Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sales Wins Rose Bay

FM Jesse Sales (pronounced "SAH-LESS") ends his Australian tour on a high note with a win at the July Weekender in Rose Bay. He was undefeated throughout - conceding only a friendly draw against Lee Jones in the last round. Bolens secured the second spot by downing Ricky Lopis, while Victor Berezin was third.

Jesse now heads back home to the Philippines where he works as a chess coach and is also apparently writing a chess book for juniors. As for the book, I've already got myself roped in to promote the thing!

Like many seasoned chess players, Jesse sure has some stories to tell. He will happily tell you about his encounters with the top masters in the Philippines - the wins, the loses. Or about that time when he asked a super-GM for an autograph then promptly beat him while the signed magazine was actually sitting there on the table! Even more remarkable is that Jesse had prepared for the game only 15 minutes before the start of play. In those days, he didn't have a laptop - so he ran to the bookstall and quickly checked a game in Informator. He saw a game, played 1. e4 for the first time, and BANG(!) - he won. But what I found especially wonderful was Jesse's readiness to give a tip or two on playing better chess. "If a player is good in opening and middlegame, then test his endgame" or "if my opponent has better position, then he must do something - or else I will come back and make counterplay" were two such tips directly prompted by his match-up against FM Xie.

Next stop for Jesse? Malaysia. Good luck man!

The tournament ran smoothly overall. However, the time control caused a little confusion. In the last round, Aina Musaeva didn't know what to make of the negative symbol. When is one supposed to lose on time? What's worse is that the time control had actually been changed from the advertised "60 minutes per game plus 10 secs per move" to "60 minutes then 10 secs per move" (setting 12 on DGT). One player, especially, became quite agitated and resorted to accusing the DOP of "double standards". He thought, wrongly, that everyone else got the 10 seconds increment while he didn't.

Finally, a word about the venue. As gorgeous as the setting may be, I suspect most players realise that Rose Bay RSL is way too small. If there were twice the participants - the place would have been packed. Uncomfortably. Overall, it is not an ideal location. Besides, the beach outside is too distracting.

NSWCA July Weekender
Bolens, J.
Lopis, R.
ECO B13

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 with a draw offer from Johnny. cxd5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 Nc6 7. a3 Bf5 8. Bd3 Bxd3 9. Qxd3 e6 10. O-O Be7 11. Re1 O-O 12. Bg5 Rc8 13. Re2 Qb6 14. b4 Qc7 15. Na4 a5?! According to Bolens, Lopis is hoping for some action on the Queen-side. If Black succeeds, he will gain some counterplay. So, Bolens must keep the situation close on this sector of the board. 16. b5 "He starts to be under pressure". - Bolens, J Nb8 17. Ne5 Rfe8 18. Rb1 b6 19. Rb3 Qd6? 20. Bf4 Qd8 21. Qf3 Nfd7??


After 21...Nfd7

22. Nxf7!
Johnny now up from the board and gives himself a quiet applause. Lopis takes it quite well and smiles in amusement. Kxf7 23. Bc7+ Nf6 24. Bxd8 Bxd8 25. g4 Kg8 26. Rc3 Bc7 27. Kg2 Ne4 28. Rxe4 dxe4 29. Qxe4 Nd7 30. Qb7 Nf6 31. Rxc7 Rcd8 32. Rxg7+ Kh8 33. Re7 (33. g5! just wins more quickly) 33... Rf8 34. g5 Rg8 35. h4 Rxd4 36. Kh3 Rxa4 37. gxf6 Rxa3+ 38. Kh2 Ra4 39. Rxh7# 1-0

To play through this game, click here.

Dances For A Champ

We can only dream of it.

Ten-year old Sahaj Grover wins the Under-10 section at the World Youths in Belfort, goes home to Delhi, and is treated like a regular champion. There's champagne, garlands and dancing.

I promise, the first time an Aussie kid wins a World Youth section, I'll be there showering them with eucalyptus leaves, a spray of VB and maybe a dance or two.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Chess By The Sea

But for the small playing hall, Rose Bay RSL would be the perfect venue. It sits just metres from beach. If you're lucky to finish your game early, you can go for a walk along the shore or even hire a kayak. When the sun is out, it's easy to forget about chess. This is the sort of venue where you're always thinking, "what the hell am I doing here?" And today was a particularly gorgeous day. Who would want to be indoors?

Thirty-five players, apparently, had nothing better to do! And myself of course. The turnout was a disappointment. The first prize fell from $500 to just a measly $300. In the third round, I even managed to get a game by playing some guy who had the bye. I won.

Rose Bay 2005. A small field this year.

Number one seed is George Xie. He is joined at the top by Sales and Berezin plus a handful of
2000+ rated players: Bolens, Jones, Musaeva and ex top junior, Ricky Lopis. That's the funny thing about chess - anything can happen. In the third round, Xie lost to Lee Jones.


Aina Musaeva. All the way from Vladivostok. She has lived in Australia for only seven months now and plans to stay here permanently. I've already told you about her accent, right? Well never mind then!





By the end of round 4, Sales and Berezin were the only undefeated players. They play in round five. The Pinoy player had a slight scare in the second round. Playing against Ben Ingram, Jesse got a little confused over the time control (60 mins then 10s/move) and allowed his in time lead to dwindle down to just 48 seconds. Luckily for Sales, his hustling skills, no doubt honed in the backstreets of Manila, came to the fore. Ingram was a little too slow and played poorly under intense time pressure. Below is Sales - Bolens in the third round.

NSWCA July Weekender 2005
Sales, J.
Bolens, J.
B36

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nxd4 6. Qxd4 g6 7. Bg5 Bg7 8. e4 O-O 9. Be2 d6 10. O-O Be6 11. Qd2 Rc8 12. b3 a6 13. f3 Re8 14. Rac1 Bd7 15. Rfd1 b5


After 15...b5

16. e5 bxc4
(16... b4 17. exf6 (17. Nb1) 17... bxc3 18. Rxc3 exf6 19. Bf4) 17. exf6 exf6 18. Bf4 cxb3 19. axb3 Qb6+ 20. Kh1 Qxb3 21. Bxa6 Rc6 22. Bb5 Rxc3 23. Bxd7 Rxc1 24. Rxc1 Rd8 25. Qa5 Rxd7 26. Qa8+ 1-0

Jesse then had to face Ricky Lopis in the fourth. By his own admission, Jesse played the Black side of a Slav terribly badly. However, the young Aussie committed some inaccuracies in the middle game and lost a piece. Meanwhile on board 1 Berezin defeated Lee Jones.


Jesse Sales. Preparing against Xie, by the shore at sunset.

For more photos please visit my Chess Aficionado site or The Kibitzer. Come back tomorrow for what we hope to be an exciting finish to the tournament and maybe a game or two!

Friday, July 29, 2005

Right Royally Flushed

I had first read about it from David Norwood. In his column last Saturday, Norwood informed his readers that Short's chess column in the Sunday Telegraph had simply vanished. Poof! I wasn't sure about what had happened. But the other day, we finally learn the details courtesy of Chessbase.

Nigel Short's column was axed and to be replaced, apparently, by a second column on poker. Right royally flushed so to speak. Sorry, couldn't help myself. If we must blame anyone, then point the finger at the new editor, Sarah Sands. Atrocious woman! Quite uncultured if you ask me.

But all this has got me thinking about poker. For whatever reason it has become a fad amongst many chessers. The young guns on ICC, in the Aussie channel, are avid poker players. I am completely lost when reading their chatter. It's all Chinese. "Rivers", "flops", "gutshots", fox hunts" and so on.

To understand a little about this poker craze, I thought I'd interview Kerry Stead. Kerry is a current member of the NSWCA, an ACF vice-president as well as a much-loved chess coach in the junior ranks. And, until only recently, he was a professional dealer at the Sydney City Casino! The following is what he had to say.

What got you into poker and when did you get into it?
I'd known how to play poker for a while, but it was just the basics: flush beats a straight, etc. Mostly just playing games like draw poker. Then I started working at the casino and got invited to a few home games with some of the other dealers. [I]t just went from there. You play more, you learn more. Read some things, become a better player.

Why poker?
Why not? In addition to the general strategy of the game, the betting brings in a lot of psychological aspects that are difficult to find anywhere else. Unlike chess, where things can objectively be seen as either a good or bad move, its much tougher with poker: do you have the best hand? How would your opponent play cards that could beat you? Does he have a hand that beats you? Not quite the same as just saying "oh, its mate in 4".

Is poker more difficult than chess?
Its a different skill, although it does overlap a little. You have to be able to calculate a bit, but a lot of it is psychology

I notice that a lot of ICCers play poker, especially the juniors. Is there a risk of permanent loss of these players to poker?
In terms of them not coming back to chess? Of course there is. But it's worse than that with kids playing poker online. It has the potential for problems in the future, which can't be a good thing. The obvious attraction of poker over chess is the money involved. When was the last time you heard of a guy from Melbourne winning $10mil in a chess tournament?

[Kerry is referring to Aussie Jo Hachem who recently won the $10M World Series of Poker Championship]

Finally, are there sexy chicks in poker?
Much like everything else, you can find good looking women who play the game, although just like chess, its very much male-dominated in terms of numbers. You're asking the wrong question Amiel. Its about the game, not the looks of the participants!

Kerry Stead, seen at this year's Doeberl cup, playing the dealer in a real money game.

My sincerest thanks to Kerry Stead for being a sport and giving me such a wonderful, albeit, brief interview. For loyal fans of The Closet Grandmaster, this will the the first of many interview sessions with wonderful personalities. They will be experts on subjects ranging from poker to sex or even how to cook the perfect rice. Keep on reading!

Malaysian Chess Festival

For chess tragics, Malaysia is the place to be between August and September this year. Beginning on 20 August is a 22-day chess festival. There will be an big open, team chess and finally the zonal championships for zone 3.3

If you're an Aussie, there's the added incentive of being among the "best three Australian players". (I imagine that means "best finishers").

Find out more here or download the entry forms from www.gilachess.com.

Bobby Ang's Column

In today's edition of Business World, yours truly gets a mention in what is no doubt the world's most important chess column. But this is not important, as I am after all, a modest bloke.

What is important is that the writer, Mr Ang, covers the achievements of FM Jesse Sales in his current Aussie tour. The newspaper is available in pdf format from the Bworld site. You need to register FREE of charge. Or else, you can wait about a week and the column will be available on the Indo Chess site.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Chess - The Glue That Binds

In today's, San Francisco Chronicle:

They come here daily for the game's limitless possibilities, the satisfying touch of the weighted pieces and the spectacle of deep focus amid sirens, shouts, horns and downtown laughter in San Francisco. These are the jobless and the homeless.

Probably not that much different from those in Hyde Park or anywhere else. Continue reading . . .

Board Stupid


Woohoo!! Chess, at long last, is sexy. Not!

In a mainly unsympathetic article (the Gaft v Beaumont incident is mentioned), Inside Sport magazine has a special report on the Mt Buller Australian Open tournament. Check out the August 2005 issue with the absolutely delicious Jade Garel on the cover. See pic on the left.

I won't ruin the suspense but here's some funny lines. "There's GM Hans-Joachim Hecht, a German Ken Done with a moustache, boat shoes and a very bad shirt". And in describing our Malcolm Pike, "a dead ringer for a flame-haired Ming the Merciless".

Sydney player, Trent Parker, and Tasmania's Kevin Bonham, are featured in full frontal photography.

Program Free Zone

Chess programs in human tournaments are nothing new. I'm not talking here about circus acts like the recent Adams vs Hydra or the famous Kasparov vs Deep Blue "man vs machine" matches. I am talking about tournaments where such programs are themselves "participants". An example is the recently concluded Copa Mercosur - Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez, in Argentina. There, the program Shredder took clear first place on 8.5/10.

About such tournaments (like Mercosur), I always wondered, what the hec is the point? What does it prove exactly? If the intent is apparently publicity, then by all means have a circus show like man vs machine type matches. But should programs have a place in mostly human events like round-robins or regular opens?

Some years ago I recall a controversy at the Dutch Championships. The Dutch Chess Federation allowed Fritz to participate in their nationals. The idea behind this was apparently to generate sponsorships. At that time, one of the other human players, GM Van der Sterren, refused to play the program. My reaction then, as now, was "good on him!"

Tournament chess must always be a contest between humans. They should remain program free. It's as simple as that. Let's have our little events like Advance Chess or man vs machine. But these are really more for the sake of curiosity and publicity. There is nothing sporting about them. Peace.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Teddy Bears

Now isn't that cute?

But when you're across the board, my God! Is it unsettling or what?

You either love it or hate it.

Chess Lessons For Finance

In the LA Times:

To win at chess, you cannot make moves at random or without a purpose. You need a plan that often includes short-term or medium-term goals (such as increasing the mobility of your pieces, or controlling a key area of the chessboard). Similarly, in personal finance it makes no sense to make investments at random (such as just because a magazine touted a hot stock or mutual fund) without well-defined short, intermediate and long-term goals.

The article is available here.

FIDE vs Karpov

Turning now to world politics (and who else might be the perfect mentors for us locals but FIDE?), overnight Chessbase reported of some nasty exchanges between Karpov and the world body.

Never wanting to come from behind, Deputy FIDE President George Makropoulos responded to Karpov's "falsification of facts and use of extremely abusive language". Mr Makropoulos was referring to this interview by Chessbase with the ex World Champion.

In his counter salvo, Makropolous had this to say:

Kirsan is the only president in the history of FIDE, and maybe in the history of all international federations, who has contributed dozens of million dollars for the sport he loves. By the way, some of these millions went directly to Anatoly's pocket...

For a moment I wondered, what about your pocket Mak?

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

More on Rule 8.1

Here's a gent who knows what he's on about. Silvio Danailov, manager and coach of joint world number 2, Veselin Topalov, says:

I was reading everything I could find about him [Fischer] and my idea was that we had to copy Fischer. What he was doing. He was fighting till the end, he was first writing the move and then playing it, all these things. - in NIC No. 5/2005 p.33

A Mexican Proposal

Seeing from afar the controversy that is currently besetting NSW, one of my avid Mexican fans made the following suggestion.

A tournament funded for one year by the NSWCA to encourage consolidation of various Grades tournaments into less fragmented offerings.

NSWCA puts up seed money of $2000 which all goes to the successful bidding Club who will manage the tournament. Seed money for one year. Bonus of $1000 to the managing Club if a thresh-hold number of participants is achieved.

I'm a little sceptical myself. One worry is that there'd be only about 2-3 clubs who would have both skill and will to make it happen. But, as my avid fan rightly asked, who wouldn't be keen on a promoter's fee?

Capture The King!

As at 1 July 2005, the new FIDE Laws of Chess came into effect. For an excellent summary, see Bill Gletsos' post here.

As I am always a good boy, I don't worry too much about the details. But I do worry about two bits of rules that affect me directly. These are rule 8.1 and Article 1.2. The former pertains to recording of moves. I don't know about you lot but I read Kotov and he said to write your moves first, then play it. Doing this gives you some moments to reflect and double check.

We can discuss rule 8.1 here.

As for Article 1.2, I am hoping and praying, to any god who'll listen, that our arbiters will keep their heads screwed on and not be bludgeoned into submission by such a ridiculous rule. Apparently, capturing the king destroys evidence of an illegal move. But most sane people, and I'm talking 99.9% here, accept that capturing the king is itself the very evidence required. What's the problem?

If you are reading here, then you must agree with me. Amen!

How Good Is Your Coach?

I heard somewhere that the average player is rated 1600. I don't know if that's true or not. But I also hear that there are coaches who are rated well below that figure. It makes you wonder what their students are learning. Seems almost like the blind leading the blind. Could these below average coaches tell the difference between a King's Indian Defence and, say, the Pirc? And don't just say it's the c4-pawn!

For me, I am yet to be convinced that under 2000-rated players have any business coaching. Some folks will say communications skills are important. But if you don't know what you're talking about, then you have nothing to communicate. Have you?

Over two years ago, Man of Controversy, Matt Sweeney, proposed a National Chess Coaching Accreditation Scheme. I wonder what's happening with that.

Australian Chess Into the 80's

One of the best chess books I ever read is GM Rogers' Australian Chess Into the 80's - written before he became a grandmaster. As far as I am concerned, it ranks in importance to such famous tournament books as 1953 Zurich or the Second Piatigorsky Cup. The book is basically about the 1980 Australian Chess Championships in Adelaide.

The best bit about this book is that many players contributed to the annotations. Also, there are pen portraits, written by Guy West, of the four leading players at that time: Rogers, Hjorth, Jamieson and Johansen.

If this book is not presently in your collection, then I suggest you go out and look for one. It's indespensable. All we're waiting for now is a follow-up from GM Rogers. Australian Chess Into the 21st Century perhaps?

Monday, July 25, 2005

Congrats Jesse!


Pinoy visitor, FM Jesse Sales, has won his second Australian event - the ANU Open, in Canberra. He finished on 6.5/7, a half point ahead of FM Bjelobrk. Their respective placings here are the reverse of last weekend's Fairfield Winter Cup.

Three weeks ago, FM Sales was also victorious at the Australian Masters tournament in Melbourne. That win earned him his first ever IM norm. Watch this space for annotated games by FM Sales himself!

St George CC

Just wondering. Two controversies. One chess club.

St George.

Funny that.

Getting There, But

The NSWCA probably hopes it goes away. The DOP himself prays that this goes away. And I'm sure, the Oceania Zone President is just quietly swearing at those other two. How could this happen, he must wonder.

This morning, highly respected chess personality Peter Parr (former Olympiad captain and past member of various FIDE Committees) dropped a smart bomb on the St George Championsips. In doing so he kept the fires of controversy burning.

Peter Parr was being nice. He kept referring to "one player". But let's not play tootsie here. He's talking about IM Zhao.

You can all read Mr Parr's post yourselves but there are a couple of things that grabbed my attention. He writes:
Players who enter FIDE rated events are required to play their games at the venue and times appointed for the tournament.
Where did they play those games then if not at the St George Club?

Further, as is now public knowledge - the supposed draws were agreed by phone. The ACF considers those games to have been unplayed and will send an amended report to FIDE.

The question is: did the action of arranging those draws constitute a 'pre-arrangement' of results. If so, did the players breach the ACF's Code of Ethics? The ACF defines, "[p]re-arranging, or attempting to pre-arrange, the result of a game or event" as breaching the Code. If so, what action will the ACF take?

I Play Chess Because . . .

. . . like this blog, it's all me. I mean if you win, every good thing about that goes to you. Money, the congrats, bragging rights, whatever. It's the bragging rights I like! The flipside is if you lose, then every bad thing about that you suffer. But at least you really only have yourself to blame. And my God it hurts!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Rowson on Chess

In the TimesOnline, GM Rowson of Scotland had this to say:
Have you noticed, the way that chess is depicted in books and films? It’s always slightly unreal, or otherworldly. Like it’s only ever played by people who are about to commit a murder, or who have lost touch with reality. It’s very odd.
Author of The Seven Deadly Chess Sins and book reviewer for NIC, Rowson gives us insights into chess and his life. The article can be read in full here.

Sanity Prevails

Appearing for the first time on the Chesschat site, Gary Bekker, FIDE Oceania Zone President, finally announced what many of us have wanted to hear.
The failure to play the three games which were agreed drawn means that these games should not be counted for FIDE ratings purposes.
This very correct decision closes some parts of the whole St George Club Championship fiasco. Mr Bekker's announcement supports the view that agreements to draw can only be made "during the game". See law 5.2.c in the Laws of Chess.

Clearly, if players become unavailable, for whatever reason, later in a tournament - then they simply should not be permitted to agree to draws for their remaining games. They are either withdrawn or forfeited.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Way Out West

What's happening in Western Australia? Overworked and looking forward to retirement, the association president chucked in a bit of a "whinge" (his word). In CAWA's June newsletter, President Haydn Barber seemed a little nonplussed:
And, where have all the DOPs gone? I have had to run three weekenders this year because I could not find anyone else.
Not only are DOPs missing but also a secretary, minute secretary, senior VP, tournament coordinator and marketing/promotions officer. To make matters worse, since that June issue, the membership/ratings officer handed in his resignation.

Beyond personnel problems, there is bad news on the club scene. Will the Midland CC survive for very long? We'll wait and see.

And it seems interclub problems aren't confined to the eastern seaboard. In the ‘B’ division final, Perth CC replaced a 1334-rated player with another rated 1825. Thus, Perth's team was 160 points higher rated per board (on average) than their opponents, Metro CC. The player swap also pushed Perth above the average rating limit set by the rules.

A letter of complaint is on its way from Metro.

Fratricide

Chess players hate one another. Sure, they all rock up to the pub after OTB hostilities. But deep down, I reckon they hate each other's guts. How could they not? Chess, after all, is an ego thing. By necessity, the job of a chess player is to assail the other man's ego. It's pretty simple really.

And in chess politics, there is nothing nastier. I mean, you can forget about knives coming out. We're talking spiked billy clubs!

If you don't already play chess or are not involved in it, then don't. Stay out. Save yourself. If you do or are already involved - God Bless, as Mexican Mal might say. Being a Catholic, I reckon a thousand Hail Mary's ought to help.

Better Late Than Never

Here is a game from last weekend's Winter Cup. Like any King's Gambit, the pyrotechnics begin early. Unfortunately, Zvedeniouk wasn't at his usual best. In the first round he dropped a queen to Norm Greenwood. And in this fourth round match-up against 1683-rated Savilieff, Zvedeniouk was simply outplayed almost right from the get go.

Savilieff was too classy especially in the endgame phase. Thanks to Savilieff for sending me this game.

2005 Fairfield Winter Cup
Zvedeniouk, I.
Savilieff, G.
ECO C33

1. e4 e5 2. f4 exf4 3. Bc4 Qh4+ 4. Kf1 b5 5. Bxb5 Nf6 6. Nc3 (6. Nf3 Qh6 7. Nc3 g5 8. d4 Bb7 9. h4 Rg8 10. Kg1 gxh4 11. Rxh4 Qg6 12. Qe2 Nxe4 13. Rxf4 f5 14. Nh4 Qg3 15. Nxe4 {1-0 Short,N-Kasparov,G/London 1993/EXT 98}) 6... c6 According to my database, this is a novelty. (6... Ng4 7. Nh3 Nc6 8. Nd5 Nd4 9. Nxc7+ Kd8 10. Nxa8 f3 11. d3 f6 12. Bc4 d5 13. Bxd5 Bd6 14. Qe1 fxg2+ 15. Kxg2 Qxh3+ 16. Kxh3 Ne3+ 17. Kh4 Nf3+ 18. Kh5 Bg4# {0-1 Schulten,J-Kieseritzky,L/Paris 1844/EXT 99}) 7. Bc4 Ba6 8. Qe2 Bxc4 9. Qxc4 Ng4 10. Nh3 Bd6 (10... f3! 11. Nd1 (11. Qd3 Nxh2+ 12. Rxh2 Qg3 13. Qxf3 Qxh2 The computer programs judge this as -+ but it seems that White maintains some life thanks to Black's lag in development.) 11... Nxh2+ 12. Rxh2 Qg3) 11. d4 f3! 12. Bg5 fxg2+ 13. Kxg2 Qxg5 14. Qe2 (14. Qxf7+ Kxf7 15. Nxg5+ Kg6 16. Nf3 Ne3+ 17. Kf2 Nxc2 18. Rac1 Nb4 19. Rhg1+ Kf7 20. Ke3) 14... Ne3+ 15. Kf2 Qg2+ 16. Kxe3 Qxh3+ 17. Kf2 Qh4+ 18. Kg2 O-O 19. e5 Re8 20. Ne4 Bxe5 21. dxe5 Rxe5 22. Rhe1 d5 23. Qf2 Qxf2+ 24. Nxf2 Nd7 25. Nd3 Rxe1 26. Rxe1 Kf8 27. Kf2 Re8 28. Rg1 Nf6 29. Rd1 Ne4+ 30. Kf3 f6 31. b3 Ke7 32. Nb4 Kd6 33. c4 Re5 34. h4 Rf5+ 35. Ke3 Re5 36. Kf3 a5 37. Nd3 Rf5+ 38. Ke3 Nc3 39. Rg1 dxc4 40. bxc4 g6 41. a3 Na4 42. Rg4 Nc5 43. Rd4+ Kc7 44. Nf4 Re5+ 45. Kf3 Ne6 46. Nxe6+ Rxe6 47. h5 Re5 48. hxg6 hxg6 49. Kf4 Kb6 50. Rd8 Kc5 51. Rc8 Rh5 52. Ke4 Rh4+ 53. Kd3 Rxc4 54. Rf8 Rd4+ 55. Kc3 Rd6 56. Ra8 Kb6 57. Kc4 f5 58. Rb8+ Kc7 59. Ra8 Kb6 60. Rb8+ Ka7 61. Rf8 Kb7 62. Rf7+ Kb6 63. Rf8 Rd5 64. Rg8 f4! Giving up a pawn at exactly the right time. It seems that reading"Dvoeretsky's Endgame Manual" is definitely paying dividends. 65. Rxg6 Rf5 66. Rg2 f3 67. Rb2+ Kc7 68. Rf2 Kd6 69. Kd4 Rf4+ 70. Ke3 Rf6 71. Kd4 (71. Rxf3 Rxf3+ 72. Kxf3 Kc5 and wins.) 71... c5+ 72. Kc4 Rf4+ 73. Kb5 a4 74. Ka5 Kd5 75. Kb5 Kd4 76. Rf1 f2 77. Kxa4 Ke3+ 78. Kb5 c4 79. a4 Ke2 0-1

Friday, July 22, 2005

India

Right, never mind the dog story. And hey, according to some, these guys invented chess. But the Indians do take chess seriously. Present world number 2 is Vishy Anand. And they plan some more with a target of 100 grandmasters by 2012!

"What's the ACF's GM target?" I hear you ask. I have no idea. Go ask the ACF!

Anyway, there is almost no doubt that India will make it. Just looking at the Indian press tells us something about that. Almost everyday the local press has a mention of the current World Youths. The Hindu, the Press Trust of India, and Outlook all feature chess.

It makes me envious. Though, at times, one finds chess in the most unexpected sentences.

The Inner Child

While sitting down to play, have you ever said to yourself, "Oh for God's sake! Here we go again"? You know, another Sicilian. Another King's Indian. A boring Queen's Gambit. Swap off here, swap off there; yep OK, let's just get this over and done with. And that's without having to worry about being dragged into some new variation by some booked up kiddie.

Man, if you could only play chess like you were playing with GI-Joe figures! Like when you were a kid. Well maybe you can.

"C'mon you bastard, Mokele Mbembe will get yaaaaa....!!!"

"Scorpion Grob gooooooo".

"No way, French Spike Attack is way better!"

"Excuse me? I reckon my Hekili-Loa will kick you assssss shit-for-brains!!"

"Keoni-Hiva is waaaayyy cool!"

"Well I reckon my Maria-Molez will molest you all. That's it. Hmph!"

See what I mean? Why can't it be like that? OK, so you couldn't scream at your opponent, although you'd like to. (I tell you, sometimes, I feel like slapping some of them). But you certainly can play like that at least socially.

In case, you're wondering what those fancy names are, they are UCOs - unthordox chess openings. Some bizarre. Some are downright lunacy. Definitely not for pussies. For the crazies out there, there is exactly a site for you. Check out the UCO group on Yahoo.

If you decide to play these openings, I take no responsibility whatsoever for your suffering.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Blast From The Past

It was only a matter of time before I receive my first complaint. Too much chess politics! Well, alright. So tonight, I thought I'd flick through some old Chess Worlds. Blasting to 1947 I spot a game from the Victorian Championships. That tournament was won by a Dr M. Gellis. He finished on 9.5/10 - a half point ahead of F.A. Crowl.

The featured game is between C.G. Watson (white) and the tournament winner (black). Gellis was lucky thanks to Watson's horrible blunder on move 40.

Victorian Championship 1947
Watson, C.G.
Gellis, M.
ECO B38

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 d6 5. c4 g6 6. Nc3 Bg7 7. Be3 Nf6 8. Be2 O-O 9. O-O Bd7 10. Rc1 Rc8 11. f4 Ne8 To which Purdy's remarks now seem somewhat inappropriate. He writes: "He [Gellis] should have countered with 11... Qb6 throwing, if not a spanner in the works, at least a nigger in the woodpile" - CJS Purdy. Say what? Obviously now considered offensive, but the phrase apparently means, "a concealed motive or unknown factor affecting a situation in an adverse way". 12. Qd2 e6? A difficult move to make - perhaps to counter the f5 thrust. But now the d6-baby is compromised. 12... a6 to avoid exactly a knight landing on b5. 13. f5 Nf6 14. fxg6 hxg6 13. Ndb5 Qa5 14. c5! a6 15. Nxd6 Nxd6 16. cxd6 Qb4 17. a3 Bxc3 18. axb4 Bxd2 19. Bxd2 Nd4 20. Bd3 Rxc1 21. Rxc1 Rc8 22. Rxc8+ Bxc8 23. Be3 Nb5 24. e5 Kf8 25. Be4 Ke8 26. Kf2 Kd7 27. Bc5 h6 28. Ke3 Ke8 29. Kd3 g5 30. Ke3 f5 31. exf6 Kf7 32. fxg5 hxg5 What would you play? 33. d7 Bxd7 34. Bxb7 is good enough, but now Watson finds a more aesthetic move.

After 32...hxg5

33. Bxb7!! Nxd6 34. Bxc8 Nxc8 35. Ke4 Kxf6 36. g4 Ne7 37. Bxe7+ Kxe7 38. Ke5 Kf7 39. Ke4 Ke7 40. Kd4?? "A sheer absurdity", wrote C.J.S Purdy. The Aussie legend then gives the following as the correct method of winning: 40. Ke5 Kf7 41. Kd6 Kf6 42. b3 Kf7 43. Kc5 Kf6 44. b5 axb5 45. Kxb5 Ke5 46. Kc5 Kf4 47. b4 - CJS Purdy 40... Kd6 41. h3 e5+ 42. Kc4 Kc6 43. b3 Kd6 44. Kd3 Kd5 0-1

Can Your Filter Play Chess?

OK, so you have yourself some fancy spam filter. But can it play chess? In this essay, Laird A. Breyer finds out.

And for all the nerdy types, check out the forum on slashdot.org.

A Plea

After being told by the President, "If you wish to persue (sic) the matter further I suggest you take it up with the NSWCA Council directly via the Secretary" - I did! An email's on the way. We wait and see now if the NSWCA really does understand our twin concerns of justice and fairness.

Let us hope that the NSWCA councillors will see the wrongness of their actions and hear us. Otherwise, our disintegration is surely blood on their careless hands.

Non-Games Fiasco

The Ratings Officer has now admitted:
It has been established that the games were not played.
The statement refers to 3 games that were reported as draws but were, in fact, agreements over the telephone. I had previously addressed the incident by asking "When is a draw not a draw?"

This stunning development and admission now means that the ratings for June 2005 are likely to be reran. But what about the FIDE report already submitted? Will that also be withdrawn?

Justice Denied?

Last night and until the early hours of dawn, Laura Moylan (spokesperson for the Sydney Academy of Chess team) went head-to-head with the indefatigable big man of the NSWCA, Bill Gletsos. You may delight in their exchanges here. That debate ceased only because Miss Moylan had to have her beauty sleep.

As you read through Bill's and Laura's exchanges, there is one issue that deserves greater scrutiny. And this is over the question of fairness and justice in the appeals process afforded (or not) to the SAC.

Justice demands that an appeal be referred to either a higher authority or at least another body composed of persons outside of the original decision-makers. This is to ensure that bias is removed and that the matter be considered upon in a fresh and independent light. This is the normal practice which chess follows. For example, NSW maintains a standing Appeals Committee to consider disputes over the Laws of Chess between an arbiter and a player. The NZCF has the same sort of committee but this group is formed just before the start of a tournament. This was certainly my experience at the 112th Congress earlier this year.

The ACF, too, follows this practice. The ACF's Code of Ethics affords any person under penalty to appeal to an independent tribunal.

In the dispute between the Sydney Academy of Chess team and the NSWCA, this practice was ignored. In her email to the NSWCA Council, Moylan states quite emphatically:
Our appeal was against the actions of those responsible for producing the draw for the final rounds of the grade matches, ie Bill Gletsos and Peter Cassettari. - email from Laura Moylan to NSWCA
Yet amazingly, both the two gentlemen named above were actually permitted to deliberate on the matter in question. Why is this so? Imagine if David Hicks' only avenue of appeal was Donald Rumsfeld himself!

While I remain undecided, at this time, over the merits or demerits of the SAC's quarrel - I believe that they deserve a fairer hearing than what they have been afforded so far. In the interest of justice and fairness, the NSWCA must now reconsider their position. Else, the alternative is a disaster for chess in New South Wales.

May Caissa grant our Councillors wisdom! And may She save us from a tragedy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Grade Match Crisis

Not to be outdone by the Southern Ructions, just a few moments ago we learn that a crisis has struck chess in New South Wales. The Sydney Chess Academy team withdrew from the Grade Match competition.

In a statement made to the Chesschat site, SCA player, Andrew Bird said:
Sydney Chess Academy has withdrawn from the Grade Matches. Today our request for our appeal to be heard be (sic) an independent committee was rejected be (sic) the NSWCA council. Since we find the changes made to the draw, and the way it was done, unacceptable, we no longer want to be part of this competition.
The SCA charges that the NSWCA was under undue influence and its decision in the appeals was therefore biased. To which the NSWCA remained steadfast and replied with a threat:
We are sorry that you may stand by your decision to withdraw from the competition, but the Council has made its considered fair and reasonable decision taking all matters into account. A withdrawal from the competition would be an unauthorised withdrawal and may be subject to disciplinary action by the Council. Should you decide to stay in the competition, we wish you best of luck for the remaining games. - email from NSWCA to SCA, dated 20 July 2005
We have here now what appears to be a stand-off. Who will blink first? Will the clubs abandon the NSWCA and commence their own competition?

I Married A Dog

You know, sometimes I ask myself, "What the . . . ?"

There's a mob out there who reckon eating tiger scrotum makes them better lovers. So tigers are hunted. Others eat sharks because they think it's a cure for some sort of itch. So kaput go the sharks. And whales, I'm sure, are good for something else.

Basically, people believe in all sorts of things.

And now in India, we get this: "Girl Marries Dog". Believe it or not.

Chess960 for Computers

For the first time, computers will compete in a Chess960 (or Fischerandom) tournament. According to Wired, some two dozen or so programmers have signed up for the event in Germany next month.

But why does Fisherandom hold such special appeal to programmers? Wired journo, Kevin Poulsen, tells us:
Because the placement of pieces is random, computers rely on lightning-fast processing, without retrieving archives of past moves from a database.

Conventional chess-playing programs, with their dreadful power to calculate moves deep into the future, still rely on a digital version of an opening book at the outset of each game. This is essentially a look-up table constructed by a specialist, dictating the correct move for two million or more unique positions.
I've never tried Fischerandom myself, yet it sounds quite exciting. Though I doubt if it will ever displace the regular version. Sydney's Jason Chan and Melbourne's Trevor Stanning are aficionados.

Southern Ructions

While the 2005 NSW Grade Matches finds itself in an ugly controversy, at least we've managed to do it at the tail-end of the competition. Our Mexican neighbours (that's Victorians for the uninitiated), and always looking to do better, have got themselves in a tangle long before the season even began.

Box Hill Chess Club, happens to have a junior club called White Horse. Then, as if like in a fairy tale, along came a club called Dark Horse. Fair dinkum, I'm not joking!

Looking for some fast and early success, Dark Horse visited upon White Horse and "poached" a strong young gun, Chris Wallis. Well, what do you know? Wallis and his team of upstarts then proceeded to win the A Grade comp in 2004. Well done to them. The victory, in fact, vindicated the poacher's choice to promote Wallis to board 1 whereas the junior had previously played on board 4 for Box Hill.

As the Dark Horse team spread their wings in 2005, and possibly to entice more from White Horse, the Box Hill president was moved to say, "Enough is enough!" Box Hill lodge a formal dispute. The president invoked a little known clause requiring players to get a "transfer release" from a club that they had previously represented.

The relevant competition by-law reads:
6.4. A player whose Club refuses to grant a transfer shall have a right of appeal to the Executive and any Club refusing to grant application for a transfer shall be required to give a reason in writing to the player.
To settle the matter, Chess Victoria was required to appoint a formal disputes manager, Frank Meerbach.

More later.

Wohl Wins Wines


SMH columnist, Peter Parr, reported yesterday that International Master Aleks Wohl finished outright first in the Open Medoc Wine International tournament in France. Wohl scored 7.5/9 and thereby also winning his weight in wine, eighty-two large bottles!

(IM Aleks Wohl, seen on the right at the 112th NZ Congress 2005 in Wanganui, New Zealand).

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Winter Cup Report

Fairfield Chess Club, host of last weekend's Winter Cup, has now provided a full report on their website. A crosstable is available.

Also, photos from the event are available on The Kibitzer site as well as Chess Aficionado.

Enjoy!

A System of Record

I am a keen collector of chess games. I really don't care if it's a super-GM event in Dortmund or some tournament in the Appalachian mountains. I like games of chess. For me, they are the essential record of an event having happened.

It has always struck me as more than a little odd, actually it is a tragedy, that in NSW, we do not have a habit of transcribing and recording games into a database. While scoresheets may be provided - no one actually collects these.

Imagine what gems are merely lying on some dustcovered shelf somewhere. It could be a Canfell massacre. Or a George Xie novelty. Or the genius of some future grandmaster. Who knows?

The NSWCA has a rather large bank account. Eighty thousand kahunas. I propose that the NSWCA make it absolutely mandatory to use double-sided scoresheets, in all its tournaments, and for all boards. The NSWCA can afford it. In case you're wondering if we need special rules for this, we don't. As we follow FIDE rules, rule 8.3 ("The scoresheets are the property of the organisers of the event") is adequate.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Hypocrisy of Chess?

That chess is unrecognised as a sport nor supported by governments (in Australia) is a common lament amongst Aussie chess lovers. The situation here is markedly different to that of my beloved Philippines where chess enjoys funding from the PSC (Philippines Sports Commission) .

Yet is chess really deserving of that recognition and support? I have in mind the vexed issue of "arranged draws". Let me just suggest for a moment that these arrangements fly in the face of "sporting contests".

The recent St George Open, which I mentioned in an earlier entry, featured exactly this kind of arrangements. According to some experienced opinions, those arrangements constituted games of chess. How can this be so?

Consider this: say a player already has an unassailable lead in the tournament going into the last 2 rounds. He's feeling a bit lazy. Is it acceptable for him to simply arrange draws with his last 2 opponents? To my mind this is like Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger agreeing not to bother turning up to a league match because Arsenal's already stitched up the title 2 weekends ago.

So you see, chess is hypocritical. For it to be considered a sport, "games" must be decided in the appropriate sporting arena. Over the board.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hot and Cold

Fairfield is proving to be a happy hunting ground for Igor Bjelobrk. After winning the club's Summer Cup last December, today he won the Winter Cup. His total score was 6.5/7. Igor definitely won the respect of foreign visitor, Sales. The Filipino player considered Igor's play to be quite strong and solid. Sales himself finished outright second. Their individual encounter was a win for Igor.

FM Igor Bjelobrk, seen here at the 2005 Doeberl Cup

I was there only as spectator and to take photos. So I had plenty of time on my hands - listening to stories, catching up with a mate. Hec, I even learned that William Shakespeare was Lebanese! Yep, I'm talking about the great man himself - The Bard.

Now that bit of info maybe a wee bit unbelievable, but did you know that Ilja Ilic once beat the great Mikhail Tal in a blitz game? Ilja will also tell you that after a session with the booze, Tal was so drunk that Ilja had to carry him back to his room as if he were a little baby.

After the tournament, Mr Bautista invited some Pinoys over to his place. There we were entertained by Jesse Sales telling stories of Vulture's Park. It is where the chess hustlers of Manila hang out. The usual story. Some fish comes along and wins 10 games in a row. The bet goes up and bang, before the fish knows it, the hustler has won everything except his undies.

One day, some "fish" came along and the unthinkable happened. The fish was unbeatable. His name? Robert J. Fischer.

Jesse was also kind enough to go through his games against GM Antonio and IM Paragua (played at the La Union Open). It was very instructive. From here, Jesse will proceed to Canberra to play in the ANU. Then he will return to Sydney, hopefully to play at Rose Bay, then finally head for Malaysia. The entire Australian trip is funded by Jesse himself. He informs me that trips to some countries like Spain and other Asian countries are eligible for funding from the Philippine Sports Commission. Australia is not one of those countries. But how good is it that this "poor" country can still take the time to support chess? Now there's a cultured people for you. In fact, the government even issues chess players with their own special ID cards. Jesse's reads "Athlete - Chess".

Anyway, here's a couple of games from the Winter Cup. In the first, our friend FM Lee Jones manages to get himself confused over theory. He goes down to Armen in eleven moves.

2005 Fairfield Winter Cup
Ayvazyan, Armen
Jones, Lee
ECO "A19"

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nc3 e6 3. e4 c5 4. e5 Ng8 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. d4 cxd4 7. Nxd4 Nxe5 8. Qa4 According to Armen, this was apparently invented by Timman.

After 8. Qa4

8 ... f6?? Why did he play this? It seems he expected a knight to land on b5 instead! (8... b6 9. Bf4 Qc7 10. Bg3 h5 11. h4 Ne7 12. O-O-O N7g6 13. Bd3 Nxd3+ 14. Rxd3 Qc5 15. Ndb5 Ne5 16. Re3 f6 17. Bxe5 fxe5 18. Ne4 Qc6 19. Rd1 d5 20. Ng5 Bd7 21. Rxe5 Rc8 22. Nxe6 Qxc4+ 23. Qxc4 Rxc4+ 24. Kb1 Bxe6 25. Rxe6+ Kf7 26. Re3 Rxh4 27. Rxd5 Bc5 28. Rd7+ Kg6 29. Re6+ Kh7 30. f3 Rh1+ 31. Kc2 Rh2 32. Re2 h4 33. Nc3 Rc8 34. Kd2 Rc6 35. a3 Rg6 36. b4 Bd6 37. Ke3 Be5 38. Ne4 Rhxg2 39. Rxg2 Rxg2 40. f4 Bb2 41. Rxa7 h3 42. Kf3 Rg1 43. Ng5+ Kg6 44. Nxh3 Ra1 45. a4 Kf5 46. Rf7+ Bf6 47. Ra7 Ra3+ 48. Kg2 Kg4 49. Nf2+ Kxf4 50. a5 b5 51. Nh3+ Kg4 1/2-1/2 Suba, M - Averbakh, Y / Polanica Zdroj 1976/MCL) 9. Nxe6 Qe7 10. Nd5 Qd6 (10... Qxe6 11. Nc7+ Kf7 12. Nxe6 dxe6 is not going to be enough.) 11. Nec7+1-0

The next game features new comer Aina Musaeva. She is definitely one to look out for and may one day, hopefully, compete for a place in our women's Olympiad team.

2005 Fairfield Winter Cup
Musaeva, Aina
Song, Angela
ECO "B01"

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. d4 c6 5. Nf3 Bf5 6. Bd3 Bg6 7. O-O Nd7 8. Bf4 Ngf6 9. Re1 e6 10. Ne5 Bxd3 11. Qxd3 Qd8 12. Nxd7 Qxd7 13. Ne4 Nxe4 14. Qxe4 Bd6 15. Be5 Bxe5 16. Qxe5 Rg8 17. Rad1 O-O-O 18. Rd3 Qc7 19. Qxc7+ 1/2-1/2

Beauty and Brains


Who ever said chess and gorgeous sheilas don't mix? Check them out here: www.1wcbc.com. As with chess moves, you do have to look carefully for the good sort. Vote for WIM Arianne Caoili. She is presently placed at number five. Other Australians in the competition are Vaness Reid and Shannon Oliver.

After devoting much of her time to academic pursuits over the past 2 years (interrupted by what she admits as a disappointing Olympiad campaign), Arianne now plans to come back strong to chess. On the agenda are some serious training sessions later in the year. She plans to participate in the Australian Championships as well as the 113th Congress in New Zealand.

On her recent visit to Sydney, this chick showed far more dangerous moves than anything over the board. Man, can she dance!

Another One Bites The Dust

Every year since 2001, the Fairfield RSL Chess Club has hosted two weekenders - the Winter and Summer Cups. These events are typically Category 2 or higher. The existence of these two events have only been made possible mainly through the generosity of the "mother club", the RSL.

Yesterday, I was rather saddened to learn that one of these events (possibly the Summer version) may need to be retired. But more than this, the very existence of the chess club itself may be under jeopardy. More later.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Fairfield Winter Cup - First Impressions

Some sixty-seven players are presently contesting the Fairfield Winter Cup and $3,250 in prize money. This year appears to be the strongest ever since the tournament's inception in 2001. At the start of play, there were 15 players rated over 2000. Seed one is Igor Bjeblork (2399), followed by Xie (2367), Pinoy visitor, Sales (2340), Vladimir Smirnov (2296) and Victor Berezin (2274).

Vladimir Smirnov brought along his 4-year old son. Bad idea. The kid was a handful and made a lot of noise. Even Ingela Eriksson had to be roped in as babysitter. Sadly, it was all too much and Vlady had to withdraw.

An interesting addition to the local scene is one Aina Musaeva (rated 2094). She hails from Russia and will be living here permanently. If I listen any more to her melodious accent, I think I might just ask her to marry me.

In round 1, Norm Greenwood pulled off an almost unbelievable upset. He downed the young 2000+ rated Ilya Zvedeniouk. Here is the game.

2005 Fairfield Winter Cup
Greenwood, N.
Zvedeniouk, I.
ECO "D04"

1. d4 g6 2. Nf3 Bg7 3. e3 Nf6 4. Bd3 d5 5. Nbd2 O-O 6. Ne5 Nfd7 7. f4 f6 8. Nef3 e5 9. Bb5 c6 10. Ba4 exf4 11. exf4 Re8+ 12. Kf2 Nb6 13. Bb3 Qd6 (13... Be6 14. Re1 N8d7) 14. Re1 Rxe1 15. Qxe1 Qxf4 16. Qe8+ Bf8 17. Ne4


17 . . . Qxe4 (17... Qf5 18. Bh6 N8d7 19. Nd6) (17... Bd7 18. Bxf4 Bxe8 19. Nxf6+ Kf7 20. Nxh7) 18. Qxe4
1-0

In the third round, the Pinoy player and Australian Masters champ, Sales, dropped a piece early against Bolens. Lucky for him, Bolens - a usually reliable trickster himself - played a bit nervously. Sales managed to simplify leaving himself with a Rook versus Bolens' Bishop and Knight combo. Sales eventually won. He summarised the encounter as, "Shit, tough game!"

I'll try to bring you that game later, but for now, here is Sales against 1817 rated Watson, in round 2.

2005 Fairfield Winter Cup
Sales, J.
Watson, J.
ECO "A31"

1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. g3 d6 7. Bg2 Qc7 8. Bg5 e5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 Qa5+ 11. b4 Nxb4 12. Nb3 Nc2+ 13. Kf1 Ne3+ 14. fxe3 Qd8 15. Nd2 f5 16. Qb3 1-0

Who Needs the NSWCA?

In yet another ugly episode, the NSWCA seems to have found itself at odds with no less than three of the premiere clubs in the NSW Grade Match competition. St George, Canterbury, and the Sydney Chess Academy are up in arms over some stuff up about pairings.

The highly respected Spanish IM, Javier Gil (who plays for Academy), came out a-swinging. At first, the NSWCA's PR man, Trent Parker, attempted a quick hose-down and trying to embarass the International Master. He failed. Then the Big Dog himself, NSWCA Prez Bill Gletsos, piped in. Well, he wasn't much help - trotting out the usual bureacratic line of: "It's under consideration. Well get back to you".

All this makes us wonder: who really needs the NSWCA? Will the premiere clubs break away and start their own competition?

Life is an Illusion

I have not actually read this, so if there's anything here you don't like - I take no responsibility for it.

Life Is An Illusion - A Mason's Game of Chess

The Exploitation of Chess

This morning, as I was flicking through the Australian Financial Review (that's our Wall Street Journal for all you international readers), I noticed a job ad for project finance professionals over at Ernst & Young. The ad featured the familiar chess pieces: a knight, a pawn and a king.

Later, just after lunch, I thought maybe I'd grab myself a copy of the Asia Inc. magazine. When I came to page 17, what should I see but another ad with a chess theme. This time, strategy guru - C.K. Prahalad - was inviting all and sundry to hear him talk about "Making Innovation Work For You". Again the ad featured an image of a knight, a king as well as a rook.

I've only cited two examples, but I tell you chess is everywhere! Insurance companies, fund managers, banks, telcos, etc - all these industries have used chess as a theme. I've even seen a funeral company using chess to sell coffins. I swear! Something to do with forward thinking, planning and all that.

But, if you ask me, I put it down to exploitation of our beautiful game. Well it's bloody time they paid up. So for all of you clever chessers out there, here's a recommended reading - the Sponsorship Seeker's Toolkit. The authors walk you through you the pitfalls and how to avoid them. They give hints on writing a good proposal, maintaining relationships, etc. Definitely worth a read.

The Trouble with Drunks

This avro I stopped over at the park for a bit, hoping to get in a ligtning game or two. Sure enough the usual mob was there. Also present was a family of four from NZ: mom and dad plus their 2 little boys. But sadly, among the group were a couple of drunken bastards, cheapo liquor in hand, swearing their fucken mouths off.

It was embarassing.

While the two young lads, the oldest of whom being no more than 10, were quite keen to play - their parents had grown concerned. They had no choice but to walk away. Terrible. Absolutely terrible. And I felt quite embarassed.

Why doesn't the Carr government send in some heavy-handed coppers to patrol the bloody park and remove these louts? That'll fix it!

When is a draw not a draw?

Some weeks ago, SMH columnist, Peter Parr wrote something rather curious: "IM Zong-Yuan Zhao (2420) was in a class of his own winning every game he actually played in the World Rated St George Leagues Club Championship."

You can view the article here. Whatever did he mean?

It turns out that IM Zhao had played only six of his 9 games and did, in fact, win all of them. His other 3 games were draws. Or were they?
We now know that these games never took place. They were merely verbal agreements, far from the board, between IM Zhao and his respective opponents. The important point to keep in mind here is that they ALL agreed. So the question is, does an agreement to draw, by a phone call, say, constitute a proper draw agreement as defined by the Laws of Chess? I think not.
The relevant Article is 5.2.c:
"The game is drawn upon agreement between the two players during the game. This immediately ends the game. (See Article 9.1)" [emphasis mine]
There's another aspect to this story - that of ratings. All games from the above tournament were submitted for FIDE ratings, including the 3 non-games in question. This is interesting because the FIDE rules on ratings are quite clear: "Whether these [unplayed games] occur because of forfeiture or any other reason, they are not counted."
Having said all the above, I should mention that the DOP who ran the show, Dr Charles Zworestine, is a man I respect very highly. He has been a regular DOP at many tournaments I've played in going back to my very first ever - the Queen's Birthday Weekender in '96. There was no "fix-up" of results. The 3 non-games submitted for ratings were not, as some have suggested, "figments of his imagination". Indeed, on checking with Dr Z, he was - himself - unhappy with the situation. It was simply an unavoidable situation.

But these questions remain:

1.) what constitutes a proper draw agreement?
2.) should the 3 "games" in question have been counted for ratings purposes?

Payback!

The 'Gong's chess strongman, Matthew Sweeney, is in big trouble. The NSWCA Council is considering wether or not to take action against him for his alleged "breaches of discipline". These so-called breaches appear to be some of his more controversial pronouncements in his now defunct discussion board, Uber Chess Jehad (sic).

Matthew Sweeney is the organiser of the Common Man Chess tournament. He is also the most vocal supporter of a NSW Chess Centre.

For all his faults - rude, crude, and abrasive style - here's hoping that Mr Sweeney will survive this witch-hunt.

Chess on Sundays

Never mind a NSW Chess Centre. Last Sunday, 3 July, the fellas of 'Hyde Park Chess Club' held their first chess night at Strawberry Hills Hotel. The pub is at the corner of Elizabeth and Devonshire Sts in Surry Hills. Regular fixture every Sunday, 5-8PM, is The New Orleanians - with band leader Bill Dudley.

Great music, cheap steaks, and good comfy atmosphere.
Bring a board. Preferably standard tourn size. Bring a clock. Preferably digital.

Black or White?

Last night, on the train ride for home from a night out of chess and jazz, my mate and I got to talking about who has the advantage: black or white. I always thought that it was white thanks to his first move advantage. In fact, I remember that this very issue was discussed over a coupla thousand posts on some Y! chess forum somewhere. In that discussion, if I remember correctly, it was comprehensively proven that white definitely has that advantage.
But my mate thinks other wise.
His thinking goes simply like this. Whatever white plays, black basically dictates the course of the game by choosing the opening or defence he plays.
What do you all think?

1. d4!

Hi boys and girls! As I am a 1. d4 player I thought I'd call this first entry exactly that.
This blog is mainly dedicated to chess - especially Australian chess and most especially Sydney chess. If you don't like chess, or don't have the remotest interest in it, or think chess players are geeks, then this site is DEFINITELY FOR YOU!
Here you will find news, opinions, chess pics and, if you get lucky, my analysis of chess games. I'm actually a closet grandmaster myself so you'll definitely learn something.
That's it folks. We'll see where and how far this will take us. Enjoy.