Sunday 27 November 2022

A variation on a theme

 The 2022 World Seniors has just finished with GM Zurab Sturua winning the Over 50, GM John Nunn winning the Over 65,  WGM Elvira Berend winning the Over 50 Women's title, and GM Nona Gaprindashvili winning the Women's Over 65 title (her 8th Senior world championship!).

Playing through some of the games I cam across this interesting brevity. It is almost a 'Greek Gift' sacrifice, but only if the soldiers charged first, and then the horse was dragged through the gates. By that I mean, after the sacrifice on h7 was played, the Queen checked first, before the cavalry arrived. In fact Black gave up after the queen check, which i think was a little premature. Certainly White is winning, but there isn't a direct mate.

Raynes,Paul (2205) - Pastor Alonso De Prado,Alberto (2026) [D02]
30th World Senior Chess Championship 202 Assisi (ITA) (5.25), 19.11.2022

Thursday 24 November 2022

Street Chess Movember Fundraiser 26 November

 This Saturday is the annual Movember Fundraiser at Street Chess in Canberra. All entry fees will be donated to Movember, and there will be some extra give aways for best scoring (and best looking moustaches). And if you don't have time to grow a mo, I will accept drawn on or pasted on versions.

Come along to City Walk, Canberra City (outside King O'Malley's) from 10:45 to register. Entry is $10 for rated players, $5 for unrateds and $1 for Under 16 years. 

If you can't make it, I am also happy to accept donations at

Well calculated

 One of the more spectacular games from the 2022 Vikings Weekender was the round 2 match up between Fred Litchfield and Glenn Ingham. Litchfield demonstrated the adage that 'good moves come from good positions' by finding a winning queen sacrifice in a position that was already in his favour. But while most of the combination relied on checks and captures, there was still the necessity to find a quite move or two, which Litchfield did.

Litchfield,Fred - Ingham,Glenn [D30]
2022 Vikings Weekender Canberra, Australia (2.4), 19.11.2022

Tuesday 22 November 2022

2022 World Team Championship

 The number of international events is on the increase, which is surely a good sign. One big event currently running is the World Team Championship. 

This years event sees a new (and faster) format, with 2 groups of 6 teams, qualifying for an 8 team KO final. The big change is with the time limit, as the games are now played at 45m+10s, with 2 rounds per day. I must confess I am not a fan of this change, in part because I worry that this may become a suggested new time control for the chess Olympiad. 

After 4 of the 5 preliminary rounds, most of the usual suspects are in the lead. China is leading one group, which they would fine satisfying, as they did not attend the Olympiad this year. The other group is led by Uzbekistan, which sets up a potential China-Uzbekistan final. The other surprise is the USA sitting in last place in their group, although the team bears no resemblance to their Olympiad team. is the link you want to click on to follow all the action. 

Sunday 20 November 2022

2022 Vikings Weekender - IM Junta Ikeda wins

 IM Junta Ikeda has won the 2022 Vikings Weekender, with an undefeated 5.5/6. He won his round 5 and 6 games today, to finish half a point ahead of IM Stephen Solomon. Solomon was tied with Ikeda going into the final round, but could only draw with Fred Litchfield, after getting a worse position out of the opening. Queensland junior Micah Young finished in 3rd placed, defeating Macau Olympiad player CM Hui Li in the final round.

The Minor was won by James Minogue and Nick Beare, on 5/6. The two winners drew their round 5 game, leaving Minogue half a point in front going into the final round. However Beare was able to catch Minogue with a crushing win over Jerry Cheng, with Minogue only drawing with Andrew He.

The 50 player event saw a lot of interesting chess. The time limit of 60m+30s saw an improvement in endgame play, compared to the previous 60m+10s format. And the move to 3 rounds on the Saturday saw a drop in the number of bye requests, as well as giving players longer breaks between each round. 

Full results from the tournament, plus replays of the top games are available at

Beare,Nick - Cheng,Jerry [B07]
2022 Vikings Minor 20.11.2022

Saturday 19 November 2022

2022 Vikings Weekender - Day 2

 At the end of the 2nd day of the 2022 Vikings Weekender, 3 players share the lead on 3.5/4. The top 2 seeds, IM Junta Ikeda and IM Stephen Solomon drew their round 4 game to reach 3.5, where they were joined by Oladoyin Fasakin, who also drew in the last round of the day. His opponent, Matt Radisich, is one of the surprise packets of the event, have reached 3/4, despite being seeded 11th at the start. Also on 3 points are CM Hui Li, Fred Litchfield and Queensland junior Harvey Zhu.

In the Minor event James Minogue leads with 4/4. He reached this score with a careful win against top seed Kamal Jain, nursing home his final pawn while trying to avoid a K+N+B v K ending (Jain was trying to sacrifice his knight for the last pawn). Nick Beare and Peter Cai share 2nd place on 3.5, with Minogue playing Beare in tomorrows first .round.

All the action begins at 10:15 tomorrow (Canberra time), with live coverage of the top 4 games available at

2022 Vikings Weekend - Day 1

 The Vikings Weekender has always been a bit of a hidden gem on the Australian Weekend circuit. Run in 2 sections, it usually attracts between 50 to 70 players, has a fairly strong set of regular players (1 or 2 IM's, plus assorted 2000+ players), good prize money ($3000+) and an excellent venue. Unlike the more crowded events elsewhere, it always has a somewhat relaxed feel about it, even when players are striving for prizes and rating points.

This year event has attracted 50 players, which might have been more if some of the players who had entered early had not pulled out. The top section is larger than the Under 1600 section (!), with IM Junta Ikeda and IM Stephen Solomon the headline acts. Both players won in the first round, although Solomon had to find a nice finish to secure his point. FM Michael Kethro played the longest game of the round, winning a tricky rook and pawn ending against David Esposito on Board 3. There were a couple of upsets and one draw, which shows how difficult events like this can be. The Minor event (Under 1600) saw fewer upsets, although Linda Qiang beat local player Roy Teymant. 

Round 2 starts at 10:15 am tomorrow, with 3 rounds (at 60m+30s) being played on Saturday. At this stage the top 2 boards are being broadcast, although that should be increased to 4 (assuming I can source some replacement hardware). The full results, parings and links to live coverage can be found at 

(** I am a paid arbiter for this event **)

Friday 18 November 2022

2022 World Seniors

 The 2022 World Seniors has just begun in Italy, and as is normal, there are a mix of well known players and enthusiastic amateurs. It is being run in two section, 50+ and 65+, and somewhat surprisingly, there are more players in the 65+ section than the 50+ section.

Top seed on the 65+ section is GM John Nunn, who started the event with a smooth, and somewhat instructive win over his first round opponent.

Nunn,John D M (2580) - Sursock,Sameer (1976) [B28]
30th World Senior Chess Championship 202 Assisi (ITA) (1.1), 15.11.2022

Thursday 17 November 2022

New FIDE Commissions

While this may be of minor interest to the wider chess community, FIDE have announced the new Commissions for 2022-26. There has been quite a shakeup, with a number of new commission chairmen and secretaries. In some cases previous chairman have been moved to other commissions, while in others, new appointments have been made.

In my own case I have moved from Rules Commission (where I was a member/councillor) to the Qualifications Commission, as Secretary. This commission is responsible for both Titles and Ratings, as well as Transfers. 

The full details of new commission members can be found at , while what each FIDE Commission is responsible for is listed at

Monday 14 November 2022

2022 Vikings Weekender - Reminder

 The 2022 Vikings Weekender begins this Friday (18th November), and there are still a few places left (13 at the time of posting this). As space at the venue is limited, there is a hard cap of 60 players, across 2 sections. Surprisingly it is the Under 1600 section that has fewer players, with the Open section looking quite strong.

The tournament is a 6 round swiss, with 1 round on the Friday, 3 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. The time limit is 60m+30s and both sections (Open and Under 1600) will be FIDE rated.

Full details at (or

Saturday 12 November 2022

Hilton Bennett (1955 - 2022)

 Absolutely tragic new from New Zealand. Hilton Bennett has passed away at the age of 67. He suffered a serious heart attack a few days ago, and despite the best efforts of medical staff, he never regained consciousness, and died today (12 November).

For those that knew Hilton, he was one of the genuinely good guys of chess. He was an avid player and organiser, a serious book collector, and someone with an absolute love of the game. I knew him for over 20 years, crossing paths at various tournaments (the last just 3 weeks ago), and working together on a number of chess projects. 

He was a frequent participant in Australian chess events (including a number of Doeberl Cups), a familiar face at chess Olympiads (as a NZ team captain, or team supporter), and a constant presence at the major New Zealand events. He was a strong player, earning his CM title in 2013, as well as being an International Organiser and FIDE Trainer. In his last major tournament, the 2022 Asian Seniors 65+ he finished equal 3rd, missing out on an FM title on countback. 

His passing will be greatly felt, not just in New Zealand, but in the world wide chess community.

Bennett,Hilton Petrie (2134) - Kanikevich,Alexander (2410) [B02]
Doeberl Cup 45th Canberra (2), 06.04.2007

Thursday 10 November 2022

ACT Interschool 2022

 I've had a hectic few weeks,  finishing up the 2022 ACT Interschool Championships. Due to covid related issues, the various sections finished a lot later in the year than usual, which has caused some issues with playoffs etc.

Overall it was a successful year, with one of the highlights being the 94 player final for the Girls Primary Section, which was the biggest single event for any section this year.

The winning teams in each section were

Primary Girls : Kaleen Primary

Primary Open: Majura Primary

Secondary Girls: Merici College

Secondary Open : Canberra Grammar

There were also playoffs* to select the ACT representatives for the Australian Schools Teams Championship, and surprisingly, in the Open sections, went to the teams that finished second in the school finals. Kaleen beat Majure 4.5-3.5, while Radford College beat Grammar 5-3.

Congratulations to all the winning teams, and well done to everyone who took part.

(*The playoffs are played at the same time limit as the ASTC, rather than at the G/15m time limit used for local interschool)

Tuesday 8 November 2022

I think I have turned 40 (as a chessplayer)

 I'm pretty sure my 40th anniversary as a tournament chess player is coming up, in a few days. Unfortunately my first events were 'Allegro' tournaments, and so I don't have game scores. 

What I do remember is turning up to the Woden Chess Club towards the end of 1982. On the first night there was an interclub event taking place, so I just played casual games, which I lost quite badly.

The next week they started an Allegro event, which was 4 rounds a night with a time limit of G/15m. I started off with 0/8 but eventually recovered to finish on 4/15. Combing through back issues of the Canberra Times, it appears that this event started on the 9th or possibly the 16th of November. 

As the format was a time handicap event, it might be said that wasn't a real tournament, and if so, the 1982 ACT Junior Championship would then be my first proper tournament. After that it was a slow climb (last in the 1983 Australian Junior), but certainly an enjoyable one.

Saturday 5 November 2022

Opening the doors

 I saw two separate chess events in the last 2 days which show that if you hold chess events, you will find chess players.

The first was in Port Moresby, where GM Nigel Short is visiting as part of his new role as FIDE Director of Chess Development. Although the main purpose of his visit (which includes another 6 countries), is to talk to Federations, there is also a PR component to the trip. He played a 20 board simul at the Vision City Mall, attracting a crowd in the hundreds to watch. With PNG chess affected by Covid for the past 2 and a half years, getting such a crowd to spectate was a fantastic result.

The second was at Street Chess today. Whether it was the weather (in that it wasn't raining), or for other less tangible reasons, a bumper crowd of 39 players took part. Most pleasing was the number of new players who turned up, trying tournament chess for the first time. For most, it was a return to chess having stopped playing in high school, while for others it was the move from school chess to 'proper' chess.

In both cases, the main take away was an appreciation from all involved that having events like this was what inspired them to take it to the next level.

Thursday 3 November 2022

A daring choice

 FM Albert Winkelman took part in the just completed 2022 Asian Continental Championship. A good start saw him in with a chance of an IM norm, but a final round loss meant he fell a little short. As a consolation he did pick up around 30 rating points, as well as scoring a couple of highly rated scalps.

On such scalp came in the following game, where a daring sacrificial idea paid off. Usually sacrificing a knight for 2 pawns after h3-g4 isn't as good as it looks, but in this case it was barely worse than simply retreating the bishop. So much so, that one wrong move from his opponent, and Winkelman was winning quite easily. However the road to victory isn't always easy, and a missed opportunity gave his opponent a narrow drawing path, which was missed. After that it was plain sailing

Shahil,Dey (2395) - Winkelman,Albert (2229) [C55]
Asian Continental Chess Championship-202 New Delhi (4.37), 29.10.2022

Tuesday 1 November 2022

2023 O2C Doeberl Cup

 Entries for the 2023 O2C Doeberl Cup are now open, and if you visit you will see that there have been some big changes made to the tournament.

The most significant one is the addition of an extra section (The Mini), which is for players rated below 1500 (ACF). Connected with that is the change in the rating limits for the Major (now Under 2100), and the Minor (now Under 1800). The reason for this is to balance the numbers in each event, and to make the pairings a little more sensible. The prizes for the Major and Minor are unchanged, while the Mini adds an extra $1700 to the overall prize pool.

The always popular Blitz event also sees an increase in the prize pool, with 1st prize being increased to $500. With the extra prizes added further down, the total prizes for the Blitz is now $1290. Entry fees remain unchanged from previous years, although there has been a change to the withdrawal policy (due to events filling up quickly, and then player withdrawing just before the cutoff).

The regulations concerning tournament eligibility have been simplified, with players able to use either there ACF or FIDE rating to move to a higher section (if allowed). Now to qualify for the Premier, you need to either have an ACF rating above 1900, or a FIDE rating above 1900. This also applies to the lower sections.

The venue is the same (Southern Cross Club, Woden), but with the expected increase in players for 2023, it is hoped some extra rooms can be allocated to the event.

(** Disclaimer: I am the Chief Organiser of this event ** )