Wednesday, 13 November 2019

A rapid attack

Lev Aronian has just won his second Grand Chess Tour event of the year. Along the way he won this nice game against Karjakin, using an interesting move order idea in the Italian.


Aronian,L (2772) - Karjakin,Sergey (2754) [C53]
Superbet TB 2019 Bucharest ROU (2), 10.11.2019


Sunday, 10 November 2019

2019 Vikings Weekender - IM Junta Ikeda wins

IM Junta Ikeda was the convincing winner of the 2019 Vikings Weekender, scoring 6/7. He lead the field by a point and a half going into the final round, but a drew with FM Jason Hu (in the last game to finish) allowed the chasing pack to narrow the gap. After finishing the first day with 4 wins, Ikeda drew with IM Sephen Solomon is round 5, beat Willis Lo in round 6, before drawing with Hu in round 7.
Second place was shared between IM Stephen Solomon, Fred Litchfield and Wenlin Yin. Solomon went through the event undefeated, but 4 straight draws in rounds 3 to 6 left him on 5 points. WIM Biljana Dekic finished strongly to claim the Under 2000 prize, while Ryan Hii won the Under 1600 prize.
The Minor (Under 1600) was won by Craig Stewart with 6.5/7. Lee Forace finished in second place on 5.5, with Erik Jochimsen, Jason Gillard, Lily Cai and Yutta Mantoro tied for thrid on 5. Lily Cai picked up the prize for best Female player, Jacob Wong was the best Under 100 players, while there was a 4 way tie for best junior.
The final day saw a couple of losses that could be described as real tragedies. In one game a player had just reached a winning rook and pawn ending (the Lucena position), but with around 20 seconds on the clock, spent too much time deciding the best course of action and lost on time. In the second a player was offered a draw, but decided to play on, with what was unfortunately an illegal move. As the piece touched (a queen) could only be moved en pris (to block a check), the player resigned instead.
Once again the tournament was enjoyable for all who took part, and was played in good spirits. The ACT Chess Association was able to distribute $3300 in prizes, due in part to the generous sponsorship of the Vikings Club, Street Chess and Jim Flood.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

2019 Vikings Weekender - Day 1

IM Junta Ikeda holds a 1 point lead after the first day of the 2019 Vikings Weekender. He won all 4 games played today, finishing with a win over CM Lalit Prasad. In second place are Willis Lo, IM Stephen Solomon and Prasad. Tomorrow mornings round sees Ikeda against Solomon, a pairing which will likely decide the outcome of the $1000 first prize.
Solomon went through the day undefeated, but drew with Lo and Fred Litchfield. Litchfield chose an interesting line of the Sicilian Dragon, where a lot of material is exchanged, and Black tries to hold the subsequent ending.
In the Minor, Jason Gillard and Craig Stewart share the lead on 4 points. They play in round 5, with the large group of players on 3 hoping for a draw between them.
The tournament attracted a good field of 56 players, with a smaller field in the Open offset by a larger field in the Minor. Apart from the lure of $1000 for first place, the ACT Chess Association is offering plenty of sectional prizes, so tomorrow should see more hard fought chess.

Friday, 8 November 2019

2019 Vikings Weekender Coverage

If you want to follow the 2019 Vikings Weekender online, then go to  tournaments.streetchess.net/vikings2019/
Apart from updated results, there will be live coverage of the top boards of the Open (and possibly the top board of the Minor). The tournament starts tomorrow at 10:30 am, with 4 rounds on Saturday and 3 on Sunday.
At this stage the top seeds are IM Junta Ikeda, IM Stephen Solomon and FM Jason Hu. There is also a strong group of ACT players taking part (Litchfield, Lo, Yin and Press) so it should be a very competitive event.
Online entries are still being taken at http://vesus.org/festivals/2019-vikings-weekender/ or you can enter at the venue from 10 am tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Olympiad on the move?

A very recent announcement from the FIDE President indicates that the 2020 Chess Olympiad may not be in Khanty-Mansiysk as originally  announced. The whole event may be moved to Moscow, with the new created chess Para-Olympiad being held in K-M instead.
While some people seem to welcome this development, I confess to being dissapointed if the venue is changed. I quite like Khanty-Mansiysk, and have found the small city Olympiads (eg Bled) more social than those held in big cities. There is of course an extra travel leg (3 hours flying time from Moscow), but this isn't that onerous (especially for teams who have already spent 20+ hours in transit).
Hopefully there will be further announcements in the next few days, especially if the move necessitates a change of dates. While teams based in Europe can probably organise their travel quite easily, for the rest of us, planning trips like this have a greater lead time.

Tuesday, 5 November 2019

A modern king hunt

The European Team Championship has just finished, with Russia winning ahead of The Ukraine and England. One of the highlights from the tournament came in the round 7 match between Russia and Germany. Daniil Dubov sacrifices a rook to drive Rasmus Svane's king out into the open. Once Svane misses the only defence on move 29 (Qxe6!), Dubov has a forced mate, which is doesn't miss.

Dubov,Daniil (2699) - Svane,Rasmus (2592) [D37]
22nd European Teams Batumi GEO (7.4), 31.10.2019


Monday, 4 November 2019

It almost plays itself

The following game is one I use quite frequently so demonstrate the strength of a centralised knight. But not only due I use it as a teaching aid, but I've also implemented the same idea in some of my own games (including one I played last week).
The whole system was developed by Pillsbury, and was one of the reasons why the Queens Gambit became such a popular opening in the first half of the 20th Century. Since then Black has found a number of more dynamic defences, but it is still worth studying, especially if you want to use 1.d4 as an attacking opening.


Pillsbury,Harry Nelson - Marco,Georg [D55]
Paris Paris (12), 08.06.1900