Saturday, December 31, 2005

FM Canfell Canned

Here is a neat finish from the Australian Championships'second round game between Greg Canfell and Western Australian, Jay Lakner.

Sydneysider, Canfell, sees a free piece - but, BOOM, it's all over.

After 33. Kg2

How should black, Jay Lakner, continue the attack?

After 3 rounds, both players involved here are on 1 point. There's still plenty of time to catch up, so c'mon Greg mate!

Hysterical Highlights

US newspaper The Seattle Times looks back at some of the funnier moments of 2005.

At 62, he's no rook

March: Former U.S. chess champion Bobby Fischer, calling himself a political pawn after being held in detention since his immigration arrest in July 2004, finally left Tokyo for exile in Iceland with bride-to-be Miyoko Watai, head of Japan's chess association.

A Japanese fiancée? Guess Bobby couldn't find a Czech mate.

Yeah, very funny. Not!

The full 12-month review is available here. But wait, is that chess in the Sports section?

Laylo on High

As a side note to the Singapore Masters, I should mention that Darwin Laylo will be the Philippines' newest international master. His 5 points at this event was good enough to secure his third and final IM norm requirement.

2005 has been very successful for Mr Laylo. While his first IM norm came in 1999, he roped in the last two in the second half of this year. Well done, sir!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Ni Hua Wins

After leading for much of the tournament, Azmaiparashvili could manage only a draw against Chinese GM Zhang Zhong in the ninth and final round of the Singapore Masters. Both players complete their event on 7 points.

That draw on first board permitted Ni Hua to win the tournament with 7.5 points as he defeated Pinoy player Julio Sadorra in a marathon 105-mover Slav.

There was a 3-way jam on 6.5 points between Paragua, Koneru, and Indonesian player, Salor Sitanggang. Against the Israeli, Victor Mikhalevski, Paragua was at his customary attacking best. Mikhalevski blundered terribly with 58...Rd2 and could have resigned immediately. He played on another five moves but the cause was hopeless.

Top placers:

7.5 Ni Hua
7 Azmaiparashvili, Zhang Zhong
6.5 Paragua, Koneru, Sitanggang
6 Mikhalevski, Sadorra, Megaranto, Zhao

Official site

Tips for Round 3

This really is turning out to be an exciting tournament with 13 games in the top section ending decisively yesterday . The Aussies, Smerdon and Solomon, held their foreign GM opposition to draws. While New South Wales player, Vladimir Smirnov, disappointed somewhat managing only a draw against less fancied Victorian, Malcolm Pyke.

Here are my tips:

1 IM Lane, Gary (2) .5-.5 GM Rogers, Ian (2)
2 Obst, James (2) 0-1 GM Chandler, Murray (2)
3 GM Ftacnik, Lubomir (1.5) .5-.5 IM Zhao, Zong-Yuan (2)
4 GM Schmaltz, Roland (1.5) .5-.5 IM Smerdon, David (1.5)
5 GM Johansen, Darryl (1.5) .5-.5 IM Solomon, Stephen (1.5)
6 FM Levi, Eddy (1) 0-1 IM Wohl, Alex (1)
7 FM Bjelobrk, Igor (1) 1-0 FM Dougherty, Michael (1)
8 Lakner, Jay (1) 0-1 FM Goldenberg, Igor (1)
9 FM Humphrey, Jonathan (1) 1-0 WIM Moylan, Laura (1)
10 Ly, Moulthun (1) 1-0 FM Guthrie, Aaron (1)
11 FM Xie, George (0.5) 1-0 Smirnov, Vladimir (0.5)
12 Pyke, Malcolm (0.5) 0-1 WIM Caoili, Arianne (0.5)
13 FM Canfell, Greg (0) 1-0 Song, Raymond (0.5)
14 Booth, Stewart (0) 1-0 Wallis, Christopher (0)
15 Bird, Andrew (0) 1-0 Frame, Nigel (0)

Chess in Mongolia

One fellow I'll never forget is Taivanbaatar who played in the 1999 Australian Open in the Sunshine Coast. He came all the way from Mongolia with hardly a cent to his name. At first, he stayed with a whole bunch of us at the Ginger Mountain motel. But it was soon discovered that he couldn't pay! Luckily, a local family came forward and provide Taivanbaatar with a billet.

The Mongolian finished on the creditable score of 7/11 points.

I am remembering all this thanks to Gangsuh's little story. Gangsuh is head coach of the Halimak CC, in Inner Mongolia.

My aim is to help about 10,000 people in Hohhot know and play chess within three years and foster some competitive players that are capable of winning world junior titles.

He must be doing something right as his own daughter came fifth in the World Juniors last year.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Aussie - Round 2

What about Ftacnik? And Chandler?

In my haste to bang out a post yesterday - I totally forgot about these two gentlemen. But, of course, they are playing in the event. In fact, they each won their games against fide masters. Despite this oversight, I maintain that Aussie GM Rogers is still the man to beat and will be my bet out point all other competitors.

What a great start to the tournament! Two games deserve a mention. Schmaltz - Smirnov and Johansen - Caoili had me on the edge of my seat. It seems to me that the former involved a miscalculation by Smirnov when he played 35...Bxf2+. Whereas in the latter game, Caoili had good winning chances and it surely would have been a sensational start if a grandmaster had lost in round 1.

Good luck to all players!

Round 2 tips:

1 IM Smerdon, David (1).5:.5 GM Ftacnik, Lubomir (1)
2 GM Rogers, Ian (1)1:0 FM Bjelobrk, Igor (1)
3 IM Solomon, Stephen (1)0:1 GM Schmaltz, Roland (1)
4 GM Chandler, Murray (1)1:0 FM Humphrey, Jonathan (1)
5 IM Zhao, Zong-Yuan (1)1:0 Ly, Moulthun (1)
6 WIM Moylan, Laura (1)0:1 IM Lane, Gary (1)
7 WIM Caoili, Arianne (0.5)1:0 Obst, James (1)
8 Song, Raymond (0.5)0:1 GM Johansen, Darryl (0.5)
9 IM Wohl, Alex (0) 1:0 FM Xie, George (0.5)
10 FM Canfell, Greg (0)1:0 Lakner, Jay (0)
11 FM Goldenberg, Igor (0)1:0 Booth, Stewart (0)
12 FM Guthrie, Aaron (0).5:.5 Bird, Andrew (0)
13 Wallis, Christopher (0)0:1 FM Levi, Eddy (0)
14 Smirnov, Vladimir (0)1:0 Pyke, Malcolm (0)
15 Frame, Nigel (0)0:1 FM Dougherty, Michael (0)

Asian Chess Updates

Finishing on 31.5 points out of a possible 40, the Indian mens side secured the gold medals at the Asian Teams in Iran. Vietnam placed for the silver, while Iran 'A' had to settle for bronze.

In the 10th and last round, India blanked out Iran 'B', 4-0. The Indians were undefeated throughout this double RR tournament between 6 teams. Congrats to India but I would suggest that this event is probably not as impressive as it looks.

Closer to home, in Singapore, Azmaiparashivili holds a slim lead over his rivals. After 6 rounds, the Georgian grandmaster is on 5.5 points. He is hotly pursued by Zhang Zhong, Ni Hua and Victor Mikhalevski who are all on five.

The closest Pinoy chasers are Paragua and Gonzales - both on 4.5 points. The defending champ, Paragua, went down to Azmaiparashvili yesterday in their individual match-up.

For more, don't forget to check out the Singapore Masters official site.

Packer Postscript

According to cricinfo, in its tribute to Kerry Packer, Gary Kasparov had apparently once expressed the opinion that what chess needs is its own Kerry Packer.

I did not know that!

This link is all about cricket, but Aussie readers, I'm sure, will find interesting.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Australian Championships - Round One

The local championship is off and running today. While the juniors began their fight at the unfriendly hour of 9AM this morning - the seniors will commence theirs this afternoon.

For our international readers - live games, results and pairings are available from the official site. I think I've said this before but the organisers deserve a big congrats for creating such a user-friendly chess website. Very competent indeed!

Now, as is the Aussie tradition, I suppose I should get in on the tipping. For the seniors here are my tips for round 1.

1 FM Guthrie, Aaron 0:1 Ftacnik, Lubomir
2 GM Rogers, Ian 1:0 FM Levi, Eddy
3 Smirnov, Vladimir .5:.5 Schmaltz, Roland
4 GM Chandler, Murray .5:.5 FM Dougherty, Michael
5 WIM Caoili, Arianne .5:.5 Johansen, Darryl
6 IM Zhao, Zong-Yuan 1:0 Lakner, Jay
7 Booth, Stewart 0:1 IM Lane, Gary
8 IM Wohl, Alex .5:.5 Ly, Moulthun
9 Bird, Andrew 1:0 IM Smerdon, David
10 IM Solomon, Stephen 1:0 Pyke, Malcolm
11 Wallis, Christopher 0:1 FM Bjelobrk, Igor
12 FM Canfell, Greg 1:0 WIM Moylan, Laura
13 Song, Raymond 0:1 FM Xie, George
14 FM Goldenberg, Igor 1:0 Obst, James
15 Frame, Nigel 0:1 FM Humphrey, Jonathan

I have not seen a field like this before for the local title event. Very impressive.

German GM Roland Schmaltz, who is temporarily living in Queensland, is certainly a welcome personality in the local chess scene. However, I think that the man to beat is still GM Rogers. His outing 2 years ago in Adelaide was a downer and the old maestro will be more determined than ever. Defending champ Gary Lane will make a strong showing but he won't retain the title. Johansen, as usual, will likely have too many draws. While of the international masters, I count Solomon to be the only serious challenger.

For the sake of friendship, I hope fide masters George Xie, Canfell and WIM Arianne Caoili will do well.

Chess and Kerry Packer

The passing of Australia's richest man, Kerry Packer, is naturally big news. At times like these, friend and foe alike always have plenty to say. And it is often when we reminisce that we discover some odd bits of detail.

And so it is that professor Rodney Tiffen recounts a chessic moment in the Packer life:

IT'S almost 25 years since Kerry Packer came to speak to a media politics class that I taught with Professor Henry Mayer. Finding myself alone with him, I tried to make light conversation by saying that I had read in the paper that he had just bought a chess computer.

Instead of a pleasant conversation about chess and computers, my remark provoked an outburst of anger that such an item had been published. He said he could not see why such a trivial fact should be in the paper, and was outraged by this invasion of his privacy.

From The Age.

Noisy Phone Beats IM

International master Luis Chiong of the Philippines sufferred a loss in round 3 thanks to his ringing mobile phone! My friends and relatives from RP tell me that mobile phones are the latest vice in the country. Worse than drugs. Everybody's got a mobile phone. The models available over there are even more advanced than those here in Australia. Well, whatever, but I hope master Chiong learns his lesson quickly.

After 4 rounds, Azmaiparashvili is in the lead on 4 points. His next opponent is Mark Paragua who is on 3.5 points.

Update from the Manila Standard and from the official site.

At the Asian Teams, India defeated Vietnam 3-1 thus taking the lead in the competition. The Indians are now on 27.5 points closely chased by the Vietnamese on 26. Iran 'A' is presently in 3rd spot on 24.5 points.

Two New Aussie Blogs

I've just discovered two new fellow Aussie chess bloggers. The first comes courtesy of the ACF's weekly newsletter. Dr. A.J. Bellette is running the Correspondence Chess Australia blog. If you're into corro chess, then this blog might be for you.

I first met the good doctor online, via, and he strikes me as a gentleman. So all power to him!

Second, is a newer blog - Chess Moves. The blog is a very young and so there is not much content yet. Again, all power to Chess Moves too.

I must say, it is very nice to see a lot more Aussie chess bloggers popping up all over the place. I especially encourage those who live interstate and who play in tournaments regularly. Nothing beats that immediate first-hand report.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

New Website for WA

I should mention this news from Western Australia. The chess guys way out west have launched a new website. Technical aspects aside, it certainly does loook good.

Don't expect any frequent updates until February 2006. The volunteers over there surely deserve their rest.

News from Asia

At the Asian Teams in Iran, the Vietnamese are once again showing their powers after completely dominating the 23rd SEA Games held recently in the Philippines.

After seven rounds, Vietnam is in the sole lead on 22 points. While India, another chess superpower on the rise, holds second spot on 21 points, after managing only a 3-1 win over Iran 'A'.

Meanwhile at the Singapore Masters International Open, Pinoy chessers are off to an excellent start. I suppose there is an extra bit of motivation here after that horrible gold medal shutout at the SEAG recently.

Somone to watch here is the 12-year old Wesley So. In the first round, he downed the 10th seed, WGM Zhao Xue of China.

Led by last year's champ, Paragua, the Filipinos are a 15-man strong delegation and is reportedly bankrolled by Congressman Prospero "Butch" Pichay. As we noted in this blog a few days ago, the congressman is expected to contest the presidency of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) in elections next month. Incumbent head Go Teng Kok has already expressed opposition to Pichay citing Tagaytay City Mayor Abraham Tolentino as his preferred replacement.

All I can say is, I hope that whoever becomes the next NCFP head won't treat the organisation like his own little kingdom. And you know, these politicians - especially the Filipino kind, well, you've just got to keep an extra eye on the bastards.

Commonwealth Chess Association

Did everyone have a good break? I hope so. I did nothing but eat, saw a movie or two. How about that King Kong flick? Awesome!

Anyway to chess.

Like any activity, chess is represented by a variety of different organisations. And I had no idea that there was such a group as the Commonwealth Chess Association. I have not been able to locate a website, but if you're unfamiliar with the "Commonwealth" - then you can at least read all about that.

However, I did find the CCA's first newsletter courtesy of the FIDE website. There is an interesting trivia quiz: "Which country boasts of being the holder of the oldest, continuously running national chess championships in the world?"

Reactions to the newsletter are available on the FIDE site.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Holidays

Allow me to wish all my fans and fellow bloggers a happy Christmas. Or, if you're the cynical type, you can always have yourselves a Happy Festivus and settle for an aluminum pole.

What ever turns you on, do have fun. As the good book says, "eat, drink and be merry so long as you do not sin". Well I think that's what it says.

I must say, this year has been fun. Lots of stories to tell - politics, tournaments, a few interviews. I am definitely looking forward to next year. That's the good thing about chess - you can never run out of things to write about. And, of course, next month we begin with the 113th New Zealand Championships to be held in what must be paradise - Queenstown. I will be there, providing daily updates (as much as possible anyway) which will include photography. So, my dear fans, look out for that!

But before NZ, is the Australian Championships in Brisbane which is due to commence next week. Good luck to all!

Finally, I wish to extend my congratulations to Mr Andrew Bird. Last Thursday, he became the latest name in list of NSW State Champions. Andrew defeated former champ, FM Max Fuller in their 4-game playoff. Good job man.

'Til next time folks!

Broken Promise

The Mt Buller Australian Open, played between December 2004 and January 2005, will go down in Australian chess history as the Ghost Who Walks.

After having died then revived as a sort of Frankenstein tournament, it died again only to have its spirit literally hang around Aussie chess circles like a bad smell. For nearly a year now, chess fans Down Under have been waiting, demanding and waiting some more for their memento from the event: a CD full of tournament bulletins and games. Each CD cost these fans AUS$12.

This week, however, the Australian Chess Federation's head honcho, ex-lawyer Denis Jessop, was forced into an humiliating backdown. Writing in the latest ACF newsletter, Mr Jessop admitted, "The ACF Council has decided not to proceed with the production of the CD that was to have included material relating to these events".

The ACF head then went on into a long explanation as to how this laughable situation came about. You can just about read all of it as saying, it's all been too hard, tough luck! Instead of receiving their CDs, disgruntled fans will now either receive a refund or they can choose to have their monies redirected towards the ACF's Olympiad Appeal.

Central in this laughable episode is South Australian chess organiser and himself an ex ACF president, George Howard. By all accounts, it was he who announced and promised the CDs. For whatever reason, he failed to deliver. A natural question is: what action will the ACF be taking against Mr Howard?

This is all very upsetting, not to mention embarassing, for Australian chess. Let's hope there is no repeat. And to do that, the ACF must get it into their collective heads not to be so easily mersmerised by the promises of a salesman. In the Mt Buller fiasco, the ACF certainly got their fill - not one, but two salesmen!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Drams for Levon

In recognition of his fine victory in the World Cup tournament in Siberia, the government of Armenia has awarded Levon Aronian 5 million drams (US$11,000). Of course, this amount is really nothing compared to the $100,000 prize awarded to Levon by FIDE.

“I was more relaxed during the final game,” Aronian told reporters on Wednesday when asked to explain his successful performance at Khanty-Mansiisk. The grandmaster said he was also greatly helped by strong moral backing which he received from members of the local Armenian community. He said he socialized and even went hunting with them between games.

More from Armenia Liberty.

So Much Talent

12-years young pinoy FM Wesley So is demonstrating his poweful potential by leading his Tagaytay B team to victory over Tabilog Cargo Services in the Prospero "Butch’’ Pichay Chess Challenge tournament. So's team outpointed their opponent's by 2.5 - 1.5 points.

ABS CBN reports:

So waylaid veteran International Master Richard Bitoon on Board 1, while teammate Truman Hernaez downed Raymond Salcedo on Board 3.

On Board 4, Allan Macala settled for a draw against Nelson Villanueva to cushion the loss of Edmundo Gatus to FM Jesse Noel Sales on Board 2 and secure the win for Tagaytay B.

Mayor Tolentino had this to say of So, "I’m not surprised that Tagaytay “B” topped the eliminations. I have great faith in the talent of Wesley So and his teammates."

More from the Manila Standard.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Strengthening the Soul

It all gets a bit confusing you know. Sometimes they say it's bad; sometimes they say it's all good. For the mayor of the Iranian town of Isfahan, Morteza Saqqaian-Neja, chess is definitely good.

Isfahan is presently hosting the 14th Asian Chess Team Championships. As far as its mayor is concerned, "Chess is among those sports that strengthen the mind and soul and at the end, too, man succeeds in harnessing his temptations."

More from IRNA.

Dlugy Called Home

For eight months, GM Maxim Dlugy has not been able to call home. He's been stuck in prison on fraud charges that included allegedly stealing some $9M from a magnesium works as well as improper spending on his expense account.

We now have news that he's been cleared of all charges last Tuesday.

The North Jersey reports.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Useful Stuff from Kenilworthian

For our Aussie readers who are into chess and computers, here is a useful entry from The Kenilworthian.

A link to various programs and engines is also provided.

Battle for NCFP

The upcoming elections for leadership of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines looks set to be a hotly contested showdown.

Go Teng Kok, incumbent president, is likely to face local Congressman Prospero "Butch" Pichay Jr.

The politician appears to have the support of the top players. Paragua has described him as a "proven leader". While Antonio said, "We need someone like the congressman to lead chess today".

More from ABS-CBN Interactive.

Dlugy in Prison

Grandmaster Maxim Dlugy, a US citizen, is in prison on charges of suspicion of attempted fraud. That is according to his wife Marina. The GM is locked up in a town called Solikamsk, in central Russia.

The North Jersey reports:

Wife, daughter and son pray that Max Dlugy will be acquitted and allowed to return home.

They are confident of his innocence, but less sure that the truth, as they see it, will prevail in the Russian judicial system, where the assumption is that a defendant is guilty until proven innocent.

The son, Matthew, was quoted as saying, "I miss my dad and really want him to come back."

Here's hoping that the Dlugy family will get back together soon. But with such a ridiculous justice system that Russia apparently has, it will be an uphill battle.

Actually, this is not terribly new news. We first heard about Dlugy's troubles with the law earlier in the year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Who's the Grinch?

Diabolical tactics, it seems, are not the sole preserve of northern presidents. Webmasters across the land, lock up your domain names. The Grinch is coming!

South Australian chess personality and organiser, Alex Saint, made the stunning announcement the other day on the site (Australia's most popular and lively chess bulletin board):

The South Australian Junior Chess League (SAJCL) has had the website for about 3 years. Earlier this year, we had a switch of webmaster and for a short while the website was closed down. We did not realise this. During this time, Chess World came along and grabbed it (the domain name). Yes we should have been more on the ball but I am quite annoyed.

In a phone call with David [Cordover], I was shocked to hear how he "wanted to teach us a lesson about professionalism". He also "wanted more bargaining power".

Out of frustration, Mr Saint also included a copy of David Cordover's email in which he stated his terms. These were, "$50 for 2 years lease on domain name", "$35 per month hosting" and "some small admin fees..."

Of course there is nothing procedurally incorrect about Mr Cordover's actions. But why in the world would a business, that only recently made a $100,000 sponsorship announcement, be taking a volunteer organisation to the cleaners? And whatever happened to “Community and Commercial working together”?

Mr Cordover give back that domain!

Monday, December 19, 2005

Gold Galore in Paralympics

Filipino chessers competing in the 3rd SEA Paralympic Games are doing what their "normal" counterparts failed to do: win gold!

The Manila Times informs us that Pinoy players have bagged both the individual and team gold for the visually handicapped and totally blind classification sections.

National Master Henry Lopez scored 5 points for the gold in the BI category, relegating Indonesians Eddy Suryanto and Maksum Firdaus, who each had 4 points, to second and third, respectively.

Lopez’s golden triumph anchored the squad also composed of FIDE Master Sander Severino and Alexis Elinon to the team championship in the category.
The tally of gold medals by the handicapped Pinoy woodpushers means that RP has now managed to win 5 out of the 6 chess events.

National coach, GM Antonio was quoted as saying, "I’m really proud of them despite their disabilities but the team is very determine to sweep the remaining three golds in this event of the Asean Paralympics Games".

Championships Playoff

The playoff for the 2005 NSW State Championships between Andrew Bird and ex-title holder Max Fuller will commence tonight. They will battle it out over the next four nights.

I have no particular preference over these two gentlemen but, for the sake of drama, I'd go for the older guy. Max will probably kill me for that!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Short on Fischer Sale

A few days ago, chessbase reported on the sale of Bobby Fischer's memorabilia on ebay. My, if only I had the millions to spend on those! I will likely never find the time to read the stuff - but the idea of owning such material does tickle the ego a bit.

British GM Nigel Short recognises a familiar handwriting, Bob Wade's, on of the items for sale. He adds:

The books, numbering around 500 in total - 300 of which are foreign - are not of great value, but are nevertheless of interest to the practical player. Interestingly, it is only a quarter of the size of my own chess library, which, although decent, is not considered particularly noteworthy. In our brave new computer age, there is an entire generation of young chess players who barely possess any books at all, and if they do, it is unlikely they have looked at them.

From the Guardian.

ADSL Tournament

While in Topalov's Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company has launched the country's first ADSL online chess tournament.

Gold for RP

The Philippines wins gold in the 3rd Asean Para Games. The Manila Standard reports of 3 gold medals in various events.

Fide master Sander Severino turned back Vietnamese Le Hua Binh in 53 moves of Reti Opening to score a perfect 5.0 points and bag the first chess gold in the physical handicapped individual event.

More from the Standard.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Little Good News

Based on his impressive performance in Siberia recently, GM Mark Paragua is expected to hit the 2600 rating mark in the January list of the FIDE ratings. Well, that may very well be - but somebody over there needs to pay for whatever it is they owe FIDE. Right now the Philippine ratings are still unavailable.

Mark's next event is set to be the Singapore Masters International Open.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Exclusive: George Xie Interview

In this exclusive interview, Australia's latest chess superstar, FM George Xie, gives us a few insights into his recent successes in overseas tournaments. As you can see, George is a man of few words. Just as well, as he is really the kind of gentleman who prefers to do his talking over the board.

Well, first of all George - congrats and well done on the international master title.

Thanks, but I am still not IM yet.

Tell us - how did you feel finally earning the title? What went through your mind? (I realise of course that the next step is to raise your rating to 2400+).

I was very happy that I can made 2 norms form 2 tournaments, and my next step is to get my rating [to] go up to 2400.

During the World Juniors event, was there some particular moment when you knew you'd earned your last norm? I imagine you had calculated what you needed to score and all that.

During the event, the only thing in my mind is play well. I didn't really know I made a IM norm when I got 5.5/9.

We followed your progress quite closely in Australia and I can say that we are all very happy for you. You played some really strong opponents in the World Juniors; who would you say was your toughest opponent and why?

I think Zhigalko (2537) is the toughest opponent I had played in the tournament because his very good at opening theories, and also understand how to continued after opening.

Which was tougher: World Juniors or 5th Asian Championships?

Asian Championship is much strong, as we can see the players average rating was much higher than World Junior.

Can you nominate your best game from both events?

I was quite happy with my black colour against IM Laxman in Asian ch, and black colour against IM Lenic in World Junior.

Where to from here - the grandmaster title?

Get IM first. But it is not easy to become GM.

Tell our readers again what you're studying at university.

I [am] actually in TAFE. The main subject I study is languages (English).

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Nightmare on Pinoy Streets

Unbelievable! My beloved Philippines failed to win a single gold medal in the chess event of the 23rd SEA Games held in the Philippines. This is surely the tragedy of tragedies!

Fellow SEA neighbour Vietnam dominated the sport proving their rise as a superpower in the region. Now if only the 23rd SEA Games site can come online so I can quote the exact scores. But hey, that's Pinoy incompetence for you.

And are the FIDE dues paid yet? Nope, not yet. Just checked that. Totally hopeless.

Responding to comments that he had abandoned the team, GM Mark Paragua (a triple gold medalist in Vietnam 2 years ago), who did his nation proud recently in Siberia, had this to say: "I did not abandon the team. I did not qualify for the team".

He added, "The NCFP has to make up its mind whether to seed players outright or hold elimination. It would be unfair to remove one player to accommodate another".


Brains Beat Brawn

"The Western District Interschool Chess Championships were held last Friday attracting several schools from the west."

From Star News Group.

Monday, December 12, 2005

We're Back!

After a week in London, I'm back. I'm sure all my fans have been looking forward to it. I had planned for updates every now and then while I was away, but even 5-star hotels, it seems, still can't manage a decent net connection. And there was no way I was going to pay for a net cafe. Everything in London is mighty expensive!

The flight over was terrible. Were it not for the Qantas flat beds, I'd be absolutely beside myself. I mean, get this: you pay a fortune for the ticket but the food's absolutely terrible, there was no wine list, the Club Lounge was over-rated and, most of all, the on board chess program was a bloody patzer!

Actually that last one wasn't my biggest problem. The fellow next to me, supposedly an educated financial type, kept disturbing the air with his indigestion. It was an especially sharp odour - you know, like rotten cheese.

Anyway, I had a great time away. Even got to shoot a shot gun (clay shooting). So folks, we're back to normal coverage of chess. Coming soon is an interview with Australia's latest superstar!

Saturday, December 03, 2005


Readers are advised that I will be visiting the United Kingdom between 5 December to 9 December. During this time the blog will be updated less frequently. Well, it all depends on my net access and how busy I will be. I will return Down Under on 12 December and I'll resume regular activities from then.

You may also have noticed that all comments submitted are now moderated, though I publish them completely unedited. The kerfuffle over the NSWCA AGM last Sunday, unfortunately, provoked a couple of unsavoury comments that do not fit the high intellectual standards we like to maintain. Of course, we also like to continue our existence without having to be distracted by some litigious petals.

Having said that, please continue to submit comments. You may be anonymous if you wish. In the words of a great Australian, "See youse all!"

Pinoy Duo Leading

At the Tagaytay International Convention Center (in the Philippines), Eugene Torre and fellow local Beverly Mendoza are leading the standard chess competition of the 23rd South East Asian Games.

Tempo reports. (Please note that these Tempo news items seem to disappear after a couple of days. So if you've clicked on one of the links I've posted previously, you'll see a blank page).

Paragua Eliminated

Pinoy player Mark Paragua was eliminated from the World Chess Cup event overnight, losing to Russian, Alexey Dreev. The mini match went into tiebreaks after both players split the points in their regulation games.

Paragua drew first blood in the first rapid game, but Dreev struck back quickly on the reverse with the White side of a Queen's Gambit Accepted. The two players were then forced into a blitz play-off with Dreev eventually prevailing 1.5-0.5.

WCC 2005
Paragua, Mark
Black "Dreev, Alexey

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. e3 a6 6. a3 Nbd7 7. b4 g6 8. Bd3 Bg7 9. O-O O-O 10. Bb2 b5 11. cxd5 exd5 12. e4 Nb6 13. Ne5 Bb7 14. exd5 Nfxd5 15. Rc1 Nxc3 16. Bxc3 f6 17. Ng4 Qd6 18. h4 Bc8 19. Nh2 Be6 20. Re1 Bc4 21. Bb1 Rfe8 22. Qf3 Bd5 23. Qh3 Be6 24. Qf3 Bd5 25. Qh3 Bh6 26. Rcd1 Be6 27. Ng4 Bg7 28. h5 Bxg4 29. Qxg4 f5 30. Qf3 Nd5 31. Bb2 Qf4 32. Qxf4 Nxf4 33. hxg6 hxg6 34. g3 Nd5 35. Ba2 Kf8 36. Rxe8+ Rxe8 37. Kf1 Rd8 38. Ke2 Ke7 39. Rc1 Kd6 40. Bxd5 Kxd5 41. Kd3 Rh8 42. Rc5+ Kd6 43. Bc1 Rh1 44. Bf4+ Kd7 45. Bd2 Ra1 46. Bc1 Ra2 47. f3 Bf8 48. Rc2 Ra1 49. g4 Bd6 50. gxf5 gxf5 51. d5 cxd5 52. Kd4 Rb1 53. Rc3 Bg3 54. Kxd5 a5 55. bxa5 b4 56. axb4 Rxb4 57. Rd3 Rb5+ 58. Kc4+ Kc6 59. f4 Rc5+ 60. Kb4 Rxc1 61. Rxg3 Rf1 62. Rc3+ Kb7 63. Rc4 Ka6 64. Rd4 Re1 65. Rd6+ Kb7 66. Kc5 Ra1 67. a6+ Kc7 68. Rc6+ Kd7 69. Rg6 Ra4 70. a7 Kc7 71. Rg8 1-0

Meanwhile the top players like Shirov, Kamsky, Ponomariov and Bacrot have made it. For my money, I'm betting on Kamsky to win the whole thing. It's certainly satisfying to see this powerful American making a come-back.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lane Goes Down

In a tragic day for Australia, the country's sole representative at the World Cup, international master Gary Lane, went down to Baadur Jobava in Game 1 of the second round. It was a tough struggle with the game lasting 88 moves.

The good thing about having dual loyalties is that you can always have a 2-way bet. So I am happy to say that Pinoy chesser GM Mark Paragua managed to hold Russian super-GM Alexy Dreev to a draw.

World Cup, Khanty Mansyisk RUS
Dreev, A.
Paragua, M.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 dxc4 3. e4 e5 4. Nf3 exd4 5. Bxc4 Bb4+ 6. Nbd2 Nc6 7. O-O Nf6 8. e5 Nd5 9. Nb3 Nb6 10. Bb5 Qd5 11. Nbxd4 Bd7 12. Bxc6 Bxc6 13. Nxc6 Qxc6 14. Bg5 h6 15. Rc1 Qd5 16. a3 hxg5 17. axb4 g4 18. Ng5 Qxd1 19. Rfxd1 Rh5 20. f4 gxf3 21. Nxf3 Rc8 22. b5 Nd7 23. Re1 Kf8 24. Re4 Rh6 25. Nd4 Rh5 26. Nf3 Rh6 27. Rd1 Ke8 28. Rg4 Rg6 29. e6 Rxe6 30. Rxg7 Rg6 31. Rh7 Nf6 32. Rh8+ Rg8 33. Rxg8+ Nxg8 34. Ra1 Ra8 35. Kf2 Nf6 36. Ke3 Ke7 37. h3 Ne8 38. Kf4 Nd6 39. Nd4 Kf6 40. Re1 a6 41. Ra1 Re8 42. bxa6 bxa6 43. Kf3 Rb8 44. Rxa6 Rxb2 45. g4 Rb4 46. Ke3 Rc4 47. Nf3 Rc3+ 48. Kf4 Rc4+ 49. Kg3 Kg7 50. Ra2 Ne4+ 51. Kg2 c5 52. h4 Rc1 53. Re2 Nf6 54. Ne5 Nd5 55. Rd2 Nf4+ 56. Kg3 Ng6 57. Nxg6 Kxg6 58. Rd6+ Kg7 59. Rc6 c4 60. g5 c3 61. Kg4 c2 62. Kh5 Kf8 63. Rc7 Ke8 64. Kh6 Rh1 65. Rxc2 Rxh4+ 66. Kg7 Rf4 67. Re2+ Kd7 68. g6 fxg6 1/2-1/2

Getting the Boot

Here's a story that I can personally relate to. A few years ago, when the Galleries Victoria was finally opened in Sydney, a few chessers from Hyde Park immediately took up positions in the very comfy food hall. It was perfect under any conditions, rain or shine. Problem is, a few guys were too noisy and just plain foul-mouthed. Pretty soon, the building management, Ipoh, decided to kick us out.

It looks like a bunch of chess players in Rochester, New York have just sufferred the same fate. From

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Australian Chess Magazine

Earlier today, I had mistakenly identified Shaun Press as the publisher of Australian Chess Magazine. In fact, he published the Australian Chess Forum - which is now defunct.

The Australian Chess Magazine is alive and well. That is published by Brian Jones. To subscribe, go to

Power and Dishonour

There was a time when men honoured their words.

Last Sunday, I walked into the NSW annual general meeting (AGM) with the expectations of a new a day in our chess leadership. The ancien regime has, for a long time now, been a dying geriatric, barely able to stand. Starved of new ideas and beset with controversy and crisis, the NSWCA, under the leadership of one Bill Gletsos, was a marked body.

More than a month before the AGM, the first whispers of revolt began. I was in the Philippines in '86 and, I tell you, I know a revolution when I see one. Led by two ex-Olympiad captains, Jason Lyons and Peter Parr, we can now reveal the main players of that rebel faction. They are: Andrew Bird, Laura Moylan, Nicholas Kordahi, Brett Tindall and the gentleman player, Max Fuller.

But seeing the need for long-term harmony, Jason sought no blood - figuratively speaking, that is. Instead, he approached the incumbent president, Bill Gletsos, to see if a more amicable plan could be adopted to ensure a smoother transition. Says Jason, "My motivation for being upfront with Bill was to create harmony and continuity in what is a very fractured and political landscape".

On 13 October this year, Jason made the following public announcement:

For the record, there's no ambush. I had a coffee with Bill last week to discuss my nomination at the November AGM. I outlined my intentions and we had a good chat. Bill said that he would support my nomination.

I updated him on others who are joining me in seeking election to Council, at least one of which (sic) he was already aware of, and I expressed the wish that he remain on Council. Bill said he'd like to take up the Ratings portfolio again (the current holder of this position has recently moved to far north NSW).

This was the first sign that the AGM will see a bloodless coup. With that, we allowed ourselves a big sigh of relief. After all, at the end of the day, we are all friends.

Yet what transpired last Sunday is something that will either kill you with laughter or make you weep. It all depends on your politics.

As we now know, Mr Gletsos delivered a surprising bombshell by declaring, last Sunday, that he was standing for the presidency. For Mr Lyons, a FIDE international arbiter and organiser of the prestigious QVB Chess Festival in 1999 - it was a shot well below the belt. By all accounts, it appears that there was some kind of agreement between Mr Lyons and Mr Gletsos and which the latter had reneged on.

Mr Lyons:

It is absolutely unequivocal that Bill agreed to not run for President. I did not ask him for this - I simply stated my intentions, to which he explained he was only in the position in a de facto sense, having acquired a vacant Presidency when he was VP. He welcomed my candidacy, in conjuction with the other team members I had assembled, and offered his full support.

Of course, this is bluntly disputed by Bill. The well-informed Canberra chess personality, and himself an Olympiad player as well as publisher of the highly regarded (but now defunct) Australian Chess Forum, Mr Shaun Press had this to say on an Australian chess bulletin board: "[W]hat I heard was promised was that BG (Bill Gletsos) would be happy to continue as Ratings Officer if Jason became President. This was 'interperated' (sic) as Bill was not standing [for the presidential post], when it seems that no such statement was actually made."

Mr Press' statement is consistent with what Mr Gletsos informed me last Sunday when I queried, "Where is Jason's mob?" It is also corroborated by Jason himself.

Some 10-15 minutes before the scheduled commencement, word filters outside the meeting room that Bill is running. No-one is certain. Suddenly everyone's talking. Parr approaches Bill, some sort of argument ensues, I enter the conversation, and Bill offers this gem: "I never said I wouldn't run for President, I only said that if you were President, I would be the Ratings Officer."

It's all a bit confusing. While I am not familiar with Mr Gletsos on a closer personal basis, he has always struck me as honourable and trustworthy. Thus, it's important that he make a public statement sooner than later. It is rather odd that several days have passed and despite all the shots fired his way from various angles - so far, there has been no formal communication from our president. He seems content to leave us all guessing. This cannot be a good start to his 2006 tenure.

Mr Gletsos must make a statement now to tell his side of the story. Or else, we the chess public can feel no confidence whatsoever in his leadership.

I will leave the last word to Jason Lyons: "I'll continue to support ACF initiatives, the GP if I can help in some way, Olympiad Appeals and the like, and Junior Chess. But these blokes have lost me."