Thursday 29 February 2024

Every 4 years

 In honour of the 29th of Feb, I've dug up a game that was played on the 29th of Feb, and lasted 29 moves!

Fressinet,Laurent (2700) - Ding,Liren (2766) [D78]
China Elite Mind blitz Huaian (20), 29.02.2016

Monday 26 February 2024

Similar concepts

 While sorting out some games from my current club event, I was struck by the similarity between the game featured in the "Found Scoresheets" article, and the one played below. They both used a combination of the knight and dark squared bishop to attack c7, and in both cases Nb5 was an important move. The other interesting thing was that they were played at exactly the same time, on the same table (this game being on Board 2). I'm sure some advanced plagiarism detector might have something to say about that, but apart from noticing that Nb5 was a threat in the board 1 game, I can't say that I borrowed anything specifically from it.

Press,Shaun - Garland,Liam [E67]
Rama Memorial --- (4), 20.02.2024

Saturday 24 February 2024

Off to the show

 The Canberra Show is on this weekend, and I plan to visit tomorrow. There is even a chess themed craft competition this year, with prizes for the best crafted chess sets. However (according to Philp Vels, who tipped me off), the distinguishing feature of every set on display, is that they are all set up incorrectly. Apart from the usual 'white on right' error, there are also some sets with the kings and queens on the wrong starting squares, or the slightly more imaginative, king opposite queen across the board.

I will take photos.

Thursday 22 February 2024

Lost scoresheets

 The flipside to yesterday's post on Found Scoresheets, are lost scoresheets. Sometimes they legitimately disappear, but in some case, they are "lost" because looking at them is somewhat painful. 

As an example, the scoresheet for the game below was "lost" for a number of days. Having collected an undeserved point*, and generally unhappy with the course of the game, I couldn't locate the scoresheet the next day. To be honest, I didn't look terribly hard for it either, and assumed it had gone out with the rubbish. In fact it was where I normally put my scoresheets after a game (in my bag), but it took me a week to realise this. So here is a "lost scoresheet" game, with apologies to my opponent.

*My opponent left a knight fork on at the end, and resigned due to not realising he was still winning.

Knight,Will - Press,Shaun [C27]
Rama Memorial --- (3), 13.02.2024

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Found scoresheets

 One of the simple pleasures in life is finding a book that you know nothing about, and discovering it is quite a good read. I've had occasion to do this, usually when travelling, or simply out and about. The chess equivalent of this may well be finding a left behind scoresheet at a tournament or club.

The game below is from one such scoresheet. To be fair, it was actually played on the board next to mine at the Gungahlin Chess Club yesterday evening, but if one of the players hadn't left it behind, then I doubt I would have remembered enough of the game to put it here. 

The game itself has a few points of interest. Before the game Matt Radisich was being encourage to play the Albin Counter Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e5), but thought that FM Fred Litchfield would avoid it with 2.Nf3. So when 2.c4 was played, Radisich had a bit of a think, probably weighing up the chances that White had something prepared. 5.Bf4 was another interesting choice, as this gave White an opportunity to play an eventual Nb5, although I had assumed that Black would takes steps to prevent this. When he failed to do so, Blacks positions was already close to collapsing, which it did after a short tactical sequence around move 20.

But the real lesson from this game. Always clean up after yourself.

Litchfield,Fred - Radisich,Matt [D10]
Rama Memorial 20.02.2024

Tuesday 20 February 2024

David Bronstein

 Yesterday (19 February) was the 100th anniversary of the birth of David Bronstein. Although he never became World Champion (tying his only match 12-12 with Mikhail Botvinnik) he was still one of the most consequential figures in modern chess. Early on in his career he developed or strengthened a number of important opening systems, while towards the end he participated in a number of matches involving increasingly strong chess engines. 

An inventive attacking player, Bronstein demonstrated a propensity for sacrificial play from the very start of his chess career,

Bronstein,David I - Zaslavsky,A [C43]
Bronstein in Kiev Kiev, 1938

Saturday 17 February 2024

2024 ACT Teams Competition

The 2024 ACT Teams Rapid Championship is being held on Sunday, 3rd March 2024, at Campbell High. This event is open to all ACTCA members as well as all members of the ACTJCL. The format of the tournament is teams of 4, playing 7 rounds of 15 minute chess. The last event was held in 2022 and a good time was had by all.

Tournament Details
Date: Sunday 3rd March 2024 - Registration from 9:30am, Prize giving at 3:30pm

Venue: Campbell High School, Trealor Cres, Campbell ACT

Rounds: 7

Time control: G15+5s

Prizes: 1st, 2nd and 3rd placed trophies. Medals for the best scorer on each board. Bonus prizes for best dressed team, best work/social team. The Larko Cup will be awarded to the best official club team

Team Rules
1. Teams consist of 4 players (+1 reserve if you wish)
2. The average rating of boards 2,3 and 4 must be below 1850 (FIDE Rapid). Board 1 can have any rating you wish! If a player does not have a FIDE Rapid rating, then ACF Quickplay will be used. Unrated players will count as 1400 (NB FIDE is increasing players ratings on 1st March 2024)
3. Teams must play in rating order (players within 50 points of each other may swap)
4. Players without a team are welcome as teams will also be formed on the day
5. Each team will appoint a captain who is responsible for results etc

Cost: $10 per player (Pay on the day)

Lunch: A nutritious lunch will be provided by the organisers

Pre-registration: To make organising a little easier, teams can be submitted to Shaun Press There will be a lucky door prize for teams that pre-register

Rated: This event will be ACF and FIDE Rated.

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Some basic endgame tips on youtube

 A shameless plug for an eventual 12 part series on Basic Endings for Beginners (based on the book of the title by JH Blake)

The direct link is

Monday 12 February 2024

Oops I Resigned One More Time

 After the success of his book "Oops I Resigned Again", GM Ian Rogers has released a follow up. "Oops I Resigned One More Time". Once again the book looks at the tragic side of chess, where players prematurely throw in the towel, instead of finding the saving, or even the winning, move.

Each chapter consists of 5 positions, where the reader is asked to find the saving move. With 20 chapters, there are 100 position of varying degrees of difficulty to work through. But that's not all! Every position has a story attached to it, whether it is the circumstances behind the game, a potted history of one of the players involved, or just an amusing anecdote related to the position. So you actually get 2 books for the price of 1! A book to help you sharpen your tactics, plus a book of engaging chess stories which you can share next time you are at the club.

The book is available from Australian Chess Enterprises (for local readers) plus online retailers for overseas buyers.

(** I was sent a review copy of the book, as well as having one of my own games featured **)

Sunday 11 February 2024

The downside of playing for tricks

 There are some games where you just fall into the trap of playing for tricks. Common sense disappears and instead, each move is based on some dodgy 2 move trick you hope your opponent will fall for. Here is an example where White tries for a tricky idea around move 12, which basically loses. After that he just keeps digging a deeper hole, hoping his opponent might fall in (Narrators voice: No he didn't)

Stevanic,David (2294) - Kozlovic,Jernej (2174) [C52]
28th HIT Open 2024 Nova Gorica SLO (9.12), 02.02.2024

Friday 9 February 2024

2024 Book Fair

 This years Lifeline Book Fair was absolutely packed. Even getting there early left me a long way back in the queue. Fortunately there was quite a large collection of chess books on offer, so I didn't miss out on the bargains. 

Somewhat shamefully I did by a book on the London System, but I made up for it by grabbing a copy of the Jan Timman classic "The Art of Chess Analysis". At first I thought I already owned a copy but it turns out that it was a significant omission from my library. I did grab a few other titles, and also was interviewed by ABC Radio while browsing. As the Book Fair runs until Sunday I will probably make the effort to return towards the end, to see what remains.

Thursday 8 February 2024

Things Shaun has been doing recently

 Putting together a new 5 shelf bookshelf.

Why? Because it is the Lifeline Bookfair tomorrow. No other reason is necessary.

Monday 5 February 2024

2024 O2C Doeberl Cup - Choosing your section

 There are now only 8 weeks to go before the 2024 O2C Doeberl Cup. At this stage there are 154 entries across all the divisions, which is 37 more than this stage last year. 

While the tournament format is the same as last year (except for an additional Under 1600 Lightning event on Saturday evening), there is one change that players might not be aware of. Although the rating cutoffs are unchanged, FIDE is giving all players rated under 2000 a one off rating boost on the 1st March. This means that players who would normally not have a high enough rating to qualify for a section may now do so, based on their FIDE rating. To make it clear, the rating cutoffs for the various sections will not be changed. Players can ask to move up (if their rating allows), after the 1st of March.

The other thing I should remind people of, is that the rules for the rating cut offs are enforced ruthlessly. Every year we receive emails from parents (and the odd grown up), asking for special consideration for their child (or themselves)  to be allowed to play in a higher section. The answer is always no. And all the time I have been reading these emails, there has only been one case where a player over performed in the section they qualified for (an unrated adult player in the Minor about 10 years back). 

(** I am the Chief Organiser of the 2024 O2C Doeberl Cup ** )

Saturday 3 February 2024

I thought we were good

 Some more drama in the world of chess, with the St Louis Chess Club releasing a statement concerning GM Hans Niemann. Basically it says that due to past behaviour, he is not invited to any events being organised by the St Louis Chess Club for the remainder of 2024.

While they did not list the behaviour concerned, Niemann copped to damaging a hotel room while attending a previous event. And while this is a matter between Niemann and the SLCC, one aspect of it did pique my interest. In complaining about his treatment, Niemann remarked that having apologised to the hotel (and paid the cost of damages), he thought he was in the clear. The fact that they did not see it in the same way was somehow unfair on him.

Previously I posted something on how people justify there own poor behaviour (Techniques of Neutralisation) This response from Niemann seems to be related to that, specifically a variant on Denial of Harm. Believing he fixed the issue, he seems to contend there was no harm done. There is also an element of Denial of Victim here as well, arguing that he is the 'good guy' because he apologised, and therefore the SLCC and the hotel concerned are behaving badly. 

But clearly the SLCC and the hotel see it differently, which is the real point here. You don't get to behave badly, and then set the parameters on how such behaviour is to be treated. 

Thursday 1 February 2024

Softly, softly

 The FIDE Qualification Commission has decided to restrict the use of Scheveningen and Schiller format events for earning title norms. The full announcement can be found at 

As the statement says, the motivation for this decision is mainly about what titles represent. Historically, chess titles were awarded (formally or informally) as a consequence of achievements in important and significant events. I* would like to think this should still be the case, recognising that the growth in chess has lead to a growth in the number of events that may fit this criteria. Nonetheless, I believe that there still should be standards applied to the events that award titles, rather than existing for the sole purpose of simply awarding titles. 

(*I am the Secretary of the FIDE Qualification Commission, and drafted the linked statement on behalf of QC)