Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Novelty blitz format?

 At the Dubbo Open each year, the organisers run a novelty blitz event on the Saturday Night. It is a time handicap event, where the difference in rating determines the time difference between the 2 players. However, based in part on an idea by IM Jovan Petronic, there may be another format.

Petronic's initial suggestion concerned Swiss Pairings. He wondered if anyone had tried a format where the lowest ranked player in a scoregroup could choose their next opponent (from that group), instead of having the pairing assigned by the computer. Of course there would be issues with floaters and colour allocations, but in looking to deal with those, I came up with a modified format.

NB This would only work in a blitz or rapid event of sufficient rounds. In the first round it is simply top half v bottom half with 5 minutes each. However, for each round after that, the lowest ranked player would choose their next opponent from the remaining players, with the caveat that they had not played before, and the choice would not break the absolute colour history (3 in a row or 3 more than the other colour). If there is an odd number of players, then the lowest ranked player (who hadn't had a bye) would get the bye. However, the extra sauce would be that the difference in points would also be the difference in time on the clock. So if a player on 2 points chose an opponent on 4 points, the lower ranked player would start with 6 minutes versus 4 (in blitz). For a rapid, this difference could be 2 minutes per point difference.

At first I suspect the lower ranked players would choose other lower ranked players, but this means a win would push them up the rankings, and they would get to choose later (or be chosen by stronger players ranked below them). There also might be a situation where a mid ranked player decides to take out the leader, hoping the time difference helps them sufficiently.

I' mot sure something like this has been tried before, and so I may decide to give it a go at an upcoming event. The only draw back is that under most Federations rating rules, an event like this is so far out that it could not be rated.

Monday, 24 January 2022

A little bit of learning

 At the risk of sounding like a cranky old man, it is all youtubes and engine this and engine that, where chess learning is concerned (*not really). In the good old days (*not that good, really) learning from books was the go. So when I coach, I still use books, including books on the middlegame written by Max Euwe. 

Having shown one of my students a couple of games where a nice kingside attack was executed, I was pleased to see him put that knowledge into practice less than 24 hours later.

Lcheng (1787) - Connor5566 (1858) [D06]
Summer Bootcamp Lightning, 24.01.2022

Saturday, 22 January 2022

Superficial chess?

 While I think 15 minutes chess hits the sweet spot between the thud and blunder of blitz, and the longer thinking of classical chess, it can let players get away from bad positions a little easily. If you can keep up the threats (even material down), your opponent may run short of time (or rush to avoid this), increasing the chance of a blunder.

Todays example comes from Street Chess, where White walked into a fairly well known trap, but then put Black under so much pressure that they cracked.

Chibnall,Alana - Radisich,Matt [A51]
Street Chess 22.01.2022

Friday, 21 January 2022

2022 ACT Blitz Championship

 The local ACT Chess Clubs are starting up again after the holiday break. Both the Tuggeranong and Canberra clubs started this week, while the Gungahlin Eastlakes Chess Club starts their year with the 2022 ACT Lightning Championship.  The will be a 9 round event with a time limit of all moves in 5 minutes. The venue is the Gungahlin Eastlake Football Club, Hinder St, Gungahlin. The date is Tuesday 1st February. Start time is 7:00pm and entry fee is $10 ($5 Under 18). It is open to all ACT Chess Association Members.

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Learning from losing

 I might be getting soft in my old age, but I am not annoyed by players who do night resign at the appropriate time as I used to be. Possibly one the reasons for this, is that for new players, playing on until they are checkmated is a learning experience for them. On at least one occasion I have had an opponent explain why they won't resign ('so I can see how you would win from this position'), and in a few coaching sessions my comment about one side resigning has been met with a 'But why?'

Tuesday, 18 January 2022

2022 Olympiad Dates announced

 FIDE have just contacted member federations with the dates for the 2022 Olympiad (and Disabled Olympiad). The Olympiad is scheduled to run from the 25th July to the 8th August in Moscow. The Disabled Olympiad is scheduled to start on the 19th July and finish on the 26th July in Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia). 

This is just an initial announcement, and further details will no doubt follow in time.

A big clash

 Round 3 of the 2022 Tata Steel tournament sees the clash of two of the leaders, Carlsen and Duda. Carlsen scored a nice win over Giri in round 2, while Duda beat Rapport in the 1st round. Some might say Duda was a little lucky in that Rapport blundered just before the end, but manoeuvring your pieces in the hope that your opponent makes a mistake is a technique that dates back to the time of Tarrasch and Lasker.

Duda,Jan-Krzysztof (2760) - Rapport,Richard (2763) [D02]
Tata Steel Masters (1.5), 15.01.2022