Monday, October 31, 2005

13 Rounds in Turin

A couple of months ago FIDE canvassed the opinion of member federations on the Turin organisers' proposals to reduce the number of Olympiad rounds from 14 to 13.

In this communique, post San Luis, FIDE agreed with the organisers' proposal. It seems that most federations apparently supported the decision. Quite surprising! Surely excising one whole round is a drastic decision especially considering that it may affect standings and norm posibilities. Also, did not the Italians take into account their own holidays? It would be interesting to know which nations supported the Turin organisers' proposal.

What was the NCFP position? What about the ACF? And the USCF (for our American readers)?

Young and Old Tied

Max Fuller, 3-time champ, and young gun Andrew Bird finished their 2005 NSW title campaigns on 7/9 each. Thus they go into a play off sometime later this year. For Fuller, it surely is an outstanding performance especially considering his recent experiences in health matters as the NSWCA informs us. I'm going to make a bet that Fuller will win the play-off. If you haven't met Max, then you're missing out on something. He is a fine gentleman and great story teller. Go Max!

But I had absolutely no idea that Andrew Bird only took up chess 8 years ago! At the rate this guy's going, he could very well be a titled player in no time. Then I can say, "hey, I beat that guy". Yep, I did, years ago, when he was much weaker. All the best to Andrew.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Enter Queenstown 2006

Organiser of the Queenstown 2006 tournament wishes to remind everyone that tomorrow, 31 October, is the last day on which to enter the tournament at a lower price of NZ$150. From 1 November, you need to add another NZ$30. So enter now. Details can be found here.

From the list of latest entries, it looks like an Australian invasion spearheaded by GM Rogers. This really is set to be an exciting event right in the heart of the aventure capital of the world!

See you there.

$100K Sponsorship

David Cordover of Chess Kids, has recently announced what they claim to be sponsorship in the amount of $100,000.

"Wow", was my first thought. I had no idea they made so much money. I think I might have to switch careers.

Now no doubt there will be some sceptical readers. And many of them will want an itemised list of payments (Melbourne's David Beaumont has done just that). Fair enough I say. After all, chess, 5 zeros and a dollar sign are rare company - at least in the local scene.

But at least Mr Cordover gets to the point:
We hope that through our support and involvement with the chess community we will be rewarded with a stronger and more active chess community as well building the Chess Kids brand and customer loyalty for our business and our franchisees. We hope also to secure a greater market share and improve profitability for our shareholders to be able to increase our support of chess in the future.
Did he say "shareholders"? I've gotta get me one of them stocks!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Strongest Chess City

From 31 October to 11 November, the World Team Championship will be held in the Israeli immigrant town of Beer Sheva. There is no more appropriate a place for such an event. Beer Sheva has a higher percentage of grandmasters per capita than any other city in the world.

This reputation began with Eliahu Levant - the ex chess coach of the Spartak Chess Club, in Leningrad.

Read Stephen Farrell from The Times Online.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Kasparov in Court

But the chances of Gary playing in Mtel is unlikely given his political ambitions. Moscow Times reports that the former World Champion has "filed a case against the Russian government at the European Court of Human Rights over alleged irregularities during State Duma elections in 2003".

Says Kasparov:
People in Russia do not believe courts. For them, Strasbourg is often the only hope. They hope that somewhere out there is an institution that will help them.
Poor Gary. I can't help thinking: with a single careless blunder, he could very well end up in the cross-hairs of his enemies. I hope not! But how tragic that will be? Good luck to him I say.

An Interview with Topalov

Hardly a day goes by when Veselin Topalov is not featured by the Sofia News Agency. Yesterday, they had an interview with their latest favourite son. Here, the San Luis winner tells us that he is "definitely very aggressive".

When asked what his favourite piece was: "My favourite pieces are my own pieces - no matter black or white. The ones I have left to play with - those are my favourite".

And for next year's MTel, the organisers have invited the now retired Gary Kasparov.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Drama Queen

While my good mate Peter Parr has set his eyes on the NSWCA, my other mate, Brian Jones, seems to have well and truly set his sights on the bigger fish - the Australian Chess Federation. The attacks so vicious that ACF webmaster, Paul Broekhuyse, could do no better a defense than to call Mr Jones a "drama-queen".

I think to myself, what has BJ been eating? In the last few days he has delivered blow after blow that has basically sent the ACF officialdom reeling. Take this uppercut:

I am accusing it [the ACF] of being secretive beacuse (sic) it does not having (sic) the ability to be productive and to easily communicate with the chess world.

Followed up with this left hook:

The Council appears to have developed into a talking shop for State reps, many of whom have little high level business experience.

And there you have it: the Australian Chess Enterprises could one day be running the Australian Chess Federation. It all begins with this.

Hail The King

In Bulgaria, they now call Veselin "The Chess King". This week, he was met by the country's Members of Parliament and received a brand new Volvo S40. I suppose any day now they'll probably also give him the keys to Sofia!

And speaking of the Bulgarian capital, it is possible that it will be the next battleground for the next Championship.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Smarts Through Chess

New Fed Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke, is an intelligent man. I mean this guy could very well be the patron saint of Asian students - you know, that mob who have their faces stuck in books 24/7.

Ben graduated summa cum laude from Harvard and, four years later, finished his doctorate at MIT. All this was followed by teaching stints in a couple of Ivy Leagues and NYU. So how do you suppose he got there?

Says the Christian Science Monitor:

As a child, he honed his analytical mind by playing chess and studying Hebrew at the local synagogue. He was just "an outgoing and well-rounded" kid growing up in the small town of Dillon, S.C.

Only in Australia

This is just hilarious. And I do owe this to Boylston and the Mechanical Turkey blogs.

MU is hosting a "Chess Drinking tournament". This reminds me of Frank Gerdell telling me once that there's some tournament in Germany where they actually stop after every round and drink beer. That's my kinda tournament.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

On the cheap

Can't afford a vinyl board and pieces? Well, just print this pdf file and fold away. Found courtesy of Paper Forest.

Master PR Man

What ever may one think of Mr Cordover, proprietor of Chess Kids, he is certainly doing a hec of a lot better than the ACF in the PR stakes. Today he appears in Victoria's Herald Sun.

Cordover says,
Typically, people don't think of chess as a sport, but it's become a real sporting event . . . Nearly 300 kids in one room playing chess is a really electric atmosphere.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Kasparov Divided by 20

And that's how the modest FIDE champion, Veselin Topalov, described himself to the New York Times.

On his preparations for his black games:
As black I got stable positions . . . For me, the most important thing was that I did not get inferior positions as black.
As for a match with Kramnik, I believe Topa is right to decline it. Man on man matches are relics of the past. Their continued practice only serve to perpetuate the problem of disunity. A true world championship for the 21st century shouldn't be the exclusive contest of the two noisiest players and their financiers. The San Luis experiment is partly the way to go.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

In the service

The things you do for love. Love of chess, that is. I had no idea our friend Goran was in the army. Yet he manages to still find time for his fine blog - with news and results of tournaments from around the world.

And for those in the war zone, there is always time for a game or two.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Chess in the Undergrounds

The so-called Jamaican Chess Champion, who spent much of last year travelling around Australia, has recently been spotted in Europe. International Master Javier Gil, Spain, informs me that Pablo Williams (our Champ) was in Berlin earlier this year.

And this month, he made his way to Barcelona where he has set up his little show in the Metro. According to this article, it seems Pablo has now relegated himself to Jamaica's No. 3!

Below is a photo I took of him playing along George St in Sydney. His opponent is Oliver Koeller, of Germany, who had the pleasure of upsetting GM Rogers at the 2004 ANU Open.

Not Boring

In NIC no. 6, Pelletier reports that US grandmaster Nakamura is already bored studying the games of Smylsov. So one day I decided to haul myself down to the local chess shop and pick up Smyslov's 125 Selected Games.

When inspecting the book, the store owner, Peter Parr, informs me of Smyslov-Fuller from Hastings, 1968.

Mr Nakamura may be bored studying the games of his predecessors but the game (presented below) is certainly not boring. Against the Australian, the one-time World Champion was at his tactical best.

Hastings, 1968
Smyslov, Vasily
Fuller, Maxwell

1. Nf3 g6 2. d4 Nf6 3. c4 Bg7 4. Nc3 O-O 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 d6 7. e3 Nbd7 8. Be2 e5 9. dxe5 dxe5 10. O-O c6 11. b4

After 11. b4
Smylov writes: "White's strategic plan is clear. He intends to advance his pawn to c5, gaining a strong point at d6. and then direct his knight there (Nd2-c4-d6). In this case the open d-file becomes an important attacking line of communications." 11...a5 12. a3 axb4 13. axb4 Rxa1 14. Qxa1 g5 15. Bg3 Nh5 16. Nd2 Nxg3 17. hxg3 Nb6 18. Rd1 Be6 19. Nce4 Qc7 20. Nc5 Ra8 21. Nxe6 Qe7 22. Qb1 Qxe6 23. c5 Nd5 24. Bc4 Qg4 25. Ne4 Nc7

After 25. Nc7
26. Nf6+! Bxf6 27. Qg6+ Bg7 28. Qxf7+ Kh8? 29. Rd7 1-0

The two later had a rematch at the Politiken Cup, 1980; again, Smyslov was too strong.

Friday, October 21, 2005


Now that's dedication for you. This reminds me of how the English lost their American colonies. It was because some British general just couldn't take his attention off the chessboard. True story!

Halloween Chess

The American tradition of Halloween makes people do all sorts of strange and wonderful things. For Phil Lehr, he built a 2,500-square-foot chess board. ''The pawns are ghosts; one side white and the other side black," Lehr was quoted.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Indonesian Ambitions

In yet another sign of their resurgent ambitions, the Indonesian Chess Federation is taking another step to producing their first ever WGM. The country will host the US$7,000 Jababeka Women's International Chess Tournament. Six locals will front up against foreigners who will include WGM Nana Alexandria (Georgia) and WIM Jana Krivec (Slovenia).

This news comes courtesy of Jakarta Post.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Bloody Kibitzers!

Our friend Leon should try his game at Hyde Park (or anywhere else where kibitzers are around). "Spectators", as he calls them, just drive me nuts. Some even smoke dope right in front of you. The worse kind are really those who can't take their own medicine.
Just try kibitzing during their games. These guys will froth at their mouths blaming your for all sorts of things. "Yeah, blame your mom", I tell 'em. Bastards!

Dragon Chess

And here is another chess variant - Dragon Chess. It sounds like the familiar game except that there is apparently an extra piece, the Dragon, and the whole thing is played over 100 squares. One-hundred squares?'s hard enough on the 64!

The new player - called the Dragon - is second in power to the Queen and sits on the far side of each Castle. Like the Queen, the Dragon may move in any direction but advances up to three squares at a time in line. All other players remain in their traditional positions with their normal powers.

The extra piece expands the traditional chessboard from 64 to 100 squares, with additional fields of 12 squares flanking each side. Four extra pawns guard the Dragons at the set-up.
More here.

Best Actor for Chess Movie

Veteran Aussie actor Stuart Wagstaff has won the Best Actor gong for his 5-minute stint in a short, "The Chess Set". According to this report, it may yet turn out to be an error by the NY International Independent Film & Video Festival.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Polgar Story

So Judit Polgar finished last in Argentina with 4.5 points. Put it down to poor form, maybe bad food, lack of sun (some kibitzer on ICC said that she needed a tan, bad); whatever it is, Judit just had once of those tournaments. Ranked number 8 in the world, she is clearly above most men players. Still, she's a rarity amongst the best. How did she get there?

In this lengthy article, Psychology Today discusses exactly this question. Carlin Flora calls it "The Grandmaster Experiment".

See also: Breaking Through, Queen of the King's Game, Judit Polar: The Princess of Chess

Testing For Chess

Making the search for the next Bobby Fischer much easier, Ognjen Amidzic believes that a simple test can determine if a child is going to be a future master or be better off taking up checkers.

Speaking to Psychology Today: "Chess is a great hobby for children," he says. "I just don't want people to waste their lives training for something they won't be able to do."

Read the full article here.

Cheater Chessers

Some years ago England's Bill Hartston wrote How to Cheat at Chess. And I tell you what, I reckon it must surely have its following - from patzers to masters. Last weekend, I saw some FM use his two bishops to capture and recapture on the same square. Now, the Brainpoo blogger reckons cheating in chess definitely OK.

Now, now my dear readers. Don't be distracted by those links on his right sidebar.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A Bird Lucky Flee

Proving my prediction wrong, Alex Mendes da Costa drew with Andrew Bird yesterday at the NSW State Championships. But it was a draw that, I suppose, was a rather bitter one for Alex for he was surely winning at several points. For example, in the following position, with Alex (white) to move, find the winning maneouvre.

Andrew Bird
Alex Mendes da Costa

The game continued 51. Ke3 h4 52. Nc8+ Kc7 53. Kf3 g5 54. Nd6 g4+ 55. Ke3 Ra3+ 56. Kd4 h3 57. Rc8+ Kxd6 58. Rh8 Rxa7 59. Rh6+ Kc7 60. Ke3 Ra4 61. Kf2 Ra2+ 62. Kg1 Kd7 63. Rh4 Rg2+ 64. Kh1 Ke6 65. Rxh3 Ra2 66. Rh5 Kf6 67. Kg1 Kg6 68. Rb5 Re2 69. Rc5 Kf6 70. Ra5 Re5 71. Rxe5 Kxe5 72. Kg2 Kf4 73. Kf2 Ke4 74. Kg2 Kf5 75. Kg3 Kg5 76. Kg2 Kh4 77. Kh2 g3+ 78. Kg2 Kg4 79. Kg1 Kf3 80. Kf1 g2+ 81. Kg1 Kg3 {Game drawn by mutual agreement} 1/2-1/2

Andrew Bird maintains his half point lead, on 6 points, from his nearest rivals, Canfell and Fuller; the latter two will play each other in the next round.

In my old age

I really have no business thinking about my old age. Still too many things to do, places to see and a game to master.

But when you see something like this, you think - man, that's the life.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Plaster-filled Eggshell Gambit

The what gambit?

In 1944, Julien Levy invited a group of artists for a chess themed exhibition - The Imagery of Chess. The group included Man Ray, Duchamp and Ernst.

Speaking to the NY Times, Larry List had this to say:

In a weird way, this show was like the Manhattan Project...It brought together all these people and gave them a short time period and a big problem to solve. There was this critical mass that established a beachhead for modernist design in chess sets and modernist design in general.

Larry is the curator of a new exhibition that is set to open in New York, at the Noguchi Museum - The Imagery of Chess Revisited.

Read today's New York times report.

See also: Chess Prodigies and the Art of Chess, Art of the Game, The Art of Chess (Gilbert Collection).

Xie Beats Grandmaster

Sydney's FM George Xie yesterday defeated Grandmaster Moussa Taleb of the United Arab Emirates. The Australian completes the event on 5/9.

Asian Chess Championship 2005 Hyderabad
Xie George Wendi
Moussa, Taleb

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bb5 g6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. d3 Bg7 6. f4 d6 7. Nf3 Nh6 8. O-O Rb8 9. Qe1 O-O 10. b3 f6 11. Bd2 e5 12. Rd1 Nf7 13. Na4 exf4 14. Bxf4 Ne5 15. Kh1 Rb7 16. Qg3 Rbf7 17. Rde1 Qa5 18. c3 Re8 19. Nd2 Ba6 20. Re3 Rd7 21. d4 cxd4 22. cxd4

After 22. cxd4

22...Nf7? 22...Qxd2 seems like the move to me. 23. Rc3? Bb5 24. Nc4 Qd8 25. Nd2 Rde7 26. h3 g5 27. Be3 Qa5 28. Rfc1 h6 29. Bg1 d5 30. exd5 Bxa4 31. d6 Nxd6 32. Qxd6 Bb5 33. a4 Ba6 34. Nc4 Qf5 35. Qxc6 Bxc4 36. Qxc4+ Kh8 37. Qd3 Qd7 38. d5 f5 39. d6 Re6 40. Rc7 Qxd6 41. Qxd6 Rxd6 42. Rxa7 Rd2 43. a5 Bb2 44. Rb1 Red8 45. a6 Bd4 46. Bxd4+ R2xd4 47. Rb7 g4 48. a7 g3 49. Rb8 Kg7 50. Rxd8 Rxd8 1-0

FM Lukey, of New Zealand, went down to Srinivas. The kiwi finished on 2.5 points. The Philippines' IM Gonzales lost to Palit Somak and ended his campaign on 4/9.

Zhang Zhong was the winner with 7.5/9. In the last round he defeated countryman Ni Hua.

Official site

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Xie Magic

In a highly tactical game, George Xie moved up to 4 points yesterday defeating Arghyadip Das (2411) of India. The Australian relied on his solid Alapin varitaion (2. c3). Das' 14...Rad8 looked suboptimal and permitted an a-file invasion by Xie.

George will now play against GM Taleb of the United Arab Emirates in the 9th round.

New Zealand's FM Lukey is having a difficult time. After 8 rounds he has so far garnered only 2.5 points. This really speaks much for the strength of the tournament which consists of 28 grandmasters, 30 international masters and a number of FMs and strong untitled players.

The Philippines', IM Gonzales drew with a Chinese player yesterday and now has 4/8. His next assignment is the untitled Palit Somak of India - rated 2312.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Topalov Wins

And after a long think, Kasim played 42. R8xd5. It was a draw in another 5 moves. What a game! Quite possibly the most exciting game of the tournament - considering the situation. By drawing today, the Bulgarian maestro secures the crown. Whatever one may think of the World Championship title, Veselin Topalov played the most tremendous chess and he deserved to win. All hail Topa!

"Beautiful, beautiful"

So said IM Bill Paschall on ICC at seeing Anand's drawing queen sac against Morozevich this morning. It was a gorgeous line. For one kibitzer, the line was special as he'd predicted the move long before anyone else, masters included, spotted it.

After 24...Rb7

When the pieces finally remain still in San Luis, Anand - Morozevich will likely be long remembered. Borrowing from Short, the game was an hecatomb of pieces. It's no wonder that Vishy spent so much time - quite unusual for him.

At the time of this writing, Kasimdhanov - Topalov is an interesting endgame. ICC is abuzz with the world's famous masters kibitzing. Just a moment ago, this position appeared -

After 40...Bxg2+

Shirov now suggests, "41. Kg1 Bd5 42. R1xd5 cxd5 43. Rg8 Kf6 44. Rxg3 Rxb2 and Black is better." Topalov now needs just one more draw to win the event.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Fischer vs Topalov

An Australian reporter covering the San Luis event is allegedly claiming that RJF is willing to play against Veselin Topalov. However, it won't be in the classical form. I'm thinking here Fischerandom by the sounds of it.

Is the Australian reporter, Ian Rogers? Read the Sofia News Agency entry here.

Addicted to Chess

For pot heads, here's a chess set design just for you.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

For Foodies

Blessed with an enthusiastic metabolism, I happen to fancy myself as a bit of a budding foodie. Yep, I love food. And if you ever want some independent advice on the places to eat in Sydney, check out one of my recent finds - the Sydney Food Diary. The site was recently featured in the SMH's Good Food Guide.

What's the chess angle, I hear you ask. Well, I want to let you in on one of Sydney's hidden treasures: Maxim's - located on the corner of Goulburn and Sussex Sts in Sydney. Here, you'll find some very delicious treats, one of which is something called "Lotus Seed Chess" biscuit. I kid you not! It's delicious. Trust me.

And if Maxim's a little too far, why not try your hand at baking a "pumpkin chess pie"? Yum!

NSW Championships Update

Going into the 7th round, Sydney player Andrew Bird holds a slim half point lead from Greg Canfell and Max Fuller. Bird will now face the winner of last year's U2000 division, Alex Mendes da Costa. Even at this level, preparation will be an important factor. I think that saddled by his poor time management and faced with Bird's formidable talent, da Costa will suffer his third loss for the tournament.

On another matter, it is not clear if the NSWCA will actually still pay out the advertised prize fund. While I acknowledge this condition, "prize fund based on 75 entries" (they attracted only 44 entries), it is absolutely a disgrace that this cash-rich Council will effectively undercut the winners. We are here talking about the state's premier event! Let's treat the prizes as such. As a matter of fact, there's a chance that the TD will end up richer! His daily rate, over nine rounds, is $100.

What will the NSWCA do?

We'd like to see that

Our cousins over in the world of shogi ("Japanese chess") are getting themselves silly over their own version of Kosteniuk - a busty Shinobu Iwane.

"You'd be surprised by some of the things people say about you. I got one letter telling me how beautiful I looked as I put my eye drops in. Another letter complained that I had worn the same outfit to two different events. It's amazing to find out what people are looking at," she says. "Are they also looking at my boobs? I kinda get the feeling they may be."

Full article.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lost Chance

George Xie today came close to beating IM Ravi Lanka of India. It was an exciting game with both kings under direct attack. The Indian master remained steady to the end and broke through quicker.

New Zealand's FM Lukey also lost. He went down in 70 moves to another Indian, IM Poobesh. To make the day worse, the Pinoy representative, IM Jayson Gonzales also lost. Then again, he did front up against 2500+ rated GM Ganguly.

Official site.

A Song for Bobby

The band iLiKETRAiNS has written this piece for ex-Champ, Bobby Fischer: A Rook House for Bobby.

Hungarians Draw

San Luis is surely an unhappy hunting ground for the Hungarians. Polgar has so far scored only 3 miserable points and Leko is nowhere near his best. This morning, they split the point after 25 moves.

But what a win by Svidler against fellow Russian, Morozevich. The 4-time Russian champ moves ever closer to Topalov. Their game tomorrow will be an interesting one. I'm tipping a draw.

Adams played a spectacular rook sac but managed only a draw. Will the Englishman miraculously find some life in the tail-end rounds?

Tips for round 12.

Leko – Anand, .5-.5
Morozevich – Polgar, 1-0
Topalov – Svidler, .5-.5
Kasimdzhanov – Adams, 1-0

Horrifying Revenge

After going down to the lowest rated player in the tournament, Anand was obviously an unhappy man. One can only imagine the furious determination to avenge that loss. Minutes ago, the Indian master inflicted upon Kasimdhanov what IM Bill Paschall (commentating on called a horrifying game.

"He's just pulverising him. It's horrifying", said Paschall.

Co-commentator GM Greg Kaidanov ducked out momentarily for the press conference and returned with some tidbits. Apparently, Kasimdhanov thought that Anand's 13. Na5 was not such a big deal. Understandable since after all, it was played only once, recently, with that game ending in a draw.

The stem encounter was in Bologan-Gelfand, Merida 2005. There, Gelfand continued with 13...Nd7. But this morning, Kasim opted for 13...Rc8. According to Anand, Kasim's choice was't a good one.

The final position deserves a diagram. More updates later while we wait for Svidler - Morozevich to finish.

After 29. Rd7, 1-0

Monday, October 10, 2005

Hopeless Polgar

"That's enough for this game as this game is hopeless", says GM Yasser Seirawan of this morning's game, Kasimdhanov - Polgar. In a reversal of their round 3 result, this time the Uzbek grandmaster managed to defeat Polgar and post his second win in San Luis.

For chess fans on ICC, it was almost a near miss after Kasimdhanov's 31. g6. The move allowed the maneouvre, Qb7-b6-g6 picking up the pawn with check. After a series of exchanges, it "almost" looked as if Polgar might escape with a draw - a sure miracle after having been so completely outplayed. But Kasim rose to the challenge and spotted the very sweet 45. f6.

If Polgar deserves any kind of advice, it must be that she needs to overhaul her Sicilian repertoire. Fedorowicz summed it nicely: "Her opening was just another disaster for Black."

All other games were drawn. Topalov - Morozevich was a spine tingling match-up. Like most observers I was sure we were looking at another Topalov win. However, the glory of Russia hang on for dear life, marshalling every bit of his talent. Morozevich can probably thank Topa's 46. Rc2.

Tips for round 11.

Polgar – Leko, .5-.5
Svidler – Morozevich, .5-.5
Anand – Kasimdzhanov, .5-.5
Adams – Topalov, 0-1

Xie Beats Laxman

Australia's George Xie defeated international master R.R. Laxman of India today in the 4th round of the Asian Championships. The Australian uncorked 10...Bc5 which, according to my database, is a novelty. It seems to me a good move as it keeps the white Bishop on d3 motionless.

Laxman had no counterattack as Xie opened up the king-side for an assault. The Australian commenced his finish nicely with 26...Qxe2!

Asian Chess Championship 2005
Laxman, RR.
Xie, George

1. Nf3 c5 2. e4 Nc6 3. Nc3 e6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. O-O a6 6. Bd3 Ne7 7. Nxd4 cxd4 8. Ne2 d5 9. e5 Nc6 10. f4 Bc5 11. a3 O-O 12. b4 Bb6 13. Ng3 Qh4 14. Nh5 f6 15. exf6 g6 16. Ng3 Rxf6 17. Ne2 g5 18. g3 Qh5 19. fxg5 Rxf1+ 20. Qxf1 e5 21. Bb2 Bg4 22. Qg2 Bxe2 23. Qxd5+ Kh8 24. Qd7 Rf8 25. Rc1 Rf7 26. Bxe2 Qxe2 27. Qc8+ Kg7 28. d3 Bd8 0-1

The New Zealander, FM Lukey, had a boring 12-mover draw with local Arghyadip Das, rated 2411.

International Master Jayson Gonzales of the Philippines scored a victory against Mohd Omar of Brunei. The Filipino's minor pieces, especially the holy men, were too strong. Mohd Omar was a cooperative opponent with some awful rook moves beginning with 23...Rd4.

A change is coming

In an announcement that is sure to send shockwaves through the ranks of the NSWCA ancien regime, Jason Lyons today said that he will stand for office in the upcoming annual general meeting next month.

For many in the chess community - the revelation is a welcome one. At last we'll finally have a councillor who is at once dynamic, an experienced organiser and an ex-Olympiad captain. In short, he knows what he's talking about.

I'm hoping to line up an exclusive interview. We're keen to know especially what his platform will be. But I am very interested to find out if Jason will be a lone wolf or will it be pack of revolutionaries?

Sunday, October 09, 2005

5th Asian Championships

Thanks to Stephen Kerr we now have the website to this event. It can be accessed via

So far our sole representative, George Xie, is on 1/3. Also, New Zealand's FM Stephen Lukey is playing in the tournament. He beat IM Deepan Chakkravarthy J in the first round. The kiwi is also on 1/3.

My beloved RP is represented by IM Jayson Gonzales.

George Xie at Asian

The 5th Asian Individual Chess Championships began on Thursday in Hyderabad, India. It is an 11-day event with a prize fund of US$32, 500. The top 10 finishers here will qualify for FIDE's World Cup event.

Top seeds are: Krishnan Sasikiran (Ind), Ye Jiangchuan Chn), Bu Xiangzhi (Chn), Zhang Pengxiang (Chn), Darmen Sadvakasov (Kaz), Ni Hua (Chn) Murtas Kazhgaleyev (Kaz), Zhang Zhong (Chn), Peng Xiaomin (Chn), Pavel Kotsur (Kaz).

I've searched the web and even emailed the AICF - but I just can't seem to find a website for this tournament. The only news is coming in from the Indian press. Perhaps readers can tip us to a good, regular source of info.

Aussies will be glad to know that we do have a rep in this tournament - George Xie. As far as I can gather, George is currently on 1 point after 3 rounds.

Nice and steady

In a 17-mover draw this morning, Topalov held off his most serious threat in San Luis - India's Vishy Anand. Mig said it best, "If Topalov the topadora is going to be slowed down with enough time left for it to matter, today is the day". Alas, it wasn't to be.

In this morning's encounter, Topalov invited Anand to a game of chicken with 7...g5. The Indian blinked - obviously fearing a diabolical ambush. In her commentary, Susan Polgar was clearly disappointed:

On move 13, Anand decided to sacrifice a piece to create a very dangerous pin on the f6 Knight. However, Anand shockingly decided to force a draw by repetition instead of trying for a win with moves such as 15. dxe5 or 15. Nc4. He basically resigned from the tournament and handed the World Championship to Topalov.

A 50% score from the remaining games will win the crown for Topalov.

In Morozevich - Leko, today, the swashbuckling Russian scored his third straight victory. His 14. g3 appears to be a rarity and may have caught the Hungarian off-guard. Moro now has 5/9 and will exchange blows against Topa tomorrow. For the sake of excitement, I'm tipping a Morozevich win.

Round 10

Leko – Svidler, .5-.5
Topalov – Morozevich, 0-1
Kasimdzhanov – Polgar, 0-1
Adams – Anand, 0-1

Is it my move?

If you sat at the table long enough, I suppose this is eventually what will happen. Thank Caissa for time controls!

Saturday, October 08, 2005

An Intellectual Bitch

Author of "Chess Bitch: Women in the Ultimate Intellectual Sport" Jennifer Shahade admits she oftens dreams about chess. Problem is, the positions she dreams about are illegal. Illegal or not, I wouldn't mind showing her a move or two.

In this interview with The Village Voice she also takes a shot at the World Chess Beauty Contest, calling it "disgusting". Well, tell that to Arianne, Shannon and Vaness - Australia's reps in the competition.

Vaness, by the way, is in the lead.


And after Topalov - Leko ended peacefully yesterday, such was the reaction of some observers on ICC. On the other hand, IM Jovan Petronic could see the upside to all the booing: "Booing is good for chess. ICC is great, as the players do not lose their concentration due to noise in the audience."

One kibitzer commented, "All Topalov games so far were exciting. But today, Leko managed to bore him to a draw."

Can we really blame Leko or is the Bulgarian switching to a more peaceful mood in the second half of the tournament? Let's hope not. We demand more, more of this violence! But realistically, this is not always the safe policy - especially against Anand. So for the next round, I predict another draw for Topalov.

Morozevich – Leko, .5-.5
Svidler – Kasimdzhanov, 1-0
Polgar – Adams, .5-.5
Anand – Topalov, .5-.5

Are girls suckers for chess?

Find out more in this interview by the Gothamist with Franklin Crowe - a street vendor and chess player in New York.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

My Name is Topalov

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"

I am naturally jumping the gun. Topalov has not, in fact, won the FIDE title. He is not yet the King. But with yet another monumental effort, our main man has scored another fine victory. This morning, the Bulgarian's rook and king danced a fine endgame tango against those of Kasim's. It was beautiful.

Now a good 2 points ahead*, Topa's chasers must wonder: how the hell do you stop this bastard? Surely for some, there is no doubt a sense of resignation. Adams, for example, might as well go home! Will Anand kick into gear in the second half? Can Svidler find something special?

Tips for round 8.

Topalov – Leko, 1-0
Kasimdzhanov – Morozevich, 0-1
Adams – Svidler, 0-1
Anand – Polgar, .5-.5

EDIT: "2.5 points ahead"

US Prez Learns Chess

Now we all know that Dubya isn't exactly the smartest US president ever. But at least he's taking up chess! When asked about his plan to increase the level of intelligence in his administration, this is what he had to say:

I'm glad you asked me that. Very glad. Now let me tell you. Umm, well I know that I'm taking up chess with Laura. Chess and scrabble. I think Dick and Condie are doing something. I've seen Don with the Reader's Digest...I think he's trying to put some new words in that vocabulary of his. Yes; I can assure you that we are very earnest.

Believe me, this is all for real.

When I am old

When I am old and frail I would love nothing more than to take my old saggy ass to the park and play chess with my boys - everyday. Even now, as I walk past St James on my lunch time, I'm envious of these old guys. They just sit there whiling the whole day away playing chess. No cares or worries. Just the little problems on the board. Yeah, that's the life.

So, in some sense, I can appreciate this pensioner's complaint against his local Council. The situation is an outrage!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

On the Up and Up

Chess in the USA seems to be on an upward trajectory. Take the case of Philadelphia.

In Philadelphia, which has the seventh-largest school system in the country, 18 of the city's 280 public schools have added chess to their curriculums in a pilot program. About 4,000 students are getting chess instruction this year, according to Marjorie Wuestner, executive director of the school district's office of health, safety, physical education and sports administration.

The goal, she said, is to have all second and third graders receiving chess instruction by next year.

Read the full article in the NY Times.

The amount of money that goes into chess in the US is something that we can only dream about Down Under. Consider the World Open and the HB Global. Just staggering! Plus some universities offer scholarships while other private interests provide funding for fellowships like the Samford (the most recent recipient of which is GM Nakamura).

Black Death in San Luis

Can somebody please stop this guy? Not! As my tip for the crown, of course I want Topa to win. And the way he's carrying on with the black pieces is as clear a sign as any that our Bulgarian hero is set for a magnificent triumph.

Tips for round 7.

Svidler – Polgar, 1-0
Morozevich – Anand, 0-1
Leko – Adams, .5-.5
Topalov – Kasimdzhanov, .5-.5

In Corus this year, Polgar beat Svidler with white. Svidler will return that favour. Anand beat Moro in Corus, too, with black - so I think will do the same here.

The match between Adams and Leko earlier this year was even with decisive games aplenty. But TC there was rapid. In classical, all games this year were drawn. That pattern I think will continue.

Finally, I'll stick my neck out and say that Topa will draw against Kasim. I mean, at some point, the guy will surely slow down.

Between Pieces

When I'm not roaming around a playing hall, I'm walking around Sydney and take photos of just about anything and everything. Thanks to digital cameras, photography is a much cheaper hobby these days. And it's certainly relaxing! The shot below is from Sydney's Hyde Park and shows one of our ex-Russian regulars.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

6...Ng4 Rediscovered?

Twice now, the Najdorf 6. Be3 Ng4 variation has appeared and in the hands of no less than the two top seeds - Anand and Topalov. It is a variation that became quite popular in the late '90's to early noughties - having been used by the likes of Kasparov, Shirov and Gelfand. No doubt the appearence of this variation in San Luis will once again provoke some sort of widespread revival.

Today, Topalov was just sheer class. He made Svidler, a four-time Russian champion, look like a puppy. Right now there doesn't appear to be anyone with a similar thirst for blood as Topalov. If the Bulgarian does win this event, then maybe, just maybe, we will enter an era of top level chess when there are more decisive results than pussy draws. All hail Topa!

My tipping in this comp hasn't exactly been crash hot but here are my tips for round 6.

Kasimdzhanov – Leko, 1-0
Adams – Morozevich, .5-.5
Anand – Svidler, 1-0
Polgar – Topalov, .5-.5

I think Leko will buckle against Kasim. Adams and Moro will be too lackadaisical to win. Anand will want to bounce back hard and beat Svidler. While I think Polgar will pull out something special and hold Topalov to a draw.

Australia Falls

The country is now ranked 52nd out of about 180 member nations in FIDE. That is at least according to GM Ian Rogers writing for Crikey. There is also a postscript to Stephen Mayne's opinion piece from last week.

My thanks to the much beleaguered treasurer of the Box Hill CC, Trevor Stanning, for this little tip.

Disney's Chess Adventure

Black Bean has designed a new game for PC. From the press release:

Fly away on Aladdin's magic carpet and set out on the most exciting chess adventure ever! Disney's Aladdin Chess Adventures transports children to their favourite cities, such as Agrabah, the Cave of Wonders, and the mysterious City in a Bottle.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Cool Man Chesser

One of my favourite photobloggers, Rion Nakaya, has a great set taken over at Bryant Park, NYC. And by the way, that's a Chronos touch sensor clock they're using. It's the same clock we now use at Hyde Park.

(And today, I had the great pleasure of beating FM John Curtis).

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Shredder for Mac

The popular chess program, Shredder, has finally been released for Mac and Linux.

Ryde Eastwood Open

I'm so excited over the World Championships that I almost forgot about the local weekender currently running in West Ryde. Due to some other commitments, I only managed to pay a visit today. It was round 4 and most games had finished. Luckily I turned up in time to see some interesting finishes.

Jason Chan's normally accurate calculating prowess desserted him today as he went down to Pickering - a 300 point upset! Anthony Pickering, rated 1703, obtained the following position.


Chan, rated 2031, now played b7-b5. Perhaps Bd7-g4 may be preferred. Pickering continued with 1. Rf7 Bg4 2. Rxg7!! Qxg7 3. Rf7 Qxf7 4. Qxf7 Rf8?? Resigns. Even 4...Rd7 won't survive very long.

O board 2, Johny Bolens outwitted junior Raymond Song to win a tense struggle. Both players had pawns on the brink of queening. In the end, Bolens' triple attack against Song's g7 spot, threating mate, was way too much.

Harp - Escribano was equally tense. Black held a slight advantage. However, with his clock slowly ebbing downward below the 1 minute mark, Escribano (rated 1677 and a former World Championship challenger - no joke!) panicked. He blundered and lost. Harp was moved to remark, "Sorry Jose. You deserved to win."

Finally, on board 1 - the important shootout between the top two seeds, Bjelobrk and Ayvazyan, ended peacefully. Each held the bishop pair - but the position presented no means of progress.

After 4 rounds Bjelobrk, Ayvazyan, O'Chee, and Bolens are in the lead with 3.5 points each.

Out of Control

Commentating on Chess.FM, John Federowicz said of Topalov, "The guy is out of control". And after another victory, this time over Adams, the Bulgarian superstar is certainly looking like a maniac. He prosecutes the attack with irresistible vigour. It's like no one can stop this guy! But what do you expect? He was, after all, the man who retired the great Gary Kasparov.


The game continued 35. Rc7! Rc8? 36. Bf5! To this move, Fedorowicz couldn't contain himself. On, he exclaimed, "That's a big shot! That's a big shot!" Rxf5 37. Rxc8+ Kh7 38. Rh1 1-0.

The surprise for the day was Kazsimdhanov's downing of Anand. An unbelievable result but bolsters ever further my prediction of a Topalov victory in this tournament. But it's early days and anything can happen.

And at last, Leko ekes out a win, this time against Polgar. I suppose, if he was going to win a game, it'd have to be against the woman.

What can we say about Morozevich? In a position thought by many commentators to be a plus for him, he made a poor decision with 41. Rxa6. The move surrendered the c-file. As a result, Svidler emerged with a well coordinated R+Q combo. With those pieces and skilful play, Svidler slowly corralled Moro's king and that was that.

Tips for round 5:

Anand – Leko, .5-.5
Polgar – Morozevich, 0-1
Svidler – Topalov, .5-.5
Adams – Kasimdzhanov, 1-0

Saturday, October 01, 2005

World Champs Analysed

Looking for masters' analysis of the San Luis games? Well, I've found 2 very good ones. Sergey Shipov's reviews can be accessed here. Or you can go to Denis Monokroussos' blog, The Chess Mind.

And Susan Polgar also offers a brief summary.

Apologies to England?

I appear to have angered an entire nation after my comment regarding Adams' chances in the San Luis tournament. Just as when I was about to say, "sorry..." - this position, in the third round, appeared. And with that, the hapless Englishman resigned against Anand.

A crush! Thus, I think I'll park my apologies for later.

All other games were decisive. The highlight was surely Polgar - Kasimdhanov wherein the lady chesser employed the hyper sharp, Perenyi Attack. Now there's courage! If I'll be saying my apologies to anyone it's likely to be to this world number 8, Judit.

Here are my tips for round 4:

V. Topalov - M. Adams, 1-0
R. Kasimdzhanov - V. Anand, 0-1
P. Leko - J. Polgar, .5-.5
A. Morozevich - P. Svidler, .5-.5