Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Beat them while they're young

 Magnus Carlsen suffered a spectacular loss to Andrey Esipenko in Round 8 of the Tata Steel Masters. Carlsen played a risky line of the Sicilian, and then missed a tactical trick which won Esipenko a pawn. Despite Carlsen's attempts to complicate the position, the 18 year old GM had enough of an advantage to covert on move 39. This was the first time they had played, which makes the win even more meritorious. 

In the aftermath of the game, a picture began circulating of an 11 year old Esipenko with Carlsen, at a tournament in Russia. Seeing the picture I can't help wondering if Carlsen missed a trick of his own. He should have suggested they play a few blitz games together, and then crushed Esipenko enough times, so that in any future meetings, Carlsen would already have the advantage!

Esipenko,Andrey (2677) - Carlsen,Magnus (2862) [B84]
83rd Tata Steel Masters Wijk aan Zee NED (8.1), 24.01.2021


Sunday, 24 January 2021

Smash and grab (and smash)

 One of the highlights from round 3 of the ACTJCL Summer Swiss was the quick crush by Lachlan Ho against Tim Pearce. When I asked Tim after the game what happened, he simply said "I though I could win a piece. I did, but I shouldn't have"


Pearce,Tim (1752) - Ho,Lachlan (1590) [D45]
ACTJCL Sunday Summer Tournament Canberra AUS (3), 24.01.2021


Saturday, 23 January 2021

Englund's other gambit

 The Englund Gambit (1.d4 e5) is one of those openings you want to work, even when you know it won't. Lots of tricks for the unwary, some nice tactics to show your friends, and most importantly some very quick checkmates. Unfortunately, the refutation isn't that hard to spot, and after that you have nothing to show for the pawn.

Instead you would be better off playing like Englund did in this game.


Larsson - Englund [C36]
Stackholm Stackholm, 1942


Friday, 22 January 2021

Criminalising good moves

There is a proposal from the FIDE Fair Play Commission (FPL) that would automatically find a player guilty of breaching fair play regulations if their Z-score (based on computer move matching and centi-pawn loss) is above 4.25.

The full wording is

4. Assumed cheating

i) A player may be assumed to have been cheating if the z-score of his play amounts to 4.25 or higher, unless the player can prove on the balance of probabilities that he/she was playing fairly;

This kind of idea has been around since FIDE started looking at Anti-Cheating methods, and so far has been rejected every time it has been brought up. Most notably, it was explicitly rejected in the first version of the regulations (in 2014), on the grounds that it was a very bad idea (I was one of the members of the committee who wrote those rules). 

Fortunately FIDE have asked for comment on this proposal, and at least two bodies that I am a member of (one a commission, the other a national federation) have spoke out against this proposal. Whether those concerns will see this regulation rejected remains to be seen.


Thursday, 21 January 2021

The tournament bulletin

 With the rise of the chess database, the tournament bulletin has fallen by the wayside. I spent a lot of time in the 1980's, 90's and 00's producing them for tournaments I organised (ie Doeberl Cup, ACT Championships, Australian Juniors) but haven't really made them in the last decade. As a throw back to earlier times, I decided to put some together for the ACTJCL Summer Swiss that is currently running. They look a bit different from when I previously wrote them (in part due to advances in technology), and they are in electronic rather than paper form, but otherwise there isn't a lot of difference. If you want to check them out, click on the above link and then download them at your leisure.


Tuesday, 19 January 2021

More castling with check

 The latest instalment in this long running series comes from a just completed CC game.


Maylott,Peter S. (2136) - Roberts,Greg (1809) [A70]
2020/AUS/5249 (AUS) ICCF, 31.08.2020


Monday, 18 January 2021

ACTJCL Summer Swiss Rd 2

 The second round of the 2021 ACTJCL Summer Swiss saw wins for the top seeds, and Fred Litchfield, Harry Press and Miles Patterson share the lead on 2/2. Further down there were a few upsets (and semi upsets), the most notable being a win by Erin Milne over Paul Dunn. 

One of the more interesting games was between Miles Patterson and Lee Forace. On move 19 Forace (as Black) played g6, and Patterson immediately played Bg7. While this is normal if the pawn on g6 and the bishop are of the same colour, but I'm not sure I have ever seen a player fianchetto his bishop on the opponents side of the board!


Patterson,Miles (1944) - Forace,Lee (1648) [A13]
ACTJCL Sunday Summer Tournament Canberra AUS (2), 17.01.2021