Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Castling into it

A quick game from tonight's round of the ANU Chess Club Autumn Rapid. Lee Forace (who will be an arbiter at the Doeberl Cup) found a nice checkmate against Jamie-Lee Guo, but only after Jamie-Lee castled into the mate. Lee however was pleased by his effort. "For the blog" he said when handing a copy of the score sheet to me.

Forace,Lee - Guo,Jamie-Lee [B09]
ANU Autumn Rapid , 31.03.2010

1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.f4 Bg7 5.Nf3 c5 6.dxc5 Qa5 7.Bd3 Qxc5 8.Qe2 a6 9.Be3 Qc7 10.0-0 Nc6 11.Rae1 Bg4 12.h3 Bd7 13.e5 dxe5 14.Nxe5 Nxe5 15.fxe5 Qxe5 16.Bf4 Qxe2 17.Rxe2 Nh5 18.Bd6 e6 19.Nd5 (D)
19. ... 0-0-0 20.Nb6# 1-0

O2C Doeberl Cup Premier - First round pairings

Pairings for the first round of the 2010 O2C Doeberl Cup Premier are available at both the tournament website (Click on the results link) and at

(Disclaimer: Seeing as entries have closed I'm dispensing with the whole "I'm getting paid for this" until next year)

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

ACT Schools Team Events - Term 1

The Schools teams events in Canberra traditionally start with the girls events in Term 1. The logic behind this is that the girls teams get to warm up against each other, before unleashing havoc in the Term 2 Open events.
The two events were the ACT Girls Secondary Championship and the ACT Girls Primary Championship, and the finals of both were played over the last few days.
The Secondary Championship is run as an individual swiss, with the team score calculated by adding up the scores of the best 4 players from each school. Lyneham High were the winning team, finishing ahead of traditional girls powerhouse Alfred Deakin High.
The Primary Schools was played in the more traditional 4 board format, with the final consisting of 23 teams (from a qualifying pool of 70+ teams). This years winner was Curtin Primary (making it at least 3 wins in a row), ahead of Turner Primary, with Radford edging out Amaroo for third on tiebreak.
Next term sees the Open Schools events, with the Primary Schools qualifying sections attracting close to 1000 players over the 6 zones.
Full results from this year (and past years) can be found at the ACTJCL website.

Monday, 29 March 2010

2010 O2C Doeberl Cup - last chance to enter

The 2010 O2C Doeberl Cup is only a few days away, and the entries have crossed the 230 mark. Wednesday 31st March 2010 is the deadline for entries, but you can enter after this date, as long as you are willing to sit out the first round (ie Entries by the deadline will be paired for round 1, late entries will be paired for subsequent rounds). In the Premier there are currently 10 GM's and 10 IM's entered, with 23 players from overseas federations (important for norm hunters).
One player who is coming into the tournament on the back of some good form is Indian IM Saptarshi Roy Chowdrey. He has just finished first in the Six Seasons GM Tournament in Bangladesh and I'm assuming his score of 7/9 is good enough for a GM norm. His stand out game from the tournament was the following effort, where he demolished his opponent in 19th Century style.

Roy Chowdhury,Saptarshi (2429) - Minhazuddin,Ahmed (2289) [C27]
Six Seasons GM Dhaka BAN (3), 17.03.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 Qa5 5.dxe5 Nxe4 6.Bxf7+ Kxf7 7.Qf3+ Nf6 8.exf6 Qe5+ 9.Nge2 Qxf6 10.Bf4 d5 11.0-0-0 Be7 (D)
12.Rxd5 cxd5 13.Nxd5 Qf5 14.Nxe7 Kxe7 15.Nd4 Qg4 16.Re1+ Kf6 17.Be5+ Kg6 18.Qd3+ Bf5 19.Nxf5 Qxf5 20.Qd6+ Kf7 21.Qd5+ Kg6 22.g4 Qd7 23.Qe4+ Kf7 24.Qf4+ Kg8 25.Rd1 Qxd1+ 26.Kxd1 Nc6 27.Qc4+ Kf8 28.Bd6+ 1-0

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

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Smyslov passes away

Former World Champion Vassily Smyslov has passed away at the age of 89. He was hospitalised with chest pains early last week, a died yesterday (27 Match 2010) in Moscow. He was World Champion from 1956 to 1957 1957 to 1958, and was the first player to wrest the title from Mikhail Botvinnik. Although his career seemed to decline after his 19571958 World Championship rematch loss to Botvinnik, he bounced back in spectacular fashion in the 1980's, reaching the 1984 Candidates Final, before losing to Gary Kasparov. In 1991 he won the first World Seniors Championship, and in later years was a problem composer of some renown.
One of the first Smyslov games I was aware of was the from the 1945 USA-USSR Radio Match. In his game against Sammy Reshevsky, both players followed established theory in the Open Lopez, up until the point where Smyslov uncorked a new 18th move, which surrendered the queen for a fair amount of wood. On move 23 the Americans radioed for a time check in the game and were astonished to find that Smyslov had only used 2 minutes up until that point. It turned out that Smyslov had access to better analysis than Reshevsky, and a demoralised Reshevsky wasn't able to cope with the complications and lost.
(Warning: Don't try and emulate Smyslov's play in this game as Fritz regards the position after move 22 as much better for Black, and recent results confirm this)

Smyslov,Vassily - Reshevsky,Samuel Herman [C82]
USA-URS radio m URS (1), 1945

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.c3 Bc5 10.Nbd2 0-0 11.Bc2 f5 12.Nb3 Bb6 13.Nbd4 Nxd4 14.Nxd4 Bxd4 15.cxd4 f4 16.f3 Ng3 17.hxg3 fxg3 18.Qd3 Bf5 (D)
19.Qxf5 Rxf5 20.Bxf5 Qh4 21.Bh3 Qxd4+ 22.Kh1 Qxe5 23.Bd2 Qxb2 24.Bf4 c5 25.Be6+ Kh8 26.Bxd5 Rd8 27.Rad1 c4 28.Bxg3 c3 29.Be5 b4 30.Bb3 Rd2 31.f4 h5 32.Rb1 Rf2 33.Rfe1 Qd2 34.Rbd1 Qb2 35.Rd8+ Kh7 36.Bg8+ Kg6 37.Rd6+ Kf5 38.Be6+ Kg6 39.Bd5+ Kh7 40.Be4+ Kg8 41.Bg6 1-0

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Grischuk - Blindfold Master

The Melody Amber tournament in Nice finished in a tie for first between Magnus Carlsen and Vasily Ivanchuk. While Ivanchuk was the only player to go through the event undefeated, Carlsen lost 6 games, although his 11.5/12 against the bottom 6 finishers made up for this.
However the player who proved best at the blindfold section was last minute replacement Alexander Grischuk. Filling in for Alexander Morozevich, Grischuk scored 8/11, losing only one game to Lev Aronian. His last round game against Carlsen helped decide the final standings, as well as showing one of the occasional pitfalls of blindfold chess. On move 25 Carlsen simply lost track of the White queen and played the losing capture on e4!

Grischuk,A (2756) - Carlsen,Magnus (2813) [E70]
19th Amber Blindfold Nice FRA (11), 25.03.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Bg5 0-0 6.Qd2 Na6 7.Bd3 e5 8.d5 Qe8 9.Nge2 Nh5 10.f3 f5 11.0-0-0 Nc5 12.Bc2 Bd7 13.Rde1 fxe4 14.Nxe4 Nxe4 15.fxe4 b5 16.cxb5 Rf2 17.Rhg1 Nf4 18.Qe3 Rxg2 19.Nxf4 exf4 20.Bxf4 Rxg1 21.Rxg1 Qe7 22.Bd3 Rf8 23.Rf1 Qh4 24.Bg3 Rxf1+ 25.Bxf1 (D) 25...Qxe4?? 26.Qxe4 1-0

Friday, 26 March 2010

The ups and downs of early entries

With a large percentage of chess players these days having access to the internet, the trend is for tournament organisers to publish a list of entries prior to the event. Of course some organisers can feel embarrassed if the list consists of 2 or 3 players a week out from the tournament, but overall it is a good thing (As an aside I know of one player who makes his decision about whether to play, not on the strength of the field, but on how many d**k h***s are playing).
Of course there is a risk that what is published as the list of entries may not actually be the final list. This is normally due to changed circumstances of players (especially overseas players) although the organisers of the 2010 Australian Championship sailed very close to the wind by publishing a list of early entrants before most of the names on the list had even thought about entering (or in 1 or 2 cases, even knew the event was being held).
While this years O2C Doeberl Cup has not resorted to "bearing false witness", the entry list for the Premier has had some minor modifications. One popular player from overseas, GM Shojaat Ghane, had intended to come but travel difficulties put paid to that. If he had made he may have had a chance to repeat his victory from last month against GM Vladmir Malaniuk, who is the third seed for the event.

Malaniuk,Vladimir (2573) - Ghane Gardeh,Shojaat (2387) [E43]
18th Fajr Open Mashhad IRI (9.6), 2010

1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e3 b6 5.Bd3 Bb7 6.Nf3 Ne4 7.0-0 Bxc3 8.bxc3 Nxc3 9.Qc2 Bxf3 10.gxf3 Qg5+ 11.Kh1 Qh5 12.Rg1 Qxf3+ 13.Rg2 f5 14.Ba3 Ne4 15.Rf1 Nc6 16.Be2 Nxd4 0-1

(** Disclaimer: I am a paid official for the 2010 O2C Doeberl Cup **)

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Gender based behaviour modification

"Strategic Behavior across Gender: A Comparison of Female and Male Expert Chess Players" is the title of a new research paper that well, compares the strategic behaviour of Female and Male Expert chess players. One of the arguments made in the paper is that male players are less risk adverse that female players, and that male players will even take more risks against female players than they do against male players of similar strength.
I initially came across the paper here, which discusses its conclusion in relation to risk behaviour on Wall Street (and other investment environments). I'm not sure how much of the papers conclusions are transferable (given the limited reward structure in chess ie win, loss, draw) but it is an interesting approach nonetheless.
Coincidently, Susan Polgar links to another article concerning gender and chess, although this is more about participation levels, and the disparity between the number of male and female players.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Stamps and Marxism

"Stamps and Marxism" was Karpov's famous reply to a question concerning interests other than chess. I can't give you Marxism (you'll have to ask Obama for that), but courtesy of Milan Ninchich, I can show you some stamps from Malawi that celebrate chess. The three pictures of the female players probably come from the 2008 Chess Olympiad, and include Australian representative Arianne Caoili (bottom centre for those with poor eyesight) .

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

On Illegal moves

In yesterdays post I referred to the Zhao - Rujevic game from the 1999/2000 Australian Championship. This game was interesting in that during the game Zhao played an illegal move (Rook jumps Pawn) which was not noticed by either player. It was however noticed by a spectator (John Pascoe) who did the right thing by informing the Chief Arbiter (Me actually) about what he had seen. As the game was in the Australian Championship (rather than say an under 10 tournament), and neither player had said anything, I (incorrectly) dismissed the claim. The truth was revealed at the end of the game, to the shock of both players, when a replay confirmed what John Pascoe had seen.
Interestingly I have heard about this happening more often than I would normally expect. It is as though both players 'expect' that the game will follow the rules, and therefore don't scrutinise the legality of every move. The diagrammed position is a very recent example of this. Two moves previously Black's pawn on a5 stood on a7, and White's pawn stood on b5. Black then played a7-a5 to which White replied b5xa6ep. However instead of removing the a pawn, he confidently lifted the b pawn from the board. Black, who I believe was at the board when this happened, didn't sense anything was amiss, and the game continued on as though nothing untoward had happened. It was only a couple of days later that White realised what he had done, and again when told, Black was genuinely surprised that he had also missed this.

Monday, 22 March 2010

A connection with the past

One of my opponents in the Dubbo Open was John Pascoe. I first met John at the 1999/2000 Australian Championship, where he attempted to alert me to an illegal move played in the Zhao - Rujevic game (a story I will relate in another post).
John, who is approaching his 80th birthday, also happened to be the Secretary of the Canberra Chess Club way back in the late 1940's. A couple of my old Chess World magazines mention him in this role, which he maintained until moving to Sydney in 1951.
Against me he played a solid opening but fell for a paradoxical tactic where his d pawn was better off being protected by a piece, rather than a pawn.

Pascoe,John - Press,Shaun [E60]
Dubbo Open (4), 21.03.2010

1.c4 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.b3 0-0 5.Bb2 d6 6.Nd2 c5 7.d5 Qa5 8.Qc2 a6 9.Bc3 Qc7 10.a4 Re8 11.Be2 e6 12.Bf3 exd5 13.cxd5 Bf5 14.Qb2 Nbd7 15.Ne2 Ne5 16.0-0 Nd3 17.Qa2 b6 18.Ng3 Bd7 (D)
19.e4 Nxd5 20.Bxg7 N5b4 21.Qb1 Kxg7 22.Be2 Ne5 23.Nf3 Nxf3+ 24.Bxf3 Rab8 25.Qd1 b5 26.Qd2 bxa4 27.bxa4 Nc6 28.Rfd1 Nd4 29.Rac1 Bxa4 30.Qxd4+ cxd4 31.Rxc7 Bxd1 32.Bxd1 Rb1 33.Nf1 Rxd1 34.f3 Rb8 0-1

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Zhao and Xie win Dubbo Open

The top two seeds at the 2010 Dubbo Open ended up sharing the spoils after 6 rounds of enjoyable chess. After starting with 4 wins each they drew their round 5 clash, before both winning in round 6. In the final games GM Zong-Yuan Zhao defeated 3rd seed FM Vladmir Smirnov and IM George Xie defeated WFM Emma Guo. Guo, who was the winner of last years Balyney Open, played both winners during the tournament, and finished on a credible 4/6.
Third place was shared by Smirnov, Nicholas Deen-Cowell and Alana Chibnall on 4.5/6. As it was the 10th Dubbo Open, the organisers had organised a large prize list, which ran all the way doen to 7th, plus various ratings prizes. This meant that there was a huge tie for 6th, including Fritz Van Der Waal, who was crowned NSW Country Champion.
Here is the last round game between Alana Chibnall and Allen Setiabudi, which resulted in Alana grabbing a share of third.

Chibnall,Alana - Setiabudi,Allen [B24]
Dubbo Open, 21.03.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 e6 3.g3 Nc6 4.Bg2 d6 5.f4 Bd7 6.d3 Nf6 7.Nf3 Be7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Ne2 d5 10.e5 Ne8 11.c3 g6 12.g4 Ng7 13.Ng3 b5 14.d4 b4 15.Be3 bxc3 16.bxc3 cxd4 17.cxd4 Na5 18.Nd2 Bb5 19.Rf3 Nc4 20.Nxc4 Bxc4 21.f5 exf5 22.gxf5 Bg5 23.Qd2 Bxe3+ 24.Qxe3 Rb8 25.f6 Ne6 26.Qh6 Qb6 27.Rd1 Bxa2 (D)
28.Nf5 Rb7 29.Rh3 Ng5 30.Qg7# 1-0

Saturday, 20 March 2010

This is not the opening you are looking for

The 2010 Dubbo Open (number 10 in the series) has attracted a record field of 48 players. Headlining this years tournament were the two players who dominated this years Australian Championship, GM Zong-Yuan Zhao and IM George Xie. And at the end of the first day both players are on 3/3 (along with a couple of other players).
In round 3 George was the beneficiary of my horrible opening knowledge, after I left out an important intermediate move. Attempting to transpose into a Sveshnikov Sicilian, I played the very dubious 7.Bg5 instead of the normal 7.Bf4 e5 8.Bg5. This meant I didn't have access to d5 and after giving up the 2 bishops, my position quickly went downhill.
And it wasn't only Xie who I was being helpful to. In the evenings lightning event I lost to young Anton Smirnov in the final round, giving him first place and a nice bottle of wine (which no doubt will be going to dad Vladmir).

Press,Shaun - Xie,George [B45]
Dubbo Open, 20.03.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Ndb5 d6 (D)
7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Ne2 h6 10.Bxf6 Qxf6 11.c3 Bb7 12.Nc2 d5 13.exd5 Rd8 14.Ne3 Bc5 15.Qc2 exd5 16.Ng3 0-0 17.Qf5 Qe7 18.Bd3 g6 19.Qf4 d4 20.cxd4 Rxd4 0-1

Friday, 19 March 2010

World Championship website found

Over the past week I've been searching for information on the 2010 Anand v Topalov match. Partly for blogging purposes, but also because at least one member of my local chess club will actually be in Sofia during the first week of the championship (on business he claims!).
Thinking that the official site would be the best place to start, I was surprised to find there was no official site. That was until earlier today when the 2010 World Chess Championship site went live.
Curiously it is called (and even more curiously, it isn't called While this may be an easy to find name for those inside the chess world, it may not make a lot of sense to the non chess fans looking to find out what is going on ("You mean that Kasparov guy isn't world champion anymore?")
But it does have all the usual goodies that chess websites have, including playing schedule, live games, and lots of pictures. However the one thing I couldn't find was the reason I searched for it in the first place. Ticketing information.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Monster Monster Swiss

The European Individual Championship has just finished, with a win for Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi on 9/11. The organisers of the event (the European Chess Union) seemed to have followed the lead of other zonal organisers by making the tournament open to any player registered by a European Chess Union country, regardless of strength. This resulted in a field of 408 players for the Open Championship and 158 players in the Women's Championship.
Despite the huge fields the organisers didn't seem tempted to use accelerated pairings, probably because (a) 11 rounds was enough to cope with the field (3 rounds more than the minimum needed) and (b) there were a number of GM's who started in the bottom half of the field!
If you want to see the full details from the events (including the number of GM's IM's etc) then click on the links for the results for the Open and Womens Championships.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

To Gmizic your queen

Occasionally a player will lose enough games in the same way as to get their name attached to the losing method. In Canberra chess circles Peter Gmizic manged to do this in the late 80's through a couple of quick losses. The characteristic feature of these losses was an early queen move to f6 where it got hit with Bg5 and eventually trapped. After it happened a couple of times the expression "To Gmizic your queen" was born.
Here is a more up to date example, with the name of the loser redacted (because I'm a nice guy). All the features are there, the queen on f6, the bishop coming to g5, but in this case Black could save the queen at the cost of material and the position. However he chose not to, resigning instead.

Press,Shaun - XXX [B11]
ANU Summer Swiss, 17.03.2010

1.e4 c6 2.Nc3 d5 3.Qf3 d4 4.Bc4 e6 5.Nce2 Bc5 6.d3 Qf6 7.Qg3 Bb6 (D)
8.Bg5 1-0

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Street Chess - San Francisco Style

Back in 1996 I was in San Francisco (on my honeymoon) and I spotted a group of chess players playing in the street. In the end I passed up the chance to play as (a) I was afraid of getting 'hustled' and (b) I was on my honeymoon. In the end I probably shouldn't have been so timid (or considerate) as based on this article, they were probably just a bunch of enthusiasts enjoying the game.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Blindfold tactics

There is an assumption from players not that familiar with blindfold chess that it is very easy to lose track of the position. I even read a story once about how a group of players attempted to so the seeds of confusion in a blindfold simul by starting with different first moves but transposing into the same position after 4 or 5 moves. The simul player dealt with this by taking a bathroom break, and climbing out the window into the night.
Nothing so drastic for Magnus Carlsen, although his first move against Vassily Ivanchuk (1.a3!) looked like an attempt to baffle his opponent. However Ivanchuk was not confused and instead demonstrated an even more important blindfold tactic on move 31. "Play the best move in the position"

Carlsen,M (2813) - Ivanchuk,V (2748) [A00]
19th Amber Blindfold Nice FRA (1), 13.03.2010

1.a3 Nf6 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 d5 4.e3 Bg4 5.h3 Bh5 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Nc3 Nc6 8.Bb5 Rc8 9.g4 Bg6 10.Qa4 Nd7 11.b4 e6 12.Bb2 Be7 13.Bxc6 bxc6 14.Qxa7 c5 15.Qa6 0-0 16.Qe2 c4 17.e4 d4 18.Nb5 e5 19.h4 Qb6 20.a4 Qb7 21.Ng5 h6 22.h5 hxg5 23.hxg6 fxg6 24.f3 Bxb4 25.Ba3 Bxa3 26.Rxa3 Qb6 27.Qh2 Qc5 28.Qh7+ Kf7 29.Ra1 Nf6 30.Qh2 Ra8 31.d3 (D)
31. ... Qxb5 0-1

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A busy chess calendar

Normally the Canberra chess year gets off to a slow start, but this year has been very different. The ACT Championship has already been run and won, and the O2C Doeberl Cup is only 3 weeks away. Squeezed in between this are a couple of tournaments, including the Autumn Junior Weekender, which was held yesterday and today.
The Autumn Weekender was the brainchild of Ian Rout a number of years ago, and serves both as a warm for juniors planning to play in the Doeberl Cup, and as a gentle introduction to tournament chess for juniors who are making the step up from schools chess.
The tournament was won by Allen Setiabudi, fresh from his heroics at last weeks ACT Championships. Although I don't have complete scores to hand, I believe that second place was shared between Megan Setiabudi and Yijun Zhang.
Although it is about 400km away from Canberra, next weeks Dubbo Open is always popular with ACT players. This year is the 10th edition of the event and GM Zong Yuan Zhao and IM George Xie are both playing in the event.
Then a weeks break (for those not coaching) and then the Doeberl Cup. Entries have passed the 150 mark and significantly, there are only 18 spots left in the Premier.
And finally for the very keen, there is the Sydney International Open starting on the Wednesday after the Doeberl.
Throw in the ANU Masters (for a small group anyway) and it would be possible to play 36 FIDE rated games in the March/April period, a feat previously unachievable in Canberra chess.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Plagued by network problems

Only light blogging for the moment as I seemed to be plagued by network connectivity problems (cf the missing thursday post). For some reason websites seem slow/unreachable while time wasters like World of Warcraft are still available!

Friday, 12 March 2010

Melody Amber 2010

One of the chess calendars more interesting events begins tomorrow in Nice. The 2010 Melody Amber tournament brings together 12 of the worlds top players in a combination rapid/blindfold event. While the tournament is half serious/ half vacation for the participants, I suspect there is still a a certain kudos in winning the event, especially the blindfold half. Given there is no official 'Blindfold World Championship' this is the closest thing to it.
The field is headed by Carlsen, Kramnik and Aronian. Missing from this years event are Anand and Topalov, who are preparing for their upcoming World Championship Match. Live coverage starts at 14:30 Nice time, which I am guessing is currently 1:30 in the morning Canberra time. However there are 4 playing sessions a day, and the later sessions should still be running as the sun comes up.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

New FIDE Anti-Doping Regulations

In a subject dear to my heart, FIDE have announced their revised anti-doping regulations. They've been re-written to bring the FIDE code into line with the 2009 WADA Anti-Doping code. I've had a quick skim but nothing really jumped off the page to me, although I do wonder how seriously they will manage out of competition testing (10 players rated above 2650 will be subjected to this).
Of course with all these things the real issue isn't how the players follow the regulations, but how FIDE itself follow the regulations. So far their track record hasn't been that good.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Record field in Ballarat

In what is clearly a good sign for Australian chess, the traditional Ballarat Begonia Open attracted a record field of 123 players. This 7 round event is still run in a single section, meaning that determining an outright winner can be a bit tricky in an unmodified swiss. Therefore it was run as an accelerated swiss, although as the last Olympiad showed, acceleration often moves the round 1 mismatches up to round 3.
One player who received a harder than expected first round pairing was WFM Emma Guo. Passing on the ACT Championships (she had committed to Ballarat before the ACT Champs details wear announced) she had to play top see IM Stephen Solomon in round 1.

Solomon,Stephen - Guo,Emma [B42]
Ballarat Begonia Open, 06.03.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 a6 5.Nc3 Qc7 6.Be3 Nf6 7.Bd3 Be7 8.f4 d6 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Qf3 h5 11.e5 Ng4 12.Nxc6 Qxc6 13.Bd4 Qxf3 14.Rxf3 dxe5 15.fxe5 0-0 16.Ne4 Bd7 17.Rg3 Kh8 18.Rf1 Bc6 19.c3 Rad8 20.Rf4 g6 21.Nd6 Bxd6 22.exd6+ e5 (D)
23.Rfxg4 exd4 24.Rxd4 Rd7 25.b4 Rc8 26.Rg5 Kg7 27.Bf5 1-0

Even with acceleration, the winning score was still 6.5/7, acheived by FM Erik Teichmann. There was a 3 way tie for second between IM Stephen Solomon, IM Leonid Sandler and FM Bobby Cheng, all on 6.

Monday, 8 March 2010

2010 ACT Championships - Bliznyuk wins!

The 2010 ACT Championships came to a dramatic conclusion today when Junta Ikeda, who had lead the tournament from the start, stumbled in the final round and lost to Allen Setiabudi. This meant that Andrey Bliznyuk, who had trailed by half a point going into round 9, finished in front of Ikeda after defeating Adrian De Noskowski.
Bliznyuk was the only player not to lose a game, and finished with 3/3 over the last 3 rounds. Third place was shared by Allen Setiabudi, Yi Yuan, Mos Ali and Pete Morriss.
The diagram shows the moment that decided the championship. Ikeda had just played 57 ... Qb5-c5 and Setiabudi pounced with 58.Qg5+ After 58 . ... Qxg5 59.fxg5+ Ikeda had the choice of 59 . ... Kxg5 which loses to 60.Kg3 or 59 . ... Kg6 (which he played) hoping for 60.Kg3?? which draws after 60. Kxg5. However Setiabudi was awake to any tricks and followed up with 60.Kh3 and won in a few more moves.
Full crosstable and games from the event are available here.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

2010 ACT Championship - Ikeda leads with 1 round to go

Junta Ikeda is the leader going into the final round of the 2010 ACT Championships. He and second place holder Andrey Bliznyuk are the only 2 players who can win the title, with third placed Ian Rout and Adrian De Noskowski a point and a half behind Ikeda.
Today saw the leaders play some particularly tough games with Ikeda salvaging an interesting draw against Rout (see below) before defeating second seed Yi Yuan in the days second game. Bliznyuk won both his games, the second being a theoretical double rook ending with only an extra rook pawn on the board.
The final round is being played tomorrow, with Ikeda needing only a draw for a share of the title.

Rout,Ian (1868) - Ikeda,Junta (2336) [B40]

2010 ACT Championship Canberra (7.1), 07.03.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.g3 b6 4.Bg2 Bb7 5.Nc3 d6 6.0-0 Nf6 7.Re1 e5 8.d3 g6 9.Nd2 h5 10.Nc4 h4 11.Bg5 Bc6 12.Ne3 h3 13.Bh1 Be7 14.Rf1 Nxe4 15.Nxe4 Bxg5 16.Nxg5 Qxg5 17.Nd5 Kd8 18.c4 Nd7 19.f4 exf4 20.Rxf4 Ne5 21.Qf1 f5 22.Re1 Rc8 23.b4 Bxd5 24.Bxd5 Rf8 25.bxc5 bxc5 26.Rd1 Qf6 27.Be4 Ke7 28.Rb1 Rc7 29.Re1 Rcc8 30.Rb1 Rb8 31.Bd5 Qh8 32.Rh4 Rxb1 33.Qxb1 Rb8 34.Qf1 Qg7 35.Qxh3 Rb1+ 36.Kg2 Rb2+ 37.Kf1 Rb1+ 38.Ke2 Rb2+ 39.Kd1 Rb1+ 40.Kc2 Rb2+ 41.Kd1 Nxd3 42.Rh7 Nf2+ 43.Kc1 Nd3+ 44.Kd1 ½-½

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Lightning strikes twice

In round 4 of the 2010 ACT Championship, Milan Grcic played an anti-Pirc line that involved Be3 and Qd2. His opponent attempted to exploit this by playing Ng4 to attack the dark squared bishop. After the bishop headed to g5 it was hit by h6. But rather than retreat the bishop, Grcic attacked the knight instead, to open the h file. He then shifted his knight to g5, followed it up with Q to the h file, and it was all over in 15 moves!

Grcic,Milan (1772) - Bonning,James (1626) [B08]
2010 ACT Championship Canberra (4.5), 28.02.2010

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be3 0-0 6.Qd2 Ng4 7.Bg5 h6 8.h3 Nxf2 9.Qxf2 hxg5 10.Nxg5 e5 (D)
11.Qh4 Re8 12.Bc4 Be6 13.Qh7+ Kf8 14.Nxe6+ fxe6 15.0-0+ Bf6 1-0

Amazingly in round 6 of the tournament his opponent tried the same idea, got hit with the same reply, and although he varied from the round 4 game (7. ... f6 instead of 7. ... h6) this only resulted in the game finishing in 12 moves!

Grcic,Milan (1722) - Derwent,Ethan (1330) [B08]
2010 ACT Championship Canberra (6.3), 06.03.2010

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Be3 0-0 6.Qd2 Ng4 7.Bg5 f6 8.Bc4+ Kh8 9.h3 fxg5 10.hxg4 e5 11.Nxg5 exd4 12.Rxh7# 1-0

Friday, 5 March 2010

Happy 75th Bent Larsen

Yesterday (4th of March) was the 75th birthday of Danish GM Bent Larsen. In the 60's he vied with Fischer for the title of strongest "Western" (ie non-Warsaw pact) chessplayer, and even played ahead of Fischer in the 1970 USSR v ROW match.
Although he was blanked 6-0 by Fischer in their 1971 Candidates match, Fischer's retirement moved him back to the top of Western GM's.
Famously Larsen almost always avoided team matches (ie Olympiads) as he felt that playing under team "orders" was antithetical to the individual nature of chess. He was also willing to take risks in his games believing that he earned 2 wins for every loss that occurred.
Here is a famous win over then world champion Tigran Petrosian from the 1966 Santa Monica tournament. The famed master of defence is brought undone in 30 moves, and Larsen even gets to throw in a Queen sacrifice.

Larsen,Bent - Petrosian,Tigran V [B39]
Piatigorsky-Cup 2nd Santa Monica (7), 27.07.1966

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 g6 5.Be3 Bg7 6.c4 Nf6 7.Nc3 Ng4 8.Qxg4 Nxd4 9.Qd1 Ne6 10.Qd2 d6 11.Be2 Bd7 12.0-0 0-0 13.Rad1 Bc6 14.Nd5 Re8 15.f4 Nc7 16.f5 Na6 17.Bg4 Nc5 18.fxg6 hxg6 19.Qf2 Rf8 20.e5 Bxe5 21.Qh4 Bxd5 22.Rxd5 Ne6 23.Rf3 Bf6 24.Qh6 Bg7 (D)
25.Qxg6 Nf4 26.Rxf4 fxg6 27.Be6+ Rf7 28.Rxf7 Kh8 29.Rg5 b5 30.Rg3 1-0

Thursday, 4 March 2010

2010 O2C Doeberl Cup - 4 weeks to go

The 2010 O2C Doeberl Cup is only 4 weeks away. At this stage the entry list stands at 118 players over the 4 tournaments, but this will double (at least) before the close of entries. The Premier is filling the quickest, with 56 players registered. This means that there are only 34 places left, to be filled on a first come, first served basis.
The Major (Under 2000 ACF) has 29 out of the 80 places field, although the trend in the last couple of years indicates that it will go close to capacity field of 80 players. The Minor (Under 1600 ACF) and the Mini (Under 1200) are also beginning to fill as well.
In terms of titled players in the Premier there are 10 GM's, 11 IM's, 1 WIM, 4 FM's and 2 WFM's. The highest seedest untitled player in the Premier at the moment is Junta Ikeda (currently the 7th highest rated player in Australia), who is seeded 24th(!).

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

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

The mating net

The following game from the ANU Masters shows a nice mating net, involving bishop and knight. White sacrificed a piece for 2 pawns, connected and passed. Whispers amongst the kibitzers concentrated on whether this would be enough, but Black rendered the discussion moot on move 32 by trapping the king on h3. Then it was a matter of bringing the rook into play, and executing the mate.

Reading,Jeremy (1892) - Guo,Emma (1958)
2010 ANU Masters (4), 03.03.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d3 g6 4.g3 Bg7 5.Bg2 e5 6.c3 Nge7 7.a3 a5 8.a4 d6 9.Na3 h6 10.Nb5 0-0 11.Nd2 Be6 12.Nc4 d5 13.Ncd6 Qd7 14.0-0 f5 15.f4 exf4 16.Bxf4 g5 17.Bd2 Be5 18.exf5 Nxf5 19.Nxf5 Bxf5 20.Qh5 Kg7 21.Bxg5 hxg5 22.Qxg5+ Bg6 23.h4 Rf5 24.Rxf5 Qxf5 25.Qxf5 Bxf5 26.Kh2 Rd8 27.Rd1 d4 28.Bh3 Bxh3 29.Kxh3 Ne7 30.Re1 Kf6 31.c4 Nf5 32.g4 Ne3 33.Na3 Rf8 (D)
34.Nb1 Kg6 35.h5+ Kh6 36.Nd2 Rf2 37.g5+ Kxh5 38.Nf1 Rf3+ 39.Ng3+ 0-1

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Karpov for FIDE President?

From this story on Chessvibes comes the news that former World Champion Anatoly Karpov is planning to run for FIDE President. Seems to be a brave choice, unless Karpov is privy to some inside information concerning the movements of current FIDE President Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. For a while there have been rumours that Kirsan was angling for a diplomatic posting from the Russian government, but so far nothing has come of this.
In 2006 Bessel Kok ran a high profile campaign for the job, only to go down to defeat. Conventional wisdom was that no one would run against Kirsan in 2010, as the FIDE Congress was to be held in Khanty-Mansiysk, where Kirsan holds the (almost) home field advantage. However if Karpov runs (with the required endorsement of the Russian Chess Federation) it could be an interesting battle. On the other hand Kirsan may repeat his tactic from 2002 and simply offer Karpov a sinecure to not run.

Monday, 1 March 2010

2010 Olympiad

A FIDE press release has confirmed important dates for the 2010 Olympiad. The tournament runs from the 19th September to the 4th October 2010. The first and last days are normally for arrivals and departures, so the actual chess will be running from the 20th to the 3rd (I assume). Teams must be registered by the 20th May 2010.
One good piece of news for teams is that there will be charter flights from certain cities to Khanty-Masiynsk. For players in the Oceania region the closest city will be Dubai, but as of today it isn't necessarily the cheapest (eg Munich may be a better choice). Nonetheless it will make travel to and from the tournament much easier than having to do the airport transfer in Moscow.