Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kingpin Survives Vote

Being a bit of a foodie myself, and especially so since I happen to live in the culinary capital of the world, I've just recently downloaded an iPhone app called 'Foodspotting'. Perfect for finding the food you want to eat where you happen to be. Problem is, there aren't too many Tokyo-related info yet, but I'm hoping to soon fix that!

I'm talking about this because I wonder if there's an iPhone app that the just re-elected FIDE boss Kirsan Ilyjmzhinov might find useful - something like "Alien Spotting". Just think of all the fun he could have now that he doesn't have to worry about "K" and "K" for the next four years!

As we now know, Kirsan won the FIDE contest by a count of 95-55. If you look at this report on Chessbase there's a vid of an incensed Kasparov (who was probably lucky not be decked by that big black guy behind him). For an interesting discussion on the election results, there's only one place to head to: Chessvibes.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Bugger of Sac

Super GM beau or not, when you have a bad day, then you have a bad day. And today's eigth round was very, very bad for Aussie women's spearhead WIM Arianne Caoili. She lost in 23 moves to a fine attacking game by her Lithuanian opposite number, WGM Deimante Daulyte.

39th Olympiad Khanty-Mansiysk 2010 (Women)
Daulyte, Deimante
Caoili, Arianne

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nge7 4. O-O g6 5. c3 a6 6. Bc4 b5 7. Bb3 Bg7 8. a4 b4 9. Ng5 O-O 10. f4 d5 11. fxe5 Nxe5 12. d4 Bg4 13. Qc2 Nd7 14. Qf2 Be6 15. Qh4 h6 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. Nd2 c5 18. Nf3 g5 19. Bxg5 hxg5 20. Nxg5 Nf6 21. e5 Ng6 22. Qh3 Re8 23. exf6 1-0

That is such an awful game it's not even funny. Almost seems like one of those "hack & bash" in an U12 kiddies event. Too easy for the Lithuanian. But who knows? It might just be the flu. GM Smerdon tells us that there's a nasty bug going around in the Olympiad.

Meanwhile, one Aussie player who seems to have well and truly shed his virgin blues is IM George Xie. As I write he's just reeled in his third victory in this event, equalling his number wins from Dresden but just exceeding his total tally from 2 years earlier by a half point. This man can only get better over the years.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Chess Kingpin

It seems to be "take pot shots at Kirsan" week. Chessvibes, for instance, have just dug up an old Foreign Correspondent episode from way back in 1998! Not exactly the sort of TV apperance that paints a flattering picture. Then again, when you front up to TV journos claiming some sort of ET encounter, I suppose it hardly matters. And it doesn't really matter because you know you've pretty much got things nicely stitched up.

Yesterday, Radio Free Europe had their own little feature of Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. Like it or not, they were right on the mark with this one:

To be fair, Ilyumzhinov has shown considerable zeal in promoting the sport.

At home, the Kalmyk leader has used his presidential influence to make his the only region in the world where chess is a compulsory elementary-school subject. He has also built a gleaming, multimillion-dollar complex, Chess City, outside the Kalmyk capital, Elista, meant to serve as a mecca for chess fans fancying a trip to Russia's deep south.

And throughout the world, he has spent millions from a personal fortune amassed during Russia's unregulated post-Soviet privatization to promote the game internationally, particularly in underdeveloped countries where chess has yet to gain a foothold.

Ilyumzhinov's avid expansion efforts have seen chess being played in ever-greater numbers in new parts of the globe, like Africa and South America.

Therein lies the rub for the Karpov camp. For whether one approves or disapproves of Kirsan, his money does make things happen. Because of that, he'll win the upcoming FIDE elections.

Read more in "In Battle For Chess-World Dominance, Eccentric Ilyumzhinov Playing Unbeatable Game".

Monday, September 27, 2010

How to Beat Magnus

I bet I know what grandmaster Michael Adams had in mind when he sat down today to face Norway's GM Magnus Carlsen. "Number one, my ass" is no doubt what the Englishman was thinking. This is what he did to the world's number one. So easy, just simple beautiful moves. I particularly like how he positions and repositions his light-squared bishop.

39th Olympiad Khanty-Mansiysk 2010 Open
Adams, Michael
Carlsen, Magnus

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Nf6 3. e5 Nh5 4. Be2 d6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. exd6 exd6 7. d5 Ne7 8. c4 Bg7 9. Nc3 O-O 10. O-O Bg4 11. Re1 Re8 12. h3 Bxf3 13. Bxf3 Nf6 14. Bf4 Nd7 15. Rc1 Ne5 16. b3 a6 17. g3 Nf5 18. Bg2 g5 19. Bxe5 Bxe5 20. Ne4 Ng7 21. Qd2 h6 22. f4 gxf4 23. gxf4 Bf6 24. Kh2 Nh5 25. Rg1 Kh7 26. Rcf1 Rg8 27. Qe2 Ng7 28. Qd3 Kh8 29. Bf3 b5 30. Bd1 bxc4 31. bxc4 Bh4 32. Bc2 f5 33. Rg6 Kh7 34. Rfg1 Qe7 35. Ng3 Bxg3+ 36. Qxg3 Qf7 37. Bd1 Rae8 38. Rxh6+ 1-0

Sunday, September 26, 2010

More Tits Please

Is it just me or is anyone else finding the whole coverage of the Olympiad just a tad boring? The premiere chess blog these days, Chessvibes, barely makes an effort, while Chessbase, still the "go to" chess news site after so many years, is little better! The Germans at least can manage to slip in one or two borrowed video clips.

Our mates over at ChessDom aren't any different from the previous two (their coverage is "live", but I'm not sure if they've actually got a man on the ground) and, of course, one only goes to TWIC to download some games.

I mean surely there's more to a big chess event such as the Olympiad other than PGNs and a quick summary of who won and lost.

For example: are there any interesting personalities? Little controversies? And if you're really ballsy, who among the women players are showing off more of their tits?

Apparently, there's none of it.

Well, anyway, at least our good mate grandmaster David Smerdon has something to say about the weather and, this is what I like most of all for its surprise factor, elevators! You see that's what I'm talking about: just a touch of colour.

Sad to say this, but these "professional" chess journos still have quite a bit to go.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Aussie Stud in Olympiad

Back home in Tokyo now and, of course, the first thing I do is log on to the Olympiad. There waiting is a grand spanking new official site! Faster and prettier, like the blonde Sava Stoisavljevic (who's the chief arbiter of this event), the site now also seems to be quite reliable. I've actually got all the Australian games up on my browser!

Very interesting for folsk Down Under was the little Trans-Tasman test match up of the New Zealand and Australian women's teams. That ended in Australia's favour 2.5 - 1.5 after WIM Arianne Caoili pulled off the only victory, against Helen Milligan, on board one.

Speaking of the women, by the way, here's a special report on women in the Olympiad. See if you can spot the Australian stud.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Thought for Spassky

As I prepare to head back home to Tokyo, there's just a little bit of time left to check out Olympiad results. But, nope, no luck here. "Unable to connect" is all I'm getting. Did I mention that Khanty-Mansiysk is in the third world? I just hope the Turks can do better next time, or at least deliver better weather. Thanks to ICC, though, I'm still getting something. As I write I'm watching no less than superstar GM Carlsen go down to Georgian grandmaster Baadur Jobava. Which is a problem for the Norwegians: they've got the world's numero uno, but the rest of their lineup is pretty anaemic.

While we're all getting excited about the Olympiad, with or without online coverage, we should perhaps spare a thought for Boris Spassky. Chessbase reports that the Russian legend is "in grave condition".

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Smerdon Bags First Point

It's 4AM and I'm up in the my hotel room watching the live broadcast from the Olympiad. But that's if I can get the official site up in my browser at all! Did I say that these organisers are in the third world or what?

Right now I've got the live games page up and running but who knows for how long? Before it keels over, I should say that Australia has already had a first round result courtesy of men's board one, GM Smerdon. His Bahraini opposition was totally out of his depth and the Aussie finished with a neat tactic.

Smerdon, by the way, is on the ground and also blogging from all that action. Make sure to drop in on him over at

And man oh man, how about Vietnamese super GM Quang Le? He just lost his first round game to unknown Kheto Phemelo of Botswana. That's right: Botswana! Here are the moves courtesy of

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. b3 c5 4. e3 Nc6 5. Bb2 Bf5 6. c3 e6 7. Be2 cxd4 8. exd4 Bd6 9. O-O Ne4 10. Nbd2 Qf6 11. c4 Qh6 12. cxd5 Nxd2 13. Qxd2 Bxh2+ 14. Nxh2 Qxd2 15. dxc6 Qxe2 16. cxb7 Rb8 17. Ba3 Qa6 18. Bc5 f6 19. Rfe1 Kf7 20. a4 Qxb7 21. b4 h5 22. a5 a6 23. Re3 h4 24. Nf3 h3 25. g3 h2+ 26. Nxh2 Rxh2 27. Kxh2 Rh8+ 0-1

Rock n' Roll in the Olympiad

They're off in the Olympiad. By all accounts it seems that things are off to a positive start. One of my Facebook contacts who is there reports that even the hotel rooms they're in look "lovely" and finished. The rooms are much bigger, too, says Shaun. And based on the published pictures so far the opening ceremony definitely looked spectacular. But I don't know, it looked a bit too, uumm, Soviet'ish to me. I hate that cheesy human chess display and the overall look. Maybe they should switch from calling this thing an "Olympiad" and call it "Spartakiad" instead.

Anyway, there's one guy who's very eager to start laying it on his opponents.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Programming Disruption

I'm off to the States for a week (work reasons) and coming back by next weekend. Gotta admit this is one OS trip that has me feeling somewhat anxious. Flying with a US airline and having to catch a connection at a US airport aren't exactly the sorts of experiences that I'm looking forward to.

At any rate, at least I'm not heading for Khanty-Mansiysk. Good luck to all those going over for the third world Olympiad .

I will have internet access, of course, but not quite if there'll be time to blog, so there may be a slight disruption to normal programming.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Seeking the Endgame, Ep. 2

Episode 2 of Simon Terrington's "Seeking the Endgame" is up on the BBC site. Once again, Australian grandmaster Ian Rogers delivers the quotable quote.

In the program GM Rogers says, "People think that chess players are clever and we like to keep it that way", and adding, "I don't think you can necessarily read too much into the fact that a player's a good chess player. I mean [there] are a lot of dumb chess players to be honest!"

It was either that or this: "You can be fat and play a good game of chess", emphasising the game's unattractiveness to sponsors.

One other good thing about the 2-part series is that we get to at least discover some chess related music, like this one.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Chess In, Mosque Out

I thought maybe my mates over at were joking when they sent an email with the headline sentence, "FIDE has requested the New York authorities to sell the land of the Twin Towers to create a chess center". But a quick google tells me that it's all real, at least as far as some PR release is concerned. Now I happen to think that the planned mosque near Ground Zero, which has attracted so much controversy, is a questionable idea, so I reckon the chess centre might just be a happy compromise.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Antonio's Woes Continue

So who really blundered in the whole GM Antonio vs NCFP controversy?

Antonio, if you recall, was dropped from the Philippine Olympiad squad because the NCFP big wigs weren't quite happy with him missing two major RP events and, instead, heading off to the States to play in tournaments there. The RP number two later sued.

But there are questions remaining here. Did Antonio have the approval to head off to the States in the first place? Philippine papers have quoted him as saying, "I passed through the proper channels for my US trip. It was Mr. Pichay himself who signed the recommendation to the PSC. Now, why am I being banned for missing the tournaments here?"

OK, Antonio did, and even Pichay admitted giving the green light. But why in the world did the ex-polie do that if he really wanted Antonio to play in the two RP tournaments. Hec, even the Philippine Sports Commission chairman Richie Garcia has the same question.

One would hope that Mr Garcia keeps those questions in mind. For now it looks like the NCFP is lobbying for the PSC to drop Antonio from their roster of athletes and effectively depriving the grandmaster of his P20,000 monthly allowance. That just seems kind of spiteful, if you ask me. There was no due process, no please explained, nothing, nada.

Antonio's right: it's more politics than anything else, I think.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fischer Lover Fights On

Just when I thought that it was all done and dusted, Pinoy lawyer Sammy Estimo, representing Fischer's Filipina lover, is doing everything he can to continue the fight. I suppose that's what every lawyer should do, but, now this is fast becoming a typical midday Fipino soap opera.

From the Daily Mail: "Mr Estimo claims that Mr Bogason closed the case prematurely without consulting the mother and daughter after the DNA tests in Germany allegedly showed that Jinky was not Fischer's daughter."

Read more: Icelandic court to reopen inheritance case of former lover of chess legend Bobby Fischer.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hare is WA Champion

Congratulations to Tim Hare for winning this year's WA Championships. He was undefeated over 9 games, securing 5 wins and four draws.

2010 WA Closed Championship
Tim Hare
Tom Donaldson

1. c4 c6 2. g3 d5 3. b3 Bg4 4. Bg2 e6 5. Bb2 Nf6 6. d3 Bc5 7. Nf3 dxc4 8. d4 Bb4+ 9. Kf1 cxb3 10. Qxb3 Qb6 11. Ne5 Bd6 12. Nc4 Qxb3 13. Nxd6+ Kd7 14. axb3 Kxd6 15. f3 Bh5 16. e4 Kc7 17. Nd2 Nbd7 18. Kf2 Rhe8 19. Rhc1 Bg6 20. Nc4 Nb6 21. Ne3 Red8 22. g4 h6 23. Ra5 Rd7 24. h4 a6 25. h5 Bh7 26. d5 Rad8 27. Be5+ Kc8 28. dxc6 bxc6 29. Rxa6 Kb7 30. Rca1 Ra8 31. Rxb6+ Kxb6 32. Rxa8 Ng8 33. Nc4+ Kc5 34. Bxg7 f6 35. Bf8+ Kd4 36. Bb4 c5 37. Be1 Kd3 38. Ra2 Re7 39. Bf1+ 1-0

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chess and Web Design

From politics to business, from the arts to various sports, even including the winter sport of curling, the game of chess has been used, or perhaps abused, as a metaphor to describe the various drama in those other fields. In one way or another, chess is associated with many other human endeavours. We've heard and seen plenty of it.

But I think this is the first time I've read of chess associated with, wait for this...web design!

From Smashing Magazine:

The business of building websites is one of constant change, adaptation and strategy. The way designers and developers build websites is often informed by the methods of others and their own trial and error. In light of this, we can draw a number of parallels — some philosophical, to a certain extent — between Web professionals and one of the oldest and most popular board games of all time (counting traditional and digital games). This game is chess.

More in Web Design Checkmate: Using Chess For Success in Web Design.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Seeking a Creative Outlet

The BBC World Service doco, "Seeking the Endgame" was aired yesterday and for those who didn't hear it, you can listen to the podcast here. In it, we hear GM Ian Rogers say the following:

Well, for me it's an avenue for creativity. If on your day you can create a game that will be published around the world that people will look at and admire, I mean I haven't had too many days like that in my career, but one or two I've played a game where I'm really happy with and I know that its gonna make anthologies and be published around the world. I can't paint or write novels or anything like that so chess is for me an outlet like that.

GM Rogers is being a bit too modest, of course, for I'm sure he's produced many a masterpiece over the years. Who can forget this, for instance?

1992 Manila Olympiad
Rogers, Ian
Milos, Gilberto

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d6 3. Nc3 Bg4 4. e4 e6 5. h3 Bh5 6. Qe2 c6 7. g4 Bg6 8. Bg5 Be7 9. Bxf6 Bxf6 10. h4 h6 11. O-O-O Nd7 12. Kb1 Qc7 13. Rg1 h5 14. g5 Be7 15. d5 e5 16. Bh3 O-O-O 17. Nd2 Kb8 18. Nc4 Nb6 19. Nxb6 Qxb6 20. Rd3 Ka8 21. a3 Rdf8 22. Bf5 Bh7 23. Rgd1 g6 24. dxc6 bxc6 25. Bd7 Qc7

Position after 25...Qc7

26. Bxc6+ The second time this bishop forsakes itself. The first time it was turned down, but now Milos has no choice. 26...Qxc6 27. Nd5 Bd8 28. Rc3 Qb7 29. Rb3 Qc6 30. Rdd3 Ba5 31. Rdc3 Bxc3 32. Qa6 1-0 Because 32...Qxa6 33. Nc7#

Actually, there's an interesting side story to this one. The game was in contention for the brilliancy prize that Kasparov ultimately won for his victory in Kasparov - Nikolic. If you pull up that game in Chessbase, it's hard not to agree that Kasparov deserved the prize. Problem was Kasparov himself was a judge! And, if you believe the chatter on about this little controversy, there may have been some other shenanigans going on, too.

Friday, September 10, 2010

News from Armidale

Hey I know that woman. I had no idea she was a doctor. But what kind of doctor, I do not know! The Armidale Express has a report about their local chess scene:

Arguably, it is one of the most effective teaching tools available to children.

Not only does chess raise intelligence quotient (IQ) scores, it strengthens problem solving skills, teaces how to make difficult and abstract decisions independently and enhances reading, memory, language, and mathematical abilitie[sic].

In Young minds take to the chess board.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Chess Nuts Bar

Being a Sydneysider, this is always hard to admit. But I reckon Melbourne has the better chess scene. Now for local chess fanatics down there, it's set to get even better. A couple, Richard Putnam and Jasmine Costello, whom I've never heard of are planning to open a bar dedicated to chess. They want to call it Chess-Nuts".

Well, alright, the name's a bit cheesy and kinda dumb but at least the joint is something.

Read more in News.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Weird Quantum Chess

As if regular chess wasn't hard enough. These geeks had to go on and invent a new form of chess - Quantum Chess. In this format, a queen, say, could also be another piece, maybe even a pawn. And, according to one of this game's makers, "You only know what a piece really is once you touch the piece. Basically, planning ahead is impossible."

Computers can search all possible outcomes of all possible moves in conventional chess and beat even top human players, so Akl wanted to make the computation more difficult.

He decided to have the pieces mimic the behaviour of very small particles such as atoms and electrons, which follow the laws of quantum mechanics. According to the principle of superposition in quantum physics, such particles can simultaneously be in multiple states at once, but collapse into a single state when an attempt is made to measure their position, momentum or some other aspect.

Read more in Quantum physics adds twist to chess.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Another Pinoy Grandmaster

The Philippines is set to have another grandmaster, the country's thirteenth ever, after IM Rolando Salvador topped the inaugural International Chess Tournament Fermo-Porto San Giorgio, in Italy. Salvador actually finished equal first on 7 points from 9 games with GM Vladimir Epishin, of Russia, but was declared winner on tiebreak.

The fine performance there meant that Salvador earned his third and final grandmaster norm. Here's a win over the 2589-rated GM David Alberto.

1st Festival Internazionale del Fermano
Salvador, Roland
David, Alberto

1. c4 e6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 dxc4 5. Na3 Bxa3 6. bxa3 O-O 7. Qc2 b5 8. Ng5 c6 9. Bb2 Re8 10. O-O e5 11. f4 e4 12. Nxe4 Nxe4 13. Bxe4 h6 14. f5 f6 15. d3 Qe7 16. Rf4 Ba6 17. Qd2 Nd7 18. Rg4 Ne5 19. Bxe5 Qxe5 20. Rf1 Kh7 21. Kg2 Rad8 22. Rff4 cxd3 23. exd3 c5 24. Qc1 Qe7 25. Rg6 Bb7 26. Rh4 Bxe4+ 27. dxe4 Qf8 28. Qf4 Rd7 29. Qg4 Kh8 30. Qh5 Re5 31. Qe2 c4 32. Qe3 Rc7 33. g4 c3 34. g5 fxg5 35. Qd4 Rcc5 36. Rh3 c2 37. f6 c1=Q 38. fxg7+ Qxg7 39. Qd8+ Kh7 40. Rhxh6+ 1-0

Sunday, September 05, 2010

It'll be same old, same old

It's in the nature of chess players to complain about anything and everything but actually do little to change the status quo. Take, for instance, the situation with FIDE. How many times do we hear complaints about FIDE? About their management, the bad organisation of tournaments and even downright arrogance.

Many, many times.

Yet on the eve of the Olympiad a record number of 160 teams from the world over are preparing to descend on Khanty-Mansiysk in Siberia. I think even those who declared support for Karpov are also going. Not to mention the journos who wield the usual anti-FIDE axe and who'll happily pack their laptops and tape recorders and head off to Siberia, too, for their biennial fix. All this despite the known complaints mentioned above as well as current worries over charter flights and hotel rooms.

Well then, it seems to me that if these players and their respective federations are really serious about taking a shot at FIDE, then they should do the obvious thing. Boycott anything the world chess body holds. At least the one big one anyway.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Antonio Sues NCFP

After being expelled from the RP team by the NCFP boss, "Butch" Pichay, GM Antonio has decided to sue the national chess body in court.

Meanwhile, Chinese grandmaster Zhao Jun and his Vietnamese counterpart Le Quang Liem have come equal first in the inaugural Campomanes Memorial Cup. Both finished the tournament with 7 points each. Second were a bunch on 6.5 and another group, that included local stars grandmasters Wesley So and Darwin Laylo, on six points.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

An Imploding Olympiad?

Looks like we're about to witness the single biggest chess event implode into a total disaster. I suppose this is what happens when you send the event to some third world part of the world like Khanty-Mansijsk.

The Chess Mind blog has gruesome details of a rather nasty email exchange between FIDE big wig Israel Gelfer, who is listed on the FIDE site as an honorary veep, and Bermuda representative Nick Faulks:

Dear Mr. Faulks

Without going into the details of invoice you got let me just respond to your style of your mail:

I find your last message to the organizers and to Fide as disgraceful and unbearable and if I were the organizer I would simply disregard any mail from you from now on.

Personally, I would not care if people like you would withdraw from the olympiad.

Israel Gelfer