Friday, 18 April 2014

2014 O2C Doeberl Cup - quick facts

A record turn out of over 300 players has made this an exceptionally busy Doeberl Cup. The venue is filled to capacity, and we have even had to move some of the lower section boards into the top room to give everyone some breathing space. The Premier eventually settled down to 94 players ( after some no shows ) while the Major, Minor and Under 1200 are full or nearly full.
You can catch all the results plus live games from the Premier at
I will try and bring more news on the tournament when I can, but if you are after a more instant news fix, check out the live blog on the tournament web site

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Gashimov Memorial

The next "Super-GM" event on the calendar, the 2014 Gashimov Memorial, starts this coming Sunday. The top group contains Carlsen, Nakamura, Karjakin, Caruana, Radjabov and Mammedyarov (every player rated over 2700!). The B group is a 10 player tournament head by Wang Hao and Pavel Eljanov.
The schedule is 5 rounds, 1 rest day and then another 5 rounds. The games start at the reasonable time of 8pm (Canberra time), so you can probably catch most of the action before bedtime. Further details, as well as links to live coverage can be found at the tournament website.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

2014 O2C Doeberl Cup - 2 days till kick off

The 2014 O2C Doeberl Cup starts in 2 days, and already entries have passed the 300 mark. The Major (U/2000), Minor (U/1600) and Under 1200 event are all filled up, so the only way to get into these events is hope for a last minute drop out. The Premier still has some space left, but you need to enter by midday tomorrow to guarantee a spot.
As in previous years the pairings for the first round of each of the tournaments will be done the night before. The drawing of lots for the Premier will take place at the ANU Chess Club, and then the pairings will be posted at both and the tournament website. There will be a live broadcast of the top 5 games from the Premier, as well as the top game from the Major. And if you are present at the venue, GM Ian Rogers will be doing live commentary of the games each round.

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

Monday, 14 April 2014

Rollerball Chess

Rollerball Chess. It really is a thing.
It was invented in 1998 by Jean-Louis Cazaux and was inspired by the 1975 movie Rollerball. The game is played on a 7x7 donut shaped chessboard, with the central 9 squares missing. You either win by checkmate, or by getting your king to the starting square of the opponents king. A description of the game can be found here, at wikipedia.
I'm not sure how playable the game is, but one thought did come to mind. A life sized version of the game, with actual people, might be entertaining, although a little difficult to keep under control. I suspect everyone would want to be a rook or a bishop (so as to get a good head of speed up), although putting heavier set players in as pawns might be a winning strategy, especially if you are only captured if you are knocked over. Maybe something for the chess boxing promoters to think about in the future.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

2014 Bangkok Open

The moveable feast that is Easter meant this year saw a clash of dates between the Bangkok Open and the Doeberl Cup. For European readers it might seem odd that the organisers worry about a clash between tournaments held 7,500km apart, but there are some players who play both events (and the SIO as well). Fortunately it looks as if neither event is suffering for numbers, and in fact a group of Australian players has decided that flying to Thailand is more appealing than staying at home.
There is live coverage of the event via Chessdom, and today's games featured Australian FM Tim Reilly on the top boards (sadly he lost). If you want to see the results for the Open then of course Chess Results is your friend. The results for the Challengers can be found the same way.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

How to win at games that are not chess

Over at Huffington Post, there is a link to a video that shows you how to win at 5 classic board games. They include Monopoly,  Battleship, Connect 4, Hungry, Hungry Hippos and Chess. While the advice seems sensible for the first 4, the advice for chess (as the decision to include it) is not so good.
The strategies seems to be influenced by a loose reading of game theory, although I'm not sure how deeply the analysis runs. But if you are looking for an edge the next time you hold a games night, the you can look at the story here.

Friday, 11 April 2014

A sound opening, or just a successful one

I saw a story the other day that listed the "most successful" chess openings. As with most studies of this type, the answer depends on what data set you use. I am pretty sure that 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Qxf7# is probably the winningest opening ever, but if you only looked at games where the moves were actually recorded, then the strike rate for 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 falls away.
The study that I saw had the Queens Gambit at the top of the list (for White), but I'm assuming this covered all the games that start with 1.d4 d5 2.c4 and did not differentiate between Declined, Accepted, Slav etc But it was the second opening which kind of had me bemused. It was the venerable Blackmar-Diemar Gambit! This indicated to me that the number of games studied were not just confined to 2600+ v 2600+ clashes, but probably included a fair chunk of online chess. It also seemed to say that the strength of the players was not a consideration either.
But numbers are numbers and it makes me wonder. Would you play an unsound opening that you knew would collect a lot of victims in the small pool you swim in, or would you stick with sound openings knowing that you score better against stronger opponents, even if your overall score was lower?

(Before you all write in, yes, I am an example of the first choice *cough* Traxler *cough*)