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 Chess.fm 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.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Victoria United?

Courtesy of Victorian chess personality David Beaumont, this afternoon we learned of some revolutionary movement down south. It seems that a group of local chess administrators calling themselves "Unity" are running a ticket to take control of Chess Victoria.

The following are just some of their stated aims:

Move all CV activities to 3 Rochester Road on a rental share with the Box Hill Chess Club, where there will be unlimited access for a once a year payment of between four and five thousand dollars

Re-introduce a fortnightly CV email news sheet

Maintain the 12 player round robin format of the Victorian Championship but run it on a 2 rounds per week basis from the above venue

Propose the election of Gary Wastell as an honorary life member of Chess Victoria

This last one is potentially controversial. In a posting on Chess Chat (as well as the rival Australian Chess Club Forum), Mr Beaumont says, "I can tell you for certain that Gary Wastell's nomination is not a popular one amongst [Melbourne Chess Club] people. Question marks also remain about the motivations behind, and for, such a close relationship between Box Hill Chessclub and ChessVictoria."

we're very interested to hear directly from Gerry Hartland, leader of "Unity". An email is on its way. Stay tuned.

An Aussie in Asian Games

The 15th Asian Games is only a little over 2 weeks away and, of course, we can't wait for that. The Philippines will be represented by Darwin Laylo and Ronald Dableo for the men's side and Jedara Docena on the women.

Australia will not be in it, of course, and this is understandable. But there is at least a lone Aussie who will participate in the chess proceedings. It is none other than Sydneysider IA Jason Lyons. The guy has just scored one of the best gigs ever - sports manager for chess. He's off on an Emirates flight to Doha this week to perform some pre-event checks and then run the show. Awesome! Good luck to that.

There's a funny story to this actually. At this time, construction of the athletes village is still incomplete. The situation has apparently forced the organisers to hire a cruise liner, to be docked in Doha Harbour, and to have some of all the athletes live there instead. Mr Lyons, you guess by now, will be on the ship! Says he, "I'm gonna be living for 1 month on a cruise liner that doesn't go anywhere!"

Monday, November 13, 2006

God on His Side

A couple of weeks ago, local Sydney player IM-elect George Xie exhorted the Australian chess community to rediscover their faith. "It is time to return to God", he said.

Well, this devout believer must have been blessed by his Creator for he has just won the 2006 Coffs Harbour Open played over the weekend. Xie topped the event on 6.5 points out of 7 rounds. His run included a win over visiting grandmaster Dejan Antic.

Black lost on time.

Of note also was the performance of Sydney junior Max Illingworth. He collected 5.5 points, including a draw also against Dejan Antic.

Filipinos End on High

It was another successful campaign for the Filipinos as they ended Bad Wiessee without a single loss in the ninth round. I actually saw the So - Georgiev result, via the live game viewer, last night and one word quickly entered my mind: "respect"! A draw after just 10 moves.

Laylo, too, took a peaceful end to his duel with 10th seed Russian GM Konstantin Landa. Emerging out of another Scandinavian, Laylo's position was perhaps slightly inferior by the 30th move. The Russian opponent won a couple of pawns but Laylo's c-pawn passer thankfully proved enough of a distraction to end the game in a draw.

And this is yet to be confirmed but one reader, Mr Manahan, has sent us detailed calculations to say that both So and Laylo have earned GM norms. Thank you also to John Manahan for sending us all the Pinoy games from Bad Wiessee.

By special request, we bring you the game So - Prusikin from the 5th round. Here, the 13-year old Pinoy superstar weaves some magic beginning with 19. Nxe6! Prusikin's position is completely paralysed and there was nothing to do but defend, defend and resign.

How good was that? These teenagers just make it seem so easy. (Think also: Australia's Moulthyn Ly and Zhigen-Lin).

Final Pinoy results from Germany are:

Round 9 results
So, Wesley - Georgiev, Vladimir (GM) draw
Landa, Konstantin (GM) - Laylo, Darwin draw
Gonzales, Jayson - Krivoshey, Sergei (GM) 1-0
Buchal, Stephan (FM) - Dimakiling, Oliver 0-1
Gomez, John Paul - de Francesco, Klaus 1-0

Final scores
So, Laylo, Dimakiling and Gonzales 7
Gomez 6.5

Greek grandmaster Stelios Halkias and American GM Alexander Shabalov topped the event on 7.5 points each.

I'm not sure where the 5 Pinoys will head to after Bad Wiessee. But some time ago, Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino did tell me that Gonzales will remain in Europe until early next year to play in Hastings. Hey, maybe I'll him in a couple of weeks! If anyone else knows anything about the Pinoys' itineraries, please just drop us a line.

Joy of Chess

From the Metro West Daily News:

Chess is a universal language. While communicating recreationally with anyone over the checkered plain of 64 dark and light squares, you may also discover the chessboard gambits and moves that open a wider world and shape our interactions with it.


Sunday, November 12, 2006


We have been waiting for this for a long time. At last, the NCFP has a new website! It is only fitting, I suppose, that as the nation goes through a sort of chess renaissance that the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) also now finds itself on the web, again - finally.

The address is www.ncfphilippines.org. And thanks to our anon tipster for the info.

There's plenty of information here including latest news, tournaments plus a link to a bulletin board. No doubt that last feature will be popular amongst the argumentative types, a bit like the Australian equivalent - but let's hope a little more sane.

Well done to RP chess for these developments. Definitely exciting times ahead.

Another Draw for So

The Bad Wiessee website is never quickly updated, so for the moment all we can report is that IM Wesley So has scored another draw with a grandmaster, this time against Stelios Halkias of Greece.

Other Pinoy results to follow later.

On that note, we should say a big welcome to a bunch of Pinoy boxing fans who seemed to have found their way to this blog. These guys are also big fans of Wesley, actually - so at least we can give you guys some good news this morning.

UPDATE: Thanks to Arnold Tolentino for doing my work for me!

9. Halkias, Stelios GM (6) - 40. So, Wesley IM (6) ½ - ½
34. Laylo, Darwin IM (5½) - 22. Al Sayed, Mohamed IM (5) 1 - 0
25. Dimakiling, Oliver IM (5) - 67. Wessendorf, Thom FM (5) 1 - 0
69. Chetverik, Maxim IM (5) - 38. Gonzales, Jayson IM (5) 0 - 1
112 Babar, Michael FM (4½) - 50. Gomez, John Paul (4½) 0 - 1

Standing after Round 8:

7. So, Wesley 6.5
12. Laylo, Darwin 6.5
26. Gonzales, Jayson 6.0
27. Dimakiling, Olive 6.0
46. Gomez, John Paul 5.5

Round 9 Pairings:

10. Landa, Konstanti GM (6½) - 34. Laylo, Darwin IM (6½)
40. So, Wesley IM (6½) - 15. Georgiev, Vladim GM (6½)
38. Gonzales, Jayson IM (6) - 23. Krivoshey, Serge GM (6)
46. Buchal, Stephan FM (6) - 25. Dimakiling, Oliv IM (6)
50. Gomez, John Paul (5½) - 73. de Francesco, Kl (5½)

Sunday Chess Art

The Chess Association of Western Australia website currently features some chess art by artist Kelvin Rabey. I wish the CAWA guys would provide a little more information about the artist. A short bio would have helped.

Check out Kelvin Rabey's work here.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Wesley Maintains Top Position

IM Wesley So kept his chances of a high placing in Bad Wiesse as he drew with 5th seed GM Vereslav Eingorn of the Ukraine. The 13-year old inches up to 6 points, with 8 others players, just a half point behind sole leader GM Al-Modiahki of Qatar.

Pinoy results were:

So, Wesley - Eingorn, Vereslav draw
Khenkin, Igor - Dimakiling, Oliver 1-0
Gonzales, Jayson - Burmakin, Vladimir draw
Gomez, John Paul - Degraeve, Jean-Marc 0-1
Cordts, Ingo - Laylo, Darwin 0-1

So's next opponent is Greek GM Stelios Halkias who already faced two other Pinoys in this tournament (a win over Gonzales and a draw with Darwin Laylo).

Short: Anand is God

Various Indian news services are quoting British GM Nigel Short as saying that, "Anand is a god for me. He has more chess in his tank. He is not a spring chicken and needs more physical fitness".

From The Hindu.

Friday, November 10, 2006

BREAKING NEWS: So Beats Burmakin

We've just seen from the Bad Wiesse live game viewer that Filipino 13-year old IM Wesley So has just defeated GM Vladimir Burmakin of Russia.

UPDATE: Full round 6 for the RP contingent are now in. Results are as follows:

Burmakin, Vladimir - So, Wesley 0-1
Laylo, Darwin - Postny, Evgeny 0-1
Dimakiling, Oliver - Salvermoser, Bernd (FM) 1-0
Kroencke, Manfred - Gonzales, Jayson 0-1
Jaenig, Reinhard - Gomez, John Paul 0-1

Wesley So is on 5.5 points - the same as four others - grandmasters Al-Modiahki, Landa, Postny and Georgiev.

Aussie Junior Beats Pinoy

This piece of news is old but it will be of some interest to our overseas readers - especially Filipinos. Thirteen-year old Australian junior Zhigen Lin topped the 2006 Elwood Bendigo Bank tournament in Victoria. Zhigen Lin secured first place on 6 points, a half point ahead of his nearest pursuers. His victims included IM Guy West and Pinoy FM Jesse Sales.

Sales, who is presently a resident of Melbourne, Victoria, scored only 4.5 points.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Double GM Kills for Pinoys

Round 5 turned out to be a happy hunting day for the Filipino contingent in Bad Wiesse. While both Gonzales and Gomez went down to grandmasters Halkias and Georgiev respectively, 13-year old IM Wesley So and IM Darwin Laylo, on the other hand, scored victories also against grandmaster opposition.

Playing white, So defeated GM Michael Prusikin; and Laylo, relying on his favourite Scandinavian, overcame 8th seed GM Andrei Sokolov.

Dimakiling had a draw against FM Ludwig Deglmann.

Laylo's next opponent will be 4th seed Evgeny Postny. On board 6, Wesley So has GM Vadim Burmakin.

Grandmasters Beware!

During the recent Kramnik vs Topalov match, I swear I heard Topalov's manager, Silvio Danailov, being described as the Don King of chess by a Sydney radio. Well, it seems that there is another chess promoter who really does want to be Don King. Israeli GM Artur Kogan's story has an important lesson for GMs around the world.

Link: Promoter accused of 'imprisoning' chess star

Timman Visits Indonesia

There is a tournament currently running in Indonesia between that country's Asian Games representatives and some foreign visitors. Playing for the visiting team are legends Jan Timman and Eugene Torre. There is also a lone female visitor, WIM Jana Krivec from Slovenia.

And appearing for the home team are grandmasters Utut Adianto and Susanto Megaranto as well as female rep Irene Sukandar.

Of interest to our Pinoy readers is, of course, Torre's performance. He just lost one game to Megaranto but drew the other. Here are the games.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Triple Draws for Pinoy Chessers

We have some early results from round 4 of Bad Wiesse. So far, I can only ascertain the results of 3 Pinoy encounters. These were all draws.

Dimakiling, Oliver - Pelletier, Yannick draw
Halkias, Stelios - Laylo, Darwin draw
Prusikin, Michael - Gonzales, Jayson draw

The following 2 games are still waiting to be confirmed. Hopefully, by the time I get home tonight, the organisers will have already updated their website. I'll also post a game.

Niese, Holger - Gomez, John Paul
Bobras, Piotr - So, Wesley

$150 Annual Fee

Here is an interesting suggestion from Canberra chess organiser Shaun Press which he posted on the Australian Chess Club Forum. Actually, he began with a series of questions:

(A) State how much a year you are willing to pay the ACF to make that wishlist a reality?
(B) How much you think everyone else should pay to the ACF to make that wishlist a realty?
(C) How many people you realistically think will pay the amount specified in (B)?

And here are his own answers:

(A) Between $100 and $150 pa
(B) I would think $100 (with a suitable concession rate) is a fair amount
(C) In the first couple of years I would guess about 400 playes might join for that amount. Once the system is up and running I would expect it to climb to 750-1000 and then some.


So what does the $100 give you? The ability to implement your (or someone elses) wishlist. Fully funded Olympiad Team, paid staff etc. Now while these are all laudable goals there is always those that ask "But whats in it for me?" Now I would personally hope that would be the very last reason people would have, but I know this isn't the case. So membership of the ACF would have to provide some rights/value. The rights would include voting rights to elect an ACF Board. Entry into GP events (with a $20 discount per event). Eligibility to play in ACF title events (Aus Champs/Open/Junior). Eligibility to play in FIDE rated events in Australia. Added value would be the afore-mentioned discount, as well as a Newsletter/Magazine.


Basically I feel that $100 pa is pretty cheap compared to other things we spend disposable income on. And while I think that actually asking chess players to contribute to the welfare of chess as a whole will come as a culture shock to many, it is changing this cultural attitude that is the real goal.

The entire post can be read here.

I must admit I sympathise with the idea of of a membership fee that's as high as $150.00. Even my current annual membership fee of $25 which I hand over to the NSWCA, my local state chess body, is way too low. It always made wonder what they can possible do with such an anaemic amount. No doubt some folks who read this will react, "$150?! %@#! you man. You gotta be kiddin'!" No I'm not. Considering the extra benefits (i.e. entry discounts, possibly a magazine, and even a contribution to the national side during Olympiad years) $100-$150 in annual membership is nothing. Peanuts!

There is, however, a much needed change if or when these annual fees increase. Our elected officials must set forth clear plans on how they're going to spend that money. And it must be a truly contested election. Right now the election process at NSW level is entirely incestuous. It's the same bunch of guys voting each other into power. But it's not all their fault, of course: players are just too apathetic too care to even turn up to an AGM.

Well, OK...that's our piece for the day, on this important day because it's TCG's birthday! As we say in my native Cebu: "Happy hapay birthday!"

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bad Wiesse Update

In fact round 3 results have just now been posted on the site. Here are the Pinoy results. A very nice effort by John-Paul Gomez to draw against third seed GM Vadim Malakhatko (2617) of The Ukraine.

Gomez, John Paul - Malakhatko, V draw
Wichmann, Daniel - Dimakiling, Oliver 0-1
Laylo, Darwin - Kastek, Thomas 1-0
So, Wesley - Voelker, Sebastian 1-0
Gonzales, Jayson - Schulz, Juergen 1-0

Life now gets a little tougher as 4 of the Pinoys each face grandmaster opposition in the fourth round.

Pinoy Perfect in Round 2

It was another perfect day in Bad Wiesse for the five Filipinos in Bad Wiesse as they all won their games against, admittedly, weaker opposition.

Schumacher, Ral - Gonzales, Jayson 0-1
Niebergall, Gerh - So, Wesley 0-1
Popow, Alexander - Gomez, John Paul 0-1
Dimakiling, Oliver - Jaenig, Reinhard 1-0
Fahnenschmidt, G - Laylo, Darwin 0-1

For the Xmas List

A Saitek Maestro Travel Chess computer. This one looks like a PDA.


Monday, November 06, 2006

Latest NSWCA Newsletter

Just received my latest NSWCA newsletter. I never pay much attention to this publication, mainly because the information is so old - it's pointless. Not to mention, a waste of paper. This latest issue, however, has some interesting news about our favourite local player, FM Greg Canfell. Greg, of course, has just won his fifth NSW championship title and the newsletter editor has included a short Q&A with the champ.

What's your greatest chess achievement? Says the champ, "I'm still lacking a real standout performance. Either IM norm is better than any one State Championship, but should I fail to become an IM, x-time NSW Champion will sound better."

And I never knew that Greg had a twin brother! The things you learn.

One other thing I noticed about the newsletter is that it came with a couple of advertising materials from the Australian Chess Enterprises. Very professional. I just couldn't help thinking that while the ACE proprietor, Brian Jones, is busy promoting his business, rival chess retailer Chess Discount Sales owner, Peter Parr, is himself busy exhuming some long dead controversy involving the St George Leagues Chess Club. I mean, who really has a taste for reruns?

In Brian's ad materials is also some info about the SIO Fund raising dinner to be held on Friday, 24 November. Sadly, there is no page that we can link to on the official website except an online booking form! I suppose the important detail is that dress is "smart casual" and make sure to bring at least $50. By the way, the SIO is fast becoming a strong event. Six grandmasters have signed up including Sergey Shipov from Russia.

Good Start in Bad

The five Pinoys all posted wins in their first round games in the Bad Wiesse tournament in Germany. No games are available for download yet. Here are the results.

Humburg, Michael - Dimakiling, Oliver 0-1
Laylo, Darwin - Byhan, Gert 1-0
Gonzales, Jayson - Mantzouneas, Nik 1-0
So, Wesley - Strasser, Josef 1-0
Gomez, John Paul - Reinke, Kurt 1-0

Round 2 games are also expected to be straightforward.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Grand Old Man Campo

Some these days only have bad words to say about Florencio Campomanes. But not Abac Cordero, writing for The Philippine Star.

The long-time president and chairman of the International Chess Federation or FIDE (1982-1996) has never grown tired of helping the sport which he’s been part of for more than 50 years.

From the day he captained the RP team in the 1956 Chess Olympiad in Moscow, Campomanes has always had the welfare of chess players, Filipino or otherwise, in his beautiful mind.

From The Philippine Star.

Friday, November 03, 2006

A JP Wallace Suggestion

In the most recent issue of the Australian Chess magazine, writing in his column international master John Paul Wallace makes a suggestion:

The Swedish Chess Championship has a very interesting tradition, as it is divided, using the national rating system, into several round robin tournaments. Therefore, the top division, the best players in the country, compete in an all-play-all event. I can not think of a fairer or more enjoyable way to discover the true champion of the country! In fact I would suggest that members of the ACF council consider this possibility, perhaps we could experiment with it one year and see how it works?

Life Members for NSWCA

Sydney chess personality and retailer Peter Parr has been up to his usual sideline hobby over the past week - lobbing hand grenades at both the ACF and the New South Wales Chess Association. After an earlier bizarre shot in which he called himself "General Winston Parr" and NSWCA boss Bill Gletsos as "Sargent-Major Gletsos" - Mr Parr finally managed to produce a worthwhile suggestion.

He is nominating two Sydney players for life memberships of the NSWCA. These two are ex-Olympiad rep and former champ of NSW FIDE master Max Fuller and local player Lloyd Fell - himself a 4-time Sydney champion (in '44,'60, '62 and 1973).

Both nominations are excellent and should be supported.

Peter Parr is correct in his observations that over the past couple of years, NSWCA politicians appear to have handed out life memberships to one of their own. For example, last year - no less than the big boss himself, Bill Gletsos, was a happy recipient of this award. It's about time that we consider the common players.

The problem here, of course, is that annual general meetings (AGM) at year end - during which life memberships are voted upon and conferred - are pretty much a powwow of these politicians, their friends, and a few curious parties. NSWCA members should attend their AGM if they're going to keep their polies in check. The next AGM will be held on 26 November at the Ryde-Eastwood Leagues Club.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Agusan 'A' Wins Inter-Province

Team Agusan 'A' are the 2006 Inter-Provincial champions in the Philippines scoring 8 matchpoints over nine games. Agusan's GM Mark Paragua also secured the gold medal for his board one duties. Standings, courtesy of Marlon Bernardino, are as follows:

Final Standings:
8.0 points-Agusan del Sur “A”
7.0 points-Tagaytay City
6.5 points-Carrascal, Surigao del Sur
6.5 points-Rizal province
6.0 points-Surigao del Sur
6.0 points-Davao Chardric Builders
6.0 points-PNP Misamis Oriental Region X
6.0 points-Tagoloan
6.0 points-Gov. Maliksi, Cavite Province “A”
6.0 points-Misamis Oriental “C”

Individual gold medalist:
Board 1 GM Mark Paragua (7.5/9-Agusan del Sur “A”)
Board 2 Rodolfo Panopio Jr. (7.5/9-Bataan “A”)
Board 3 Ivan Gil Biag (6.5/7-Gov. Maliksi, Cavite Province “A”)
Board 4 Joseph Cabales (6.5/7-Agusan del Sur “B”)
Board 5 Richard dela Cruz (5/5-Bulacan)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Interview with Vishy Anand

The Indian GM is the HIV-AIDS ambassador for the Indian chapter of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He talks to The Hindu for this interview. When asked, "What made you take up the cause of the HIV-infected?" - here is Anand's reply:

No specific reason. But if I have to single out one, then it has to be the sad plight of a couple who came to know they had AIDS after their child tested positive. They lived in a joint family, which immediately disowned them. It set me thinking about people's prejudices, their fears and their hesitation in accepting reality. The film Philadelphia also inspired me to a great extent.

Read more from The Hindu.