Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Politiken Cup 2014

The Politiken Cup in Denmark has always been a pretty big event. This years tournament is being held just before the Olympiad, and as a result a number of players are stopping en route to Norway. In fact four fifths of the Australian Open team, along with the team captain are taking part, and all seem to have got off to a good start. IM Mouthun Ly, FM Junta Ikeda and FM Anton Smirnov are all on 2/2, while GM David Smerdon and FM Manuel Weeks (Team Captain) are on 1.5.
As the field is a very large 314 players, there are still a few rounds before the real battles start. However such a hit out against a high quality field will help the team get into form before the Olympiad starts.
The website for the tournament is very nice, and not only contains live coverage, but also replayable games as part of each players personal page.

Monday, 21 July 2014

2014 ANU Chess Festival - Canberra Club Challenge

The first event of the 2014 ANU Chess Festival, the Canberra Club Challenge, is on this Friday (25 July) at King O'Malley's in Canberra City. The event is 'teams-of-two' five round blitz event. Last year was a round robin, with teams from each of the clubs in the ACT, but this year it is open to more teams. However a few of the clubs have already put together some strong teams, with the ANU Scholars looking to defend their title.
The competition kicks off at 5pm on the 25th July at King O'Malley's, City Walk, Canberra City. There is still space for a few more teams, and there is no cost to enter, the top 2 teams will win prizes from the even sponsor, the ANU Co-Op Book Shop. Spectators are more than welcome to come along and cheer for their favourite team.
You can also still enter the ANU Open which starts on Saturday 26th July. Online entries can be made here, while you can pay at the venue on the Saturday morning.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Caruana Climbs

Fabiano Caruana has dominated the Dortmund Classic, winning the event with a round to spare. He has finished on 5.5/7, winning 4 games and drawing 3. On the 'Live' list he has pushed his rating over 2800 (after 6 rounds), and has moved into outright third on the FIDE Rating List (behind Carlsen and Aronian).
The last round of the tournament is still being played (the Leko - Caruana was the first to finish), so minor placing are still up for grabs.
Caruana secured first place by defeating English No. 1 Michael Adams in the 6th round. Despite facing the topical and solid Berlin Ruy Lopez, Caruana was able to keep pushing until he won a pawn, and then broke through with his kingside pawn majority.

Caruana,F (2789) - Adams,Mi (2743) [C67]
42nd GM 2014 Dortmund GER (6), 19.07.2014

Saturday, 19 July 2014

2014 British Championships

The 2014 British Championships has just kicked off, in the last half hour of this post. This year it is being held in the difficult to spell (and pronounce) town of Aberystwyth in Wales. It doesn't look as big or as strong as last years event in Torquay, but that had the attraction of being the 100th Championship.
For a number of years the event has been purely British affair, after a number of complaints about the tournament being dominated by players from other commonwealth countries (who were previously allowed entry). However a few 'colonials' sneak in, including Justin Tan from Australia. I assume he gets in on residency as he has been living in the UK for a couple of years.
If you visit the tournament website you can catch live coverage from the Championship, as well as the results from the large number of subsidiary events that make up the whole event.

Friday, 18 July 2014

The ideal set for Canberra

A novel twist on speed chess, and one that does not involve using a clock. Chess pieces made out of ice, via a set of moulds shown here. I guess you lose when all your pieces melt, although I'm pretty sure the use of the oxy-torch in the picture is probably illegal (although the laws of chess do not have anything that *specifically* prohibits setting fire to the board). Such a set might actually survive multiple games in Canberra at the moment, given the morning temperatures.
But combine it with Drinking Chess and you might be onto a winner eg Frozen alcoholic pieces which are consumed after each capture. However the board might have to be bowl shaped to capture all the melted bits at the end.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Olympiad Rules

With around 2 weeks to the start of the Chess Olympiad the big news is the exclusion of the defending Women's Champions Russia from the event. They aren't the only team missing out (8 other teams, mainly from Africa are also excluded), but they are certainly the most high profile. The reason given by the organisers is they missed the deadline to nominate their team members, and under the regulations, are not eligible to play.
FIDE have already protested this decision, but ironically, the organisers a quoting FIDE's own Olympiad Regulations as a basis for this decision. The regulations set out various deadlines for countries to enter teams, and for the actual members of the teams to be nominated. In Russia's case it is believed they held off nominating a team until the transfer of Kateryna Lagno from Ukraine to Russia went through. However this happened after the deadline for team lists. Of course if they had been a little smarter, they probably could of nominated another player, and then simply replaced her with Lagno before the start, as the regulations do allow this.
In the end this case, and the case of the other missing teams, boils down to which regulations are being followed. There are a number of regulations that cover the Olympiad (including one the gives the FIDE President a great degree of power in making on the spot decisions), so there are a few to choose from. It is hardly surprising then that the organisers are going to rely on regulations that support their case, while FIDE will use different ones. Nonetheless I assume it will all be sorted out before the start, with the Russian team (and maybe the others) being allowed in, as in the end, a little 'behind close doors' discussion usually delivers the preferred outcome.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

More bad things in the Gruenfeld

Despite taking up the Dutch Defence as a New Year resolution there are still some after effects of previous years play hanging around. I've had a few long running CC games in progress, and given they started last year (or so I think) the Gruenfeld was the opening of choice. And having just been hammered in my most recent game to finish, the decision to abandon the Gruenfeld still looks like the right idea.

Batchelor,Paul - Press,Shaun [D85]
CCLA Server Team, 05.12.2013