Tuesday, 14 August 2018

What was Black thinking?

I observed a pretty wacky game of chess at my local club this evening. Black thought it was a good idea to sacrifice his queen, expecting to be rewarded with at least some compensation. However looking at the game from an elevated (and sideways) observation point I couldn't see exactly what he was expecting. I turns out that there was compensation, in that both players were under 5 minutes after about move 10 (60m+30s was the time limit), and in the ensuing complications, White ran out of time!
Here is the start of the game, as I got sidetracked playing my own game, and was not able to see the rest. White's flag fell around move 30

Aliyev,Kamran - Grcic,Milan [A40]
Korda Classic, 14.08.2018



Give a pawn, take a queen

I can remember at some point Nigel Short annotating a game where he basically said that the Two Knights Defence simply lost a pawn. This was based on the observation that after 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Black cannot recapture on d5, unless they are willing to face the Fried Liver Attack.
And yet people still play the opening, including myself, although I tend to give up more than a pawn in the lines I favour. Looking through some games from the current Abu Dhabi Masters, I came across a nice win for Black where he gave up a couple of pawns, in the Colman Variation. When I was a boy the advice was not to capture the pawn on c6, but White did, and Black demonstrated why it might not be the best idea. Nonetheless, the game was still pretty even until White decided to threaten mate on h7 with Qg6, at which point Black played a few checks and then trapped the White queen by moving his king.


Al-Hajiri,Bader (2120) - Esenbek Uulu,Ilimbek (2159) [C58]
25th Abu Dhabi International Chess Festi Abu Dhabi (5.72), 11.08.2018



Sunday, 12 August 2018

First Saturday

Albert Winkelman is another of Canberra's young players spending the European summer playing chess. At the moment he is taking part in the First Saturday IM tournament in Budapest. These monthly events have been running for over 20 years, and provide an opportunity for players to achieve IM and GM norms (depending on the section).
While Albert looks to be finding this months tournament tough going, he has scored 2 wins, including one against IM Nhat Min To. So even if he doesn't return from Europe with a new title, he will certainly come back a stronger player.


Winkelman,Albert (2134) - To,Nhat Minh (2352) [B33]
First Saturday IM August 2018 1117 Budapest, Hunyadi Janos u (7.2), 10.08.2018



Friday, 10 August 2018

Never bet on anything that talks

Unibet has just been announced as the official betting partner for the upcoming 2018 World Championship Match. Apart from providing you with the opportunity to win or lose money, Unibet is going to offer enhanced digital content throughout the match.
Having never bet on chess before I'm not sure exactly what options will be available. Win, loss and draw for each game seems to be obvious, as well as betting on the match result. More exotic options could be problematic, as offering odds on choices of openings or specific moves could be vulnerable to insider information.
More information will no doubt be released soon, but hopefully the connection of the tournament with a gambling site will not have any unfortunate side effects.

Thursday, 9 August 2018

How's this for a draw

While looking at some recent opening theory I came across the following drawing line in the Closed Sicilian. Clearly both players involved were happy to split the point, but I suspect the tournament rule on when draws could be offered/agreed to dictated the length of the game. Having said that, as the game was played after the FIDE 5 fold repetition rule came into play, then technically the game only lasted 16 moves.


Narciso Dublan,Marc (2521) - Grigoryan,Karen H (2580) [B23]
Barbera del Valles op 38th Barbera del Valles (9), 12.07.2015



Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Showing my age

A slightly atypical win for me, played last night at Belconnen Chess Club. Whether I'm getting older, or finally playing the position rather than by instinct, is still unclear, but it was a fairly smooth win, with minimal chaos!


Badrinarayan,Siddhant - Press,Shaun [D27]
Korda Classic, 07.08.2018


Tuesday, 7 August 2018

2018 Chess Olympiad - PNG Team

The 2018 Chess Olympiad is less than 2 months away, and most federations have organised their teams. This years Papua New Guinea team has a few changes, including a return to the board for me. Returning from the 2016 team are FM Stuart Fancy, FM Rupert Jones and CM Helmut Marko. Joining them are myself, and newcomer Tom McCoy. Initially playing his chess in Canberra, work in PNG has allowed Tom to join the team.
This year also sees a new team captain with US/Iranian GM Elshan Moradiabadi taking on the sometimes difficult task. Moradiabadi has some familiarity with the team, and Iran played PNG in the first round of the 2010 Olympiad, crushing me on board 2!
The first round of the Olympiad is on the 24th September, with the tournament running through to the 5th October. Once again it will be an 11 round event, with a single rest day.


McCoy,Tom (1664) - Chibnall,Alana (876) [C34]
Belconnen op Belconnen (1), 08.07.2005