Saturday, April 30, 2011

Steadman's Lucky Win

A couple of very good results in today's SIO. First up, I'm so glad to see this win by my old mate FM Greg Canfell over Danish grandmaster Sune Berg Hansen. The Dane gets a bit too cute in the end with a silly move.

Sydney Interntional Open 2011
Berg Hansen, Sune
Canfell, Gregory

1. c4 g6 2. g3 Bg7 3. Bg2 d6 4. Nc3 e5 5. d3 Nc6 6. e4 Nd4 7. Nge2 Nxe2 8. Nxe2 h5 9. h4 Bg4 10. f3 Be6 11. Be3 c6 12. Rc1 Ne7 13. d4 Qa5+ 14. Qd2 Qxd2+ 15. Kxd2 d5 16. cxd5 cxd5 17. dxe5 dxe4 18. f4 Rd8+ 19. Ke1 Nd5 20. Bc5 b6 21. Ba3 Bf5 22. Nc3 Nxc3 23. Rxc3 Bf8 24. Bxf8 Kxf8 25. Ke2 Kg7 26. Rhc1 Rd4 27. Ke3 Rhd8 28. Bf1 Bg4 29. Ra3 Rd2 30. Kxe4 Rxb2 31. Rxa7 Be6 32. Bc4 Rb4 0-1

But my pick from today's live games is this win by that man, again, Kiwi FIDE master Michael Steadman. Here he whips out the so-called Shirov-Shabalov Attack (one of my personal favourite variations) against Raul Samar. Visually, it seemed like Raul was a dead duck. But take a closer look!

Sydney Interntional Open 2011
Steadman, Michael
Samar, Raul

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 Bd6 6. Qc2 Nbd7 7. g4 h6 8. Rg1 e5 9. h4 e4 10. Nd2 g5 11. hxg5 hxg5 12. f3 exf3 13. Nxf3 dxc4 14. e4 Bf4 15. Bxf4 gxf4 16. g5 Nh5 17. O-O-O Ng3 18. d5 Qb6 19. dxc6 bxc6 20. Bxc4 Qe3+ 21. Nd2 Ne5 22. Qa4 Bd7 23. Rge1 Qc5 24. Ba6 Rh2 25. Nf1 Nxf1 26. Bxf1 Bg4 27. Rd5 Qf2 28. Rxe5+ Kf8 29. Qb4+ Kg8 30. Ne2 Rh1 31. g6 Rxf1 32. gxf7+

32...Kh7 33. f8=N+ Rxf8 34. Qe7+ 1-0

Quite appropriately, Canfell and Steadman will now meet in the last round tomorrow.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Another SIO, But No Games

A day off today. The start of a week long holiday, the so-called "Golden Week" in Japan. Now I actually have a little bit of time to catch up on some chess, like the ongoing SIO in Parramatta. Nice to see a favourite event make it to a fifth edition after running into some financial challenges earlier.

And very nice to see an easy to navigate website. The live games implementation is quite basic but good to see that additional chat feature. Now all we need is somebody over there to figure out how to actually update the site with downloadable games and I'm sweet.

Anyway, here's one I just copied from the live site. Steadman will be happy with that. Walloping a GM, no less.

Sydney Interntional Open 2011
Steadman, M.
Berg Hansen, Sune

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. f3 c5 5. d5 O-O 6. e4 Re8 7. Nge2 d6 8. Bd2 a6 9. Ng3 b5 10. dxe6 Bxe6 11. cxb5 d5 12. bxa6 c4 13. exd5 Bh3+ 14. Nce4 Nxd5 15. Bxb4 Nxb4 16. gxh3 Qa5 17. Kf2 N8c6 18. Bxc4 Ne5 19. Qb3 Nxc4 20. Qxc4 Rac8 21. Qb3 Rc2+ 22. Ne2 Rxb2 23. Qe3 Nc2 24. Nf6+ 1-0

Monday, April 25, 2011

Russian Bags Doeberl

Some guy named Andrei Deviatkin has won the 2011 Doeberl Cup, scoring 7.5 and winning the thing outright. Never heard of this bloke and, to be quite honest, there was nothing much that impressed me about his play.

The one game that made me think to myself, "what the f**k", was the awful round 6 outing by WIM Arianne Caoili against FM Bobby Cheng. Cheng made her look like a beginner.

2011 Doeberl Cup Premier
Cheng, Bobby
Caoili, Arianne B

1. Nf3 f5 2. d3 Nf6 3. e4 fxe4 4. dxe4 Nxe4 5. Bd3 Nf6 6. Ng5 g6 7. Nxh7 Rxh7 8. Bxg6+ Rf7 9. g4 e6 10. h4 Qe7 11. g5 Nd5 12. h5 Nc6 13. h6 Ne5 14. Bxf7+ Qxf7 15. h7 Nf3+ 16. Kf1 Bg7 17. h8=Q+ Bxh8 18. Rxh8+ Ke7 19. g6 Qf6 20. Rh7+ Kd6 21. Nc3 Qxg6 22. Qxf3 Qxh7 23. Nxd5 exd5 24. Qf6+ Kc5 25. Be3+ Kb4 26. a3+ Ka5 27. Bd2+ Kb5 28. a4+ Kc5 29. b4+ 1-0

Sunday, April 24, 2011

When Ignorance is a Virtue

Eight year old reinvents chess. There's a deep and meaningful message here.

I was understandably touched when she came to me the next day wishing to play chess. “Of course!” I replied. “Great,” she said. “Here are the rules.”

She handed me a packet of papers, and at the top of the first she had written, “Plastic Animal Chess.” Below this was an enumeration of the kinds of pieces to be used (with blanks where we would record which plastic animals would be the stand-ins for each type), along with what each kind of piece does.

“This is complicated, Honey,” I wondered aloud, worried it would be far too difficult for her — and me. There were, by the end of her four hand-written pages, 10 distinct piece types and 18 pieces in all. “Chess only has six types, and it is already immensely difficult!” I said.

But more than my fright at the complexity of her game was another reaction, this one in my gut. Wasn’t there something mildly wrong about this new game of hers? Chess is a revered institution. What kind of heretic plays chess once and immediately presumes to do better?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Far from Chess

Out of the still ongoing aftershocks (we had an M6 last night), my 12 to 14-hour days, anti-nuke demos (I photograph the events) and the one million and one other things to do in Tokyo, I've had very little time for chess. So disconnected from chess, in fact, that I hadn't realised that the Doeberl Cup was on again!

Well, not until I saw a couple ofDoeberl Cup related updates by friends on Facebook. I'd provide a link to but the damn website is so slow to load I just gave up.

So, I bring you instead this video from Macauley Peterson which is a recap of the also ongoing US Championships. This is one is a recap of rounds 6 and seven.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


If you have Chrome, you can download SparkChess from the Google app store. The FREE version gets pretty lame very quickly, but the full version costs US$8.99. It will probably appeal to total newbies, but not chess regulars.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Short Loss to Gustafsson

Nice win by Jan Gustaffson over Nigel Short in yesterday's 7th round of the Bangkok Open. The tournament's presser quotes the winner as saying, "I think he didn't have time for his [slow plan from moves 17-20]. His piece sacrifice at the end [isn't great] but I already have strong threats."

Image courtesy of Bangkok Open

Bangkok Open 2011
Short, Nigel
Gustafsson, Jan

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. a3 Bc5 9. c3 d6 10. d4 Bb6 11. h3 h6 12. Be3 Bb7 13. Nbd2 Re8 14. d5 Ne7 15. Bxb6 cxb6 16. Ba2 Bc8 17. b4 Ng6 18. Re3 Nh7 19. Kh2 Rf8 20. Rc1 Nf4 21. c4 bxc4 22. Nxc4 b5 23. Na5 f5 24. Nc6 Qf6 25. Bb1 Kh8 26. Qb3 Bd7 27. exf5 Bxf5 28. Ncxe5 dxe5 29. Rc6 Qf7 30. Bxf5 Qxf5 31. Rxe5 Qd3 32. Qb2 Rf6 33. Rc7 Rg6 0-1

So far IM James Morris is the highest placed Australian with 5 points. He is actually undefeated and the run includes two draws, one with GMs Kunte and another with Zaw Win Lay.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Saving Chinese Chess

In China today there are fewer people playing Chinese chess and one of that country's best players doesn't like it. Hu Ronghua wants to fix the problem. To do that he started a reality TV show called, "Let's Play Chess Together". Apparently, the concept is not much different to "The Apprentice".

For ordinary people, Chinese chess may appear to be simple game of black versus red, but Hu explains that there’s much more than that going on, allowing it to compete with even today’s modern games.

“Chinese chess can cultivate one’s mentality," says Hu. “The small chessboard is filled with life’s ups and downs. Seemingly winnable chess might end up in total loss, while losing games might have chances to win back.”

Playing, says Hu, helps people develop skill and patience.

As an enthusiast of "western" chess this would be quite fascinating to watch. Imagine Kasparov in the role of Donald Trump looking for his apprentice. I think given the chance and the right amount of money, of course, the publicity-seeking Kasparov would probably jump at it!

Read more: Hu Ronghua (胡荣华): Chinese chess king looks for an apprentice.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Camden Chess Club

Good to see this little entry in the Camden Advertiser. A new chess club has opened in Camden, New South Wales and their home will be the local Camden Library. It's all free and all you have to do is turn up and play.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Thai Chess Open

Another serious aftershock hit Tokyo this afternoon - a 7.1 on the richter scale - which was quickly followed by a series of smaller tremors nearly every 5 minutes. Quite an incredibly unpleasant experience.

Which sort of makes me think: I should have headed off to Thailand!

Consisting of a main and a challengers tournament, this year's Thai Chess Open is host to some 200 players from 40 countries and ahead of them are no less than Spain's super-GM Francesco Vallejo Pons and Englishman GM Nigel Short.

But also in attendance are Australians IM West, FMs Illingworth and Reilly, Matt Drummond, IM James Morris, James Attwood, Sean Watharow and Peter Frost.

Should be a good one to watch. Live games here.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

RIP Larry Parr

Larry Parr, co-author of "Never Say I Assume!", the rags-to-riches story of Malaysian billionaire and chess aficionado, Datuk Tan Chin Nam, has died aged 64. He was once the editor of the USCF's "Chess Life" magazine. Mr Parr's passing is very sad for both US chess and, of course, for our friends in Malaysia.

From Quah Seng Sun in The Star Online:

I remember bumping into him in 1975 or 1976 and always, he would be deeply engrossed in discussing a chess game with any player who cared to sit down with him.

The more you know him, the more you’d learn that he had an elephant memory and could be very talkative. He had stories to tell and he’d tell them in so dramatic a fashion that you’d think there’d be scandals behind them but there weren’t. He wove fascinating tales around the chess personalities. His favourite subject was Bobby Fischer and he loved to talk and write about him.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Texas Tech Wins Final Four

As I reported last week, Kiwi Puchen Wang and Pinoy GM-elect Julio Sadorra were to represent their school, UT Dallas, in the so-called Final Four of Chess competition in Washington, D.C. It now turns out that their team finished second behind eventual winner Texas Tech.

There's more here on the USCF site.

If you want to view the games, go to the Monroi site. That's if you can be bother to register. I couldn't.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Europe via Toowoomba

A reason to visit Toowoomba. Play some chess. That and the fancy first prize!

The festival includes three events - the Darling Downs Open, Darling Downs Amateur and Toowoomba Coffee House Mystery Gambits.

The Darling Downs Open is the lead event of the Toowoomba Chess Festival, giving the local stars and top juniors a chance to fight it out through seven rounds with visiting experts and international masters over the four days.

First prize is $600 and a one week stay on Germany's Mosel River provided by one of the sponsors, My Europe Base.


Read more in The Chronicle.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

3D Chess

Some people just come up with all kinds of ideas. This one is 3D chess. Below is an example of how a Bishop might move or "moving in perspective". The whole concept even has its own website.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Tidbit of NCFP Past

I missed this last week, but it's related to my last post below. It looks like the man behind the UT Dallas chess team and a professor of literary studies, Tim Redman, didn't exactly impress ex-Pinoy Olympiad team skipper, Bobby Ang.

Here's Bobby:

I say all these nice things about Mr. Redman with mixed feelings, for he double-crossed us during the 2000 Istanbul Olympiad. The question of which federation to accredit as the official governing body of chess in the Philippines, whether it will remain the Philippine Chess Federation (PCF, this is the Art Borjal/Edgar de Castro group) or the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP, Campo/myself/Eugene Torre etc), was to be taken up in the General Assembly to be held during the Olympiad.

Campo and I had a merienda with Mr. Redman and one of his delegates, Jim Eades (this is the guy who wrote Chess for Dummies, a great instructional book) to campaign for their support. We had very friendly discussions after which Mr. Redman promised that the USCF will support the NCFP. To my great disappointment, however, during the actual General Assembly not only did they vote against us but their delegate (I forget his name but he was a big guy) threatened to walk out if the NCFP won.