Monday 30 October 2023

The 50 move rule?

 I've had a couple of interesting experiences with the 50 move rule over the years. During the last round of a past Sydney International Open, 2 players dragged the game well beyond the point where they could claim, one because he thought he was winning (at that stage he was not), and the other because he thought you could only claim if there were no pawns on the board (NB This was prior to the 75 move rule coming into effect).

Going in the other direction, it appears a recent game at a tournament I was the arbiter for ended in a draw after the players reached move 50 and basically agreed that the game was drawn. Note: this was 50 moves in total, starting from move 1, with plenty of pawn moves and captures being played during the game. Both were new juniors, so I can't really blame them, although they simply recorded the result, without checking with me first!

It did remind of a case from an Olympiad(!) where an arbiter stepped in to declare the game drawn after 75 moves, misunderstanding the then new 75 move rule, thinking it applied from move 1, rather than from the last pawn move/capture. The game was quickly resumed, although I'm not sure what happened to the arbiter

Sunday 29 October 2023

Not every day you draw with a former World Champion

 CM Helen Milligan is a regular competitor on the seniors circuit. Having just finished playing in the 2023 Asian Seniors, she immediately travelled to Italy for the 2023 World Seniors. After starting with 1.5/2, she found that he 3rd round opponent was former World Champion GM Nona Gaprindashvili. If she might have felt nervous before the game about playing such a legend, it did not show during the game, where she looked to be the player making most of the threats. Towards the end Gaprindashvili went for a line where she had 2 pieces for the rook, but some nice tactics from Milligan restored the material balance, and the game was agreed draw in a position still slightly favouring Milligan.

Gaprindashvili,Nona (2267) - Milligan,Helen (1947) [E73]
World Senior Women's Championship (3.3), 27.10.2023

Friday 27 October 2023

2023 Grand Swiss

 It seems that the end of the year has been 'back loaded' with a number of important events. The 2023 Grand Swiss is underway, and has once again attracted a stellar field. 106 of the 114 players are GM's, with 7 IM's and 1 2300 rated untitled player. While Temur Kuybokarov is flying the Australian flag, Canberra resident GM Hrant Melkumyan is also taking part. Both have got off to good starts, going into round 3 on 1.5/2. The 50 player Women's event is also strong, with 16 GM's and 6 WGM's in the field.

Coverage of the event can be found at

Wednesday 25 October 2023

2023 World Seniors

 The World Seniors is one event that seems to grow in popularity each year. The 2023 edition begins today in Italy, with 300 players across 3 sections (50+, 65+ and Women's 50+). Each event is headed by a GM, with Michael Adams the top seed in the 50+, John Nunn in the 65+ and Nona Gaprindashvili in the Women's. Australia only has one representative (Aurel John-Buciu) but New Zealand has 7. There are also 27 GM's playing across the event, with 16 in the 50+

Due to the timezone difference I don't think the frst round has started just yet, but you should be able to keep up with the tournament at

Monday 23 October 2023

School Playoffs

 The 2023 ACT Interschool Competition has come to an end, with the playoffs for the ACT representatives to the Australian Schools Teams Championship being held over the weekend. The selected teams are Gold Creek (Girls Primary), Majura (Open Primary), Lyneham (Girls Secondary), Radford (Open Secondary).

The competition was hard fought across the weekend, although each event finished with a clear winner. What I did find most interesting was that almost every player had an ACF Rating ID, which shows that players are transitioning from school only chess, to club and weekend chess. That this has not previously been true  is one of the things that has been noticeable with ACT teams in recent years, especially when playing stronger teams from other states. Against other 'school' players they have held their own, but against 'serious' players, the results have been pretty one sided. 

But even in 2023 I'm not expecting miracles, just a more competitive performance from the ACT teams.

Friday 20 October 2023

And the LFG Blitz

 After the completion of the LFG Round Robin, most of the players took part in a blitz round robin. Once again Harry Press proved to be the strongest player, winning with 7/8 (losing only to Fred Litchfield). Litchfield and Malik Amer tied for 2nd on 5.5/8. I didn't do quite as poorly in this event scoring 4/8 (+3=2-3) although once again my tournament run was derailed by a loss to Harry Press.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

LFG Round Robin

 The LFG Round Robin has finished with a comprehensive victory for Harry Press. The event was organised by IA Lee Forace and involved a number of the higher rated Canberra players. In the end it was a tournament that saw the top players dominate the lower rated players (including myself).

Harry Press finished on 8.5/9, conceding a single draw to Wenlin Yin. Ties for 2nd were FM Fred Litchfield and Fabrizio Magrini on 7. Yin finished in 4th place on 6.5. With such heaving scoring at the top (+22=2-0 against the bottom 6 players), it wasn't a surprise that no one else scored 50% . The best of  these players was Sankeerten Badrinaryan who scored 4/9, with Malik Amer (3.5), FM Shaun Press (2.5), Jordan Brown (2.5), Steven Sengstock (2) and Matt Radisich (1.5) rounding out the places.

Despite my own result, it was an enjoyable and important tournament. Many thanks to Lee Forace for organising it, and with plans to hold it again next year, it may quickly become one of the ACT's important chess events.


Sunday 15 October 2023

2023 Asian Seniors

 The 2023 Asian Seniors has just started in Tagatay, The Philippines. I played in last years event (50+) in Auckland, but did not make the trip this year. One player who did back up from last year was Miles Patterson, who finished 2nd in the 65+ section. His result earned him an FM title (conditional upon rating), and an IM norm. This years 65+ section looks to be about th same strength as last years tournament so he may have chances to earn a 2nd IM norm. On the other hand the 50+ tournament looks to be a bit strong than last year, although a bit small. GM Rogelio Antonio is the top seed and there are 4 other IM's in the field.

Ramos,Ernesto - Patterson,Miles (1879) [C01]
12th Asian Senior Chess Championship Knights Templar Hotel, Tagayta (1.7), 15.10.2023

Friday 13 October 2023

Another obscure club game

 I have a bit of a backlog of blog posts, in part due to being busy with the FIDE Chess for Freedom event which ran over the past few days. So the clear the backlog, I will begin positing some of my 'obscure club games' which have been played in recent weeks.

Press,Shaun - Horikawa,Masaki [E01]
GungahlinCC --- (4), 10.10.2023

Tuesday 10 October 2023

2023 Vikings Weekender

 The 2023 Vikings Weekender will be held on the weekend of the 18th and 19th of November. A return to the traditional venue of the Vikings Club, Erindale, means that the entry numbers will be restricted to 60 players. There will also only be 5 rounds (no Friday night round) and as a result, only 24 players can enter the Top section, with 36 players in the Under 1600 section.

The booking link is

Full details are

18th and 19th November 2023

5 round FIDE Rated Swiss*

Vikings Club, Erindale, ACT

Time control: 60m + 30s

Open and Under 1600 sections (Both FIDE Rated)

Round 1: Sat 10:15am Round 2: Sat 2:15pm Round 3: Sat 6:15pm Round 4: Sun 10:15am Round 5:Sun 2:15pm

1st Prize Open $1000, 1st Prize Minor $500 (All other prizes dependant upon entries)

Entry fee: $65 ($45 Junior/Concession) GM, IM, WGM, WIM free

Maximum of 60 players - Max 24 players in Open, Max 36 players in Under 1600 (In the case of oversubscription for the Open, players may be moved down to the Under 1600)

Erindale Vikings is a Licenced club. Players under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult at all times in the upstairs gaming and bar areas. Please also note that bar/meals service will not be available until 11am.

Saturday 18 November 2023 10:00 AM - Sunday 19 November 2023 7:00 PM (UTC+11)


Erindale Vikings Club

Ricardo St, Wanniassa ACT 2903

Saturday 7 October 2023

Match fitness

 In recent times I have gone into my tournament games a little under done. Unlike events like the Olympiad, I usually don't have a lot of time to prepare for club and local games. Weirdly I managed to play a good game today, and it might have something to do with a warm up event I played a few hours earlier. 

As a reward for a pretty tough two weeks of chess, I organised a Transfer tournament for the kids who attended the ACTJCL Bootcamp. It was 11 rounds, and as there was an odd number of players, I played to keep the numbers even. I even played the final 2  rounds solo, where I managed 1 win and 1 loss. Now I'm not saying that Transfer (or Bughouse) is the ideal preparation for a serious game, but possibly the act move moving the pieces (very quickly) helped get me into shape.

Tuesday 3 October 2023

An old line revisited

 A few weeks ago the following game was played in the LFG Round Robin. To the spectators, Black's 8th move came as a real surprise, as it was believed that sacrificing the exchange (championed by Blackburne in the 19th century) did not give Black enough compensation. But by playing a new move (9. ... Qc7) Black set White a significant number of problems. Eventually White lost their way and Black was left with a winning position. It seems that the line actually works for Black, although trying to find other examples was difficult (only a few games against 1900 rated players). So further investigation may be required before the exchange sacrifice is totally rehabilitated.

Magrini,Fabrizio - Press,Harry [C58]

Monday 2 October 2023

Bring out your books ...

 Saturday 7th October is the date of the very 1st Street Chess "Buy, Swap or Sell" chess book day. From 10am you can come along to sell your old chess books, swap books with anyone else who has brought books in, or simply buy what is on offer. A few of the Street Chess regulars will be bringing in their books to sell, including myself, who is using it as an opportunity to clear some duplicates from my collection.

The sale starts at 10am on Saturday 7th October outside King O'Malley's, City Walk, Canberra City. Street Chess will be running as usual from 11am but feel free to drop in a bit earlier than usual to pick up some bargains.