Saturday 30 April 2022

Knowing the little tricks

Inspired by a position I saw at today's Street Chess, here is a little study with White to play and win. As the winning idea is quite well known, I doubt this is an original creation, but  it does identify one key idea in positions of this type. In the actual game there were a pair of rooks (and the black pawns were a lot further advanced), which actually saw Black win.

Flat earthers miss out I guess

 For a brief moment, thought it would be a good idea to organise a $1,000,000 World Championship. The problem wasn't the prize money, which is certainly a hefty amount, but the name. As there is already an official World Championship, and I'm assuming FIDE haven't sold it off, there might have been a legal problem. So instead of a World Championship, the event is now the Global Championship. With this change I'm assuming everyone is now happy, except for the afore mentioned flat earthers.

Wednesday 27 April 2022

Broadcast Services

 Broadcasting tournament games used to rely on having your own dedicated website. These days chess platforms have realised that such broadcasts can help bring users in, and have started offering it as a free service. Chess24 were probably the pioneers here, but other platforms are catching up. 

Both and lichess contacted me to stream the O2C Doeberl Cup this year, while 'Follow chess' normally carries it as well. If you are an organiser looking to use these services, each platform normally has instructions to follow (eg for If you are using DGT software, setting up a cloud link for the games is normally all you need, and they can even add a broadcast delay uon request.

Monday 25 April 2022

Obscure club games

 I usually enjoy getting feedback about this blog, even more so when it is face to face. One of the more recent comments (made in person), was that I include lots of 'obscure club games'. While these are normally my own games, I do feature games by other club players (if I can grab the scoresheets). 

This time however, it is one of my recent games that I will feature. The takeaway from this game is twofold. A missed tempo on the opening can lead to a space disadvantage in the middlegame. This then leads to problems defending an unsafe king.

Press,Shaun - Mildenhall,Stephen [A30]
Murphy Memorial, 12.04.2022

Sunday 24 April 2022

Russian Doll

 The 2nd series of "Russian Doll" (Netflix) has just been released, and I watched all 7 episodes over 3 days. In one of the episodes the two main characters are playing chess in a New York park, while discussing (or explaining) a plot point. The game ends with one player claiming checkmate and walking away, and the other player suddenly realising it is stalemate instead. 

Based on the shot of the board I think the game they played was composed by Sam Loyd, and is in fact the shortest game that ends in stalemate. The moves are 1.e3 a5 2.Qh5 Ra6 3.Qxa5 h5 4.Qxc7 Rah6 5.h4 f6 6.Qxd7+ Kf7 7.Qxb7 Qd3 8.Qxb8 Qh7 9.Qxc8 Kg6 10.Qe6=

Friday 22 April 2022

More adventures in arbiting

 It has been a busy week for me, but the upside is I did get to add to my collection of weird chess incidents.

Todays Junior Rapidplay event was for Under 18 Juniors, which normally sees a little more commons sense play. Nonetheless there was a QvQ ending (without pawns) that was *not* draw after one player thought that they were losing their queen to a skewer, missing the fact that the king to move and defend their queen!

Reaching back to the Doeberl Cup there was a disputed result between two junior players in the blitz. Both players claimed they had one (which was kind of true), although one player said he won the 'real' game, but then lost the 'practice' game. The second player simply said there was no second game, and he won the only game. It turns out the first player did not report the result of either game, so we gave the point to the second player.

And finally (again at the Doeberl), there was the usual draw v resign dispute. A young player put his hand out, which was taken as a resignation by his older opponent. Only when the result was being entered that the 'mix-up' was identified. The younger player claimed he also asked for a draw when putting out his hand, but this was not heard by his opponent. So the players went back to the board, the position was re-established, and as the game was actually still in the balance, the game resumed. As fate would have it, the player who offered the draw then went on to win, which I feel was a little unfair to his opponent.

Thursday 21 April 2022

R v B

 During the ACT Junior Rapid Championships, I witnessed not one, but two R v B endings (no pawns mind you). As the players involved were relatively inexperienced, finding the correct defence proved elusive. It is a draw if the side with the Bishop can get their king into the corner of the opposite colour to the bishop, as stalemate tricks then save the day.

In the first case the weaker side got their king caught in the middle of the back rank and lost the bishop to zugswang. In the second game, the defending side found a better strategy, putting the side with the rook into check, and then pointing out an illegal move when the rook was moved. After resetting the position I pointed out that touch move still applies, after a brief moment of confusion, the player played RxB which was met by KxR. 

Wednesday 20 April 2022

2022 O2C Doeberl Cup - winding down

 Another successful O2C Doeberl Cup has been run and done. In the tournament has 329 players in the main events (1 less than last year) and 136 in the Blitz (which was more than last year). So it is kind of a record field, without actually being a record field!

Although the tournament itself is finished, there is still some organisational work today. prize money is being transferred to the lucky winners, while refunds are being made some unlucky entrants. In fact if anything stood out about this years events, it was the number of players who entered, and then un-entered before the start. In some cases there were good medical reasons (including being a covid close contact), but for others, it may have just been a change of mind. While we have a generous refund policy ((full refund up until 3 days before the start), I do worry that some players missed out on playing due to groups being full earlier on (and when they weren't, it was too late to arrange accommodation etc).

One thing I do wish to highlight was the vastly improved behaviour of the junior players this year. Almost no running amok in the venue, and no bags of fast food being smuggled into the club. General spectator behaviour was also pretty good, with only a few mobile phone issues to deal with. 

I'd like to say I can now rest for a few days, but it turns out I have a few other tournaments to run instead. Hopefully they will be a little more relaxing, and I can get some kip between the rounds.

Monday 18 April 2022

2022 O2C Doeberl Cup - Win for GM Hrant Melkumyan

 GM Hrant Melkumyan (Armenia) is the winner of the 2022 O2C Doeberl Cup, scoring 7.5/8, after winning his last round game against IM Igor Bjelobrk. He was tied for 1st with GM Temur Kuybokarov going into the final rounds, but a draw between Kuybokarov, and GM Daniel Fernandez (ENG) saw Kuybokarov finish 2nd (on 7 points), and Fernandez tie for 3rd with IM Rishi Sardana.

This was the 2nd win for Melkumyan, who had previously won in 2019, but the first as a local Canberran, having been resident here for the past 2 years. He becomes the 2nd local player to win the event, the first being Tony Weidenhofer in 1973.

Melkumyan took home $5000 in prize money, with Kuybokarov picking up $3000 for 2nd. IM Rishi Sardana, now also a Canberra resident, was the recipient of the entire Fighting Fund of $1000, as the only eligible player to score a win in the final round.

The Major tournament saw Mars Qi finish in outright 1st on 6.5/7, ahead of Seth Peramunetilleke and Benjamin Leong on 6. In the Minor, unrated Shivam Pant finished 1st on 6.5, but as he was only eligible for the Unrated prize, the 1st prize was shared between Mark Stokes, Jonathan Jones and Benjamin Woo (6/7).

Once again the tournament was a great success with 329 players taking part (1 short of last years record). The Canberra Southern Cross Club was a wonderful venue, providing a spacious playing area and plenty of refreshment options for the players. There were no major issues during the tournament, a testament to the efforts of the arbiting team, lead by IA Alana Chibnall. Thanks also need to go to the ACT Chess Association, the member clubs and the ACT Junior Chess League for providing the bulk of the equipment for the tournament, as well as ChessLife SA, for providing sets and clocks for the Under 1200 Tournament.

Planning is already underway for next year, with a proposal to add a 5th tournament to the schedule, with a Challengers event for Under 2100-1600, with the Major covering 1800-1300 and the Minor becoming an Under 1500 event. This will see extra prize money being added, with the tournament offering over $25,000 in total prizes.

Results for the event can be found at

2022 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 4

 The 2020 O2C Doeberl Cup is set for an exciting finish, with the top 2 seeds GM Hrant Melkumyn and GM Temur Kuybokarov sharing the lead on 6.5/8. Recovering from a round 2 loss to FM Albert Winkelman, Kuybokarov has scored 5.5/6 to catch Melkumyan, who conceded draws to Kuybokarov, GM Daniel Fernandez, and GM Bobby Cheng. Half a point behind is Fernandez, while on 5.5 are Cheng, IM Rishi Sardana, FM Jack Puccini, IM Gary Lane, IM Igor Bjelobrk, and Fred Litchfield. Fernandez v Kuybokarov is the top board pairing with Bjelobrk playing Melkumyan on board 2. 

In the Major (Under 2000) Mars Qi leads with 6/6. However Fergus Chiverton could tie for first if he wins their top board clash in round 7. In the Minor unrated Shivan Pant leads on 6/6, but is up against Mark Stokes (5.5) in the final round. Picking a winner here is complicated by the fact that form guide for both players is a little sketchy.

Final round action beis at 9:30am and results plus links to the games can be found at

Sunday 17 April 2022

2022 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 3

 Day 3 of the 2022 O2C Doeberl Cup saw plenty of action, with the Premier, Major and Minor in full swing. The Under 1200 Tournament finished it's two day run, while the Saturday evening Kinnford Consulting Blitz attracted a record 136 players.

After 6 rounds of the Premier, 3 GM's share the lead on 5/6. GM Daniel Fernandez (ENG) beat GM Bobby Cheng (AUS) in Round 5, before drawing with FM Chris Wallis in Round 6. Cheng bounced back from his round 5 loss, beating FM Dusan Stojic in the next round to also move to 5. GM Hrant Melkumyan was the third player to finish the day tied for first, drawing with GM Temur Kuybokarov and then beating IM Gary Lane.

In the Major, there are 4 players tied for first, Mars Qi, Benjamin Leong, Jesse Zafirakos, and Lachlan Lee. In the Minor there is a 5 way tie for first, with top seed Fritz Van Der Waal being on of these players.

The Under 1200 tournament saw a tie for 1st between Joy Liu and Daniel Young on 5.5. Reyansh Ahuja finished in outright 3rd on 5, with a large group of players on 4.5.

FM Dusan Stojic won the Kinnford Consulting Blitz (and $250), scoring 8/9. There was a 3 way tie for 2nd, between Jack Rodgers, Lalit Prasad and Timothy Wee.

All crosstables and links to live coverage can be found at

Saturday 16 April 2022

2022 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 2

 The 2nd day of the 2022 O2C Doeberl Cup saw the start of the Major, Minor and Under 1200 events. Due to a few last minute withdrawals, visa problems, and travel issues, the tournament fell just short of last years record numbers, with around 225325 players sitting down at the board.

The Premier saw rounds 3 and 4 played, with GM Bobby Cheng holding the outright lead with 4/4. He was followed by GM's Daniel Fernandez and Hrant Melkumyan, with a large group of players on 3. There were a few upsets in this round, the most notable being a win for Harry Press over IM Junta Ikeda.

The Major saw the first 2 rounds played, with a number of players on 2/2, including top seed Ryan Lane, and overseas visitor Henrik Mortensen.  The Minor sees a similar pileup at the top, although 4 of the top 10 seeds did start with 2 wins.

For the rest of the tournament (Days 3, 4 and 5), the action starts at 9:30 am, with the afternoon rounds starting at 3pm. Links to the tournament coverage can be found at

Friday 15 April 2022

2022 O2C Doeberl Cup - Day 1

 Day 1 of the 2022 O2C Doeberl Cup saw a couple of big upsets. FM Albert Winkelman scored a full point against current Australian Champion GM Temur Kuybokaov, while IM Gary Lane lost to a much lower rated Nethaji Rathinalingam. Currently 8 players are tied for first with 2 wins, including GM's Daniel Fernandez, Hrant Melkumyan and Bobby Cheng. 

Day 2 sees the start of the supporting events, with another 280 players arriving for the Major, Minor and Under 1200. Assuming everyone makes it to Canberra, this will break last years record of 330 players. Todays rounds start at 1pm and you can follow games from the top boards on various chess sites including Chess24, and Licchess.


Winkelman,Albert (2257) - Kuybokarov,Temur (2587) [C78]
O2C Doeberl Cup Premier (2.2), 14.04.2022

Wednesday 13 April 2022

2022 O2C Doeberl Cup - Coverage

 If you cannot make it to Canberra for the 2022 O2C Doeberl Cup, you can always follow it online. Chess24 are carrying the top boards from the Premier on their website (click here for the direct link)/

GM Ian Rogers is also doing commentary on the games, via his twitch stream Coverage for both events begins at 1315 (Canberra time) tommorow.

For the full tournament results (plus lots of other info) go to

Monday 11 April 2022

A quick Doeberl game

 The 2022 O2C Doeberl Cup is only a few days away, so I thought I would dig up an interesting miniature from the past. White brought his queen out too early, and as a result saw it kicked all around the board.

Hoffmann, Achim - Bartlett, Stephen [B32]
Doeberl Cup, 2004

Friday 8 April 2022

Front facing knights

 "500 Chess Questions Answered" is a book a purchased recently. Written by GM Andy Soltis, it is basically a FAQ for chess, covering everything from learning strategies to how tournaments are run. 

One section is titled "Rulebook" and deals with common questions. One question is whether knights must always face forward, and of course the answer is no. But what I did not know was that Kasparov always had his knights face left. I'm not sure which way I face my knights (probably forwards) but I guess this means it isn't an issue for me.

Thursday 7 April 2022

2022 O2C Doeberl Cup - 1 week to go

 The 2022 O2C Doeberl Cup starts in a week. At this stage there are 347 players entered across the 4 sections, easily breaking last years record of 330 players. At the moment the Minor is full (with 120 players), while the other events still have a few places available (the Premier has 19).

For anyone wondering why we have these limits in place, venue size and equipment are the major considerations. However there is also the issue of tournament management, with 7 round events having a natural limit on the size of the field. Even with accelerated pairings, having more than 128 players in any event makes finding a clear winner tricky.

The Premier section starts next Thursday (14th April), with the other sections beginning on Friday 15th. There will be live coverage of Premier, but it will be online (for the first time), due to venue requirements. 

Tuesday 5 April 2022

The joy of study

 I have decided to have one of my sporadic attempts at studying chess (properly) again. My target is Rook and Pawn endings, not only because I need to improve in this area, but also because I need to improve how I study. Famously Capablanca studied and understood over 1000 Rook and Pawn positions, and while I doubt I will get to that number, understanding the key positions can't hurt.


Sunday 3 April 2022

2022 Dubbo Open - Kethro and McGowan tie for 1st

 The 6 round 2022 Dubbo Open finished in a tie for first between FM Michael Kethro and Cameron McGowan.  After their 4th round game ended in a draw, both had to navigate some tricky pairings over the last 2 rounds. Kethro looked to have the harder time of it, having to fight very hard against WIM Biljana Dekic in round 5, and fending off an inspired Braiden Cox in the final round. McGowan also managed to win his final two games (against WFM Kristine Quek and WFM Alana Chibnall) to leave both players on 5.5/6. In third place was rising star Lucas Ni, who only lost to Kethro, winning all his other games. 

There were a number of good performances by new players on the tournament scene, with unrated Daniel lee finishing 4th on 4.5. Braiden Cox and Patrick Christie tied for NSW Country Champion on 4/6, with Cox winning the title on countback. Queensland juniors Micah Young and Luka Hart enjoyed the trip south, winning their respective rating divisions. Another performance of note was by Lee Forace, who managed to go through the event undefeated, with 1 win and 5 draws!

Full results for the even can be found here. As the tournament arbiter, I must say it was a very enjoyable event, with no disputes and excellent behaviour from the players. The field of 37 players was a good one, and the local Dubbo chess club is looking forward to seeing everyone back again next year.

2022 Dubbo Open - Day 1

 The 2022 Dubbo Open has attracted a good field of 37 players. The top 2 seeds are Cameron McGowan and FM Michael Kethro, with a solid field of 1750-2000 rated players making up the next 7 seeds. 

After the first 3 rounds, McGowan, Kethro and WFM Alana Chibnall lead with 3/3. Close behind on 2.5 are WFM Kristine Quek, WIM Biljana Dekic and Kye Walls. The round 4 pairings see McGowan play Kethro on the top board, with Dekic v Chibnall on board 2.

After the 3rd round the traditional time handicap blitz event was held. Players were given a time bonus/penalty based on their rating, meaning that higher rated players might start with only 2 or 3 minutes on their click (versus their opponents 5). The handicapping system worked pretty well this year, with a 4 way tie for 1st. Lee Forace emrged as the winner on tie-break, ahead of WFM Alana Chibnall, Patrick Christie and Braiden Cox, after they all scored 4/5.

Scores and pairing for the tournament can be found here

Friday 1 April 2022

Found this on Youtube

 Stumbled across this on youtube. Not a win for PNG, but still good to see some recognition