Friday, March 31, 2006

Trent Parker Reversal

NSWCA Councilman Trent Parker seems to have changed his mind. The link to his post below under "Honest Trent" is resulting in a 404 (Page Not Found error). It was there this morning but Mr Parker's removed it saying, "I do admit that i shouldn't have posted that post, and have pulled it down in the time being, until i get updated on what was discussed in last nights meeting."

Where are they?

Writing for Malaysia's The Star Online, Quah Seng Sun wonders:

Where are the rest of the former national champions? Where are our top Fide-rated players? Why are they giving the national closed championships a miss? If aspirants to the national champion’s title are willing to give up a few days of their annual leave to compete, why is there less commitment from the former winners?

From The Star Online.

Honest Trent

Thank God for honest men! And we thank, in particular, one Trent Parker. This NSWCA council member has just delivered a bombshell that is sure to rock the inner world of our state association.

Writing about the unjust motion (which has since been amended), proposed by the NSWCA, for the adoption of a nation-wide ban of state-banned players Trent says in his blog:

Now this rule is really only being brought into effect because of one individual - Matt Sweeney. I find Matt Sweeney a decent guy in person. Sure he made some unsavory comments when on online bulletin boards such as Chess Chat and his short lived Uber chess Jihad Bulletin Board and against the NSWCA and one or two of the council members. However i definitely think that the ban that he received was too harsh.

After July Matt Sweeney will be the only Banned player. Ilia Ilic's 2 year ban ends at the end of July. So the Majority of the time that the nation wide ban has been brought forward would be for is Matthew Sweeney. Otherwise if certain members of the NSWCA council wanted something like this proposal earlier, why didn't the NSWCA delegates to the ACF propose this when Ilic's ban first started? If the answer is that there was a proposal from another state and NSW just hopped on the bandwagon then why the urgency in bringing it forward?

We can only say that we wish Mr Parker the best of health and to watch his back.


In this earlier post, the following quoted words do not belong to ACF president Denis Jessop.

The ACF Council, at its meeting in January, unanimously passed a motion supporting the principle of reciprocal arrangements between states in relation to the discipline of members. The matter was referred to the ACF Constitutional Subcommittee for more detailed consideration, but in light of the unanimous support for the principle by Council and the fact that banned players are currently circumventing their bans, we believe there should be no further delay in implementing reciprocal arrangements.

I therefore move, on behalf of the NSWCA the following motion:

That effective 1st April 2006 players banned by their respective State Associations are not permitted to play in any ACF Grand Prix tournament and if another State Association, the tournament organiser or the tournament arbiter in the knowledge that a player is banned permits that player to play, then the tournament will not be ACF or FIDE rated and will not be counted towards Grand Prix points and, furthermore, the ACF Council at its discretion may take action against the offending State Association, tournament organiser or tournament arbiter.


To ensure that this motion, if carried, becomes effective by 1st April (and is therefore in force for coming tournaments such as the Doeberl Cup) we suggest that an urgent email vote be undertaken with a voting deadline of, say, next Monday 27 March. The decision can then be publicised via the subsequent ACF Newsletter.

To be absolutely fair, we thank ACF Selections Coordinator, Dr Kevin Bonham, for highlightling this error. In that post's comments section, Dr Bonham chastises me:

Amiel, perhaps before accusing Denis Jessop of not being a "cool head" you should actually read what you are posting. You would then notice that all of the quoted text except for the final paragraph beginning "I am prepared to second the motion (if a seconder is needed) so as to enable a quick vote to be taken." is actually part of a message forwarded by the NSWCA delegate, and not Jessop's own words.

Big Bad Wohl

Peter Parr informs us, in his column last Monday, of IM Alex Wohl's excellent performance in the Bad Worishofen Open in Germany. The Australian's win against grandmaster Kveiny's in the sixth round was a beauty.

Bad Woerishofen Open
Kveinys, A.
Wohl, A.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 b6 7. Bg5 Bb7 8. e3 d6 9. Ne2 Nbd7 10. Qd3 e5 11. Nc3 exd4 12. exd4 Qe8+ 13. Be2 Ne4 14. Nxe4 Bxe4 15. Qg3 f5 16. h4 Qf7 17. Bf4 Rae8 18. Kf1 Nf6 19. h5 Bxg2+ 20. Qxg2 Rxe2! 21. Kxe2 Qxc4+ 22. Kf3 Qd3+ 23. Be3 f4 24. Kxf4 Nd5+ 25. Kg4 Qe2+ 26. Kh3 Nxe3 27. fxe3 Rf3+ 28. Kh2 Rf2 29. Rhg1 Qxe3 30. Qxf2 Qxf2+ 31. Kh3 Qxd4 32. Rae1 h6 33. Rg3 Qxb2 34. Re7 c5 35. Rf3 Qc1 36. Re8+ Kh7 37. Rff8 Qh1+ 38. Kg4 Qg2+ 39. Kf5 Qd5+ 0-1

One round later, Wohl had to face grandmaster Vereslav Eingorn of the Ukraine, rated 2595. It was another exciting game which finished in a drawn Queen ending. Wohl lost his 8th game to Ikonnikov and the last game to Indian boy wonder, Parimarjan Negi.

IM Alex Wohl will play for Australia in this year's Torino Olympiad.

Bad Woerishofen Open
Wohl, A.
Eingorn, V.

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 c5 4. c3 Qb6 5. Nf3 Nc6 6. a3 c4 7. Nbd2 Na5 8. g3 Bd7 9. h4 h6 10. Bh3 Ne7 11. O-O Nec6 12. Re1 Be7 13. Nf1 Nb3 14. Rb1 Nxc1 15. Qxc1 O-O-O 16. Ne3 Na5 17. Qd1 Bc6 18. h5 Kb8 19. Nh2 Bd7 20. Kh1 Bc8 21. Rg1 Nc6 22. f4 f6 23. Nf3 fxe5 24. fxe5 Rdf8 25. Qe2 Qd8 26. Ng2 Bg5 27. Nfh4 Ne7 28. Rbf1 Rxf1 29. Rxf1 Rf8 30. Rf3 Qe8 31. Bg4 Nc6 32. Rxf8 Qxf8 33. Ng6 Qf7 34. N2f4 Ne7 35. Nxe7 Bxe7 36. Kg2 Bg5 37. Qf3 Bxf4 38. gxf4 g6 39. Kg3 gxh5 40. Bxh5 Qf5 41. Bg4 Qb1 42. Qf2 a5 43. Kh4 Bd7 44. Bh3 Qh7 45. Bg2 Qf5 46. Bh3 Qf7 47. Qf3 Kc7 48. Bg4 Qg6 49. Qg3 Kc6 50. Bh3 Qf7 51. Qg4 a4 52. Bg2 Kc7 53. Bf3 b5 54. Qg3 Be8 55. Qg4 Bd7 56. Kg3 Qh7 57. Qh4 Qg6+ 58. Kh2 b4 59. axb4 Qc2+ 60. Bg2 Qxb2 61. f5 exf5 62. Qe7 Qe2 63. Qd6+ 1/2-1/2

Final table

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Be patient

This blogger says, "Chess isn't for people without patience". Too right!

An Unjust Federation?

Talk of injustice are not confined to Australian chess circles. Here's more to our earlier item on the troubles in Azerbaijan.

Objecting to his daughter's exclusion from the Azerbaijani Olympiad side, Hamid Mammadyarov says: "The Chess Federation authorities demonstrates injustice and disrespect to the chess players."

NSWCA on a Manhunt

Behaving more like the Myanmar military government, the NSWCA under the leadership of Bill Gletsos, is on a manhunt. The target? Matthew Sweeney. The only roadblock in front of them are some cool heads in the ACF. ACF president and ex-lawyer Denis Jessop is not one of those cooler heads. Courtesy of Canberra chess personality and Olympiad rep, Shaun Press, we take a peek into the secret machinations of Australia's national federation. Here is a portion of an email from Mr Jessop sent to his fellow ACF staffers.

The ACF Council, at its meeting in January, unanimously passed a motion supporting the principle of reciprocal arrangements between states in relation to the discipline of members. The matter was referred to the ACF Constitutional Subcommittee for more detailed consideration, but in light of the unanimous support for the principle by Council and the fact that banned players are currently circumventing their bans, we believe there should be no further delay in implementing reciprocal arrangements.

I therefore move, on behalf of the NSWCA the following motion:

That effective 1st April 2006 players banned by their respective State Associations are not permitted to play in any ACF Grand Prix tournament and if another State Association, the tournament organiser or the tournament arbiter in the knowledge that a player is banned permits that player to play, then the tournament will not be ACF or FIDE rated and will not be counted towards Grand Prix points and, furthermore, the ACF Council at its discretion may take action against the offending State Association, tournament organiser or tournament arbiter.


To ensure that this motion, if carried, becomes effective by 1st April (and is therefore in force for coming tournaments such as the Doeberl Cup) we suggest that an urgent email vote be undertaken with a voting deadline of, say, next Monday 27 March. The decision can then be publicised via the subsequent ACF Newsletter.

I am prepared to second the motion (if a seconder is needed) so as to enable a quick vote to be taken. Purely also to save time, I am circulating the motion instead of the usual procedure of Jey doing it, so could responses please be sent to me. It would be preferable if all respondents sent their replies "Reply All" though I note that most of you do that already.

Apart from the unjustness I mentioned in an earlier post, two things jump at me almost immediately. First the haste of this motion and, second, the specific mention of the Doeberl Cup. Finally, how about the stinking hypocrisy?

Mr Matthew Sweeney has indicated an intention to attend this year's Doeberl Cup. He is currently a banned player in New South Wales. The NSWCA doesn't like it, submits the above motion, and the ACF president nods obediently. But all this is hypocritical particularly on the part of the NSWCA. Here's why. The NSWCA constitution reads: "To encourage, promote, maintain and control the playing of Chess in the State of New South Wales". So, if they're going to ban anyone then those persons must be banned from all tournaments. Right? Wrong!

Former Olympiad captain, Peter Parr, informs Aussie chess fans on ChessChat:

The NSWCA banned players in 2005 for their unacceptable behaviour in NSWCA events.


After the players were banned by the NSWCA the banned players continued to play in important events in NSWCA affiliated clubs eg Rooty Hill(directed by NSWCA Councillor and Life Member Cassettari),Campbelltown(directed by NSWCA Councillor Parker and on the Central Coast(directed by NSWCA Councillor Mal Murrell) - there may be others. All players banned by NSWCA can easily play at least 150 games per year in any NSWCA affiliated clubs during the period of their ban and the NSWCA will process all their games for rating and NSWCA President will calculate new ratings for each banned player.


Now the NSWCA President insists that banned players not be allowed to play in ACF Grand Prix events and penalties apply to clubs who accept their entries. However they can still play in NSW clubs where NSWCA Councillors are among the organisers.

You see what I'm getting at?

Record Attempt in Russia

"On March 28, unique chess match between teams of Oktyabrsky and Sverdlovsky city districts took place in Krasnoyarsk, in order to hold all-Russian record on simultaneous play of more than 500 players."

From Regnum News Agency.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Vietnamese GM Switches

WGM Hoang Thanh Trang, of Vietnam, will switch allegiance to Hungary. While still a Vietnamese national, Trang has lived in Hungary for 16 years.

More from Thanh Nien News.

Chess Businessmen

When I am in his store, I am always amazed at Peter Parr's chess business. It's just booming. Just looking at the large boxes of sets, books and all manner of things chessic that he's shipping to all parts of the country, I think, "My God, this man's doing well for himself!"

Actually, a bullish trend in the chess business sector appears to be a worldwide phenomenon. I'm not sure if Checkmate International is listed anywhere but definitely worth a look at.

From India's Business Standard.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Downside of a Winning Streak

The problem with a long winning streak is that, sooner or later, a loss will come screaming from around the corner and hit you like a road train. For Michael Lostritto, this is exactly what happened. It's a fascinating story and we owe it to DG over at the Boylston CC blog.

"Damaged Goods".

Monday, March 27, 2006

Mammadyarov Angry at Fed

It seems everywhere you look there's bickering between players and their respective federations. In Azerbaijan, current World Junior champ Shahriyar Mammadyarov has threated to quit the national team citing bias against certain players. Azeri Press Information Agency quoted him as saying:

We-most grandmasters are of the same opinion. We plan to quit the team objecting to this bias. If the federation does not correct its errors and does not end discrimination against the chess players, I will quit and will not represent the federation any longe.

From APA.

City of Sydney - Round 6

Calmly, he makes his move, 67...Rb8. As the opponent, the awesome George Xie, sat there shaking his head, Raymond Song gave away a satisfied smile. Raymond knew it was all over. And so did the rest of us. The little kid had taken out another master scalp. What a game! What a struggle!

For a while the finish seemed certain. Any moment now, George Xie will offer a draw. His determined prodding was going nowhere. With just a lonesome Queen, there was no way in to Ray's fortresses - one on both flanks of the board. Finally, the 3-IM norm holder decides to race his own King up along the h-file to join the attack. Waiting for him was a diabolical ambush!

City of Sydney 2006
Xie, George
Song, Raymond

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 d5 4. exd5 Qxd5 5. d4 Nf6 6. Be2 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. a3 cxd4 9. cxd4 Nc6 10. Nc3 Qd6 11. Nb5 Qd8 12. Bf4 Nd5 13. Bg3 b6 14. Rc1 Bb7 15. Ne5 Nxe5 16. dxe5 a6 17. Nd6 Bxd6 18. exd6 Qf6 19. Qb3 e5 20. d7 Rfd8 21. Bg4 h5 22. Bxh5 Rxd7 23. Bg4 Re7 24. Bf3 e4 25. Be2 b5 26. Rfd1 Qe6 27. Bf1 Rd8 28. a4 bxa4 29. Qxa4 Red7 30. Qa5 Re8 31. Rc5 e3 32. Re1 Qf6 33. fxe3 Rxe3 34. Rd1 Rxg3 35. hxg3 Ne3 36. Re1 Nxf1 37. Re8+ (37. Rxf1?? Qxb2) 37... Kh7 38. Rh5+ Kg6 39. Ree5 Rd5 40. Rhg5+ Qxg5 41. Rxg5+ Kxg5 42. Qc7 Rb5 43. Kxf1 Kg6 44. b4 f6 45. Qe7 Rf5+ 46. Kg1 Rb5 47. g4 Kh7 48. Kf2 Kg6 49. g3 Kh7 50. Qf8 Bd5 51. Qd6 Bb7 52. Ke3 Re5+ 53. Kf2 Rb5 54. Qd3+ Kg8 55. Qg6 Bc6 56. Qc2 Bb7 57. Qc7 Kh7 58. Qe7 Kg8 59. Kf1 Kh7 60. Kg1 Kg8 61. Kh2 Kh7 62. Kh3 Kg6 63. Kh4 Kh6 64. Qe8 Kh7 65. Qe7 Kh6 66. Qf7 Bg2! Now George casually plays 67. Qf8, totally missing Song's fantastic reply

After 67. Qf8

67...Rb8!! 0-1

After last week's loss, WIM Laura Moylan (who has been promoted to board 2 in the Olympiad team after Anastasia Sorokina's withdrawal) gets her campaign back in order by defeating New South Wales champ Andrew Bird. Her opponents should watch out. Laura seems to have this uncanny ability to create a passed d-pawn. She did the same against Raymond Song earlier in the tournament and came very close to winning. This time, the d-pawn passer proved far too troublesome for black.

City of Sydney 2006
Moylan, Laura
Bird, Andrew

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. Bg5 Bg7 4. Nbd2 d5 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 c5 7. c3 Qb6 8. Qc2 O-O 9. O-O Re8 10. Rfe1 e5 11. Nxe5 Nxe5 12. dxe5 Ng4 13. c4Nxe5 14. cxd5 Nxd3 15. Qxd3 Qxb2 16. d6 Bd7 17. Rab1 Qxa2 18. Rxb7 Qe6 19. Rc1 Rec8 20. Rc7 Be5 21. Ne4 Rxc7 22. dxc7 c4 23. Rxc4 Bc8 (23... Bb5 24. Qd8+ Qe8 25. Qxa8 Qxa8 26. c8=Q+) 24. Bh6 Ba6 (24... Bg7 25. Qd8+) 25. Qd8+ Qe8 26. Nf6+ 1-0

It is very hard sometimes to attend to my own problems while also keeping on eye on all the other mini battles around me. Just as I've made my move, I can't wait to get up again and observe the other games. You know, I get this itch and I can't control it. Sooner or later, something will have to give; I either want to play chess, or just write about it. Today, however, I got lucky. My opponent seemed a little unfamiliar with the situation and walked straight into an attack.

1. e4 is not my first choice. But it does make an appearance when I know that the opposition will respond only in a certain way. My opponent, Aram Sandalciyan, nearly always relies on the Sicilian. No fancy preparation here. Just sit back, relax and wait.

City of Sydney 2006
Rosario, Amiel
Sandalciyan, Aram

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 d6 3. g3 Nf6 4. Bg2 e5?! 5. d3 Nc6 6. h3 g6 7. Be3 Bg7 8. Qd2 h5 9. Nce2 Qa5 10. c3 Be6 11. f4 Nd7 12. Nf3 Bh6 13. O-O f5 14. Nh4 O-O-O 15. b4!? (Maybe I should have played 15. Nxg6 Rhg8 16. exf5 Bxf5 17. b4 Qc7 necessary because the obvious capture (17... cxb4 runs into 18. cxb4 Qa3 19. b5 Rxg6 20. bxc6 bxc6 21. Rac1 c5 22. Rc3) 18. Nh4 Be6 19. bxc5 dxc5) 15...cxb4 16. cxb4 Qxb4 17. Qc2 Nc5 18. Rab1 Qa4 19. Qd2 Qxa2 20. Rb2 Qa3 (20... Qa5 21. Qxa5 Nxa5 22. Nxg6 Rhe8 (22... Rhg8 23. Ne7+ (23. exf5 Bxf5 24. Ne7+ Kb8 25. Nxf5) 23... Kb8 24. Nxg8)) 21. Nc3 Nb4 22. Nb5 Qxd3?? 23. Rxb4 Qxd2 24. Bxd2 Nd3 25. Nxa7+ Kc7 26. Rbb1 b6 27. Nb5+ Kd7 28. Ra1 exf4 29. Ra7+ Kc6 (29... Ke8 30. Nxg6 Rd7 (30... Bd7 31. Nxd6 mate) 31. Ra8+ Kf7 (31... Rd8 32. Rxd8+ Kxd8 33. Nxh8) 32. Nxh8+) 30. Nd4+ 1-0

City of Sydney 2006
Pickering, Anthony
Wright, Neil

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 f5 11. c3 Bg7 12. exf5 Bxf5 13. Nc2 O-O 14. Nce3 Be6 15. Bd3 f5 16. O-O Ra7 17. a4 bxa4 18. Rxa4 Qg5 19. f4 exf4 20. Nxf4 Be5 21. Qf3 Bd7 22. Nh3 Qh6 23. Bxf5 Kh8 24. Qe4 d5 25. Qd3 Bxf5 26. Rxf5 Rxf5 27. Nxf5 Qc1+ 28. Kf2 Qxb2+ 29. Ke3 Qxg2 30. Rxa6 Qxh3+ 31. Ng3 Bxg3 32. Rxc6 Bf4+ 33. Kd4 Be5+ 0-1

Other results:

Song, A - Rej, .5-.5
Ingram - Hill, 1-0
Bleicher - Bolens, 0-1
Escribano - Zirdum, 0-1
Rachmadi - Barrera, 1-0

Latest pictures uploaded on my flickr account.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Froehlich Wins Gold Coast Active

International master Peter Froehlich won the 2006 Gold Coast Active Championship today on a score of 6.5/7 points. The German IM conceded only a single draw in the seventh round to WIM Arianne Caoili. Arianne secured second place overall on countback ahead of Jonas Muller.

More details here.

Unfair Seedings

The Philippines national airline is represented by the three letter acronym, PAL. Those who haven't flown PAL may think that the 3 letters stand for "Philippine Airlines". But to Filipinos, they stand for "Plane Always Late". The constant lateness pretty much represents the character of the Filipino - he likes to take his time, dragging his butt along until the eleventh hour.

Well, we're not quite at the eleventh hour but just a couple of months from the Olympiad, RP still does not have a full Olympiad outfit. As I write, there are elimination tournaments across the archipelago to determine the composition of RP's team. While all these are happening, a minor controversy is about to ignite.

The local federation, National Chess Federation of the Philippines, will seed the country's top 3 grandmasters into the national side. And Mark Paragua is not too happy.

From the Inquirer.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

A mad game

This one's a Saturday Special, from last Sunday's round 5 of the City of Sydney. Robert Hvistendahl could not resist convincing me to publish it. "It's a mad game", he said. Playing the black side, uni student Nick Chernih gets himself in trouble early against Ivan Zirdum. Just as when Ivan was getting ready to deliver the finishing blows, Nick launches a counter-attack. Within a couple of moves, Ivan was suddenly losing.

Nick Chernih in action against Ivan Zirdum

City of Sydney 2006
Zirdum, Ivan
Chernih, Nick

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Nd7 5. Bc4 Ngf6 6. Ng5 e6 7. Qe2 Nb6 8. Bd3 Bd6 9. N1f3 O-O (9... h6 10. Ne4 Nxe4 11. Qxe4 Nd5 12. O-O Qc7) 10. O-O (10. Bd2 Bd7 11. Ne4 c5 12. dxc5 Bxc5 13. O-O-O Qc7 14. Nfg5 1-0 Nguyen Dinh Quang-Nguyen Quang Duc/Phu Dong 2004 / EXT 2005) 10... c5 11. dxc5 Bxc5 12. Bf4 Nbd5 13. Be5 Bd6 14. Rfd1 Bxe5 15. Qxe5 Qc7 16. Bxh7+ Nxh7 17. Rxd5 Qxc2 18. Nxh7 (18. Rc5 Qg6 19. Nxh7 Qxh7 20. Rc7) 18... Qxh7 19. Rd4 b6 20. Qg3 Bb7 21. Rh4 Qf5 22. Rg4 Qf6 23. Ne5 Rfd8 24. Rh4 Rd2 25. Ng4 Qxb2 And after this, Black is on top. 26. Rf1 Rc8 27. Qh3 g6 (27... g5!? 28. Rh5 Rc1 29. Rxg5+ Kf8 30. Qh6+ Ke7 31. Ne3 Rxf1+ 32. Nxf1 Rxf2) 28. Qe3 Rc1 29.Nf6+ Kf8 30. Rh8+ Ke7 31. Ng8+ Kd6 32. Qf4+ e5! (32... Kc6 is also adequate 33. Qf3+ (33. Ne7+ Kb5 34. a4+ Ka5) 33... Kc5 34. Qe3+ Kb5 35. Qb3+ Qxb3 36. axb3 Rdd1) 33. Qf6+ Kc5 34. Qe7+ Kb5 0-1

Friday, March 24, 2006

Blogs All Around

A lot of people are blogging these days. But, sad to say, there are still a very few Aussie chess fans who do. No matter, perhaps my fellow Australians are happy to read. For you folks out there, here's a couple I've just found. One for our Chinese-reading friends, Xie Jun's blog, and the frequently updated Ben Finegold blog.

If you want to trawl around looking for potential faves, I suggest the Kenilworthian's page or just take a look at Boylston's right-hand side bar.

Have a good weekend folks! Hopefully, those accident-prone ACF officials won't keep me busy. I've got family over from RP and I'm playing the tourist guide.

Careless Announcements

What in the world is wrong with Australian Chess Federation officials? It seems to me that they have either careless tongues or slippery fingers. In his President's Report earlier this year, the ACF head, Dennis Jessop, showed utter contempt for Aussie chess fans who inhabit the country's most popular chess forum by writing:

The most public matter has been the aftermath of the Australian Open and Junior Championships 2004/2005 held at Mt Buller, which has still to be fully dealt with. A lot of criticism has been made, especially on the Chess Chat Forum, of George Howard as a result of the events. Some of this has been justified but much of it, like much else that appears on that Forum, has been uninformed and irresponsible.

I happen to be a critic of the Mt Buller tournament and, no doubt, Mr Jessop had somone like yours truly in mind. But hey, who's laughing now Mr Jessop?

And a couple of days ago, ACF Selections Coordinator, Dr Kevin Bonham, was worthy of our praise for his wise decision to request an escape clause in what I think is an absolutely unjust piece of motion. Yet, on the matter pertaining to Mr Matthew Sweeney, who has been banned by his local state association for a period of 18 months, Dr Bonham said this:

The 18-month ban was warranted given that Matthew had not apologised at that stage. He still hasn't. Indeed a 5-year or even 10-year ban would have been legitimate in my view if the NSWCA had such power.

Yes, he said (and let me repeat so you won't miss it), "a 5-year or even 10-year ban".

We truly respect these officials for the time they volunteer to our game. But those with Ferdinand Marcos tendencies ought to be rooted out like a cancerous tooth. These guys are dangerous.

Bikini Chess Babes

Our mate, DG, over at the Boylston CC blog has been pointing our attention to a certain Clint Ballard. Now Mr Ballard is apparently responsible for this.

Our view is that we like Mr Ballard very much.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chess Hooliganism

And speaking of bannings, if there's a group worthy of national shut-outs, it's chess hooligans. Yes, we've all heard of the footballing kind, but I had no idea they also exist in chess. They're out there. And here's proof.

Found in Google Videos.

Unjust Rules - Extended Banning

It's one of those days when, out of nowhere, the entire chess community gets hit with a bombshell. And what a loud bang it was when Canberra chess organiser and Olympiad representative, Shaun Press, let us all in on a so secret plan.

Currently before the Australian Chess Federation is the following motion:

That effective 1st April 2006 players banned by their respective State Associations are not permitted to play in any ACF Grand Prix tournament and if another State Association, the tournament organiser or the tournament arbiter in the knowledge that a player is banned permits that player to play, then the tournament will not be ACF or FIDE rated and will not be counted towards Grand Prix points and, furthermore, the ACF Council at its discretion may take action against the offending State Association, tournament organiser or tournament arbiter.

Based on informal poll on an internet chess forum, the motion and its ramifications are unpopular. In terms of unpopularity, it is probably akin to the French CEP. And this is understandable. As it is, the motion is manifestly unjust.

I do not disagree that some chess players may, indeed, deserve a national ban. Somebody who commits physical assault, or threatens such, during a tournament may be one example. These offenders, in my view, deserve nothing less than the ire of the entire Australian chess community.

The problem with this motion, in its present form, is that it ignores degrees or types of offences. Take the much celebrated case of one Mr Matthew Sweeney. Mr Sweeney is presently locked out of all NSWCA events. Actually, at this moment, no one can say for certain exactly why he was banned. The most common understanding seems to be that the NSWCA were none too impressed with Mr Sweeney's pronouncements on his internet site. In other words, his banning was basically due to a squabble between himself and the state association - largely an internal matter. If the above motion, before the ACF, were to pass as it is, then poor Mr Sweeney would also be persona non grata at all tournaments Australia-wide. And herein lies the problem. Such a national banning would be clearly unfair and improper insofar as Mr Sweeney's case is concerned.

Let's be clear. Mr Sweeney assaulted no one. In fact, he is a very popular figure amongst numerous chess players. He is a gentleman and a scholar (literally). Why in the world should he also suffer from such a stupid rule as "your banned in this state, therefore you're banned in this other state, period"?

Thankfully, there is a voice of reason within the ACF. Selections coordinator Dr Kevin Bonham has requested that the following escape clause be added: "except where the ACF Council decides otherwise". This is apparently to avoid further banning someone, like Mr Sweeney for instance, who may have been "unjustly, excessively or invalidly banned by their state association". Still, however, we have more questions. We want to know, in particular, the specific terms of reference that the ACF can consider when someone is placed before them for national banning.

We wish cooler and wiser heads within the ACF will ultimately prevail. My dear readers, this is one of those situations when I might again pick up my rosary beads and pray a thousand Hail Mary's so that sanity may win.

Grassroots Development in RP

This is what we like to see and this is what Philippines chess badly needs. Just days after becoming president of the Philippines' local federation, congressman Pichay has launched a grassroots development program for children.

From the Manila Standard.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Marina Litvinovich Attacked

Marina Litvinovich, a Kasparov aide was attacked in Mosow by unknown assailants. Kasparov is the leader of an opposition party, United Civic Front.

From Radio Free Europe.

Monday, March 20, 2006

City of Sydney - Round 5

Among Australia's young talents, Raymond Song can be rightly considered the uber junior. As if we all need reminding of that equal first finish in the World U10 at the World Youth Championships in Greece. Since then, his strength has increased markedly.

Last Sunday, however, he got lucky. Robert Hvistendahl played a fantastic Black side of the Sicilian as if like a GM possessed. But, at the most crucial moment, he misplayed his position, lost a piece and, to top it all off, came within two moves of being mated. There was no choice but to resign.

City of Sydney 2006
Song, Raymond
Hvistendahl, Robert

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 Nbd7 7. f4 b5 8. Qf3 Bb7 9. Bd3 e6 10. O-O-O Qb6 11. Nb3 b4 12. Ne2 Be7 (12... d5 is normal.) 13. g4 a5 14. Kb1 a4 15. Nd2 Nc5 16. Nc4 Qc7 17. Ng3 d5! 18. Nd2

After 18. Nd2

18...O-O (After the game, we were looking at the possibilities with b4-b3 18... b3 19. cxb3 dxe4 (19... axb3 20. Nxb3 Nxd3 21. Qxd3) 20. Ngxe4 (20. Bb5+ Kf8!) 20...Nfxe4 21. Bxe4 Nxe4 22. Nxe4 axb3 23. axb3 (23. Rc1 bxa2+ 24. Ka1) 23... f5!) 19. e5 Ne8? (19... d4 20. Nde4 Nfxe4) 20. Bxe7 Qxe7 21. Rhe1 f6? (Hvistendahl should prefer 21... Nc7 in order to connect the rooks immediately.) 22. exf6 Rxf6 23. g5 Rf8 24. Qg4 Qf7 (24... b3 25. a3 bxc2+ 26. Bxc2 g6) 25. f5 exf5 26. Qxb4 Nxd3 27. cxd3 f4?? 28. Re7 Qg6 29. Qxb7 Rd8 30. Ngf1 Qxd3+ 31. Ka1 a3 32. bxa3 Kh8 33. Rde1 Nd6 34. Qb3 Qd4+ 35. Qb2 Nf5 36. Qxd4 Nxd4 37. Kb2 Rb8+ 38. Nb3 Nf3 39. Rd1 d4 40. a4 Nxg5 41. Rxd4 f3 42. Rdd7 g6 43. h4 1-0

On the other hand, WIM Laura Moylan had a terrible time on Sunday. She was ill and came close to forfeiting her game. But our heroine opted to play reasoning that she didn't want to lose two points to George Xie. This is because she may yet have been repaired with Xie at a later round.

During her game, and between moves, Laura was seen rolling around on a couch. She was clearly sick and really had no business crossing swords with a powerhouse.

City of Sydney 2006
Xie, George
Moylan, Laura

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 4. Bc4 e6 5. Nge2 Nf6 6. O-O a6 7. a4 d5 8. exd5 exd5 9. Ba2 Ne6 10. d4 c4 11. b3 cxb3 12. Bxb3 Bd6!? A new move. 13. Nxd5 Bxh2+ (13... Nxd5 14. Bxd5 Bxh2+ 15. Kxh2 Qxd5 16. Ba3) 14. Kxh2 Nxd5 15. Ba3 Nef4 16. Nxf4 Nxf4 17. g3 Qg5 18. Qf3! (18. gxf4 Qxf4+ leads to a perpetual.) 18... Qh6+ 19. Kg1 g5 20. Rfe1+ Kd8 21. gxf4 gxf4 22. Qd5+ Bd7 23. Re7 Rg8+ 24. Kf1 Qh3+ 25. Ke2 f3+ 26. Kd2 Rg2 27. Qa5+ Kc8 28. Kc3 Rxf2 29. Bd6 Rxc2+ 30. Bxc2 f2+ 31. Kb2 1-0

City of Sydney 2006
Wright, Neil
Xie, Ken

1. e4 c6 2. Nf3 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. Ne5 Nd7 5. d4 Nxe5 6. dxe5 e6 7. Bd3 Bc5 8. Qg4 Ne7 9. Bg5 Qc7 10. O-O Ng6 11. Bxg6 hxg6 12. Bf4 Bd4 13. Qe2 Bd7 14. c3 Bb6 15. Nd2 Rc8 16. Rac1 Bc6 17. c4 Qd7 18. Rfd1 O-O 19. b4 Ba4 20. Nb3 a5 21. c5 Ba7 22. Rc3 axb4 23. Rh3 Bxb3 24. axb3 Bxc5 25. g4 f5 26. Rg3 Bb6 27. Be3 f4 28. Bxb6 fxg3 29. hxg3 Rc3 30. Rd4 Qc6 31. Rxb4 Rc1+ 32. Kg2 d4+ 33. f3 Rc2 0-1

Exactly as I'd expected, I had a terrible time against my opponent, Tomek Rej. But you know, I'm going to make an excuse. On Saturday, I spent the better part of the afternoon at a modified motor vehicles autoshow. I love cars. Life is nothing without them. Not! I lie, of course. I was there for this. Bad idea. My mind was never on the job.

City of Sydney 2006
Rej, Tomek
Rosario, Amiel

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d5? The first mistake, hence the '?'. For the past two days I'd set my mind on the Budapest Faj. I noticed that Rej doesn't seem to handle complexity very well, from a time management perspective. And so I looked for a system that could be new to him and which was also in keeping with my temperament. However, at the board I suddenly decided to play d7-d5. This shift changed my own psychological mindset from one of being prepared to the one being surprised. 3. cxd5 This move just made it worse! Now, I had to think. Lesson learnt: stick to your plan! 3...Nxd5 4. Nf3 c6 5. e4 Nf6 6. Nc3 e6 7. Bg5 Qa5?! Bugger it, I thought. Let's have fun. 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. O-O h6 10. Bd2 Qd8 11. Qe2 Be7 12. Rfe1 g5? 13. d5 Nc5 14. Bc4 b5 15. b4 bxc4 16. bxc5 cxd5 17. exd5 Bxc5 18. Qxc4 Qb6? 19. Be3? (I thought the following was stronger. 19. Na4! Bxf2+ 20. Kf1! Ba6 21. Nxb6 Bxc4+ 22. Kxf2 axb6 23. Bc3 and White is clearly better.) 19... Bxe3 20. Rxe3 O-O 21. Rb1 exd5?? 22. Rxb6 Oops! 1-0

Other results:

Ingram - Rachmadi, 1-0
Bleicher - Barrera, 1-0
Zirdum - Chernih, 0-1
Bolens - Halpin, 0-1

More photos in my flickr account.

Fishy Tales in Queensland

Something is fishy in the northern state of Queensland. Yesterday afternoon, a Chess Association of Queensland insider, came out swinging on Australia's liveliest chess bulletin board. (The poster was using the handle, "Arrogant-One").

He opened: "As many people have become aware, the CAQ is in a state of disarray."

Actually, the insider's salvo began with a verbatim copy of the CAQ president's resignation letter. But that little potato turned out to be so hot that the forum moderators immediatelly went into overdrive. The post disappeared within minutes.

Now I've never liked potato. It's a boring food. But this one potato I like. For that seems to have been the beginning of CAQ's recent problems.

According to our inside man, the CAQ president, Howard Duggan, suddenly retracted his resignation. The VP was reportedly incensed! He was there ready to take over but that chance now disappeared.

From our inside informant:

[T, annoyed by the backflip, then criticised Howard Duggan and Bill Powell (a new CAQ Council member who was not elected at last year's AGM but rather was elected by Council itself in its first meeting of 2006) for causing strife and discord relating to the foolishness of [a retracted] resignation.

Terse emails were exchanged by all CAQ Council members, and ultimately Howard Duggan (leader of the Trifecta voting block of Ian Murray, Gail Young, and himself) initiated a motion of non confidence in the Vice President!

This motion passed with the support of Bill Powell by a margin of 4 votes for (the Trifecta and Powell) 3 votes against, and one abstaining.

The matter will now have to be dealt with at a Special General Meeting, expected on 17 April 2006.

Alarmed by this blatant airing of their dirty laundry, CAQ Secretary, Ian Murray, chipped in with: "CAQ Council is using due process under its constitution to remove the cause of the current discord (viz the VP). The constitution provides opportunity for all parties to be heard, but that forum is not the Bulletin Board - no debate will be entered into here." Presumably, that will be Mr Murray's one and only post.

Who would have thought that the normally quiet Queenslanders could be so dramatic? As if all this wasn't enough, Queensland chess player Dion Sampson , who has certain ambitions himself, joined in:

It is my unfortunate duty to give the real objective report on this matter.... However, I shall refrain if I am contacted by the President or Secretary within the next 7 days and the motion to impeach the Vice-President of the Council is rescinded.

There are serious, serious problems afoot on the CAQ Council.

We wait for further developments in the ensuing debacle up north.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

James Morris at the Games

Current Victorian Under 14 champion, James Morris was the honourable guest today at the Commonwealth Games village in Melbourne. He was there to play a simul against all comers, mainly the athletes.

James, seen here playing against a Canadian athlete

Amidst tight security, the simul was played in a relaxed atmosphere. Accompanied by mom, Rowena Moyle, James thoroughly enjoyed himself. The young man quickly made friends with the Canadian hockey team as well as swimmers from Mauritius. The Canadians apparently kept coming back out for more.

I met James early this year and he is a very friendly young chap. Maybe that explains why the volunteer helpers gave so much support and even provided James with a hat as a memento!

Says Rowena, "I was very proud ..not only that James was asked but that he was a good ambassador for Australia, Melbourne and Australian Chess."

The event was organised by Gary Wastell and Chess Victoria with the specific aim of promoting the Australian Olympiad Team. Unfortunately, there was no media present to cover the event. And Rowena informs us that they were not allowed to mention the Olympiad due to Commonwealth Games regulations.

Here is another picture of James playing aginst Chess Victoria head, Gary Wastell.

There will be more chess players visiting the village. They will be there next Wednesday and the following Saturday.

Johansen Withdraws from Team

Grandmaster Daryl Johansen, selected for board 3 duties for the upcoming Olympiad in Torino, has withdrawn from the team. This sad news was announced by Dr. Kevin Bonham, ACF Selections Coordinator, this evening. GM Johansen cited "work commitments" as the main reason for his decision.

While not altogether surprising, this turn of events does highlight the one problem our top class players must countenance when their nation calls upon them for representative duties. That is, the nation delivers no financial support. The local federation conducts an appeal but funds collected through that procedure are hardly ever adequate. It is a very bad situation.

Melbourne coach Nicholas Speck, who played very well in Gibraltar recently, is now set to replace Johansen. All that is required now is for this 3-IM norm holder to indicate his acceptance. I do hope he does and all the best to him.

The Good Chess Wife

Our columnist hero, Bobby Ang, has a good wife. She rates a mention in his book, Inside Philippine Chess and also in this column recently. Cathy Rogers is another good wife. We can say the same of Irina Berezina - married to IM Vladimir Feldman. There are many others, of course, and they are all good because they permit their husbands a second love affair. Chess.

Linda Steiner-Mander is another such good wife. Out of love and devotion, Linda has taken out a most unusual personal ad on behalf of her husband. She is looking for his second playmate. No, not for a bit of, you know, kikiriki on the side - but, to play chess.

Says Linda, ""The idea is to surprise him on his birthday so he can resume one of his hobbies. ... We don't have a chess club here anywhere that I know of".

From The Derrick.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Dream Prize List

We all know that America is the land of opportunities. A place of ample rewards. Well, apparently, even if you score zero, zip, nada - they still give you a big fat paycheck. Just take a look at the prize list for the recently concluded US Championships. Kelly Cottrell-Finegold gets $2000 for, yep, zero points! That's more money than for the first placing at a decent Australian weekend tournament!

America, here I come!

By the way, Batchimeg Tuvshintugs, who faced 7 grandmaster opponents ended on 3.5 points and also went home with $2000.

ACF Makes Right Move

The Australian Chess Federation has now officialy given its support to Bessel Kok's ticket for the next FIDE elections. I must say, we are fully supportive of this decision and congrats to ACF head, Dennis Jessop, and his crew for this very courageous decision.

Australia's support is now posted on the Right Move site here. And if you don't know much about Australia, there is some introductory information there too.

"Butch" Pichay New NCFP Head

As expected, congressman Prospero "Butch" Pichay was elected as the new president of the National Chess Federation of the Phlippines (NCFP). The vote was unanimous.

This is a big challenge for me and for the rest of the board. But we have to act quickly because chess in this country has stagnated in the past few years. We have to develop our players by giving them more tournaments and sending them abroad for training and exposure.

Pichay's planned program of improvements for RP chess will include the hosting of two tournaments. The first will be called the "Rep. Prospero 'Butch' Pichay Presidential Invitational Cup" and the other one will be a Philippine International FIDE-rated Open.

Said the new president, "What I want is that we can regain our supremacy in Asia". Good luck sir!

More from ABS-CBN and the Manila Standard.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Joys of Imperfection

M. Whyte pines for errors. System errors. He fears of a time when chess and music are solved by machines, computers.

But hang on a second here: if the computer is now smart enough to beat us at chess, then what is the point in us playing the game anymore? I mean, that’s it; it’s been solved. Yes, we can organise playoffs between IBM’s Deep Blue III and Sun Microsystems’ Goliath IV, or whatever names they give these beasts, but it’s still going to be a computer that wins. And isn’t that sad? No more of us puny humans battling it out over such an innocent pastime? In the 1978 world final between Karpov and Korchnoi they had to place a wooden barrier under the table between the two players to stop them kicking each other. Isn’t that great? That two Grandmasters who had worked so hard and achieved so much were nonetheless reduced to taking swipes at each other under a desk! But that’s all gone now. Now we’re just going to have a cold printout of the moves between two machines and there is a good chance the game itself will be forgotten to history.

More from The Cud.

Rogers End with Win

Grandmaster Ian Rogers finished on a high note in the Reykjavik Open with a victory over local player GM Throstur Thorhallsson. Rogers' only setback in the event was a loss to GM Ahmed Adly of Egypt. Adly defeated the superstar Magnus Carlsen in the ninth round to push himself up to equal first place on 7 points with four other players.

The other Australian in the event, FM Manuel Weeks, managed only 4 points out of 9. I guess his reporting duties for the official site must have diverted his energies.

Final standings

Monday, March 13, 2006

City of Sydney - Round 4

Round 4 of the City of Sydney yesterday was possibly the most exciting one so far. The action on the top 3 boards, especially, had me, at least, nearly pissing in my pants. Moylan and Song, on first board, re-debated an opening they played earlier this year and it was Moylan who was first to vary. That little argument ended peacefully but Song may still had chances.

On board 2, Halpin's GP Attack against Bird looked to be crushing. But by the time I left for the evening, Bird appeared to have found enough to defend. We don't have the final scoresheets, sadly, to know exactly what happened. I hope both players can immediately relay us their game as it must be published.

Whereas Song - Bolens on the third board was a nice little miniature, 1-0 to Angela. Bolens arrived some 45 minutes late and immediately set about sharpening the situation. Unfortunately for him, the time dificit plus complications led to too much pressure. He cracked and lost on time.

City of Sydney 2006
Moylan, Laura
Song, Raymond

Laura tells me that this whole line, for black, is a dodgy one. Actually, I think she used the word "retarded". So retarded, in fact, that her only response when she sees it against her is, well - I'm not allowed to repeat it. It's a 4 letter word. 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 Bb4 6. e5 Nd5 7. Bd2 Nxc3 8. bxc3 Be7 9. Qg4 O-O 10. Bh6 g6 11. h4 Qa5 12. Qg3 d6 13. Nb5 Nc6 14. h5 Nxe5 15. f4 Bd7 16. fxe5!

After 16. fxe5

(16. Nd4 Rfc8 17. Nb3 Qxc3+ 18. Qxc3 Rxc3 19. fxe5 dxe5 20. Bd3 g5 21. O-O-O Rac8 22. Kb1 Bc6 23. Nd2 f5 24. Rhf1 Bd5 25. Bxf5 exf5 26. Rxf5 Rxc2 27. Bxg5 Ba3 28. Nc4 R2xc4 29. Rxe5 Rb4+ 0-1 Moylan,L (2112)-Song,R (2051)/Brisbane 2006) 16... Bxb5 17. Bxf8 According to my database, this the first new move. (17. Bxb5 Qxb5 18. Bxf8 Rxf8 19. exd6 Bg5 20. Rd1 h6 21. d7 Qf5 22. Rd3 Rd8 23. hxg6 Qe4+ 24. Kf2 f5 25. Qf3 Qa4 26. Qe2 Qf4+ 27. Rf3 Qd6 28. Rd1 Qe7 29. Rfd3 Kg7 30. Re1 Rxd7 31. Rxd7 Qxd7 32. Qxe6 {1-0 Hansen, S (2480) - Kristensen,B (2430)/Taastrup 1998/CBM 065) 17...Bxf8 18. Bxb5 Qxb5 19. exd6 Bg7 20. Rd1 Rd8 21. hxg6 hxg6 22. Rh3 Qc5 23. Qe3 Qc6 24. Qf3 Qc5 25. Qxb7 Bxc3+ 26. Kf1 Bf6 27. Qb3 Kg7 28. Qe3 Qxc2 29. Qh6+ Kg8 30. Rc1 Qxa2 31. Qh7+ Kf8 32. Rc7 After this, the game is destined to be drawn. (32. Rf3 Qd2 33. Rc7 Qd1+ 34. Kf2 Bd4+ 35. Kg3 Qe1+ And White cannot avoid the checks.) 32... Qb1+ 33. Ke2 Qb5+ 34. Rd3 Bg7 35. Kd2 Qg5+ 36. Kd1 Qxg2 37. d7 Qf1+ 38. Kc2 Qe2+ 39. Rd2 Qe4+ 40. Kc1 Qe1+ (Fritz immediately sees 40... Bb2+! 41. Kd1 (41. Kxb2? Qe5+) 41... Qa4+ 42. Ke2 (42. Ke1 Bc3) 42... Qb5+ And I'm pretty sure that one of these rooks will fall. 41. Kc2 Qe4+ 1/2-1/2

A bit of trickery or he just can't make it in time? Johnny Bolens, well-known for his tactical swindles, turned up late. Again.

City of Sydney 2006
Song, Angela
Bolens, Johnny

1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Nf6 3. Bb5+ Bd7 4. Be2 Nxd5 5. c4 Nf4 6. Bf1 Bc6 7. Qg4 e5 8. Nf3 h5 9. Qf5 f6 10. Nc3 Nd7 11. Nh4 Nc5 12. d4 Qxd4 13. Bxf4 Qxf4 14. Qg6+ Ke7 15. Nf5+ Ke6 16. Nd5 Bxd5 17. cxd5+ Kxd5 18. Qf7+ Kc6

After 18. Kc6

Here, Bolens had only about 7 minutes remaining, while Angela had some 30 minutes. She is winning, of course, but how to continue? She sat there thinking away. Bolens now began his usual ritual. He laughs quietly, clasping his hands with glee, as if to say, "I've got this game stitched up". It's quite disconcerting. But the young woman remained calm. 19. Bc4 Qxf5 20. O-O Rd8 21. b4 Ne4 22. Be6 time 1-0

City of Sydney 2006
Chernih, Nicholas
Wright, Neil

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. dxe5 Nxe4 5. Qd5 Nc5 6. Bg5 Be7 7. exd6 cxd6 8. Bb5+ deviating from 8. Nc3 Nc6 9. a3 Be6 10. Qd2 d5 11. O-O-O Ne4 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Nxe4 dxe4 14. Nd4 O-O 15. Nxc6 bxc6 16. Qe3 f5 17. f3 Rad8 18. Be2 Bd5 19. Qc3 Xie,G-Wright,N/City of Sydney 2006 2006, played in round 2 8... Nbd7 9. O-O O-O 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. Nc3 Nf6 12. Qd4 a6 13. Bc4 Bg4 14. Rfe1 Qd7 15. Bd5 Ne6 16. Qd2 Rac8 17. Rad1 Rfd8 18. Qe3 Re8 19. Qd2 Nxd5 20. Qxd5 Nf4 21. Qd4 Nxg2!! 22. Rxe8+ Rxe8 23. Kxg2 Bxf3+ 24. Kxf3 Qh3+ 25. Kf4 g5+ 26. Kxg5 Re5+ 27. Qxe5 Forced. 27...h6+ 28. Kf4 Qxh2+ 29. Kg4 dxe5 30. Kf3 Kg7 31. Rd5 Qf4+ 32. Ke2 h5 33. Rd3 h4 34. Nd5 Qg4+ 35. Kf1 e4 0-1

In this game, last week's giant killer, Anthony Pickering, seemed to have missed something. Just an oversight, perhaps?

Anthony Pickering
City of Sydney 2006
Pickering, Anthony
Hvistendahl, Robert

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. Nf3 g6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Bg7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Nxc6 bxc6 8. e5 Ng8 9. f4 d6 10. Bc4 Nh6 11. exd6 (11. Qd2 is the usual) 11... exd6 12. Bd4 Bg4 13. Bxg7?? I could not believe my eyes when I saw this move when I coded the game into Chessbase. Later that night, I spoke to Robert on the ICC to double check. Yep, this did happen! What was Pickering thinking? Bxd1 14. Kxd1 Nf5 15. Bxh8 Ne3+ 16. Kc1 Nxc4 17. Ne4 d5 18. Nf6+ Kf8 19. Re1 Qd6 20. g3 d4 21. Ne4 Qb4 22. Kd1 Re8 23. Bxd4 Rxe4! 0-1

Other results:

Zirdum - Rej, draw
Xie, K - Rachmadi, 1-0
Barrera - Rosario, 0-1

More photos in my flickr account.

Updates: Iceland and Nakamura

In my earlier post about Reykjavik and the game Ziska - Timman (1-0), I was unsure if the result was actually correct since the Dutch legend was actually winning the final position. We now have some clarification from the official site's report from round 1, by Australian FM Manuel Weeks.

The upset of the round went to Helgi Dam Ziska from the Faroe Islands who defeated Dutch legend Jan Timman. In a sharp Sicilian Keres attack Ziska introduced the novelty 12.Qd3 and soon afterwards had a decisive advantage. On move 20 there is more then one way to win and Timman had probably convinced himself of his impending fate but Ziska blundered with 20.Nxf7??. If he realized his blunder then he did not show it as Timman extended his hand in resignation believing it to be unstoppable mate overlooking a defence. The Dutchman will now will go down in Tim Krabbe’s records as another person who unfortunately resigned in a winning position.

And here are some responses on the Salon site to their article on Nakamura.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Doeberl Cup 2006

It's almost hard to believe but it is nearly that time of year again when Australia's premiere weekend tournament takes place in Canberra. Our international readers are hereby informed that Canberra is actually Australia's national capital - not Sydney!

Now in its 44th edition, the Doeberl Cup is the Aussie chessers annual haj. To play in the Doeberl is "the done thing". One may never play in any other tournament throughout the year, for whatever reason, but the 4 days of chess in the Australian capital, over the Easter long weekend, is hard to miss. You've just got to be there.

Of course, for some a yearly trip is not so feasible.. What with our tyrrany of distance, it's nearly as expensive to fly internally (from as far as Western Australia, say) as flying on an overseas holiday! But at least the occassional visit will do.

Over the years the event has played host to some famous names. In 1997, for example, GM Simen Agdestein lost his first round game to local player, Brett Tindall (who has since become a Fide Master). Shaun Press, organiser and arbiter of the event, called that game, "the biggest Doeberl Cup upset in a number of years".

Doeberl Cup Open, 1997
White: Agdestein,Simen
Black: Tindall,Brett

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Bg5 Bg7 7.Qd2 Nc6 8.Nb3 Be6 9.f4 O-O 10.Be2 a5 11.a4 Rc8 12.Ra3 b4 13.Bf3 Qb6! 14.f5 gxf5 15.Be3 Nxc2+! 16.Qxc2 Qxe3+ 17.Kd1 Nxe4 18.Bxe4 fxe4 19.Nc1 Bg4+ 20.N1e2 Qd3+ 0-1

On some rare occassions, chess finds itself in the mainstream media and, six years ago, Doeberl struck the headlines for all the wrong reasons. The news was so big, it reverberated right around the world! Try googling "Doeberl Cup" and "punch up". I think even our most attentive international readers will surely remember.

While Doeberl has enjoyed loyal patronage, with some 200+ players attending each edition in the last few years, the event's organising committee face a constant problem: the financial one. To maintain the Cup's high prize levels it is essential that patronage to this event is maintained or, preferably, increased. This cannot be achieved when the likes of Bill Powell, Chess Association of Queensland PR Man write such media releases as this in promoting their own Easter tournament:

Can you trust the weather in Canberra? The answer is no as it can be very cold or too hot. Brisbane is such a great place with great weather. The people are nice too.

READ: Canberra has lousy weather and the people are nasty.

Well of course this is ridiculous. I've been to Canberra several times and the weather is always perfect at Easter time. A touch nippy, perhaps, but the sun is always out. As for the people, Canberrans are very nice and attentive. After all, this is a town full of public servants. Now, I must admit - I did walk into Brisbane Hooters once (during this year's Aussie Chess Championships) and that's always hard to beat!

Bill also added:

As you poor guys put up with all that fast pace in Sydney, you deserve a break, so why not come to Brisbane and play Chess over Easter in The Qld Open and have a great relaxing time[?]

What makes him think that Canberra isn't relaxing? In fact, some may say, too relaxing! How else is one to explain that more than any other group of Australians, Canberrans perfected the art of al-fresco dining? A short two-minute walk from the venue is the Manuka shopping strip. There you'll see chess players, perving and beeing seen among the locals, sitting outside under the sun, whiling away their free time between rounds. Mr Powell, that is relaxing! No one but a metrosexual Sydneysider like me can tell you this.

So - to close, then, and in the spirit of Tourism Australia's latest campaign, we can very well ask you dear readers, "Where the bloody hell will you be this Easter?" I have an idea.

Come to Doeberl!

More information here on venue, schedule and accomodation options.

Irina Berezina in Ekaterinburg

Sydney's IM Irina Berezina is presently contesting the Women's World Championship in Ekaterinburg, Russia. This is a 64-player knock-out with 2 games for rounds 1 to 5 and four games for round 6.

Unforturnately, Irina has just lost her first game to India's Subbaraman Vijayalakshmi.

Women's World Championship2006 - Ekaterinburg, Russia
Vijayalakshmi, Subbaraman
Berezina, Irina

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. g3 d6 5. Bg2 O-O 6. Nf3 Nc6 7. O-O Bf5 8. Ne1 Qc8 9. e4 Bh3 10. Nc2 Bxg2 11. Kxg2 e5 12. d5 Ne7 13. b4 a5 14. a3 Nd7 15. Rb1 axb4 16. axb4 f5 17. f3 Kh8 18. Be3 b6 19. Qe2 Ng8 20. Ra1 Ngf6 21. Bg1 fxe4 22. fxe4 h5 23. Nb5 Qb7 24. Rfb1 Rxa1 25. Rxa1 Ne8 26. Ne1 Bh6 27. Be3 Bxe3 28. Qxe3 Kg7 29. Nf3 Ndf6 30. h3 Nh7 31. Ra7 Qb8 32. Ra2 Rf7 33. Na7 Qa8 34. Ra3 Qd8 35. Nc6 Qc8 36. Nd2 Nef6 37. c5 bxc5 38. bxc5 Ne8 39. Rb3 Qa6 40. Nd8 Re7 41. Ne6+ Kg8 42. Rb8 Nhf6 43. Qh6 Rxe6 44. Qxg6+ Kf8 45. dxe6 Qe2+ 46. Kg1 Qd1+ 47. Nf1 Qd4+ 48. Kg2 Qxe4+ 49. Qxe4 Nxe4 50. cxd6 N4xd6 51. Nd2 Ke7 52. Kf3 Nf6 53. Nf1 Kxe6 54. Ne3 Nf7 55. Rc8 Kd7 56. Ra8 Ng5+ 57. Kg2 Nf7 58. g4 hxg4 59. hxg4 Ne4 60. Kh3 Ke6 61. Kh4 Neg5 62. Ra6+ Kd7 63. Kh5 Ne6 64. Kg6 Nd6 65. Nf5 Ne4 66. Ra4 Nf2 67. Ne3 Nd3 68. Kf6 Ndc5 69. Ra1 e4 70. g5 Kd6 71. Rd1+ Nd3 72. g6 c5 73. Ra1 Nb4 74. Ra8 Nc6 75. Re8 1-0

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Nakamura: I'm not Bobby

As the defending US Champion, GM Hikaru Nakamura didn't exactly get off to the best of starts. After 3 rounds in San Diego, he was on the unbelievable score of .5/3. However, like that other remarkable champion, Veselin Topalov, this young American is pulling off a miraculous comeback. Going into round 9, Nakamura is now on 5.5 points.

In this long piece by Salon, Nakamura expresses some frustration at being compared to the great Bobby Fischer. "It's nice to hear people say that," Nakamura is quoted as saying, "but it gets annoying. I'm not Bobby Fischer."

David Kushner writes:

But don't call him a geek. While chess gets written off as nerd play, Nakamura represents a brash new generation of champs reared on video games, hip-hop and the Internet. Known for his speed and aggression, he has been dubbed "the world's most impolite player" -- fighting words in one of the last sports that still prizes modesty and grace. While other players discuss the art and beauty of chess, Nakamura talks like a street fighter. After getting skipped over one year for the chess Olympiad team, he crushed a rival player and called it "payback." In one notorious interview, he cockily anointed himself the best player in America and deemed his peers conniving foreigners. "There aren't really any 'American' grandmasters that are higher rated than me," he said. "That's actually why I still work alone. It's very hard to trust anybody."

More from Salon.

By the way, speaking of the US Championships, the Americans are certainly doing something right in terms of coverage. The Champblog is proving to be a wonderful read. The entries are entertaining and quite insightful. Just take a look at Serper's entry on his encounter against the world famous Emory Tate. Classic!

Pichay Set for Victory

Congressman Prospero "Butch" Pichay, an avid financial supporter of Philippines chess, is expected to be the next head of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP). The elections are slated for later this afternoon at 1PM Manila time.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, the congressman revealed some of his ideas on improving Philippines chess. For example, he wants to motivate more locals to play and improve their chess by holding a "Philippine International Open Chess Championships".

And lamenting the problem of the seemingly constant bickering among RP chess officials, Pichay was quoted by the Inquirer as saying, "Chess is like showbiz, full of controversy. That's why the first thing to do is to unite everyone."

More from ABS-CBN.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Aussies in Iceland

Two Aussies are playing in the Reykjavik Open, GM Ian Rogers and his Olympiad captain, FM Manuel Weeks. After 3 rounds, Rogers is on 2 points; Weeks is on 1, losing his first round game to Magnus Carlsen and then drawing his next two games.

XXII Open, Reykjavik ISL
Rogers, I.
Zaremba, An

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxc4 Qc7 8. g3 e5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bf4 Nfd7 11. Bg2 g5 12. Ne3 gxf4 13. Nxf5 O-O-O 14. Qc2 fxg3 15. hxg3 a5 16. O-O-O Nc5 17. Ne4 Rxd1+ 18. Rxd1 Nxe4 19. Qxe4 Bb4 20. Nh6 Kb8 21. Bh3 Qe7 22. f4 Qc5+ 23. Kb1 Nc4 24. Nxf7 Rg8 25. Qd3 Ba3 26. Ne5 Nxe5 27. fxe5 Bb4 28. Qd6+ Ka7 29. Qxc5+ Bxc5 30. Bf5 Rxg3 31. Rd7 Re3 32. Rxh7 Rxe5 33. e4 Re7 34. Rh3 Bd4 35. b3 Rg7 36. Kc2 Be5 37. Rh5 Rg2+ 38. Kd1 Bf4 39. Rh7 Rb2 40. Rh3 Be5 41. Bc8 1/2-1/2

And here are a couple of upsets. In the first, top seed Mamedyarov (2709) goes down to Thorhallsson (2455).

XXII Open, Reykjavik ISL
Thorhallsson, T.
Mamedyarov, S.

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. d4 d6 4. Bc4 Nb6 5. Bb3 dxe5 6. Qh5 e6 7. dxe5 c5 8. c3 Nc6 9. Qe2 g5 10. Bc2 Bd7 11. Nd2 Be7 12. Ne4 Nd5 13. Nh3 h6 14. Nd6+ Bxd6 15. exd6 Qb8 16. f4 Qxd6 17. fxg5 hxg5 18. Bxg5 f6 19. Bd2 O-O-O 20. O-O-O Rdg8 21. Kb1 Be8 22. Rde1 Bg6 23. Bxg6 Rxg6 24. Rhf1 e5 25. Bc1 Qe6 26. Rd1 Nce7 27. Ka1 Qg4 28. Qb5 b6 29. Nf2 Qxg2 30. c4 Nb4 31. Qd7+ Kb8 32. Qxe7 Nc2+ 33. Kb1 Nd4 34. Be3 Ka8 35. Bxd4 cxd4 36. Nd3 Qb7 37. Qe6 Qc8 38. Qd5+ Qb7 39. Qe6 Qc8 40. Qe7 1-0

Legend Jan Timman resigns after 20. Nxf7. Indeed the tournament site has the result recorded as 1-0. But after 20...Bxa3, Black is OK, if not better! Maybe our super GM readers can enlighten us on what's happening here. Well, OK, maybe Timman lost on time.

XXII Open, Reykjavik ISL
Ziska, H.
Timman, J.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. g4 h6 7. h4 Be7 8. Rg1 d5 9. Bb5+ Kf8 10. exd5 Nxd5 11. Nxd5 Qxd5 12. Qd3 Bxh4 13. Bc4 Qd7 14. g5 hxg5 15. Be3 e5 16. Qa3+ Kg8 17. Nb5 g4 18. Rd1 Qc6 19. Nd6 Be7 20. Nxf7 1-0

Paragua Wins La Union

GM Mark Paragua is the 2006 La Union Open winner. In the first of a 2-game final, Paragua and IM Ronald Dableo split the point peacefully. The grandmaster then followed-up with a with a victory in the second game, thus taking out the P80,000 first prize.

But surely - if there was a "player of the tournament" award, then it must go to Richard Bitoon. Earlier in the quarterfinals, he handed out a 2-0 shut out to Eugene Torre. And yesterday, the international master repeated the feat by downing RP's second highest rated player, GM Antonio. Bitoon goes home with the 3rd spot prize of P30,000.

More from the Sun Star.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Weeks Wins Captaincy

FM Manuel Weeks has been reappointed as captain of the Australian Men's Olympiad team. Weeks has served in this role for some time now and appears to be the clear favourite of the established Olympiad players. (Under the current Australian system, Olympiad players have a big say in who gets to be their captain). Good luck to Manuel and to their Olympiad campaign.

We should add that our brave captain is currently playing in the Reykjavik Open, in Iceland. Two days ago he faced off against the Prince of Chess, GM Magnus Carlsen.

XXII - The Reykjavik Open 2006
Magnus Carlsen
Manuel Weeks

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. Nf1 Bf8 14. Ng3 g6 15. a4 Bg7 16. Bd3 c6 17. Bg5 Qc7 18. Qd2 Nf8 19. Bh6 Ne6 20. b4 Nd7 21. Bf1 Nb6 22. Bxg7 Kxg7 23. a5 Nd7 24. c4 Rad8 25. Rac1 Qb8 26. Red1 f6 27. d5 cxd5 28. exd5 Nf4 29. cxb5 axb5 30. Bxb5 Bxd5 31. Bc6 Bxc6 32. Rxc6 d5 33. Rdc1 Nf8 34. Rb6 Qa7 35. Nd4 Rc8 36. Nb5 Qd7 37. Nd6 Rxc1+ 38. Qxc1 Re7 39. a6 Qa7 40. Qc6 N4e6 41. Nc8 1-0

Paragua vs Dableo in Finals

Grandmaster Paragua and IM Ronald Dableo will contest the finals of the La Union Open currently running in the Philippines. RP's latest grandmaster, Paragua, defeated defending champion and fellow GM, Antonio. While Dableo overcame Richard Bitoon to move into the final phase.

Earlier in the tournament, IM Richard Bitoon scored what was perhaps the event's most stunning upset by blanking out legend GM Eugene Torre, 2-0, in their quarterfinal match-up. Bitoon is from the province of Cebu, where yours truly spent much of his childhood.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Talking Chess Set

I remember buying my first Fritz some years ago, Fritz 5, and immediately disliking it's "talk" feature. Having some program poke fun at my moves drove me nuts!

And now, something for the masochists - a talking chess set. I tell you, one of these things won't last long with me.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

My Photos on ACM

In yet another important milestone for The Closet Grandmaster, the latest issue of the Australian Chess Magazine features no less than 4 photos taken by yours truly. All four pictures are on the cover no less.

The players on the cover, from top left in clockwise order, are: Rogers, Chandler, Ftacnik and Smerdon. The Chandler photo was taken in Queenstown. The other 3 were from the Australian Champs in Brisbane.

Fed Prez Assures Clean Polls

The outgoing head of the National Chess Federation of the Philippines has assured clean proceedings for the upcoming elections on Satuday. Go Teng Kok, the current president, was quoted: ""I have made sure that the elections will be in order and according to the NCFP constitution and by-laws. We will even have an observer from the Philippine Olympic Committee at the elections".

The controversial Sammy Estimo, secretary-general of the NCFP, will not preside over the elections, Go also revealed.

A chesser, the axeman

Aussie chess fans will recall that incident at the Doeberl Cup, some years ago, which made headlines right around the world. Some journos made it seem unbelievable that a supposedly "sedate" game could turn quite violent. Well, at least that incident didn't involve an axe!

Monday, March 06, 2006

City of Sydney - Round 3

I damn near had a disaster yesterday. On the way to the venue, while waiting at the traffic light, a couple of perfectly pressed mormons came my direction and asked, "Have you spoken to missionaries before?"

Normally, I'd say, "Go get a real job you bastards".

But my mind was fixed on my game against Ben Ingram that I just sort of grunted, "yeah, I have" - then proceeded to cross the road. In my haste to avoid talking to those two I failed to notice an approaching car. Oops, a quick jog and I just made it.

And a second near-disaster threatened to happen. Walking past Macquatie Hotel, I saw the grand final between Sydney FC and the Mariners flickering on the TV screens. With a live jazz band playing plus the pub's own brew on tap, it was hard to resist. I was reminded of why I gave up weekend chess!

After a quick check of scores, 0-0 at the 57th minute mark, I pressed on. And so, we come to round 3.

If one could say something good about the disappointingly low attendance of this year's event, it must be that the tournament has a somewhat more friendly character. It's just a bunch of guys having a few good games of chess. Players seem less concerned about the competition. Pat Halpin happily showed off his lost effort, against Raymond Song, to Aram Sandalciyan before the two got down to a slugfest. And Leo Soto forgot himself for a moment and began to chat to me in Spanish! "Listen Leo", I tell him, "the only thing Spanish about me is my surname!"

(Actually, I am fantasising of a Spanish wife. I hear they are excellent lovers and very good cooks!)

Still, there were some real business to be done and the top board match-up between Bird and Xie was the one to watch. Xie, who needs 26 FIDE points to reach the magic 2400 and that IM title, was the first to vary with 16...Bb5. My database only has 2 other previous tries: 16...Bf6? and 16...Bc6, both of which, in my opinion, are worse.

City of Sydney 2006
Bird, Andrew
Xie, George

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. e4 Nc6 5. Be2 d5 6. exd5 exd5 7. d4 Be6 8. Be3 dxc4 9. O-O cxd4 10. Nxd4 Nxd4 11. Bxd4 Be7 12. Qa4+ Qd7 13. Qxd7+ Bxd7 14. Bxc4 O-O 15. Nd5 Nxd5 16. Bxd5 Bb5 (16... Bc6 17. Bxc6 bxc6; 16... Bf6 17. Bxf6 gxf6 18. Rfc1 Be6 19. Bxb7 Rab8 20. Rc7 Rfd8 21. b3 Rd6 22. h3 Kg7 23. Re1 Rbd8 24. Bf3 Ra6 {1-0 Oratovsky,M (2536)-Ubilava,E (2530)/La Roda 2004}) 17. Rfd1 Ba6 18. g3 Rfd8 19. Bf3 h6 20. Kg2 f5 21. Be5 Bg5 22. Rxd8+ Rxd8 23. Rd1 Rxd1 24. Bxd1 Bc4 25. Bf3 Bxa2 26. Bxb7 Bd2 27. Ba6 Ba5 28. Bd4 Bb6 29. Bxb6 axb6 30. Kf3 Kf7 31. Ke3 Ke7 32. Kd4 Kd6 33. f4 Bb1 34. Bb5 g5 35. Be8 1/2-1/2

The round's upset award must surely go to Anthony Pickering. He bravely essayed the Benko Gambit against the highly rated Tomek Rej (2264). Anthony's play sparkled with attack and 17...Nxf4!! was an absolute beauty. I can just imagine his thinking, "You take my Rook, I kill your King!"

Choosing an opening that leads to complex tactics was particularly smart since Tomek can usually spend large amounts of time for a move. By the time I watched the last few moments of this encounter, Tomek was already down to less than a minute. A piece down, and checkmate imminent, Tomek resigned.

City of Sydney 2006
Rej, Tomek
Pickering, Anthony

1. d4 c5 2. d5 Nf6 3. c4 b5 4. cxb5 a6 5. Nc3 axb5 6. e4 b4 7. Nb5 d6 8. Bf4 g5 9. Bxg5 Nxe4 10. Bf4 Nf6 11. Bc4 Bg7 12. Qe2 O-O 13. Nf3 Nbd7 14. O-O Nb6 15. a4 a new move. 15. Bd3 is usual according to my database. 15...Nfxd5 16. Bxd5 Nxd5 17. Qe4

After 17. Qe4

18. Qxa8 Qd7! 19. Qe4 Bh6 20. Rfe1 Bb7 21. Qxe7? missing Black's next move which now leads to a brutal finish. 21...Qg4 22. Nh4 Bxg2 23. Re3 Nh3+ 24. Rxh3 Bxh3+ 25. Kh1 Bg5 26. Qb7 Qxh4 27. Rg1 Qf4 28. f3 Rd8 29. Rg3 Qc1+ 30. Rg1 Qe3 31. Qd5 h6 32. Nc7 Be6 33. Nxe6 fxe6 34. Qc6 d5 35. a5 Qxf3+ 36. Rg2 Qe4 37. Qxc5 Rf8 38. Qb5 Rf2 39. Qe8+ Kg7 40. Qd7+ Kf6 41. Qd8+ Kf5 42. Qf8+ Bf6 0-1

And in this next game, Johny Bolens bangs out 1. a4 and manages only to confuse himself. Maybe it was because he turned up some 50 minutes late for this game. But let's not take anything away from Laura Moylan. Her play was smooth and very nice.

City of Sydney 2006
Bolens, Johny
Moylan, Laura

1. a4 d5 2. d4 Nf6 3. c3 e6 4. b4 Bd6 5. Nf3 Nbd7 6. Na3 c6 7. Bg5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Bg3 Bxg3 10. hxg3 Ne4 11. Qc2 g4 12. Nh4 Qg5 13. e3 Ndf6 14. Bd3 O-O 15. O-O-O b6 16. Kb2 c5 17. Rh2 cxb4 18. cxb4 Bd7 19. Rdh1 Bxa4 20. Qxa4 Nxf2 21. Ba6 Nxh1 22. Rxh1 Qxe3 23. Qc2 Qxd4+ 24. Ka2 Ne4 25. Nf3 Qxb4 26. Qc1 gxf3 27. gxf3 Qd2+ 28. Qxd2 Nxd2 29. f4 Kg7 30. g4 Ne4 31. Nc2 b5 32. Ka3 Rab8 33. Kb4 Rb6 34. Ra1 Rd8 0-1

Meanwhile, on board 7, Jose Escribano insisted on his beloved 1...f5 and quickly got into trouble. His King never managed to find safety. Long castle, 16...0-0-0, was illusory and the end was near.

City of Sydney 2006
Wright, Neil
Escribano, Jose

1. Nf3 f5 2. d3 Nf6 3. e4 fxe4 4. dxe4 e5 5. Bc4 c6 6. Nc3 Bb4 7. O-O b5 8. Bb3 Bxc3 9. bxc3 d5 10. Ba3 a5 11. Nxe5 a4 12. Nxc6 Nxc6 13. Bxd5 Qc7 14. e5 Nxd5 15. Qxd5 Ba6 16. Bd6 O-O-O 17. c4 b4 18. Bxc7 Rxd5 19. cxd5 Bxf1 20. Bd6 Nxe5 21. Kxf1 Ng4 22. Rb1 Rd8 23. Rxb4 Rxd6 24. Rxg4 Rxd5 25. Rxa4 g5 26. Ke2 h5 27. Ke3 Kd7 28. Rd4 Ke6 29. Rxd5 Kxd5 1-0

Finally, I score my first half point in this tournament against Ben Ingram. A tough game for both of us, I think. I had not bothered to check out my opponent's repertoire before this round because he has few games in the database! So I thought, "bugger it, let's just play chess". But Ben reeled out a Slav - one of my faves, so I was quite comfy in the opening. As usual, it was in the midgame that I struggled. I simply could not see a clear path. Maybe some dear fans have some suggestions.

City of Sydney 2006
Rosario, Amiel
Ingram, Ben

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. e3 e6 7. Bxc4 Bb4 8. O-O O-O 9. Qe2 Bg6 10. Ne5 Bh5 11. f3 I was very tempted to play the other line 11. g4 Bg6 12. Nxg6 hxg6 but I thought, nah, let's play conservatively. 11... Nfd7?! More usual is 11... Nbd7 12. Nd3 a5 13. Nf4 Bg6 14. Rd1 12. Ne4 Nxe5 13. dxe5 Qc7

After 13...Qc7

14. Nd6
I was going to opt for 14. Ng3 Qxe5 15. Nxh5 Qxh5 16. e4 But it seems that Black can simply develop naturally. I thought if I'm going to drop a pawn, I might as well have a couple of free tempi with it. Of course, losing that pawn is not a problem since Black's Bishop on h5 is of no use to him for some time. 14... Bxd6 15. exd6 Qxd6 16. Rd1 Qc7 17. e4 Nd7 18. Bg5! Rfe8 19. Kh1 Nf8 20. Qd2 f6 21. Bf4 Qc8 I was calculating the fanciful 21... Qb6 22. a5 Qc5 23. Rac1 Rad8 24. Qxd8 (24. Bd6 - Fritz) 24... Rxd8 25. Rxd8 Qe7 (25... Qxa5) 26. Rcd1 Bf7) 22. Rac1Bf7 23. b4 e5 24. Bxf7+ Kxf7 25. Be3 Qe6! 26. b5 cxb5 27. axb5 Re7 28. Rc5 (28. Qa5) 28... Rd7 29. Rd5 Rxd5 30. exd5 Qd7 31. Qb4 b6 32. h4 Rc8 33. Bc1? A bad move actually which I had not noticed til after the game. Black can now simply play Rc8-c5 at a some moment. Kg8? (why not the immediate 33... Rc5) 34. Ba3 Ne6 35. Qe7 Qxe7 36. Bxe7 Nf8 37. d6 Nd7 38. Ra1 Kf7 39. Rxa7 Rc1+ 40. Kh2 Ke6 41. h5 Rc4 42. g4 h6 43. Rc7 Rb4 44. Rc8 Rxb5 45. Kg3 Rb3 46. Kf2 Ra3 47. Rg8 Kf7 48. Rd8 Ra7 49. Rc8 b5 50. Rc7 Ra2+ 51. Ke3 Ke6 52. Rb7 I was quite worried about my position now. Ben has the advantage. Lucky for me, he was down to his last 2 minutes. After declining my draw offer earlier, he now repeats the position. Alternatively, 52. Rc8 Nb6 53. Rg8 Nc4+ 54. Kd3 Rf2 55. Rxg7 Rxf3+ 56. Ke2 52... Rb2 53. Rc7 Nb6 54. Rb7 Nd7 55. Rc7 Nb6 56. Rb7 Nd7 1/2-1/2

Pictures in my flickr account.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

2010 Bids Update

We have an update on the bids for the 2010 Olympiad. According to IM Jovan Petronic, reports in Serbia & Montenegro media indicate that Estonia may not be a genuine candidate.

In the local Serbia & Montenegro media, I read yesterday that Estonia is not a candidate for the Olympiad 2010, and that this nomination is an error!? Still no confirmation on the official FIDE website, though.

Aah, that would be a real pity. Oh well, I guess my bet now goes to S&M.

One GM Down?

Melbourne chess personality David Beaumont claims of rumours that grandmaster Daryl Johansen will not be travelling to Torino, Italy for the upcoming Olympiad due to commence in May. If true, this is surely going to be a major dent in Australia's campaign this year. But such a turn of events could also be a blessing in disguise for Nick Speck (a 3-IM norm holder) and who was actually my choice over Johansen.

After some initial signs of uncertainty, the Australian women's side now appears set. Leading the team will be Irina Berezina-Feldman - followed, in board order, by Anastasia Sorokina, Laura Moylan and Arianne Caoili.

Gonzales in Spain

Going into the last round, IM Jayson Gonzales has garnered 6 points to share 2nd to 9th place at the IX Open International Malaga de Ajedrez. He will play IM Ismael Teran Alvarez of Spain next.

From the Inquirer.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Amorous Pawns

From the maniac, a short animation about 2 pawns that fall in love.

There's actually a whole host of chess videos there, like the Game of the Century, one of Kortchnoi, and a man playing against Death!

Enjoy and have a nice weekend folks.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

2010 Oympiad Bids

According to FIDE, there are now 6 bidders for the 2010 Olympiad. These are:

1. Polish Chess Federation is proposing to organize the event in Poznan, in August 2010.

2. Russian Chess Federation is proposing to organize the event in Khanty-Mansiysk, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region-Yugra in September 2010.

3. Latvian Chess Federation is proposing to organize the event in Riga, from 14 to 30 May 2010.

4. Estonian Chess Federation is proposing to organize the event in Tallinn, September/October 2010.

5. Serbia and Montenegro Chess Federation is proposing to organize the event in Budva, from 22 October to 5 November 2010.

6. Argentinean Chess Federation is proposing to organize the event in city of San Luis, from 15 October to 15 November 2010.

I am placing my bets in advance and hope that Estonia will win it! Last week, I read a travel review of this country and it looks to be a very nice place to visit. Although, I should say, Serbia and Montenegro would also be very nice. I might even get a free lodging with my new best friend, Goran!

Boys & Girls - What's the diff?

Susan Polgar asks, "Can female players be as good in chess as male players?" Answer: yes, but here's the follow-up, "how come very few female players can compete on the same level as their male counterpart?"

Polgar discusses some possible reasons, including "Physiological and Physical differences". When she writes, "As they get older, girls tend to develop faster in many ways", she probably has in mind the very obvious. Love humps! For the life of me, I can't think of why these should be problematic. Hec, in many ways love humps are apparently an advantage. Who can forget this celebrated case from South Australia?

What Polgar doesn't mention is menstruation. In Chess Bitch, the author, Jennifer Shahade, lambasted Polgar for giving menstruation as an excuse for poor play and even as a deciding factor in the choice of opening! Of course, such an idea is quite ridiculous, so maybe Polgar has learnt her lesson.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Chess in the Whitsundays

Did you know that there more ways to move your pawn than there are eletrons in the universe? At least that's what the Daily Mercury tell us.

Reporting on the 2006 Mackay Whitsunday Inter-School Chess Championships, winners of the event were the following: Sharma Schwarzkopf (high schools category), and a three-way tie between Ben Van Moolenbroek, Thomas Shann and Matthew Grant (primary schools category).

Lessons From Chess

All of us have some take on the lessons we've learnt from chess. I'd like to think that mine is patience (i.e. having more of it), although sometimes this is a little hard and my game last Sunday was an ugly example.

For Richard G. Petty MD, one important lesson is this:

Constantly ask questions: Why is this happening? Is there a pattern here? What does the other person intend? How can I fashion a response that fits and will move things in the direction that I want and is congruent with my overall plan of life? What are the rules here? Can I break the rules? This does not mean cheating, it means being sure that you are not applying rules mechanically, without checking to make sure that they apply in your particular situation.

More from the good doctor.