Monday, 22 September 2014

2014 World Youth

The 2014 World Youth Championship is underway in Durban, South Africa. This has always been a huge event, and is one of the largest international events on the calendar. In fact it has grown so large that it is being split into two separate tournaments in future years.
Despite the travel distance (which seems to be an issue for any non-European event) there are over 70 federations represented. Australia seems to be have a large group of players, and are represented across a number of age groups.
Along side the tournament is a big Open event, which seems to have attracted a strong field. Both events (Open and Youth) have coverage of the top boards on the tournament website. The rounds start at midnight Canberra time, although this might be a little tough unless you are a night owl.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Anand wins in Bilbao

Viswanathan Anand's win in the 2014 Candidates tournament not only gave him a rematch for the World Championship, but also had the chess pundits wondering if this was the start of a career resurgence.  For the last 6 months this has been a hard question to answer, as Anand has not played that much, but this week he showed that the Candidates was not a one off.
Despite a last round loss to Lev Aronian, Anand won the Bilbao Masters for the first time, after 3 previous attempts. With the 3-1-0 scoring system in place, he had the tournament wrapped up with a round to go, and his +3=2-1 was eventually worth more than Aronian's +2=4-0, when it came to handing out prize money and interesting hats. Aronian finished a point behind in 2nd, with Ponomariov and Vallejo Pons 5 points back.
Of the games from the event I saw, the one that impressed me most was the following win by Anand over Vallejo Pons. As with most hight level games, it isn't one blunder that undoes Vallejo, but just the gradual build up by Anand until Black's position finally cracks.

Anand,V (2785) - Vallejo Pons,F (2712) [D20]
7th Grand Slam Masters Bilbao ESP (4), 18.09.2014



Saturday, 20 September 2014

2014 Lifeline Book Fair - slim pickings this year

The range of chess books at this years (September) Lifeline Bookfair was very limited. In previous posts I have said that as chess books go, it could either be feast or famine, and this time it was definitely famine. I grabbed exactly 1 chess book, and even then I'm not sure I don't already have a copy. On the other hand Bridge books were well represented, as were poker and puzzle books.
Where I did do well however was in the area of computing books. PHP, Perl, jQuery and Drupal books helped fill my bags, which was quite fortuitous, as I am on the lookout for a new job. Although it is yet to be officially confirmed, a work review has recommended abolishing my current position, and I therefore need to find gainful employment. Currently I am working in the area of CMS development, but having covered a number of different tasks during my time in the IT industry, this isn't the only string to my bow.  A few job applications have been submitted, but nothing positive as yet.

Friday, 19 September 2014

2014 Vikings Weekender 15/16th November

The 2014 Vikings Weekender, Canberra's 'Biggest Little Weekender' is being held on the 15th and 16th of November. Once again it is being organised and hosted by the Tuggeranong Chess Club, and sponsored by the Tuggeranong Vikings Rugby Union Club. The tournament details are

Date: 15&16th November 2014
Venue: Tuggeranong Vikings Rugby Union Club, Ricardo St, Wanniassa, ACT
Divisions: Open and Under 1600 (ACF)
Format: 7 round swiss
Prizes: Open 1st $1000, Under 1600 1st $500 - Other prizes based on entries but last years prize pool was over $2500
Entry Fee: $65, Junior/Concession $45 GM,IM,WGM,WIM Free
Rounds: 15th (Saturday) 10:30am, 1:30pm, 4:00pm, 7:00pm 16th (Sunday) 10:30am, 1:30pm, 3:45pm
Arbiter: IA Shaun Press

Enter online (no payment required) at http://vesus.org/festivals/2014-vikings-weekender/ (NB If asked to enter a player ID, any number will do!. Players with FIDE ID's can simply use the search function). Entry fees will be collected on the morning of the event.

(I am a paid official for this event)

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The saga of 11.3b

If you aren't a regular visitor to www.fide.com, you may have missed the following announcement concerning Article 11.3b in the Laws of Chess.

The Rules Commission reported that they have altered Law 11.3b in the Laws of Chess to reflect the request of the ACC. The new text reads: During a game, a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone, electronic means of communication or any device capable of suggesting chess moves on their person in the playing venue. However, the rules of the competition may allow such devices to be stored in a player’s bag, as long as the device is completely switched off. A player is forbidden to carry a bag holding such a device, without permission of the arbiter. If it is evident that a player has such a device on their person in the playing venue, the player shall lose the game. The opponent shall win. The rules of a competition may specify a different, less severe, penalty. The arbiter may require the player to allow his/her clothes, bags or other items to be inspected, in private. The arbiter or a person authorized by the arbiter shall inspect the player and shall be of the same gender as the player. If a player refuses to cooperate with these obligations, the arbiter shall take measures in accordance with Article 12.9.

This new ruling came about as part of the work done by the FIDE/ACP Anti-Cheating Committee, and is a change from the previous, harsher version agreed to in 2013.
The only problem is that changes to the Laws of Chess need to be agreed to by the FIDE General Assembly, and this did not happen in Tromso. The reason for this was once all the excitement of the elections was over, a large number of delegates (including the PNGCF delegate) failed to turn up when this was supposed to be voted on, meaning the GA lacked the necessary quorum.
 Personally I found this very disappointing, especially I was one of the authors of this new rule, and 6 months of hard work looked to be going to waste. What has now been decided is that while the change is not official, tournament organisers can follow the new rule, without fear that events won't be rated or that they will fall foul of other anti-cheating regulations. The intention of course is the changes will be approved at the next General Assembly, but at his stage this not planned to occur until 2016. But while the solution to getting the new rule in place is not perfect, it at least is better than what it could have been.

Old or new

The following game from the 2014 European Club Championship is already receiving high praise. Grischuk does his best to keep Rodshtein's king in the centre, sacrificing material to do so.
But having played through the game I am undecided whether I am looking at a modern masterpiece, or a homage to a previous time. The sacrifice of material, combined with direct threats against an uncastled king, reminds me of some of Keres' games from the 1930's. However, to pull this off requires pretty exact calculation, which is more the hallmark of the modern player. Nonetheless, one thing seems to be a constant in this game, and that is falling behind in development gets punished, whether it is 1934 or 2014.


Grischuk,Alexander (2789) - Rodshtein,Maxim (2678) [A07]
30th ECC Open 2014 Bilbao ESP (3.3), 16.09.2014



Tuesday, 16 September 2014

I feel like Bobby Fischer

If you hang around long enough, you eventually become your parents. So I'm not surprised that the music I listen to is moving further away from what my children choose to listen to. But I still try and stay relevant by listening to JJJ, even if they seem to be showing signs of middle age themselves.
Occasionally I will catch a song which jumps out at me. The other day I happened to be listening 'Cosby Sweater' by the Hilltop Hoods. Now the title is amusing in and of itself, but like a lot of hip-hop they name check a number of people. And in this case Bobby Fischer gets a mention, in the lines
I feel like Bobby Fischer, always 4 moves ahead of my competition

Now I don't know if that counts as 'bigging yourself up' in the hop-hop community, but the lines are repeated throughout the song. I'm also assuming the Hilltop Hoods knew enough about chess to think of Fischer, but given that 'Magnus Carlsen' also scans, maybe not so much to give the song a more contemporary feel.