Friday, 19 October 2018

Dress code / Uniform

Not FM Rupert Jones
For a quite long time FIDE were very keen to have teams (and players) adhere to a dress code in important events (eg Olympiad, World Cup etc). At first it looked as though they were going to be quite heavy handed on the matter, but of late, it seems that they were happy to let federations set their own standards.
In practice, most federations at the Olympiad supplied their teams with some sort of uniform, and the standard of dress was reasonably high. Australia was an exception to this (as in the uniform wasn't paid for by the ACF), while Rupert Jones (PNG) seemed more comfortable playing in t-shirts and stretch pants, rather than the PNGCF polo shirt work by the rest of the team.
The recently completed European Club Championship had a similar dress code, although Magnus Carlsen was a notable refusenik (at least for a few rounds). Early on he, and a few other GM's, played in shorts, despite this not being allowed. Eventually the word was given that the dress code was being enforced, and long pants became the fashion.
Personally I prefer to see dress code 'guidelines' rather than 'regulations', leaving it up to the players to decide what is appropriate. Not every team at the Olympiad had a uniform, but those that did not still managed to play in what I thought was perfectly acceptable outfits. Certainly there did not seem to be any issues at the tournament, and for me, this is probably the best way to go.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Caruana is in form

During the 2018 Olympiad I was only able to catch small glimpses of the action in the main hall, and so I missed one quite significant result. Fabiano Caruana scored an impressive 7/10 on Board 1 for the USA, with a TPR of 2859.
He played a number of the worlds leading GM's along the way, with wins over Anand and Mamedyarov being the standouts. This result is even more impressive, as it is quite possible that he 'held back' on some of his openings, keeping them up his sleeve for his match against Carlsen.
Looking at these results and games, I think the upcoming World Championship match is going to be a lot closer than I originally thought. Caruana has a real chance of taking the title now, and Carlsen may even be a slight underdog.
Carlsen is playing in the European Club Championship, and had a lucky escape in round 6 against Liren Ding. He missed a tactic against Ding, and only some resourceful defensive moves saved half a point. If he makes a similar mistake against Caruana, then he may not be so lucky.


Caruana,Fabiano (2827) - Anand,Viswanathan (2771) [E03]
43rd Olympiad 2018 Batumi GEO (4.1), 27.09.2018

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

No more lonely knights

Apparently this is a real thing https://www.chess.com/news/view/world-chess-launches-chess-dating-app
As the above story states (slightly NSFW btw), it is a hookup app designed to bring chess players together (a kind of online Bermuda Party!). There appears to be some connection with the upcoming World Championship match, which makes the logo used for the match less of a surprise (according to Anish Giri)

Monday, 15 October 2018

2018 Vikings Weekender 17th-18th November 2018

The 2018 Vikings Weekender is being held on the weekend of the 17th and 18th November 2018. This is one of the three big weekend events held in Canberra, and is being sponsored by the Tuggeranong Vikings Rugby Union Club.
This year the tournament will be held at the Lanyon Club (Heidelberg St, Condor) located next to Lanyon Shopping Centre. It is a larger venue than last year, allowing more players and a more comfortable setting.
First prize is $1000 for the Open, with a $500 first prize in the Under 1600 section. There will be 7 rounds, with a time limit of G/60M+10s in both sections. Entry is $65 (GM's+IM's free), $45 for concessions and juniors.
Further details can be found at http://vesus.org/festivals/2018-vikings-weekender/ You can register your interest for the event at that page as well (NB Payment isn't required, but early entries do help the organisers). Registering with a FIDE ID is pretty straight forward, but if you don't have one, just enter non-zero values in the mandatory ID and rating fields (The page is picky about value checking for some reason!)

(NB I am the arbiter for this event and will be paid for my services)

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Olympiad highlights - a visual journey

One of the many things done well at this years Chess Olympiad was the production of a number of good videos. Some were played at the closing ceremony, while others are available on the Olympiad Youtube Channel.
One highlight of the closing ceremony was the performance of 'Oh Capablanca' by Juga. You can watch her performance in the clip of the closing ceremony, or just listen to song directly.


2018 ACT Junior Championship

Congratulations to Joshua Lee for winning the 2018 ACT Junior Chess Championship. He scored an impressive 8/9 to win the FIDE rated tournament, a full point ahead of Lachlan Ho, Yizhen Diao and Ruofan Xu. He only looked in difficulty against Ho, and a quick last round draw against Dexuean Kong was enough to capture the title.
Athena Hathiramani was the best placed female player, in an event which had a female entry of a little over 25% Erin Milne tied with Hathiramani and won the Under 12 Girls trophy.
It was interesting to see the difference in results between players with a FIDE rating and those without. The FIDE rated players beat all their non rated opponents (with the exception of a single draw), even if they had worse positions during the game. Clearly the experience at playing at a higher level comes in handy in situations like this, as the 'saves' were often due to their opponents eventually losing concentration and blundering back.
There were 42 players in the tournament which was a healthy number for an event like this. The majority of players were aged under 12, so hopefully this group will provide the next generation of ACT champions.

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Elshan Moradiabadi

The PNG performed quite well at this years Olympiad, and a significant amount of credit has to go to the team captain, GM Elshan Moradiabadi. We finished with 20.5 game points, which is the highest total we have ever achieved in an 11 round Olympiad. Apart from an opening 4-0 loss to Belgium, we scored something in every match, and had a few narrow 1.5-2.5 losses which could have gone the other way.
Elshan quickly realised we were all either rusty or inexperienced so was quick to tailor his coaching methods to suit this. His opening preparation was very thorough, and he was able to show us a number of surprise lines in well known openings. In almost all games we achieved playable positions going into the middlegame (which was what he was aiming for), although we (as a team) didn't always do such preparation justice (I threw away a number of good positions for example). He was always upbeat even we were sure we had crushed his will to live, and proved to be an inspiring captain and coach.
As a professional player, coach and author, he went straight from the Olympiad to take part in the St Louis Chess Club Fall Classic. With little rest, and running a bit of fever, he was still able to hold it together to score a very good round 1 win. Playing through the game I was struck at the winning approach he used in the game was very similar to what he was trying to teach us. He achieved a stable pawn structure, with extra space on the kingside. He then found the best squares for his pieces, before launching a winning kingside attack.


Moradiabadi,Elshan (2534) - Boros,Denes (2439) [D02]
St Louis Fall B 2018 Saint Louis USA (1.1), 10.10.2018