Monday, March 31, 2008

Doeberl and SIO - Final Remarks

After almost two weeks of chess, we're back now to normal programming. Truth be told: I'm totally knackered. Waking up at the same time as when I'm on regular working hours, then finishing some 12 hours later makes me feel like I missed out on what was meant to be a vacation! Still, I had a great time. But I won't do that too often. For now let me just write up a review of both Doeberl and SIO.

First up, Doeberl. I think most folks agreed that the Hellenic Club was truly a big leap above the Italo Club. I don't really want to spark an inter-ethnic riot here so let me quickly summarise what I liked about the Greeks. Good food, good lighting, spacious and wired. There was just one problem. The Greek Club is out in the middle of nowhere. Well, for a city guy like me, it seemed like that. In fact, the club is far enough from humanity that anyone driving around at night seriously runs the risk of hitting a kangaroo. Serious! To make things extra challenging - public transport in the evenings during that Easter long weekend is pretty infrequent. So unless you choose to stay in Woden itself, which is a silly thing to do because, well, there's nothing there - then it could be a problem.

One regular guest to Doeberl told me the other day that she misses Manuka. Yes, me too already. I miss the village atmosphere, alfresco dining, the leaf-covered walkways. Most of all, I miss the included breakfast in a nearby cheap motel!

Overall, though, this year's Doeberl edition was on multiple aspects the best I've attended.

Second, the SIO. The venue itself was nowhere near as good as Doeberl's. Like I said during one live blog, sit past board 21 and you feel like sardines in a tin, with barely space for those oversized scoresheets. But who cares really? The joint was good enough. Besides, when you're right in the middle of a city, with plenty of non-chess things for entertainment, everything balances.

But here's another thing: would the SIO organisers please provide free water like in Doeberl? It's not a problem for me, but our Pinoy visitors were troubled. Spending up to $4 per day, per person, on bottles of water is expensive for these guys. Against the appreciating AUD, their peso hardly buys anything. One Pinoy junior quietly complained that even in RP events, tea and water are provided gratis.

All in all - both Doeberl and the SIO were unforgettable. Two new features were particularly good: wireless internet and GM Rogers' commentaries. Thanks to on-site web access, we could live blog and blast out info almost the second they happened. Before I really neglect it, I must thank both sets of organisers for giving yours truly open access to virtually all information, including the juicy bits.

And of course there was Ian. The guy can really talk chess. Some bloke even claimed that after listening to one Rogers lecture, his play actually improved from one round to the next! Amazing stuff. And now that makes me think: will Rogers ever publish his memoirs? That'd be a bloody good read, I reckon.

See you again at the next big one.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chandler, M. - Zhao, ZY., 0-1

Sydney International Open 2008
Chandler, Murray
Zhao, Zong-Yuan

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. b4 Bxb4 5. c3 Bd6 6. d4 Nf6 7. O-O O-O 8. Re1 b6 9. Bd5 Be7 10. dxe5 Nxd5 11. exd5 Na5 12. d6 cxd6 13. exd6 Bf6 14. Qd3 Bb7 15. Bf4 Rc8 16. Nd4 Bxd4 17. Qxd4 Rc4 18. Qd2 Qf6 19. Bg3 h5 20. h4 Qg6 21. Re5 f6 22. Re7 Bc6 23. Qe1 f5 24. Nd2 f4 25. Nxc4 fxg3 26. fxg3 Nxc4 27. Kh2 Nxd6 28. Rd1 Nf5 29. Re5 Nxh4 30. Rxd7 Bxd7 0-1

Making it to 50%

A nice quick win to end a long fortnight of chess. I make it to 50%. The finish was perfectly avoidable, I'm sure, but Richard was moving a little too quickly and missed an obvious tactic. After my last move, I glanced over to my right at Paul Spiller who looked at the position then gave me a small nod of approval.

Sydney International Open 2008
The Closet Grandmaster
Voon, Richard

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 d5 5. Bg5 O-O 6. cxd5 Qxd5 7. Bxf6 gxf6 8. Nf3 c5 9. e3 cxd4 10. exd4 Nc6 11. Bd3 Qh5 12. O-O-O b6 13. Rhg1 Bb7 14. g4 Qh6+ 15. g5 fxg5 16. Rxg5+ Kh8 17. Kb1 Be7 18. Rg3 Nb4 19. Qe2 Nxd3 20. Qxd3 Rad8 21. Ne5 f5 22. Rdg1 Bf6 23. Rg8+ 1-0

SIO Last Day - Live Blog

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dizdarevic - Hay, 0-1

Annotations by Trevor Hay
Sydney International Open 2008
Dizdarevic, M.
Hay, Trevor

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Nf6 5. e5 d5 6. Bb5 Ne4 7. Nxd4 Bd7 8. Bxc6 bxc6 9. O-O Be7 10. f3 Nc5 11. f4 Ne4 12. Nd2 Nxd2 Deviating from theory. "The theory is wrong, not me" - T. Hay 13. Bxd2 c5 14. Ne2 Bb5 15. Rf3 d4 16. f5!? Qd5 17. Bf4 O-O-O 18. a4 Bc6 19. b3 Black must win 19...g5! 20. f6 Bf8 21. Bg3 h5 22. h3 Bh6 23. Qf1 h4!? (23... g4) 24. Bh2 g4 25. Nf4 Bxf4 26. Rxf4 gxh3 27. Rg4 White manages to blockade but at the cost of 2 pawns. 27...hxg2 28. Qf2 h3 29. Re1 Qe6!? Slightly passive. 30. Rg7 Rh5 31. Qg3 Rf5 32. Rg8 Rf3 33. Rxd8+ Kxd8 34. Qg8+ Kd7 35. Bg3 Rc3 36. Re2 Bd5 37. Qg5 Bf3 38. Rd2 Bb7 39. Kh2 Rf3 40. Bf2 Bd5 41. b4 Rf5 42. Qg3 Rf3 43. Qg5 cxb4 44. Bxd4 Rf1 45. Bg1 Kc8 46. Qe3 a5 47. Qd4 Bc6 48. Qd8+ Kb7 49. Qd4 Kc8 50. Qd8+ Kb7 51. Qd4 Qf5 52. Rf2 Qg5 53. Rd2 Rxg1! Black must win a piece. 54. Qxg1 (54. Kxg1 h2+ 55. Kxh2 g1=Q+ 56. Qxg1 Qxd2+) 54... Qxd2 0-1

Lau, J. - Voon, R., 0-1

Sydney International Open 2008
Lau, Joshua
Voon, Richard

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. f3 e6 7. Be3 Bd7 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. O-O-O Be7 10. g4 O-O 11. h4 Nxd4 12. Bxd4 Bc6 13. h5 Re8 14. Be2 Nd7 15. Be3 b5 16. Rdg1 b4 17. Nd1 d5 18. Bd3 a5 19. g5 dxe4 20. fxe4 Nf8 21. Qh2 a4 22. g6 b3 23. a3 bxc2 24. Bxc2 Rc8 25. Nc3 Bf6 26. Bd2 Qd4 27. Qf4 Re7 28. gxh7+ Kh8 29. h6 g6 30. Rf1 Nxh7 31. Be3 Qc4 32. Rhg1 Bxc3 33. bxc3 Qxc3 34. Rg3 Qxa3+ 35. Kd1 Qa1+ 36. Kd2 Rd7+ 37. Bd3 Qb2+ 38. Ke1 Rxd3 39. Qxf7 Qc3+ 40. Ke2 Qc2+ 41. Ke1 Rd1# 0-1

Cua, S. - Antic, D., 1-0

Sydney International Open 2008
Cua, Sherily
Antic, Dejan

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. f3 O-O 6. Be3 Nbd7 7. Qd2 c5 8. Nge2 a6 9. Nc1 cxd4 10. Bxd4 Ne5 11. Nb3 Be6 12. Nd5 Rc8 13. Bb6 Qd7 14. Be3 Bxd5 15. cxd5 Rc7 16. Be2 Rfc8 17. Nd4 Nc4 18. Bxc4 Rxc4 19. O-O Qc7 20. Rad1 Nd7 21. Rf2 Ne5 22. g3 Rc5 23. b3 Rc3 24. Qe2 Nd7 25. Rd3 Ne5 26. Rd1 Qd8 27. Kg2 Qf8 28. Rff1 Bh6 29. f4 Nd7 30. Rc1 Bg7 31. Qd2 R3c7 32. Rxc7 Rxc7 33. Rc1 Qc8 34. Rxc7 Qxc7 35. Qc2 Qd8 36. Nf3 Nf6 37. h3 Qd7 38. Qc4 e6 39. dxe6 fxe6 40. Bf2 d5 41. exd5 exd5 42. Qd3 Ne4 43. Bd4 Bxd4 44. Nxd4 Qc7 45. Qc2 Qxc2+ 46. Nxc2 Kf7 47. Kf3 Ke7 48. g4 Kd6 49. Ke3 b5 50. b4 Nc3 51. a3 Nd1+ 52. Ke2 Nb2 53. Ke3 Nc4+ 54. Kd4 a5 55. bxa5 Nxa5 56. Nb4 Nb3+ 57. Kc3 Nc5 58. Nd3 Ne6 59. Kb4 Nd4 60. Kc3 Nc6 61. Nb4 Na5 62. Nd3 Nc6 63. Nb4 Nd8 64. Nd3 Ne6 65. Kb4 Nc7 66. Kc3 Na6 67. Nb4 Nc7 68. Nd3 h5 69. Ne5 hxg4 70. hxg4 Kc5 71. Nxg6 d4+ 72. Kd3 Nd5 73. g5 b4 74. axb4+ Nxb4+ 75. Kd2 Kd5 76. f5 Nc6 77. f6 Ke6 78. Nf4+ Kf7 79. Kd3 Ne5+ 80. Ke4 Ng4 81. Nd5 1-0

SIO Day 4 - Live Blog

Thursday, March 27, 2008

SIO Round 5 Update

8.23PM As usual, activity erupts here in the playing hall as players return to check on the next round's pairings. Various people are analysing the remnants of Antic - Samar. Not much to report now folks. Will have to wait til tomorrow's action, and hopefully our fancy widget will work then. For the time being, good night and thank you for joining me.

Resigned! Grandmaster Dejan Antic has resigned. The untitled Raul Samar is victorious!!

UNBELIEVABLE turn of events here ladies and gents!! Grandmaster Dejan Antic is once again in another draw claim situation. He is claiming 3x rep. The arbiters, Shaun Press and Charles Zworestine, just now went over the moves and the claim has been DENIED! This was the position (remember, Antic is white):

White: Ke2, Rg8
Black: Kg2, Ra3, g3

As a result of the incorrect claim, Samar gets an extra 3 minutes (to his 5), while Antic remains to less than a minute.

Antic - Samar now to R+K for Antic and R+K+2P for Samar. And it looks like Antic may have just missed a simple draw!!

Antic - Samar getting tense. Folks now crowding around both players. Samar needs to be careful. FM Smirnov was just here to tell me that the Serbian may have tricked the Pinoy-Aussie.

Arbiter Shaun Press is glad that he's received two apologies, from two different persons, in the space of 24 hours. Seems to be the season for apologising to him, he reckons.

ELO firepower gathered around two boards here as Johansen, Mas, Ganguly and Zhao analyse their respective games. They are joined by Rogers and several others.

Smith just resigned.

Two games only left on the stage: Antic - Samar and Malakhatko - Smith. Antic has only K+N+R, while Samar has K+B+R+2P. Antic is in big trouble! While Smith, being a pawn down in N endgame is also in trouble.

Mas - Johansen was a draw. Good result for the Malaysian. And just now, Antonio has defeated his young adversary.

Antonio now a pawn up in a R endgame against Swiercz. Antonio's a-pawn is flying up the board, but the problem is, his own R is in front of it, while Swiercz's is behind it.

Here's an important lesson. As soon as you finish your game, sit down and enter the moves into your database. Then spend a little time analysing. That's what Akobian is doing right now. He's sitting across from me analysing his round 5 encounter.

Akobian walks into where I'm seating and the first thing he says is, "Crazy game". He just played Pinoy junior JJ De Ramos. The American won that one. Chow - Solomon was a draw.

Kiwi FM Smith is putting up a great fight against Malakhatko in a N endgame.

Endgame galore on the stage. Malaysian Mas in N endgame against Johansen. The Aussie is a pawn up. CORRECTION: B+N endgame.

Round 5 is a great day for our Pinoy contigent, AWOL members notwithstanding. Four Pinoys were on the stage today including a couple of their juniors. Just went up on stage a couple of minutes ago and it looks like Samar is holding well against Antic. Samar has B+R+2P while the Serbian GM holds N+R+2P. Against the IM-elect Swiercz, GM Antonio is the exchange down.

Make sure that you guys refresh the blog page at least every 3-5 minutes. Apologies for this primitive approach.

Lane prevailed over Milligan, and so did Wallis (playing black) against Davis. And at this moment, Max Illingworth walked into the officials' room to report that he's lost. Di consoles by saying that the IM is a strong one, anyway.

Young Singaporean FM Daniel Fernandez is a piece down against Igor Goldenberg. On 12 Newsouthwelshaman McNamara is giving GM-hopeful Puchen Wang a pretty good workout in yet another endgame, this time so far both guys have the rook pairs each.

Illingworth, with white , is now in the endgame against Reprintsev. It's B+R+K+2P for Illingworth and K+Q+3P for the international master. Lane - Milligan entered the rook endgame some time ago with Lane having 2 pawns up.

More results. What we're doing is a little primitive. But this will do for now. Another NZ young up-and-comer, Bobby Cheng, has lost to Trevor Hay.

Ayvazyan - Daylo, 0-1
Pecori - Dragicevic, 1-0
Fuatai - Krezovic, 0-1
Rej - Broekhuyse, 1-0

6.44PM NSWCA boss Bill Gletsos is here. Talking to Shaun Press at the moment. Probably about some nuance in a such-and-such a rule. Bill came over earlier to briefly talk about ratings. I offered him a chance to have a final say on the ratings debate via a "Q&A", but he declined. He seems quite convinced that those who've already made up their minds will never agree to his view.

Chandler - Manon-og, 1-0
Perena - Jones, 0-1
Haessler - Bitansky, 0-1
Schon - Zozulia, 0-1
Cunanan - Steadman, 0-1

Live Blog Widget Down

Sorry folks, but our live blog widget is still suffering from some kind of PMS. I've got the session created, but the console which I use to create messages is just not appearing. This is exactly the sort of problem we face when we rely on FREE services on the web. Anyhow, we'll make every effort to bring you up-to-date results as soon as they become available. Here's other news so far.

Just a few minutes ago, local chess personality David Lovejoy launched his latest book, Moral Victories - The Story of Savielly Tartakower, to a small but keen crowd. A few copies have been sold and signed by the author. For just such an occasion, we might have preferred sipping on bubbly, but under the circumstances we settled on lemonade bought from the local shops. In styrofoam cups, naturally!

Moral Victories is not strictly an autobiography, but "an historical novel" on the life of one of the Hypermodern School's greatest exponents. In his introductory speech Ian Rogers spoke highly of it. So I think on that basis alone, I'll probably grab a copy. Just $24.95 from Brian Jones.

SIO Photos

Our live blogging widget is currently refusing to cooperate, so we're a tad delayed with the live blog. Hopefully, things will be back to normal shortly. For now, you may just view some early pictures from the SIO event here in Parramatta.

Here are some early results:

Cua - Lane, draw
Goldenberg - Stojic, draw
Metz - Illingworth, 0-1
Samar - Dotsenko, 1-0
Steadman - Schon, 0-1
Mas - Chandler, 1-0
Lester - Oliver, G., 1-0
Dragicevic - Cunanan, K., 1-0
Johansen - Fernandez, 1-0

Broekhuyse - Kizov, draw
Wallis - Haessler, 0-1
Jule, A., - Cheng, 0-1
Milligan - Escribano, 1-0
Hay - Holland, 1-0
Jule, S., - Rosario, draw
Voon - Guo, 1-0
Szuveges - Ali, 0-1
Daylo - Abbott, 1-0
Stojic - Watson, 0-1
Jones - Wang, draw
Swiercz - Gagunashvili, 0-1
Hacche - Antic, 0-1

Always Learn the Basics

Day 2 turned out to be an eventful day at the SIO. The visiting RP contingent, in particular, provoked a lot of excitement and discussion.

In over-the-board action, JJ de Ramos was very close to drawing against Singapore's GM Zhang Zhong. Way down on board 9, another Pinoy up-and-comer, Ramon Manon-og Jr very nearly bagged the point from GM Dejan Antic. No, actually not OTB, but because both players apparently agreed to the wrong result! 1-0, instead of 0-1. Antic can thank the arbiters for their sanity and commonsense.

Then, of course, there was that sparkling attack executed by Pinoy legend GM Antonio against FM Hartmut Metz. Metz, a journo for a German chess magazine and a number of other European chess publications, told me on the train later that evening that he provoked the sacrifice.

All was not so positive news about the Pinoys, however. That's because a number of these guys simply failed to turn up in yesterday's first session of play. We surmised that may have just gone sightseeing, patting koalas or cuddling kangaroos. Not really a good look for RP.

Finally, what a game to finish with! Towards its final moments, Christensen - Szuveges was painful to witness. Josh Christensen, with 2 extra pawns in a rook endgame, must have definitely realised that he was winning. He tried. And tried some more, but couldn't quite get there. His rook landed on all the wrong squares. I suppose the gathering of ELO ratings around him might have added extra pressure. I often get that feeling myself when the occasional GM or IM watches my own proceedings.

Some of us almost felt like screaming, "Lucena Josh, Lucena, build a bridge!" There as no bridge. No win. Draw.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Antonio Attacks!

Sydney International Open 2008
Rogelio, Antonio
Metz, Hartmut

1. e4 c6 2. c4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. cxd5 Nf6 5. Nc3 Nxd5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Bb5 Nc7 8. Ba4 e6 9. d4 Bb4 10. O-O O-O 11. a3 Bd6 12. Ne4 Be7 13. Qd3 Nd5 14. Bd2 Bd7 15. Bc2 g6 16. b4 a6 17. Bb3 Nb8 18. Rfe1 Bb5 19. Qc2 Nd7 20. Qa2 N7f6 21. Neg5 Qb6 22. Qb2 Rfc8 23. Nxf7 Kxf7 24. Ng5+ Kg7 25. Rxe6 Rc6 26. Rxe7+ Nxe7 27. d5 Rd6 28. Be3 Qd8 29. Ne6+ Rxe6 30. dxe6 Nf5 31. Rd1 Qe8 32. Bg5 Qe7 33. g4 Nh6 34. Bxh6+ Kxh6 35. g5+ Kg7 36. Rd4 h6 37. h4 Nd5 38. Rxd5+ Kh7 39. Qf6 Re8 40. Qxe7+ Rxe7 41. Rd8 hxg5 42. hxg5 Kg7 43. Bd5 Rc7 44. Kg2 1-0

Wang - Akobian, Draw

Sydney International Open 2008
Wang, Puchen
Akobian, Varuzhan

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. e3 c5 6. Bd3 O-O 7. O-O dxc4 8. Bxc4 Nbd7 9. a3 Bxc3 10. bxc3 b6 11. Qe2 Bb7 12. Bd3 Ne4 13. Bb2 f5 14. c4 Qe8 15. Rad1 Rd8 16. d5 Ndf6 17. dxe6 Qxe6 18. Ne5 Ng4 19. Bxe4 Bxe4 20. f4 Nxe5 21. Bxe5 h5 22. h3 Bb7 23. Kh2 Ba6 24. Rc1 Rd7 25. e4 fxe4 26. Qxe4 Rd4 27. Qe3 Rxc4 28. Qg3 Qe7 29. Rcd1 Qf7 30. Rd6 Re4 1/2-1/2

Hay Forfeits Round 3

We seem to be having some problems connecting to our live blogging widget, so I'll give you this bit news in a post, instead. At this time most games are still on. One game that never got started, however, was Hay - Schon on board 16. The West Australian legend unfortunately had to attend to some "problems" with his accommodation arrangements here in Sydney. Whatever it was he was doing took a little longer than expected and causing Hay to lose on forfeit.

Broekhuyse - Lane, 1-0

Sydney International Open 2008
Broekhuyse, Paul
Lane, IM Gary

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. b4 Bb6 7. a4 a6 8. Nbd2 O-O 9. O-O h6 10. Bb3 Be6 11. Nc4 Ba7 12. Ne3 Ne7 13. Nh4 d5 14. Nef5 Kh7 15. Bc2 Ng6 16. Qf3 Nxh4 17. Nxh4 g6 18. Nf5 gxf5 19. exf5 Bd7 20. Qh3 Ng8 21. d4 e4 22. f3 Re8 23. fxe4 dxe4 24. Qh5 Qf6 25. g4 Qg7 26. g5 Nf6 27. Qh4 e3 28. g6+ Kh8 29. Rf3 Bc6 30. Bxe3 Bxf3 31. Bxh6 Bh5 32. Bxg7+ Kxg7 33. gxf7 Re5 34. Qg5+ Kxf7 35. Bb3+ Ke7 36. Qg7+ 1-0

SIO Day 2 - Live Blog

SIO Games and Matches

A PGN file of a handful of games from round 1 is now available on the official SIO site. Also, in case you missed it, pairings are published very quickly over at If you're a participant, these are also displayed over at the Marriott Hotel, possibly somewhere in the lobby.

For our Pinoy fans, there are some notable clashes to keep an eye on. Board 1 will see JJ de Ramos face off against GM Zhang Zhong, and further down to seventh board we have GM Antonio on the black side against Pinoy-Aussie Edsil Dilla. Watch out also for Ramon Manon-og Jr against GM Dejan Antic as well as a very familiar name, Kimberley Cunanan, who plays against FM Metz of Germany.

A handful of our Malaysian readers will be interested in the board 19 contest today between their man, IM Mas Hafizul, playing against FM Daniel Howard Fernandez. Might be a tough one straight up for Mas who is on a hunt for that elusive GM norm.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Lost in the KID

Sydney International Open 2008
The Closet Grandmaster
Goldenberg, Igor

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. Nf3 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. a4 played because I just wanted to avoid my opponent's superior knowledge of theory. To be honest, I've really no idea about what I'm doing! 9...Nh5 10. Re1 (I should have played 10. a5 immediately.) 10... a5 11. Nd2 Nf4 12. Bf1 c5 13. dxc6? bxc6 14. c5 dxc5 15. Nb3 Ne6 16. Be3 Nd4 (16... Qb6 17. Qd6 Qxb3 18. Qxe7 Qxb2 19. Rac1 Qb4-/+) 17. Nxc5 Qb6 (17... Qd6 considered better by Goldenberg.) 18. Nd3 Be6 19. Rb1 Bb3 20. Qg4 Rfd8 21. h4 c5 22. f4 exf4 23. Nxf4 Nc2 24. Kh1 Nxe1 25. Rxe1 Bd4 26. Bc1 Bg7 27. h5 Rab8 28. Bb5 Qd6 29. e5 Bxe5 30. Ne4 Qc7 31. hxg6 hxg6 32. Ng5 Nd5 33. Nfe6 (33. Qh3! was my opponent's recommendation) 33... Nf6 34. Qh3 Bxe6 I actually resigned this position to Igor's surprise! 0-1

Live Blogging: SIO Day 1

More Photos from Doeberl

I've posted photos from the last couple of days in Canberra. Note, especially, that photo of Tony Davis. This might well be the start of a new Doeberl tradition: we wear a hat like that on the last day of Doeberl.

More photos in my flickr album.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Live Blogging: Day 5

Doeberl Set for Exciting End

We're now just 90 minutes from today's start of play and it is set to be an exciting finish. Fittingly our two outright leaders, Antic and Akobian, will contest the title on board 1.

In the major, Mandla leads by a slim half-point margin, but there is still possibility that he could be caught today by his opponent Andrey Bliznyuk and his tormentor from the last round, Richard Voon. Make sure you're logged in about 10AM or so as we bring you live what will hopefully be a thrilling conclusion to this unforgettable event.

Finally, Emma Guo just needs a draw in today's round to secure the minor title. Lucky for her, the two subsections in the event are not subject to Gibraltar; so if I were her, I would do the practical thing and offer a draw on move 1. Bisson, after all, is an experienced player and can be quite dangerous.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Live Blogging: Doeberl Cup Day 4

My Fave Bayonet

I was a bit nervous just before this game. Here's another of these dangerous ACT players, I thought. When Sherab played 9...Nd7, however, I suddenly realised that perhaps he's not as up-to-date as I feared. I recall that in one of his videos, GM Danny King considered 9...Nd7 to be bad as it gives black either a cramped position or he just lags in development. I've even had a couple of wins against that move over the years, so from there my nerves began to settle.

Doeberl Cup 2008
The Closet Grandmaster
Guo-Yuthok, Sherab

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 Nc6 6. Nf3 O-O 7. O-O e5 8. d5 Ne7 9. b4 Nd7 10. c5 Kh8 11. Ba3 h6 12. Rc1 f5 13. Nd2 Rf6 14. cxd6 cxd6 15. Nb5 Nb6 16. Nc7 Rb8 17. Qb3 Bf8 18. f4 Kg7 19. fxe5 dxe5 20. Bb2 Nc6 21. dxc6 Qxc7 (21... Qxd2 22. Ne8+ Kh8 23. Nxf6) 22. cxb7 Qxb7 23. Bxe5 Nd7 24. Bd4 Bxb4 25. e5 Rf8 26. Bf3 Qb5 27. e6+ Nf6 28. Rc7+ Kg8 29. e7+ Rf7 At this moment, I got up to pick up a second queen from another board. When I returned to sit down, my hand slowly began to move in for d7-d8. Then, for a split second I looked at Sherab's face and wondered why he looked unconcerned. That's when I thought, OK, better check again. And oops! Of course, there is simply Qxd8! Therefore I played 30. Bc6 Qe2 31. e8=Q+ 1-0

More Doeberl Cup Photos

I've added more photos. These are from yesterday's sessions. See in my flickr account.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Tsagarakis: A Beautiful Game

Doeberl Cup 2008
Tsagarakis, Angelo
de Noskowski, Adrian

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. g3 O-O 5. Bg2 d6 6. O-O Nbd7 7. Nc3 e5 8. e4 c6 9. Re1 Qb6 10. h3 Re8 11. Rb1 a5 12. Be3 Qc7 13. Qd2 exd4 14. Nxd4 Nc5 15. Bh6 Bh8 16. Rbd1 Be6 17. b3 Rad8 18. Kh2 Bc8 19. Bf4 Nh5 20. Bg5 f6 21. Bh6 Ng7 22. f4 Nge6 23. Nf3 Nf8 24. Qf2 Qb6 25. e5 Beautiful move. Wins a pawn, at least, according to Angelo. 25...Qb4 26. exd6 Ncd7 27. Qd2 f5 28. Nd5 Qxd2 29. Ne7+ Kf7 30. Ng5+ Kf6 31. Rxd2? Missing the immediate 31. Ng8# 31... Bg7 32. Ng8# 1-0

Doeberl Cup Day 3

An Untimely Resignation

Here's my game in round last night against Aina Musaeva. It's only remarkable for its very untimely end.

Doeberl Cup 2008 (Major)
The Closet Grandmaster
Musaeva, Aina

When you're lucky with women, you can't really complain too much. Today I was lucky as my opponent, the lovely Aina Musaeva was too, how can I say, submissive. 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Na4 I told you this move in an earlier post a few weeks ago. Back then I said that I use it mostly for lightning. In fact, I like to trot it out now and then against these Gruenfeld afficionados just to give them a little something to think about. The move isn't really that to be expected. Actually, by the time I looked at Aina's games, there were only about 10 minutes left before the round commenced. That was because IM Bitansky was desperate to prepare against GM Gagunashvili. Without a lappy during his Australian tour, he had no choice but to borrow mine and, being the good Samaritan that I am, I was happy to oblige. And so it was that I just said to myself: "Bugger it! 5. Na4 it is". 5... Bg7 6. e4 Nf6 7. f3 O-O 8. Be3 So far, all already played. Then came something new. 8...Re8?! It looks active, but not really. Black should prefer development of his queenside bits. 9. Bd3 Nc6 10. Ne2 e5 11. d5 Ne7 I'm now thinking: OK, so you want to play c7-c6, but I really want a passer. Thus, my next move. 12. Bc4 c6 13. d6

After 13. d6

Almost immediately after I played this move, Aina extended her hand in resignation and accompanied with the sweetest of smiles said, "I missed this one". For a second I couldn't quite believe it, but then she'd already stopped the clocks. So that was that. But, of course, she is not losing a piece, as she thought. Even GM Rogers said so when he saw me later on analysing and double checking the game. Play could, for instance, continue: 13...b5 14. dxe7 Qxd1+ (14... Qxe7 15. Bxf7+ Qxf7 16. Nc5) 15. Rxd1 bxa4 (15... bxc4 16. Rd8 Bd7 (16... Be6 17. Rxa8 Rxa8 18. Nc5) 17. Rxa8 Rxa8 18. Nc5 Re8 19. Nxd7 Nxd7 20. Bxa7 Rxe7 21. Kd2) 16. Rd8 Bb7 17. Rxa8 Rxa8 18. Nc3 I like my position here. Hard life for her, but resigning on the 13th move was way too soon. 1-0

Friday, March 21, 2008

Doeberl Cup Photos

My first batch of photos are now available. They are on my flickr site.

Video Analysis by Ian Rogers

If you're at home, there is no need to miss out on GM Ian Rogers' excellent commentaries on the games. His explanations are always very clear. Thanks to the organisers, we can share Ian's analysis via video.

More videos on the official site.

Infinite Resistance

The following game was just jointly analysed by Rogers and Goldy. I only made it to the tail-end of that show, unfortunately, so I'm not able to share whatever nuggets these guys might have pointed out. But I did hear Rogers offer this prescription to players: when you make a blunder, don't be depressed. It seems that most players fall into a negative attitude not just within a game but throughout the tournament. Thus, their play and event quickly goes downhill. Rogers was citing an Aussie invention called, "theory of infinite resistance".

Pop quiz: which player invented the theory?

Doeberl Cup 2008
Gagunashvili, M.
Goldenberg, Igor

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 Bd6 7. g4 dxc4 8. g5 Nd5 9. Bxc4 b5 10. Be2 Bb7 11. Bd2 Nxc3 12. bxc3 c5 13. e4 a6 14. a4 O-O 15. O-O bxa4 16. Rxa4 Qc7 17. Qd3 Qc6 18. Rfa1 Nb6 19. Ra5 cxd4 20. cxd4 Qxe4 21. Qxe4 Bxe4 1/2-1/2

Doeberl Cup Day 2

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Dragicevic - Smerdon, 0-1

This game is currently being analysed by the players as I post this. GM Rogers and Ganguly also looked at it.

Doeberl Cup 2008
Dragecevic, D.
Smerdon, D.

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. c4 Nb6 5. exd6 exd6 6. Bd3 g6 7. Nf3 Bg7 8. Bg5 Qd7 9. O-O O-O 10. Re1 Nc6 11. Qd2 Nxd4 12. Nxd4 Bxd4 13. Re7 Qc6 14. Na3 Bg7 15. Be4 Nxc4 16. Nxc4 Qxc4 17. Rc1 Qxa2 18. Bd5 Qxb2 19. Rcxc7 Qb1+ 20. Qc1 Qf5 21. Bxf7+ Kh8 22. Bh6 Bxh6 23. Qxh6 Be6 24. Rxe6 Rxf7 25. Rxf7 0-1

Live Blogging: Premier Round 2

First Round Results

Malakhatko - Dilla, 1-0
Smerdon - Broekhuyse, 1-0
Pickering - FM Wyss, 0-1
Chung - Steadman, 0-1
Ikeda - Jule, 1-0
Schon - Hafizul, 0-1

Illingworth - Akobian, draw
Stojic - Zhang Zhong, 0-1
Moylan - Jones, 0-1
Johansen - Suttor, 1-0
Hu - Li Ruofan, 0-1
Dotsenko - Solomon, 0-1
Bitansky - Nguyen, 1-0
Bennett - Lane, 0-1
Bjelobrk - Stojic, draw

Doeberl Cup 2008
Malakhatko, V.
Dilla, E.

"A series of bad moves", says Edsil. He also reckons that he might have lost several tempi here, particularly with his 23rd and 24th moves. 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 e6 5. Nf3 Bd6 6. Bd3 Nbd7 7. O-O O-O 8. e4 dxe4 9. Nxe4 Nxe4 10. Bxe4 Nf6 11. Bc2 h6 12. b3 Re8 13. Bb2 Nd7 The first new move. 14. Qd3 Nf8 15. Rad1 b6 16. c5 Be7 17. Ne5 Bb7 18. Qf3 Bf6 19. Be4 Qc7 20. Nc4 bxc5 21. dxc5 Bxb2 22. Nxb2 Rad8 (22... Qa5) 23. Qc3 Nd7? 24. Rfe1 Ba6 25. Rd6 Bb7 26. Red1 Nf6 27. Qe5 Nd5?? 28. R6xd5 1-0

Voon: Keep Mouth Shut

Blitz addicts Toby Lewski and Victoria's Richard Voon just can't help themselves. They're at it playing blitz for money at $2 a game. It's 2-0 to the Victorian.

The thing I love about these old guys is that they've always got something clever to say. Like this one by Mr Voon: "The first thing to learn in chess is to keep your mouth shut. Don't say 'check', because it's not to your advantage". Too true.

Live Blogging: Doeberl Cup - Day 1

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Videos of Doeberl Cup

Our Doeberl Cup hosts are doing their best to emulate recent advances in tournament coverage. Videos! The first one is now up on the official site and it's basically just a little "all about Canberra" performance by head organiser Charles Bishop. Pretty decent production. Here it is.

So I'm off tomorrow, on a bus, then arriving there by about midday or so. Now I was told that there might be wireless internet at the venue and if that's right, we'll have live blogging as the tournament kicks off. And by the way, a provisional first round set of pairings has just been published. Catch you guys from Canberra.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sarah Connor on Chess

The latest Channel 9 series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles makes extensive use of chess in its story lines. For instance, the third episode featured "The Turk", while the fifth one, on air just a few moments ago, was named after my current favourite opening "Queen's Gambit".

During the closing stages of tonight's episode, our central character, Sarah, delivers the following monologue:

If there is a flaw in chess as a game of war, it is this. Unlike war, the rules of chess are constant, the pieces unchangeable. You will never win the heart of a rook or the mind of a knight. They are deaf to your arguments. And so be it.

The goal of a chess game is total annihilation. But, in war, even as the blood beats in your ears and you race after your enemy, there is the hope that saner minds than yours will stop you before you reach your target. In war, unlike chess, rules can be changed. Truces can be called. The greatest of enemies can become the best of friends.

In war - there is hope.

Yeah right.

Triple Tie for Bankstown Lightning

As if by fate, last night I did cross swords with our Polish visitor. He won. I did well enough, though, outplayed only in the tail-end of our game. So congrats to IM-elect Dariusz Swiercz who finished equal first on 8 points alongside IM George Xie and ex-Pinoy Ernesto Puzon.

Puzon had an eventful time. In the second round, he and opponent Pedro Kirchnei exchanged words during play. You see Pedro has this habit of taking back moves during friendly games and I guess that, for a moment, he must have forgotten where he was.

Kirchnei: "Wait."

Puzon: "This is lightning mate, there is no waiting!"

Then much later (I can't remember now which round), Puzon defeated IM Xie. He was pretty happy about that one: "I made him, I made him cry. That is enough for the night."

Twenty-two players attended the tournament, with three titled players in the list (Xie, Swiercz and Flatow). It was generally a friendly affair with no serious incidents. Top scorers are as follows:

8.0 Swiercz, Xie, Puzon
5.5 Huseyin
5.0 Kordahi, Rosario, Wong, Kirchnei, Jens, Lam
4.5 Flatow, Mitrovic, Chiara

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bankstown Lightning on Tonight

The Canterbury-Bankstown Leagues Chess Club will hold their lightning tournament tonight. Hostilities will be conducted at their current premises in the Lakemba Services Memorial Club on 26 Quigg Street. Be there by 7PM.

It's a 9-game swiss, enough games in one night for lightning addicts like myself. Normally I'd probably just give this one a miss but it looks like 13-year old FM Dariusz Swiercz will be playing in this event, so I'm up for the challenge. The kid is Down Under on his second visit from Poland and even stopped by at Hyde Park on the weekend reportedly handing out some lessons to the locals. Lucky for him I wasn't there.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Keep 'Em Drunks Out

A bunch of us were at the chess area in Hyde Park today, same old usual faces enjoying a beautiful day out in the sun playing blitz. But one fellow who wasn't there is Jelle Marechal. The Belgian and founder of "Get A Life" (which we mentioned here) isn't particularly fond of some local inhabitants. So incensed is he of their behaviour that a few days ago Jelle fired off an email to the city's Lord Mayor. We reprint a portion of his complaint below.

Why has the Sydney city council, and/or the police, allowed a handful of foul mouthed drunks and bums to take over the public chess area in Hyde Park north, and to ruin what was once, not so long ago, a great family and tourist attraction ?

For many years, the ‘chess pit’ has attracted many people to enjoy a couple of games and socialize during lunch breaks, after work and on weekends. On the weekends dads and mums would often take their kids to practice their chess skills against stronger players from all over the world.

I understand that the council has invested quite a bit of money constructing and maintaining the chess pit – rightly so. To chess aficionados, the Hyde Park chess pit has put Sydney on the map, next to New York (Washington Square), Hamburg (Planten u. Bomen), Paris (Les Halles) and many other world cities with public chess facilities. The chess pit was a truly multi-cultural place, one of the few where people from different backgrounds and nationalities would mingle, and speak a common language.

All this has now come to an end, thanks to the very anti-social behavior of a handful of drunks. They have taken over the chess pit. Their constant swearing, drinking and shouting has driven families, tourists and chess players away (they are now playing in the catacombs of the Town hall shopping centre).

More than a tad dramatic perhaps but not without some basis. While I'm not personally disturbed by these so-called drunks (I ignore them and they are generally harmless), it is true that strangers may be quickly offended. Think of foreign tourists and families with children. I've seen parents just shrug and shoot off. Frankly, it's embarrassing.

For the time being Jelle's email has provoked at least a response from one city councillor. According to our concerned citizen, the councillor's voice message partly said, "Certainly we have to get police involved in this, as well as our people who deal with anti-social behaviour".

Meanwhile over in Washington Square Park, in New York City, they have a somewhat different kind of problem. NYPD, it seems, don't approve of perfectly civilised folks just going about their business having lunch! Read more in The Villager.

Friday, March 14, 2008

U-Haul a GM

The latest Doeberl Cup newsletter contains this urgent call for help: "We require assistance in transporting GM’s and their luggage back to the Marriot Hotel in Parramatta following the Doeberl Cup in preparation for the Sydney International Open. If you can assist, please email".

They're just so precious these grandmasters, aren't they?

Parr Questions Doeberl Cup

Following on from our post the other day, we've now received an email from Peter Parr (addressed also to the entire NSWCA council). The ex-Olympiad captain and now chess retailer takes particular aim at this condition for entry into the Doeberl Cup: "All players must be members of a chess association."

Will it be enforced or not? Peter says:

In the last few years however the NSWCA has not appointed anyone at the Doeberl Cup to collect the NSWCA membership fees. What happens of course when some NSW players fill up the entry form to enter the tournament non-members tick “yes, I am a member of a chess association”. The ACTCA checks that all ACT players are ACTCA members and for the last 35 years it has been the responsibility of NSWCA to collect the NSWCA membership fees from NSW residents who have paid no membership fee. (NSWCA now lists all members on NSWCA website).

The NSWCA's frequent critic also lists the names of NSW players who are confirmed entries into the Doeberl Cup but who are apparently not members of the NSWCA. The list includes the names of prominent players including at least an international master.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Spassky: Computers Killed Chess

Boris Spassky dropped in on his old rival Fischer yesterday in Reykjavik. He managed a joke, asking reporters if the grave next to Fischer was available. But his most remarkable statement was this: "As for the modern chess, I am pessimistic because in my view computers killed classic chess".

Courtesy of Reuters India.

Complaints About Doeberl Cup

Over the last 48 hours I heard the following complaints about the upcoming Doeberl Cup.

1. Internet only info. Why no leaflets? Even the legendary Lloyd Fell, who hasn't missed a single Cup for nearly half a century, was reportedly upset by lack of direct mail material. Well, we can't have a Cup without Mr Fell. Thankfully, he's in the major.
2. Too many low rated players in the premier section. In fact, the rating cutoff for the top section is only 1800. Too low?
3. (Actually, this one's a question). Will all participants have to pay up and join an association if they're not already members?

All that aside, I can't wait for next week. See you there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thinking Table

All those "traces" of thoughts will just drive me crazy. The Thinking Table: a physical installation in which two people can play a game of chess. As they play, the table illuminates the board with thoughts of the future as seen by the artificial intelligence engine of the Thinking Machines. The board is both the arena in which the two players act, and a thought space in which their linked choices, deliberations and hostilities are made visible.

Hat-tip to Product Reviews.

Keene on De Ludo Schacorum

Last month I posted about an interesting new theory that Leonardo da Vinci may have been the illustrator for a book known as De Ludo Schacorum. Yesterday, Raymond Keene wrote a long piece on this same topic for The Times.

I believe that Leonardo did not draw the main corpus of puzzle diagrams for the book. However, he may well have supplied the original designs for the pieces. These are shown in array at the start of the book and they are artistically superior to the diagrams which follow in the text, which are unambitiously redrawn copies. The owners suggest that the original design for the queen, for example, is almost exactly identical to Leonardo’s design for a fountain in his so-called Atlantic Codex. Others contend this type of design could easily be generic.

And thanks to Keene, we also found a link to some online info on the now famous book. Visit where it looks like you can buy a replica for as much as € 2,800

Monday, March 10, 2008

Philippines Considering Olympiad Bid

Manila '92 was the first and only time that the Chess Olympiad visited Philippine shores. However, Manny Benitez, in the latest issue of The Chess Plaza Weekender newsletter, reports that the NCFP's president Prospero Pichay Jr is "seriously considering" bidding for the event.

Benitez quotes Pichay as saying, "Hosting the World Chess Olympiad for the second time since the 1992 Manila Olympiad is one of the major undertakings of the NCFP under my administration". If such a bid from RP was successful, then a likely venue will be the Cebu International Convention Center. The CICC recently hosted the 6th Asian Individual Chess Championships that was held late last year.

Naturally an undertaking like this is going to be costly. The first hurdle is a $1 million bond!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Olympiad Appeal Site Up

The ACF's recently appointed Olympiad Appeal coordinator Ian Murray has launched a website for the purpose. Thankfully, there is possibility for fans to donate online via PayPal. Of course if you prefer the old fashioned method, then that's available too.

I must add that I do like that photo album on the appeal website. Great idea. It has shots of the Aussies from various Olympiads over the years. The first photo you'll see is of the now GM-elect Zong Yuan Zhao in what appears to be deep meditation. Perhaps that's the secret of his success?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Fancy a Chess Threesome?

Some kinky chess fan, probably a Czech, just came up with a decidedly cool new concept. Three-way chess. A hat-tip to Gizmodo for this.

Photo courtesy of offizsamuraj

Not too sure about this one. Fischer random was hard enough when I tried it the last time. Still, all in good fun!

Chesspark Update

We looked at Chesspark for the first time here. That was way back in '06 and, to be honest, other than for a couple of very brief drop-ins, I've not kept up-to-date with developments. But this morning I received an email about some recent improvements.

First, we have redesigned the game board! The new design places the clocks and user information to the right of the game action. Now the web client and the desktop client are more alike. The new board allowed us to release a new variant, Crazyhouse.

Also now possible is the ability to create groups.

The Groups feature allows you to be in a group created by you or other Chesspark users. You can create a ‘Group’ for anything, such as your favorite food, school, country or chess club. You can have the group open or private. It has a forum for permanent messages and a chat room when you are chatting and playing ‘Live’. Along with group chat, another ‘Live’ group feature is to be able to filter your games by groups you are in. You can play or watch just within your group or groups.

I suspect that these guys' client-base is predominantly North American. That's a pity because without gaining a firm foothold on the European front, what the hec is the point? It's a bit like (which we also mentioned here). I keep thinking: what a waste of a bloody good domain name? Just take a look at their front page news! Haven't these guys heard of Linares?

02C in For Long Term

Well I'm glad we can amuse these Doeberl Cup organisers. Head honcho Charles Bishop tells us, "I havent met you yet, but laughed at the image I saw of Nyssa who sent you the email as scary - you will probably meet her at Easter."

He might also be happy to know that my pissed off mate has since changed his mind. He's playing.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Bangkok Chess Club Open

Immediately after the SIO is the Bangkok Chess Club Open, slated for 1-6 April. Grandmasters Antonio and Akobian are just two who are flying there right after Sydney. Also playing in Thailand are a couple of familiar names: Tim Reilly and Matthew Drummond. We'll be following their progress.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Doeberl Crew Demands Payment

These Doeberl Cup guys are starting to scare me! For the first time in my life, I've received a dunning notice for an event entry fee. This note was the last thing I expected.

You are currently registered for the 2008 Doeberl Cup Major event, but our records indicate that you have not yet secured your place. To do this, please submit your registration fee as soon as possible. If you have already sent your payment by mail, please reply with the date your payment was posted.

Not even the TCG gets the trust and lovin'. OK, so I'll pay up first thing tomorrow.

All this strict management of the event don't really bother me much. But I know of at least one other player, who's played in numerous Doeberls, who won't make it this year. The poor guy is pissed off! He missed the premiere section deadline, but also the rating cut-off. Just play in the major, I tell him. Nope, he says, reasoning that there's not much point in forking out a few hundred dollars for the trip when he can't play good competitive games.

Tough luck, but that's one regular customer gone.

As for the current list of entries, the premiere section now has 90 players listed and three wait-listed. One of those 3 is none other than Arianne Caoili. Now we don't know if the ex-dance starlet will apply for a berth in this year's Australian women's Olympiad team. If she's planning to, then she'll need the games in Doeberl (plus in at least two other tournaments) if she's going to meet this new 20-game requirement.

And by the way, anyone wishing that a certain 2700-rated player would drop in sometime during chess festivities will be sorely disappointed. The guy is listed as a participant in Melody Amber.

Fischer Was Stupid

The late great Bobby Fischer was stupid. So says John-Paul Pagano:

Fischer is compelling because he showed so clearly why these conceptions are wrong. Great genius and profound stupidity coexisted in him. His genius was cognitive, his stupidity was emotional and the profundity of his emotional retardation lent him a false air of psychosis.

More in Knave's Gambit: The Totalitarian Stupidity of Bobby Fischer.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

What's Your Decision?

Just received the latest FIDE newsletter. There's an interesting addition in this one, a section called, "How would you act as Arbiter". It's like Gijssen's Arbiter's Notebook for Chess Cafe except that these seem far simpler. Like this:

In a match during a teams tournament, on board 1 the player with White pieces offers a draw. The player with Black pieces accepts on condition that the players on board 2 should also agree for a draw. The player with White pieces writes on his scoresheet the result as a draw and signs it. The player with Black pieces insists that since no draw was agreed on board 2, he does not accept White’s offer and thus White has to continue the game. They summon the Arbiter. What must be his/her decision?

Kasparov: Russian Elections a Farce

Russia has a new president: Dmitry Medvedev. For Gary Kasparov, the whole election process that took place on the weekend was a farce. Will, he'd say that, wouldn't he?

Monday, March 03, 2008

GM Antic Facing Final Hurdle

Last year, we learned of news that Serbian grandmaster Dejan Antic was denied permanent residency by the Australian government. Now the affable GM will face his one last hurdle. GM Antic, married and a father of two sons, now hopes to persuade the minister for immigration and citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, to change the government's position.

We have received a copy of a letter sent to the minister and Dejan is happy for us to publish it. The document basically outlines the situation so far as well and to request the minister to overturn the Migration Review Tribunal's decision last year. It's quite long so I'll only quote some key parts.

I write you this letter from the bottom of my heart and without any legal advice hoping that it will come to your attention in amongst the sea of other applications.

Throughout my career as a chess Grandmaster, I've played tournaments in many countries around the world. However, from the moment I came to Australia, I felt something that I never have before - a chance to start a new life with my family and the opportunity to make a professional contribution for the benefit of the Australian nation and it's citizens.

Unfortunately, the Australian Embassy in Belgrade, the Department of Immigration, and finally the Migration Review Tribunal (MRT) ignored and rejected - in the very brutal manner - my permanent residency application reasoning that, although I would be the fourth Australian chess Grandmaster, I am not qualified to perform chess coaching in Australia, regardless of having the full support of the entire Australian Chess Community, the Australian Chess Federation, and a number of the best schools and Universities where I have and continue to work as a chess coach.


Dear Minister, by rejecting my permanent visa application, MRT ridiculed the opinion of the Australian chess community as a whole, and support expressed by hundreds - if not even thousands - of people.


I would like to take this opportunity to ask you as a parent, human being and Minister of Australia, demanding and insisting to act promptly in processing my visa application, as further delay would make all this irrelevant. I honestly believe in the basic principles of Australian democracy and human rights and I'll wait for your answer, trusting you will take into account my growing family situation.

If you believe I belong with people who can contribute to Australian society, I will endeavour to do my best to make my contribution worthwhile, if not I'll go back to my country of origin.

Whatever the pluses and minuses of this case insofar as immigration law is concerned, I'm sure most readers will join me in wishing GM Antic the best of luck. If only it was all just about the chess: that we'll get a new GM, receive chess wisdom, stronger competition and so on. But, of course, it's more complicated than that. Still we hope (and if you're the type, pray) that the outcome of this final try is a positive one.

Good luck Dejan.

FREE Wireless at SIO

Great news about the upcoming SIO, in Parramatta. The organisers will provide FREE wireless, yes FREE, to all players and spectators. Top that Doeberl! Just marvellous news for bloggers like me, no more frantic running between the playing hall and a nearby net cafe. Plus, internet charges from this part of Sydney are so damn overpriced!

For the time being, I'm not really considering playing in the SIO. Most likely I'll do some live blogging. I've been wanting to test drive Cover It Live which, from what I've seen of others' trials, seems like a useful tool for events coverage. I especially like the "chat" feature. It will allow you guys to interact with me directly during an event, so it should be fun.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Birdie Num Nums Cafe

The UK's Times paper spotted a little cafe in Melbourne that accommodates chess players.

From the city centre, head north towards Brunswick. If you’re up for breakfast, go as far as stop 21, where you will find the Birdie Num Nums cafe and bar (745 Nicholson Street), which has enough space to accommodate families, chess-players, small herds of slacker trendies and delighted tourists. There’s even a sandpit out back for the local ankle-biters.

Melbourne might be Australia's quirkiest city as far as The Times is concerned, but Sydney is still the best! We definitely agree with Simon Anholt.

A Pre-move Strategy

Until this morning I had always thought that "pre-move" was only ever used in the context of online chess, particularly in bullet (1 minute per player). I have won and lost many games using the method. The best part is occasionally turning the tables on these pre-movers. One of my favourite tricks is using the "Nadanian Variation" against the Gruenfeld. It goes:

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 And now, with his cursor hovering above the knight and the left button on his mouse firmly clicked, the black player is well and truly expecting the "normal" 5. e4. But I hit him with 5. Na4 and the hapless opponent automatically plays 5...Nc3. You can guess what happens next.

Anyway, in today's Sun Herald - GM Ian Rogers writes of what he calls a "pre-move" strategy that was devised, apparently, by IM Gary Lane. Perhaps Gary has written about in a book or in one of his columns for Chess Cafe, but I'd not heard of it. I don't recall reading about it anyway.

The strategy "involves working out your opponent's intended next move and setting a trap if they follow through with their idea".

As an example, Rogers gives the round 8 match between Aronian and Topalov in Linares, specifically citing the following position:

Aronian - Topalov, Linares 2008

Topalov now plays 36...f5 to which Aronian replied with 37. Bc1. Now if black takes on d4, the queen will be trapped! So Topalov, instead, played 37...f4 - exactly what Aronian was hoping for. The rest wasn't too hard for Arianne's beau.

38. Rxe7+!! (a "devastating shot" according to Rogers) Bxe7 39. Bxf4 Qxg2+ 40. Kxg2 Rd7 41. Nxc6 Kg7 42. d5 a6 43. Kf3 Bf6 44. Ke4 Re7+ 45. Kd3 Rd7 46. d6 Re8 47. Nd4 Kf7 48. Nf3 a5 49. Rc5 axb4 50. axb4 Rb7 51. Nd2 Ra8 52. Ne4 Bd8 53. Rd5 Ra3+ 54. Kd4 Rb3 55. Kc5 Ke6 56. Rd2 Rb1 57. Re2 Kd7 58. Kd5 Rd1+ 59. Rd2 Rxd2+ 60. Bxd2 Ke8 61. Ke6 Rb6 62. Bg5 Rc6 63. Bxd8 Kxd8 64. Ng5 Ke8 65. Nf7 1-0

Saturday, March 01, 2008

New Chess Boom for England?

Reporting on the most recent Hastings tournament for the latest NIC magazine, grandmaster Danny Gormally makes a complaint:

It's a shame we don't have more chess events like this in the UK as they always create a great atmosphere, and plenty of business for the local pubs! The lack of commercial sponsorship is probably the main reason for the poor state of English chess.

Well, then, how about 2 million pounds worth of chess sets? A couple of weeks ago, the English Chess Fed announced news of 250,000 chess sets that will soon be delivered to schools around England. All thanks to a plastics company.

The ECF's director of marketing (they have a director of marketing?) couldn't contain his glee: "I am still somewhat shell-shocked at the extent of this project - and I thought I had seen everything having played chess from the age of 4. It is the most exciting chess project I have ever had the pleasure of being connected with and potentially could change the face of English chess for ever."