Thursday, 23 January 2020

The Forace Rule

Early on in his chess career Lee Forace came up with a rule that you are unlikely to find in any chess book. "Swap off when you are behind". This is of course the opposite to the usual "Swap off when you are ahead", but was intended as a humorous take on how to lose a game.
While in general the rule doesn't help much, there are of course situations when swapping off can save a half point. Rook and pawn endings are a good example, where taking rooks from the board can result in a drawn pawn ending.
Having said that, here is an example where the rule definitely does not help. Having lost a pawn in the opening, my opponent obligingly allows me to swap everything off into a pawn ending that was easily winning for me. I didn't speak to him after the game, but I can only assume he thought he could stop my king from breaking through on the kingside.

Press,Shaun - Scully,Mark [C41]
Canberra Cup (7), 23.01.2020

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Chess is still really hard

No matter what level you play at, or how good you are, it turns out that chess is still really hard. Just ask Viswanathan Anand who played 46 good moves against Fabiano Caruana to get to a winning positing, then 5 ok moves to have a drawn position, and then a sequence of poor moves to get a lost ending. Something I'm sure we have all done, and as such, something we can sympathise with Anand for.

Caruana,F (2822) - Anand,V (2758) [D38]
82nd Tata Steel GpA Wijk aan Zee NED (8), 19.01.2020

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Gibraltar 2020

One of the years biggest swiss events, Gibraltar Masters 2020 is about to get underway later this evening. This yearly chess festival is incredibly popular, so much so that the entries for the masters is capped at around 250 players. However, they also organise a number of side events for lower rated players, so no one really misses out.
India has the largest representation with 32 players, while Australia has 1 representative, IM Rishi Sardana. There are 85 GM's in the field, and the bottom half starts at 2400!
Some of the side events are already up and running, including the popular morning Amateurs. Checking in the live coverage I have already spotted a quick win by well known arbiter David Sedgwick.

Sedgwick,David (1894) - Dhanwani,Aditya (1565) [C02]
Gibraltar Chess Amateurs A Caleta Hotel, Gibraltar (2.19)

Monday, 20 January 2020

2020 Australian Junior Chess Championship

The 2020 Australian Chess Championship is currently running on the Gold Coast. The tournament is broken up into a number of sections, some being played with a shorter schedule than others. The Under 8's and Under 10's Open have started the tournament off, along with the Under 18's and 16's Open. The girls events will start on Wednesday (after the Under 8's and 10's are finished), as will the Under 14 and Under 12 Open events.
At the close of entries there were over 300 players registered to take part (not counting the blitz, simuls and other activities). You can see the results from the first few days, as well as games from the top boards of the various sections at

Sunday, 19 January 2020

A late discovery?

White to play and win
In the diagram is a simple(?!) study by Van der Heijden from 2002. As with all good studies, the main line contains some non-obvious choices, and solving it might teach you something about King and Pawn endings.
The thing that surprises me most about this study is in fact the date of composition. 2002 seems quite late for a study like this, as I had assumed that most of the tricky king and pawn positions would have been found by the mid 20th century at the latest. But as this study shows, there may still be more discoveries to be had.

Friday, 17 January 2020

2020 ACT Blitz Championship - Monday 20 January

The first ACT event of the 2020 chess year is the 2020 ACT Blitz Championship. This year it is being hosted by the Tuggeranong Chess Club, Ricardo St, Wanniassa. Registrations are from 6:45pm on Monday the 20th January, with play scheduled to start at 7pm. The tournament is a 9 round swiss, with an entry fee of $10 ($5 for juniors). As this is an official ACT Chess Association event, membership fees for 2020 will be required to be paid as well ($25 adult, $15 concession).
With ACT chess on a bit of an upswing at the moment, I expect a large field. Tuggeranong events always attract a sizeable number of local players, and this event usually attracts players from the other clubs.

(** Disclaimer: I will be the chief arbiter for this event **)

Thursday, 16 January 2020


The ACT Chess Association has been informed of the recent passing of Gogulapati Ramakrishna. 'Rama' as he was usually known, was a long time member of the Belconnen Chess Club, and a former organiser of the Doeberl Cup. He was a former Secretary of the ACT Chess Association, and donated both his time and money to various chess activities in the ACT.
As a player he was quite tough to beat and I considered my first win over him (after at least 5 years of trying), as a real achievement. Indeed it was almost a right of passage for young Belconnen players to defeat him, and plenty of players were unable to pass that test.
In the early years of the Belconnen Chess Club he generously donated money for chess clocks, and purchased the club championship trophy, which is still used to this day. Away from the board he was a Statistician, working for the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
While he stopped serious play in recent years he was still proved a challenge to the new generation of ACT players, as shown by this win over future IM Junta Ikeda.

Ramakrishna,Gogulapati (1659) - Ikeda,Junta (1819) [B22]
ACT-ch Canberra (2), 28.07.2004