Wednesday 31 August 2022

How good are your rooks?

 Here is a simple test to see how good you are at using your rooks. It is White to move, and with the king trapped on g1, it is the rooks to do all the work. Find the right rook move, and you will find the right path to victory.

Monday 29 August 2022

Scholars Trap

 During the Olympiad (and possibly after), there was a lot of commentary about the quality of play on the lower boards. There were a few examples of Scholars Mate, and this was seen as evidence that not everyone had 'earned' the right to be there.

As a past Olympiad player  (and a recent official), I do not believe lines should be drawn in this way. If you are picked by your Federation to play, then you get to play. Both China and India were considered 'non chess' countries in the not so recent past, an opinion that would not be said out loud these days.

And speaking of Scholars Mate, in the following game, White was able to pick up a piece after Black failed to spot how strong simply threatening it could be.


Javakhishvili,Lela (2476) - Sahithi,Varshini M (2312) [E15]
44th Olympiad Chennai 2022 Mahabalipuram, Chennai (4.3), 01.08.2022

Cheng wins in Barcelona

 Backing up from his excellent performance at the 2022 Chess Olympiad, GM Bobby Cheng has just tied for 1st in a strong Open event in Barcelona. Winning his last round, he caught the 2 leaders (who drew on the top board) with an impressive score of 8/10. This result, combined with his Olympiad result will see him add around 40 points to his current rating, pushing him to around 2580.

Faced with a must win game in the final round, he found a long term piece sacrifice which kept his opponent under pressure, and then finished the game off with a mating attack.


Cheng,Bobby (2540) - Terry,Renato (2507) [A55]
23rd Sants Open (10.3), 28.08.2022

Friday 26 August 2022

2022 ACT Women's and Girls Championship - 11 September 2022

2022 ACT Women's and Girls' Chess Championship - Sunday 11 September 2022

7 rounds, 15m+ 5s per game. Rated by the Australian Chess Federation (Quickplay List)

Schedule: Sunday 11th September - Check-in 9.30am Round 1 10am Round 2 10:45am Round 3 11:30am Round 4 12:15am
Lunch Break 1pm-1:30pm
Round 5 1:30pm Round 6 2:15 pm Round 7 3pm Prize Giving 3:45pm

Prizes - 1st $250 2nd $125 3rd $75 Trophies for 1st, 2nd, 3rd + Medals for U14, U12, and U10

Max. two half-point byes available for Rounds 1-4.

Entry fee $20 Adults, $10 Junior. WGM, WIM, WFM and WCM Free.

+ Novices event for unrated players - Free entry with medals for 1st, 2nd and 3rd (Same schedule as Championship)

NB Players with ACF Ratings can only play the Championship event. Unrated players can choose to enter the Championship or the Novices Event.

Venue: Campbell High School
Treloar Cres, Campbell ACT

Entries close Saturday 5pm 10 Sept.
Register at

Thursday 25 August 2022

2023 Australian Open

 The 2023 Australian Open is being held from the 2nd to the 10th January 2023, in Perth. The Open will be an 11 round event, with 3 double round days. First prize is $3000, and the total prize pool is over $10,000. There is also Minor event (Under 1600) running alongside the Open.

Full details for the tournament can be found at

Tuesday 23 August 2022

The Trojan Bishop?

 The 'Greek Gift' is the well known sacrifice on h7, followed by Ng5+. Although it is thought to be named after the Trojan Horse, the odd thing is that it is the Bishop which is sacrificed, not the knight. Here is a recent game where the Bishop is also offered as a gift, but on h5 rather than h7. But like in the ancient myth, it is an offer that should not have been accepted.

White - Black [A83]
Gungahlin CC, 23.08.2022

Sunday 21 August 2022

Playing it safe

 My ongoing trawl through games from the Olympiad has left me somewhat disappointed with the choice of openings. There were very few Kings Gambit's and most of the Two Knight's Defence's were met with the tame d3. Probably the best of the few Two Knight's proper was the following game, where White got tangled up on the e file, and dropped a piece due to a miscalculation.

Sharikhan,Shawal (1789) - Asllani,Muhamet (2235) [C59]
44th Olympiad Chennai 2022 Mahabalipuram, Chennai (1.3), 29.07.2022

Saturday 20 August 2022

Not one but two ideas

White to move

The diagrammed position occurred in a game at Street Chess today. While White is winning, a simple pawn race isn't the best path to victory. White needed to find a clever idea to gain an important tempo in the ending. He managed to do this, but then needed to find another idea to win the resulting Q v pawn ending. Without extra pawns on the board Black can rely on stalemate, but with the extra pawns, this defence no longer works. 

No answers, but White successfully found both ideas to win the game.

Thursday 18 August 2022

Czech Summer Chess

 The European Summer Chess Tour is a well known destination for Antipodean players, although Covid has restricted playing opportunities in the last few years. It does look like it is back to normal this year, and on young Canberran, FM Albert Winkelman, is giving it a go. He started with the Czech Open, before moving onto a GM event in Olomouc.  Being the bottom seed in the GM group is always going to be a tough ask, and his current score of 1.5/6 doesn't reflect how close he was in some games.

While looking through the games I did spot one very nice attack by Jonasz Baum, where a rook sacrifice lead to a position where White had to walk the tight-rope to avoid a loss. He did for a while, but eventually blindered, and quickly lost.

Lutsko,Artem (2407) - Baum,Jonasz (2412) [E49]
Olomouc Chess Summer 2022 - A Olomouc (CZE), Hotel Flora (5.5), 16.08.2022

Wednesday 17 August 2022

2022 British Championship

 The 2022 British Championship is well underway, and while it is happening on the other side of the world, there are a couple of participants who may interest readers of this blog. IM Gary Lane is taking part, and has all picked up first place in the Week 1 Open event. He scored 6.5/7 to win ahead of a small but strong field. He is also taking part in the championship as well, and is 3/4. One of the players tied for 1st is IM Brandon Clarke, who spent a few years in Sydney before returning to the UK.

Stewart Reuben is also taking part, albeit in the Seniors events. In the over 50 section he scored 3.5/6 before missing the final round (which had a 10am start!). He then backed up for the Over 65 section where he is 1/2, with his second round loss against top seed GM John Nunn. 

The Championship has quite a large number of events, including the British age championships. Full results and replayable games can be found at

Monday 15 August 2022

Through the centre then left at the h file

 Toby Brookfield is quite a dangerous player when he gets an attack going, something I discovered when I played him at the 2010 Olympiad. In the most recent Olympiad, he opens with the Centre Game, and when his opponents fails to take in e4 on move 8, is able to directly target the king. 

Once Brookfield plays h6 he is completely winning, although it took a few more moves before his opponent also realised.

Brookfield,Toby (1815) - Naipal,Hoolan (1785) [C22]
44th Olympiad Chennai 2022 Mahabalipuram, Chennai (3.2), 31.07.2022

Sunday 14 August 2022

Old but reliable

 The next miniature from the 2022 Olympiad involves an old idea that still seems to catch a lot of victims. I've seen shorter versions of this trap work against the Morra Gambit, but in this case it is against a more mainline Sicilian. 

Dobrovoljc,Vid (2398) - Diamant,Andre (2538) [B30]
44th Olympiad Chennai 2022 Mahabalipuram, Chennai (11.4), 09.08.2022

Olympiad Minatures

 There were a number of very quick games at the 2022 Chess Olympiad, although some were just ended with a simple blunder. This one was a little more subtle, with White missing an in between move that brought the game to an abrupt finish.

Mannhart,Marcel (2110) - Van den Brink,Peter (2167) [B23]
44th Olympiad Chennai 2022 Mahabalipuram, Chennai (10.1), 08.08.2022

Friday 12 August 2022

2022 Chess Olympiad - Day 11 (Part 2)

 The New Zealand team finished on 10 points ( 5 wins and 6 losses) which was probably a disappointment for them. However there we some good individual performances, with Daniel Gong scoring 6.5/9 in Board 1, and missing an IM norm by half a point. The New Zealand Women's team exceeded expectations, finishing on 11 points, with not player scoring below 50%. Board 2 player WFM Vyanla Punsalan scored 8/10 to help to team finish with an impressive 27 game points.

The battle between the smaller Oceania nations saw Guam, PNG and Palau all finish on 8 match points. Guam had the better tie break so claims the unofficial 'Islands' championship. The PNG team finished strongly after a slow start and had a chance for a category medal going into the final round. Points were evenly distributed across the team, although the 4/10 by Jeremiah Age on Olympiad (and indeed competitive chess) debut was a highlight. 

Fiji finished on 7 points, with Rudr Prasad the standout player with 6/9. Palau score 6 points, but Tito Cabunagan also scored 6/9, which is enough to earn a conditional FM title (a 2100 rating is now required as well). 

In the Women's section Fiji and Guam finished on 9 points, while Palau were close behind on 8. (Narau and PNG did not field Women teams).

Wednesday 10 August 2022

2022 Chess Olympiad - Day 11

 Uzbekistan has won the Chess Olympiad for the first time, finishing first in 2002 tournament on tie-break over Armenia. Both teams won their final round matches to score 19 match points, but Uzbekistan were well ahead on the Olympiad-SB tie-break. India 2 finished third after beating Germany 3-1, finishing a point ahead of India 1 and the USA.

Ukraine won the Women's Olympiad, also on tie-break, after finishing alongside Georgia, with 18 MP. India finished in 3rd place, and the Indian teams won the Gaprindashvili Cup for the best combined finishes in the Open and Women's section.

Australia drew 2-2 with Chile in the final round to score 14 points and tie for 25th. The women's team score 13 points to tie for 35th.

I am about to head to the airport after an exhausting 3 weeks in India. When I get back home, I will do a compete wrap on the results of the other Oceania teams, and an overview of the Olympiad.

Tuesday 9 August 2022

2022 Chess Olympiad - Day 10

 With 1 round to play,the 2022 Chess Olympiad looks to be a 2 horse race between Uzbekistan and Armenia. Armenia bounced back fro it's round 9 loss to score a big win over Azerbaijan 3-1. Uzbekistan looked to be losing to India 2, until a blunder by Gukesh on board 1 of the match saw Uzbekistan escape with a 2-2 draw. USA and India 1 both won their matches, to stay 1 point behind the leaders.

In the Women's Olympiad, India hold a 1 point lead going into the final round. Close behind are Poland, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Ukraine. So a win for India will give them gold, but a draw or loss will open it up for the pursuing teams.

Australia beat Albania 3.5-0.5 to move to 13 points, and a win today against the lower seeded Chile will result in one of the best finishes ever. The Women's team also won, and they are hoping for a strong finish in the last roound.

Somewhat surprisingly PNG have moved into the lead of the smaller Oceania federations. A 3-1 win over Guam moves them to 8 points, and an outside chance of a category prize. Fiji drew 2-2 with Togo, Nauru beat the Seychelles 3-1, but Palau lost 4-0 to St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Monday 8 August 2022

2022 Chess Olympiad - Day 9

 With 2 rounds to play, Uzbekistan has taken the lead in the 2022 Chess Olympiad Open section, after beating previous leaders Armenia 3-1. The young Uzbek team hold a 1 point lead over Armenia, and India 2. Today's round will see India 2 and Uzbekistan play on the top board, with Armenia facing Azerbaijan.

Australia went down narrowly to Ukraine 2.5-1.5, although the Australian's had better chances in 2 of the drawn games. Australia plays Albania this round, in a match they are favoured to win. New Zealand scored a win over Sao Tome to reacj 10 points, with Daniel Gong improving his score to 6/8 and giving him a good chance to earn an IM norm.

Papua New Guinea scored a 3.5-0.5 win over Laos, and now face Oceania rivals Guam. who lost to the Netherlands Antilles 2.5-1.5. Fiji scored a second win in a row, over St Vincent, while Palau lost to Burundi and Nauru suffered a heavy defeat to the Cayman Islands.

Sunday 7 August 2022

2022 Chess Olympiad - Day 8

 Armenia has built their previous Olympiad victories on managing to score a lot of 2.5-1.5 match wins, which is just as good a 4-0 in this kind of team event (tie-break effects non-withstanding). So it wasn't a huge surprise when Armenia did an 'Armenia' and defeated India by this score. Draws on the bottom 3 boards, started the match, before a marathon win on the top board brought home the 2 points. They still lead the tournament by 1 point with 3 rounds to play, but more importantly, they have played India and India 2, plus the USA. They are up against another surprise packet, Uzbekistan, in today's round.

The Australian team bounced back with a narrow 2.5-1.5 win over Finland (Armenia style!). They are now in the 11 point group which is a tie for 17th. However they face a tough pairing today, up against the 8th seeded Ukraine. The Australian Women's team had a 3-1 win over the UAE and have now caught the young New Zealand team who are also on 9 points after an amazing 2-2 result against Denmark.

A mixed day for the rest of the Oceania teams with PNG losing 3-1 to Palestine, Fiji getting a second tournament win, beating the British Virgin Islands, Guam and Palau drawing, and Nauru losing 3-1. New Zeland also lost, but only by a narrow 2.5-1.5 margin, against the significantly stronger Bangladesh team.

Saturday 6 August 2022

2022 Chess Olympiad - Day 7

 Armenia still lead the 2022 Chess Olympiad, after a somewhat fortunate draw against the USA. They were facing a likely 2.5-1.5 loss, when Sam Shankland touched his king, thinking it was in check, only to realise (a) that it wasn't and (b) any move by the king loses. So he resigned, making the score 2-2.

There is a bug tie for 2nd on 12 points, with both Indian teams and Uzbekistan in that group. The big matchup today is Armenia v India on the top board.

It was rough day for teams from Oceania, including Australia. The Open team lost 3.5-0.5 to the strong Iran team, while the Women's team lost to Latvia 2.5-1.5. New Zealand had a win in the Open, but 2.5-1.5 over Saint Lucia was closer than expected. Papua New Guinea crashed to a 4-0 loss against Kenya, as did Nauru against Saudi Arabia. Guam and Palau lost by smaller margins, while Fiji's loss to Timor-Leste continued their tough run in the event. Former Canberra junior Rudr Prasad is the best performer for the team, scoring 4/7 so far, which qualifies him for the CM title ( after meeting the rating requirement)

Thursday 4 August 2022

2022 Chess Olympiad - Day 6

 Australia was one of the big stories of Round 6, after beating third seeded Norway 2.5-1.5. World Champion Magnus Carlsen defeated Anton Smirnov on board 1, but wins for Kuybokarov and Cheng, plus a tough draw for Tan saw Australia get over the line. The win puts Australia in a tie for 14th place and a match against Iran in round 7.

Armenia now lead the tournament after winning their 6th match in a row. Their next opponent is the USA, which now has former Armenian Number 1 Lev Aronian in their ranks. The Indian teams (all 3) continue to do well, and are in a large group of teams tied for third.

India leads the Women's Olympiad with 12 points from 6 games. The Australian team was paired against the India 3  and went down 1-3, with Ryjanova and Richards drawing their games.

Papua New Guinea scored its second win in a row, beating the higher seeded Gambia team 2.5-1.5. Once again Jeremiah Age anchored the result, with a win on board 4, while the other 3 games were drawn. Guam beat Guernsey 3.5-0.5 to move to 5 match points, while Palau and Nauru also had wins.

Today is a rest day (thankfully), with the action starting again tomorrow.


Wednesday 3 August 2022

2022 Chess Olympiad - Day 5

 At the end of round 5 of the 2022 Chess Olympiad, only 2 teams remain on a perfect score. India 2 defeated Spain 2.5-1.5, while Armenia beat England by a similar score*. So there is an Indian team leading the home Olympiad, just not the one that was expected.  Tied for third are India 1, USA and a couple of surprises in Uzbekistan and Cuba. Norway bounced back form a couple of poor (and in one case lucky) rounds, to beat Zambia 3.5-0.5

Australia missed a chance to stay in the top 10, drawing with the lower seeded Belgium 2-2. GM Justin Tan suffered his first loss of the tournament, but this was balanced out by a win for GM Zong Yuan Zhao. As a result the Australians now face Norway in Round 6. The Women's team continue their good form with a win over Moldova 3-1. WGM Julia Ryjanova is playing particularly well for the team scoring 4/5 on board 1.

New Zealand picked up their third win in the Open, beating Hong Kong 3-1. This moves them back to the middle of the field, after an upset loss to Oman earlier in the event. The New Zealand Women's team is also on 6 points, having scored a 4-0 win over Malta

PNG scored its first win of the tournament, defeating Comoros 4-0. All the PNG players played will, but there was a bit of luck on Board 1 when the Comoros player hung a rook in the ending (and refused the subsequent draw offer!) The other Oceania teams found this round quite tough, with losses for all of them.

(* When running a full tournament simulation to test the TAP procedures before the event, Armenia ended up as the overall winner of the Olympiad!)

Ahamada Abdillah - Age Jeremiah [B30]
WCO (5), 2022.08.02

Tuesday 2 August 2022

2022 Chess Olympiad - Day 4

 After 4 rounds of the 2022 Chess Olympiad, 5 teams still share first place with 4 wins from 4 matches. Spain, Armenia, England, Israel and India 2 are all on 8 match points, with India 2 ahead on tie-break. Top seeds USA and India are on 7 points (both having drawn yesterday), while Norway have fallen of the pace, despite a brilliant win by Magnus Carlsen against Mongolia on Board 1.

The Australian Open team had a 4-0 win of Ecuador, putting them on 6 points. The play Belgium in round 5, a team they are seeded ahead of. A win in this match will likely seem them move into the top 20 reaching the halfway point of the tournament. The Women's team lost 3-1 to the highly ranked USA team, but it was still a good performance, with the USA having to work very hard to overcome determined resistance,

New Zealand won their second match of the tournament to move to 4 points, while Guam leads the smaller Oceania countries on 3 points. PNG, once the strongest of these Federations, suffered another loss, and currently sit at the bottom of the table.

Monday 1 August 2022

2022 Chess Olympiad - Day 3

 The third day of the 2022 Chess Olympiad was action packed, both on the board, and around the boards.

On the chessboard, the big news was the 3-1 win by Italy over the 3rd seeded Norwegian team. Draws on the top 2 boards, and wins on the bottom 2 saw Italy keep a perfect record, and relegate Norway down to 30th on tie-break. Another big result was the win by Austria over Germany 2.5-1.5, resulting in another top 10 team (on seedings) drop down the table.

Both Australian teams played well against tough opposition. The open team narrowly lost 1.5-2.5 to Poland, with a win by Temur Kuybokarov the highlight. The Women's team did a little better, drawing 2-2 with Cuba, and now face the USA team in round 4.

The Oceania teams are starting to get on the scoreboard, with Nauru and Fiji scoring wins, while Palau and Guam drawing their matches. PNG went down 1-3 to Mozambique, with Tom McCoy scoring the first victory for the team.

There were a few dramas inside the tournament with one match being halted after a player collapsed at the board. He needed to be taken away for medical treatment, but in a display of good sportsmanship, his opponent agreed to a draw, rather than claim a win on time. Another match was delayed after one team refused to play under the appointed arbiter. This was eventually resolved, but speaking for myself, this was not a good thing.