Sunday, 25 July 2021

2021 ACT Winter Open - Day 2

 Harry Press and Fred Litchfield share the lead at the end of the 2nd day of the 2021 ACT Winter Open, on 3.5/4. In round 3 they both defeated higher rated opponents and then drew their round 4 game yesterday evening. In round 3, the top 4 seeds were aired together, with Press playing IM Junta Ikeda, and FM Michael Kethro against Litchfield. Both games went down to increments (30s added for each move), before Press and Litchfield scored wins. 

Both Kethro and Ikeda bounced back with wins in the 4th round to be on 3/4, where they were joined by WFM Alana Chibnall, who defeated Sankeertan Badrinarayan in round 4. With 2 rounds left to play, Press and Litchfield are in the box seat(s), but the small size of the field means that they will still have to overcome strong opposition to take the $1000 1st prize.

In the Minor Donghoon Shin and Charles Huang share the lead with 4/4. They are closely followed by Lee Forace and Larry Cheng in 3.5. Shin and Huang meet in round 5, with either Forace or Cheng waiting in the wings for a round 6 showdown.

Full results and a link to the live games from the Open can be found at

Saturday, 24 July 2021

2021 ACT Winter Open - Day 1

 The 2021 ACT Winter Open got off to a cold start (in terms of weather), but a good one, in terms of participation. With a temperature of 5c outside, the players were grateful to be inside the Campbell High School  Library, and out of the wind and freezing rain. 

For the first time the tournament had a Friday evening round, and apart from a few pre-planned byes, everyone else turned up to play. The Friday evening start is usual in weekenders in the UK, but hasn't really been tried/worked for Australian events. Given the good numbers for this tournament (maxed out at 64 for space reasons), it is something that should be continued next year.

In terms of play there were no upsets in the 20 player open section. IM Junta Ikeda won a nice attacking game against James Aldrich, while Harry Press showed the importance of choosing the correct exchanges against Lachlan Ho. Given the size and strength of this field, round 2 already sees some all titles match ups, with CM Hui Li playing FM Michael Kethro on board 2.

There were more upsets in the Minor (Under 1600), including a loss by top seed Matthew Maltman against Hunter Sanchez. In a curious game, Sanchez looked to be aiming for a draw in a queen plus lots of pawns ending (Sanchez being a pawn down), but when I returned, it was a Q v 6p ending, which Sanchez (having the queen) converted. A few of the unrated players also surprised there rated opponents, meaning that the likely winner of the 44 player tournament way no appear for a few rounds yet.

Thursday, 22 July 2021

2021 ACT Winter Cup

 The 2021 ACT Winter Open starts tomorrow event, as an almost entirely local event. Nonetheless all 64 places have been filled, with a couple of extra players on the waiting list. 

One pleasing thing is that it has attracted a strong field of local players in the Open section. A couple of players who missed the ACT Championship have also joined in, including FM Michael Kethro, Harry Press and Willis Lo. The Minor (Under 1600) tournament has a field of 44 players, and should provide an interesting clash between promising juniors and experienced tournament players.

You can follow the tournament at The top 4 boards should be broadcast live, starting from 7:00pm tomorrow evening (23rd July).

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

International Chess Day

 Today (20th July) is International Chess Day. I'm not really sure what this entails, although teaching people how to play chess is surely part of it. If it is, I at least did my bit, doing some school and private coaching, and then donating some rating points to the more deserving at my local club!

Sunday, 18 July 2021

2021 George Trundle Masters

 The Auckland Chess Club has just hosted the traditional George Trundle Masters, which is a series of RR events for top NZ and overseas players. Of course this year was missing the overseas players part, but the event still attracted a strong field. The top section was won by IM Anthony Paul Garbett with 7/9, while CM Richard Meng won the qualifiers with 7.5. Full results can be found at 

While I wasn't really following the action while the tournament was taking place, I did have a look at a few games after the event was over. One that struck me as particularly interesting was this short game from the Masters, where the London System gets beaten up pretty badly. This may have been a prepared line for Black btw, as 6. ... e5 is perfectly sound, and after the exchange of pawns, is even winning (7.Qh5+ is better for White).

Zhang,Jasmine - Morrell,George [B13]
George Trundle Masters, 07.2021

Thursday, 15 July 2021

A familiar theme - with a twist

 Smothered mates in the opening usually occur when a knight makes it to d6 or d3. It certainly happened in this game, but in a small twist, all 32 pieces were still on the board when it did.

chesspatzer46 - brojangled

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

2021 Online Olympiad

 After last years Online Olympiad proved quite popular, FIDE are organising another Online Olympiad this year. Even with this year not being an Olympiad 'year' it does make sense to organise such an event, as this may become the norm post-covid anyway.

It will run from the 13th August to the 15th September and will use the same format as last year. Each division will be a mix of seeded teams plus teams that qualified from the lower division. The top 8 teams from Division 1 will then play a KO final to determine a winner (or winners!).

The tournament will be hosted on Further details can be found at

(** I will be a paid official at this event **)