Friday 29 September 2023

ACT Junior Championship

 The 2023 ACT Junior Championship finished with a win by Dev Raichura, who scored an impressive 7/8. He only lost to last years champion Phong Huynh, but won all his other games. Olamide Fasakin was 2nd, with Masaki Horikwa winning the third place trophy on countback.

Although a number of older juniors skipped the event, it was still an impressive win for Raichura. The other significant thing about his win, is at the age of 8 years old, I am almost certain he would be the youngest winner of the ACT Junior Championship. He has also scored a number of wins over strong Canberra players in club events, so I expect his rating to jump up in the near future.

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!