Thursday, July 30, 2009

3 Pinoys in Khanty-Mansiysk

He did it. GM Darwin Laylo not only books a seat in the World Chess Cup but he also took out the Zone 3.3 tournament that finished yesterday in Vietnam. Needing just a draw to secure first place, Laylo did better by beating his last round opponent, Singapore's GM Zhong Zhang rated 2613.

Below is my fave of his nine games from the event. It's a nice squeeze of Indonesian GM Megaranto.

2009 Zone 3.3, Vietnam
Laylo, Darwin
Megaranto, Susanto

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Bb4+ 4. Nbd2 b6 5. a3 Bxd2+ 6. Qxd2 Bb7 7. g3 O-O 8. Bg2 d6 9. O-O a5 10. b3 Nbd7 11. Bb2 Qe7 12. Qc3 Rfe8 13. Rad1 Be4 14. Rfe1 c6 15. Nd2 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Rec8 17. e4 d5 18. Qf3 Qd8 19. a4 Rab8 20. Ba3 dxe4 21. Nxe4 Nxe4 22. Rxe4 Nf6 23. Rf4 b5 24. d5 cxd5 25. axb5 e5 26. Rf5 Qe8 27. Bd6 e4 28. Qf4 Rb6 29. Bc7 Rb7 30. b6 a4 31. Rxf6 gxf6 32. cxd5 e3 33. bxa4 e2 34. Re1 Qd7 35. d6 Qc6+ 36. Kg1 Qd5 37. Qg4+ 1-0

As expected, GM Wesley So claimed the second place and he, too, will be off to the World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk. In fact, both So and Laylo will join fellow Pinoy GM Rogelio Antonio in the World Cup. Antonio had already earlier qualified courtesy of his 6th place finish in the Asian Individual Chess Championships held in May 2009.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pinoy Duo Aim for World Cup

My old mate Leo Tenorio sent in some news about Pinoy chess. GM Darwin Laylo has done enough to make it into the World Chess Cup by leading the Zone 3.3 competition in Vietnam with 7 points. Laylo needs just a half point in his last game for an outright win.

Meanwhile, GM Wesley So is presently in second place and he, too, needs just a draw to secure the second seat for the World Cup.

More over at chessph.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Brits Are Off

IM Gary Lane is off to a good start in the British. He beat 2209-rated Martin Burrows in round one and will face GM Peter Wells in round 2. It was a good quick win for the Australian in the first round.

British Championship 2009
Burrows, Martin
Lane, Gary W

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Nxe4 6. d4 Be7 7. Re1 f5 8. dxe5 O-O 9. Nbd2 Nc5 10. Bxc6 dxc6 11. Nb3 Qe8 12. Nxc5 Bxc5 13. Bf4 h6 14. h4 Be6 15. Qe2 Qg6 16. c4 Rad8 17. Rad1 Rxd1 18. Rxd1 Qg4 19. g3 g5 20. Be3 Bxc4 21. Qc2 Bxe3 22. Nh2 Qxg3+ 23. Kh1 Qxh4 24. fxe3 Bd5+ 0-1

Also winning his first game is GM Gawain Jones. The friendly English grandmaster has been relaxing around Malaysia and Thailand recently that he should be in good shape!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Old Boys CC

It's again at the Old Boys Chess Club. And this one is kinda special! From our inside woman:

Your good friends at ***CHESS CLUB*** humbly invite you down to The Hutch town for a very special birthday edition of ***CHESS CLUB***. Thats right, little ***CC*** has hit the Terrible Twos and is all grown up!

Will there be musics?? Musics to feast your ears upon aplenty! Be an early bird and catch a delicious worm by the name of DJ CLASSICAL.

We are also lucky enough in confirm Sydneys' very own master of ceremonies MASHY P! Spinning a back-by-popular-demand-set.

Back from an extended sea-food-extender bender, with a rare 'not a totally shit set time', ***CC*** gives you one MUNTED MONKEY. Drunk. Possibly face down. And 'old faithful' and the the inventor of bunting, CHRIS LEGO will be keeping your ears in check.

So bring it back to the chess, dress up or dress down or don't get dressed at all and make your way down to El Hutcho Relaxo on THURSDAY THE 6TH OF AUGUST. Early birds get birthday prizes and Chess-Warrior respect! From 7pm till I win the party.

Sound: Jermy
Visuals: Interacial Pawn
Lighting: Barry Love, Newtown Variety, ***CC***
Snack attacks: Fry Master Steve & Aust-Diggity & 70s cocktail cheesy snack collective!
chess: youz

BYO board and cold gold from hip to hat!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Chess Set for a Queen

From tomorrow until 30 September this year, Buckingham Palace will hold the "Queen & Commonwealth: The Royal Tour" exhibition in honour of the so-called London Declaration's sixtieth anniversary.

From the official website: "The exhibition includes over 100 gifts presented to The Queen by the people of the Commonwealth, to mark the important principle of friendship that underlies Her Majesty’s visits."

One of those gifts is a very nice chess set made from painted ceramics. It was presented to the Duke of Edinburgh in 1996 by Nelson Mandela during his state visit to the United Kingdom.

But even more impressive is this absolutely gorgeous Wattle brooch, a gift from Aussies, that is made of diamonds. Stunning!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The only game I ever love

One tune isn't quite enough for us, so here's another one. Thanks to Nicholas Kordahi for the tip.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Tune for GM Benjamin

My post the other day on GM Benjamin's dismissal of the FM title generated some unexpected reaction. What I did especially enjoy was the following poetic effort by one of our more avid and definitely cultured readers!

(Sung to the tune of that song about a pet rat by one recently departEd).

the FM title won't go away
the FM title is here to stay
it is a FIDE cash cow
fills their coffers up right now
not made to make us say "wow"
at whoever gets one yet again
although every now and then
some make the GM like you, ben

I'm trying to sort of mentally sing that but I can't make it work! Maybe it's better rapped. Check out the original tune with lyrics here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Different kind of GM

So I just arrived back home from this year's presentation of the Shutterbug prize, held in the Chauvel Cinema in Paddington. It's basically a photo competition for amateur and "emerging" photographers. I won't go into too much detail, but I am posting about this here because tonight I learned something totally unexpected.

It seems that the world of photography also uses the title, "grand master". A judge in Shutterbug is Aussie Peter Eastway. He is a GM and, apparently, one of only 5 in the world. Fancy that!

How do you earn the title, I hear you ask. Here's how.

Monday, July 20, 2009

USCF Dispute Becomes Criminal

Bad news from the United States as far as PR for chess is concerned. The Department of Justice last week released the following:
A federal grand jury in San Jose indicted Gregory Alexander, of Everett, Wash., Wednesday for unauthorized access of the private email account of a member of a not-for-profit organization’s board of directors, United States Attorney Joseph P. Russoniello announced.

According to the indictment, Alexander used a username and password belonging to Randall Hough, a member of the United States Chess Federation’s Board of Directors, to access Hough’s private email account on 34 separate occasions spanning from November 2007 to June 2008. Additionally, the indictment notes that Alexander obtained information from Hough’s account on an unspecified number of those occasions.
More in the NY Times, by Dylan Loeb McLain.

Chess Holiday in September

September this year could be a busy time for Aussie and Kiwi chess fans with a tournament in Malaysia and an international open in the Solomon Islands.

I've just heard from Peter Long that the KL Open Chess Championships will be held from 3 to 8 September later this year. While the venue hasn't been finalised, it looks like the time control will be 90 + 30s from move 1. The tournament prospectus cites as a source of info, but, unhappily, that site seems to be unavailable!

Also in September will be the 2009 Solomon Islands International Chess Championships. This one is organised by none other than Oceania Zone boss, Aussie Gary Bekker. Should be fun!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Benjamin Pooh-poohs FMs

Tell us what you think GM Benjamin!

When asked by a junior what it will take to become a FIDE master, American grandmaster Joel Benjamin let loose: "I have to say, I have never heard a developing player define FIDE Master as a career goal. Master yes, grandmaster and international master of course, but an ill-respected title invented by FIDE to squeeze more money from title applications? Well, to each his own."

From GM Joel on How to Make FM.

Friday, July 17, 2009

More on Smerdon vs Wang

Thanks to Paul Spiller, who is sponsor and organiser of the event, we now have more info on the upcoming contest between GM-elect David Smerdon and New Zealand's grandmaster-hopeful IM Puchen Wang.

The match will be held at the Old Boy's Pavilion at Auckland Grammar School on Mountain Road in Epsom. Games will run from 1 to 6 August and will start at 4PM everyday.

Spectators are most welcome.

As an added bonus to chess fans, there will also be an informal "meet & greet" function with both combatants on the Friday, 31 July, that will be held in the Copthorne Harbourcity Hotel Tactics Bar from 6PM to 8PM.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Morris: "Scared bloody shit-less"

Australia's latest international master, thanks to his critics-bashing performance at the recently completed zonal event, James Morris, sits down to a one-on-one with none other than Aussie legend IM Robert Jamieson. I must thank Robert for pointing my attention to this article.

RJ: You played in the Sydney International a few weeks before and did quite well.
JM: Yes, I did very well in that and Chris Depasquale said it was my best tournament result to date but of course he didn’t know that the Oceania Zonal was coming up!
RJ: So you start doing really well in the Zonal and after 6 rounds you are sitting up there on top board and leading the tournament and you have to play Grandmaster Smerdon. How were you feeling?
JM: Scared bloody shit-less!
RJ: I can relate to that.

For more on this interesting little encounter, read here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Playstation Portable Chess

If you've got a PSP, then check out Online Chess Kingdom. From PSP Downloads:

The story is about forces such as law, order, spirit, magic and chaos created by an omnipotent deity. These forces are sent packing by the deity after they start squabbling with each other. Each of them develops and gains enough strength to reach the borders of their neighbours where they decide to battle. A lot of interesting chess games start from here.

The game features Sci-Fi and alien characters as chess pieces. As a player, you can choose to play with the traditional looking chess pieces in the quick games.

More in Online Chess Kingdoms: The PSP Outlet for Chess Lovers.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Smerdon Auditions for Geek Show

GM-elect David Smerdon announced on Chess Chat that he was thinking of auditioning for the upcoming Aussie version of the TV series, "Beauty and the Geek". I thought he was only joking. Well, he was actually pretty serious!

David will attend the Adelaide audition on 22 July. Local chess fans should probably pop over to the Samford Plaza (150 North Terrace) and give our man some moral support. I only wish I could be there, for I reckon it will be an absolute hoot.

To those who are auditioning or thinking about it, this list of "100 Essential Skills for Geeks", courtesy of Wired magazine, might help.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

IM Lane Goes Home

It's championships time again over in the United Kingdom. The Scots will hold their 116th championships, reputed to be "the oldest continuously running chess event in the world", from this weekend until the 19th of July. Three-time champion GM Jonathan Rowson tops the field.

And later this month, the British will begin from 26 July and end on 8 August. Of interest to Australian chess fans will be none other than international master Gary Lane. For Lane, it will be a particularly sweet experience since the event will be held in his hometown of Torquay! Good luck to Gary.

WA Closed Champs

The Western Australian Closed Championships will be held from 12th to 13th July September. It will be a 10-player round robin that will feature some familiar names such as Haydn Barber, Tristan Boyd, Yita Choong and Marc Vlietstra. It's an impressive lineup with half the players rated over 2000.

Also participating is one who should be well-known to some Sydney players, Akef Abdat. He must have moved west!

More info here on the Chess Association of WA website.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

The Joselito Hustle

The PNG's Joselito Marcos dropped in and posted an analysis of the last few moments of his game against Marc Vlietstra from the Gold Coast Open. Here's the starting position.

The ex-Pinoy lost this one, but not before giving his Western Australian opposition a tough fight until the very end. Joselito takes over from here.

2009 Gold Coast Open
Vlietstra, Marc
Marcos, Joselito

41. bxc3 Bh3!

(Black only has 23 seconds left on his clock at this juncture; White still has more than 3 minutes.)

42. Qe7+ Ka8 43. Qg5 Rb1+

(An alternative was 43... Rb2. During the postmortem Vlietstra tried 44. Rg1? Bxg2+ 45. Rxg2 Rb1+ 46. Nf1 Rxf1+ 47. Kh2 Qh7+ 48. Kg3 and now with a clear head, and possibly more time, Black could win with 48... Rf8!. Correct was 44.Qg8+.)

44. Rxb1 Qxb1+ 45. Nf1 Qxf1+ 46. Kh2 Bxg2 47. Qxg2 Qf4+ 48. Kh3 Qh6+ 49. Kg3 Qg5+?

(The check on the WRONG SQUARE. In his excitement Black missed 49... Qg6+!! 50. Kf2 Qc2+ 51. Kg1 Qb1+ 52. Kh2 Qh7+ 53. Qh3 Qc2+ 54. Kg1 Qb1+ 55. Kh2 Qc2+ 56. Kg1 Qb1+ 57. Kh2 Qc2+ is equal)

50. Kf2??

(White panicked as he was becoming short of time while Black was gaining his. 50. Kf3! -- a shame that White overlooked this excellent chance -- Qf5+ 51. Ke3 wins)

50... Qd2+ 51. Kg1 Qd1+??

(Again a check on the wrong squate. With this move Black loses his second and final opportunity to even things up. For Black not to lose all he has to do is keep on checking on the long diagonal b1-h7. Better was 51... Qe1+! or 51... Qc1+! Check this out with your silicon friends.)

52. Kh2 Qh5+ 53. Qh3 Qe2+ 54. Kg3 Qe3+ 55. Kg4 Qg1+ 56. Kf5 Qf2+ 57. Ke6 Qxa2

(The game dragged on with Black stripped off his d pawn and White his c and d pawns but was able to promote his e pawn to a queen. The succeeding desperate checks by the black queen was deptly evaded by White to score the win.)

58. Kxd5 Qb3 59. Qc8+ Ka7 60. Qc7+ Ka6 61. Qc6+ Ka7 62. Qd7+ Ka6 63. e6 Qxc3 64. e7 Qf3+ 65. Kd6 Qf4+ 66. Kc6 Qe4+ 67. Kd6 Qxd4+ 68. Kc7 Qb6+ 69. Kc8 Qc5+ 70. Qc7 Qf5+ 71. Kd8 c3 72. e8=Q Qd5+ 73. Qcd7 Qg5+ 74. Kc7 Qf4+ 75. Kc8 1-0

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Kasparov v Karpov Redux

This just in. My contacts have just emailed me this special news that the two K's, Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, will reprise their over-the-board rivalry with a 12-game match later this year. The event is set to take place in Valencia, Spain.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Flintoff a Chess Player

From The Guardian paper, this little tidbit about former English cricket star Freddie Flintoff:

Born in Preston 31 years ago, Flintoff grew up in a cricket-mad family: his father played on Saturday afternoons, his brother Chris joined him, and his mother made the teas. "So from an early age I was being pushed around the boundary, playing at the side," he recalls. But he never rebelled against it, save for a brief flirtation with chess. "I played for Lancashire, which is bizarre really. I had a teacher at primary school, and it was almost like something out of a film where you had this school on an estate and you had these kids coming to play chess on their lunchtime." Flintoff's brother even played chess for England. "I was more of a maverick player, no real forward planning, just moved the pieces," he smiles. "I've not played for years ... I think the last time I played was against Mike Atherton."

Read more in The G2 Interview.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Bullish View on Aussie Chess

GM Ian Rogers' column in the Sun Herald today has an optimistic take on the future of Australian chess. Commenting on the just released July FIDE ratings:

Overall, Australia is ranked 58th on the world list; a position that is unlikely to improve more than incrementally until the new wave of young players begin to displace seven players aged 39 or more in positions 3 to 10 on the Australian list.

On the positive side, three of Australia's top four - Grandmasters Zhao Zhong Yuan, GM David Smerdon and aspiring GM George Xie - are all in their early twenties and, non-chess careers permitting, look likely to set standards on the Australian scene for years to come.

Here's the Australian list.

As we can see, there's a whole bunch of young guys there and some have had outstanding recent results. But, realistically, how many of them will step up to master level? Or even one day gun for a seat on the Olympiad team?

Plus what about the girls? Where are these lot?

Anyway, before we get ahead of ourselves with these young talents, who may yet turn out to be nothing more than highly competent hobbyists, let's not forget some "veterans". My favourite players - Lane, Johansen, Goldenberg and my good mate Canfell - all still have plenty of fight!

(By the way my beloved Philippines is ranked way, way above Australia right up in number 34. The positive news for them is that they have a good mix of vets and young guns).

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Gopal Unbanned

Earlier this year I posted about the case of Indian grandmaster G.N. Gopal who was banned by his federation for not playing. Now just few months later, the All India Chess Federation has decided to take the just step of revoking that ban.

From Latest Chess: "All India Chess Federation took an important decision to revoke a one year ban on Grand Master G.N. Gopal. The decision was taken at the Central Council and Annul General Meeting in Chennai. Grand Master G.N. Gopal finally got the justice!"

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Beauty & the Chess Geek

The Sydney Academy of Chess's FM Brett Tindall was contacted by a TV production house recently apparently because they were looking for potential candidates for an upcoming local version of Beauty and the Geek. First launched in the US and co-produced by Ashton Kutcher (@aplusk), the show, at its core, is basically your standard challenge and elimination reality TV.

More about the US show here.

I've seen a couple of episodes and, let me tell you, it's just downright ridiculous! The geeks are unrealistically socially inept and the chicas are, well, just dumb. For the chicas, I hope they'll get the world famous Chk Chk Boom, Claire Werbeloff.

If you're interested, you must complete a questionnaire. Here are just five of the many questions that you'll need to answer:
  • What are your intellectual strengths?
  • Have you now, or have you ever seen a therapist, psychologist or psychiatrist?
  • When it comes to women, what do you need the most help with?
  • What are your insecurities?
  • Who is your ideal life partner (male or female)? Is there anyone that you would consider is “out of your league” and vice versa?
It looks like Brett might be the point-man on this one, at least in the chess scene. So contact him via his website or on sydneyacademy at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

War Down Under: Smerdon vs Wang

Last week's penultimate round skirmish in the Zonal tournament between Australia's two young talents, Zong Yuan Zhao and eventual winner David Smerdon had us all on the edge of our seats. Well now there is even more reason to be excited. In just over a month, Aussie GM-elect David Smerdon will be taking on New Zealand's hottest talent, IM Puchen Wang!

A chess retailer across the Tasman, Chess Enterprises NZ, is organising a so-called "Australasian Chess Match of the Decade". It will be reminiscent of Chandler v Rogers back in the 80's and that battle between Purdy and Sarapu of the 1950's.

The info I have so far courtesy of CENZ co-founder Joanne Spiller is that the contest will consist of 6 games and take place from 1 to 6 August. It will then be followed by the Waikato Open, in Hamilton, from 7 to 9 August in which both players are also scheduled to compete.

This is very exciting, indeed! Hopefully, we'll get to see the action live. Keep an eye out on the blog for future updates.