Saturday, 24 March 2018

Australian Kangaroos fail to jump final hurdle

The Australian Kangaroos fell just short of qualifying for the Pro Chess League Semi Finals after narrowly losing their final match against Chengdu Pandas. The Kangaroos had qualified 4th in the Pacific Zone before beating top placed San Diego Surfers to set up a match with Chengdu. The Chinese team won 9-7, after trailing for most of the match.
Looking at the makeup of the team (both in the regular season and finals) it seemed that GM Anton Smirnov was carrying the Australian flag. For a lot of the matches, the remaining three players were from other countries (although to be fair, FM Brandon Clarke is living in Australia, while still registered with England). A few other strong Australian players (Zhao, Li, Morris, Ikeda) did make brief appearances, but as the rules allow OS players, it looked like the team relied heavily on that.

Friday, 23 March 2018

That one time I lost to Lloyd Fell

One of the reasons my wife stopped coming to chess tournaments was Lloyd Fell. Not because she had any personal issues with him mind you, but simply because his games were almost always the last ones to finish. And as I always hung around for the prize giving (despite never winning a prize), this meant hanging around until Lloyd finished.
Over the years my wife has conflated her memories of watching Lloyd play, with watching Lloyd play me. "I hope you don't have to play Fell in the last round" would often be the farewell she would give me as I left for a weekend (when Lloyd was still alive). As it turns out, I may have only ever played Lloyd on a single occasion, although it certainly was in the last round. And looking over the score of the game, it seems it wasn't a very long game, as I blundered a pawn early, and lost without too much effort.

Fell,Lloyd - Press,Shaun [C56]
Sydney Uni Open, 10.08.1989

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Some pretty obvious cheating

I'm not sure when I decided I was 'old', but I have no doubt that I am know. One of the warning signs is getting sucked into watching too many detective mysteries such as 'Lewis', 'Midsomer Murders' or 'Murdoch Mysteries'.
And it was the last of these shows that had a very chess heavy episode on last night. The plot revolved around the murder of a Russian chess master before a tournament in Toronto. To investigate the murder, one of the young constables has to go undercover as a competitor in the tournament.
Without giving too much away, there was a large amount of what we would now call cheating involved. To pass himself off as a chess master, the young constable (Crabtree) had the moves relayed to him via an earpiece, which was pretty novel technology for the turn of the 20th century (when the series is set). However, to transmit his opponents moves, he had to say them out loud, so they could be picked up my the microphone. No one seemed to either mind, or notice. And in at least one game, his opponent was also cheating, via the real player tapping signals on his shoulder, which most people could see.
Of course it was all part of the slightly tongue-in-cheek nature of the show, so it could be excused. Especially as  they seemed to get most of the chess right. Openings were called by their correct names (eg Queens Gambit) and even followed the correct moves. The tournament had demonstrations boards hanging up (although not used), and the tables had country flags. One thing that was missing however were chess clocks, allowing the games to be dragged out.
Overall it was a good 'chess' episode, and one worth watching if it pops up on a TV channel near you.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

2018 O2C Doeberl Cup - Blindfold Simul and Lecture

World record holder GM Timur Gareyev is the latest GM entrant to this years O2C Doeberl Cup. He holds the record for the largest documented blindfold simul, with 48 games in 2016.
As part of his trip to Canberra, he will be conducting a 10 board blindfold simul at the Southern Cross Club on Wednesday 28 March (the night before the Doeberl Cup begins). This event is being organised by the ACT Chess Association, and members are invited to take part. You can either contact ACTCA President Cam Cunningham if you are interested (contact details here)  or respond to the email invitation if you are on the ACTCA mailing list.
Gareyev will also be giving a lecture on Friday morning (30 March) to junior players. As space is limited, this will be for ACT junior players with a FIDE rating (or ACF rating above 1000). Invitations will be sent out shortly, or you can reply directly to me at the above link if you wish to attend.
Both these events are free to ACTCA/ACTJCL members

Sunday, 18 March 2018

2018 Dubbo Open - IM Stephen Solomon wins

IM Stephen Solomon completed a clean sweep of the 2018 Dubbo Open scoring another 3 wins on day 2. He started off the day with a win over joint leader WFM Alana Chibnall, followed it up with a win over Trevor Bemrose, before reaching 6/6 by scoring a nice win of Don Keast.
The battle for second place was a little more dramatic, with 4 Canberra players paired together on boards 2&3 in the final round. Matt Radisich reached 4.5 by beating a somewhat flagging Graham Saint, while Glenn Ingham leapfrogged Chibnall in the last game to finish, converting a tricky opposite coloured bishop ending. This left Ingham and Radisich tied for 2nd place.
Milorad Lukic and Stephen Taylor (4/6) finished equal first in the Under 1650 category, Keith Farrell (3.5) had an excellent event to collect the Under 1400 prize, while 10 year old Eamonn Fitzgerald (3.0) was the best unrated player.
Full standings from the event, plus a small selection of games, can be found at

Solomon,Stephen J (2412) - Keast,Don A (1913) [C06]
Dubbo Open 2018 Dubbo AUS (6), 18.03.2018

Saturday, 17 March 2018

2018 Dubbo Open - Day 1

IM Stephen Solomon and WFM Alana Chibnall lead the 32 player Dubbo Open at the end of the first day. The are on 3/3, and will play in the first round on Sunday morning.
Solomon had two fairly straightforward wins in the first two rounds, but had to work a little harder in the third round. Chibnall got to 100% by overcoming former winner Don Keast in the third round after Keast played a piece sacrifice that was almost, but not quite, winning.
Tied for third are Trevor Bemrose and Slavko Kojic on 2.5. They will also meet in the 4th round, with the winner up against the winner of Solomon and Chibnall.
The club also hosted the regular handicap blitz event, which was won by WFM Alana Chibnall for the 4th time in the last years. Going the final round she was tied with Glenn Ingham, but an upset win by Helen Aylwin over Ingham in round 5 saw Chibnall finish outright first.

Kanostrevac,Zeljko (1764) - Solomon,Stephen J (2412) [A45]
Dubbo Open 2018 Dubbo AUS (3), 17.03.2018

Friday, 16 March 2018

2018 Dubbo Open

The 2018 Dubbo Open begins tomorrow at the Dubbo RSL Club. The event has attracted a very strong last minute entry in IM Stephen Solomon, who  is making journey back from Ballarat to Queensland, and has decided to have a chess break along the way.
While Solomon looks to be the clear favourite, I'm sure other players in the event hold out hope of scoring an upset win, especially at the slightly faster time limit of 60m+10s
While there will not be live coverage of the games, you can get all the tournament results at If I get enough time during or between rounds I will try and enter a few games, which can be replayed from the result web page.

(** I am a paid official at this event **)