Wednesday, 25 November 2020

There are no Grandmasters of swimming

 I've been involved in some ongoing discussions concerning the suitability for online events to be rated and award titles with the same status of OTB events. I am in the 'No' camp, although I do know some people who are in the 'Yes' camp. One of my arguments against awarding titles for online events, is that the titles are earned using a different playing format. With online chess it may be possible for a player to score a required win or draw via a mouse slip or an internet disconnection by their opponent, which doesn't occur in face to face chess. As a result, the title may not be earned by skill (for a certain value of skill) but instead by a stroke of luck. And while I recognise that the ability to play the game (in an operational sense) is important, most sports that rely on a difference between the ability to execute (eg swimming, running or even shooting) don't actually award titles. They instead reward participants by medals and prizes, which for online events, seems much more sensible.

Imagine if the World Championship was decided by a move like 38 ... Qb4??


Nepomniachtchi,Ian (2784) - Carlsen,Magnus (2862) [C60]
Skilling Open Prelim INT (1.8), 22.11.2020

Sunday, 22 November 2020

2020 Vikings Weekender - GM Hrant Melkumyan wins

 GM Hrant Melkumyan has won the 2020 Vikings Weekender with 5.5/6. Conceding only half a point to fellow GM Anton Smirnov, he wrapped up first place with a win over Fred Litchfield in the final round. Smirnov, who was tied with Melkumyan going into the final round, could only draw with IM Junta Ikeda, after Ikeda found a nice sacrificial idea in the Leningrad Dutch. The draw allowed Ikeda to finish in a tie for third place with Bazli Karattiyattil, who capped of a strong tournament with a last round win over Dillon Hathiramani.

The Under 1600 event was won by Harry Johnson on 5.5, half a point ahead of Paul Dunn. Johnson was making a return to chess after a break of a number of years, and his comeback tournament was a successful one. James Buckley performed well above his rating to finish in 3rd place, while Minchen Yang picked up the best junior prize after scoring 3.5/6.

The tournament was judged a success by the organisers with the strong field resulting in a number of interesting and competitive games. Almost as importantly, it served as a small test event for next years Doeberl Cup, and based on the behaviour of the players (and the feedback from the venue), it passed with flying colours!

Full results of the tournament can be found at along with a link to replays of games from the top 2 boards.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

2020 Vikings Weekender - Day 1

 At the close of Day 1 of the 2020 Vikings Weekender, 4 players share the lead in the Open section, As expected GM Hrant Melkumyan and GM Anton Smirnov are on 3/3, and they have been joined by IM Junta Ikeda and CM Hui Li. In the first round tomorrow (Rd 4), Ikeda will e white against Melkumyan, while Smirnov will be white against Li. 

Although both GM's ended the day on a perfect score, they were made to work for their points. Both Harry Press (against Melkumyan) and Dominic Fox (against Smirnov) put up determined resistance, with the Melkumyan - Press game one of the last to finish. In earlier rounds some other top seeds showed signs of rust, with Tim Pearce upsetting FM Michael Kethro in round 2, while Dominic Fox took a full point from Fred Litchfield in the first round.

In the Minor (Under 1600) tournament, Paul Dunn and James Minogue are the only players on 3/3. Top seed Harry Johnson began with 2 wins, but was held to a draw in round 3 by James Buckley. 

All the scores (and tomorrows pairings) are available at There is also a link for live coverage of the top 2 boards in the Open. Round 4 is at 12:30pm Canberra time, with round 5 at 3pm and round 6 at 5:30pm


Friday, 20 November 2020

2020 Vikings Weekender - Online coverage

 The 2020 Vikings Weekender begins tomorrow (21 Nov), starting at 12:30pm Canberra time. There will be live coverage of the top 2 boards in the Open, which will be (in the 1st round) games involving GM Hrant Melkumyan and GM Anton Smirnov.  

Links to the DGT coverage, as well as pairings and results for the Open and Minor events can be found at Pairings for the 1st round of each event have been posted, and following the Doeberl Cup system, these will be the 1st round pairings if both players are present.

Another unfortunate resignation

 While skimming through games to feature on my twitch stream I came across another example of "resigning too soon". I won't give away the ending , but the lesson here is "checks and captures"


glenno9 (1471) - X3n0morph (1783) [C02]
Live Chess, 18.11.2020

Tuesday, 17 November 2020

Chess Coach Andras

 Just a heads up about a new Youtube channel from Canberra's own IM Andras Toth. The emphasis is on coaching and related topics, and one of the earlier videos is a list of books for the 1700 rated player.

You can check it out at  

Monday, 16 November 2020

The joy of chess coaching

 Today I had the somewhat bizarre experience of getting absolutely destroyed by a 6 year old at "chess". I should have realised that game was slipping away from me when he added two robot dragons to the board, and then told me that one of them had "double flame breath" which allowed him to incinerate 2 of my pieces at a time. Even trying to capture his extra pieces did not work, as the other robot (some kind of snake), simply ate my piece on contact. I think the game went for about 8 moves, and I lost by "not having any pieces left".