Thursday, 30 April 2009

The Niche Publication

In amongst my collection of chess magazines, I have a July 1995 copy of Blackmar-Diemer Gambit World. Just from the title you can correctly surmise that it is a specialist publication, dealing with the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit (although it does lead off with an odd joke about OJ Simpson!). It must have been a popular magazine, as the issue I have was numbered No. 69, although I have no idea if it is still in production.
It has the usual collection of brilliant wins for the BDG, and analysis of some of the more topical variations. I've grabbed a game from the issue to show, but rather than the usual BDG I've picked one that contains an idea that can be used as a weapon against the Caro-Kann.

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Bc4 Nf6 5.f3 exf3 6.Nxf3 Bf5 7.0-0 Nbd7? (D)
8.Bxf7+ At least one game ended in resignation at this point 8. ... Kxf7 9.Ng5+ Kg6 [ 9...Kg8 10.Rxf5] 10.Rxf5! h6 [ 10...e6 11.Nxe6 Qe7 12.Qd3;
10...Kxf5 11.Qd3+ Ne4 12.Qxe4+ Kf6 13.Qe6#] 11.Qd3 hxg5 12.Rxf6+ Kxf6 13.Ne4+ Kg6 [ 13...Ke6 14.Qb3+ Kf5 15.Qf7+ Nf6 16.Ng3+ Kg4 17.Qe6+ Kh4 18.Qh3#] 14.Nd6+ Kh5 15.Qh3+ Kg6 16.Qf5+ 1-0

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Our cup overfloweth

At the Australian National University Chess Club we have the somewhat enviable problem of running short of space. The latest tournament kicked off tonight with 31 players, although only 14 games were actually played (1 bye and 2 players entering next week). Previously we had imposed entry limits on our tournaments to deal with the problem, but current thinking is that if people want to play at the club, we'll make the effort to accommodate them.
The other interesting feature of this new tournament was that 75% of the PNG Olympiad team were in attendance, although I was there as non-playing DOP. Stuart Fancy (PNG Board 1), was the top seed for the event and befitting a top seed, looked like he was going to be the first game finished. However after losing a piece in the opening his opponent hung on for a quite a while, before eventually succumbing to the material disadvantage.

Fancy,S - Yoon,S [C85]
ANU Autumn Swiss, 29.04.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Bxc6 bxc6 7.Nxe5 Nxe4 8.Qe2 Ng5 9.f4 Ne6 10.f5 Nd4 11.Qc4 winning a piece, and eventually the game.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Aus Champs 1974

Over at the ClosetGrandmaster Blog, TCG, makes mention of the 1974 Australian Championships. There were a number of interesting features to this event, including the fact that it was held in Cooma, NSW. In part this was due to the organisational efforts of Gus Korda, who is still a regular fixture at Street Chess, in Canberra.
120 player took part in the event, with 32 in the Championship, 8 in the Women's Championship, and 80 in the reserves.
While flicking through the tournament book, I came across the following game from the reserves event. The winner was Joe Rush, who played for PNG in a number of chess olympiads, while the loser is the current Australian Chess Federation President.

Wastell,G - Rush,J [D02]
Australian Championship Reserves, 1974

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 d5 3.Bg2 Nc6 4.d4 Bg4 5.Ne5 e6 6.c4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Nxe5 8.dxe5 Nd7 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Qxd5 0-0 11.Qxb7 Rb8 12.Qe4 Nxe5 (D)
13.Qxe5 Re8 14.Qd5 Bxc3+ 15.bxc3 Rxe2+ 16.Kf1 Qf6 17.f3 Rbe8 18.Bd2 Qa6 19.c4 Qb6 20.Be1 Qe3 21.Qd1 Bxf3 22.Rg1 Rxe1+ 23.Qxe1 Be2+ 0-1

(*Edit: Corrected spelling of Wastell *)

Monday, 27 April 2009

When should you resign? - part 3

Last year I looked at when it was appropriate to resign (When should you Resign?). The flip side of this is what to do when your opponent refuses to resign. While I simply try and force a win as quickly as possible, some players have a different strategy. In an even earlier post on this topic, also called When should you Resign? , I highlighted the 'underpromotion' technique. I've probably also mentioned the "Force your opponent to wait" technique, which involves reaching a position where you have mate in 1, and then waiting until you've almost run out of time to execute it.
Added to this is the following game, which demonstrates the "Get as many queens as possible" strategy. This can be a double edged sword as one careless move can result in stalemate, and I know of a couple of inter-school competitions that banned multiple queening, to prevent this from happening. However white played the ending quite deftly to avoid this problem. Of course Black should have considered resigning around move 17, but clearly he wasn't of a mind to do so. White had numerous forced mates in the latter stages of the game, but I guess that was no longer the point of the exercise.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

The virtues of Allegro Chess

Over at Chesschat there has been a small debate about Allegro chess (G/15m) being held at the Melbourne Chess Club, while their Anzac Weekender was running. The President of the MCC, Grant Szuveges, gave a pretty spirited defence of the MCC Allegro events, and it is a defence I agree with.
In Canberra, Street Chess has been run as a weekly Allegro event for around 20 years and has not only been successful as a chess event, but also a success in getting new players involved in chess. This is because the format is probably the right one for social players to make the step up into organised chess. The time limit of 15 minutes a game is around the time a home player is probably already used to, and the tournament length of 4 hours is not to demanding of someone's leisure time. The other advantage of a 7 round allegro event is that there is often time between rounds for players to socialise, something that doesn't happen so much at either long time control events (where everyone is super serious) or blitz events, where the next round is often under way within a minute of last game being finished. And of course Allegro chess is a little like 20/20 cricket, in that it is fun to play and watch, but no one remembers the results an hour after its finished. So by not attaching a seriousness to the event, you reduce the likelihood that new players are driven away by a result focussed activity.

(*Disclaimer: I operate Street Chess as a commercial venture *)

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Becoming a 'chess' word

There are a number of people who have become 'chess words'. Some of them are famous as players, while others are only known through their creations. For example Philidor was both a famous player, a well known opening, and a couple of different endgame positions. On the other hand Saavedra is mainly famous because of a chess study from 1895.
Another famous study, known by the name of its creator is the Joseph Study. First published in 1922, it is often shown in its abbreviated form (ie after both pawns have promoted). Here is the full study, with a beginning just as interesting as the finish. It is of course White to play and win.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Nalchik Grand Prix

Although the FIDE Grand Prix has run in to its fair share of troubles, when the events are actually held, they've been good to watch. Both the size and make up of the fields have contributed to this, as having 14 player events allows players from outside the 'elite' to take part, resulting in more varied chess.
For Australian fans, the start times have been quite helpful as well. With daylight savings finishing earlier this month, Europe is an hour closer, and the games from Nalchik begin at a reasonable 9pm AEST. This allows a substantial amount of the game to be viewed before sleep catches up with us. If you wish to watch the games online the tournament website is

Bacrot,E (2728) - Aronian,L (2754) [C89]
4th FIDE GP Nalchik RUS (7), 22.04.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 0-0 8.c3 d5 9.exd5 Nxd5 10.Nxe5 Nxe5 11.Rxe5 c6 12.d4 Bd6 13.Re1 Qh4 14.g3 Qh3 15.Be3 Bg4 16.Qd3 Rae8 17.Nd2 Qh5 18.Qf1 Re7 19.a4 Rfe8 20.axb5 axb5 21.Bxd5 Qxd5 22.Qg2 Qxg2+ 23.Kxg2 h5 24.Ra5 h4 25.Rea1 hxg3 26.hxg3 Be6 27.Ra8 Bd5+ 28.Kf1 Bxg3 29.Bg5 f6 30.Bxf6 Re1+ 31.Rxe1 Rxa8 32.fxg3 gxf6 33.Ne4 Kf7 34.Nd6+ Kg6 35.Re8 Ra1+ 36.Re1 Ra8 37.Re8 Ra1+ 38.Re1 ½-½

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Doeberl Cup Photos

I've managed to get a small selection of photos from this years Doeberl Cup up on my online photo page. Click here to take a look.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Kriegspiel Server?

A number of years ago the Belconnen Chess Club was introduced to Kriegspiel (by NZ representative Michael Steadman, if my memory holds true). For the uninitiated Kriegspiel is a game of chess played with 3 boards. The two players can only see their own boards, while an umpire can see both the players boards, as well as his own. The players take turns in moving, while the umpire announces the effects of the moves (eg capture on e4, check by knight, white has moved) but not the moves themselves. The challenge is to try and establish what moves have been played by the opponent, based on the umpires announcements.
The mania for Kriegspiel lasted about a month at BCC, before it fell victim to the usual problem that Kriegspiel has. It is more interesting to be an umpire (or spectator) than it is to be one of the players, and so the games dried up through lack of participants.
Of course this problem can now be solved through online play. However I am having difficulty finding an online chess server that supports Kriegspiel. I know that ICC does, but for various reasons that won't do for me. It would be great if FICS had it as a variant, but it doesn't look like it has. So does anyone else know of a chess server where Kriegspiel can be found? Please post answers in the comments section, as I am sure others would appreciate the information as well.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

My share of the creative process

I've always felt that Correspondence Chess games were more 'exact' than over-the-board games. Of course this is mainly a function of the time available to each player (days per move rather than minutes), and the access to research material (opening books etc) during the game. Nonetheless I do find CC games drier than OTB games, as it is the mistakes made under pressure (in OTB) that make the game interesting.
So when I lose a particularly interesting CC game, I feel I have contributed something positive to the outcome. By playing a poor move I have allowed my opponent to set up a particularly brilliant finish. Of course this isn't done deliberately, but at least I can take something away from the game.
Here is an example from a game I finished the other day. White sacrifices a pawn in the opening, in return for a freer position. Around move 16 White offered a draw, but with an extra pawn I felt safe in declining it. Although I was behind in development (look at the bishop on f8), I thought the exchange of queens on move 18 was enough to see me through the difficulties. It turned out that this was probably the big mistake. White's minor pieces jumped into my position and he was even able to ignore my attack on his h1 rook. After 24.Nxe6! I realised that 25.Rd7 was deadly, but by this stage it was too late. 27. ... Bd2 was a '33%' move (2 of his 3 moves gave me chances) but he played with remarkable accuracy right up until the end.

Monday, 20 April 2009

2 queens too many

During the Doeberl Cup/SIO tournaments I witnessed 3 remarkable games that had one thing in common. They were Tindall v Toth from the Doeberl Cup Premier, Xie v Ghane (SIO) and Amrutha v Brown (SIO). In each case one player had 2 queens on the board, and remarkably, that player did not win the game. The only game where the 'stronger' side did not lose was the Xie Ghane game, but they may be attributed to the fact the Ghane had 2 extra rooks as well, giving him QQRR v QB for Xie. The other two games ended in wins for the 'weaker' side.
All three games can be found on the respective tournament websites (scroll down for posts containing the links), but here is the Amrutha v Brown game. The game had been 2R V Q for quite a while, and at various stages both sides could claim an advantage. Watching the game live I wasn't sure what was happening, but looking at it later I suspect that Brown especially played for a win, going so far as to risk losing on a number of occasions. This strategy finally paid off when Amrutha made a play for her second queen, not realising she had walked into a mate.

Amrutha,M (2155) - Brown,A (2085) [B33] Sydney International Open Parramatta, NSW (8.25), 18.04.2009

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 Bg7 11.Bd3 Ne7 12.Nxe7 Kxe7 13.0-0 d5 14.exd5 Qxd5 15.c4 bxc4 16.Nxc4 Rb8 17.Qe2 Qd4 18.Kh1 Be6 19.b3 f5 20.f3 e4 21.fxe4 fxe4 22.Bxe4 = 22...Qxa1 23.Rxa1 Bxa1 24.Na5 Rb5 25.Nc6+ Kf8 26.b4 Kg7 27.a4 Rg5 28.Qxa6 Re8 29.Qf1 Bc3 30.Qc1 Bf6 31.h3 Bxh3 32.gxh3 Rxe4 33.Qf1 Bc3 34.Qd3 Re1+ 35.Kh2 Bf6 36.b5 Ra1 37.Qe4 Ra2+ 38.Kh1 Rb2 39.Qf3 h5 40.Qe4 h4 41.Nd4 Rf2 42.Qd3 Kh8 43.b6 Rg3 44.Qe4 Rxh3+ 45.Kg1 Rb2 46.Nf5 Rg3+ 47.Nxg3 hxg3 48.b7 Kg7 49.Qg4+ Kf8 50.Qc8+ Kg7 51.b8Q (D)
51...Bd4+ 52.Kh1 Rh2# 0-1

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Johansen wins Sydney International Open

GM Darryl Johansen has won the 2009 Sydney International Open on tie-break, after 4 players tied for equal first on 7/9. The other three players were GM Gawain Jones (defeating IM Sriram Jha), GM Abhijit Kunte (defeating GM Shojaat Ghane) and IM George Xie (who not only defeated IM Roy Chowdery, but also secured his first GM norm).
The win for Johansen followed his tie for 4th in the 2009 O2C Doeberl Cup (half a point behind the winners), a feat also achived by Xie. However the player who had the best combined result over the 2 events was the popular English GM Gawain Jones, who tied for 1st in both events with 7/9, although curiously, he did so without playing any of his fellow GM's in either tournament.
Full scores and games can be found at the Sydney International Open link on the ChessAustralia website.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Sheer hard work

The 2009 Sydney International Open is coming to an end, as is 18 rounds of sheer hard work. Both the O2C Doeberl Cup Premier, and the SIO, have seen a lot of up and coming Australian players face a level of competition they would not ordinarily get. Normally a loss in a typical Australian weekender would see a player drop down to an easier game, resulting in an uneven chess playing experience.
Instead what has happened over the last two weeks is that even when a player drops a point, the next game played is often just as hard. However the positive effects of this were evident (at least to me) when a couple of players who had had a sub-optimal Doeberl Cup began to turn it around from round 1 in the SIO.
Even players who had good a good Doeberl Cup, like Yi Yuan, continued with their form, with a win over IM Stephen Solomon in Round 1. Solomon on the other hand had bypassed this years Doeberl, instead choosing to remain in Queensland to win an event where he was the top seed by almost 700 rating points.

Solomon,S (2455) - Yuan,Y (2010) [C80]
Sydney International Open Parramatta, NSW (1.9), 15.04.2009

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Nbd2 Nc5 10.c3 d4 11.cxd4 Nxd4 12.Nxd4 Qxd4 13.Bxe6 fxe6 14.Nf3 Qd5 15.Bg5 h6 16.Be3 Nd3 17.Qc2 Qc4 18.Qxc4 bxc4 19.Bd4 Bb4 20.Rab1 c5 21.Be3 Rb8 22.Rfd1 0-0 23.Kf1 Ba5 24.b3 g5 25.bxc4 Rxb1 26.Rxb1 g4 27.Rb3 Rd8 28.Nh4 Nxe5 29.g3 Nxc4 30.Bxh6 (D)
30. ... Bd2 31.Be3 Bxe3 32.Rc3 Nd2+ 33.Ke2 Bd4 34.Kxd2 Bxc3+ 35.Kxc3 Rf8 36.Ng6 Rxf2 37.Ne5 Rxh2 38.a4 Rg2 39.Kc4 Rxg3 40.Kxc5 Rg1 41.a5 g3 42.Kb6 Rf1 0-1

Friday, 17 April 2009

George Xie on a tear

After narrowly missing out on a GM norm at the Doeberl Cup, IM George Xie looks to be going one better in scoring 4.5/5 to lead the 2009 Sydney International Open. He played a trio of GM's in rounds 3 to 5, scoring wins over GM Das Neelotpal (Rd 3) and GM Gawain Jones (Round 5) and drawing with GM Darryl Johansen (Round 4). In round 6 he is playing his 4th GM in the shape of Australian number 1 GM Zong Yuan Zhao.

Xie,G (2402) - Neelotpal,D (2514) [B22]
Sydney International Open Parramatta, NSW (3.2), 16.04.2009

1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bc4 Nb6 6.Bb3 c4 7.Bc2 Nc6 8.0-0 d6 9.exd6 Bxd6 10.d4 cxd3 11.Qxd3 Be7 12.Qe4 Nd5 13.Rd1 Qc7 14.Na3 a6 15.Bg5 b6 16.Bxe7 f5 17.Qa4 Kxe7(D)
18.Bxf5 Nf4 19.Re1 Bd7 20.Nc4 b5 21.Qa3+ Kf6 22.Ne3 exf5 23.g3 Nh3+ 24.Kg2 Be6 25.Qc5 Qc8 26.Rad1 Rd8 27.Rxd8 Nxd8 28.Qe5+ Kf7 29.Nxf5 Bxf5 30.Qe7+ Kg6 31.Ne5+ 1-0

Thursday, 16 April 2009

2009 Sydney International Open - Day 1

Just a days break between the end of the O2C Doeberl Cup and the start of the 2009 Sydney International Open. The fields are pretty similar at the top, although the Sydney tournament has a larger field (in the top section) with a slightly longer tail.
The main difference is GM Zong Yuan Zhao comes in as top seed (exchanged for IM David Smerdon in a sense), IM Solomon joins the field (in exchange for IM Andras Toth), while at the end of the field, the more relaxed qualification rules have resulted in an extra 25 players.
The gruelling nature of two 9 round swisses with 2 rounds a day being played back to back is already having an effect with a number of draws on the upper boards. Of course not playing both tournaments back to back seeme to have a negative effect on IM Stephen Solomon as he lost to Canberra junior Yi Yuan in the first round.
Full coverage of the event can be found at ChessAustralia (the tournament organisers) with all the usual goodies like live coverage of the top boards, replayable games and standings and pairings.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

A brilliancy prize?

Occasionally tournaments in Australia offer special prizes like 'Best Game' or 'Brilliancy'. However they are pretty rare, mainly due to the effort involved in judging them. It is difficult to both line up a player of sufficient strength to do the judging, have it all done before the prize giving, and most commonly, get players motivated enough to submit their games for consideration.
However I did get one entry for the 'Brilliancy Prize' at the Doeberl Cup, even though we weren't offering such a prize. In lieu of a prize I promised the winner the reward of good publicity (on this blog), and now I fulfill my end of the bargain.

Sandler,D (1454) - Scully,M (1110) [A51]
O2C Doeberl Cup Minor Canberra (1.8), 10.04.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e5 3.d5 a6 4.Nc3 Bc5 5.e3 0-0 6.Bd3 Re8 7.Nge2 c6 8.0-0 b5 9.Qc2 Qe7 10.Ng3 d6 11.dxc6 Nxc6 12.cxb5 Nb4 13.Qe2 Nxd3 14.Qxd3 e4 15.Qc2 axb5 16.b3 Bd7 17.Bb2 b4 18.Nce2 Ng4 19.Nd4 Rac8 20.Qd2 Qh4 21.h3 Ne5 22.Ndf5(D)
22. ... Nf3+ 23.gxf3 Bxf5 24.Nxf5 Qxh3 25.fxe4 Rxe4 26.Qd5 Rce8 27.Ng3 Rxe3 28.Nf5 Rf3 29.Rae1 Qg4+ 30.Ng3 Rxg3+ 0-1

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

2009 O2C Doeberl Cup - An Arbiters Perspective

Despite the increase in numbers, the Doeberl Cup seems to get easier to run each year. I put this down to two main factors. Firstly the quality of the organisation in terms of venue, conditions, strength of field etc indicates that this is a serious tournament, and the players therefore act in a 'serious' manner. Secondly the tournament benefits from a large amount of return 'customers' and this means they are familiar with the tournament structure, rules, what to expect from the arbiters, and what is expected of them. This reduces the amount of work that the arbiters do when problems arise, as in most instances the players themselves are often halfway towards a solution by the time we arrive.
There were only a couple of minor issues throughout the tournament we needed to deal with, and these mainly concerned clocks. The odd incorrectly set clock meant a player might not receive an increment, and once or twice a clock broke down, but that was about it. I also had to deal with 3 draw by 3 fold repetition claims, and in all cases the initial claims were incorrect. This indicates to me that some players still haven't read the rules in this regard, and turning up to an important tournament without this knowledge inevitably leads to trouble.
From the tournament presentation point of view, the major problem was with the tournament website. For reasons beyond the control of the organisers (both technically and geographically), the website was unavailable for periods throughout the event. This was a real shame as the online presentation this year was a step up from last year. The DGT broadcasts of the top 4 games were in operation for all nine rounds, the pairings and standings were posted soon after the completion of the previous rounds, and all the game scores from ALL the events were online no more than a day after the completion of the round.
For the arbiters Charles Zworestine, Krishneel Nair and myself it was a very easy tournament to run, but the fun doesn't stop there. A 300km drive to Sydney, a change of t-shirt and we will be working at the Sydney International Open until Sunday 19th April.

Monday, 13 April 2009

2009 O2C Doeberl Cup - Final Day

The 2009 O2C Doeberl Cup had an exciting finish, with all 3 tournaments having close and exciting last round games.
In the Premier section IM Deep Sengupta took a half point lead into the final round. He was paired with GM Chakkravarthy who was a point behind. After GM Gawain Jones drew with IM Sriram Jha to move to 7 points, a draw would be enough for outright first for Sengupta. However Chakkravarthy was able to win with the black pieces, leaving Sengupta, Jones and Chakkravarthy all tied for first on 7/9. Nonetheless Sengupta had reason to be happy as he scored both his second GM norm, and won the Doeberl Cup on tie-break. Tied for equal 4th on 6.5 were IM George Xie (just falling short of a GM norm after drawing with GM Reinderman), IM David Smerdon, GM Darryl Johansen, IM Sriram Jha and GM Abhijit Kunte. Junta Ikeda picked up the Bedi Cip for the best performance by an Australian junior.
In the Major there was 5 way tie for the lead going into the last round. Wins by Brendan Norman and Colin Cloudsdale left them joint winners with 6/7, while David Castor and Richard Voon finished equal third on 5.5
In the Minor Alana Chibnall proved a popular winner after a last round draw left her on 6/7. The only player who could catch her was Shanon Vuglar, but he had to defend an inferior position, and could only draw his game. This left a four way tie for 2nd with Amir Karabasic, Shanon Vuglar, Lou Damaschino and Andrew Pan all on 5.5/7.
(*edit: As noted in the comments section Alana Chibnall also picked up the Pooja Cup for best Female Australian Junior in the Minor)

Full results for the Premier and Major can be found at, while the standings for the Minor can be found in the comments section to this post.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

2009 O2C Doeberl Cup Minor - Change in Rd 7 draw

Due to an incorrectly recorded the result the posted pairings for the minor have changed. The O2C website also reflects the new pairings, but I will also post them in the comments section to this post.

2009 O2C Doeberl Cup - Chess 960

Last night saw the running of the O2C Doeberl Cup Chess 960 event. It was a fun evening of chess, although there was $1000 in prizes to battle over.
The tournament was run under lightning chess rules (illegal moves lose etc), although as the arbiter I was a little lenient on illegal castling, as this is probably the most confusing aspect of Chess960 (Fischer Random). At the start of eache round Fritz960 generated a starting position which was displayed on a screen in the tournament hall. The a minute of AC/DC or Midnight Oil was played over the sound system while the players set up their boards, and then the round began.
The tournament turned into a battle between two groups. In one corner were the Sydney Chess 960 experts, led by Blair Mandla, Neil Wright and George Xie. In the other were the group of Indian IM's who seemed not to have played it much before, but came to grips with it very quickly. At the halfway point it looked like the Sydney crew would take home the money, but the Indian's finished the stronger to capture the top 3 places.
The winner was IM Swyangsu Satyapragyan with 7.5/9. Half a point behind were IM Sriram Jha, IM K Rathnakaran, and Blair Mandla.
Full standings will be at later this morning.

Saturday, 11 April 2009

2009 O2C Doeberl Cup - Pairings for Day 4

The pairings for the Premier and Major can be found at (just search on Doeberl). The pairings for the minor are included in the comments to this post.

2009 O2c Doeberl Cup - Online games

Apart from the live coverage of the top 4 boards, the organisers are providing the rest of the games in a replayable format from the tournament website, The data entry is being carried out by the blindingly fast Ron Scott, and at close of business last night (around midnight), the games from the first 3 rounds of the Premier, as well as the first rounds of the Major and Minor were available. Just go to the tournament web page and click on the DGT Chess Theatre link.
While you can now make your own selections for the best played games, I thought it is worth highlighting this game from the first round of the Doeberl Cup. It sums up the tournament on a couple of levels, both with a visiting titled playing (IM Guy West) being upset in the first round by their lower ranked opponent, and that the winning player was a Canberra local (Ian Rout). For while the Doeberl Cup is Australia's number one event, it has always played a significant role in the local chess scene as well.

Rout,I - West,G [A57]
O2C Doeberl Cup Premier Canberra (1.22), 09.04.2009

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Nd2 Qa5 5.e4 bxc4 6.Qc2 Ba6 7.Bxc4 Bxc4 8.Qxc4 d6 9.Ngf3 Nbd7 10.0-0 g6 11.b3 Bg7 12.Bb2 0-0 13.Qd3 Qc7 14.Nc4 Nb6 15.Rac1 Rad8 16.Rc2 Nxc4 17.Qxc4 Qb7 18.h3 e5 19.dxe6 Nxe4 20.exf7+ Rxf7 21.Bxg7 Kxg7 22.Nd2 Nf6 23.Rd1 Nd5 24.Ne4 Nf4 25.g3 d5(D)
26.Qxc5 Ne6 27.Qc3+ d4 28.Qc6 Qe7 29.a3 h5 30.h4 Kh6 31.Re2 d3 32.Re3 Nd4 33.Qc1 Qc7 34.Qxc7 Rxc7 35.Rexd3 Nf3+ 36.Kf1 Rf8 37.Rd7 Rc2 38.Rxa7 Ne5 39.Rd2 Rxd2 40.Nxd2 g5 41.Ra6+ Ng6 42.hxg5+ Kxg5 43.Kg2 Kh6 44.b4 Rc8 45.b5 Rc2 46.Nf3 Kg7 47.b6 Rb2 48.a4 Ne7 49.a5 Nf5 50.Ne5 Nd6 51.Ra7+ Kf6 52.Nd3 Rb5 53.Nf4 h4 54.gxh4 Kf5 55.Ne2 Rb2 56.Ng3+ Kg4 57.Rd7 Nf5 58.Nxf5 1-0

2009 O2C Doeberl Cup - Pairings for Day 3

Pairings for the Premier and Major can be found at
Pairings for the Minor and Under 1200 can be found in the comments attached to this post.
For the sake of completeness I will aslo include the Premier and Major pairings here as well.

Friday, 10 April 2009

2009 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 1

(Apologies for missing the midnight deadline to post this).

This years Doeberl Cup got of to a punctual and relaxed start. After the usual flurry of last minute drops outs and entries, the Premier ended up with a field of 76 players, slightly down on last year. The highlight of this years event is the big Indian contingent, with 15 players taking part. In terms of titled player the Premier has 7 GM's, 13 IM's, 3 WGM's, 2 WIM's, 6 FM's and 1 WFM.
The major talking point of the first day was the carnage inflicted upon the higher seeded players on the top boards. In the first round the GM 'team' managed to only score '+2', with 3 GM's being held to draws and GM Shojaat Ghane losing to Canberra junior Andrew Brown. The mistreatment at the hands of the lower ranked players continued in round 2 with the result that no GM is on a perfect score (although top seed Dimitri Reinderman contributed to this bye taking a half point bye).
FM Tomek Rej scored the big upset with a won over Gawain Jones on the top board, while Abhijit Kunte was held to a draw by FM Geoffrey Saw on board 2. Third seed GM Neelotpal Das is even stuck on 50% after a second round draw with WIM Arianne Caoili.
As for the running of the tournament most things went smoothly. The registration process seemed much easier this year and the first round started on time. The live broadcast system was set up and working before the start of the round, although live coverage was brought undone by a server crash on the far side of the world, meaning the tournament web site was off th air for 3 hours. And the result of the Zibaei v Xie was mis-recorded (it was a win for Xie but recorded as the opposite), resulting in a set of pairings had 4 players playing 'outside' their score groups.
As noted in my previous post, you can get the results and pairings from this link at

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Doeberl Cup Blogging

While I will be busy being a (paid) arbiter at the O2C Doeberl Cup, I will try and provide coverage via this blog throughout. Apart from the end of round (or day) summaries, I'll try and use my Twitter feed to provide up to the minute updates. While it won't quite be as interactive as the ClosetGrandmaster's live blogging exploits, I at least have the advantage of being allowed near a computer during the actual rounds. If you wish to 'follow' the feed, just click on the twitter link on the right of this page.
Of course live game coverage (of the top 4 boards) will be available from the official website. You will also be able to catch viceo coverage from the event, with end of round summaries from GM Ian Rogers, and interviews and analysis from other tournament participants. This year the entering of games will also be faster and it is planned to have the games from the Premier (and hopefully the other events) in replayable form as soon as possible after the completion of each round.
Apart from the official web site, I also plan to post results and draws for the Premier and Major at and indeed this may be the quickest way to get crosstables etc

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

2009 Thailand Open

Untitled player Deshun Xiu (CHN), was the outright winner of the 2009 Thailand Open with an impressive 8/9. He drew with top seed GM Nigel Short in the 6th round, and in the final round with GM Gerhard Schebler (GER). As well as winning the tournament, his TPR of 2730 clearly exceeded the requirements for a GM norm.
Iranian GM Elshan Moradiabadi was otright second on 7.5, while Nigel Short took third place with 7/9.
The event also saw a number of Australian players taking part with FM Tim Reilly the best placed, scoring 5.5 including a win of GM Shojaat Ghane (who will be in action at the Doeberl and SIO).
A full crosstable can be found at the ever reliable

Monday, 6 April 2009

You only get one move in a row

While it may seem obvious that after you move, your opponent gets a move, I suspect the root cause of a number of blunders is due to ignoring this fact. At the junior level analysis that reads "I go here, then my opponent does nothing, and then I go there and win" is legion, but I've been guilty of it as well.
Here is a famous games where the colourfully named Fedor Ivanovich Dus Chotimirsky would have done well to remember that his opponent is allowed to move in reply.

Marshall,F - Dus Chotimirsky,F [D21]
Karlsbad Karlsbad, 1911

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 dxc4 4.e3 a6 5.Ne5 Nd7 6.Nxd7 Bxd7 7.Bxc4 Bc6 8.0-0 Bd6 9.Nc3 Qh4 10.f4 Nf6 11.Bd2 Ng4 12.h3 Qg3 Now Marshall is faced with mate on h2 and g2. But what reply did Dus Chotimirsky overlook?

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Record Numbers for O2C Doeberl Cup

With under a week to go until this years 2009 O2C Doeberl Cup, the entries have already exceeded last years record turnout out. As of the time of this posting, 234 players had already entered the 4 tournament sections. The Premier section is sitting on 80 players, and while this is the nominal limit for this tournament, the organisers are still happy to allow another 10 players to enter 'sneak' in.
In what is a big improvement over previous years, the Major tournament (Under 2000) has 65 players this year. Of all the events this one has lagged in past years, possibly because the top end of this tournament prefers the Premier, while eligible players in the Minor event tended to stick with the Minor. But it has changed this year, which means a very competitive event. The Minor is also doing well with 61 players entering this U/1600 tournament.
The 2 day U/1200 tournament has 29 players entered, with a lot of those players being family member of other tournament competitors.
There is still time to enter, but you need to get your entries in by Wednesday, 8th April. The organisers are confident of reaching the 240 mark, while 250 players is still a possibility.

(*Usual disclaimer: I am a paid official for this event)

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Another Chess Variant

Mark Scully: "Here's something for your blog. I've invented a game better than chess"
Shaun Press: "No you haven't. But tell me about this game you think is better than chess"
So went the conversation at Street Chess today. And the game was described as follows
  • Kings, Pawns and Knights move and capture as in normal chess
  • Bishops, Rooks and Queens (Sliding pieces), move as normal, but must jump a single piece (yours or your opponents) as part of a move.
  • Sliding pieces capture other pieces by jumping them, with the exception of enemy pawns
  • Enemy pawns can only be captured by non-sliding pieces
At this point the next round of the tournament started, so the description may be incomplete. I assume that check and checkmate are a function of how pieces moves (sliders must have an intervening piece to give check) and that pawn promotion remains the same.

Checking "Encyclopedia of Chess Variants" doesn't turn up anything identical to this game (or anything substantially similar), so credit goes to Mark Scully for this invention.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Becoming Famous

One way to become a famous chess player is to play a memorable game or execute a brilliant combination. The other, not so good way, is to be on the receiving end of a brilliant game or memorable combination. Curt Von Bardeleben, despite being a fine chess player, is mainly remembered for his loss the Willhelm Steinitz at Hastings in 1895 (although his method of resignation probably contributed to his fame).
Former Canberra junior, Andrew Fitzpatrick is currently suffering a similar fate, courtesy of his game against GM Peter Wells at this years Queenstown event. The game finished with a double rook sacrifice, making it attractive for chess magazines, columns and even blogs. I've now seen the finish to the game pop up in at least 3 different places, including this weeks Guardian Weekly.
I'll now make it appearance number 4, but to mitigate Andrew's pain, I will point out that Peter Wells suffered a similar fate after getting crushed by Japanese Shogi champion Yoshiharu Habu in the 2005 Essent Open.
In the diagrammed position Wells finished the game with 1.Rxg4! hxg4 2.Rh8+!! Kxh8 3.Qxf8+ Kh7 4.Ng5#

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Rook tours

I suspect chess players are familiar with the Knight Tour (moving the knight on an empty board so that it visits every square, but once only), even if they cannot do it themselves. I also suspect fewer players are familiar with the Rook Tour (same conditions as the Knight Tour), even though everyone should be able to do this without much thought.
However, to make the study of Rook Tours more challenging, questions are phrased not in terms of 'how', but 'how much'. For example, starting in the top left corner and finishing in the bottom left corner, how many distinct rook tours are their on a 2x2 board? (In this case only 1). However as the board gets bigger, the problem gets harder.
Courtesy of the website I discovered that on a 4x10 board (4 ranks and 10 files), there are 2329 distinct rook tours. However the question that they want you to solve is how many tours are their on a 4x10^12 board!
If you are interested in mathematics (especially number theory), and programming, then this is a wonderful site to visit. It contains over 200 questions designed to be solved algorithmically, and tests both mathematical knowledge, and programming ability. However do not panic if you can't solve the problem I've just given. It is problem number 237 in the list, and has only been solved by 134 people. As a comparison, Problem 1 (the sum of all positive numbers less than 1000 divisible by 3 or 5) has been solved by over 56,000 people.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Historical Animosity

When I first began to take an interest in chess history, on of the first controversies I came across was whether Howard Staunton deliberately avoided playing Paul Morphy and if so, why? At the time (mid 1980's) most of my sources were older chess books from the USA and the overwhelming consensus was that he did. Indeed most theories about Morphy's subsequent nervous breakdown attached at least part of the blame to Staunton's behaviour in this regard. Later on I came across the alternative viewpoint, that his duties as a Shakespearean scholar prevented him from either playing a match, or seriously preparing him for one. Of course the alternative theory came mainly from British chess circles.
While the arguments defending Staunton have been made more recently, the American animosity towards him seem to go a long way back. The preface to A Treasury of British Chess Masterpieces by Fred Reinfeld (published in 1950), contains the following damning quote

There is no Staunton game - it takes too much time to find a game by him which one can enjoy

An astonishing claim, and one that I suspect was motivated by historical spite, rather than an objective understanding of the game.