Sunday, 19 August 2018

The Notorious BDG

Flipping through some old games I came across this quick win in the BDG. While I don't go looking to play the Blackmar-Diemar Gambit, it is something I will play against the Scandinavian. In this game Black went wrong on move 6, as after I castled, the open e file was always going to be a problem for him.

Press,Shaun - Marshall,Justin [D00]
Belconnen Club-ch Belconnen, 1994

Friday, 17 August 2018

One man wrecking crew

The ACT Interschool events use a restricted swiss system for our qualifying events. Players are grouped by schools (or subsets) and aren't paired against players from the same school/set. Team scores are then based on the top 4 scores from a school (and the next 4 for team 2 etc). The intention of this system is to make events a little more competitive, as in a strict team of 4 system, only board 1 players player other board players etc
On the other hand, a different set of issues arrive, when one school is clearly stronger than the rest. In both Secondary Schools events this year, the top three places were taken by single schools (Canberra Grammar and Lyneham High). It also made the event tough on the other players, as the leading players couldn't take points of each other in a lot of cases, and ended up playing finding opponents on lower scores (which isn't normal in swiss pairings).
The other issue is that we award trophies for perfect score (7 wins from 7 games). In yesterdays event, it was looking as though I might have to hand out 10 such trophies, to players from the same school. Fortunately I was saved by Ricky Luo (Radford) who ended up playing all the top players from Lyneham High. Each round he was paired against someone on a prefect score, and each round he saved me one trophy! By the last round he had taken out 6 Lyneham players and as a result only Yizhen Diao and Manjot Melli ended up on 7/7. Despite his hard work Luo missed out on a perfect score himself, falling just short after a hard fought draw with Safron Archer in round 6.

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

What was Black thinking?

I observed a pretty wacky game of chess at my local club this evening. Black thought it was a good idea to sacrifice his queen, expecting to be rewarded with at least some compensation. However looking at the game from an elevated (and sideways) observation point I couldn't see exactly what he was expecting. I turns out that there was compensation, in that both players were under 5 minutes after about move 10 (60m+30s was the time limit), and in the ensuing complications, White ran out of time!
Here is the start of the game, as I got sidetracked playing my own game, and was not able to see the rest. White's flag fell around move 30

Aliyev,Kamran - Grcic,Milan [A40]
Korda Classic, 14.08.2018

Give a pawn, take a queen

I can remember at some point Nigel Short annotating a game where he basically said that the Two Knights Defence simply lost a pawn. This was based on the observation that after 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Black cannot recapture on d5, unless they are willing to face the Fried Liver Attack.
And yet people still play the opening, including myself, although I tend to give up more than a pawn in the lines I favour. Looking through some games from the current Abu Dhabi Masters, I came across a nice win for Black where he gave up a couple of pawns, in the Colman Variation. When I was a boy the advice was not to capture the pawn on c6, but White did, and Black demonstrated why it might not be the best idea. Nonetheless, the game was still pretty even until White decided to threaten mate on h7 with Qg6, at which point Black played a few checks and then trapped the White queen by moving his king.

Al-Hajiri,Bader (2120) - Esenbek Uulu,Ilimbek (2159) [C58]
25th Abu Dhabi International Chess Festi Abu Dhabi (5.72), 11.08.2018

Sunday, 12 August 2018

First Saturday

Albert Winkelman is another of Canberra's young players spending the European summer playing chess. At the moment he is taking part in the First Saturday IM tournament in Budapest. These monthly events have been running for over 20 years, and provide an opportunity for players to achieve IM and GM norms (depending on the section).
While Albert looks to be finding this months tournament tough going, he has scored 2 wins, including one against IM Nhat Min To. So even if he doesn't return from Europe with a new title, he will certainly come back a stronger player.

Winkelman,Albert (2134) - To,Nhat Minh (2352) [B33]
First Saturday IM August 2018 1117 Budapest, Hunyadi Janos u (7.2), 10.08.2018

Friday, 10 August 2018

Never bet on anything that talks

Unibet has just been announced as the official betting partner for the upcoming 2018 World Championship Match. Apart from providing you with the opportunity to win or lose money, Unibet is going to offer enhanced digital content throughout the match.
Having never bet on chess before I'm not sure exactly what options will be available. Win, loss and draw for each game seems to be obvious, as well as betting on the match result. More exotic options could be problematic, as offering odds on choices of openings or specific moves could be vulnerable to insider information.
More information will no doubt be released soon, but hopefully the connection of the tournament with a gambling site will not have any unfortunate side effects.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

How's this for a draw

While looking at some recent opening theory I came across the following drawing line in the Closed Sicilian. Clearly both players involved were happy to split the point, but I suspect the tournament rule on when draws could be offered/agreed to dictated the length of the game. Having said that, as the game was played after the FIDE 5 fold repetition rule came into play, then technically the game only lasted 16 moves.

Narciso Dublan,Marc (2521) - Grigoryan,Karen H (2580) [B23]
Barbera del Valles op 38th Barbera del Valles (9), 12.07.2015