Monday, 6 July 2015

Oceania Zonal 2015 - Random Games

Thought I might throw out a random selection of interesting games from the 2015 Oceania Zonal. The first is a nice win by IM Stephen Solomon over FM Michael Steadman

Solomon,Stephen - Steadman,Michael [B06]
2015 Oceania Zonal (3.5), 05.07.2015

2015 Oceania Zonal - Day 2

The second day of the 2015 Oceania Zonal was the first of 2 double round days,  and saw the leading pack begin to thin out. The first surprise of the morning round was 2nd seed IM Moulthun Ly being held to a draw by Calvin Prasad of Fiji. This was followed by a number of draws in the afternoon round, with IM Anton Smirnov drawing with FM Malcolm Stephens, IM Junta Ikeda drawing with Brodie McClymont, and Zachary Lo's win over FM Karl Zelesco being the most significant results.
Nonetheless there are still 6 players on a perfect 3/3. IM Max Illingworth leads this group, with IM's Lane, Bjelobrk, Goldenberg, Solomon plus Loh to keep him company.
The women's Zonal has also had its fair share of upsets, with WIM Biljana Dekic the only player on 3/3. Kristine Quek holds outright 2nd on 2.5, ahead of a group of 4 players on 2/3.
Tomorrow is a single round day, with the action starting at 1pm. The top board pairings see Illingworth v Goldenberg, Bjelobrk v Loh, and Lane v Solomon.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

2015 Oceania Zonal - Day 1

The 2015 Oceania Zonal began with 103 players in the Open and 14 players in the Women's event. With such big numbers in the Open event (a new record), the gap between the top half and the bottom half was quite large. The top boards all went according to rating, and it wasn't until Board 20 before the first upset was recorded. This was Paul Russell's win over Jason Hu, while both Tom and Henry Slater Jones scored wins over higher rated opponents.
The Women's Zonal had a couple of semi-upsets where the Guo v Anton was quite a roller coaster, before the point was eventually split. Kashish Christian drew with Layla Timergazi, but the rest of the games went according to seeding.
The only real difficulty on the first day was with the live broadcasts (What? No!). Adding to the list of obscure things that can go wrong, a faulty extension cord failed to provide enough juice to the top boards, leading to intermittent coverage. However the problem has been fixed, so 6 boards should be in operation for the rest of the event.
Tomorrow is a double round day, with round 2 starting at 10:30am. The top two boards will be interesting from a Pacific point of view with Stuart Fancy (PNG) and Calvin Prasad (FIJ) up against the top two seeds (Illingworth and Ly).

Kelly, Adam - Illingworth, Max
2015 Oceania Zonal, 2015.07.04

A super hack

I quite like a good hack, and this one is one of the best of the modern era. 16 year Wei Yi builds up the usual king side attack, before kicking off the real fun on move 22 with Rxf7. After that it is like a playground game of chasies with the black king running to and fro. A "modern day Morphy" was one description of his play.

Wei Yi - Lazaro Bruzon
Danzhou, 3.07.2015

Friday, 3 July 2015

2015 Oceania Zonal

The 2015 Oceania Zonal begins on Saturday at the North Sydney Leagues Club, and at the moment the Open Zonal has around 100 entries. This is the largest field for zonal since the Oceania Zone was formed, and while the majority of entries are from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea are also sending representatives.
The tournament is a qualifier for the upcoming FIDE World Cup, and the top of the field contains a number of players aiming for that event. Current Australian Champion Max Illingworth is the top seed, with Moulthun Ly and Anton Smirnov seeded just behind him.
The event also provides an opportunity for players to earn FIDE titles, with anyone score 50% or above eligible for a Candidate Master title, while 66% earns a FIDE Master title. FIDE have tightened up the regulations for the direct IM title from Zonal's with a player having to finish 1st to receive the title.
The tournament begins on the July 4 at the North Sydney Leagues Club at 1pm. There will be live coverage of the top boards, and spectators are most welcome. Results/pairings etc will be available from the tournament website.

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

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Don't speak to soon

As a rule I don't discuss games while they are in progress. Either my games or even games where I am not involved. This is mainly due to the fact I direct a lot of events, and I want to make sure everything is by the book.
Of course when I was younger (and before I became a serious arbiter), I often chatted about the state of my game, especially if I felt I was winning. Of course this sort of talk can lead to a quick downfall if you are not careful.
At my local chess club (ANU) this evening this almost happened. A player (who shall remain nameless) sidled up to me and said "I think have a mate in two, against any defence". I just said "uh, huh" and waited till the player returned to the board. Taking a quick glance I noticed two things. Firstly, his opponent had a fairly obvious defence, and secondly, this was almost a copy of a famous incident that occurred over 100 years ago.
In the 1911 Karlsbad tournament, Frank Marshal was up against Fedor Dus Chotimirsky. After a fairly even opening, Dus Chotimirsky spotted a chance to mate Marshall. With Queen, Knight and Bishop all converging in Marshall's King, he went even as far to explain to spectators that 'Poor Marshall dead. Must be mate'. Unfortunately there was a hole in his analysis, and after Marshall's obvious reply  he exclaimed "Oh oh. Marshall not dead, I dead" before resigning.
However, unlike Dus Chotimirsky, the confident ANU player at least ad the satisfaction of winning his game, but it did take longer than he thought.

Marshall,Frank James - Dus Chotimirsky,Fedor Ivanovich [D21]
Karlsbad Karlsbad (25), 24.09.1911

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Yoko Chess

There are very few things that I have as an absolute belief. One, Don Bradman  is simply the greatest sportsmen, of any sport, in history. Two, The Beatles produced the best music of any recording artist, ever.
So anything related to the Beatles peaks my interest. When there is a chess crossover, then my interest is doubled. These two things came together with the news that Yoko Ono has released a chess app called 'Yoko Chess'. The basic 3D version if free (for the iPad/iPhone) but you can get a premium version as well. This contains both a board where all the chess pieces are dogs, while the second set is a version of her famous all white set from 1968, titled 'Play it by Trust'.
The all white set is about showing we are all on the same side, but those who can play "Kibitzer's Chess" can also use it to play that variant.
If you want a copy, click through the story here, and follow the links.