Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Chess For Peace

Ex-Russian president, Mikhail Gobachev, will visit Lindborg, Kansas to launch a Chess for Peace movement. The visit will take place on 29 October, 2005 and will include a match between Susan Polgar and former World Champion, Anatoly Karpov.

Here is a report by AP Newswire on

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Grandmaster Paragua

Speaking of Pinoy Power, I was wondering what the hec happened to Mark Paragua's GM title application. After their meeting in Dresden, FIDE realeased a communique which said, in part:

The FIDE Commissions and Committees met for their specialized work during the Congress. The Qualification Commission received the report on the Alushta tournaments and after a thorough investigation and lengthy discussions approved all pending title applications while resolving to take measures to prevent fraud in future.

There is also a list of approved title applications but no Paragua! So I checked the ratings. Lo and behold, for the first time I see 'g' against Paragua's name. My heart skipped a beat I must admit. Yes, yes - at last(!) - he is a grandmaster! Paragua thus becomes my beloved Philippines' fifth grandmaster on the current FIDE list.

Pinoy chess appears to be experiencing a resurgence. IM Gonzales is, himself, one norm shy of a full GM-ship. As we say, "Mabuhay Pinoy!"

Pinoy Power in Teams Event

The 25th Merdeka Team Championships ended Sunday with teams consisting mostly of Filipinos winning the top three places. Tagaytay City took first on 25.5 points. The team featured the two Pinoy grandmasters, Antonio and Mariano II. Filipino players Llavanes, Panopio and Abalos occupied the lower boards.

In second place was team PAEZ Dental Clinic - an all Filipino outfit comprising of Darwin Laylo, IM Dableo, FM Dimakiling plus two unrateds, Paez and Legaspi. They amassed a total of 22 board points. PAEZ routed a China-Malaysia coalition bannered by Malaysia Open winner, Wang Hao, 3.5 - 0.5.

Third place overall went to Bangka Manila. They completed their campaign on 22 board points also but ended the event one match point less than PAEZ. The team featured FM Jesse Sales, FM Salimbagat (USA) plus a couple of Indonesians - Setiawan, Sonjaya and Anasrullah. Bangka's most notable victory came in the seventh round when they blanked out Indonesia 'A', 4-0.

Final crosstable is available here. And a handful of games can be viewed on Gilachess' blog.

On a final note, permit me to extend my condolences to fellow blogger, Gilachess. As you can read in his blog, his family is currently grieving the passing of his grandmother.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Jude Acers

This blog joins the Boylston Chess Club in wishing for the safety of one Jude Acers in the face of Hurricane Katrina. Whatever your faith, do take a moment or two to include Mr. Acers in your prayers. For atheists and agnostics, Caissa will do.

Haydn Barber Wins

By coincidence, yesterday - Max Fuller and I were chatting at some point about Haydn Barber. We were talking about how Mr Barber used to take photos of the Aussie chess scene. Little did Max and I know that around about the same time, Haydn Barber was winning the state championships of Western Australia all the way on the other side of the country.

Going into the last round, the 1633 rated Choong was half a point ahead of Barber. However, the youngster faltered against Tim Hare (2097) while Haydn managed to beat Holland (1588).

Scoretable and PGN available here.

Antonio Magic

Gilachess has finally posted a game. So far, he has only Antonio - Dao Thien Hai from the Malaysian Open. Just as well because this is a nice game. The Black player just overlooked the possibilities of Bishop on b2 and Knight combo. Play through the game here.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Canfell Annotates

My thanks to Greg for annotating this game. It is from today's encounter against Atzman-Simon. Everything you see here were quickly written down on a scoresheet over a schooner of beer. While he did his thing, I sat there listening to Max Fuller telling me stories of years gone by. It was a wonderful experience. And I do hope that one day, Max will write his memoirs. Before I get all upset about our lack of attention to the personal histories of our heroes, let me present this game.

Annotations by Greg Canfell
2005 NSW Championships
Atzman-Simon, Barak
Canfell, Greg

1. g3 Nf6 2. Bg2 g6 3. Nf3 Bg7 4. O-O O-O 5. c4 d6 6. Nc3 e5 7. d4 Nbd7 Before the game, I was determined to play conservatively against an unknown player like Barak. But I, nevertheless, found myself in a King's Indian. 8. e3 c6 9. Qc2 Re8 10. Rd1 I sometimes have trouble getting typical KI play against solid but unambitious lines like these. But I was happy to see this and his next move. I think he should prefer 10. b3 [with ideas like] Bb2/a3, Rad1 and maybe Rfe1. 10...Qe7 11. b4 This is just a bit too loosening as Black can take advantage of the weak points b4 and c4 before White has finished developing. 11...exd4! 12. exd4 12. Nxd4 has its own problems. Black can play 12...a5 or maybe just 12... Ne5 and c4 is very hard to defend. 12... Nb6 13. c5 Nbd5 14. Re1? (see diagram) This fails tactically but in any case Black already has a very comfortable game with White's hopelessly over extended Q-side!

After 14. Re1

14...Nxb4! I spent a while trying to make 14...Qxe1+ 15. Nxe1 Rxe1+ 16. Bf1 Bh3 17. Bb2 Rae8 work. But 18. Qd2 seems to hold. Since that line and the game move are very commital, I also had 14...Qd8 prepared as a safety net, when I played 11. ..exd4. 15. Qd2 If, instead, White tries to win material with 15. Qb2, the tactics now work: 15...Qxe1+ 16. Nxe1 Rxe1+ 17. Bf1 Nd3! 18. Qd2 Bh3 19. Bb2 Rae8 20. Qxd3 Rxa1 21. Bxa1 Re1 22. Bb2 dxc5 (see diagram) and Black will reach an endgame at least 2 pawns up.

Analysis Diagram

15... Qd8 16. Rxe8+ Nxe8 17. Ne4 Nd5 So Black's a solid pawn up and has a nice position as well. The remaining moves can be explained by White's severe time trouble. 18. Ba3 dxc5 19. Bxc5 Bf5 20. Re1 Qc7 21. Qe2 h6 22. h4 Rd8 23. Qc4 Be6 24. Qc1 Qa5 25. Re2 Bg4 26. Rc2 Qa4 27. Ned2 Bf5 28. Rb2 b6 0-1

NSW Championships - Round 2

Travelling to West Ryde by bus is always the preferred mode of transport. It's fast and easy. But this afternoon, FM Canfell and myself were seated right across the man himself - Johnny Bolens. It was the longest bus ride of our lives. Anyway, thank God Almighty, we reached the venue with our sanity still intact.

Despite a slightly weakish field this year, the top section round robin still manages to demand the best from the participants. On board 4, the all Pinoy duel, Cabilin - Capilitan, was a hard fight with the latter eventually winning. And in Song - Reitmans, the young dynamo pushed and prod here and there until finally, Reitmans took a simple misstep and lost. Over on board 3, Canfell shot down the Israeli newcomer, Atzman-Simon.

But today, Max Fuller had an easy afternoon. By the time Canfell was finishing off his game, Max was already into his third schooner of beer! Max's opponent, Mendes Da Costa, turned up an hour late and thus forfeited the game. To Da Costa's credit, he took the situation quite sportingly and shook Max's hand saying, "Good game", and went home.

A view of the lower section.

The first game I present is the board 1 match-up, Song - Reitmans. It seems a simple affair with Song playing one-move threats throughout. I couldn't see how such a strategy would suffice against Reitmans' calibre. On move 24, Black should probably have played 24...g6 and neutralise any back rank threats immediately. Sadly for Reitmans - he was too slow to properly coordinate his pieces and lost the Bishop.

2005 NSW Championships
Song, Raymond
Reitmans, Quinton

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Nfd7 5. f4 c5 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. Be3 a6 8. Qd2 cxd4 9. Nxd4 Bc5 10. O-O-O Nxd4 11. Bxd4 O-O 12. Bxc5 Nxc5 13. Bd3 b5 14. Qf2 Qc7 15. Qh4 f5 16. exf6 Nxd3+ 17. Rxd3 Rxf6 18. Ne2 b4 19. Rh3 Rh6 20. Qg5 Rxh3 21. gxh3 Qb6 22. Rg1 Ra7 23. Qh5 Qe3+ 24. Kb1 Bd7 25. Qg5 Be8 26. Nc1 Bg6 27. Qg3 Qd2 28. f5 e5 29. fxg6 Rc7 30. gxh7+ Kh8 31. Qg6 e4 32. Rg2 Qd1 33. Qd6 Rf7 34. Qe6 Qh5 35. Rf2 1-0

Adianto - Mariano, 0-1

In his column today in Sydney's Sun Herald, Ian Rogers features the game Adianto-Mariano from the recently concluded Malaysian Open. We obviously cannot include Ian's analysis but we do thank him for the game.

2005 Malaysian Open
Adianto, U.
Mariano, N.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. f3 e6 6. e4 exd5 7. e5 Qe7 8. Qe2 Ng8 9. Nc3 Bb7 10. Nh3 c4 11. Be3 axb5 12. O-O-O Qb4 13. Nf4 Ne7 14. Bb6 Na6 15. Rxd5

After 15. Rxd5

15...Qxc3+ 16. bxc3 Nxd5 17. Qe4 Ba3+ 18. Kd2 Nc5 19. Bxc5 Bxc5 20. Nxd5 Rxa2+ 21. Kc1 O-O 22. Ne7+ Bxe7 23. Qxb7 Bg5+ 24. f4 Bxf4+ 25. Kd1 Rfa8 26. Ke1 Bxe5 27. Qf3 Re8 28. Kd1 Ra1+ 29. Kc2 Ra2+ 30. Kd1 Bf6 31. g3 Ra1+ 32. Kd2 Bg5+ 33. Kc2 Ra2+ 34. Kb1 Rea8 0-1

25th Merdeka Teams

The Malaysian Chess Festival now moves into the next event, the teams competition. In the second round - Pinoy grandmasters Antonio and Mariano, wearing the colours of Tagaytay City, led their team against a team bannered by Wang Hao. We don't have a clue as to the points tallies because the official sites are rather slow with these details. But some preliminary reports are available here.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Stupified - French Response to FIDE

On 25 August, the Fédération Française des Échecs (FFE) released a communique in which they stated that they were stupified by a FIDE statement relating to Jean-Paul Touze.

In a telling portion of the communique, FFE called into question the legality of FIDE's actions particularly since JP Touze was basically sent to the gallows without being given the right of reply.

Il est en outre inacceptable, du point de vue de la stricte légalité, que la voix de l'accusé n'ait pu être entendue, et encore plus inacceptable que ce dernier n'ait même pas été prévenu au préalable de sa position d'accusé !

Obviously, the controversy over the World Youth's is not over.

Victorian Championships

Our international readers must excuse me for a bit when I refer to our Victorian cousins as "Mexicans". Because they live south of our border is exactly why we call them that. There is nothing sinister intended. It's an Aussie thing.

Anyway, the 2005 Mexican Championships are up and running. They're a funny lot those Mexicans. Instead of playing the entire event in one place at one scheduled time for all competitors, players actually have a choice of up to 16 playing sessions across some four different venues. It's so bloody confusing that some have dubbed it the "orienteering" championship! The event is probably the only chess tournament in the world where the players are actually issued a map.

This business of toing-and-froing from one venue to the next does have it's odd side effect. For example, what if a player is banned from one of the venues? Well it appears that this is exactly what's happened to well-known chess personality, David Beaumont. Senior Beaumont is currently serving as secretary of Australia's premiere club - the Melbourne Chess Club. Yet he appears to find himself on the blacklist of one of the venues. It will be interesting to see how the matter is handled. Will the blacklist be lifted? Or will Senior Beaumont choose, instead, to withdraw from the tournament? Stay tuned!

A New Title?

In last month's ACP - FIDE meeting, the two bodies discussed the idea of creating a new master title superior to the Grandmaster. In their minutes, Lautier and Macieja had this to say:

ACP and FIDE have discussed the possibility of creating a new title, superior to the Grandmaster title. Due to the continuous devaluation of the GM title over the years, this idea has already been suggested many times in the past. The ACP and FIDE are open to any outside feedback and suggestions, as to whether this is a necessary step and which criteria could be used to define this new title. ACP and FIDE agree on the basic premise that if implemented, this title should be a very exclusive one.

Though an interesting proposal, for the moment I shall say that it is an unnecessary step. Better that we ask ourselves exactly how the title is supposedly being devalued. Is earning the GM-ship too easy? I don't know, but if so, then maybe the answer lies in tightening the titles regulations? Creating a whole new title, apparently in response to some devaluation of the GM-ship, just doesn't quite address the problem.

In response to the ACP-FIDE discussion on new titles, Yasser Seirawan said it best: "Such discussions make no sense to me. Professional players do not need flowery titles. They need to earn money". Amen to that!

Tournament Bulletins

Months after the 2005 Australian Open tournament ended, Aussie chess fans are still waiting and waiting for their tournament bulletins. These were supposed to have been provided on a CD-ROM. The organiser, George Howard, took $12 from each chesser who wanted a CD. To read this seemingly neverending episode in Australian chess history, then click here.

I mention this because I was just reading the reports of the recently concluded French Championships in Chartres, France. If you click away to the Fédération Française des Échecs website, you'll see that the tourney bulletins are available in PDF for free! Bulletin No. 7, for example, features the women's title winner, Almira Skripchenko. These nicely produced bulletins speak much to the French character I suppose. But such things can be as modest as a simple print out of the previous round's games. At the 112th Congress in New Zealand, that's exactly what the organisers provided - free of charge! Let's hope that our Australian organisers will learn that lesson.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Hao Missed Mate

In the last round of the Malaysian Open, Wang Hao vanquished Australia's GM Ian Rogers. According to the official website, the game opened with the English (1. c4 e5), with Rogers as white. By move 19, the following position was reached.


It's mate in 5! Thankfully for Rogers, the Chinese player missed the winning combo. But with a poorly positioned King, Rogers eventually resigned on move 27.

Final scores are:

10 points : Wang Hao
8 points : Antonio Rogelio
7.5 points: Rogers, Adianto, Nguyen, Kunte, Mariano, J. Gonzales
7 points : Dao Thien Hai, Eugenio Torre, Win Zaw Htun

Good news for Pinoy fans is that IM Jayson Gonzales performed well enough to earn a GM norm. It is his second, having earned the first one at last year's Olympiad. While Rogelio Antonio is reported to be responsible for one of the most beautiful games of the tournament by sacrificing his Queen and thus forcing mate. Gilachess, the Malaysian blogger, has promised to post some games. I've asked to include Antonio's.

CORRECTION: In previous posts, I had referred to Wang Hao as a grandmaster. In fact, he is not. But his performance in the Malaysian event does earn him his final norm.

Funny Quote

The citizens of Chess Chat are currently compiling some of their favourite chess quotes. Fellow blogger, Goran, made this recent entry on his blog. It sure is a funny one.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Wang Bang!

Today, GM Wang Hao, of China, became the new Malaysian Open champion with a round to spare. After 10 rounds, he is on 9 points - an awesome display of power that included victories over my compatriots Gonzales, Mariano and Torre.

The Aussie, GM Rogers, is on 7.5 points. I must reluctantly report that Rogers defeated Torre in round 10. Rogers will now cross swords with Wang Hao in the final round. C'mon Aussie!

For those who've been following the news online and found only a slow, often unavailable, website - I assure you, I share your pain. But luckily, it seems that we have now a better looking and more reliable site. And check out the accompanying blog of "gilachess" - the site admin.

Touze Tossed

After the horror story that was the World Youth Championships in Belfort France, FIDE has taken a most surprising decision. Bullet point one in the press release deserves to be quoted:

1. The Organizer of this event in Belfort, Mr. Jean-Paul Touze will not have the right to organize any FIDE event for a period of 5 years with effect from 23rd August, 2005.

The complete press release is available on the FIDE website.

A Winning Wang

Chess in China is in a healthy state. On the current FIDE list, the country boasts 5 players rated over 2600. And names like Ye Jiangchuan, Ni Hua, Xu Jun often appear in the best chess publications. Now it seems there is another young man we have to keep an eye on. His name is Wang Hao.

The 16-year old has just bolted to a 2 point lead at the Malaysian Open. He is on 8.5 points - ahead of Rogers, Antonio, Torre, Adianto and Gonzales who are all on 6.5 points.

Full tables may be viewed here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Academic Sport

Chess trainer, Wayne Smith reckons, "Kids really come together for chess. When there's a tournament there isn't fighting, there isn't arguing, there isn't some of the other arguments that might go on in some other activities."

Well, you'd hope so wouldn't you? Read the full report from the Chicago Sun Times.

Canfell on Course

For our interstate and international readers again, here are the results of the top section of the NSW State Championships. The first round was played last Sunday.

Canfell-Mendes da Costa 1-0
Bird-Song 1-0
Fuller-Reitmans 0.5-0.5
Capilitan-Zirdum 1F-0F
Murray-Cabilin 0-1 (pending appeal)

Now, you may be wondering what all this "pending appeal" is all about. A very reliable informant, usually anyway, tells me that it has to do with some disagreement over Rule 8.4 of the Laws of Chess. That is all we'll say for now.

Next Sunday, I hope to bring you a game or two and some photography. Plus a top player annotates! So stay tuned.

Parr Pounces

I've been so busy I nearly missed it. Our international readers must forgive us now, but it really is time once again to pause a moment and turn to local politics.

Former Olympiad captain and ex-member of numerous FIDE commissions, Peter Parr, sent another series of roundhouse kicks to the NSWCA. In response to the NSWCA president's assertion that:

The NSWCA isn’t affiliated with FIDE. In fact FIDE couldn’t care less about the NSWCA, or any other State Association for that matter. FIDE only recognises National Federations.
Mr Parr wrote:

Firstly in each of these two FIDE Rated events it was a requirement of entry for all the players to be current financial members of the NSWCA . . . The governing body of chess in NSW is NSWCA which is affiliated to the Australian Chess Federation - affiliated to FIDE.

Then later added:

As a very minimum surely the NSWCA council must insist that (A) copies of the games which were not played at the venue (presumably not too many) under the supervision of the arbiter be made available. This will stop speculation about possible other unplayed games.

(B) The NSWCA should also write to the arbiter and receive a written response and (C) also receive a written response from St George Leagues Club Chess Club.

I think now that we can pretty much see that Parr is well and truly preparing for that coup de grace. The problem for the NSWCA is that whatever they say and however they respond will simply make them look like a bunch of calcifying bureaucrats. But of course, they'll try. If the NSWCA were Muhammad Ali, I can imagine them dancing around the ring, doing the moonwalk going forwards in a bent over position. Ever the contortionists.

Let's hope that sanity finally prevails within our once honoured Association and that they simply must do as they are told.

Wang Hao Leads

Grandmaster Wang Hao, from China, who earlier this year won the 7th Dubai Open, is in the lead after 7 rounds of the Malaysian Open. He is on 6.5 points. Close behind on 5.5 points each are the Pinoy players, IM Gonzales and GM Antonio.

Australian GM Rogers is a half point further back on 5. Brian and Lee are on 2 and 3 points respectively.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Kasparov Detained

Allegedly under instructions from the big wigs to give as much trouble to Gary, a Russian border guard was overheard as saying: "How can I stop a Russian citizen from entering Russia?"

This evening (AEST), the Russian newswires are reporting that Gary Kasparov was apparently detained at the Moscow Airport as he was returning from a trip to Croatia. Everyone else in his party got through OK. For more, read the report here.


In this Observer Magazine article last Sunday, Kasparov talks of chess and, of course, his current passion - politics. When asked about his long term aim, the former World Champion replied:

Well, it might be that I find myself very useful . . . It might be that I offer my vision to the country, whether it's accepted or not. I think Russia virtually has to be rewritten from scratch.

Chess with Bite!

No, it's not chess you play in the dark (although you probably could for atmospherics) - but another chess variant. Based on Bram Stoker's "Dracula" - this variant is an invention of one Michael Goeller. He's the blogger over at The Kenilworthian. A blog definitely worth reading!

Yita Who?

The Western Australian Chess Championships is presently being contested by 35 players. It is a 9-round swiss with a time control similar to that of the Australian Championships - 90 mins + 1 min per move. With one round to go, Yita Choong is in the lead by a half a point. Yita's performance has got everybody excited. Rated only 1633, he downed a string of highly rated players including the top seed Haydn Barber (2143).

Games from that event are available here. Also, CAWA's latest newsletter has just been released. Let me say that CAWA's efforts in terms of maintaining a modest website deserves our utmost congratulations. The site is informative and, for me anyway, fairly user friendly.

Malaysian Open Update

After 5 rounds, 16 year old grandmaster, Wang Hao, is in the sole lead by half a point. Just behind him are Koneru, the Pinoys, Mariano and Antonio, as well as GM Ian Rogers of Australia. Recent visitor to Australia, Jesse Sales, is still within striking distance on 3 points. The Joneses are faring slightly worse with Brian on 2 and Lee on 1.5 points.

More details can be found here.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Behind the Camera

Madonna's husband, Guy Ritchie, is known to be a chess fan. How else to settle a rivalry with another film personality but with a game of chess?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

2005 NSW Championships

The annual NSW State Chess Championships began this afternoon. Unfortunately, due to work and study commitments - yours truly will not be able to cover the first round. But I do hope to be there for all other rounds. As usual, we'll bring you games, photos and exciting commentary.

One thing I'm praying for is that the NSWCA bureaucrats actually remember to lay out the carbon-copied scoresheets so we can easily keep track of games. (Speaking of the NSWCA, it looks like the webmaster has changed the colour of their website).

This year's top section is rather weak. Here are the ten players in the round robin.

Greg Canfell
Max Fuller
Andrew Bird
Raymond Song
Romeo Capilitan
Ivan Zirdum
Quentin Reitmans
Bruce Murray
Jeff Cabilin
Alex Mendes Da Costa

My money is on FM Greg Canfell, a four-time winner of the event including a trifecta between '96-'98. However, I think fellow fide master, Max Fuller will surely give Greg a good challenge. Max is himself a multiple title-holder having won it for the first time in 1965!

Despite his powerful performance in last year's World Youth's - I doubt if Raymond Song possesses enough stamina over the long haul. With more maturity, OTB and mentally, Ray will definitely be stronger in years to come. As for the rest, I do like Andrew Bird and I reckon he'll nip at the heels of Canfell and Fuller right throughout. In last year's edition, Andrew beat Canfell in their individual match-up and completed the event in equal third (5/9). Da Costa is a fast improver but possibly needs more work against stronger opposition. Last year he won the second section on 8/9 and finished with the same number of points on first in this year's Junior Masters. It will be interesting to see how he handles a sustained 2000+ opposition.

The others are highly seasoned players but I doubt if they'll pose a serious challenge. For the sake of solidarity, I'll say a prayer or two for my compatriots - Capilitan and Cabilin.

An Australian Connection

This is belated news but I wanted to mention it for it's Aussie connection. About a week ago, Vadim Milov (SUI) and Joel Benjamin (USA) won the 2005 US Open. Chessers Down Under will recall that Milov is the winner of the 1999 Australian Open. He actually stayed in the same motel with a bunch of us guys in some place called Buderim. I'll never forget that. Late night blitz, some player from Mongolia who came with hardly a cent to his name and a famous arbiter who got kicked out by the motel owners.

And, of course, Joel Benjamin won the Saintly Cup in 1999. The event was part of Jason Lyons' QVB Chess Festival - an unforgettable occassion in Australian chess history. I should add that I played Benjamin in the simul exhibition. I nearly had him!

Festivals Galore

August is a busy time for Asia-based players. Yesterday, the Malaysian Chess Festival commenced with the first 2 rounds of their annual open event. Follow the links and you'll see photos of Rogers and the Jones family. The entire festival will run for 22 days and incorporates the zonals for zone 3.3 as well as a teams event. Definitely worth a visit for next year I think!

In round 1, Rogers was held to a draw by Koneru Hawsa (IND) rated 2235.

Over in the middle-east, the Abu Dhabi Chess Festival is presently running. The Master Tournament section features 23 grandmasters. After round 6, GM Ashot Anastasian and GM Goloshchapov share the lead on 5 points.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Chess Blogs

A new addition to my right sidebar is a list of other chess blogs I read. The top 2 are really my faves. 'DG' over at Boylston makes regular updates and often has interesting links in his entries. Whereas Mig's Daily Dirt is simply essential reading.

If you know of other blogs, please do tell. I'd be interested in checking them out. Or if you're a blogger and would like to cross-link, then drop me a line too. All I'll say is, your blog must interest me.

Alfresco Chess

Here's an idea. Might give it a try on one of these sunny Sydney days. Though, of course, there's always the regular spot at Hyde Park.

Grandmaster Gangsters

In an episode reminiscent of Fischer's complaint against the Russians - Carlos Illardo reports of grandmasters ganging up on one Gaston Needleman. If this was the case, it seems that the tournament format only had itself to blame for it was pretty much designed to discard a participant as quickly as possible - at least, according to Mig.

Yet later we find, from the young Needleman himself, that contrary to Illardo's dramatic account, he believed that there was no collusion at all.

UPDATE: The article has also attracted comment over at the Ottawa Message Boards. Kevin Spraggett had a different take:

If anyone should be criticized for putting the young Needleman into an unfair situation then one should start with the organizers. How could a frail boy resist against a group of the world's strongest GMs until 3 or so in the morning?

And with a little help from Google, Kevin finds that this Carlos Illardo has a rather bad habit.

Friday, August 19, 2005

DIY Chessboards

A couple of times now I've seen this old fella bring along his handmade chessboards to a NSW chess tournament. It's all some sort of traditional Yugoslavian woodworking (or something rather). Very exquisite indeed. But if you fancy a DIY board yourself, David Marks shows you how.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Chess and Growing Up

In this news item from,Orrin Hudson uses chess to teach children responsibility and self-reliance. No doubt chess can teach many 'good' values. But does it also teach, inadvertently perhaps, 'bad' ones - like selfishness?

Outdoor Chess

I suppose for the desperate and banned ones, this is always an option. Found courtesy of the Boylston Chess Club Blog.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Falafel and Chess

After GM Nigel Short's visit to Beirut in June this year, Lebanon is once again in the chessic headlines. This time a couple of guys from the "Club of Creators" are setting out to create what will be the biggest chess board ever. Each square will be 13 x 13 metres and each pawn will measure between 1 and 2.8 metres.

Even Gary Kasparov is reported to have already given moral support. You can read the Daily Star report here.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Publicity Drive

It's all hands on deck across the Tasman. With the Queenstown Chess Classic coming up in January 2006, the kiwis are doing everything they can to talk up the event. Former NZCF President, Peter Stuart, writes about the history of the NZ Championships for

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Matros Wins Rapid

And yet another foreign visitor walks away with a local prize. International Master Alex Matros, from Russia, won the NSW Rapid Play tournament today with a score of 6.5/7. In the seventh round Matros settled for a grandmaster draw against local player, Lee Jones. The director of play wondered, "Did you guys actually play a game?"

IM Alex Matros (2450)

Some forty players contested this year's event. Top seed was the well tanned and current Aussie Champion, Gary Lane (2474). Supporting cast included, Matros (2450 FIDE), Agulto (2285), Chan (2186), Smirnov (2172) and Muljadi (2169) plus a cabal of players also above 2000.

IM Lane is a friendly fella. A genuine gent at the board and never too good to say "hi". But beware anyone who plays him. For let me tell you, all that near-2500 of horsepower will go straight for the jugular. In the fourth round, he went on a rampage making Puzon look like a puppy. And, as if that wasn't enough, in the final round he shut out Pinoy hopes by defeating Ed Agulto in lightning time. The clock was stopped at (Lane) 20:00 - 19:43 (Agulto).

But on this day, the second seed was in hotter form. In the 6th round Matros-Lane match-up, the Russian relied on his trusty 6. Bg5 variation against the KID. Lane had trouble straight out of the opening causing him to solve too many problems and expending too much time. Under enormous pressure, the Aussie eventually succumbed to a brutal fork.

Actually, this 6. Bg5 variation had its first appearance in round 4 against Vladimir Smirnov. And it is the same variation with which Matros vanquished GM Igor Nataf at the Rilton Cup way back in 1999. The opening moves were: 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. h3 O-O 6. Bg5. White will play g2-g4, open up the K-side, castle long and deliver mate. Against Smirnov, Matros finished with a gorgeous Arabian checkmate.

Other notable performers were Kerry Stead, Smirnov and Pedro Kirchnei. Kerry's comeback against Agulto was almost unbelievable. At one point, the Pinoy player looked to be cruising to a sure victory, so I stopped watching. Some minutes later, Kerry suddenly had a battery aimed directly at Agulto's throat. It was over soon after that. Smirnov, on the other hand, was in an aggressive mood all throughout. He spent the day handing out lessons to anyone below 2000. While Kirchnei scored an upset win against City of Sydney Rapid champ, Jason Chan.

Mal Murrell directed the event. He sure had his hands full. Some players seemed a little confused over illegal moves. If a player made an illegal move, could a player claim a win? And Frank Kresinger, again, was in another dispute involving the time control. He wondered why his time kept falling while his opponent's kept increasing. It never seemed to occur to Frank that his opponent was moving fast! Finally, Mal ejected a spectator over the mobile phone rule.

And that was that. For photos of today's event, visit my flickr page or The Kibitzer.

EDIT: The New South Wales Chess Association has now provided a report on their website.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Trailblazing Women

When I read this story I was immediately reminded of our own Evelyn Koshnitsky. I don't know Mrs Koshnitsky - but I am familiar with her achievements. All power to these ladies!

Friday, August 12, 2005

A History of Computer Chess

The Computer History Museum, reputed to be the largest of its kind in the world, is about to celebrate the relationship between computers and chess. The whole exhibit will occupy some 1,000 sq feet and spans five decades computer chess history.

The topic of chess is a fascinating way for visitors of diverse backgrounds to learn about computing history. Chess resonates with the general public as a difficult problem to solve for people and machines alike. From this launching point, visitors can explore some important software concepts—abstract and traditionally challenging topics to explain," said Toole. "For the Museum, this exhibit is our 'opening move' since it serves as a prototype of others that we will develop throughout the next phases of our evolution.
The press release is available here.

Now that's . . .

. . . a playing hall. No need to understand the language but check out the seats and boards. Wouldn't you love to play there?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

IM in Sydney Rapid

Dr Vladimir Smirnov informs me that a 2400+ Russian IM will attend this event on the weekend. Unfortunately, Volodya won't tell me the name. Apparently this is to avoid preparation. We shall see.

Warren "Wagga" Gardner

According to this article, Warren is a chess legend up in Townsville way. But if anyone could intimidate him, it was the Super Doctor.

Indian Woes Continue

P T Ummer Koya, Honorary Secretary of the All India Chess Federation (AICF), is a man under sieged. News Today reports that three Indian chess associations have filed suits in the Madras High Court in order for Koya to be removed from his post. The charge? Various acts of "misfeasance and malfeasance".

In response, the High Court has directed the AICF head honcho, N Srinavasan, to convene a new meeting for the purpose of electing new office bearers.

A history of the AICF's troubles are available here and here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Russian Decline

The once mighty Russia finished 14th place in the men's section of the recently concluded European Chess Teams Championships in Gothenburg, Sweden. This poor result was only partly salved by the 3rd placing of the Russian women, led by Kosteniuk.

During the tournament, the Russian men suffered loses to France (1.5 - 2.5) in round 3, Netherlands (1 - 3) in round 6 and Hungary (1.5 - 2.5) in the seventh round. What led to this miserable performance? In an interview with Kommersant, Russian Chess Federation head, Alexander Bakh had no clear answers.

I can only say that it is hardy a matter of coach’s miscounts or blunders in training. Miscounts occur only when the first place slips through your fingers because of some circumstances. But when the team ends up 14th – that’s another thing.

Former World Champion Boris Spassky had a different take: short of money.

The English lingo report is available here.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Once More With Feeling

He's at it again. In NIC no. 5, he occupied the entire "Your Move" section with one letter. And now, GM Vadim Milov, 1999 Australian Open winner, has sent another one of his long....long open letters to Chessbase.

You can read the whole letter here - all 1,921 words of it.

Control Freaks!

In a stunning revelation, we learned today that the highly respected director of play, organiser and Olympiad representative (for PNG), Shaun Press, has been denied membership into the NSWCA! When pressed why this is so, the best that the NSWCA president could offer was, "[T]he NSWCA deemed him [Shaun Press] a (sic) ACT player and as such accepting his membership was not appropriate."

The situation is at once disgraceful and risible that well known personality, Brian Jones, was moved to remark, "It is a situation created by control freaks."

More NSW Blues

It is my melancholy duty to inform my New South Wales readers that the much-loved and admired Kerry Stead has decided to pack up and leave our beautiful state. Kerry will be moving to Victoria at the end of August. When asked why such a move, Kerry replied, "[I] need a change". We wish Kerry all the best and we do hope to see him back sooner than later.

Below is a game I played against Kerry and it is definitely one of my best, albeit a lost one. I hope you enjoy it.

1998 NSW State Championships
Rosario, Amiel
Stead, Kerry

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 e6 5. Bg5 dxc4 6. e4 b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Nxg5 hxg5 10. Bxg5 Nbd7 11. g3 Bb7 12. exf6 c5 13. d5 Qb6 14. Bg2 O-O-O 15. O-O b4 16. Rb1 The Uhlmann Variation. I believe that this was just around after the Solo - Rogers playoff for the Australian Championships title. In that match, this 16. Rb1 move was featured I think twice (I can't remember exactly). So, being a regular copycat, I decided to play it too. 16...Qa6 17. dxe6 Bxg2 18. e7 Bxe7 19. fxe7 Rdg8 20. Re1 Qc6 21. Nb5 Qxb5 22. Kxg2 Qc6+ 23. Kg1 Nb6 24. Qg4+ Kb7 25. Qf4 Qg6 26. Bf6 (26. h4 Rc8 27. Rbd1 White has an overwhelming position. All Black can do is defend helplessly). 26...Nd5 27. Qf3

After 27. Qf3

(27. Qxc4!? Nxf6 28. Qb5+ Ka8 29. Qc6+ Kb8 30. Qxc5 Rc8 31. Qxb4+ Ka8 (31... Kc7 will lead to a mate in 7) 32. Qd6 Qh5 33. h4 27...Qxf6 28. Qxd5+ Kb6 29. Re5 Rc8 30. Rbe1 Rhe8 31. Rf5?? (31. Qxc4 Qc6 (31...Rc7 32. a4 bxa3 33. Qb3+ Ka6 34. Qa4+) 32. Qxf7) 31...Qxb2 32. Qxc4 Qc3 33. Qe4 Qd4 34. Qxd4 cxd4 35. Rd5 Rc7 36. Rxd4 a5 37. h4 Rcxe7 38. Rxe7 Rxe7 39. Rd6+ Kb5 40. Rf6 a4 41. h5 b3 At this point, I suddenly realised that I was in big trouble! What have I done?

After 41...b3

42. axb3 axb3 43. Rf3 Kc4 44. Rf4+ Kc3 45. Rf6 Rb7 46. Rc6+ Kd2 47. Rd6+ Kc2 48. Rc6+ Kb1 49. h6 f5 50. Rg6 b2 51. Rg7 Rb8 52. h7 Ka2 53. Rg8 b1=Q+ 54. Kh2 Qb2 55. Kh3 f4 56. gxf4 Qb3+ 57. Rg3 Qe6+ 58. Kg2 Qd5+ 0-1

To play through this game, click here.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Sad State of Affairs

Is how Peter Parr characterised the Grade Match competition fiasco in his column today in the SMH. Mr Parr's remarks are further to his comments on Chesschat where he had earlier stated:
Four teams qualified for the round robin final. Sydney Academy caught up St. George with two matches (8 games) remaining. St. George contacted the NSWCA with their suggestions for a better way to pair the teams in the last two rounds. The NSWCA agreed. [emphasis mine]
There is nothing wrong with making a suggestion. The problem in this instance is that the NSWCA then proceeded to make an ex parte decision to change the draw. That is, without properly consulting with the other clubs. As a result the Sydney Academy of Chess team withdrew from the competition.

Let's hope that next year, and for the sake of chess, the NSWCA will learn to communicate better.

Friday Night Chess

Chess on a Friday night? Come join us in the Spanish Club. It's located near the corner of George and Liverpool Streets in Sydney. The sangria flows freely all night long. Enjoy some tapas and, if you're up for it, you can always join the natives in some sexy salsa dancing. The Spanish Club is probably the most underrated joint in Sydney - but definitely the coolest!

So Talented

It almost went forever unnoticed. My young compatriot, Wesley So, finished equal first on 8.5 points in the boys' under-12 section of the recently concluded World Youth Championships. After that tournament, master So then travelled to the 9th Nice Open where he secured draws against considerably stronger opposition. So ended on a tie for 9th-24th places.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Tournaments Down Under 2006

Chess die hards down under are set for a busy period between December 2005 and January 2006. Aussies can attend the Australian Chess Championships, rest for a week, then hop on over to New Zealand to play in Queenstown.The two events look set to be well organised - with each tournament being managed by highly respected and experienced gentlemen. The Aussies have former ACF Prez, Graeme Gardiner while the kiwis have no less than Grandmaster Murray Chandler at the helm.

For those in the northern hemisphere, why not come down for a mix of chess, sun, surf and maybe a bungee jump or two? I'm heading for Queenstown. Should be fun.

My Coach Is Kaspy

In this year's New In Chess no. 2, the resident book reviewer, Jonathan Rowson, raised the question of Kasparov's involvement in the My Great Predecessors series. Then in the next issue, Andy Soltis raised the temperature a little by pointing to questionable proofreading (or lack of it). These criticisms are really not new at all - with the first shots fired at MGP by the likes of Edward Winter and John Watson.

But I don't want to dwell too much on the MGP debate. I mention that only because in two recent works for DVD, what you see is what you get. And it is all Kasparov. The "umms", the "aahhs" and all the awkward silent moments when Kaspy searches for an appropriate English expression - they are all there. These two DVDs are on the Queens Gambit Declined as well as the Sicilian Najdorf.

Of course it is impossible to learn everything about an opening by just viewing a DVD. When I finally decided to spend my dollars on these two, I was more than a little sceptical. If I don't see lines of variations, what I am supposed to learn, I asked myself. But the Kasparov series are definitely worth a buy. There is something very special about the world's best showing such affection, not only for the openings in question, but to chess in general. We are presented with Kasparov's take on old games, the ideas, strategies, the tactics. It's quite breathtaking, just beautiful. And even if you did not learn anything, which is doubtful, you must simply own these two gems of chess "literature" just for the sake of having them.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Fifteen "Clean" Online Games

The Chinese Ministry of Culture has published their 15 recommended games that are suitable for minors to play online. This move is a response to online games be linked to delinquency and anti-social behaviour.

Read the People's Daily report here.

Chess and Music

When I decided to post something about chess and music, I had in mind the likes of Sydney player, Jason Chan, who used to listen to some sort of music during tournament play. It always made me wondered what the music did for them. Was it to calm the nerves like music does for surgeons during surgery? I never found out and I should ask Mr Chan when I get a chance.

Anyway, a quick search on Google revealed an interesting discovery. John Greschak has written what appears to be a fairly comprehensive list of items that connects chess and music. "Chess" the musical is featured as well as some lesser known works. Pretty interesting!

Friday, August 05, 2005

A Good Move

In the latest Australian Chess Federation email bulletin, the ACF calls for sponsors of the 2006 Grand Prix competition. Potential suitors are advised to contact the GP Director, Brian Jones.

All well and good. But wait just a minute. Isn't that Brian Jones - proprietor of Australian Chess Enterprises? Crikey, it is! I couldn't help thinking, would Mr Jones countenance such a notion as Chess Discount Sales sponsoring the event? Perish this delicious thought, please!

Anyway, that's a "!!" to BJ. Why sponsor when you can direct?

RP Chess Guru?

More on Sales . . .

The August issue of Bayanihan News, a dual language Filipino community newspaper in Australia, reports of FM Sales exploits down under. Sadly, a few important details are incorrect. For example, yours truly has suddenly become "Mr Fernando". And Rowena Morris of Melbourne, who is acknowledge in the article for providing Jesse with accomodation, became "Rowena Moyle".

But Jesse, at least, didn't forget to thank the most important VIP: "...and most of all to my wife Lorna for her unstinting love and support throughout my chess career." Now there's a perfect chess sheila for you.

More New Links

This blog gets a bigger and bigger audience. Today, the Boylston Chess Club Weblog just found their way to our pages. BCC has some fantastic links that are certainly well worth reading. I think I might follow their example and create a link with other chess blogs. For beginners, check out the Patzer's Mind.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

More Anand and Doom

Here's a couple of more items from the newswires. First some guy's apparently created what could be the most video RAM intensive chess game ever using the Doom 3 engine. I have no idea how to use that source code - but I'm sure, a couple of our more geeky brethren do.

And here's a few words from Anand:
Parents and coaches should make a child enjoy chess and enjoy the competition. At no time should a title be the end or means to the end. It should not be forced on the child.
More of Anand here.

Kasparov Predicts Crisis

In an interview with the UK's, The Times, Kasparov said:
Next year the country will go through a political crisis which will decide the future of the country . . . We’re talking about mass protests.
And later in the article added:
Unlike my critics, I go to the Russian regions . . . It’s the only way to learn the situation in my country because the media is under the Kremlin’s strict control.
The article is still available online. Just search for it using "Kasparov" as the search term. also covers the same here.

Anand on Luck and Chess

Here's a brief interview by with Vishy Anand. On the upcoming San Luis World Champs:

Of course it will be a very important event. I think all eight of us will be training our guns for the event. I will start training soon. Since it is a tough double round robin I think each round will be really important

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

French Stories

At first I thought it was just typical Birkenstock-wearing babyboomer parents whinging again. Now it seems they had a legitimate complaint after all. For Aussies, the initial reports came in via Canberra's prima donna, Mrs Jenni Oliver. Then a Canadian Fed official, Hugh Brodie, pointed us to As you can see, even the normally sedate Canadians are all over themselves.

And now, courtesy of Mig's "Daily Dirt" - this and this.

Just for the sake of . . .

. . . owning them is why I buy most of my chess books. Openings, endgames, tourn books, etc. I've got the Muller and Lamprecht book on endings but I have never read it! Every day I remind myself to pick it up and maybe learn a trick or two. But too bloody lazy. Right now, the idea of possessing the thing is perfectly satisfying.

By the way, I walked into the Delizia cafe the other day (it's a cafe which happens to also have a bookstore inside) and guess what I found? A perfectly preserved Australian Chess Into the 80's and signed by the man himself! I'm going back tomorrow to buy it. It's always good to own two!


Earlier this month we learned that the 'Gong's Matthew Sweeney found himself squarely in the sights of a pretty pissed off NSWCA.'s a lesson for us all. Don't mess with the NSWCA!

In their monthly meeting last week, the Council decided to ban Mr Sweeney from all NSWCA events until 2007!

A distraught Matthew had this to say:

The NSWCA can:
process dodgy results, axe the Purdy Memorial, piss off its voluteer new letter writer, ruin the Open division grade comp by "fiddling" with the draw, sit on $80k and do sweet FA with it, rip off clubs who's members are not in the NSWCA, not book the Rose Bay venue, nobble the ACF, cause a 10% yearly drop in membership, regularly start its events an hour late, cram 100 players into the NSW Sardine Open, cause the biggest clubs to plan to "go it alone", do nothing to bring juniors into the senior ranks...BUT the NSWCA cannot tollerate Matthew Sweeney abusing it.

We are hoping to see an exact citation of those specific abuses so the public can decide if this was a legit action or just a witch hunt. Watch this space.

We can discuss this here.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

£5 Million Chess Set

A British company, The Jewel Royale, is commissioning what they consider the world's "most expensive and luxurious game set in the world". The set will be made in gold and platinum and will include "diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sapphires and pearls".

For those without a spare £5M, you can always settle for the £20,ooo replica.

Click here to register your interest.

Monday, August 01, 2005

A Vengeful Nimzo

The following is the all important fifth round match-up between Sales and Bjelobrk at the recent ANU Open in Canberra. Just a week earlier, these two crossed swords in Fairfield where Bjelobrk proved victorious. So in this game, the Pinoy player basically had two incentives: dollars for the missus and revenge!

My thanks to Jesse for being kind enough to give a few quick annotations.

Annotations by FM Jesse Sales
2005 ANU Canberra Open
Bjelobrk, Igor
Sales, Jesse Noel

1. c4 Nf6 2. d4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 Never in my entire chess career have I used the Nimzo-Indian Defence. Just trying to play aggresively in the opening stage. 4. f3 c5 5. d5 exd5 6. cxd5 O-O 7. e4 d6 Taking the pawn on e4 is a mistake because after 7...Nxe4 8.fxe4 Qh4 9.Kd2 Qxe4 10.Qf3 stops the pressure. 8. Nge2 a6 9. Ng3 Re8 preventing the f4 push and undermining the center 10. Be2 Nbd7 11. Be3 If 11. Nf5 Ne5 12. g4 Nexg4 13. fxg4 Bxc3+ 14. bxc3 Nxe4 and a strong attack will follow. 11... b5 12. Qd2 c4 13. O-O Bc5 14. Bxc5 Nxc5 15. Rfb1 Bd7 16. b4 cxb3 17. axb3 b4 18. Nd1 a5 19. Ne3 This is the move I waited for before executing h7-h5 . The knight on g3 buys time to undermine f5 and the white queen will penetrate the kingside via g5 19...h5 20. Nc4 h4 21. Nf1 Qc7 22. Qf4 This is where white is unquestionably in the defensive mode.

After 22. Qf4

22...Nxd5 23. exd5 If 23.Qxd6 Qxd6 24.Nxd6 Nc3 25.Nxe8 Nxe2+ 26.Kf2 Nc3 wins 23...Rxe2 24. Qxh4 Bb5 25. Ng3 Bxc4 26. bxc4 26. Qxc4 Re3 27. Nf5 Ree8 28. Qg4 g6 29. Qg3 Nxb3 26... Qe7 27. Qxe7 Rxe7 28. Nf5 Re2 29. Rxb4 axb4 30. Rxa8+ Kh7 31. Rb8 b3 32. Kf1

After 32. Kf1

32. h4 b2 33. Kh2 Nd3 34. Nxd6 Re1 35. Nxf7 b1=Q 32... Rd2 33. Nxd6 b2 34. Ne4 Nxe4 35.fxe4 Rd1+ 36. Ke2 b1=Q 37. Rxb1 Rxb1 38. d6 Kg8 Resigns If 39.d7 Rb8 40.c5 Kf8 41.c6 Ke7 42.c7 Rb2+ 43.Kd3 Kxd7 wins 0-1