Wednesday, 27 September 2023

The ten threat rule?

 Garry Kasparov once said if you make ten threats in a row, your bound to win as your opponent will eventually make a mistake. But I've now seen a different version attributed to Boris Spassky.

"It takes 10 threats to beat the World Champion". But it also mentions that you should beat a beginner with 1 threat, and lowly rated player with 2 threats, and average player with 3 threats, a strong club player with 4 threats etc

Now the only place I have seen this is in a facebook post (which flashed past my eyes too quickly), and haven't been able to find it anywhere else.

Tuesday, 26 September 2023

2023 ACT Junior Championships Under14/12

 The first event in the 2023 ACT Junior Championship was completed today, with Owen MacMullin winning the Under 14 title. He did so after defeating Masaki Horikawa in a playoff game, after they had tied for 1st on 5/6. Having drawn there tournament game, they played each other in a single rapidplay game (G/15m), with MacMullin taking advantage of an opening mistake by Horikawa to win quite quickly. 

The winner of the Under 12 titles was Sanat Hegde, who was the youngest player in the 29 player field. He scored 4.5/6 to finish ahead of Rohan Jain and Ethan Li, who both scored 4.

The main event, the ACT Junior Championship starts tomorrow and will be played over 3 days. Alongside this event will be the Under 8 championship and the Under 10 championship, which will both be single day events.

Results for the Under 14/12 tournament can be found here

Sunday, 24 September 2023

Almost the Olympics (Asian games)

 Chess is once again featuring at the Asian Games. And looking at the team lists, a lot of countries are taking it very seriously. In both the Men's and Women's events, at last half the fields are GM/WGM, with the Men's tournament having the bottom half starting at 2383 (GM Raymond Song).

I'm not sure if there is any live coverage of the games, as a quick check of the official games website did not having links to it. But you can at least see the results at

It is a 9 round event (over 4 days) and will be followed by a team event (Men's and Women's)

Friday, 22 September 2023

2023 World Junior

 The 2023 World Junior Championship has started in Mexico City. Top see is GM Hans Neimann and there are 153 players in the Open section, and 85 in the Girls section. Australia has 3 representatives taking part (plus one arbiter). IM Cameron McGowan and FM Albert Winkelman are both seeded in the top half of the Open, while WCM Jody Middleton is playing in the Girls section.

The first round has been played (wins for McGowan and Winkelman, loss for Middleton) with the 2nd round starting in a few hours. Results can be found via although the live coverage seems to be missing at this stage.

Wednesday, 20 September 2023

Games that are real, but are unreal

 I am trawling through the latest collection of games from The Week in chess, looking for some quick finishes/opening traps. However, with a enormous amount of chess now being played online, sudden ends to games have less to do with players overlooking threats, and more to do with misclicks and failed pre-moves. But even OTB games aren't immune to a version of this. Some blunders can only be explained by a player touching the wrong piece and being forced to play the losing move (well, that's the most charitable explanation I can think off). Here are a few examples

Khanin,S (2570) - Schitco,Ivan (2533) [D20]
Texas Collegiate Finals Brownsville USA (3.6), 17.09.2023
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.e4 b5 4.a4 a6? 5.axb5 axb5?? 6.Rxa8 1-0

Gronkowski,Dariusz - Kubicka,Anna (2284) [A03]
Szansa Open Rapid 2023 Warsaw POL (1.16), 17.09.2023
1.f4 d5 2.c4 Nf6 3.cxd5 Nxd5 4.d3 e5 5.fxe5 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Ne3 7.Qa4+ b5 8.Qxb5+ c6 9.Qa4 Qh4+ 0-1

Varga,Gabor (1911) - Kozak,Antoni (2427) [B06]
10th POL-HUN Rapid 2023 Katowice POL (5.23), 09.09.2023
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.f4 d5 4.e5 Bf5 5.Bd3 e6 6.Bxf5 gxf5 7.Nf3 Bf8 8.0-0 Ne7 9.c3 Ng6 10.Ng5 h6 11.Qh5 hxg5 0-1

Kiss,Rebeka Anna (1754) - Navara,D (2688) [B25]
10th POL-HUN Rapid 2023 Katowice POL (1.1), 09.09.2023
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.f4 Nc6 6.d3 Rb8 7.a4 e6 8.Nf3 Nge7 9.0-0 0-0 10.Be3 b6 11.Qc1 Nd4 12.Nb5 Ne2+ 0-1

Monday, 18 September 2023

2023 ACT Junior Chess Championship - Coming up

 2023 ACT Junior Championship and Age Championships

When: Monday 25th September – Friday 29th September

Schedule: Monday 25th Under 14/Under 12 Day 1

Tuesday 26th Under 14/Under 12 Day 2

Wednesday 27th Under 18 Day 1, Under 8 (Only day)

Thursday 28th Under 18 Day 2, Under 10 (Only day)

Friday 29th Under 18 Day 3

Tournament Format and Entry Fee

Under 18 9 rounds Wed-Fri FIDE Rated $90 60m+30s TC

Under 14 6 rounds Mon-Tue ACF Rated $60 60m+30s TC

Under 12 6 rounds Mon-Tue ACF Rated $60 60m+30s TC (May be combined with Under 14)

Under 10 6 rounds Thu ACF Rated $30 30m+30s TC

Under 8 6 rounds Wed ACF Rated $30 30m+30s TC

Players may play multiple events if age and schedule allows (eg Under 8’s can play Under 10’s as well, and even Under 14/12)

$10 discount for ACTJCL members

$20 discount if playing all 5 days (ie $130 for entry in Under 18 and Under 14)

Third and subsequent child from one family are free

Enter @


Monday 25 September 2023 9:00 AM - Friday 29 September 2023 5:00 PM (UTC+10)


Campbell High School Hall

Trelaor Cres, Campbell ACT 2612

Friday, 15 September 2023

Congratulations FM Rupert Jones

 FM Rupert Jones has been recognised by the English Chess Federation for his many contributions to chess. Although resident in The Peoples Republic of Yorkshire, he has represented both Botswana (where he worked in the 80's and 90's) and Papua New Guinea (where he was born). To get an idea of all the things he has achieved you can read the citation at Also recognised was IA Alex McFarlane, who I have had the pleasure of working with on a number of occasions.

Well done Rupert and Alex

Wednesday, 13 September 2023

A bit of a bluff?

 The current Gungahlin Chess Club tournament, the Korda Classic, ended in a tie for 1st between Miles Patterson and Riley Byng. However, the last round games saw both games decided by an element of bluffing. In Riley's game he had been outplayed in the middlegame, but in a lost ending he saw a chance for a swindle. However, when it arrived on the board, he realised it didn't work, due to a miscounting of pawn moves. However, his opponent made the same mistake in counting the pawn moves, and chose a losing line.

In the Patterson game, he was well on top when his opponent played a surprising queen sacrifice. As he had not considered this possibility, he had to carefully check the follow up moves. In doing so he realised that he had a little tactic at the end which kept his advantage, which was enough to win the game.

Patterson,Miles - Raichura,Dev [D34]
Korda Classic (7), 12.09.2023

Monday, 11 September 2023

Pistols at dawn?

 The idea of settling a chess related dispute through playing a match goes a long way back, and at least has the befit of being less violent than actually shooting at each other. Indeed there seems to be a current dispute in Australian chess involving this conflict resolution, although it seems the lower rated player is not so keen on accepting the challenge (Noting that some point the past the same player had challenged other, lower rated players to matches in a similar way!).

Of course the risk is that it actually doesn't settle much, as shown by an old joke I found in "Chess with the Masters" by Martin Behim.

Burletzki (a coffee house player) arranged a 6 game match with a German master named Kohlein. Kohlein one the first game. Burletzki said "I made a silly mistake". Kohlein won the 2nd game. "You can't be expected to win every game". Kohlein won game 3. "I'm not in form today". Kohlein made it 4 in a row. "He's not a bad player". Kohlein picked up win number 5. "I think I underestimated my opponent". And after Kohlein won game 6, Burletzki admitted "I believe the man may well be my equal"

Friday, 8 September 2023

Championship Chessmate


I'm always on the lookout for slightly offbeat chess products, and was fortunate to find one at todays Lifeline Bookfair (well it was Miles Patterson who found it first, but left it for me). "Championship Chessmate" was a 1972 product made by Hoi Polloi, and was a early version of  'Choose the move'. Inside the carboard sleeve was a card containing the moves of a chess game (in this case, the games from the 1972 Fischer v Spassky match).  You revealed the moves by sliding the card down, so they showed up in the cut-out slots at the bottom of the sleeve. In this way you could try and predict the next move of the game, without clumsily covering up the pages of the book.

While the original had 20 games from the match (Game 2 was not included), the copy I have only has games 4+5 (double sided printing on a single card). A bit of searching reveals that copies can still be purchased online, with the entire set of cards. Of course the other option is to simply make my own cards, not just of the original games, but of other matches and players. 

Apart from this item, I did pick up a few other books at the bookfair, and will return tomorrow to see what else is on offer.

An outbreak of knight moving pawns

 For some strange reason, I had not one, but two beginners ask me if pawns could move 1 square forward and then take diagonally on the same move (basically a knight move). Of course I said no, but it did get me thinking. If a pawn can move 2 squares forward on the first move, why can't it take by moving 2 squares diagonally on the first move. 'Because' is probably the best answer, although it may make the game a little different if it could. I assume that such a variant does already exists, although the closest I could find was Berolina Chess, which isn't the same thing.

Monday, 4 September 2023

More silliness

 One of the reasons why my blog posts have become infrequent is due to a lot of high level chess being played online. Pre-covid there were a lot of high level events running OTB, but now, a lot of top players clash in online events, with fast time limits. While this is entertaining for the online audience (which is of course the point), it does leave me a little cold. 

And I'm not convinced the players are taking it seriously either, as shown in the latest outburst of silliness. The newly reinstated Hans Neimann was playing against Kramnik at (NB it wasn't part of an organised tournament). After Neimann won with the Black pieces, a second game was played. The first few moves (Neimann as white) went 1.e4 f6 2.d4 g5 So in this position White can checkmate with 3.Qh5# Instead Neimann decided to out troll Kramnik's troll opening by resigning rather than mating.

Now I'm not sure what the point was that either players was aiming for, but it clearly wasn't rating points!

Sunday, 3 September 2023

Father's Day Special

 To commemorate the late Oskar Hellman, a special Father's Day weekend event was held at Street Chess today. Thanks to the generous support of tournament regulars Lee Forace and Harry Johnson, we were able to award a number of extra prizes. These prizes included both a Senior and Junior prize (1st and 2nd place), and a Best Female prize. But as an added bonus, there was a prize for players who scored points with the Blackmar-Diemar Gambit (3 winners here), and a prize for the Best Father. With 38 players taking part, the tournament resulted in a lot pf happy players, who were a little surprised they went home with more money than they turned up with!

Thursday, 31 August 2023

Random Rounds

 Under the FIDE Title regulations, you cannot 'arrange' the order of rounds in a tournament to benefit a particular player (or players). This mainly applied to Round Robin events, where an event might not have the correct mix of foreign players but a norm might be achieved if the player plays the right mix over a shorter set of rounds eg claiming a 9 game norm from an 11 round event (NB Even this is no longer possible as all rounds must be counted for a RR norm).

However, it is the case that  norms do count if the rounds are ordered randomly. Historically, this used to be a thing, with the idea that it made it harder to prepare for an opponent. One famous example was the 1924 New York International, where each round was specified by random at the start of the day. It probably did not make a real difference , although the eventual winner (Emanuel Lasker) started off with a bye in round 1. Nonetheless the tournament saw each of the 11 players finish on a unique score (no tied places), so it may have had the effect of making each round as important as any other.

Yates,Frederick Dewhurst - Reti,Richard [B18]
New York International Masters-01 New York,NY (19), 13.04.1924

Tuesday, 29 August 2023

Boy, that de-escalated quickly

 The dispute between and Hans Neimann seems to have come to a sudden end, with both parties agreeing to 'move on'. have reinstated Neimann's access to the platform, and while they stand by the results of their previous investigations, are allowing Neimann to return with full access rights to the server, and to events they host. As an added bonus, Magnus Carlsen, who sparked the whole issue when he withdrew from the 2022 Sinquefeld Cup after losing to Neimann, has also stated that he is happy to play against Neimann if their paths cross in future events. 

My uneducated guess is no money changed hands as part of the resolution, although I assume both parties did run up some legal fees on the way to this happy ending.

Sunday, 27 August 2023

Word Teams Rapid

 The international chess calendar is becoming increasingly crowded, with one event finishing and another starting almost immediately. The World Cup finished late last week, and a number of players headed off to Germany to play the newly created World Rapid Teams Championship. 

It looks as though anyone could enter a team, and while there are some incredibly strong teams at the top, there are a number of club teams at the tail end of the field. Sitting somewhere in the middle is a team representing the FIDE Management Board, containing 4 GM's an IM, one WFM, and the FIDE President as the reserve player. He has only played 1 game but has a 100% score. He is listed on the team sheet as a FID player (under the FIDE flag, which does make sense), but his rating profile still has the Russian flag next to his picture.

Dvorkovich,Arkady - Jasinska,Iga [E61]
2023 World Rapid Team Championship Dusseldorf (4.6), 26.08.2023

Thursday, 24 August 2023

Carlsen wins World Cup

 Magnus Carlsen has defeat Pragganandhaa 1.5-0.5 in the rapid playoffs to win the 2023 FIDE World Cup. Although the event qualifies the top 3 place getters for the upcoming candidates series, Carlsen's prior decision to not play in the upcoming World Championship cycle means his victory was all about winning one title he has not won yet. 

Unburdened by the pressure of further progress, Carlsen instead demonstrated why he is still the best player in the world, scoring a number of seemingly effortless wins on the way to fist place. He did of course lose a game early on the Vincent Keymar, but after rebounding in the must win second game of that match, seemed to have everything under control (although there were still a few shaky moments along the way).

For Pragganandhaa, finishing as runner up both qualifies him for the Candidates tournament, as well as signalling his arrival at the top tier of world chess. Still only a teenager, he will no doubt become one of the worlds strongest players over the next 5 years.

Tuesday, 22 August 2023

Pragg v Carlsen

 The World Cup Final is under way with Praggnanandhaa playing Carlsen. Pragg was the surprise winner of the semi final match against Caruana, while Carlsen beat Abasov. Although Pragg has had a fantastic run throughout the event, I expect Carlsen will win without much difficulty.

Nonetheless I do have a soft spot for Pragg, as he was very briefly a neighbour of mine during the 2016-17 Hastings International. He was in the room next to mine at my hotel, and even at that stage he showed the tenacity required to become one of the worlds top GM's.

Saturday, 19 August 2023

Prep pays off

 One of the advantage of Round Robin play is you cn prep for a specific opponent, or prepare a set of openings. Capablanca famously used to choose a set of openings to use in an event, usually sticking with those openings until the end. 

In yet another game from the Looking For Gamers round robin, Harry Press chooses to push the d pawn in the Ruy Lopez, without playing c3 first. While this does not give White any particular advantage, it has the benefit of throwing off an equally well prepared opponent.

Press,Harry - Badrinarayan,Sankeertan [C88]
LFG, 18.08.2023

Thursday, 17 August 2023

Chess in the far far future

 I am currently "hate-watching" the second season of Foundation, and chess gets a mention in the third episode. As the series is set a long way into the future, it is a little surprising they went with chess, and not some invented game. The actual reference involves a 'castling device' which allows 2 bodies to swap positions, in almost the same way as a king and a rook can. It is employed by Hober Mallow, initially to pull of a robbery, and then eventually to cheat death.

Note: the term "hate-watching" refers to watching a tv show or movie that you know is complete garbage, but you feel compelled to watch it any way. This definitely applies to the Foundation tv series.

Wednesday, 16 August 2023

The raging rook

 Last night I played a game that was almost a brilliancy. Utilising my rook, I managed to organise quite a good attack on my opponents king. Unfortunately, when the time came to find the knockout blow, I bailed out. Instead of rewarding my rook sacrifice with a win, I decided that half a point was reward enough. Even after the game I didn't see the correct move, which only became clear with some silicon help.

Press,Shaun - Radisich,Matt [E66]
LFG --- (4), 15.08.2023

Monday, 14 August 2023

World Under 16 Olympiad

 The World Under 16 Olympiad has begun, with Australia fielding 2 teams. The top team almost pulled of an upset, narrowly going down to top seed Kazakhstan 1.5-25, scoring draws on the top 3 boards. Australia 2 had a tougher time, losing to Ukraine 2 0.5-3.5.

However Round 2 saw both teams bounce back with good results. Australia 1 beat Uganda 4-0, while Australia 2 beat South Africa 2 3-1. The top Australian team now plays the 3rd team from Kazakhstan (they have 5 in total!) while team 2 plays the third team from The Netherlands. 

The official website is here, where you can all the details, results and live coverage.

Saturday, 12 August 2023

Another nice LFG win

 The current LFG invitational has seen the field break into 3 groups. At the top are the tournament favourites (Press H, Litchfield and Magrini), the players in the middle who are aiming for a plus score, and a few at the bottom looking for their first points. I'm probably at the bottom of the middle group (now on 1/3), but hope to move up before I get to the top seeds.

Here is a nice win from Fred Litchfield of Matthew Radisich, which demonstrates the difference in strength between some of the tournament players.

Litchfield,Frederick (2134) - Radisich,Matt (1677) [D30]
Looking for Gamers Invitational (8.3), 04.08.2023

Wednesday, 9 August 2023

Have your say on ratings

 The FIDE Qualification Commission is inviting comments on proposed changes to the FIDE Rating System. The details fo the changes are at and you can send your comments to (NB As Secretary of the FIDE QC, I do get to read them).

We have already received a number of submissions, but you have until the end of September to comment. After this date QC will go through the submissions and see if there are important ideas we may have missed. 

Monday, 7 August 2023

Secondary Chess in Canberra 2023

 Today saw the North Canberra Secondary Zone event for 2023. This followed on from the South Canberra Zone held earlier in the year.

The event was won by Radford College with 23.5/28, half a point ahead of the Lyneham High No. 1 team. The 3rd place team was the Lyneham High No 2 team. The most remarkable thing about todays event was that there were 170 players taking part, which I believe is the largest school event ever held in Canberra. With the South Canberra Zone attracting 91 players, this is almost 1% of the total secondary school enrolment playing in this years interschool event. 

The other important fact to note was the number of high-ish rated players taking part. The top 10 seeds were rated over 1500 and 30 players in the field had a current ACF Rapid rating. This compares to a few years ago when very few participants had any sort of rating at all.

All this is good news for junior chess in Canberra. Both the size of the fields and the strength of the players show that junior chess is on the up in the nations capital.

Sunday, 6 August 2023

2023 ACT Women's and Girls Chess Championship

 2023 ACT Women's and Girls' Chess Championship - 10 September

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)

Entries close Saturday 5pm 9 Sept.

Register at

Friday, 4 August 2023

Back to 50%

 The much anticipated Press v Press clash in the LFG Invitational ended in a victory for youth. I didn't help my cause by blundering a pawn in the opening, although I received enough compensation for it that it could have been described as a pawn sacrifice. Where I really went wrong was not connecting a couple of separate plans together, to form one cohesive strategy. I looked at ideas around winning the c5 pawn with Rc1 and attacking the king with moves like d6. It turns out that if I played 16.d6! Black can only stop Plan B by allowing me to execute Plan A. Instead I just focussed on Plan B (which fails on its own) and eventually gave away most of my pieces!

Press,Shaun - Press,Harry [E10]
LFG --- (2), 04.08.2023

Thursday, 3 August 2023

2023 World Cup

 The 2023 World Cup is underway in Baku. Australia started with 4 representatives (2 from the Oceania Zonal and 2 qualifying from the Olympiad), although that number dropped to 2 after Round 1. GM Bobby Cheng drew his round 1 match 1-1, but lost the playoff, while WGM Jillin Zhang went out in regulation. GM Temur Kuybokarov won his round 1 match, but is already down 1 game against Yu Yangi. He needs to win the 2nd game to send the match into overtime, but as I type this, he stands slightly worse going into the ending. Julia Ryjanova is holding her own in her round 2 match against higher rated Zhongyi Tan, having drawn the first game, and looking OK in a sharp position in the 2nd game.

Of course the big interest is in former World Champion Magnus Carlsen's participation. Having given up his title, a win in this event would provide an interesting dilemma. Would he see it as a sign that he retired too soon, or simply as proof that he does not need a title to demonstrate how good he is. of course there are a number of other players trying to stop him from winning this event, including Nakamura, Caruana and Nepomniachtchi. 

Plenty of online coverage (eg Youtube) but you can get the results and games from the official site

Tuesday, 1 August 2023

Playing e4 and d4

 Conventional opening wisdom has White playing e4 and d4 in tandem. i.e. If you start with e4 then d4 is a desirable move to play, while if you start with 1.d4 then e4 becomes a goal. Of course how long between one and the other is open to debate. But once you have played it then d5-e5, and d6-e6 might even improve your position further!

Junta Ikeda - Terrence Tang [E16]
Round 2: Junta Ikeda - Terrence Tang, 29.07.2023

Sunday, 30 July 2023

2023 ANU Open - Ikeda wins

 IM Junta Ikeda has added yet another title to his large collection, winning the 2023 ANU Open. Starting the day on 4/4 he defeated Fred Litchfield in round 5, before playing a 95 move draw against the rapidly improving Harvey Zhu. Harry Press (4.5) tied for second with CM Lalit Prasad, after Prasad scored an upset win over FM Fred Litchfield. Harvey Zhu and Terrance Tang shared the 1600-2000 rating prize, while Leiming Yu capped a fantastic tournament by winning the Under 1600 prize.

Matthew Dwyer scored 6 ins from 6 games to finish first in the Minor event. However he had to be content with the Best Unrated prize as he does not currently have a ACF/FIDE rating. This left Larry Cheng and Olamide Fasakin sharing the first place prize money, finishing on 5/6.

The tournament attracted a good field of 68 players, which was a substantial increase over last years turnout. The new venue at ANU was ideal for the tournament and hopefully it can be used for next years event. The event was strongly supported by the ANU Chess Society, with a number of members taking part in the tournament. There is even talk of returning to the days of a full blown chess festival, with simuls, computer chess and other activities being organised. 

Saturday, 29 July 2023

2023 ANU Open Days 2

 IM Junta Ikeda has taken the outright lead in the 2023 ANU Open. He scored another 3 wins today, including an important Round4 victory over third seed Harry Press. He is half a point ahead of 2nd seed FM Fred Litchfield, after Litchfield took a bye for the evening round. As Litchfield is the only player on 3.5, he faces Ikeda in the morning round. 

In third place are Press, Terrence Tang, Harvey Zhu and Leiming Yu. Yu has been the real surprise of this event, scoring 3/4 against players rated 500 points ahead of him. He faces Tang in round 5, and based on current form, has good chances to go into the final round on 4/5.

In the Minor (Under 1600), it is the unrated players setting the pace. Matthew Dwyer is on 4/4, half a point ahead of Andrew Blakers on 3.5. Also sharing 2nd are junior players Eshaan Extross and Leon Sostaric. Blakers, who won the ACT Junior Championship in 1973(!) is making a competitive comeback after 50 years, having been one of Australia's leading researchers in Solar energy systems. 

Tomorrow mornings round starts at 10am, with the final round at 2pm. Live coverage of the top 4 boards can be found at the results link, which is

Friday, 28 July 2023

2023 ANU Open - Round 1

 The 2023 ANU Open and Minor (Under 1600) tournaments began today, with a total of 67 players. The Open section has 31 players, with IM Junta Ikeda as the top seed. While the top 5 seeds all scored wins against their lower rated opponents, there were a few upsets further down. Leiming Yu, Jonah Gear and Dev Raichura all score upset wins, while Masaki Horikawa held his higher rated opponent to a draw.

The Minor (Under 1600) had 36 players, and once again almost all games went according to rating. Paul Dunn lost to unrated Matthew Dwyer, while experienced junior player Eshaan Extross escaped with a draw against debutant Andrew Blakers. 

The return to the Australian National University was welcomed by all, and the tournament saw a number of current and former ANU staff and students take part. The playing room is spacious and well lit, and quite close to coffee shops, bars and take aways. The only thing missing was live coverage of the top boards, but this will start tomorrow (round 2 @ 10 am)

All the results can be found at which also has a link to the live coverage

Thursday, 27 July 2023

Reading the Riot Act

 The Riot Act is a Canberra institution, starting off as local discussion forum, before transforming itself into a local news platform. It was one of the sites I used to read regularly when I was working, although in retirement my readership is more sporadic. 

But I draw you attention to it, because they have just published a nice article on Street Chess (complete with pictures of me sporting my current beard). I even revealed some 'secret' chess moves that players might not know about ('Clickbait' warning. They are castling, en passant and promotion)

So check out the article at and then stay for the other cool news stories.

Tuesday, 25 July 2023

2023 ANU Open (AKA Winter Cup) - Updated Venue

 The 2023 ANU Open is returning to the Australian national university, after arranging a venue on campus. The new venue is in the centre of the ANU, right next to eateries, coffee shops and the ANU Bar. The updated details for the tournament are

ANU Open 2023

28-30 July (One round Friday evening, three Saturday, two Sunday)

Format: Open section and Under 1600 Section (ACF)

Time control: 60m+30s inc (FIDE Rated except for players 2400+)

Schedule: Round 1 Friday 28th 7PM,

Round 2 Sat 29th 10am, Rd 3 2pm, Round 4, 6pm

Round 5 Sun 30th 10am, Round 6 2pm Prize giving 6pm

Entry Fee: $80 ($60 concession) - GM, IM, WGM and WIM Free

Prizes: $1000 1st Open, $400 1st Minor $3600 in total

Venue: Room 2.02, Marie Reay Teaching Centre, University Avenue, Australian National University

Booking link:

Monday, 24 July 2023

Oskar Hellman

 The ACT chess community is mourning the passing of Oskar Hellman, who died on Sunday. An active participant in ACT events for as long as I had been involved in Canberra Chess, Hellman was a regular participant  at Street Chess, making the 2 hour journey from his home near Wombeyan Caves to Canberra almost every weekend of the year. Since 2010 he played in 462 events, which was to most of any player during this time span. Born in 1935, Oskar was the oldest active player at Street Chess, but was happy to take on any opponent, especially the younger brigade. 

Prior to retiring to the Southern Highlands of NSW, he worked in the steel industry, and was an active player in Wollongong, Southern Sydney and elsewhere. His winter holidays often took him to North Queensland, where he participated in, and won, and number of events. He was a regular participant in the Doeberl Cup, first playing in 1978, and winning the Minor (Under 1600) in 2001. 

An attacking player at heart, he was particularly fond of playing, and winning with, the Blackmar-Diemar Gambit. He scored a number of fine wins with this opening, even against players who knew it was coming. 

Oskar is survived by his wife Monika, and children. As one Canberra's longest serving players, he will be missed.

Hellmann,Oscar - Riggs,Robert [D00]
Capitol Territory-ch Australia, 1994

Sunday, 23 July 2023

2023 Women's World Championship

 Ju Wenjun has retained her Women's World Championship title after a last game win over challenger Lei Tingjie. The match was tied at 5.5 each (1 win each and 9 draws), before the final game. Although the 12th game started with the Colle System, it game soon heated up, when Wenjun decided to create a pair of passed pans on the queenside. A sequence of moves that left Wenjun with two knights for a rook looked to be good for Lei, but the ending proved to be better for the knights, and Wenjun won the game, and the match.

Wenjun Ju (2564) - Tingjie Lei (2554) [D04]
FIDE Women's World Championship Shanghai/Chongqing CHN (12.1), 22.07.2023

Saturday, 22 July 2023

Off the mark

 International Arbiter Lee Forace is organising a new round robin event in Canberra. With the support of Looking for Gamers (located at Kambah Village), the 10 player round robin has attracted a field of players rated between 1600 and 2300. The other point of interest is the international nature of the field, with 4 federations represented (Australia, Italy, Libya, and Papua New Guinea).

I'm seeded 5th in the event, and started the tournament with a win over Jordan Brown. He probably missed a couple of chances to equalise in the opening (and I did not play it as well as I should), but I was able to build up a space advantage. When he tried to activate his pieces, it created a couple of other weak points in his position, and I was able to win a piece after invading on c7. I was both pleased to start with a win, and the beat Jordan, who has been a difficult opponent for me recently (I lost the last time we played). The next round is in 2 weeks time, and I get to play Harry Press!

Press,Shaun - Brown,Jordan [A32]
LFG Invitational --- (1), 21.07.2023

Thursday, 20 July 2023

International Chess Day

 Today (July 20th) is International Chess Day. This attracted the attention of the Canberra Times newspaper, and they did a feature story, with photo's, on the after school chess program at Kaleen Primary school (NB I am one of the coaches for this program).  Interestingly, this is the same Canberra Times who just three weeks ago canned the weekly chess column that had been running for over 50 years.

The Round Robin

 For the first time in over a decade, I have signed myself up for a Round Robin event. In the past I have done pretty well in this format, although I fear the run may soon come to an end. If my memory hasn't failed me, the last RR I played was in the Solomon Islands in 2009 (I did finish first). Probably the crucial game for me was the following win over FM Lee Jones. He missed my idea in the middle game, and the threat of taking on f3 meant he had to give me a lot of material, so he chose to resign instead.

Jones,Lee (2117) - Press,Shaun (2076) [D45]
Solomon Islands Honiara (7), 27.09.2009

Monday, 17 July 2023

The pawn is dead, long live the pawn

 When trying to 'gamify' chess to small children, I usually tell them that the pawn has one hidden power, and one super power. The super power is the ability to transform into another, stronger piece when it reaches the end of the board. And the hidden power is that hs the weakest power of all the pieces. So anything it attacks is either more valuable or at worst, of equal value.

And to demonstrate ...

Press,Shaun - Khadkar,Sameet [D77]
Gungahlin Rapid ---, 11.07.2023

Sunday, 16 July 2023

Wax on, wax off

 One of the roles of any chess club, or chess tournament , is to help newer players improve their chess. In earlier days, this usually involved to gift of wisdom from a more experienced player at the competition of a game. As I have noted elsewhere, this has often been replaced by a quick trip to the laptop, so see how. many centi-pawns your first choice moves lost.

However it is still possible to pick up some good training tips as events, even if some of them come out of left field. One such suggestion given to a new, but struggling player, was to watch the movie 'Karate Kid' , especially the 'wax on, wax off' scene. The intention was to demonstrate the importance making some chess concepts so ingrained, that there was no need to spend time thinking about them. Now whether this is a real thing is open to debate, but in this specific case, the advice seemed to work. Having only won a couple of games over the last 4 months of Street Chess, the player concerned not only exceeded that total, but did so by winning 3 games in a row. For a sample size of 1, it looks like an effective training method!

Wednesday, 12 July 2023

2023 Winter Cup (AKA ANU Open)

ACT Winter Open 2023

28-30 July (One round Friday evening, three Saturday, two Sunday)

Format: Open section and Under 1600 Section (ACF)

Time control: 60m+30s inc (FIDE Rated except for players 2400+)

Schedule: Round 1 Friday 28th 7PM,

Round 2 Sat 29th 10am, Rd 3 2pm, Round 4, 6pm

Round 5 Sun 30th 10am, Round 6 2pm Prize giving 6pm

Entry Fee: $80 ($60 concession) - GM, IM, WGM and WIM Free

Prizes: $1000 1st Open, $400 1st Minor $3600 in total

Venue: Campbell High School, Treloar Cres Campbell ACT

Booking link:

Monday, 10 July 2023

2023 NSW Rapid Championship

 Junior player Harvey Zhu was the surprise winner of the 2023 NSW Rapid Championship. Seeded 12th in the tournament he scored an impressive 6.5/7, finishing a full point clear of 2nd place. After a 2nd round draw, he reeled of 5 straight wins, beating IM George Xie in round 6 and FM Alexis Vargas Arteaga in the final round. 

In 2nd place were 12 players tied on 5.5/7, including Xie, Vargas Arteaga and top seed FM Jason Hu. Hu had a rough start, losing in round 1 after dropping a queen, and drawing his 4th round game. With the large field of 134 players, a single lost point was enough to drop players out of the running.

Despite the size of the field the event ran quite smoothly. There were no major disputes and the tournament was played in good spirits. The NSWCA also doubled the advertised prize pool due to the large entry, with the winner taking home $600 for 1st. With ACF Rapid ratings being used to seed the tournament, the rating prize winners were a mix of adult and junior players, instead of the usual case of underrated juniors taking home the cash.

Full results can be seen at

(*I was a paid official for this event *)

Saturday, 8 July 2023

How many rounds?

 I saw a question on one of Facebook arbiters groups, asking how many rounds for a 16 player tournament. Most arbiters suggested 5 rounds (sqrt(n)+1 rounds, where n is the number of players) while the most imaginative answer was 15. This is technically correct as the original question did not specify a format. A few did suggest 4 rounds would do, factoring the chances that some games would be drawn.

Whether the latter answer is correct will be put to the test at tomorrows NSW Rapid Championship. The event has a field of 142 and is scheduled for 7 rounds. The risk is that if all games are decisive there is a chance that 2 players may score 7/7, without playing each other.  Of course this almost never happens, but it is still dependent on how many games per round are expected to be drawn. Doing a rough, back of the envelope calculation, I estimate around 12 to 15% of games in each round (between players in the leading group) need to be drawn to find a clear winner. So apart from some interesting chess, I will also have one eye on whether my calculations match reality.

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

Thursday, 6 July 2023

2023 Women's World Championship

 The 2023 Women's World Championship is already 2 games in, although both games have been drawn. It is an all Chinese matchup with Wenjun Ju playing Tingjie Lei. Most pundits have Ju as the favourite for this match, based on match experience.

The first game was a Ruy Lopez Berlin variation, although it wasn't as drawish as the opening may indicate. In fact White sacrificed a pawn in the opening, but regained it with a better position. However, Jun was able to reach a rook and pawn ending, and by that stage it was definitely drawn.

Lei Tingjie (2554) - Ju Wenjun (2566) [C67]

Tuesday, 4 July 2023

Taking the only chance

White to play

The final round of the 2023 Belconnen Cup at the Eastlake Gungahlin Chess Club saw a tricky King and Pawn ending on the 2nd board. In the diagrammed position White pushed the b pawn, with the plan of distracting the Black king long enough so as to stop the king side pawns. It turned out that (a) the plan worked but (b) Black missed a winning idea.

The line that was played was 1.b6 Kc6  2.b7 Kxb7 3.Kxd5 Kc7 4.Ke5 Kd7 5.Kf6 g4 6.Kg5 h5 7.Kxh5 f5 8.Kg5 Ke6 9.Kf4 Kf6 10.e4 fxe4 11.Kxe4 Kg5 12.Ke3 1/2/12

While watching the game I wondered if moving the h pawn first was better, as the king does not need to move to c6 straight away. The the threat of g4-h4-g3 is hard to meet for White. In the post mortem the brains trust of GCC members could not find a win, but with some computer assistance, it turns out that the win was there.

1...h5!! 2.b7 Kc7 3.Kxd5 g4 4.Ke4 h4 5.Kf4 f5! 6.e4 g3 7.hxg3 h3! 8.Kf3 fxe4+ 9.Kf2 Kxb7 10.Kg1 e3 -+

Other first move tries for White are equally bad, so in the end, he did well to save the half point.

Monday, 3 July 2023

The art of making (chess) art

 Chess photography is a popular (although not very lucrative) pastime. There is something about the settings, the personalities, and range of emotions that seem to attract photographers to the sport. For people like me (using my low res smart phone) it is to recognise people who come each weel to Street Chess. For more prolific photographers (with their better equipment) like Cathy Rogers or Dr Helen Milligan, it is a way of documenting the chess events they attend.

But for some at the top, it is a way to make a living, as well as provide an insight into the world of top level chess. Courtesy of regular reader Jim, there is a CNN article about Maria Emelianova, who is a regular fixture on the professional chess circuit. Previously she appeared as a player, but now she pushes the shutter button, rather than the clock. Her career started in 2010 and now she is employed by as their in house photographer. Nice work for a chess player and chess fan!

Saturday, 1 July 2023

Castles for mate

 Street Chess continues to amuse, with a wide collection of the very best and the very worst of chess. Landing more in the former category than the latter is a game that was played in today's edition. Black quickly loses control of the squares around his king, enabling White to drag the king into the centre, and then finding one of the rarest checkmates.

Albert,Max - Rawat,Dhruv [B45]
Street Chess ---, 01.07.2023

Friday, 30 June 2023

A quick prioritisation tool for chess

 (NB Shamelessly stolen from the original Eisenhower Matrix )

Start by thinking about the various skills involved with playing chess. The decide if you (a) Know/Don't know it and (b) it is important/not important

Then prioritise according to the following

Not important + Don't know - Ignore

Important + Don't Know - Learn

Not important + Know - Remember

Important + Know - Practice

The trick is moving these skill topics between categories. When you first start out, Checkmate with KQ or KR is important, so you firstly learn (Don't know -> know), and then practice. After a while you can shift this from Important to Not Important (mainly to make room for more important items), when you simply need to remember it.

This method becomes more effective if you attach it to a goal. 

Thursday, 29 June 2023

Even more slightly weird kids rules

 This terms Interschool competition finished up yesterday in Canberra, and it gives me a chance to write yet another post on "rules kid's think are real". NB I have probably mentioned a few of these before

  • You can castle to avoid checkmate - "Ummm, no" "Some people say you can" "OK, but I'm the arbiter and I'm telling you you can't castle out of check" "But some people say you can" (Added bonus - he changed the score on the result sheet to show he had won)
  • Castling involves exchanging any two pieces on the back rank - To be fair, the player had never seen castling before and was attempting to copy what their opponent had just done
  • You both get a point if the game is a draw - Because neither player lost :)
  • You have to wait a move before replacing a pawn with the promoted piece - Actually this is a common belief, even if it is not a rule
  • Pawns "save up" their double move if they don't use it immediately - I even thought this was a rule when I was 6
  • You get less points if your opponent resigns rather than being checkmated - This would actually speed up a lot of school competitions

Tuesday, 27 June 2023

Time to ditch NAPLAN

 NAPLAN is a test the school kids in Australia have to do every 2nd year (odd numbered grades), and is supposed to measure whether schools are performing or not. In actuality the results are dependent upon the socio-economic level of the students, and are mainly used by parents and the media to 'rank' schools based on some imaginary scale. As you can guess, I really really, really hate NAPLAN. 

While abolishing all together is my preferred solution, I do offer an alternative. Replace NAPLAN with a nation wide interschool chess competition, divided into geographical zones. Results aren't necessarily based upon the scores in the tournament (although that is one factor), but instead on how many children from a school can follow basic tournament instructions and rules. Simple things like, remembering your own name, understanding that board 22 is after board 21, and my personal favourite, waiting for your opponent to turn up, instead of coming back to me and saying 'my opponent isn't there' while the opponent waits to tell you the same thing.

I feel this is a much fairer way of determining if a school is giving value for money in the field of education.


Sunday, 25 June 2023

Major League Chess

 The current big event running at the moment is the Global Chess League, from Dubai. It is a cross between tradition team events, and T20 Cricket leagues, with teams not so much representing countries or regions, but represent franchises. The new league has 8 teams and has attracted most of the worlds top players. On the plus side it is actually being played in person (rather than online), although the G/15m+5s time limit is geared towards instant gratification rather than slow contemplation.

The most interesting feature is the scoring system - with a match win (over all 6 boards) earning a team 3 points, while drawn match is worth 1. However in the individual games a win for White is worth 3 points, but a win for Black is worth 4 (with 1 for a drawn game). So the effect is that in the case of a drawn match (in the traditional sense) the team with more Black wins, wins. 

Friday, 23 June 2023

Summer in Prague

 There are a few Australian's enjoying chess in the northern hemisphere summer. FM Albert Winkelman has just finished an event in Teplice before moving onto an event in Slovakia next month. Meanwhile FM Fred Litchfield is playing in Prague International Chess Festival (along with David Canon and Lillian Lu). This event has a couple of elite GM round robins plus a big open event. Litchfield started with a win in the first round, but is up against a 2400 rated IM in round 2.

 While all games were drawn in the top RR event, there was more excitement in the Challengers event, as the following game shows.

BARTEL,Mateusz (2609) - STALMACH,Richard (2436) [C02]
Prague International Chess Festival 2023 Hotel Don Giovanni Prague, Pra (2.5), 22.06.2023

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

Increasing levels of jerkitude?

 The diagram position is *not* from one of my games. However it is pretty close to the finish I played recently. The position of the pieces on the queenside are as played, but I have modified the kingside pawns for the purpose of making this post.

White to play and lose

In the real game I had basically calculated this ending position about 15 moves before. My opponent then resigned before I had a chance to queen the kingside pawns. But after the game there was a discussion about whether I should just get a boring queen, or the slightly more exciting rook. Then someone asked if I could get a bishop or even a knight. In the real game the answer was no (as a pawn was promoting on f1 or h1) but in this position Black can actually win with all 4 promotions. But to under-promote for the win may be taking it a little too far. So If I was to rank the promotions in terms of 'jerkitude' it would be (after 1.g4 gxf4 2.f5 g3 3.f6 g2 4.f7) 4 ... g1=N 5.f8=Q Ne2# at the top, followed by 4 ... g1=B 4.f8=Q Be3#, then 4 ... g1=R# with 4 ... g1=Q# being the least "jerk" move.

BTW this position does not appear to be original, as Chessbase said this position had been investigated 7 previous times in their online search database!

Monday, 19 June 2023

Near miss for Winkelman

 Young Canberran FM Albert Winkelman is currently playing in Europe, after a stop over in the Middle East. He has just finished playing in the Teplice pen in the Czech Republic, and fell just sort of his first IM norm. After 7 rounds he was in with a good chance (over 2450 PR) but a loss to GM Vlastimil Babula in round 8 left him needing a win over IM Audi Ameya in round 9.  Alas for Winkelman it was another loss, leaving him short of the required TPR. However it wasn't all bad news, as he did pick up 35 rating points, pushing him back towards his previous career peak of 2294.

Saturday, 17 June 2023


 Today at Street Chess I saw a pretty rare sight. King and 2 bishops actually mating a king. Normally when this position is reached the defending side will resign, which is why I don't recall ever seeing it in an actual game. In contrast KBN v K is often played right to the finish, as the defending side normally starts with the expectation that their will be some mistake that will save them, but when this turns out not to be so, will then give the opponent the 'satisfaction' of delivering mate.

Thursday, 15 June 2023

One way or another

 In chess there is often a fine line between winning and losing. At the club level, almost every game contains one or more missed chances, often not noticed until the silicon monster goes to work.

And so it was on Tuesday night at the Eastlake Gungahlin Chess Club. Ian Hosking went down in flames against Jerry Cheng, after Cheng sacrificed a rook for a devastating attack. But a few moves earlier, Hosking had the chance to play an unexpected, but incredibly strong move, which would probably have flipped the result from a loss to a win. Can you spot it?

Hosking,Ian - Cheng,Jerry [B13]
Belconnen Cup 13.06.2023

Tuesday, 13 June 2023

2023 NSW Open - 3 way tie for 1st

 The 2023 NSW Open ended in a 3 way tie for first, after some dramatic last round action. IM Mihajlo Radovanovic started the final round a point behind IM Gary Lane, but a win for Radovanovic over Lane left them both on 6/7. In the all ACT clash FM Michael Kethro beat Harry Press to join the front runners, and relegate Press from the prize list. Ahn Quan Nguyen quickly cleaned up Jeremy Plunkett on Board 4 to finish in outright 4th place, with FM Sterling Bayaca, FM Jack Rodgers, Geoff barker, Zachary Yu, and CM Hui Li finishing in a tie for 5th on 5 points.

In the Minor event (Under 1600), Trent Parker held on for a draw against CJ de Mooi to reach 6 points, along with promising junior Alex Thuaux. Parker had beaten Thuaux earlier in the event, but had drawn his last 2 rounds, allowing Thuaux to catch up with a final round win.

 The 150 player event ran quite smoothly this year. The event capacity was reached about a week before the event, prompting calls for a larger venue to found next year. The policy of not allowing spectators in for the first 2 hours seemed to be a good compromise, meaning each round could start without the room being over crowded but people could watch when the action heated up. 

Even the parents were well behaved this year (!), apart from one unfortunate incident involving a (non playing) parent and a junior player. The NSWCA investment in new DGT boards was also welcome, with 8 games from each round being broadcast without any issues.

Full results can be found at the tournament website,

Anh Quan Nguyen - Jeremy Plunkett [C42]
Round 7: Anh Quan Nguyen - Jeremy Plunke, 12.06.2023

Monday, 12 June 2023

2023 NSW Open - Day 2

 IM Gary Lane leads the 2023 NSW Open on 5/5, at then of the 2nd day of play. He started of with a win over Willis Lo in round 3, before beating Harry Press in round 4, and Samuel Asaka in the final round. He leads Sterling Bayaca by half a point, and the 2 players face each other in round 6. A group of 6 players trail Lane by a full point, including top seed IM Mihajlo Radovanovic. Radovanovic missed 2 rounds today due to work commitments, but returned to beat FM Jack Rodgers in the 5th round.

Trent Parker leads the Minor on 5/5, a half point ahead of Terry Gao and Jonluke Corona. Gao and Parker play in round 6, while Corona is up against Roland Brockman.

Round 6 starts at 9:30 am tomorrow, with the top 8 boards from the Open being broadcast at Go to for links to the results and the broadcast

Saturday, 10 June 2023

2023 NSW Open - Day 1

 The 2023 NSW Open started with 75 players in both sections (Major and Minor), although a couple of last minute withdrawals (illness etc) made each field a little smaller. The Major had 14 players rated above 200, with the top 8 players rated above 2200. New arrival IM Mihajlo Radovanovic is the top seed, with IM Gary Lane seeded second. Both players started the tournament with 2 wins, as did 10 other players. Despite the rating gap in the early rounds there were still a number of interesting games. Bevan Clouston looked to have a crushing attack against CM Hui Li, but Li survived and by the end had enough technique to mate Clouston with KBN v K. Jack Rodgers was held to a first round draw by Kye Walls, while FM Cameron McGowan was beaten by Micah Young in round 2.

The Minor event saw more upsets in the early round than the Major, with only 5 of the top 10 seeds scoring a win in the 1st round. The 2nd round saw more upsets so that only 2 players from the top 10 starting Day 2 on 2 points.

If you want to follow the results online, and live coverage from the top 8 boards, go to and follow the links

Thursday, 8 June 2023

For the King

 I'm heading off to the NSW Open tomorrow. This weekend is quite popular with various chess associations, as it is a good weekend to hold a 3 (or 4) day chess event. Unlike Easter, which is dominated by the Doeberl Cup, each Federation usually does it's own thing. The one change this year is of course the title of the weekend. It kind of feels strange to call it the "King's Birthday Weekend". In fact this will be the first title change since I began playing tournament chess, especially as the first weekend event I played in was the NSW Queen's Birthday Weekender way back in 1983.

Tuesday, 6 June 2023

2023 Asian Championship

 The 2023 Asian Championship is underway in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The 86 player event is a qualifier for the World Cup, and has attracted a field that contains 15 GM's at the top, but also a large number of local players towards the tail. There are no representatives from Australia (or even that Asian powerhouse, Russia) but Stuart Fancy (PNG) is flying the flag for Oceania. Despite being one of the lower rated players, he did grab half a point of an IM in the 2nd round. 

Current results are here, and there are links to the tournament website from that page.


Abdyzhapar,Asylbek (2282) - Fancy,Stuart (1930) [A00]
Asian Continental Chess Championship 202 Almaty (2.32), 05.06.2023

Sunday, 4 June 2023


 I used to comment that if I could form a chess club from everyone who turned up to chess clubs/tournaments just once, it would be twice the size of any club in Canberra. It turns out that I could now do this with everyone who was simply a new player on the June 2023 Rating List for the ACT. A record 138 new players were added to the list, which is twice the size of the Gungahlin Chess Club, which is currently Canberra's largest. Not all players received a rating, or played more than 1 or 2 rounds in an event, but it is still quite a remarkable number.

Saturday, 3 June 2023

On Delay

 One of the difficulties in broadcasting tournaments over the internet is implementing the delayed broadcast. As part of anti-cheating methods, games are often 'delayed' by 15 to 30 minutes, so there is little chance a player can be signalled by an accomplice during the game.

Implementing this delay  turned out to be a tricky task however, as this feature did not come with the DGT broadcast software. A few people (including myself) programmed a solution to this option, saving timestamped snapshots of the files, and then uploading after the delay time had been reached. At least one online server (chess24) offered this as a service, although setting it up was often tricky.

But recently Lichess introduced a delay setting as part of their standard broadcasting service. It simply added an extra option where the delay period was specified, and the server did the rest. One tournament who is now using it the Trusts Open which is currently running in New Zealand. The tournament has attracted 180 players (a big turnout for NZ), with 42 players in the top section. Based on the time zone differences the 3rd round starts at 7:30am Canberra time, so you can probably watch some of the action over breakfast.

Here is a nice game from round 2 where White looked like they cruised to victory, although Black did miss a saving check on move 25 

Xie,Felix (2307) - Sole,Michael D (1910) [E04]
Trusts Open - (2.2), 03.06.2023

Thursday, 1 June 2023

Dubai Open 2023

 Local FM Albert Winkelman is currently playing in the 2023 Dubai Open. He has had a pretty solid start in what is a strong event, scoring 2/5 against 4GM's and an IM. Although his points have come from draws (plus one loss) he has picked up rating points from each game due to the strength of his opponents. 

The field isn't quite as strong as the recently completed Sharjah event, but it still attracted 49 GM's in the 86 player field. For the non GM's this can lead to some tough games, as this game from the 1st round demonstrates.

Bai,Adelard (2409) - Chigaev,Maksim (2628) [E17]
Dubai Open 2023 - Category A Dubai Chess & Culture Club, Un (1.12), 27.05.2023

Tuesday, 30 May 2023

No Chess Column?

 GM Ian Rogers has announced that the Canberra Times plans to drop his chess column from the Sunday paper in a couple of weeks. Ian has been writing the column for a few weeks short of 30 years, while the column itself has been in existence since 1968. Also likely to go is the Bridge column, which has had the same editor for its entire lifespan, Len Dixon, who is 101 years old!

Sadly this has been a trend in the print media of late, with Ian's Sydney Morning Herald column dropped in 2020, only to be saved by a concerted letter writing campaign. Quite possibly this will have the same effect on the Canberra Times, so I encourage everyone to get to work. If you want your complaints/opinions published, then an email to will do. You can also contact the editor directly at - or make your concerns know to

** Corrected email address **

Monday, 29 May 2023

2023 ACT Chess Championship - 10th title for Ikeda

 IM Junta Ikeda is the ACT Chess Champion for the 10th time, after finishing on 7/7 in the 2023 Championship. He completed his perfect score with wins over CM Hui Li in round 6 and Terrence Tang in the final round. A point behind was FM Michael Kethro who finished his event with a nice attacking win over Malik Amer. CM Hui Li tied for 3rd place on 5.5, along with up and coming junior player Thomas Gatzen-O'Keefe. Seeded 15th in the tournament Gatzen-O'Keefe won his last 4 games to pick up a share of the third place prize, as well as some rating points.

Michael Rolph finished on 4.5 the win the best FIDE Unrated prize, while Olamide Fasakin had the biggest rating gain in the tournament. Gatzen-O'Keefe was the winner of Rating Group 1, while Jonah gear was the best scoring player from Rating Group 2.

Full results from the tournament can be found at

Junta Ikeda - Hui Li [D36]
2023 ACT Championship (6), 29.05.2023

Sunday, 28 May 2023

2023 ACT Championship - Day 3

 IM Junta Ikeda is closing in on his 10th ACT Chess Championship, after winning two important games today. In round 4 he defeated Harry Press after Press sacrificed an exchange for insufficient compensation, and then defeated 2nd seed FM Michal Kethro in round 5. With 2 rounds to play Ikeda is on 5/5 and leads by half a point over CM Hui Li, and visiting player Terrence Tang. Li is paired against Ikeda in round 6, and looks to be in form, having defeated Press in round 5. Tang and Kethro play on board 2, with kethro hoping that Li can open up the event with a result against Ikeda. Malik Amer, Daniel Lee and Michael Rolph are also on 4 points, and remain in contention for the prizes.

Saturday, 27 May 2023

2023 ACT Championship - Day 2

 The leading group in the 2023 ACT Championship has been whittled down to 4 players, after rounds 2 and 3 today. Top seed IM Junta Ikeda had a quick win over Tim Pearce in the morning round, before winning a tougher fight against Malik Amer in the third round. FM Michael Kethro also had to work hard on round 3, outplaying Oladoyin Fasakin in a Knight v Bishop ending. Harry Press scored two attacking victories to also move to 3 points, while Daniel Lee beat Harry Johnson to become the final member of the 100% group.

Tomorrows round 4 sees Press v Ikeda on the top board,  with Kethro v Lee on board 2. CM Hui Li is on board 3, having played a long and ultimately drawn game against Terrence Tang. He will be playing local junior Owen MacMullin, who is also on 2.5, with two wins (and a bye).

Tomorrows round starts at 10:30am and you can follow the top 4 boards at either or on Lichess (just search for the 2023 ACT Championship broadcast)

Friday, 26 May 2023

2023 ACT Championship - Day 1

 The first round of the 2023 ACT Championship saw most of the top seeds get through without too much trouble. It wasn't until board 15 that the results started to go against rating. Mark Scully was beaten quite convincingly by Owen MacMullin, while Olaoluwa Fasakin upset fellow junior Larry Cheng. The top 4 boards saw fairly easy wins for the top seeds, although FM Michael Kethro had to overcome determined resistance from Joshua Liang. 

The tournament saw a larger than usual field of 55 players, which would have been larger (and stronger) if not for a few dop outs due to the flue and similar ailments (NB It was 1 degree above 0 when I left the venue this evening). The new venue (Eastlakes Club in Griffith) proved a winner with the players, both in terms of comfort, and facilities. 

Tomorrow will see rounds 2&3, and the results/live games can be found at

Extross,Eshaan - Pearce,Tim [B13]
2023 ACT Championship (1), 26.05.2023

Thursday, 25 May 2023

+3 for the win?

 The 2023 Sharjah Masters is finishing today, and based on the current games in progress 6/9 may well be the winning score. On the one hand this is a low score for a 78 player event, but understandable when you see that it is an all GM tournament. Of course this will result in a large tie for 1st, unless someone on the top boards finds a way of converting an advantage (But wait, Erigaisi has a forced mate as I type this).

One player who has played win/lose chess has been Australian Champ Temur Kuybokarov, he is 4.5/8 at the moment, with 4 wins, 3 losses and a single draw. One of his wins was against GM Salem Saleh, where he was outrated by almost 100 points.

Temur Kuybokarov - A.R. Saleh Salem [C88]
Sharjah Masters 2023 (7), 13.05.2023

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

2023 ACT Championship Update

 Entries for the 2023 ACT Chess Championship close on Friday at 6pm (First round is at 7pm). At this stage the entry list stands at 47 players, with IM Junta Ikeda as the top seed. He is likely to be challenged by a group of younger local players, with Willis Lo and Harry Press the next 2 seeds.

The event is being played at the Eastlake Club in Griffth for the first time, with the club providing an excellent venue both in terms of space, and service. Meals will be available at the venue throughout (but no cheese toasties this year!). Based on the current entries, there will be at least $1500 in prizes, with $500 for 1st.

It is not too late to enter, and you can do so at

The current entry list can be seen at

Monday, 22 May 2023

Rule changes in other sports

 As a boy I used to keep up with the rules in lots of sports. Football, Cricket, Rugby  League, Australian Rules and even Baseball and American Football. This is one of the reasons I became a chess arbiter, as I found the actual rules of various sports interesting to learn (well except Rugby Union, which still confuses me).

So when I watched a recent episode of Ted Lasso, there was a football scene that immediately made me go "What?". At the kick off of the match, the ball was passed back to the new signing Zava, who immediately blasted it into the goal from behind the halfway line. My reaction was based on the belief that the ball had to be kicked forward at the kick off, which clearly did not happen. It turns out I was right, but only up until 2016. The rule was changed then so the ball could be kicked in any direction, forward or back. So my memory of having two players at the half way line was accurate (one taps it forward, then the second players passes it back), but is now out of date.

Saturday, 20 May 2023

Tournament Technical Support

 Today at Street Chess I tried 2 new technical tools to support tournament coverage and broadcasting* 

Inspired by IA Helen Milligan, who uses both these products, I used Clono to broadcast a game a round, and VegaResults to publish the tournament results. NB Both of these have been around for a while (* and I had already tested Clono previously), but I decided now was the time to use both of them as part of my tournament infrastructure.

Clono is an electronic scoresheet app that runs on Android tablets. Players enter their own moves on the tablet (after they have been played), and these are uploaded to the Clono server. They can then be broadcast via the tournament link, to be observed in real time. For today's event I used a single tablet (Samsung A7 lite), which I paid $197 for. Overall it was a success, in part because this was my second attempt. To speed up the process I did not use real players names (as I would have to add a new player or players each round), but simply used White and Black. There is a bit of an overhead setting up the event on the Server (you have to enter tournament details, and then create a tournament section, even if it is a single section event). Then for each round you need to create a game (White v Black on Board 1 was always the game), and then update the active round for each section (so the tablet knows a new game is starting). Fortunately I was able to do this quickly, and did get 7 games recorded. For 3 games the moves were recorded by one of the players, but for the rest either I or a helper entered the moves while watching. NB To avoid helping the player, the software will accept illegal moves, although it is a simple task to correct them. The other important thing to note is that you do need an internet connection, both for the tablet, and for the PC managing the tournament. If you are interested, the full set of games is at

Vegaresults was also something I had tried a long time back, but had then forgotten about until recently. In fact my memory was so hazy, I completely blanked on how to use it, resulting in some 'Please Help' emails to the software's author. Fortunately he pointed me in the right direction, and I was up and running. To utilise the service, firstly create an account of the Vega Results server. Then in Vega click on the Vega Result Online tab at the bottom of the Player Archive screen to log in (using your email and password.). The (and this is the part I forgot!), right click in the bottom window to bring up the management menu. If you choose 'Event Manager' you can then add new events (trap for young players, you need to have a pdf of the event details to upload before it becomes visible). The most important step (after the event creation) is to link your online event to the event you have open in Vega, so that you can then upload tournament results and pairings (in much the same way as Swiss Manager links to Again I used this for today's Street Chess event, and you see the results at NB If you aren't requiring payment for your events (or have people pay on the day), you can even set it up to accept registrations before the event.

Thursday, 18 May 2023

Sharjah Masters

 Back in the day (before the dawn of the 21st Century), there was a kind of arms race between tournament organisers about who could organise the highest category tournament. The tournament was almost always a round robin, and the category was determined by the average rating of the field. However the category system was eventually abandoned by FIDE, and such measurements lost their value.

However, the competition between organisers seems to have been restarted, although it is now Swiss tournaments that seem to be the battleground. The current Sharjah Masters is a 78 player swiss, with all 78 players holding the title of Grandmaster. The bottom seed is still rated above 2500 and the 'bottom half' starts at 2607

One Australian player is taking part, GM Temur Kuybokarov. He was in the unfamiliar position of being the lower rated player in round 1, and lost his first game. There were a number of draws, and even 3 upset wins. However the top few boards went according to rating, including the game on board 2


Gukesh D (2732) - Vescovi,Giovanni (2606) [C65]
Sharjah Masters 2023 (1), 17.05.2023

Monday, 15 May 2023

Trigger Finger

 It seems I have come down with a case of Trigger Finger. This is a condition caused by an inflamed tendon in the finger, or in my case, the right thumb. It causes the joint to lock up, so bending or straightening  my thumb is quite painful.

While I am not sure how it happened, it may in fact be an Arbiter related injury! The constant setting of chess clocks for recent junior events may have had something to with it, especially interschool tournaments where a lot of time penalties were enforced. As for treatment, resting the joint is one recommendation. So with a couple of big chess events coming up (the ACT Championship and the NSW Open), I am calling on all players to try and avoid any illegal moves during the game.

Friday, 12 May 2023

Three hours of Catalan

 I suspect one of the advantages of being an old school chess player is that you are used to spending 3 or more hours concentrating on a single task. This certainly helps when going on long drives, travelling overseas, or waiting for a parcel to arrive at the appointed time. It also helps when you decide to deep dive into a 3 hour video covering the Catalan.

Wednesday, 10 May 2023

2023 ACT Chess Championship 26-29th May

 The 2023 ACT Chess Championship is being held across the long weekend of the 26th - 29th May. This year sees a new venue, at the Eastlake Football Club in Griffith (NB NOT where the Gungahlin Chess Club meets ). I had a look at the venue today and it has plenty of space, as well as club facilities for meals and refreshments. It is a definite improvement over Campbell High School Hall (no offence Campbell High!), making this years event a must play for local players.

Although this is a championship event, interstate players are welcome to take part, and are eligible for all prizes. However the title of ACT Champion for 2023 is awarded to the best scoring local player.

Full details are

2023 ACT Chess Championship

26-29 May 2023 (Friday evening through Monday Reconciliation Day)

7-rounds FIDE/ACF Rated Swiss Format

Venue: Eastlakes Football Club

3 Oxley St, Griffith ACT (** NOT Gungahlin Club **)

Schedule: Friday 26 May 7:00pm

Saturday 27 May – Monday 29 May 10:30am and 3:00pm on each day

90 minutes per game with 30 second per move increment from move one (Fischer)

Director of Play: FIDE International Arbiter Shaun Press

Enter at

Monday, 8 May 2023


 When Abhimanyu Mishra became the world's youngest GM, I was somewhat dismissive of the achievement. Not because I did not think he deserved to be a GM, or even how he achieved it, but simply because it was an easier achievement than in the past (Yes, I know I'm sounding like an old man yelling at clouds).

However Mishra, who is currently playing in the Sigeman tournament in Sweden, looks to be "walking the walk" with a strong performance against a number of other strong GM's. As I write this he has score 2 wins and 2 draws to lead the 7 round event, which includes Svidler, Gelfand and Gukesh. Despite being the bottom seed, he looks to be in the right sort of company, as shown by this interesting game.

Mishra,Abhimanyu - Van Foreest,Jorden [E11]
Sigeman (2), 06.05.2023

Saturday, 6 May 2023


 "Can you kill the king?" is a question I often get asked at school competitions. I give a firm no, followed by a somewhat longer explanation involving the practice of holding kings for ransom in medieval times. But for today, and today only, I was tempted to suspend this rule for Street Chess. What stopped me wasn't the fear of being hauled off to Belmarsh, but the fact that it was a FIDE rated event, and to be valid, the FIDE rules needed to be followed correctly.

Rapid Transit

 Today I ran my first ever "Rapid Transit" event, which basically occurred by accident. 

For those unfamiliar, 'Rapid Transit' is a form of Blitz chess, where clocks are not used. Instead the referee calls out to the players to move every 10 seconds, which they must do so, or lose on time. It was popular before the widespread of chess clocks, although it was difficult to police, due to dispute about players being slow to move.

In my case, it was for a training event where players had to simply check mate with K+RvK. As setting up clocks was taking too long, I simply had the players choose an opponent, and then every 5 seconds I would shout 'MOVE'. The round went on until I decided enough games had finished, and enough games were never going to finish. A point was earned if you checkmated with the rook, or if your opponent failed to do so with the rook. The colours were flipped and the same opponent was played. At the end of the round, I simply had players on 2 points choose an opponent on 2, etc etc

We managed to get in 5 games (2.5 rounds) and as a training exercise it actually worked quite well. The only downside was that I felt like a guard in a North Korean penal colony, barking orders at unwilling prisoners. Indeed my shout of 'MOVE' was echoed from the next room by a bunch of giggling high school students.

Wednesday, 3 May 2023

Update on the 1000 puzzle challenge

 A few weeks ago I posted about the 1000 puzzle challenge. This was challenging my students to do1000 puzzles on lichess during the school holidays. It turns out that one of my students completed the challenge, which is an awesome effort. To put that into perspective, I could only manage 400 puzzles in the same time period, while other students hit the wall (so to speak) at around 250. 

So well done to Daniel Z!

Monday, 1 May 2023

More thoughts

 While the 2023 World Championship was very exciting, I was not happy with how it was ultimately decided. I've long been opposed to what is a titled awarded awarded to the best 'long time control' player being determined by who is better at a completely different format. Lost in the excitement of Ding finding 46. ... Rg6 was the issue that Nepo would probably not have played 48.h4?? if the game was played until the normal time control. To me 46. ... Rg6 was a time scramble bluff, designed to induce 48. .. h4, a blunder even I saw coming while watching the match. 

FIDE for a long time has wanted shorter and shorter World Championship Matches, in part to encourage more bids from host cities/countries. But the major expense isn't venue/accommodation so having more days to complete the match should not be an issue. The move to 14 games (up from 12) was nice to see, but 16 games is better. And for the tie-breakers (if needed), starting with 60m+30 is better than diving straight into Rapid.

But well done to Ding for winning the match and becoming World Champion. I can bask in the very dim light of reflected glory, having played him in the 2019 World Cup, losing 2-0 in the first round.

Sunday, 30 April 2023

That was all very silly

 The headline says it all. More thoughts to come later ...

Saturday, 29 April 2023

Shortest unique game?

 This was originally going to be a post about a 'proof game', then a post about sharp practice, but it is now something even more interesting.

A brief report from one of the club events in Canberra mentioned a game that ended in mate after 4 moves, and involved a queen sacrifice. As the moves weren't given I tried to work out what had happened. Unable to do this, I then searched for 4 move games ending in mate in Hugebase, and came up empty. Finally I spoke to one of the players involved or explained what had happened .

The game began with 1.e3?! f5 2.Qh5+ g6. At this point White then picked up the bishop on f1, but quickly put it back. Looking across to his opponent, he sheepishly picked up again and played 3.Be2 The unsuspecting Black thought White had blundered the Queen and played 3 ... gxh5?? and was hit with 4.Bxh5#  Black, who filled me in on what had happened, thought the whole thing quite funny, and blamed himself for not spotting the ruse. 

As I have been unable to find a game resembling this in Chessbase, I am now wondering whether this qualifies at the shortest unique game even played? Earlier examples are welcomed