Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Credit Crunch and Chess

All this talk of bailouts, meltdowns and markets dropping values left, right and centre across the globe has got me wondering: how has the current financial crisis affected the average chesser on the street?

Maybe you're playing in fewer tournaments. It could be that you're purchasing fewer books or "how-to-play" DVDs from Chessbase. Or maybe you've had a rethink about why you have both a Playchess and an ICC account. Then again, with all the freebies out there like FICS, why have a paid account in the first place?

No doubt in these trying times some of us have had to be more choosy with spending. In my case, it looks like I'll have to miss the upcoming Aussie Open in the gorgeous suburb of Manly. I'm heading off to Queenstown, instead. It's no good to play in both, but I'd rather have a proper holiday. That's too bad really because Manly's just across the harbour from me. And for our foreign readers, just check out this group on Flickr. See anything you like?

Seriously - how has the crisis affected your chess life, if at all?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Save Our Lightning

Here's our dear friend Shaun Press last week:

There is no doubt that Chess 960 is becoming more popular, and may even be seen at the 2009 Doeberl Cup. Under serious consideration is holding a Chess 960 event on the Saturday evening, in place of the Lightning. The same prize pool will be on offer (ie over $1000 like this year), and the intention is to alternate Chess 960 and Lightning from year to year. Hopefully the 'resistence to change' trait that afflicts many chess players will be overcome by the 'lets try something different' fever this time.

Under serious consideration? Chess 960? Never mind the fancy name. That's Fischerandom! Yes, the sort of chess where they shuffle the pieces around on their starting blocks so that you can pretty much throw your theory off the table. It's the kind of chess for those who can't be bothered to play correctly.

Honestly, I hope Mr Press and his co-organisers aren't serious. Why dump the lightning? I hope they remember that some folks even drive down to Canberra for the day just to play in a few good games of lightning. Because for these guys, it's the only time they have, for their own little Doeberl pilgrimage.

I played in a Fischer Random event once, earlier this year in the Aussie Champs I think, and that was enough. It's a curiosity. Nothing special. Not as much excitement as a crazy lightning event. We have to stop these guys.

But look, at day's end, I'm an open-minded sod. So tell me your preference: lightning or Chess 960? Look to the right and vote in the poll.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Planning for Queenstown

Edwin Wai's promotional write up of the Queenstown Classic for Chessbase is a timely reminder. If you've not began looking at flights or accomodation, then now's probably the best time. I don't know about you but I like to get in quick.

For instance, I just spotted a Sydney - Melbourne - Christchurch flight for $105 (fare only), then a return flight from Christchurch direct to Sydney for $75 (again, only for the fare). With taxes included, total cost is about $394.

Of course, this routing means that I would then have to haul myself from Christchurch to Queenstown and back again. No problem. I found a cheapie Christchurch - Queenstown return ticket for a grand total of $118 NZD (about $100 AUD)!

But why fly to Christchurch? Because flying direct to Queenstown is a budget killer. Nearly a thousand dollars. That's almost like flying to a foreign country! There are additional costs, of course, by routing to Christchurch, like for the overnighter, but all up I figure that I'm still saving a good couple of hundred bucks. And I'd rather spend that in the Speight's Ale House.

If budget's really tight and you just have to go to Queenstown - and let me tell you, I was there the last time, it's unmissable - then just avoid any other big event before then. Save your dough.

Friday, September 26, 2008

An Artistic Finish

A rather nice way to take us to the weekend. A dose of culture - The Art of Chess.

Image courtesy of the Sebastian Guinness Gallery

I quite like Hirst's piece, seen above, but check out also Jake & Dinos Chapman's, "Chess Set".

A rock star and John McCain

Over the last couple of days a snippet of news broke out about British rocker Peter Doherty and his so-called chess powers. It looks like he may have wooed his childhood sweetie, Emily Baker, thanks to his impressive chess moves. Gigwise reports.

But guess who else has been hitting the news with "chess" in the headlines? You'd never believe it. John McCain! As far as Bob Rice is concerned, writing in Portfolio, the Republican presidential candidate is a typical Romantic player - you know, full of unexpected turns, attacks, sacs.

McCain is a classic "Romantic-era" player. In fact, he seems a reincarnation of another famous seaman, Captain Evans, a cranky old salt who epitomized the style and who bequeathed the game a popular gambit of the same name. Players like these want to be on the attack 100 percent of the time, love to take chances, and go with their guts rather than overanalyze.

But to a reader of the Christian Science Monitor's "The Vote Blog", McCain's unexpected move yesterday to suspend the campaign was a bit like "accidentally" knocking the pieces over when one is in a losing position. Read here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Multiprocessor Deep Delta

Chessbase better watch out. It looks like there's a new player on the loose. Some outfit called VersaGlobe is aiming to design what may become the world's most powerful chess program. Dubbed Deep Delta, it is "being designed to run on eight 64-bit processors and will be able to analyze millions of positions per second."

David Christopher, CEO:

We hope to code a chess program to think tactically instead of only using raw calculation. If we can achieve this, it may lead to the development of programs for games that computers are less adept at, such as poker, go, and even real time economics and market simulation.

Courtesy of their own media release.

And that folks is our 2,001st post. It completely slipped my mind that my post yesterday was our milestone 2,000th.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Li Shilong Wins Pichay Cup

China's grandmaster Li Shilong outpointed his rivals in the 4th Pichay Cup to finish on 7.5 points, a whole point ahead of his nearest chasers. Full tables are available here.

The highest finishing local was GM Wesley So, scoring 6 points, who also appears to have shaken off the poor form that dogged him in the 3rd PGMA Cup. His round six win over compatriot GM Paragua had some instructive tactical sections and ended very nicely.

4th Pichay Cup
So, Wesley
Paragua, Mark

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. Qg4 Ne7 6. dxc5 Bxc3+ 7. bxc3 Qc7 8. Nf3 Qxc5 9. Bd2 O-O 10. Bd3 f5 11. exf6 Rxf6 12. Qh5 g6 13. Qg5 Nd7 14. O-O Nc6 15. c4 d4 16. Rfe1 b6 17. Qg3 Ba6 18. Ng5 Qe7 19. Be4 Rc8 20. Bd5 Nd8

Position after 20...Nd8

21. Nxe6 Nxe6 22. Bg5 Ndc5 23. Qa3 Qf7 24. Bxf6 Qxf6 25. Qxa6

Position after 25. Qxa6

25...Nxa6 26. Rxe6 Qd8 27. Rd6+ Kg7 28. Rxd8 Rxd8 29. Rd1 Nb4 30. Rxd4 Nxa2 31. f4 Nc3 32. Kf2 b5 33. Ke3 bxc4 34. Bf3 Re8+ 35. Kf2 a5 36. Rxc4 Nb5 37. Bc6 Rb8 38. Ra4 Rb6 39. Bf3 Ra6 40. Be2 Nc3 41. Bxa6 Nxa4 42. Ke3 Nb2 43. Kd4 a4 44. Bc4 h5 45. g3 Kf6 46. Kc3 a3 47. Bd3 g5 48. fxg5+ Kxg5 49. Kb3 Nxd3 50. cxd3

Position after 50...Kg4

50...Kg4 51. Kxa3 Kh3 52. d4 Kxh2 53. d5 Kxg3 54. d6 h4 55. d7 h3 56. d8=Q Kg2 57. Qg5+ Kh1 58. Qf4 1-0

Australia's international master Alex Wohl managed only 3.5 points from his nine games. Back to Europe for him or will he stick around the region for a while?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Torre is Dresden Bound

He gets to go to the Olympiad after all. GMA news is reporting that the National Chess Fed of the Philippines has appointed GM Eugene Torre as the non-playing captain of the men's team.

A Tipple at the Table

Geurt Gijssen's latest column (17 Sep. 2008) sees him fielding a question from fellow arbiter Stewart Reuben about players who consume alcohol in the playing area. I agree with Gijssen:

I agree with you that people who drink alcoholic beverages set a bad example, especially for young people. But, as a matter of fact, it is quite difficult to forbid it, unless these people drink too much. Once I had such a case and I decided to declare the game lost for the drunkard. Furthermore, I removed him from the playing venue and even brought him to his room. It is very difficult to give a general guideline, but, as long the drinking player is quiet and makes his moves in a normal manner, I do not see any reason to intervene.

Frankly, I don't mind players who take a glass or two to a game. Seems rather civilised, if you ask me. As long as they're not doing an Ukhov, I have no worries. Indeed, I recall playing against Paul Dozsa once (a fellow who, some of our local readers will remember, fancied himself as a gourmand but sans the financial commitment), while he drank a glass of red, taking a careful sip after every move. It was in the Fairfield RSL and the vino was $5 a glass.

What I do mind are players eating. That is just a no-no. Grubby, oily and sticky fingers make for grubby, oily and sticky pieces! Not to mention the sometimes deathly aroma of a triple heart bypass waiting to happen from a bowlful of chips. As far as I am concerned, eating ought to have no place at the chess table. Honestly, I should invoke that "distraction" rule the next time I see this across from me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Where is Pablo Williams?

My post from 2006 has had a couple of updates. Self-proclaimed Jamaican Champion, Pablo Williams, has been spotted in Glasgow, Scotland and more recently in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He's also been in a few more places including a New York subway as seen in this video.

There are more in YouTube. Check out user "uselessatchess".

Admittedly, his sob story about a cancer-stricken father isn't for everyone. Ethically questionable. But c'mon, let's not be too uptight. It's theatrics.

And by the way the guy seems to have taken to the Aussie flag. Kind of odd since I thought he was from New Zealand!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Era for Aussie Juniors

In a joint statement, to be published later in the Australian Chess Federation's email newsletter, junior chess organiser Jenni Oliver and ex ACF head Denis Jessop announced that the new body AusJCL has been formally approved as "an Associated Body representing junior chess at the national level and for authority to administer junior chess on behalf of the ACF." Both these aspects will take effect on 1 November, 2008.

Here I quote just a couple of tidbits.

By Denis Jessop:

The basis of the junior chess league concept, which has already been successful in some States and Territories, is that junior chess administration has some aspects that differ markedly from open chess. Moreover, junior chess leagues attract many administrators who would not otherwise be involved. I see it as an undoubted benefit for Australian chess generally for there to be a successful Australian junior chess league. It will benefit junior chess by the presence of experts in that field. It will benefit the ACF as its officers will be able to devote more time to administration of chess generally.

And from Jenni Oliver:

This is an exciting concept and will need the ideas and support of all of those with an interest in Junior chess.

It is not meant to supplant the valuable work being done by State organizations, but to bring order and cohesion to what is happening at the national level with the long term aim of growing participation at the grass roots level as well as increasing the number of elite players. It will also work to improve the migration paths from junior to adult chess.

Friday, September 19, 2008

And From the Country

This one comes courtesy of the Blayney Chronicle. David Castor drops in on some locals.

Kosteniuk: I'm not ugly

Mention "chess" and something about a hottie Russian and you're very likely to find an item on chess in the mainstream media. And so it is that the Nine MSN picked up news of Kosteniuk's win in the Women's World Chess Championships.

Actually, they were just citing the UK's Telegraph paper to whom Kosteniuk reportedly said, "I am clever, so I can play chess; and I am not so ugly, so I can model".

Well OK then! All together now, I'm too sexy...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sarfati and Nakauchi Win Memorial

Just received this breaking news from Graeme Gardiner this morning.

Jonathan Sarfati and Gene Nakauchi have jointly won the 2008 Ruth Coxhill Memorial with a score of 7/9. Jonathan was undefeated. In third place was Sam Grigg with 6.5, who gathered a packet of rating points. Many thanks to the four strong adult players, IM Peter Froehlich, FM Jonathan Sarfati, FM Nik Stawski and Matthew Sonter for putting themselves up for a 'hiding to nothing' against the rapidly improving juniors. A feature of the event was the fighting chess played by all competitors.

The usual tournament tables can be found here, while games are available here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A New Move Order

In response to recent controversy involving blitz games - specifically, armageddon games - Tom Braunlich was moved (no pun intended here) to pen this very lengthy article on the "move rule". See FIDE's rule 6.8a in the Handbook. Being US-based Braunclich also touches upon a USCF-specific rule namely, 11d1 (which, I'm sure, our American friends are familiar with).

I was following almost everything Mr Braunlich had to say until we got to that bit about USCF rules. Well, then, isn't that part of the problem? Two sets of rules! Here's a recommendation guys: get with the rest of the world and dump the USCF rules.

This bit had me smiling just a little:

Players should also defend themselves with a good understanding of the "Insufficient Losing Chances" rules (14H), which can save you if you are in a time scramble with an analog clock. (You might be able to get a clock with delay to be put on your game, for instance.) These rules are complex and TDs tend to administer them haphazardly, and I believe there are also lots of changes in the works for them that are yet unpublished.

Thanks for the tip. When I'm heading off to the World Open, I'll make sure to pack my old BHB. Then when I'm there I'll ask for this delay, whatever the hec that is. But surely, there is nothing more funny than that big colourful table right smack in the middle of Braunlich's article. Just look at that second blue row, "While Making Your Move"

"Touch a piece" - Well, duh!
"'Touch move rule' applies now. You must move it" - Must? Check if it's legal first mate!
"Release a piece on a new square" - Where else mate?
"You are committed to it" - Are you? Check if it's legal first, I said Tom.
"If this move ends the game with checkmate, that's it" - Did you check that the move was legal?

But let's be serious. I have to admit, an article like this has its use, particularly for those who are consistently breaking the rules (e.g. displacing pieces without replacing them) and those who are too unaware or just plain too shy to protest. If you belong in the latter group, I've seen too many of you; and you know what, you have "rights"!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Petition to Redefine Sport

Ex ACF president George Howard is leading a petition to change the Australian Government's definition of sport, as presently defined in the Australian Sports Commission Act 1989, to something more along the lines of the UK's Charities Act 2006. That UK Act and its impact on chess is best described by the English Chess Federation here.

Frankly, I've never been one to be bothered by whether chess is a sport or not. It's a little like that other debate: is chess a form of art? As they have nothing to do whatsoever with actual chess play, I've always considered these discussions to be a waste of time! But I might just be plain bloody short-sighted. Whatever gets us closer to government funding, then I'm all for it. If success comes to this petition, we can then all move on to that next likely debate: how to spend the money! We'll worry about that later.

Of course, this is not the first time that the local chess community has rallied to such a cause. I remember something similar way back seven years ago. You can read about it in bulletins no. 120 and no. 121, again in no. 124, no. 126 and no. 130.

I should mention that all those past bulletins have pretty much become must-reads after all these years. They bring back memories. Just scroll through them here.

Think Before You Act

Harry Poulton, who blogs here, told a local paper, "Chess helps the children think before they act and learn from their mistakes."

From the Bendigo Advertiser.

Oceania Zonal Website

Last night I got a text message on my cell asking me about the 2009 Oceania Zonal. Please note that all information about this event is available from the official site. So please check there.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chess and Fever Don't Mix

I hope international master Alex Wohl doesn't leave the Philippines with a resolve never to return. His current stay there hasn't exactly been the most auspicious. After being struck with dengue fever in Malaysia (that country again!) and apparently still suffering from the tail-end of it just before the 3rd PGMA Cup, where he scored just 4 points, Alex may have hoped to begin more positively in the now running 4th Pichay Cup.

It wasn't to be. His first round opponent was Wesley So! Commenting on the game, GM So was quoted by the official press release as saying, "He (Wohl) made a weak knight move [16. Nd1] and I took advantage".

4th Pichay Cup
Wohl, Aleksander
So, Wesley

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 g6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. e4 Nf6 6. Nc3 d6 7. Be2 Nxd4 8. Qxd4 Bg7 9. O-O O-O 10. Bg5 h6 11. Bd2 Be6 12. Qe3 Qb6 13. Qxb6 axb6 14. f3 Nd7 15. Rfc1 Rfc8 16. Nd1

Position after 16. Nd1

16...h5 17. Kf2 Rc6 18. Bg5 Rac8 19. Rab1 f6 20. Bd2 Bxc4 21. Bxc4+ Rxc4 22. Ne3 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 Rxc1 24. Bxc1 Bh6 25. Bd2 Kf7 26. Ke2 Bxe3 27. Bxe3 Ke6 28. Kd3 d5 29. exd5+ Kxd5 30. Kc3 b5 31. Kd3 Ne5+ 32. Kc3 Nc6 33. Kd3 e5 34. Bd2 Nd4 35. Be3 g5 36. Bf2 h4 37. f4 e4+ 38. Kd2 gxf4 39. Bxh4 f3 40. g4 f5 41. g5 f4 42. Bf2 Nf5 0-1

Reality Check for Malaysian Chess

In a long post, as if having his forefinger firmly pressed on the trigger of a .50 calibre machine gun, fellow blogger and Asian chess heavy Peter Long (who is sometimes a guest on TCG) pours cold water over one of his countrymen's quest to be a grandmaster and on Malaysian chess in general. Perhaps of some interest to our local Aussie readers is that one of Peter's targets is none other than our own legend GM Ian Rogers!

Peter Long: "5. Ian Rogers (can easily be accused to be professionally dishonest and even of being in it for the money and/or to curry favour with Dato Tan)".

Look, I won't make any judgements here as only Peter and some insiders in Malaysian chess really know what's going on. But to accuse GM Rogers of being "professionally dishonest" is surely one hec of a bold statement. Mr Long may exhort his readers to judge "just the facts and not the inside story", yet I see no facts whatsoever in relation to his statement regarding Rogers. Can you?

Over back to you Pete. And thanks to the mob over at Australian Chess Enterprises for the tip.

UPDATE (4:07PM, 15 Sep): Over the last couple of hours, Peter Long and I have had a little back and forth on this matter. He did happily write a reply. However, one aspect of his post has got me in a bit of knot because something about it isn't easily verifiable.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Oh They Miss Me

It's nice to be missed. Well, at least the guys over at chess.com apparently miss some of their members. From time to time, I get this email from them asking where I went. Then the email says, "we haven't seen you at Chess.com in the last 14 days and just wanted to say - we miss you!"

Oh that's nice.

I think the last time I mentioned these guys was the first time I did way back in May last year. But since then I've dropped in only a handful of times, like just before I wrote this post, for example, to make a little tweak on my profile. Other than that, there's just no reason to go - speaking for myself, of course.

The site is just a bit, too, I don't know. American. Too distant from the main action. Maybe if they can start putting some legs on the ground in the big events like those folks over ChessVibes, ChessDom and the still unbelievably old fashioned ChessBase - then maybe, just maybe, I'll type in chess.com more often. Hec, I'll even add them to my bookmarks toolbar.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Torre: Feeling Young Again

After missing out on an RP Olympiad berth, Eugene Torre must have been thinking: "I told you so!" He's just won the 3rd PGMA Cup, but that was thanks only to a superior tiebreak after he, grandmasters Li Chao and Zhang Zhong all finished on 7 points.

In the official press release, writer Ed Andaya couldn't help himself: "The Eugene Torre of old is back. And the whole world better watch out".

I don't know about that. Still, you can't help but be impressed with this.

3rd PGMA Cup
Torre, Eugene
Li, Shilong

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bf4 Bg7 4. e3 O-O 5. h3 d6 6. Be2 c5 7. c3 b6 8. O-O Bb7 9. Nbd2 Nbd7 10. Bh2 Qc7 11. Bd3 e5 12. dxe5 Nxe5 13. Nxe5 dxe5 14. Qe2 Rad8 15. Rfd1 Nh5 16. a4 f5 17. e4 Kh8 18. Ba6 Bxa6 19. Qxa6 Bh6 20. Nc4 Bf4 21. Bxf4 Nxf4 22. a5 Qe7 23. Ne3 Rxd1+ 24. Rxd1 Qg5 25. Kh2 fxe4 26. Rd7 Nh5 27. Kg1 bxa5 28. Qxa7 Nf6 29. Rd2 Nh5 30. Qxc5 Rf7 31. Rd7

Position after 31. Rd7

31...Kg7 32. Rxf7+ Kxf7 33. Qc7+ Kg8 34. Qc8+ Kf7 35. Qb7+ Kg8 36. Qa8+ Kg7 37. Qa7+ Kg8 38. Qxa5 Nf4 39. Kf1 h5 40. Qa8+ Kh7 41. Qb7+ Kh6 42. Qxe4 Qf6 43. c4 Qa6 44. Qb1 e4 45. Qc1 Kh7 46. Qd1 Nd3 47. Kg1 Qc6 48. Qd2 Qd6 49. Qc3 Qb6 50. b4 Nf4 51. Qe5 Ne2+ 52. Kf1 Nc1 53. Nd5 Qa6 54. Qe7+ Kh6 55. Qf8+ 1-0

Friday, September 12, 2008

Show Us the Games

After my post the other day where I referred to a "good game" - New South Wales Chess Association boss Bill Gletsos helpfully posted the PGN over at Australia's number one chess bulletin board. I was, in fact, referring to Canfell - Xie, won by white.

As he seems to be in a responsive mood, albeit indirectly, I wonder if Mr Gletsos can be as equally helpful in providing us all the other games from the NSW State Championships. Hopefully, that won't prove too much of a challenge for the well-connected Mr Gletsos.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Legend Torre in the Lead

We shouldn't be surprised, not at all, but frankly I almost couldn't believe it! That Pinoy legend Eugene Torre is currently in the joint lead, with Zhang Zong, on 6.5 points in the ongoing 3rd PGMA Cup in Manila.

Torre began with 5 straight wins, beating grandmasters Li Shilong and Kazhgaleyev before coming to a momentary halt with a draw against GM Zhang Zhong in the sixth round. Then Torre posted another win in the seventh against yet another GM, Li Chao of China, before finally losing his round 8 game to GM Mikhail Mchedlishvili.

Where is Wesley So, you wonder?

The kid is way down in twenty-third spot with just 4.5 points! Again, almost unbelievable. All his recent foreign forays must have taken their toll. In round 2, the current Pinoy number 1 lost out to compatriot IM John Paul Gomez in this super sharp French Advance. A pretty finish, too.

3rd PGMA Cup
So, Wesley
Gomez, John Paul

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 a6 8. Qd2 b5 9. a3 Bb7 10. Ne2 Be7 11. Ng3 O-O 12. dxc5 Nxc5 13. Qf2 Ne4 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. Nd2 f6 16. exf6 Bxf6 17. O-O-O Ne7 18. g3 Rc8 19. Nc4 Nd5 20. Nb6 Qc7 21. Nxc8 Rxc8 22. Bd4 e3

Position after 22...e3

23. Qe2 Nxf4 24. gxf4 Bxh1 25. c3 Qxf4 26. Bh3 Bf3 27. Bxe6+ Kh8 28. Qxe3 Bg5 29. Bxc8 Qh4 30. Bxg7+ Kxg7 31. Rg1 Bg2 0-1

As for the Aussie, IM Alex Wohl, the man must be enjoying too much of the local cuisine. He's nowhere near in it, having posted only 3.5 points from his eight games.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

PayPal Guy Wrong on Chess

PayPal founder Peter Thiel, whom I mentioned here, spoke to Michael Arrington (founder of tech blog, TechCrunch) at the TechCrunch50 Conference which is now taking place in San Francisco. They talked about technology, finance, CEO pay and, of course, AI.

Here's an interesting tidbit on chess as reported by CNet:

Thiel, a ranked chess player in his younger years, has interesting thoughts about artificual [sic] intelligence and its benefits and dangers. While people used to think that Chess would never be mastered by a computer since it was a reflection of innate human intelligence, clearly people were mistaken about that. And it's instructive, he says. "How many domains are like Chess, where they can be quantified?" Thiel asked. "My thinking is that there are probably more than we think."

Responding to a question from the audience about computers taking over the world: "My own sense, it's not going to happen. But I was wrong about chess."

Catholics Show Their Class

From the Armidale Express: Check it: St Mary’s chess teams excel at regional tournament.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Heard About NSW Champs?

What is it about the currently running NSW State Championships? It's almost a none existent event! Even the state body which presides over the title can't be bothered updating their website with the latest results. But whenever I do hear something about the tournament it's always some negative thing. Like last week, for example. This bloke rings me first thing in the morning, before 9AM(!), about how his mate turns up to this venue and there was no one there. No opponent. Pieces weren't set up.

Finally, the opponent did turn up, game went ahead, and thankfully, the mate won his game. And a good game I'm told it was, too.

However, to make things worse for this so-called championships, one of the participants has left the country! And it's none other than GM Dejan Antic. Asked what now happens to the tournament's IM norm possibilities, the NSWCA's tournaments officer, Shane Burgess had this to say on a bulletin board: "Dejan has not withdrawn and has played all but that 1 game with Denis [Bucher]. It is hoped that if he comes back in time that game may be played".

Yeah, keep hoping. Because the clock's tickin'.

Plus how about these so-called postponed games? What is that all about? Like the Karolyi - Sales game, for instance. That one was finally played out on Saturday afternoon and the result was a draw. Now I could tell you all something else about this little encounter. But I won't.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Surfing in Manila

Yesterday, Alex Wohl's Facebook status read that he was surfing in Manila. I didn't quite get then that he might actually be participating in the 3rd PGMA Cup. But, of course, he is!

Sadly, the first round saw Wohl paired against Vietnam's GM Ngoc Nguyen and he lost. Good luck to Alex for the rest of the tournament.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

NCFP Launches New Site

The National Chess Fed of the Philippines has a new website. Not exactly in keeping with the current fad of web 2.0 sites, with that sort of misty look, but it's definitely an improvement from the last version. The only big problem I've noticed is that clicking on "Tournament" forces you to upgrade your browser! Is that Netscape I see?

Screenshot courtesy of Fireshot

In other RP news, the 3rd PGMA Cup begins today and will finish on the 13th September. It's a pretty damn strong tournament. And just announced this week will be a match between Wesley So and the country's first GM, the legenday Eugene Torre. Here's an item from Marlon Bernardino in the Cebu Daily News.

Benefits of Foreign Players

With the Malaysian Open recently played and won by yet another foreigner, local chess scribe Quah Seng Sun wonders about the benefits of foreign players to Malaysian chessers.

I think, by and large, the answer must be in the affirmative. There are benefits. When playing foreigners, you learn to be on your guard. You may get away with murder against local players but foreign players tend to punish you instantly for all the little inaccuracies you commit.

After all, they wouldn’t be here if they were not already good enough. Most of them did not come for a holiday; they came to win prizes. So the competition that foreign players bring can only be good for the locals.

Well, our Malaysian friends should invite more of our Pinoy neighbours. The Filipinos will always give anyone a run for their money. They're also good teachers. Hec, there's a bunch of them in next door Singapore. As for more Aussies? Well...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Polgar Gets Off

With so many online arguments amongst some of my dear chess friends in this country, I always wondered how something like the Sloan lawsuit hasn't happened. The NY Times reports:

A lawsuit in Federal District Court in Manhattan against the governing body of chess in the United States and some of its members was dismissed last week, but the dispute is not about to go away.

The lawsuit was filed in October by Samuel H. Sloan of the Bronx, a former member of the executive board of the United States Chess Federation. He alleged that Susan Polgar and her husband, Paul Truong, had posted thousands of remarks in Mr. Sloan’s name, many obscene or defamatory, on public Internet bulletin boards over a two-year period in an effort to win election to the board.

Only in America. We hope.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

In the Dragon's Den

Australian James Attwood, rated 2069, scored 3 points in the just concluded 1st Dragon Capital Vietnam Chess Open in Vung Tau, Vietnam. In the fourth round, James defeated some guy from Myanmar who sports a rating of 2414! Some upset that one. Check it out.

1st Dragon Capital Vietnam Open
Attwood, James
Sie, Thu

1. d4 c5 2. d5 g6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. e4 d6 6. f4 O-O 7. Be2 e6 8. Nf3 exd5 9. cxd5 Re8 10. Nd2 a6 11. O-O b5 12. Bf3 Ra7 13. a4 b4 14. Ne2 a5 15. Qc2 Rae7 16. Ng3 Ba6 17. Rd1 Nxd5 18. exd5 Bd4+ 19. Kh1 Re1+ 20. Ndf1 Qf6 21. Bd2 Rxd1 22. Rxd1 Qg7 23. Ne4 Rd8 24. b3 f5 25. Ng5 1-0

Local man GM Quang Liem Le was the eventual winner on 7 points. Just a half-point behind were grandmasters Zurab Azmaiparashvili and Wesley So, followed by a bunch of others, including IM Rolando Nolte, on six points. So's performance, in particular, was impressive as he didn't drop a single game and thus ensuring that he gets ever closer to that magic 2650 mark.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Eric Schiller's Other Work

Apparently the famous chess writer has a little sideline as an anti-fraud campaigner. Here he warns chess coaches of a new kind of fraud.

Still Got Some Moves

Thanks to one of our posters for this tip. Arianne Caoili seems to be on some sort of comeback, not just to our TV screens, but hopefully to some good over-the-board play. Over the weekend she played in the Surfers Paradise Open where she collected four points from 6 games. One of those points was a win over GM Johansen.

Surfers Paradise Open 2008
Johansen, Darryl
Caoili, Arianne

1. c4 e5 2. e3 Nf6 3. Nc3 c6 4. d4 e4 5. Nge2 h5 6. a3 Qe7 7. Qc2 h4 8. f3 exf3 9. gxf3 c5 10. dxc5 Qxc5 11. Nf4 d6 12. Bd3 Nbd7 13. b4 Qc6 14. Ncd5 Ne5 15. b5 Qc5 16. Nxf6+ gxf6 17. Be2 Bd7 18. a4 Rc8 19. Ra3 d5 20. Rc3 dxc4 21. Kf2 Bh6 22. Ba3 Qb6 23. Nd5 Qe6 24. Bxc4

After 24. Bxc4

24...Rxc4 25. Rxc4 Qxd5 26. Re4 Bf8 27. Rd1 Qe6 28. Bb2 Qh3 29. Bxe5 fxe5 30. Rxe5+ Be7 31. Qe4 Qxh2+ 32. Ke1 Be6 33. Rd2 Qg1+ 34. Ke2 Rg8 35. Kd3 Qb1+ 36. Kd4 Qb4+ 37. Kd3 Qb3+ 38. Ke2 Rg2+ 39. Ke1 Bb4 40. Rxe6+ fxe6 41. Qg6+ 0-1

But in the last game, Caoili was helpless against IM Smerdon who won the event with 5.5 points.

UPDATE: And as if the god's were smiling on her, there is further positive news for Arianne. The ACF has just announced on their bulletin board, Chess Chat, that IM Irina Berezina has pulled out of the women's team due to work and family commitments. Everyone below her is promoted one position up.