Monday, 31 March 2008

When should you resign?

The post 2 slots below (Some Brotherly Love) provoked some correspondence. The question was "Why did black resign?" and ignoring issues about losing to your brother etc it is quite a good question.
However I'll answer it as a slightly different question, "When should you resign?"
There is a quote attributed to the Danish GM Bent Larsen which is "You should resign when the spectators understand why you are resigning". Of course this is then dependent upon the chess knowledge of the spectators, and is therefore hard to judge.
For most chess players I think the unwritten rule is "You resign when you believe your opponent is going to win". Of course taken to an extreme that may lead to more games like Fischer v Panno 1970 (1.c4 Black resigns), but usually it is the position on the board, rather than the opponent you face that counts.
Some players use a material rule of thumb to decide when to resign. One member of the PNG Olympiad team says he won't resign when down a piece as his opponent may blunder it back. The obvious rejoinder to this is "But which player has done the blundering so far?"
Interestingly enough these unwritten rules only seem to apply in "normal" situations. I've often seen (and heard of) players playing on after losing a piece before move 10, when if they had lost a piece after say move 15, they would have resigned instantly. It is as though the course of the game isn't an "usual" one, (ie it isn't usual to blunder so early), and therefore "usual" guidelines do not apply.
And one final thought. I once heard a quote concerning chess as a spectator sport for non-serious chess players. "They play for 4 hours and just when it is getting interesting, one of them gives up". Clearly for serious chess players the interest is what happens before the resignation, for casual players it may be in how the game is finished off.
Maybe it is time to remove the option to resign from the laws of chess.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Normal Service is to be Resumed

The O2C Doeberl Cup and the Sydney International Open weren't 2 tournaments back to back, they were one 18 round tournament held over 10 days (with no rest days). Or at least that is how it felt to me.
But I am back in Canberra and will return to blogging about more mundane chess matters for the next couple of months.
However for now I would like to run a small contest. The diagram on the right comes from Chekhover - Veresov (USSR Ch 1934). What is remarkable about this game? The first correct answer in the comments section will win a copy of my upcoming report "The application of the 'Gibraltar' Rule at the 2008 O2C Doeberl Cup". And a second copy if anyone can post me the full score of this game (not the abbreviated version that lives in Megabase etc)

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Some brotherly love

It is one of the unavoidable facts of (chess) life that sometimes you get paired against people you don't want to be paired against. I'm not talking about me v Kasparov or even Kramnik v Topalov, but in the case of many swisses, members of your own family.
Of course this is due to the faceless pairing programs used by arbiters these days (one press of the button and the draw is done), and under the FIDE Swiss Pairing Rules we don't change such pairings. But annoying as this is, it can be even more annoying when paired against, say, your brother, and he doesn't even play nice.

Stojic,D - Stojic,S [B23]
Canberra Doeberl Cup (3.32), 21.03.2008

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bc4 e6 6.0-0 Nge7 7.d3 a6 8.a4 0-0 9.Qe1 d6 10.f5 exf5 (D)
11.Qh4 fxe4 12.Ng5 1-0

Friday, 28 March 2008

Sorry seems to be an easy word

Chess tournaments make me cranky. Although it may be that I'm cranky all the time, as GM Ian Rogers remarked "Apart from the extra swearing I can't tell the difference". But I was cheered up to receive not one but two apologies over issues to do with a couple of chess tournaments I was involved with.
In both instances it was a correction over things that were factually incorrect, but often in the heat of the argument people even refuse to correct simple misinformation. And in my case this is not helped by my often prickly manner in pointing these mistakes out to them ("arrogant and high handed" would be a good description of my demeanor), so I do appreciate it when people get past this.
So I thank them for their apology and I hope it makes me less cranky in my behaviour in the future.

** NB The second sentence of this post was changed to make clear who Ian Rogers was referring to (ie me)

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Getting a norm

With the O2C Doeberl Cup and the Sydney International Open running back to back, the topic of title norms comes up. And more importantly, what you need to do to get one. Obviously perform above 2600 for a GM norm etc, but it is a little more complicated than that.
In the case of large open swisses the effects of early results can be vitally important. As the first couple of rounds have large score groups you can often bounce between GM's and 1800 rated opponents, especially if you lose to a GM. And by the time you get towards meeting them again, the tournament can almost be over.
Probably the best strategy is to get off to a fast start by winning your first 2 games, and hoping for a strong result (win against 2200+ or draw against GM/IM) in round 3. Then if you falter in Round 4 you may only drop down to a 2200+ player, keeping your norm chances alive. Indeed this is what Gareth Oliver did at last years SIO, while Tomek Rej seems to be following the script at this years event.
And talking of title norms, the O2C Doeberl Cup actually produced 3 GM norms and 8 IM norms. However in almost all cases these norms were earned by players that already had the relevant title, with WGM Ruofan Li being the only player to earn a norm towards a new title (IM). Clearly this indicates the field and format were right for title norms, players just needed the right results to earn them.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

2008 Sydney International Open - Random Observations

At the Doeberl Cup the arbiters were replete in yellow tops, at the SIO they wear red. This lead Carl Haessler to remark upon entering the SIO playing hall and spotting the same arbiting team "You guys just change the colour of your shirts and start again"
And speaking of arbiters. GM Surya Ganguly was impressed by the strength of the organising teams. With an FM heading the organising team, and one olympiad player and a 2100 Elo rated player as arbiters he said "It is unusual to see such a strong arbiting team. You guys can actually play".
The DGT broadcasting system worked from the word go. Given that a stock of 9 boards had been rendered in-operational over the last 12 months, it was fortunate that the Australian organisers were able to source technical expertise from the Papua New Guinea Chess Federation in order to repair some of the boards. The continued assistance from the PNGCF should enable the rest of the boards to be repaired shortly.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

2008 O2C Doeberl Cup - Finito

The 2008 O2C Doeberl Cup finished with an outright win for American GM Varuzhan Akobian, with 7.5/9. Akobian finished with 6 wins and 3 draws (including a first round draw), leaving him a full point ahead of 7 players on 6.5. Equal second were GM Zhang (SIN), GM Jones (ENG), GM Ganguly (IND), GM Gagunashvili (GEO), GM Antic (SRB), IM Solomon (AUS), IM Kizov (MKD).
The Major ended in a win for Blair Mandla (6.5) after drawing with Andrewy Bliznyuk. Bliznyuk finished equal second with Brendon Norman and Kerry Stead (6.0). In the Minor Emma Guo score 7/7 ahead of Michael Ngo (6) and Trent Parker 5.5.
Over all the event attracted 229 players (a record) as well as a large number of spectators who enjoyed both the event and Ian Roger's commentary. The organisers also surveyed the players about good/bad things with the tournament, and the overwhelming feeling was that the event was the best Doeberl Cup ever.
Of course such an event cannot be such a success without the assistance of plenty of people, so I will try and list all the contributers (in no particular order). Charles Bishop, Steve Rohan-Jones, Lara Bishop, Emma Piper, Nyssa Zelman, Shun Ikeda, Jenny Oliver, Mirabelle Guo, Jim Flood, Jenny Mason, Ian Rogers, Cathy Rogers, Brian Jones, Charles Zworestine, Simon Mitchell, the various game enterers, and of course anyone else I've missed (eg Libby Smith).

Monday, 24 March 2008

2008 O2C Doeberl Cup - Final Day

The final round for all the events (remaining) starts shortly. Top board in the Premier has GM Akobian v GM Antic, with both players on 6.5/8. On Board 2 Ganguly (6) v Zhang (6), on 3 Gagunashavili (6) v Jones (6) and on 4 Kizov (6) v Bitansky (5.5).
In the Major (Under 2000) Mandla is on 5.5, ahead of his final round opponent Andrey Bliznyuk, and his last round opponent Dick Voon. In the Minor top seed Emma Guo has a perfect 6/6 and can only be caught if she loses to Danny Bisson (5) this morning.
Full results/coverage etc at the O2C Doeberl Cup website.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

2008 Strategem Doeberl Cup Lightning

Separate post for this event.
The 2008 Strategem Doeberl Cup Lightning event was held last night, and attracted 68 players. The prizes for the event were over $1000 in total, with $400 for first, which is a bigger prize pool that many Australian Weekenders!
US GM Vazurahn Akobian was the outright winner with 8/9. He lost to NZ IM Puchen Wang in round 5 but won all his other games to finish half a point ahead of Canberra IM David Smerdon.
One of the highlights of the event was the round 3 game between Akobian and Dragicevic where Akobian was trying to mate with KR v K. Despite pieces being knocked over and reset with every move, the game reached the "correct" conclusion with nary a complaint from either player. It seemed that the "real" position existed inside the head of each of the players, while the actual board was merely there as a guide for the spectators. There should be video of this game on the tournament website at some stage.
As an arbiter this was one of the easiest lightnings of this size I've ever run. Not a single complaint or protest from the players, all results reported correctly, and the whole event was finished in under 2 and a half hours. Many thanks to all participants (and Shun Ikeda, Mirabelle Guo and Jim Flood) for making it such a fun tournament.

2008 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 3

The tournament is at the halfway point and hopefully the worst of the chaos is behind us!
Today saw the continued comeback of GM Varuzhan Akobian. After playing the Semi-Swiss Gambit (draw in Round 1), he has won his next 5 games to lead the Premier on 5.5/6. He had two GM opponents in rounds 5&6, GM Darryl Johansen and GM Surya Ganguly, and won tense games against both of them. In the Round 6 game (against Ganguly), both players almost lost on time, playing moves with 1 second left on the clock (although gaining an extra 30 seconds for each move played).
GM Zhang Zhong and GM Merab Gangushavili are in equal second with 4 wins and 2 draws each. The leading Australian player is IM Stephen Solomon in equal 4th on 4.5 points.

Saturday, 22 March 2008

2008 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 2

After the hectic first day, the second day of the 2008 O2C Doeberl Cup was a little easier, at least for me. With extra staff on hand we were able to welcome the extra 150 players taking part in the Major, Minor and Mini tournaments. And for those who doubt the benefits of pre-registration and online only entries, all tournaments (approx. 230 players) started at 1:05pm, a mere 5 minutes after the scheduled starting time.
In the Premier Australian GM Darryl Johansen is the sole leader on 4/4. In the Board 1 game last night he defeated GM Vadim Malakhatko after Malakhatko overreached trying for a win. A triumph for resilient defence! Top Seed GM Zhang Zhong is in the group of players on 3.5 after being held to a round 3 draw by IM David Smerdon. Zhong bounced back in Round 4 with a win over New Zealand star IM Puchen Wang. Full results for each of the events can be found on the results page.

Day 2 also saw the start of GM Ian Rogers commentary sessions, and these have proved immensely popular. Using a combination of modern (but flaky) technology (DGT systems), and older but reliable systems (board runners), he has presented the games being played on the top boards to a large and appreciative audience.

And finally, more tournament videos are being posted, with summaries for Rounds 1,2 & 3 up on the video page.

Friday, 21 March 2008

2008 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 1 recap

Given this is being posted on the morning of day 2, rather than at the end of day 1, kind of shows how busy yesterday was. And with 3 other tournaments starting today, it looks like it is going to be just as hectic.
The Premier did get under way yesterday with 2 rounds. At this stage most games have gone according to seeding, although Sydney junior Max Illingworth drew with GM Varuzhan Akobian on board 3. And in round 2 GM Gawain Jones had an easy win when IM Guy West simply forgot there was an evening round and failed to show within the 1 hour forfeit time. When he did return to the tournament hall (a number of "Where are you Guy?" phone messages being the spur), he was very apologetic to his opponent and the organisers.
Of course one of the problems with publishing draws in advance (as we did for Round 1 of the Premier) is the number of no shows who have to be dealt with. In some cases this was due to unavoidable circumstances, but in others the "No refund policy" is going to hurt. Probably the biggest beneficiary was Sanmogam Goundar who was going to receive the bye in the first round but instead ended up on board 4 against GM SS Ganguly after Denis Bourmistrov failed to appear.
Sadly the DGT boards are all broken, with the exception of the one that was repaired on Wednesday (and unless you know what a 78L05A chip does, don't ask the why rest can't be repaired today). This means that there is likely to only be one game being broadcast live, although we will try and get the top board games from the Premier up as soon as possible at the end of the round.
Hopefully I will be able to do some more blogging from the venue, or you can check out The Closet Grandmaster who is also covering the event.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

2008 O2C Doeberl Cup Blogging

Just about to head off to the start of the 2008 O2C Doeberl Cup. Depending on wireless connectivity I hope to do some on site blogging throughout the tournament. You can also follow the event from the official website, which will have results, videos and (fingers crossed) live game broadcasts.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Another amazing Ivanchuk move

Vassily Ivanchuk has a reputation for being brilliant, but erratic. And while his results aren't always what they should be, there is no denying his ability to come up with some amazing moves. In Round 4 of the Meoldy Amber tournament in Monaco he played a brilliant Queen sac against Sergey Karjakin. At first he only gained 2 pawns for the Queen, but very quickly he collected more and more material until he had more than enough compensation.

Ivanchuk,V (2751) - Karjakin,S (2732) [B87]
Amber Rapid Nice FRA (4), 18.03.2008

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 b5 8.Bg5 Be7 9.Qf3 Qc7 10.e5 Bb7 11.exd6 Bxd6 12.Qe3 Bc5 13.0-0-0 Nc6 (D)
14.Qxe6+ fxe6 15.Nxe6 Qe5 16.Nxg7+ Kf8 17.Ne6+ Kf7 18.Rhe1 Qxe1 19.Nxc5+ Kg6 20.Rxe1 Kxg5 21.Nxb7 Nd4 22.Nd6 Rhf8 23.f3 b4 24.Nce4+ Nxe4 25.Rxe4 Nxb3+ 26.axb3 a5 27.Rg4+ Kf6 28.Ne4+ Ke5 29.Rh4 a4 30.bxa4 Rxa4 31.Nc5 Ra1+ 32.Kd2 Rg8 33.g3 Rf1 34.Ke2 Rb1 35.Rxb4 Kd5 36.Ne4 Kc6 37.h4 Rh1 38.Rc4+ Kb6 39.b4 Rd8 40.Rc5 Ra8 41.c3 Ra2+ 42.Ke3 Re1+ 43.Kf4 Rf1 44.Rh5 Ra8 45.Rh6+ Kb5 46.Nd6+ Ka4 47.Rxh7 Kb3 48.Rc7 Rd8 49.Nf5 1-0

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

A real "Doctor Who" moment

One of the great challenges that any big tournament organiser has these days is making sure the game broadcasting system is operational. This usually involves a lot of frantic running around making sure the DGT boards being used to relay the top board games actually work. And so it is with this years Doeberl Cup.
Those of you who have tried to use the DGT boards know how temperamental they can be. And up until today we had 9 boards that refused to work. So my last couple of days have been spent pulling one apart to see what the problem is. I even went so far as to get some high-tech help from a friend, so we could replace a possibly faulty chip on the DGT circuit board. We had mixed success in that we got some output from the chip, but we also got heat and smoke as well.
But after further investigation my technical advisor came up with advice that is well known to any fan of Doctor Who. "The power inputs don't look right" he said. "Why don't you reverse the polarity?" And bingo, it all suddenly worked.
So fingers crossed we should have live games from Round 1 at this years Doeberl Cup.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Alternative Training Strategies

I've been thinking about alternative ways to prepare for chess tournaments. Instead of working on my openings, playing through games, or testing my endgame skill against the computer I'm trying a different approach.
In the area of tactics I'm playing "Dance Factory" on the PS2. I'm attempting to make it all the way through the soundtrack to "Stop Making Sense" by Talking Heads in "Endurance Mode". So far I get up to "Life During Wartime" before I collapse.
For strategy I'm using "Desktop Tower Defense" as my training tool. By building optimal mazes with the correct placement of my "Squirt Towers", I hopefully can find the right squares for my pieces the next time I sit down to play.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Some serious hard work

For someone who mainly plays G/15 chess (known as Allegro in Australia), Shervin Rafizadeh works hard at it. Not only does he direct the Street Chess tournament on Saturdays in Canberra, but until the end of last year he usually finished in first place as well. That was until the arrival of Endre Ambrus (2378) and IM David Smerdon (2460), which made winning these events a whole lot harder.
Nonetheless Shervin knuckled down to some hard work in an effort to raise his game to the next level. After a couple of weeks where he felt he was getting "close" to Ambrus he finally uncorked a queen sac to beat him. Here is the game, with extensive annotations by the winner.

Rafizadeh,S - Ambrus,E [B00]
Street Chess 23/2, 2008

1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.d5 Ne5 (D)
5.Nxe5 Bxd1 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 Qa5+ 8.Nc3 0-0-0 [ 8...a6 9.b4!+- ( 9.cxb7+ axb5) ] 9.Nc4 Qb4 [ 9...Qc7 10.Nd5 Bxc2 ( 10...Qb8 11.c7 Qa8 12.cxd8Q+ Kxd8 13.Kxd1 e6 14.Nc3 a6 15.Bd7 Nf6 16.Nb6 Qb8 17.Ba4 Be7 18.Be3 ke2 and Rad1 is crushing) 11.Nxc7 Kxc7 12.Be3 ( 12.Na5 Bxe4 13.Nxb7 Rc8) 12...Bxe4 13.Bxa7 bxc6 14.Bb6+ Kd7 15.Ne5+ dxe5 16.0-0-0+ Ke6 17.Rxd8] 10.a3 Qc5 [ 10...Qxc3+ 11.bxc3 Bxc2 12.Na5! bxc6 13.Nxc6 Rd7 14.f3! bishop on c2 is trapped] 11.Be3 Qh5 12.cxb7+ Kxb7 13.Rxd1 as analysis will show the best black can hope from this position is a draw as only white can press for the win - there are multiple perpetual combination at whites disposal over the next few moves 13...Nf6 objectivley the most counterattacking move for black in this position - however it has two problems associated with it 1. Blocks the bishop on f8 which will really need to key an eye on b4 down the line to prevent a Rd4-b4 swing. 2. May allow white to make use of a e5 push tactive at some stage The analysis reveals a few things about whites attacking resources and blacks limited options in defense - it seems that whites most lethal ploy is Rd4-b4 and in this case its essential for black to cover the c6 square - once the knight is on f6 black cannot improve their defensive position in anyway as the knight and bishop cannot play a role. Its also too late for black to sac back the exchange becasue by then while will have more than enough material for the queen plus a huge initiative. In hindsight the e6-Ne7 manouvre probably offers black the best chance of holding the position but this is not an easy judgment to make over the board. [ 13...e6 this seems to be the best defense 14.Na5+ Ka8 ( 14...Kc7 15.Rd4 Ne7 ( 15...d5 16.exd5 exd5 17.Bf4+ Kb6 ( 17...Bd6 18.Nxd5+ Kc8 19.Rc4+ Kb8 20.Nc6+) 18.Be2 Qg6 19.Na4+ Kxa5 20.Bd2+; 16.Rc4+ Kb8 17.Rb4 Kc7 18.Bxa7 and only white can win with various perps at his disposal anytime if need be; 15.Rd4 ( 15.Bc6+ Kb8 16.Rd4 Qxa5 17.Rb4+ Kc7) 15...Ne7 16.Ra4 Rc8 17.Nc4 Rc7 18.Nxd6 Nc6 19.Bxc6+ Rxc6 20.Rxa7+ Kb8 21.Nxf7 Bc5 22.Ra5 Qxf7 23.Bxc5 very unclear position, white will castle and play b4 - whilst black is up material they have absolutley nothing to do while white slowly but surely pushes their pawns] 14.e5?! dangerous but black can hold a draw - better was Na5+ [ 14.Na5+ Ka8 ( 14...Kc7 15.Rd4! this is the best way to expose Nf6 15...d5 16.exd5 Rxd5 ( 16...e5 17.Rc4+ Kb8 18.Nc6+ Kc8 19.Nb4+ Kb7 20.Bc6+ Kc8 21.d6 threatning bf3+ 21...Qg6 22.Ba4+ Kb8 23.Na6+ Kb7 24.Rc7+ Kxa6 25.Rxa7#) 17.Bf4+ Kb6 ( 17...e5 18.Nxd5+ Nxd5 19.Rxd5; 17...Re5+ 18.Kd2 Kc8 19.Ba6+ Kb8 20.Bxe5+ Qxe5 21.Nc6+; 17...Kd8 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.g4 Qxg4 20.Rxd5+ Kc8 21.Ba6#) 18.Nc4+ Kb7 ( 18...Kc5 19.Be3 Rxd4 20.b4#) 19.Nxd5 Nxd5 20.g4 the g4 theme pops up alot in this variation due to the magnitude of forks on the board the queen can be removed from its useful defensive posts because they can all getforked 20...Qxg4 21.Bc6+ Kc8 22.Bxd5 e6 23.Ne5 Qf5 24.Be4 Qh5 25.Rg1 threat of Rg3 -c3 looks too strong; 15.Rd4!! this move was found by fritz - seems too subtle for a human to play as it seems to take 2 moves to create winning threats, however because black cant improve their defensive position (ie cant use bishop on f8 to defend) there seems to be no good way to deal with the threats 15...e6 ( 15...a6) 16.Rb4 Rc8 17.Bc6+ Rxc6 18.Nxc6 Nd7 up to here the calculations are pretty straightforward but i cant see white finding the following wins in a 15 minute game ( 18...d5 19.Rb8#) 19.Nb5 Kb7 a more human line to victory probably comes back to our g4 tricks 20.Na5+ ( 20.g4 Qh4 ( 20...Qxg4 21.Nd8+ Kc8 22.Nxf7 Rg8 23.Rc4+ Kb7 24.Nd8+ Kb8 25.Bxa7+ Ka8 26.Rc8+) 21.Nbxa7+ Kc7 22.Rc4 d5 23.Rc3 Nb6 24.Nb5+ Kb7 25.Na5+ Ka6 26.Nc7+ Kxa5 27.Rc6; 20...Ka6 this line is courtesy of fritz 21.Nc7+ Kxa5 22.b3!! Qc5 23.Bxc5 Nxc5 24.Rb5#] 14...Ng4 15.Na5+ Kc8 White has quite a few forced draws at his disposal however plays for the win with Nd5 which possibly gives black the most chances to go wrong [ 15...Ka8 16.Be2! I had picked this move up over the board, the threats of h3 and Bf3 are winning 16...Qf5 17.Bf3+ Kb8 18.Bxa7+ Kxa7 19.Nc6+ Ka6 20.Rd5! Nxe5 21.Ra5+ Kb7 ( 21...Kb6 22.Na4+ Kc7 23.Ra7+ Kc8 24.Nb6#) 22.Nxe5+ d5 23.Nxd5 Qxe5+ 24.Ne3+] 16.Nd5 [ 16.Ba6+ Kd7 ( 16...Kb8 17.Rd5 wins 17...Nxe3 18.Rb5+ Kc7 19.Rb7+ Kc8 20.Rxa7+ Kb8 21.Nc6#) 17.Bb5+ Kc8 ( 17...Ke6? 18.Nd5 Nxe3 ( 18...Kxe5 19.Nc6+ Kf5 20.Bd3+ Ke6 21.Nf4+ Kd7 22.Nxh5) 19.Nf4+ Kf5 20.Nxh5 Nxd1 21.Ng3+ Kg5 22.Nc6 Rc8 23.Kxd1; 18.Ba6+ Kd7 19.Bb5+ Kc8 20.Ba6+] (D)
16...Qxe5? the position is now lost [ 16...Nxe5 draws 17.Ba6+ Kd7 ( 17...Kb8 18.Rd4 should win again) 18.Bb5+ Kc8 19.Ba6+ perpetual;
16...e6 this leads to another quick draw 17.Ba6+ Kd7 18.Bb5+ Kc8 19.Ba6+ Kd7 20.Bb5+] 17.Nc6 Nxe3 [ 17...Qxb2 18.Bd4! Qa2 ( 18...Qxb5 19.Nxa7+) 19.Nxa7+ Kb8 20.0-0 and black is dead after Rb1 20...Qxd5 21.Bc6 Qxc6 22.Nxc6+ Kc7 23.Nxd8 Kxd8 24.Rb1;
17...Qh5 18.Nxa7+ Kb8 ( 18...Kb7 19.Bc6+ Kb8 20.Rd4) 19.Be2 Qh4 20.Rd4 h5 21.Rb4+ Ka8 22.Nc7#] 18.Nxe5 Nxd1?? [ 18...dxe5 19.Ba6+ Kb8 20.Nxe3 Rxd1+ 21.Kxd1 e6 22.Ke2 Bc5 23.Rd1] 19.Ba6+ resigned here due to 19...Kb8 20.Nc6+ Ka8 21.Nc7# 1-0

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Sydney International Open 2008

While I've been steadily plugging the 2008 O2C Doeberl Cup, there is also the 2008 Sydney International Open to look at as well. As of Friday (the official closing dates for SIO entries), the SIO had 101 entries, while the SIO Challengers had 47 players. In terms of Grandmasters the SIO comes out in front of the Doeberl, with 3 extra GM's playing not making the trip to Canberra. They are Chandler (NZ), Zhao (although he still may appear at the Doeberl) and recent SIO entry Antonio from the Philippines. Apart from that the fields are similar in rating (with hardly a difference between the rating of the 30th and 40th seeds in both events), even if the players aren't quite the same.
(Usual Disclaimer: I am an official at both these events)

Friday, 14 March 2008

A Study by Steiner

It was indeed a fortunate thing that Lajos Steiner emigrated to Australia just before the outbreak of World War II. Fortunate for Australia, in that a player of his strength assisted the development of chess in this country, and fortunate to him, in that he escaped the tragic fate that befell his father and brother.
While Steiner was noted for his play, he also composed the odd study, one of which is presented here. White to play and win, and if you need a clue to what is likely to happen, it was titled "The Running Pawns".

Thursday, 13 March 2008

The Balance Sheet

Accountants often get a bad rep. "boring", "dull" is often the tag they carry with them, due to their choice of profession. But at least accountants understand money. And so when you have to explain to chess players why a tournament of 60 players, paying $50 a head only paid out $2000 in prizes (with $1000 in expenses), they don't scratch their heads and look confused.
Accountants also understand the notion of budgets and balance sheets. Now it is no secret that last years Doeberl Cup lost money (in fact a large sum of money). This was lost in a way that most businesses lose money ie off-budget spending. In the case of the 2007 Doeberl, unplanned accommodation expenses for visiting GM's was the main cause (plus a drop in entries, despite an increase in prize money). So when the budget for this years event was drawn up these costs were added to the expenses column. Now like any well run business, the extra expenses needed to be met with extra income. As the projected increase in income due to extra entries still didn't cover the shortfall, entry fees had to go up. Of course it isn't all take and no give, as improvements to the event were also made (although this also came at an expense).
Of course the other option is to balance the books by bringing expenditure down to the level of income eg no GM conditions, finding a cheap, low quality venue, cutting the prize list etc. And while this "Razor Gang" approach is financially acceptable, it certainly isn't the way to provide top quality chess events in Australia. So a little short term pain, for long term gain is the way ahead.
So while any accountants reading this might nod their heads and say "duh", hopefully this now makes sense to the non accountants out there as well.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

My attack looked so good, sob, sob

I ended up on top board at the ANU Chess Club tonight, and my opponent was the undefeated Endre Ambrus. Deciding to work on my positional play I opened 1.d4, with the intention of playing a closed game. All was going to plan until the opportunity arose to try and attack him on the kingside, at which point I went the hack. As you can see, it didn't quite work.

Press,S - Ambrus,E [E24]
ANU Summer Swiss Canberra, 12.03.2008

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3 Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 b6 6.Bg5 Bb7 7.f3 h6 8.Bh4 d6 [ RR 8...d5 9.cxd5 exd5 10.e3 a6 11.Bd3 Qd6 12.Ne2 Nbd7 13.Bg3 Qc6 14.Qc2 b5 15.0-0 0-0 16.Rfe1 Qb6 17.Rab1 c5 18.a4 c4 19.Bf5 Bc6 20.Nf4 Qa5 21.axb5 axb5 22.e4 Qd8 23.e5 Bosau,J-Glahn,M/Recklinghausen GER 2005/The Week in Chess 561/1-0 (28)] 9.e4 e5N [ RR 9...g5 10.Bf2 ( RR 10.Bg3 Nh5 11.Bd3 Nd7 12.Qc2 Nxg3 13.hxg3 e5 14.Ne2 Qf6 15.g4 0-0-0 16.Kf2 c5 17.d5 Rh7 18.Ng3 Rdh8 19.Rh3 Kc7 20.Rah1 Bc8 21.Qa4 Bb7 22.Nf5 Qg6 23.g3 f6 24.Rh5 a5 Hobbs,R-Roberts,K/East Detroit 1985/EXT 2002/½-½ (50)) 10...Nbd7 11.Bd3 e5 12.Ne2 Nh5 13.Qa4 Qe7 14.Rb1 0-0 15.g4 Ng7 16.Ng3 Rfd8 17.Qc2 Nf8 18.Nf5 Qf6 19.h4 Ng6 20.hxg5 hxg5 21.Rh6 Nxf5 22.exf5 Qg7 23.fxg6 Qxh6 24.gxf7+ Elsweiler,K-Duester,F/Leverkusen 2001/EXT 2002/0-1 (29);
RR 9...Nbd7 10.Bd3 c5 11.Ne2 Qc7 12.0-0 0-0 13.h3 Ba6 14.Rc1 Rfe8 15.f4 d5 16.e5 Ne4 17.Qc2 f5 18.cxd5 Bxd3 19.Qxd3 c4 20.Qe3 exd5 21.g4 Nf8 22.Ng3 Ng6 23.Nxf5 Nxh4 24.Nxh4 Lwin,M-Segerinya,J/Jakarta 1997/CBM 58 ext/1-0 (42)] 10.Bd3 Nc6?! 11.Ne2 Na5 12.c5 0-0 [ 12...dxc5 13.dxe5 g5 14.Bg3 Nh5+=;
12...bxc5 13.Qa4+ c6 14.0-0 is better for White according to Fritz] 13.cxd6 cxd6 14.0-0 Rc8 (D)
15.f4 exf4 16.Nxf4 [ 16.e5? was my intended follow up, but I realised it didn't work.] 16...g5 17.Nh5 [ 17.e5? was once again my intended follow up, but once again I realised it didn't work.] 17...Ne8! This move completely threw me. Using all my remaining time I immediately blundered [ 17...Nxh5 18.Qxh5 gxh4 19.Qxh6 was one line I had seen, and figured I had at least a draw, and possibly more.] 18.e5?? Now my game comes crashing to the ground. [ 18.Bg3 with a clear advantage] 18...dxe5 19.Qg4 Rxc3 20.Rad1 Qxd4+ 21.Qxd4 exd4 22.Bf2 Nb3 0-1

No Seniors after all

Due to a lack of advance entries (only 6) for the Doeberl Cup Seniors, the organisers have decided that this event will not be running this year. The players already entered can either receive a full refund, or move to another section. Hopefully the event will run next year, with changes made to make it more attractive to potential entrants.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

O2C Doeberl Cup passes 200 entries

Entries for the 2008 O2C Doeberl Cup have passed the 200 mark, with 207 players entered across the 5 tournaments. While the Premier filled up almost a month ago, the other tournaments have taken their time to reach their limits. At the moment the Minor is the second largest event with 56 players, followed by the Major with 37 players. The new 2 day Under 1200 event has 17 players entered so far (although players can enter this event on the day), while the Seniors event lags behind with only 7 players entered. Entries will be taken up until the 19th of March so anyone planning to enter only has 8 days to do so.

The last issue of the Doeberl Cup Newsletter was going to have the following game included, until technical gremlins arose. So here it is instead.

Agdestein,S - Tindall,B [B70]
Doeberl Cup Canberra (1), 1997
In previous years it was rare to have more than 2 Grandmasters playing at the Doeberl Cup. When such a Grandmaster was from overseas it was quite a big deal. It was an even bigger deal when they were upset in the first round! 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bg5 A very rare move in the Dragon. One idea is to aim for a Yugoslav Attack without playing f3. 6...Bg7 7.Qd2 [ 7.Bb5+ Bd7 8.Qe2 Nc6! resulted in a win for Sax (as black) against Ghinda in only 21 moves at the 1980 Olympiad.] 7...Nc6 [ 7...h6 is also playable here.] 8.Nb3 [ 8.0–0–0 drops a pawn to 8...Nxe4 9.Nxe4 Bxd4 10.Bb5 Bg7 although White's lead in development leaves the position dynamically equal.] 8...Be6 9.f4 0–0 10.Be2 a5! White would like to castle queenside before embarking on a kingside hack, but this move dissuades White from doing so. 11.a4 Rc8 Black has already organised his pieces on good squares, while White has a problem with King safety. 12.Ra3 Nb4 13.Bf3 Qb6(D)
14.f5?? White is decides to play for the attack, before his pieces are co-ordinated. This simply allows Black to exploit the defects in his opponents positions. 14...gxf5 15.Be3 Evidence that it has all gone wrong for White is that Black now has a choice of winning moves. [ 15.exf5 Bxf5 16.Na1 is an admission that Black has all the play.] 15...Nxc2+! [ 15...Qxe3+! 16.Qxe3 Nxc2+ 17.Kf2 Nxe3 18.Kxe3 fxe4 19.Bxe4 Nxe4 20.Nxe4 ( 20.Kxe4?? Bxc3 21.bxc3 Rxc3) 20...Bxb2 leaves Black with extra 3 pawns, and a winning position.] 16.Qxc2 Qxe3+ 17.Kd1 [ 17.Qe2 Qxe2+ 18.Bxe2 Nxe4–+] 17...Nxe4 18.Bxe4 fxe4 19.Nc1 Bg4+ 20.N3e2 Qd3+ Agdestein decided he'd seen enough and resigned. 0–1

(Standard disclaimer: I'm a paid official for this event)

Monday, 10 March 2008

Ballarat 2008

The annual Ballarat Begonia Open was held over this Victorian Long Weekend. Traditionally this has been Australia's No.2 weekender (behind the Doeberl Cup), although I feared this year it may suffer from the proximity to Easter. Normally there is anywhere between 3 and 6 weeks between it and the Doeberl, but this year there is only 9 days from the end of one and the start of the other.
I'm happy to say that the event still drew a large field of 95 players, although clearly the top players were absent this year, possibly due to the nearness of the Doeberl/SIO tournaments. The tournament ended in a tie for first between top seed IM Leonid Sandler, and sixth seed Dusan Stojic. Third place was shared between Andrew Brown (ACT), Domagoj Dragicevic, Milenko Lojanica, Carl Gorka, and David Hacche (all Victoria). Andrew Brown's result was a very good one, leading with 4/4 at one stage, and drawing with Sandler, but losing to Stojic Gorka.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

A couple of odd matches

There were a couple of odd matches played over the last week.
The first was between Grandmaster Roman Dzindzichashvili and the computer program Rybka. Just as in a previous match between GM Elvehst and Rybka, the GM received the odds of pawn and move (ie Rybka was always Black and started without a pawn). It was an 8 game match, with Rybka removing a pawn from a different file each game. The first game was without the a pawn, the last without the h pawn. The match ended in a 4-4 tie. Curiously two games won by Rybka were games where it started without the d and e pawns.
The other match was a computer assisted match between GM's Daniel Stellwagen and Erwin L'Ami. It was 4 game match and the players were required to play the Two Knights Defence. All 4 games were drawn, with the first two games testing the 4.d4 variation and the second 2 testing the 4.Ng5 variation.
In case you were wondering, there were no Traxler games, as the official website stated "We discussed the Traxler on January 5, 2008 and found the line 5. Bxf7† Ke7 6. Bb3 better for White. Thereafter, we had chess pie and saw chess movies"

Saturday, 8 March 2008

The Beer Garden of Gethsemane

While the open air of City Walk, Canberra is a nice place to play chess, you often see the weirdest things. Today for example a bearded man cam into the beer garden at King O'Malley's pub, pushing a shopping trolley that had a full size crucifix in it. I quickly looked around for a squad of Roman guards (Easter is near after all), but instead he was being escorted by a film crew. After some fiddling about they began to film a scene where he loudly harangued the patrons about "eating a drinking, while someone is dieing alone". I began to think this may have been an advertisement ("Why die alone, when you can drink at ....") but I was told they were filming a movie.
While I'll probably give it a miss, I hope someone can tell me when it comes out.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Lifeline Bookfair 2008

Spent an hour this morning looking for second hand chess books at the 2008 Lifeline Bookfair. Unlike previous years it was slim pickings. I found 2 books I didn't have amongst the 6 or so books in total. One of the books I did get was a signed copy of 'Nigel Shorts Chess Skills', although it wasn't signed by Nigel, but by local players Ian Hosking and Ian Rout. Maybe that makes it more valuable, but somehow I doubt it.
But one thing I did notice, and indeed always notice at second hand bookfairs/shops, is that there always seems to be plenty of books on Bridge. At most place I frequent the ration is usually 3 or 4 to 1 (ie for every chess book there would be 3 or 4 bridge books). Now the cause of this isn't that there are more bridge books than chess books in circulation, as far more books on chess are published than bridge. However it could be that there are more bridge players to buy books in Australia than chess players, and this may be true, as bridge tournaments have a far greater entry then chess tournaments. But that only explains the purchase of books, not their disposal.
My (morbid) theory on the disposal of bridge books is that these books are entering the market via deceased estates. And as bridge players are on average older than chess players, this happens more frequently for bridge players than chess players. Of course I could be wrong, and by applying Ockhams Razor (the simplest explanation is often the best), it could be that bridge players just care about books less then chess players do.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Chess is a hard game after all

One of my favourite sayings is "Chess is an easy game, it is just hard to do the easy things well". However one thing that people are now discussing from the current Linares tournament are the number of blunders, blunders that people normally don't expect from the top players. So much so that Chessvibes is even running a poll about what the cause could be. Of the number of choices I'm pleased to see that "These aren't blunders, these are highly complex choices" has the most votes, as at least a large group of fans recognise that chess isn't always easy.
One game the is being used as evidence is the Carlsen v Topalov game from Rd 12 where Topalov plays a howler on move 34 and walks into a mate.

Carlsen,M (2733) - Topalov,V (2780) [A28]
XXV SuperGM Morelia/Linares MEX/ESP (12), 04.03.2008

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.d3 d5 5.cxd5 Nxd5 6.e4 Nb6 7.Be2 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.a4 Be6 10.Be3 Nd7 11.d4 exd4 12.Nxd4 Nxd4 13.Qxd4 c6 14.a5 Nc5 15.Qe5 Nb3 16.Ra4 Bd6 17.Qh5 g6 18.Qh6 Be5 19.Bg5 Qc7 20.Be3 Nxa5 21.f4 Bg7 22.Qh4 Bb3 23.Rd4 Rad8 24.e5 Rxd4 25.Bxd4 c5 26.Be3 f6 27.Nb5 Qd8 28.f5 fxe5 29.Bg5 Qb6 30.f6 c4+ 31.Kh1 Qxb5 32.fxg7 Rxf1+ 33.Bxf1 Kxg7 34.Bd8 (D)
34... Nc6 35.Qf6+ Kg8 36.Qe6+ Kf8 37.Bg5 1-0

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

On request

A couple of players at the ANU Chess Club requested I show the top board Endre Ambrus v Andrey Bliznyuk clash from Round 4 of the ANU Summer Swiss. Regular readers of this blog would know the Endre Ambrus is a recent arrival in Australia, and has just entered the Australian Ratings System with a rating of 2372. Although he is still listed as an overseas player, his rating currently ranks him 9th on the top players list. Andrey Bliznyuk has been the top player for a couple of years at the ANU Club, originally learning his chess in Novosibirsk before moving to Australia over a decade ago.

Ambrus,E - Bliznyuk,A [B50]
ANU Summer Swiss, 05.03.2008

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bc4 e6 4.0-0 Nf6 5.d3 Be7 6.c3 0-0 7.Bb3 Nc6 8.Re1 b5 9.Nbd2 Bb7 10.Nf1 a5 11.Ng3 a4 12.Bc2 Qc7 13.d4 cxd4 14.Nxd4 Nxd4 15.cxd4 e5 16.Nf5 Rfc8 17.Bd3 Bc6 18.Bg5 h6 19.Bd2 Bf8 20.Rc1 Qb7 21.Qf3 d5 22.Nxh6+ gxh6 23.Qxf6 dxe4 24.Re3 1-0

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Google Chess Gadgets

Anyone who has set up a page/blog/site using google tools knows that they provide an awful number of 'gadgets' that you can add to your page. Unfortunately 'awful' doesn't just apply to the number of gadgets, but in some cases, the quality of them as well.
For example I had a look for some chess gadgets to add to a page I'm setting up as part of an experimental (and I do mean experimental) ANU Chess Club site. Doing a search for 'chess' in the 'add gadget' dialog threw up a number of choices, so I began to experiment with them. The first chess playing gadget seemed OK as I began the game (as White) with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Ng5 Bc5!! The Traxler!. I was already impressed. However ... 5.Nxf7 Nxe4?? 6.Nxd8 Kxd8 7.O-O left me less than impressed. But I wasn't looking for a strong program, just a fun one. But during the next game the program got out of check by castling, so I scratched that from my list.
The next program was just as weak, but as long as it played legal chess I could live with it. Unfortunately when I checkmated it on move 10 it decided to keep playing, and only recognised it had been mated AFTER I captured the king. Scratch program number 2.
However I had more success with program number 3. Not only did "Chess against the Computer" as it is named, play legally, it also played very well. The only drawback at this point is that it doesn't allow promotions, but I'm hoping that this will soon be fixed.
I've also added a couple of gadgets for viewing historical games and problem solving. Feel free to have a look at the ANU Chess Club gadget page (built with google sites after a tip from The Closet Grandmaster), just don't complain about the layout. I'm still working on it!

Monday, 3 March 2008

Correspondence King Hunt

A small Monday night analysis group has started up in Canberra, in the charming reading room located at the back of King O'Malley's pub. One of the positions we looked at came from a recent edition of Chess Today, and involved mating the Black King which stood on b2! Someone asked how the King managed to end up there and I said I'd try and find the game. Half remembering it as a correspondence game included in "The Worlds Greatest Chess Games" by Burgess, Nunn and Emms, I did some searching and found the following in my database. The notes for this game are not by me, but from the sources listed in the game header.

Kopylov,I - Korolev,S [B29]
Dobrovolsky Memorial 81-83 corr, 1981
[INF 36/205, Kopylov, etc.]

This is one of three CC games in the Mammoth book of 100 Greatest Games edited by Nunn/Burgess/Emms but they have event details wrong. The event it was played in was not a USSR Championship but the Dobrovolsky Memorial, 1981-83. According to Sergey Grodzensky, Dobrovolsky (1928-1971) was a Soviet cosmonaut-pilot. He perished in 1971 (space flight - Volkov, Dobrovolsky, Patsaev...). This was the decisive game in the tournament. Additional notes are in Nunn's edition of the Cozens book "The King Hunt" and in M. Arkhangelsky's CC booklet. 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nc3 e6 5.Ne4 Nc6 6.c4 Ndb4 ?! M.A. 7.a3 Qa5 8.Qb3 [ 8.Rb1 Na2!;
8.Nc3 d5 9.exd6 Bxd6 10.Nb5 ( 10.d3 Ne5 11.Ng5! Be7 12.f4! Nec6 13.Be3 Nd4! 14.Bxd4 cxd4 15.axb4 Qxb4 16.Ra4 Qxb2 17.Ne2 Bd7÷ Barash-Korolev SU 1986) 10...Bb8 11.b3 Nd4 12.Nbxd4 cxd4 13.Bb2 Nc6 14.b4 Qf5 15.b5 Ne5 16.Bxd4 0-0 17.Bxe5 Bxe5 18.d4± Kopylov-Korolev, 1982 (untraced. Game or analysis?)] 8...d5 9.exd6 e5 [ Black should play 9...f5 10.Nxc5 Qxc5 11.axb4 Qxb4 with at best a slight advantage to White said Kopylov. Amazing complications now follow as both players soon forsake the right to castle:] 10.Rb1 Na6 11.g4?! Says Kopylov; !? M.A. White's idea is to maintain the d6 pawn by preventing the move ...f5. If 11...Bxg4 then 12 Qxb7. 11...Qd8 12.d4!? ! M.A. 12...exd4?! [ 12...cxd4? 13.c5;
12...Bxd6 13.d5 Nd4 14.Nxd4 exd4 15.Qb5+ Kf8 16.h3 Qe7 17.Bg2 f5 18.Bg5!] 13.Bf4 Qd7 14.Bg3 h5! [ 14...Qxg4 15.Nfg5] 15.Kd2! [ 15.g5? h4! 16.Bxh4 Rxh4 17.Nxh4 Qg4!;
15.gxh5 f5] 15...hxg4 16.Re1 Kd8 17.Ne5 Nxe5 18.Bxe5 Qc6(D)
19.Ng5! Rh5! Ingenious counterplay. Not [ 19...Qxh1 20.Nxf7+ Kd7 21.Nxh8 ( 21.Qb5+ Qc6 22.Nxh8± Fernschach) 21...Bxd6 22.Bxd6 Kxd6 23.Qg3+ followed by Bg2+-] 20.Bxg7! [ The N would be trapped after 20.Nxf7+? Ke8!] 20...Bxd6 [ 20...Bxg7 21.Nxf7+ Kd7 22.Re7#;
If 20...Qxh1 21.Nxf7+ Kd7 then 22.Bxf8 say Kopylov and Arkhangelsky( 22.Qb5+ Qc6 23.Bxf8 which source?) ;
20...Rxg5 21.Bxf8 Qxh1 22.Be7+ Kd7 23.Bxg5 Kxd6 24.Qg3+±] 21.Nxf7+ Kc7?! [ 21...Kd7!] 22.Nxd6 Qxd6 23.Bg2 Rg5 24.Bh8 Qh6 25.Qg3+ Kb6 [ 25...Kd8 26.Kd1 Qxh8 27.Qd6+ Bd7 28.Qe7+;
25...Kd7 26.Qf4 Rg6 27.Qxh6 Rxh6 28.Be5 Kopylov] 26.Kd1 Qxh8 27.Qd6+ Ka5 28.Kd2! Threatening 29 b4+ Ka4 30 Bc6+! bxc6 31 Qxc6+ Kb3 32 Qb5 28...Bf5 29.Bxb7 Rg6 30.b4+ Ka4 31.Bc6+ Kb3 32.Qg3+ Kb2 # White now executes a problem-like finish: [ 32...d3 33.Rb1+ Ka2 34.Ra1+ Kb3 35.Rhb1+ Kxc4 36.Qf4+ Qd4 37.Rc1+ Kb3 38.Qxd4 cxd4 39.Bb5 with unavoidable mate: Kopylov] 33.Rb1+!! Bxb1 34.Rxb1+ Kxb1 35.Qb3+ Ka1 36.Kc1! [ Not 36.Kc2?? d3+ and the black Q defends.;
After 36.Kc1! if 36...Qh6+ 37.Kc2 d3+ 38.Qxd3+-] 1-0

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Effective Change

There are a number of paths to success (hard work, having rich parents, plain dumb luck etc) but two that interest me are "Success though change" and "Success through creation". And they interest me in the context of successful chess activities.
To give some examples I would regard the ACF* Grand Prix series as "Success through creation". While there had been weekend tournaments in Australia before 1988, it was the creation of series that linked them together that resulted in a 5 fold increase in there number. On the other hand one contributing factor to the increase in junior numbers in Australia was adding the best U/18, U/16 etc lists to the ACF* Rating Booklet, which created a competitive environment, not for individual players, but for state associations and junior organisations.
Of course both methods have the advantages and disadvantages. Based on my own experience, new ideas have a greater chance of failure, but also suffer less resistance (don't like it, don't play). Modifying existing formats normally have a built in safety net (in that you can always return to a previous format), but change runs into resistance from people who feel they may be disadvantaged.
So when you are planning to change how things are done, the question is "Do I still wish to appeal to the lowest common denominator?"
A contemporary example is this years Doeberl Cup. For the first time limits have been placed on the size of the field, and all players (with the exception of the Under 1200's) have to enter in advance. Based on feedback already received there is a belief that "you'll miss out on a number of entries", and while this remains to be seen, those who do enter will no doubt be getting a better "product" through a better organised event.
So I guess what it comes do to is is it worth leaving a few by the wayside on the road to improvement for everyone else? Or as Bud Tingwell said in The Castle, "the greatest good for the greatest number".

*I'd planned to write this post before reading the comments in the "Channels of Communication" entry,so mentions of the Australian Chess Federation come with an automatic apology to ACF Vice President Dennis Jessop.

Saturday, 1 March 2008

Miniature of the Month - February 2008

Here is a trap in the Queens Indian Defence. Black attempts to exchange the White pawn on e5 but in doing so allow the White pieces to spring to life.

L'Ami,E (2581) - Monsieux,C (2338) [E15]
XXIV Open Cappelle La Grande FRA (3), 18.02.2008

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Nbd2 Bb7 6.Bg2 c5 7.e4 cxd4 8.e5 Ng4 9.0-0 Qc7 10.Re1 d6?? While this move seems to help Black remove an important central White pawn, it turns out that this is a big mistake. So big that every Black players who has reached this position (and there were lots of them) chose to play something else. 11.exd6 Qxd6 (D) [ 11...Bxd6 12.Nxd4 Bxg2 13.Qxg4 Bb7 14.Qxg7 Rf8 15.Ne4 is also bad for Black.] 12.Ne4 But now it is White's turn to miss the best move, although the move played is OK. [ 12.Ng5!! Bxg2 13.Qxg4 and if Black retreats the bishop White just captures on e6 with the knight] 12...Qd7 13.Nxd4 h5 14.Nb5 [ 14.Nb5 Qxd1 ( 14...Bc6 15.Qxd7+ Kxd7 16.Bf4 e5 17.Rad1+ Kc8 18.Ned6+ Bxd6 19.Nxd6++-) 15.Rxd1 Na6 ( 15...Ke7 16.h3 Ne5 17.Nbd6 Bxe4 18.Bxe4 Nbc6 19.f4+-) 16.Ned6+ wins a piece.] 1-0