Sunday, 25 September 2022


 This years AFL grand Final has been run and done, with the Sydney Swans getting smashed by Geelong. During (or after) the coverage, I did see an advertisement for an insurance company which had a bit of chess in it. AFL legend Kevin Sheedy was one of the players, although the game was halted when someone ran through the game, smashing board, table, pieces etc. I'd post a link but I can't find one at the moment. 

If anyone does have a link, please post in the comments section.

Thursday, 22 September 2022

2022 ACT Teams Championship

 After a break of a few years, the 2022 ACT Teams Championship is being held on Sunday, 23rd October, at Campbell High School. It will be a team of 4 tournament, played with a time limit of G15m+5s. It will be FIDE rated (Rapid) and there will be 7 rounds. Cost for the team is $10 per player, with trophies and medals being awarded. The last time it was held (in 2019) there were 10 teams, and hopefully this year will see more players (especially given the larger numbers at each of the clubs).

One interesting innovation this year is that a teams average rating is based on Boards 2,3 and 4 (and not board 1). The average limit is 1700, but this rule means you can have a strong board 1 player without forcing the team to have a lower rated board 4 (or even 3 and 4). The idea is to encourage some 'creative' recruitment, or simply to get the higher rated ACT players to turn out.

The event is being organised by IA Alana Chibnall (  ) and teams can enter by contacting her. If you don't have a team and want to play anyway, you can still enter, and extra teams will be formed on the day.


Tuesday, 20 September 2022

Apparently 2.c4 doesn't win instantly

 Following the latest opening theory I tried to finish tonight's game with 2.c4. Instead my opponent decided to resist for a few more moves, but eventually the pawer of the c pawn did the business.

Press,Shaun - Cheng,Larry [E65]
Gungahlin CC (6), 20.09.2022

Monday, 19 September 2022

Activity not age

 Former World Champion Garry Kasparov had a tough time of it in the Chess 960 event in St Louis, finishing with a single draw over 9 games. He did acknowledge that the main reason for his showing was a lack of recent activity. 

Usually a decline in ability is attributed to the effects of aging, but it is more likely that simply playing less is the real culprit. Both Korchnoi and Smyslov were able to play high level chess well into their 70's, outlasting much younger players who had retired earlier.

The JB Generation Cup is currently running, pitting new stars against old. Although the younger generation looks to have the upper hand, 53 year old Vasyl Ivanchuk did strike a blow for the seniors, with a good win over Anish Giri.

Ivanchuk,Vasyl (2678) - Giri,Anish (2740) [E51]
Julius Baer Generation Cup | Prelims (3.1), 18.09.2022

Sunday, 18 September 2022

Grumpy old man

 In looking for articles for this blog, I usually have a few rough guidelines. They should be about chess (but not always), I should find them interesting (even if you do not), I try and avoid 'clickbait' (which I can usually do), and there should be at least one game on the front page.

So I went looking for an interesting game from recent events, and have run into an issue. While a lot more chess is being played and recorded than at any time previously, there is a lot more chaff to sift through. A lot of the online games (even played by strong players) are decided by blatant mistakes, or attempts to trick opponents into pre-moving the wrong response. This is both a function of the time controls (blitz or bullet), but also due to the method of play. In the case of a couple of OTB events I looked through, the data seemed incomplete, in that there were an enormous number of games lasting less than 10 moves, but finishing in unclear positions. I assume data entry issues in this case.

As a result I came up short, but I have also resisted the urge to return to an earlier time. As an avid book collector (and reader), I appreciate more and more the printed word, in so much as there is a degree of quality control before publication. Having just started to read Keres' book on the 1948 World Championship, I am struck by the amount of description he has put into every game, versus the somewhat sterile centipawn evaluation that newer players are familiar with.  

Of course this makes me sound like a grumpy old man (hence the title), but for newer players, grabbing an older tournament book and playing through the games and notes still has a lot going for it.

Friday, 16 September 2022

Upcoming Junior Events

 If you live in Canberra (or close enough to it) and are a junior player, then there are a number of events coming up.

The 2022 ACT Junior Championship is being held between the 26th and 30th September. It is being run in different age groups, but the format is designed to allow younger players to play more than one event. (Fun fact: I played in the 1982 ACT Junior Championship, my first serious event)

The following week is the Spring Bootcamp, which is a week of coaching and chess. On this case the events are Lightning, Rapid and Standard, and the schedule allows players to play in 1, 2 or all 3 events.

You can register for the Championship here, and for Bootcamp, here.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Theory v Practice

 The new version of the FIDE Laws of Chess are to be published soon, and will go into effect on the 1st January 2023. As a member of the FIDE Rules Commission, I have been involved in a bit of proofreading, hopefully to eliminate any glaring errors in both language and meaning.

This stands in stark contrast to my experiences earlier in the day. Visiting one of the Canberra schools i coach at, I had a number of interesting rules explained to me by 5 and 6 year old chess players. The main thing they had in common was that the 'rules' allowed my opponents to escape from fairly dicey positions. One example was having played Qh4+ (as Black) to attack the White king on e1, I was told that my queen could be captured by h2-h4, as that's how pawns move. When I tried to explain the correct rule I was told 'No, this is the real rule'