education in the schools efforts.

More from Y! Finance.

Nur Yachou in Dubai

We can't stop talking about Victorians. Three of them finished on top at last weekend's Doeberl Cup. Last night I posted about chess in Victoria and now I just remembered that Nur Yachou, a Victorian, is playing in the Dubai 2006 tournament.

Good luck Nur.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

All Night Chess

I've only ever been to Melbourne once. That was in '04 for the Victorian Open in the Box Hill Chess Club. Must go again. I kinda miss the place - Melbourne, that is.

Now I see this picture by Michael Blamey and I'm more eager to go back. Any Victorians can tell me the next weekenders? I hate the Chess Victoria website so I can't be bothered checking there.

AJAX Chess Engine

From JavascriptSearch News:

"According to its author, 'the alpha-version chess application demonstrates the concept of browser as computing platform.' It can be played as a single player or a multi-player networked game."

What is AJAX?

Pinoys in Dubai 2006

We owe our friend Goran for directing our attention to this tournament. There are a number of Pinoys playing here including Mark Paragua, seeded 3, GM Nelson Mariano and that young sensation FM Wesley So.

See official website.

And here are a couple of news reports of Wesley's fantastic effort: The Manila Times, Sun Star.

"The Chess Players"

A review by Jessica Scarlata:

One of the strengths of The Chess Players is its willingness to complicate historical narratives and take an unflinching look at collusion between the colonizer and colonized elites. That it does this without losing sight of the cruelty, arrogance, and ignorance of the colonizer is no small victory. But the film is a lot like chess itself: viewers who find Ray's pace too slow or his films too intellectual will not be won over, despite the all-star cast and high production values.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Dr Bonham on 10.2

ACF selections coordinator Dr Kevin Bonham is an expert on many things. He's into "gothic" subculture (that includes their weird music), politics/philosophy and (believe it or not?) snails. Yes, those slimy little creatures.

In chess, Kevo, as the good doctor is fondly known by me, is something of an expert on Article 10.2 of the Laws of Chess. Here he is in the latest Arbiter's Notebook. Scroll down.

So Unbelievable!

In fact, Wesley So did make it to the RP Olympiad side. In the play-off matches yesterday, the 12-year old held Rolando Nolte to a draw in the final round.

The Philippine mens team is as follows: Paragua, Torre, Antonio, Oliver Dimakiling, Darwin Laylo and Wesley So.

The Manila Bulletin quotes NCFP executive director, Sammy Estimo as saying, "This means that Philippine chess is moving ahead. We still have a lot of Paraguas and Sos waiting to be tapped".

Wesley Nears History

Twelve year old Fide Master Wesley So is getting ever closer to chess history. After 3 rounds of the play-off for the sixth spot in the Philippines' Men's Olympiad team, Wesley leads on 2 points. His chasers are Roca, Nava, Nolte and Maga - all on 1.5 points. John-Paul Gomez is on 1 point.

If Wesley wins, he will be the youngest ever to represent my beloved Philippines in the Olympiad.

While we're talking Philippine chess, a group of Pinoy-Australian chessers in Sydney have formed a new club. Yours truly is the secretary. Actually, we held our first meeting so long ago that now I can't even be sure what position I hold. More details later.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

First Doeberl Photos

I have uploaded some photos onto my flickr account. These are just a few to look at, but of course I took a lot more. I'll upload these once I have more time.


Monday, April 17, 2006

Goldenberg Wins Doeberl

After yesterday's stunning upset win over GM Ian Rogers, FM Igor Goldenberg today settled for a draw against IM Zhao to finish on 6/7 points. He was actually equal with both GM Johansen and surprise performer Dusan Stojic but won the Cup on tie-break.

This was an excellent result for Goldenberg especially since this is his first attempt. I think it must have been his easy-going approach and character that helped his victory. I often saw him and his wife enjoying a nice lunch under the sun in Manuka. Did I not tell you about Canberra and alfresco dining? The Goldenbergs sure know about it.

Speaking of dining, last night we held a 'Sinner Dinner' - a gathering of some of the more controversial folks in Australian chess. Our host was the man himself, Matthew Sweeney. Among us was also a Victorian heavyweight, some Melbourne Chess Club big dog. Appropriately enough, he sat at the head of our table. I can foresee a time when this dinner thing becomes a regular fixture - a Doeberl tradition. If you're not invited, you're nobody.

Matt, by the way, got a special mention at the closing ceremony today for his special and hard effort in being the tournament's odd jobs man. That is surely an honour that will never go to certain high ranking officials up north.

And to those who are wondering if IM Alex Wohl's name appears on the trophy, I can tell you, yes it does. I have a photo to prove it. That should make the big man happy. (Last year, Alex and GM Rogers finished equal first).

Well, that's all for now. My credits are running out and I'm about to board a bus back to Sydney. I'll post photos and more comments later.

You know, leaving this place and the tournament leaves me with the same familiar feeling. Sadness. I can't wait for next year.

See you!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Goldenberg Beats Rogers

Today proved to me why this tournament is so special. Awesome, beautiful, fantastic are about all I can say of the hard battles across all the sections. How about young James Morris, of Victoria, who played what must surely be one of the longest games in Doeberl history? Against Roland Brockman, James had doubled pawns on the g-file plus a Knight and King. Brockman had only King plus Bishop. With a little bit of shuffling around, the kid seemed uncertain. Then the right idea hit him. Nice win for James.

Suttor - Lewski is worth playing over and over again. It was a positional masterpiece by Suttor. For Lewski, it must have felt like being squeezed to death by a boa. He was just dead.

Of course, what a wonderful win by FM Igor Goldenberg over numero uno Ian Rogers. Another beauty and it's satisfying to have witnessed it. These two guys weren't actually paired against each at first. It was initially Rogers versus Johansen, but some protest was made and the draw was changed.

And I must mention my good friend Nick Kordahi. Today he downed Jason Chan.

Doeberl Day 2

Not much to say and I have to be quick. The net cafe is so slow and expensive. I'm talking $1 for 7 minutes. A complete rip-off.

Yesterday was a good day for me. Didn't lose a game in the major. But I admit, the draw against Sally Yu was unimpressive. Later that evening, I did win a prize in blitz - $25 for the U1800 section. Good enough to win my money back plus a little interest.

A popular past-ime here is chatting about politics. The names Bill Gletsos and Garry Wastell punctuate our conversations. Popular blokes those two. From one account, at least, chess in Victoria is a near disaster. But that might be stretching it a bit. Who knows?

Friday, April 14, 2006

We're off in Doeberl

Made it at half past 11 this morning. I am not terribly fond of long bus trips. It just kills my ass. Besides, the trip down isn't exactly like driving around the European countryside. It's just flat and boring. Almost a straight line all the way.

A couple sitting in the seats in front of me did serve as occassional distraction. They went on about their business as if they were alone. We could all hear their tongues slurping each other. Had it not been for her braces on those yellowing teeth, I'd have been right into it. But somehow I thought, ugh - there's just something wrong with that.

Canberra was exactly how I'd left it some 12 months ago. Quiet and near empty. There are few people around. It takes me about 15 minutes to find a taxi. I think I said a couple of years ago that I just love Canberra taxi drivers. They are efficient, talkative and, unlike Sydney drivers, never take you around for a spin just to get a few bucks extra on the fare. Last year, my driver knew something about wines. This year, my guy knew something about chess. Or so he thought.

Finally, I'm at the now familiar venue. And the usual faces hit me. On my right are Paul Dunn and Ikeda-san busily finalising the entries. And, of course, Shaun Press is going about his business with clocks, boards, and so on. Lee Forace will, this year, look after the premiere section. His looking good in a tie, white shirt and shiny shoes - all topped off with some scary looking bling-blings. I don't know what came over Lee, but he's got a ring for each finger. Big ones too!

FM Igor Goldenberg introduces himself. It seems he forgot that we'd earlier met in Brisbane. I'm hurt.

I see Ian Rogers chatting to Charles Zworestine. It looks to be a serious talk. I wonder if they're talking about this. This is a great shot, I thought. But as I was about to raise my camera, I thought better of it and chickened out.

Some moments later, I check out Brian Jones' little stall. He hasn't read ChessChat recently and asks if Peter Parr had another shot at him on the bulletin board. I said, "nah, actually - his last post was that he was agreeing with you."

I feel a tap on the back. It's Bill Egan. He wants to talk jazz. In Queenstown, I introduced Bill to Arianne Caoili, who is a budding jazz singer. Bill says he's got a recording of Ellington's arrangement for vocals. Would Arianne be interested? I said, "I'd say so Bill". Later, I ring Arianne to share the news. She answers in that sexy early morning voice. Momentarily, my mind wanders. We chat a while then bid each other bye. She's off to Mexico next week.

Aha, there's Matt Sweeney talking to some Sydneysiders. I join them. A Victorian follows. It's an interesting gossip session. Politics. All about one thing: his banning. Too bad Matt can't play. But he's serving his purpose, at least. He stacks the chairs, helps with setting up the boards, and does signwriting. Well done Matthew.

Minutes after the start of play, Lloyd Fell walks in. His frothing at the mouth. I hear him say, "some wog name". And again, "a real, real wog". I won't reveal the context.

I'm walking around with nothing to do. I paid my money and entered on time. But my name wasnt't in the draw. The world famous Closet Grandmaster was forgotten.

Off to Doeberl

It's 5.30AM and I'm getting ready to head off down south to the capital. I have an 8AM and a 2 and a half hour bus ride to catch. This is my third trip and I always get excited. Can't wait to be there.

Usual drill. I'll try to blog daily, if possible. It all depends on net connection and my state of mind. If I lost that day, I may not be in the mood. Wish me luck folks!

Oh, and the usual photography only when I return to Sydney.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

CAWA on Playchess

From the Chess Association of Western Australia site:

The CAWA now has its own room (under Clubs and Federations) on the Playchess Server at (the home of Fritz) for W.A. players to meet and play.

See screenshot.

Chess, Back in Iraq

Iraqis are playing chess again. Check this one here and here.

Intchess Magazine

Singapore's only chess magazine, Intchess, has just released their issue number 8. And I can't resist a shameless plug.

One of Singapore's young talents Ravi Shanmugam takes time to annotate a couple of his games from Queenstown, one of which was a fine draw against grandmaster Hecht of Germany. Check out that sample article here.

Laylo Heads for Turin

National Master Darwin Laylo finished ahead of all competitors in RP's National Chess Open Championships held in Mandaluyong City. Half a point behind, on 10/11, was FM Oliver Dimakiling. The two players will join grandmasters Paragua, Torre and Antonio in RP's Olympiad side.

The sixth spot is yet to be decided among Wesley So, John Paul Gomez, Roderick Nava, Rolando Nolte, Mirabeau Maga and IM Petronio Roca. So is only 12-years old and it will be quite interesting to see him in the Olympiad side. All power to him!

Shaun Press: ACF Disgraceful

In a private email to Matthew Sweeney, Shaun Press - a well known player, organiser and arbiter of the Doeberl Cup - labels the Australian Chess Federation's handling of this motion disgraceful.

Matthew Sweeney has released this portion of an email which came from Mr Press:

I [Press] believe the ACF (and Denis particularly) has behaved disgracefully over this issue.

The sides are the ACF and the Doeberl [Cup]. Denis [Jessop] does not want the Doeberl affected by this, but is too proud to back down lest the ACF looks weak. To him this is an easy way out.

Denis Jessop is the current Australian Chess Federation president. To be clear, Mr Press tells me:

In applying it ["disgracefully"] to Denis I was referring mainly to what he began to post to ChessChat concerning my role vis-a-vis the Doeberl Cup and the gratutitous (sic) mention of the ACTCA Presidential election last year.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

RP Team Deciders Update

Courtesy of the Manila Standard. Standings after ten rounds:

Men’s: Laylo 8.5 points; Dimakiling, Gomez 8; Dableo, So, Nava, Nolte, Maga, De Ramos, Tolentino 7.5; Villamayor, Gonzales, Perez, Vasquez 7.0.

Women’s: Lomibao, Cua Sheri 7.0 points; Cua Sherci, Cuizon, Magno, Perena, Salvador, Cunanan, Mendoza, Camacho, Tumbos.

Matt Sweeney Withdraws!

Here is an exclusive for our readers. After last week's stunner from Shaun Press - now it's Mr Sweeney's turn.

Mr Sweeney emailed me this statement overnight. It is his response to that recently passed motion, first proposed by the NSWCA, that effectively banned him from playing chess across the nation.

The new ACF by-law was a hastily cobbled together farce that:
1. Has no mechanism for appeal.
2. Does not distinguish between bans for activities such as violence or theft, and for misdemeanors such as not paying a joining fee.
3. Provides for heavy penalties for officials and bodies that allow a banned player to play.
4. Ensures that none of the other players’ games in the whole tournament will be rated.

I registered to play at the Doeberl and was welcomed to play by the entire committee. However, the Doeberl carries a National status as an ACF Grand Prix (GP) event. If I play, none of the other 240 players would have their games rated by the ACF. Therefore, the Doeberl committee felt compelled to withdrew the event from the GP list. This effectively meant that all games would be rated, but no GP points would be awarded to any player.

The Doeberl committee recognised that the ACF was behaving in an unconscionable manner by passing the ban extension by-law. The Doeberl were prepared to take a principled stand against it by allowing me to play.

I attempted to alleviate this problem by appealing to the ACF for, a temporary stay of the automatic extension of my ban to the National level, while a full appeal could be conducted. The ACF totally ignored it and did not so much as acknowledge receipt of my appeal.

The ACF under Denis Jessop, was in fact, extremely happy that the Doeberl was pulled out of the GP, because it meant that the ACF would not have to take action against the ACTCA and the Doeberl committee. The ACF did not care one iota that 240 Australian chess players would be deprived of an opportunity to win GP points. It could not see its way clear to stay my ban because, it is being manipulated by the NSWCA to conduct a punitive course against its strongest critic, me.

The situation now is, that there is a stand-off between the Doeberl committee and the ACF The Doeberl wishes to conduct itself in a moral and reasonable way. The ACF insists on imposing immoral and unreasonable rules upon the Doeberl - and every other GP and National event. The only people hurt by this struggle between decent ACT administrators and abysmal ACF ones, are the ordinary players of Australia. I personally cannot allow this to happen. Therefore, I am withdrawing my entry to the Doeberl so that it can re-enter the GP, and the most important people, the players, can win GP points.

This completely shameful power play began with a NSWCA vendetta. It continued with the hijacked the ACF to peruse it. The ACF was forced into a no-win position with a stain of underhanded incompetence indelibly stamped upon it.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

A Rogers Blunder

Has Australia's number player committed a blunder?

Nearly a year after the controversial St George Open in 2005, some sections within the Sydney chess scene are still talking about it. Central to that controversy was IM Zong Yuan Zhao.

In what appeared to be a defensive maneouvre, GM Rogers made this announcement on Australia's liveliest chess forum.

The incident happened because Zhao needed to withdraw from the tournament due to study pressures but feared that forfeiting the games would adversely affect the tournament. After Zhao unsuccessfully tried to arrange weekend games, the arbiter [Charles Zworestine] suggested that Zhao phone his opponents and agree to draws. Zhao, while stressing that he really didn't mind withdrawing and losing his last three games on forfeit, did as requested.

To which Dr Charles Zworestine has this reply: "Rogers' remark is inaccurate".

I have known Charles for a long time. He was the arbiter in my first ever tournament some 10 years ago. On this particular issue, at least, I am inclined to believe him.

Junior Chess Magazine

I have just now received my first copy of the NSWJCL's quarterly magazine. I first saw an issue in Peter's Parr shop some weeks ago and I just had to subscribe to it. In terms of design and presentation, the NSWJCL have completely exceeded all expectations. The magazine is nicely done indeed. There's plenty of content, games analysed by master players and lots of photography.

I thoroughly recommend subscribing to this publication even if you have nothing to do with junior chess whatsoever. It's brilliant!

Play Chess Over Bluetooth

Windows mobile platform users can now play chess over Bluetooth. Perfect for those absolutely boring walkthrough sessions. From MSMobiles.

The Philippines and FIDE

Which ticket will the NCFP support in the upcoming elections for the FIDE presidency? To Pinoy journo Rey Bancod, the NCFP should probably take a closer look Bessel Kok's candidacy:

It would be to the best interest of Philippine chess if the NCFP board takes a closer look into Kok’s candidacy.

Would Kok be fair to Filipino players? An excerpt from a recent interview would give us a hint on where he stands.

Said he: “It is unfair to discriminate against anyone for any reason whatsoever, and FIDE has a moral and ethical obligation to practically ensure that organizers are chosen who will allow all players to participate on equal footing.”

I’m not saying the NCFP jump on the Kok bandwagon.

Let the vote represents the true will of the majority and not a decision of a single individual.

Read more in Tempo.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Where is Deep Blue?

Who can forget DB? Ever wondered what happened to "it"?

"An IBM supercomputer directly related to the famous Deep Blue that battled chess grand master Gary Kasparov in 1997 has recently been recruited to aid Canadian researchers in the fight against cancer."

From Computerworld.

Warning: Chess Kills!

It's usually when I find myself in a winning position that my heart begins to beat at a faster than normal rate. It always worries me when I feel like that. Sometimes, it feels like I'm about to explode with excitement. Well now we know that all this physical stimulation can sometimes lead to death. No joke!

In Canada, a couple of guys died apparently from playing chess.

Geoff Mueller reports.

Bjelobrk Wins Sydney Rapid

Powerhouse Igor Bjelobrk won the City of Sydney Rapid event yesterday on a score of 6/7 points. His only loss was to junior Max Illingworth. Defending champion and rapid specialist Jason Chan settled for 4.5 points.

The hot favourite George Xie garnered 5/7 points having been held to draws by less fancied opposition. And in the last round, Xie lost the Black side of an English to the eventual winner Bjelobrk.

NSWCA vice president Andrew Bird writes, "Bjelobrk, Xie and Ayvazyan all went into the final round on 5/6, after Bjelobrk's win it looked for a long time like Ayvazyan would win a good pawn up ending against Neil Wright to be joint winner, but 'tricky Wright' found some amazing resources to hold the endgame, leaving Igor 2006 City of Sydney rapid play champion".

We have the two important games below thanks to Andrew Bird. He also provides brief annotations.

Annotations by Andrew Bird
City of Sydney Rapid
Illingworth, Max
Bjelobrk, Igor

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 c5 4. d5 Nf6 5. Nc3 b5 6. Bf4 Qa5 7. Bd2 e5 8. dxe6 Bxe6 9. e5 Nfd7 10. Qf3 Nb6 11. a4 b4 12. Nb5 Na6 13. Bg5 (Bjelobrk suggested 13. Bxc4! Bxc4 14. Qc6+ Kd8 (14... Ke7 15. Nd6!) 15. O-O-O with a huge attack) 13... Bd5 14. Qe2 h6 15. Nd6+ Bxd6 16. exd6+ Be6 17. Be7 b3+ 18. Kd1 Nb4 19. Nh3 Nc2 20. Qe5 Nd5 21. Bxc4 Nxe7 22. Bxe6 O-O 23. dxe7 Rfe8 24. Bd5 Rac8 25. Nf4 Qb6 26. Qf5 Qf6 27. Qxf6 gxf6 28. Rc1 Rxe7 white has a winning endgame, which he converted in the 10 second a move time scramble 1-0

Annotations by Andrew Bird
City of Sydney Rapid
Bjelobrk, Igor
Xie, George

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nc3 e5 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7 7. Ne1 d6 8. Nc2 O-O 9. d3 Be6 10. Ne3 Qd7 11. Rb1 Bh3 12. Ned5 Nxd5 13. Nxd5 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 Ne7 15. Nc3 d5 16. e4 dxe4 17. dxe4 Qc6 18. f3 Rfd8 19. Qe2 a6 20. Be3 Kf8 21. Rfc1 Rac8 22. Nd5 Nxd5 23. cxd5 Qd6 24. Rc2 Rd7? white is better here, but this is just a blunder (24... Rc7) 25. b4 b6 26. Qxa6 Suddenly blacks whole position collapses. 1-0

Laylo in Lead

Darwin Laylo is on 5/5 points in the currently running National Open Chess Championships in RP.

From Manila Standard.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Norwood and British Science

Age just 37, British grandmaster David Norwood is my kind of chess player. Beyond chess, Norwood is a successful businessman. His latest venture is to partner with institutions like the University of Oxford to make commercial successes out of science research.

Norwood is blunt. "The philosophy for us is to make loads of money".

Read more in the Times Online.

Rogers Pessimistic

Grandmaster Ian Rogers exudes pessimism over the upcoming elections for the FIDE presidency. In his column today for Sydney's Sun Herald, the Aussie number one says:

Bribery has been an integral part of FIDE elections dating back to the 1980's.

However, apart from the 1986 elections in Dubai when federations were offered air tickets for their Olympic teams in exchange for votes, modest offers such as a dozen chess clocks have been sufficient to sway votes.

In 2006, with FIDE fees so high, the incumbent has a new weapon: his ability to forgive debts owed by federations to FIDE. Unless Kok is also able to address the fees issue - perhaps by offering a fee moratorium after he is elected - Iljumzhinov seems likely to scoop the pool of the many poorer federations from Latin America and Africa and with it secure his re-election.

We share GM Rogers' pessimism.

Sydney Rapid Play

This event happens today at the Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club. But yours truly will not be there. Folks, I have a date. It's beer and live music this afternoon. Besides, I have 4 days of chess next weekend at the Doeberl Cup.

If you played today, please drop me a line and tell us all about it.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Just A Hobby

Today's SMH has a brief mention of Raymond Song and sister, Angela.

"Schoolwork is obviously more important … actually chess is really good for schoolwork," Ms Song said. "Raymond was quite a hyperactive boy before he started playing chess, he couldn't still for five minutes, let alone five hours to play a game."

Good stuff this!

Whose fault?

Remember this? Grandmaster Ian Rogers gives an insight on how it happened.
The incident happened because [international master] Zhao needed to withdraw from the tournament due to study pressures but feared that forfeiting the games would adversely affect the tournament. After Zhao unsuccessfully tried to arrange weekend games, the arbiter [Charles Zworestine] suggested that Zhao phone his opponents and agree to draws. Zhao, while stressing that he really didn't mind withdrawing and losing his last three games on forfeit, did as requested.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Doeberl Cup Withdraws!

This is such a fast moving news item and tremendously important that we have to give it a post of its own. In response to my latest post below, in the comments section, Canberra chess organiser and Olympiad player, Mr Shaun Press writes:

I have attempted to find out as much about the practicalities of this motion as possible. I have spoken to both the ACF President and ACF Secretary over the last few days and these are how they interpret the motion
1) There is no right of appeal by the player concerned to the ACF (Both the ACF President and Secretary told me this)
2) The right of appeal is restricted to event organisers who may request a banned player be allowed to take part in an event (ACF President)
3) The ACF will not be examining Matts case at all (ACF Secretary)

So unless something changes between now and Good Friday, the Doeberl Cup will be withdrawing from the ACF Grand Prix series, meaning that the ACF motion does not apply either to Matthew Sweeney or the Doeberl Cup itself.

Shaun Press

And with that, I bid you all my dear loyal fans a happy weekend. I'm off to the pub!

ACF Bans Matthew Sweeney

Mr Brian Jones, director of the Myer Tan Australian Chess Grand Prix and publisher of the Australian Chess Magazine, calls the Australian Chess Federation a "secret society". Under this constant charge from Mr Jones and others, the Australian Chess Federation frantically released an official announcement overnight on the matter relating to an highly controversial motion proposed by the NSWCA.

The final motion voted upon and passed:

That, effective 4 April 2006 ­

1. A person who is banned as a player by his or her State or Territory Association or by the Australian Chess Federation ("ACF") is not permitted to play in an ACF event.

2. If a tournament organiser or tournament arbiter knowingly permits a banned player to play in an ACF event, the event­ (a) will not be ACF or FIDE rated; and (b) if it is a Grand Prix event, will not count towards Grand Prix points.

3. The ACF Secretary shall ensure that a list of banned players, to the best of his knowledge, is maintained on the ACF Website, stating the name of each banned player and the expiry date of the ban and each Council delegate shall keep the Secretary informed of those matters in respect of players banned by his State or Territory.

4. Despite paragraphs 1 and 2, the ACF Council may, if it thinks fit, permit a banned player to play in an ACF event or decide that paragraph 2 does not apply to an ACF event.

5. In this motion ­
(a) "ACF event" means any event held by or on behalf of the ACF and includes an ACF Grand Prix event;
(b) "banned player" means a person referred to in paragraph 1;
(c) a reference to playing in an event includes entering, playing in, or continuing to play in, the event.

As a result, that equally controversial figure in Australian chess, Matthew Sweeney, can no longer play in the next big event - the Doeberl Cup. In response, Mr Sweeney made the following announcement.

This new motion has been expedited through the ACF machinery, because of efforts by two NSWCA councilors. Therefore, I feel no compunction to spare them or the people who have supported them, any relief from the opprobrium that will be generated by public exposure of their vendetta. Naturally, I will be appealing my national ban. The outcome of the appeal will be either:

1. The appeal upheld. Thus the NSWCA will be humiliated.
2. The appeal denigned (sic). Thus the ACF will be exposed as a privileged secret society whose first consideration is its own survival.

I will be posting all correspondance by me to the ACF. I will also be posting all official NSWCA and ACF communications to me, on this bulletin board, as they are sent or recieved by me. Private correspondence will not be posted.

One would hope that the Doeberl Cup organisers will do the right and brave thing anyway and allow Mr Sweeney to play in their event. However, we believe that Denis Jessop's standing in ACT chess is sufficient pressure to prevent that from happening.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Kalmyk Revival

From a story in China, we segue into the FIDE head honcho's boldest move. The Times reports of Kirsan's plans to revive Kalmykia by transporting ethnic Kalmyks from the PROC.

An arid region on the northwestern shores of the Caspian Sea, Kalmykia has a population of just 290,000 people, half of whom are Kalmyk. The rest are mostly Russian and Caucasian.

But Mr Ilyumzhinov says there are between 300,000 and 500,000 ethnic Kalmyks in the relatively impoverished Chinese regions of Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia. The Kalmyks left these areas in the 16th Century and moved west in search of more fertile pastures, eventually settling in what is now Kalmykia. But in 1771, Catherine the Great abolished their autonomy and tried to make them accept Christianity.

From The Times Online.

White Equals Innocence

The Chinese are a surging power in world chess. It is only natural, then, that they should discover one of the more novel and certainly unusual uses for chess pieces.

All employees of a chain supermarket in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, have to draw chess pieces at the exit for staff before they leave, only to prove they are innocent or have to be body-searched.

From China Daily.

RP Team Deciders

Hostilities in the Olympiad finals selection will commence today at the Market Place Shopping Mall in Mandaluyong City, Philippines. The tournament is scheduled to end on 11 April.

The men will play for 3 spots on the team and the women will play for 5.

Chernih, Nick - Xie, George

We owe the following the Fide master George Xie. The annotations are entirely his. The game is from last Sunday's round 7.

City of Sydney 2006
Chernih, Nick
Xie, George

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 Bg7 11. c3 f5 12. exf5 Bxf5 13. Nc2 O-O 14. Nce3 Be6 15. Bd3 f5 16. O-O Ra7 17. a4 Ne7 18. Nxe7+ Rxe7 19. axb5 axb5 20. Bxb5 d5 21. Ra6 f4 22. Rxe6!

(22. Nc2 was seen in Anand,V (2786)-Leko,P (2749), 0-1/Wijk aan Zee 2005/CBM 105)

22... Rxe6 23.Qxd5 Qxd5 24. Nxd5 e4

After 24...e4

(24... Kh8 25. f3 (25. g3!?) 25... e4 26. fxe4 Rxe4 27. b4 Rd8 28. Bd3 (28. c4 Bd4+ 29. Kh1 Bf2) 28... Re3!? 29. Nxe3 fxe3 30. Be2 Bxc3 (30... Rd2=) 31. Rb1 Rd2 32. Kf1 Bd4 33. b5 Bb6 34. Rc1 Rd6 35. Rc6 Rxc6 36. bxc6 Kg7 37. Bf3 Kf6 38. Ke2 Ke5 39. Kd3 Kd6 40. g3 h6 41. g4 Ke5 42. h4 Kd6 43. h5 Bd8 44. Kxe3 1/2-1/2 Agdestein,S-Johannessen,L/Sandnes NOR 2005/The Week in Chess 557 (44).)

25. Re1

(25. b4!? Kh8 (25... Rd6!? 26. Bc4 (26. c4 Rxd5 27. cxd5 Rb8 28. Bc6 Rxb4 29. d6 Rd4 30. d7 Bf6) 26... Kh8 27. Rd1 (27. Bb3 Bxc3 28. Nxc3 Rd3) 27... Bxc3 28. Nxc3 Rc6 29. Rd4 Rfc8) 26. c4 Bd4 27. c5 Rd8 28. Nxf4 (28. Bc4 e3) 28... Rf6 29. g3 Rb8 (29... e3 30. Rd1) 30. Bd7 (30. Nd5 Rxb5) 30... Rxb4 31. Nd5 (31. c6 Rc4 32. Re1 Bb6 33. Kg2) 31... Rxf2 32. Rxf2 Rb2 33. c6 Rxf2 34. c7 Rc2+ 35. Kf1+-)

(25. g3! f3 (25... fxg3 26. hxg3 (26.fxg3 Rb8 27. Bc4 Kh8) 26... Rb8 27. Bc4 Kh8 28. b3) 26. b4 Kh8 27. Rd1 Bh6 28. c4 e3 29. fxe3 Bxe3+ 30. Nxe3 (30. Kf1!) 30... Rxe3 31. Bc6 Rc3 32. Bd5 Rb3 33. b5 Rb2 34. Rf1 f2+ 35. Kg2 Kg7 36. h4 h6 37. Bf3 Rc8 38. Bc6 Rf8 39. Bd5 Rf6 40. Bf3 Rc2 41. Rxf2 Rxc4 42. Rb2 Rb6 43. Kh2 Rc5 44. Be2 Kf6 45. Kh3 Rc3 46. Bf1 Kg7 47. Kh2 h5 48. Bh3 Rd3 49. Bg2 Rc3 50. Bf1 {1/2-1/2 De Firmian, N - Johannessen,L/Malmo SWE 2005 (50).)

25... Kh8 26. Bc4 (26. b4! Rd6 27. c4 Rb8 28. Rd1 (28. Nxf4?! Bc3 29. Rb1 Bxb4) 28... Bf8 29. Kf1)

Analysis diagram

26... Re5 27. h3 (27. b4) 27... Bh6 28. Nb6?! (28. Rd1 e3 29. Kf1 (29. fxe3 fxe3 30. Be2 Rf2!) 29... f3 30. fxe3 (30. gxf3 Rxf3) 30...fxg2+ 31. Kxg2 Bxe3 32. Nxe3 Rxe3 33. Rd4 Rff3=)

28... Rd8! 29. Be2?! (29. b4 e3 30. fxe3 fxe3 31. Be2 Bf4) 29... f3! 30. Bf1

(30. Bd1 Bd2 31. Rf1 fxg2! (31... e3 32. Nc4 e2 33. Nxe5 Bf4 34. Nf7+ Kg7 35. Nxd8 Bh2+ 36. Kxh2 exf1=Q 37. Bxf3) 32. Kxg2 Rg5+ 33. Kh1 (33. Kh2 Bf4+) 33... Rd6); (30. Bxf3 exf3 (30... Rb5-+) 31. Rxe5 Rd1+ 32. Kh2 Bf4+-+) (30. Bc4 Bd2)

30... Bd2! 31. Nc4?! (31. Ra1 Rg5 (31... e3 32. Nc4) 32. Kh1! Bf4 33. Nc4 (33. Re1 Rd2) 33... Rgd5) (31. Rd1? e3 -+)

31... Bxe1! 32. Nxe5 Rd2! (32... Rd2 33. gxf3 (33. Ng4 h5!) 33... Bxf2+ 34. Kh1 e3-+) 0-1

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Top Level Chess

Members of the Brunei Chess Federation climbed one of the world's highest peaks and played chess at its summit. Led by BCF head Hj Zainal Abidin Bin Hj Mohd Ali, the group reached the top of Mt Kinabalu at 7.30AM on 1 April.

From the BCF site.

Foxxy Chesser

Adding to our long list of celebrity woodpushers, star of "Ray" and "Collateral" (along side Tom Cruise), is Jamie Foxx. He is, in fact, addicted to the game. But what is special about the game for Foxx is that it allowed him to make a connection with a long lost father.

From Star Pulse.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Paragua, married?

Here's something out of the blue. The ever reliable INQ7 website informs us that GM Mark Paragua is now a married man. Yes, alright, alright - there are some important chess business to report. The RP number one won the Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr. Men's Invitational Tune-Up Matches in Manila over the weekend.

From INQ7.

Blog Policy

Dear readers, let me make something clear. This blog is an entirely volunteer effort. (Ugh, that word, "volunteer"). It's all from the heart. This means that I make no money from it. And therefore I cannot pay anyone if you provide me with your content.

I make this clear because we've had an offer from a master player to submit to yours truly some annotated games in exchange for a fee. While I am grateful for this gesture, I am afraid I must decline.

While we're at this, I should mention three kind persons who have given me their annotations gratis. These were Fide masters Jesse Sales, Greg Canfell and Igor Goldenberg. Their excellent efforts can be viewed on my right side bar. Thank you gentlemen.

That old question

Ron Burgundy asked if chess is a sport. He joined the University of Maryland's chess team and saw the guys doing something typical of regular jocks. Lifting weights and all that.

From The Retriever Weekly.

City of Sydney - Round 7

Learning opening theory is supposed to save you time so you can spend most if it in the middle and endgames. You trot out the first dozen or two moves and only then get down to the real business. OK, so you're happily promenading along a main line Sicilian thinking you're a regular super grandmaster. Isn't it boring? Where's the chess in that?

The tournament's favourite and top seed, George Xie, arrived late for his game against Nick Chernih. As soon as he sat down, the two players banged out their first 24 moves in quick succession. They were playing so fast that a large crowd quickly gathered and wondered what was going on. It was all theory and no time was wasted.

Unfortunately folks, I don't have this game - but we'll try and get it.

We do have the game score to Song, R. - Bird. The now world famous giant killer continues on his winning form by this time defeating the current NSW state champ Andrew Bird. Raymond thus extends his lead over top seed FM George Xie by a full point. The young man must have been inspired by our special visitor last Sunday, none other than local supremo grandmaster Ian Rogers.

Andrew Bird dropped a rook late in the game and that quickly brought his position to a flatline. As usual, the state champion found himself in time trouble, but as he himself admits, his situation was already difficult.

City of Sydney 2006
Song, Raymond
Bird, Andrew

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nc6 6. Bc4 Qb6 7. Nxc6 bxc6 8. O-O g6 9. Qe1 Qc5 10. b3 Bg7 11. Bb2 O-O 12. Kh1 Qh5 13. f4 e5 14. Be2 Bg4 15. fxe5 dxe5 16. Bc4 Rad8 17. Kg1 Rd4 18. Ba3 Re8 19. Bc5 Rd7 20. Qf2 Be6 21. Be2 Bg4 22. Bd3 g5 23. Bxa7 Be6 24. Bc5 Qg6 25. a4 Nh5 26. a5 Nf4 27. Qg3 Red8 28. a6 f5 29. a7 Ra8 30. Kh1 Nxd3 31. cxd3 f4 32. Qf2 g4 33. Na4 g3 34. Qg1 Bf6 35. Nb6 Raxa7 36. Nxd7 Rxd7 37. Ra6 Bh4 38. Rxc6 gxh2 39. Qxh2 Bg3 40. Rxe6 Qxe6 41. Qh5 Rxd3 42. Ra1 Rd8 43. Qg5+ Kf7 44. Qxd8 Qh6+ 45. Kg1 Qh2+ 46. Kf1 Qh1+ 47. Bg1 Bh2 48. Ra7+ Kg6 49. Qg8+ Kf6 50. Rf7+ 1-0

And here is sister Angela Song winning a fairly easy game against Robert Hvistendahl.

City of Sydney 2006
Hvistendahl, Robert
Song, Angela

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Bc4 Bf5 6. Bd2 e6 7. Qe2 Bb4 8. O-O-O Nd7 9. d5 cxd5 10. Nxd5 Bxd2+ 11. Rxd2 O-O-O 12. Nf3 exd5 13. Rxd5 Nc5 14. Rxf5 Nb3+ 15. Bxb3 Qxf5 16. Qc4+ Kb8 17. Qxf7 Qxf7 18. Bxf7 Nf6 19. Ne5 Rd6 20. Rd1 Kc7 21. Rxd6 Kxd6 22. f4 Rf8 23. g3 g5 24. Kd2 gxf4 25. gxf4 Nd7 26. Nc4+ Ke7 27. Bd5 Rxf4 0-1

I first read about Patrick Halpin in GM Rogers' legendary book, Australian Chess into the 80's. And the first time I met him was in Peter Parr's shop, not far from the venue, some years ago. He strikes me as a bit of a larrikin yet also a no bullshit sort of a man. That bald head is sometimes intimidating. But he's friendly enough and always willing to show off his game - a win or a loss.

Against WIM Laura Moylan, Halpin relied on his old workhorse, a weapon from his youthful days - the GP Attack against the Sicilian Defence.

Most of us normal people will write in either blue or black ink. But these two combatants prefer something else entirely. Laura was recording her moves with pink ink. She said to me, "He was recording his moves with purple ink, so I used pink". Makes sense to me.

City of Sydney 2006
Halpin, Patrick
Moylan, Laura

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. a3 e6 6. b4 b6 7. Rb1 d6 8. bxc5 bxc5 9. Bb2 Nge7 10. Bb5 O-O 11. O-O Qa5 12. Qe2 Nd4 13. Nxd4 cxd4 14. Na2 Rb8 15. Bd3 Bd7 16. Nb4 Rfc8 17. Na6 Rb6 18. Rfc1 Bb5 19. Nb4 Rb7 20. Kf1 Rcb8 21. c3 dxc3 22. Bxc3 Bxc3 23. Rxc3 Bxd3 24. Qxd3 Qh5 25. Rbc1 g5 26. Nc6 Nxc6 27. Rxc6 Qxh2 28. Qxd6 Rb1 29. Kf2 Qh4+ 30. g3 Qh2+ 31. Kf3 R8b3+ 32. d3 Rxc1 33. Rxc1 h6 34. Rc8+ Kh7 35. Rh8+ Kxh8 36. Qf8+ Kh7 37. Qxf7+ Kh8 38. Qf8+ Kh7 39. Qe7+ Kh8 1/2-1/2

Here are the last few moments of my date with Herman Rachmadi.

Black has just played 39...Ba5 defending against Ra1-a8. Now the simple reply, 40. Rxa5 wins on the spot. Black cannot play 40...Qxa5 because it's mate in 4. Instead of this simple procedure, I played 40. Rh1. Of course I am lost. The game continued 40...Rb4 41. Qc2 Qb8 42. Rb1 Bb6 43. Nf2 Bd4 44. Nd1 Qb7 45. Nc3 After this, Rachmadi, with only 30 seconds left, calmly considered his options. I could not believe it! I won on time. Apparently he thought we were playing the classical control of 40 moves in 2 hours or something. It was a terrible way to win, but hey - a win's a win. 1-0

Readers and players are reminded that there is no play next week. Apparently, the venue was double booked. And the following weekend, of course, is the Doeberl Cup long weekend. So we'll see you all in three weeks - but I hope to catch up with some folks in Canberra.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Team Canada

The Canadian team for Torino was announced early last month. The men will be led by GM Pascal Charbonneau, while the women's side will boast the services of WIM Natalia Khoudgarian. So why are we talking about Canada, you wonder.

Well, take a look at this. Yes, that's right - the players have incentive money.

2. Player and Team Incentive Money

a) Men’s Team - $500 per win, divided as $250 to the player and $250 to a pool to be divided equally among all men team players

b) Women’s Team - $100 per win, divided as $50 to the player and $50 to a pool to be divided equally among all women team players

Fancy that!

NSWCA Prez Counters

NSWCA president Mr Bill Gletsos has responded to Peter Parr's comments regarding the St George Open controversy. It seems that the FIDE item, quoted in my post, has been on the world body's website since 27 September, 2005. Since that time, Chairman Dirk de Ridder has not contacted either the local state association or the ACF. So is the matter closed?

Maybe, they're just too busy.

Questionable Sydney Tournament

Sydney player and chess organiser, Peter Hanna, made a complaint to FIDE regarding some apparently inappropriate actions during the St George Open last year. Basically the problem seems to be that some games were recorded as draws even though the games were never played. To make matters worse, the situation apparently had the benediction of the chief arbiter of the tournament, Dr Charles Zworestine.

International arbiter and himself a former member of various FIDE Commissions Peter Parr made the following demands to correct the situation:

As it had not been established if there were even more games unplayed I advised Gletsos [NSWCA president] that this had become a very serious matter and I suggested the correct course of action for the NSWCA would be to (a) demand a written response from the arbiter why he was in breach of FIDE regulations in agreeing with the players the results of games in a FIDE Rated event without play. (b) The NSWCA must insist that the score sheets of all games not played at the venue must be inspected by the NSWCA to clarify once and for all which games were actually played.

The FIDE minutes mentioning the above complaint can be read here.

The St George Open was held in the premises of the St George Chess Club. It is possibly Sydney's strongest outfit with GM Rogers often appearing on board 1. Several years ago I even saw Ftacnik play for this team! If FIDE does decide negatively against this club, it will be a dark day indeed, not just for the club, but for the local chess association that should have taken appropriate action in good time when the controversy was just blowing up.

Ratmir Kholmov, 1925 - 2006

Filipino columnist Bobby Ang devotes this recent piece on one Ratmir Kholmov. Ratmir passed away on 18 February, 2006.

I must admit I am one of those who do not know him at all but he was clearly one of the former USSR's strongest players.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Save the King!

Do you have an antique chess set? And ever wondered about the best way to preserve it? The Toronto Star has an idea.

"The best way to preserve the chess set is simply to keep it away from extreme changes in temperature or climate. That's about it."

From the Toronto Star.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

RP Makes a Comeback

What a relief! FIDE ratings for Filipino players have now been reinstated in FIDE's ratings database. We can only surmise that the RP fed must have finally paid up. The top 20 Pinoy players are:

Paragua, Mark (2617)
Torre, Eugenio I (2543)
Antonio, Rogelio Jr (2539)
Datu, Idelfonso (2457)
Mariano, Nelson (2454)
Sanchez, Joseph (2446)
Bitoon, Richard (2433)
Barbosa, Oliver (2421)
Dableo, Ronald (2421)
Mascarinas, Rico (2416)
Garma, Chito (2415)
Nadera, Barlo A. (2405)
Salvador, Roland (2396)
De Guzman, Ricardo (2393)
Ramayrat, Cris (2370)
Maga, Mirabeau (2370)
Alaan, Vince (2370)
Chiong, Luis (2364)
Bernal, Eduardo (2355)
Sadorra, Julio Catalino (2351)

Jesse Sales, who visited Australia last year, is 21st with a rating of 2349. Among nations, the Philippines is ranked 40th based on rating average (2489). The country sports 5 grandmasters and 21 international masters.

Canberra Juniors Win

A team of juniors from Australia's Australian Capital Territory, was victorious in the inaugural Australian Internet Junior Chess Championships. Led by the talented Junta Ikeda, who once defeated the mighty GM Ian Rogers, the juniors from the ACT bagged the price by the slim margin of 1.5 points. They finished on 46.5 points.

A team of juniors from the state of New South Wales took second place on 45 points.

Here are some nice games.

Australian Internet Junior Chess Championships
Alexandra Jule
Christopher Wallis

1. Nf3 Alex Jule grabbed the headlines last January when she vanquished IM Russell Dive in round 5 of the Queenstown Chess Classic. 1...d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. Bf4 c5 4. c3 Qb6 5. Qc1 cxd4 6. cxd4 Nc6 7. e3 Bf5 8. Nc3 e6 9. Be2 Be7 10. O-O O-O 11. Na4 Qa5 12. Nc5 Qb6 13. Na4 Qa5 14. Nc5 Rac8 15. a3 Qb6 16. Nh4 Na5 17. Nxf5 exf5 18. Qb1 Nb3 19. Nxb3 Qxb3 20. Qxf5 Qxb2 21. Bf3 Rfd8 22. Rfb1 Qd2 23. h3 Rc2 24. Bg3 Qc3 25. Kh2 b6 26. Bd1 Rb2 27. Rc1 Qa5 28. Rc7 Bf8 29. Bh5 b5 30. Bxf7+ Kh8 31. Rcc1 Qb6 32. Be5 Bd6 33. Rc8 Be7 34. Rxd8+ Qxd8 35. Rc1 g6 36. Qe6 Kg7 37. Rc8 Qb6 38. Qxe7 Rxf2 39. Rg8+ Kh6 40. Qf8+ Kg5 41. Bf4+ Kh5 42. Bxg6+ hxg6 43. Qh6# Black checkmated 1-0

Australian Internet Junior Chess Championships
Dusan Stojic
Vincent Suttor

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 Nc6 8. Bc4 O-O 9. Qd2 Bd7 10. Bb3 Rc8 11. Nde2 Qa5 12. Bh6 Ne5 13. h4 Nc4 14. Bxc4 Rxc4 15. O-O-O b5 16. Bxg7 Kxg7 17. h5 b4 18. hxg6 fxg6 19. Nd5 Qxa2 20. Qh6+ Kf7 21. Nxf6 Qa1+ 22. Kd2 Qxb2 23. Rc1 Qxf6 24. Rh4 Qg7 25. Qg5 Rc5 26. Qe3 Be6 27. Nd4 Bc4 28. Rch1 h5 29. g4 Rh8 30. f4 e5 31. Nb3 Bxb3 32. Qxb3+ Ke7 33. Qxb4 exf4 34. Qb7+ Kf8 35. Qb8+ Kf7 36. Qxa7+ Kg8 37. Qa2+ Kh7 38. gxh5 g5 39. R4h3 Rhc8 40. Rc1 d5 41. h6 Qd4+ 42. Rd3 Qf2+ 43. Kd1 f3 44. Rxf3 Qxf3+ 45. Kd2 dxe4 46. Qb2 e3+ 47. Kd3 White resigns 0-1

Australian Internet Junior Chess Championships
Junta Ikeda
Ronald Yu

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 Bf5 4. Nc3 e6 5. Nge2 Be7 6. Ng3 Bg6 7. f4 Nh6 8. Bd3 c5 9. dxc5 Bxc5 10. f5 Nxf5 11. Bxf5 Bxf5 12. Nxf5 exf5 13. Qxd5 Qb6 14. Bg5 Bf2+ 15. Ke2 O-O 16. Rhf1 Qxb2 17. Qd3 Bc5 18. Rab1 Qa3 19. Rb3 Qa6 20. Qxa6 Nxa6 21. Rxf5 b6 22. Ne4 Rfc8 23. Rg3 Kf8 24. e6 Rc7 25. Bf4 Rb7 26. Ng5 f6 27. Nxh7+ Ke7 28. Rxg7+ Kxe6 29. Rxf6+ Black resigns 1-0

More games and info can be found on the official site. Coming up next is the Adult competition. This next tournament is rather special. I'll be the official tournament blogger!

Azerbaijani Fed Fuming

The troubles plaguing chess in Azerbaijan show no signs of abating. First there was the current World Junior champion firing this shot followed days later by Hamid Mammadyarov's remarks that the Azerbaijani Chess Federation were disrespecting certain players.

Aynur Sofiyeva, Azerbaijani Chess Federetation head, has now shot back. “Chess Federation leadership didn’t show disrespect to anybody. Their accusations against us for bias are false. They interfere in interior affairs and regulations of the federation", Anynur was quoted by APA.