Thursday, August 31, 2006

Liverpool, UK - Chess City

Our readers may remember this post we made earlier this year about the UK city of Liverpool.

In this news item, Chairman of the Liverpool Chess Foundation David Robertson has very ambitious plans:

A year ago we had the idea to broaden the basis of the 2008 Capital of Culture year by staging a number of international chess tournaments to put Liverpool on a par with other European chess cities, such as Turin, Dresden, Zurich and Budapest.

Following this EU Championship, we have an even bigger, more prestigious grandmaster tournament planned for Liverpool's 800th birthday next year and in 2008 we are planning to host the biggest tournament on British soil in 100 years.

Good luck to them!

2006 Commonwealth Championships

The All India Chess Federation is set to host the next Commonwealth Chess Championships in Mumbai. It will be an 11-rounder and will run from 19 to 29 November this year. According to this report, Nigel Short and Aussie GM Ian Rogers will be in attendance.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

2006 Palau Invitational

I recall this event being promoted by Australian IA Gary Bekker last January during the Queenstown Chess Classic in New Zealand. It was very tempting to attend. What with a nice beach holiday plus chess at this very luxurious venue. Aah, next time, I decided. Too many things to do is always my excuse.

In any case, the tournament will commence tomorrow featuring some familiar names. Our friends from New Zealand Hilton Bennett and Paul Spiller will be in attendance. And so will a regular contributor to this blog, Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino.

Good luck to all and enjoy. Wish we could be there.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Wesley So - Ian Rogers, 1-0

And, of course, we have to bring you that game between Wesley So and Ian Rogers. Thanks to Andrew Ooi for this. I hope our Pinoy readers will enjoy.

2006 Malaysian Open
So, Wesley
Rogers, Ian

1. e4 Nc6 2. Nc3 e6 3. d4 d5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. e5 Ne4 6. Ne2 f6 7. Ng3 f5 8. c3 Be7 9. h4 O-O 10. Bd3 Nb8 11. Ne2 c5 12. g3 Nc6 13. O-O cxd4 14. cxd4 Bd7 15. Ne1 Qb6 16. Kg2 a5 17. Bb1 Rf7 18. f3

After 18. f3

18...Raf8 19. Bc2 h6 20. Ba4 g5 21. fxe4 fxe4 22. Rxf7 Rxf7 23. Bxc6 bxc6 24. hxg5 hxg5 25. b3 c5 26. Be3 Bb5 27. Nc3 cxd4 28. Qxd4 Qb8 29. Nxb5 Qxb5 30. Bf2 Qe2 31. Qe3 Qb2 32. Rd1 Qxe5 33. Rc1 Qf5 34. Rc8+ Kg7 35. Nc2 e5 36. Rc7 Kg6 37. Rc6+ Bf6 38. Rd6 Rh7

After 38...Rh7

39. g4 Qxg4+ 40. Qg3 Qh5 41. Kf1 d4 42. Qxe5 Qh3+ 43. Ke1 Qc3+ 44. Kd1 Rh1+ 45. Be1 Rxe1+ 46. Nxe1 Qa1+ 47. Kd2 Qc3+ 48. Kd1 Qa1+ 49. Kd2 Qxa2+ 50. Nc2 1-0

NSW Championship Games

Thanks to current champ Andrew Bird, we have some games from the NSW State Championships. The first one involves a Hail Mary finish by junior Max Illingworth. The 13-year old is about to be mated but, at the most crucial moment, finds a neat save.

With Black to play, how would you save yourself?

After 56. Kf6, M. Nanavati - M. Illingworth

Well, while you consider that, let's take a look at the round 1 encounter between Andrew Bird and the same junior, Max Illingworth. As we noted last week, Max maintains his giant-killing reputation by this time downing the defending champion. With brief annotations by Andrew.

NSW Ch 2006
Illingworth, Max
Bird, Andrew

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 dxc4 4. e4 b5 5. a4 b4 6. Nce2 Nf6 7. Ng3 Ba6 8. Nf3 e6 9. Qc2 c3 10. Bxa6 Nxa6 11. O-O Qb6 12. bxc3 b3 13. Qe2 Rb8 14. Rb1 h5 15. e5 Nd5 16. Ne4 c5 17. Nfd2 cxd4 18. Rxb3 Qc6 19. Rxb8+?! (19. Qxa6!! Qxa6 20. Rxb8+ Kd7 (20... Ke7 21. Ba3+) 21. Rxf8 Qxf1+ (21... Rxf8 22. Nc5+) 22. Kxf1 Rxf8 23. cxd4 +-) 19... Nxb8 20. cxd4 Qxa4 21. Nc4 Qd7 22. Qf3 Nc6 23. Ncd6+ Bxd6 24. Nxd6+ Kf8 25. Ba3 Kg8 26. Rb1 Nb6 27. Bc5 g6 28. Bxb6 axb6 29. Rxb6 Nd8 30. Rb8 Kh7 31. g3 Qe7 32. Qa8 Kg7 33. Nb7 Qb4 34. Nxd8 Qe1+ 35. Kg2 h4 36. Nxe6+ fxe6 37. Qa7+ 1-0

And here is the rest of Nanavati - Illingworth.

NSW Ch 2006
Nanavati, Minir
Illingworth, Max

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. Be3 e5 7. Qd2 Nge7 8. Bh6 O-O 9. h4 Bxh6 10. Qxh6 f6 11. Nge2 Nd4 12. Qd2 Bg4 13. Ng1 h5 14. f3 Be6 15. Nce2 d5 16. c3 Ndc6 17. Nh3 Qd7 18. Nf2 d4 19. c4 a6 20. O-O b5 21. b3 Rfc8 22. f4 Kg7 23. fxe5 fxe5 24. Qg5 Ng8 25. Kh2 Rf8 26. Ng1 Nh6 27. Nf3 Nf7 28. Qc1 Qe7 29. Nh3 Nh6 30. Nf2 Rf6 31. Kg1 Raf8 32. Ng5 Bd7 33. cxb5 axb5 34. a4 Nb4 35. Qd2 bxa4 36. bxa4 Ra6 37. Rfc1 Rxa4 38. Rxa4 Bxa4 39. Rxc5 Nc6 40. Qa2 Re8 41. Qc4 Bb3 42. Qc1 Nb8 43. Rc7 Nd7 44. Qc6 Rd8 45. Bh3 Ng4 46. Nxg4 hxg4 47. Bxg4 Qb4 48. Rxd7+ Rxd7 49. Qxd7+ Kf8 50. Ne6+ Bxe6 51. Bxe6 Qe1+ 52. Kh2 Qf2+ 53. Kh3 Qf1+ 54. Kg4 Qe2+ 55. Kg5 Qh5+ 56. Kf6 Qg5+!! 1/2-1/2

Nice save!

Monday, August 28, 2006

GM Norm Slips Salvador

My goodness, what a busy news Monday! And I still haven't even mentioned the NSW State Championships yet!

Pinoy player Roland Salvador completed his Bratto campaign by beating FM Pietro Mola, of Italy, in the 9th and final round. The Pinoy collected 6.5 points overall - good enough for a tie of fourth place with 7 other players. Sadly, Roland's performance here means that he'll have to fight in another tournament for a chance at his third and final GM result.

Here are a couple of his games.

Open A, Bratto
Salvador, Roland
Pace, Pietro Dario

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bf4 Bg4 4. h3 Bxf3 5. exf3 e6 6. c3 Bd6 7. Be3 Nge7 8. Bd3 Ng6 9. g3 Qd7 10. f4 Nce7 11. Nd2 O-O 12. Qh5 f5 13. Nf3 Rac8 14. O-O-O c5 15. dxc5 Bxc5 16. Rhe1 Bxe3+ 17. Rxe3 Rf6 18. Bc2 Nc6 19. Rde1 Nf8 20. Ne5 Nxe5 21. Rxe5 Qd6 22. Qe2 a6 23. Kb1 b5 24. g4 fxg4 25. f5 exf5 26. Bxf5 Rc4 27. hxg4 g6 28. Bc2 Rcf4 29. Qd1 Rxf2 30. Bb3 Kg7 31. g5 R6f5 32. Re7+ 1-0

Open A, Bratto
Salvador, Roland
Dervishi, Erald

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. c4 b6 4. g3 Bb7 5. Bg2 Be7 6. Nc3 Ne4 7. Bd2 d5 8. cxd5 exd5 9. O-O O-O 10. Rc1 Na6 11. Ne5 c5 12. Be3 Re8 13. Bxe4 dxe4 14. Qb3 Rf8 15. Rfd1 cxd4 16. Rxd4 Qe8 17. Rd7 Bc8 18. Rxe7 Qxe7 19. Nc6 Qe8 20. Nd5 Bb7 21. Bg5 Bxc6 22. Rxc6 Kh8 23. Qc3 Rc8 24. Rxc8 Qxc8 25. Qd4 Nc5 26. Be7 Re8 27. b4 Ne6 28. Qe5 Nf8 29. Qg5 Ng6 30. Bd6 Qd8 0-1

Bulletins and games are available from the official site.

Dancing with Arianne Caoili

Here's a bit of gossip. Our favourite female chess player has reportedly signed with Channel 7's Dancing with the Stars program. She will appear on TV along side the likes of Australian TV celebrities Amanda Keller and Gary Sweet.

After seeing her do the salsa in the Spanish Club, I reckon she's a shoo-in (note the correct spelling, not "shoe-in").

Congrats Oliver Dimakiling

It's all over. Thanks to Marlon Bernardino, we have the list of top scorers. Pinoy chesser IM Dimakiling ended his 11th round game in a draw against IM Ashot Nadanian to reach 8 points - the same as 4 other players. Congressman Prospero Pichay was quoted by ABS-CBN as saying, "Despite his second-place finish, Oliver [Dimakiling] did the country proud because he missed the title by only the tiebreak".

And congrats again to Oliver for earning a GM norm.

8.0- GM Dao Thien Hai (Vietnam)
8.0-GM Ziaur Rahman (Banglandesh)
8.0-IM Wynn Zaw Htun (Myanmar)
7.5-GM Nguyen Anh Dung (Vietnam)
7.5-GM Nguyen Troc Song (Vietnam)
7.5-GM Susanto Megaranto (Indonesia)
7.0-GM Yu Shaoteng (China)
7.0-Shen Yuan (China)
7.0-WG Easha Karavade (India)

The official Malaysian sites have not been updated so I don't know the exact performances of the Aussie players. But we can tell from the list above, that they were not high scorers. GM Ian Rogers cannot have had a good tournament. He apparently ran into some Pinoy trouble (or as one Sydney player called it, "the Pinoy nightmare"). Rogers lost to Wesley So.

Cordillera Champ - Mirabeau Maga

Filipino journo Ignacio Dee sent me this email about Cordillera Open winner Mirabeau Maga. It gives a brief insight into Maga's career. We especially like the little story about Maga's knight sac against one GM Eugene Torre! Here's hoping that we will at least see the game store to that encounter.

Ignacio Dee is our guest blogger for this week. Enjoy! And thanks Iggy.

By Ignacio Dee
Met Maga Saturday evening at the home of Glenn Bordonanda, the 1978 Buenos Aires Olympiad third board gold medallist, who is now a senior manager for Unilever.

Mirabeau Maga, a former national champion, relived his best years by winning the P40,000 Cordillera Open last Thursday.

The 53-year-old Maga, a national master, scored 7.5 points out of 9 to win the tournament unbeaten ahead of International Master Jayson Gonzales and Philippine chess legend Eugene Torre.

Maga defeated Gonzales, National Master Rolando Nolte and National Chess Federation of the Philippines executive director Samuel Estimo, a two-time member of Olympiad teams.

Maga's wins against Gonzales and Nolte with the black pieces were triggered by knight sacrifices, and his draw against Torre was forced by a knight offer.

When Maga showed his games to friends Saturday evening, he smiled when they could not find out the key sacrifice.

It was Maga's draw against Torre that laid open to the possibility that he could win the tournament. Maga sacrificed his knight in the endgame against Torre, and then gave up his b-pawn to force his a-pawn at the fifth rank to advance.

Maga's sacrifice, which tied up Torre's knight, and forced the game into a king and pawn endgame with the lone pawn at the a-file, surprised Torre.

"He was jolted by this move," said Maga.

Maga sacrificed his knight twice against Gonzales, the first to force create threats against the king which Gonzales refused. The second offer, which Gonzales had to accept, gave Maga two extra pawns in a bishop-of-same-color endgame.

Maga sacrificed his knight at h2 to create mating threats against Nolte. Nolte was able to stave off immediate resignation but had to surrender in another endgame.

Maga shared the 1986 national championship with the late IM Ruben Rodriguez and later qualified for that's year's Olympiad in Dubai.

In 1987, Maga's career was set back by a controversial decision from the old Philippine Chess Federation that banned him, now-IM Petronio Roca and master Vince Alaan from competition for a year due to game-fixing.

In 1992 Maga qualified for the Olympiad in Manila. Last May, Maga was in line for a berth for the Turin Olympiad until the penultimate round when Oliver Dimakiling swindled him out of a sure win in time trouble.

Maga recovered by beating prodigy Wesley So in the last round, which other results, created a five-man playoff for the remaining berth. So won the playoff in Tagaytay City, which was held a few days after the Holy Week break.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Smerdon in BDO Chess Tournament

International master David Smerdon is currently in The Netherlands, apparently on study exchange for his university diploma. But it won't all be books and long hours of essay writing for this talented master. There is also chess.

Last week, David finished equal first in a weekend tournament in Tilburg. And this week, he competes in what GM Ian Rogers describes (in his Sun Herald column) as "the most challenging round robin tournament in which Smerdon, 20, has ever competed".

The 2006 BDO Chess Tournament began well enough for Smerdon as he beat Stefan Docx in round 1.

BDO Tournament, Haarlem
Stefan Docx
David Smerdon

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qc2 O-O 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. Qxc3 b5 7. cxb5 c6 8. Bg5 cxb5 9. e3 Bb7 10. Nf3 h6 11. Bxf6 Qxf6 12. Be2 Rc8 13. Qb3 a6 14. O-O Bd5 15. Qd3 Nc6 16. Nd2 Na5 17. Bf3 Qg5 18. a4 Bc4 19. Nxc4 bxc4 20. Qc3 Rab8 21. d5 Qd8 22. Rfd1 Qb6 23. h3 Qb4 24. dxe6 dxe6 25. Rac1 Nb3 26. Qxb4 Rxb4 27. Rc2 Rxa4 28. Rd6 a5 29. Kh2 g6 30. Be2 Rb4 31. Ra6 a4 32. Ra7 Kg7 33. Kg3 Nc5 34. f3 Rcb8 35. Bxc4 Rxb2 36. Rxb2 Rxb2 37. Ra5 Nd7 38. Rxa4 Nb6 0-1

Excellent Results for Pinoys

Kuala Lumpur is proving to be a happy hunting ground for Filipino players. After 9 rounds in the Malaysian Open, Pinoys have earned those highly sought-after title norms. Oliver Dimakiling has just secured his first ever GM result. While FM Julio Catalino Sadorra, John Paul Gomez and FM Wesley So obtain IM results, according to Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino.

Wesley So actually now becomes an IM-elect and needs only to raise his rating to 2400 to become a full international master. The 12-year old's two previous IM norms were earned in Dubai and the San Marino tournaments.

Courtesy of Mr Bernardino, here are the standings after 9 rounds.

7.0- GM Nguyen Anh Dung (Vietnam)
6.5-GM Ziaur Rahman (Banglandesh)
6.5-GM Dao Thien Hai (Vietnam)
6.0-GM Susanto Megaranto (Indonesia)
6.0-WGM Easha Karavade (India)
6.0-IM Wynn Zaw Htun (Myanmar)
6.0-IM Ashot Nadanian (Armenia)
6.0-IM Tirto (Indonesia)
5.5-GM NGUYEN TROC SON (Vietnam)
5.5-GM Yu Shaoteng (China)
5.5-IM Shvechicov Anatoli (Russia)
5.5-IM Taufik Halay (Indonesia)
5.5-Akshayraj Kore (India)

Meanwhile, in Italy, Pinoy player Roland Salvador is battling it out with the locals in Bratto. At the 7th round mark, he shares the lead, on 5.5 points, with several grandmasters. Roland needs just one more GM result to join the ranks of Pinoy GMs.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Forum Wars in Australian Chess

Australia's biggest chess bulletin board, Chess Chat, moderated by Australian Chess Federation officials, has found itself a serious challenger and the gloves are off.

Chess Chat has always been a tough part of town, but, now Matthew Sweeney's new board, Australian Chess Club Forum, is proving to be a serious challenge.

Alarmed by that challenge, Chess Chat moderator and ACF official Dr Kevin Bonham tonight made the following ruling:

...material posted on the small forum being run by Matthew [Sweeney] again cannot be quoted here, nor can any posts or unsolicited [private messages] promoting the forum or having the effect of linking to it (including indirectly) be made. Discussion of it beyond that is OK for the time being.

Mr Sweeney made this statement to TCG: "The ACF must be scared to death that Australian Chess Club Forum is destroying the monopoly on debate it has held for three years at Chess Chat. In fact, Chess Chat has gone so far as to delete any reference or thread related to the new board."

Chess Chat will likely continue to remain popular but most of its inhabitants can see that it has slowly evolved into something other than a chess bulletin board. Most of the recent popular topics have nothing to do with chess whatsoever. And any topic that is remotely to do with chess are basically chess fans complaining against chess officials! Some of these threads are just plain embarassing. I count at least 4 threads dedicated to a certain Queensland chess official (including one about his car collection). And yet another accuses a NSWCA big wig of being a serial abuser.

For some serious chess discussion, I'd say, go to Matt Sweeney's bulletin board. They might seem like a bunch of preened Sunday schoolers with cheesy boy scout pledges to boot - but at least they're trying.

Wesley So Defeats Ian Rogers

I have not been able to confirm this from the official site but according to Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino, 12-year old FM Wesley So, of the Philippines, has just defeated GM Ian Rogers, of Australia, in the 7th round of the currently running Malaysian Open.

Below is a portion of Mr Bernardino's report that he has just submitted to Philippine newspapers.

Up against Grandmaster Dao Thien Hai, one of Vietnam’s most-feared chess masters, Filipino International Master Oliver Dimakiling bravely stood his ground and forced a fighting draw to stay ahead of the pack in the seventh round of the Dato Arthur Tan 3rd Malaysian Open at the Citi Tel Mid Valley Hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The standoff kept the 13th seed Dimakiling half a point ahead of his pursuers with six points after seven rounds, even as 12-year old Fide Master Wesley So made a big leap following a king-sized upset win against Australian GM Ian Rogers.

The win by So, a resident of Bacoor, Cavite, put him in the company of Dao, GM Nguyen Anh Dung and Indonesian IM Tirto in a tie for second to 4th places with 5.5 points each in the 11-round, Swiss System tournament.

Continuing this theme of old vs young, as well as one that involves an Aussie, here is a photo of Brian Jones against Bryan Lee.

Maga Victorious in Cordillera

Courtesy of Marlon Bernardino, we have the final standings of the 1st Cordillera Open, held at the Baguio Country Club.

Final Standings:
7.5-NM Mirabeau Maga (P40,000)
7.0-IM Jayson Gonzales (P16,000)
7.0-GM Eugene Torre (P16,000)
6.5-NM Rolando Nolte (P6,500)
6.5-IM Ronald Bancod (P6,500)
6.0-Ali Branzuela (P3,500)
6.0-FM Adrian Ros Pacis (P3,500)
6.0-NM Samuel Estimo (P3,500)
6.0-NM Andrew Vasquez (P3,500)
5.5-IM Barlo Nadera (P250)
5.5-John John Mendoza (P250)
5.5-NM Alex Milagrosa (P250)
5.5-Rey Abbu (P250)
Category winners:
WIM Cristine Rose Mariano (top lady, P1,000)
Malone Chavez (top kiddy, P1,000)
Herman Valliente Jr. (top junior, P1,000)
Jany Sugwaran (top senior, P1,000)
John John Mendoza (top local player, P2,000)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

ACF Webmaster Resigns

Citing a lack of time and a renewed interest to actually play chess, Paul Broekhuyse has stepped down as webmaster of the Australian Chess Federation. This announcement in the most recent issue of the federations newsletter.

On the very outdated ACF website Paul says, "The website could also benefit from someone with more free time and stronger technical skills than I have."

Following the announcement is a job ad for the position of ACF webmaster and newsletter editor. Any interested parties can contact the following: ACF President, Denis Jessop -; or ACF Secretary, Jey Hoole - email:

Applications must be received by close of business on September 07.

Failing any freebie offers for volunteer work, I suggest the ACF just pay some outfit to run their website for them. How about their good hosts over at the Chess Chat forum - the ACF's chess forum of choice?

Malaysian Open '06

This tournament began on Monday with some 85 players competing. Top seed is Pinoy GM Mark Paragua followed by a number of 2500+ rated grandmasters including Aussie Ian Rogers, grandmasters Dao Thien Hai and Nguyen Anh Dung, both of Vietnam, GM Yu Shaoteng from China, another Pinoy GM Nelson Mariano and Susanto Megaranto of Indonesia.

There are many strong international masters present, too, with RP being well represented by the likes of Yves Ranola, Ronald Dableo, Oliver Dimakiling and Richard Bitoon. Young sensation and Olympiad player FM Wesley So is also in attendance.

Along with Ian Rogers, other Australians are Chris Wallis, Jonathan Humphrey and FM Brian Jones.

At the 6th round mark, IM Oliver Dimakiling leads with a slim margin on 5.5 points. Close behind on 5 are GM Dao Thien Hai and FM Julio Catalino Sadorra from RP.

The Aussies' after round 6 are Rogers 4 points, Walls 3.5 points, Humphrey 3 points, and B Jones 2 points.

The best way to follow the event is via the GilaChess website.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Kirsan's Propaganda

In the latest edition of NIC magazine, Garry Kasparov can only look forward to disappointing times ahead as a result of Kirsan's re-election last June.

I have no regrets about writing an open letter of support for Bessel Kok...Unfortunately, Bessel was preaching ideas that simply don't exist in the chess world. Commercial sponsorship, television coverage, all these elements of a professional sport - without any examples, it was a coalition of dreams. Now our dreams will have to be put on hold yet again.

Well, Kirsan's PR machine are doing everything it can to dispel such thoughts.

In this interview (original here) with Russian journo Yuri Vasiliev, football and the Olympic Games are nicely "name-dropped". ("Football players use many-step combinations, resembling chess combinations"; "the Chinese [Olympic Games] Organisers support us 100%".)

And now notice this unfortunate remark by our Russian interviewer: "Football is the last sport in need of propaganda…"

That's right Yuri, not football, however - your mate Kirsan certainly does. But gentlemen, no more talk of sorcerers please! It's hardly the sort of talk that encourages CEOs to sponsor chess, you know.

And what is with this new found love between Turkish Chess Fed boss Ali Nihat Yazici and Kirsan? "Bravo Kirsan! Welcome and thank you. I wish you good success for your dreams to be realised", Ali writes in Chessbase.

My God, that just about makes me cringe into giving up chess completely. I mean, this Ali guy once took a phone call from Kirsan's 2IC Georgios Makropoulos (who is Greek, by the way) who rang in with, "We will fuck you!" (in response to Ali's and Bessel's announcement of their Right Move campaign).

That's chess politics for you, eh? All we need now is for Sweeney and Gletsos to kiss and make up. (Sorry international readers. Couldn't help myself).

Chinese Win Over Russians

The Chinese team has won the third edition of the China vs Russia match-up. But Xie Jun, acting as chief umpire of the event said, ""We should not be complacent...China sent top players to this event while Russia fielded a second-string team".

From The People's Daily.

For Russian readers, there is also coverage here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

NSW Championships Kicks Off

The 2006 NSW State Championships began last Sunday and already, we have our first surprise. Thirteen-year old Max Illingworth maintains his giant killer status by downing defending champ Andrew Bird in the first round. However, more importantly for us is the comeback of one Greg Canfell.

FIDE master Canfell returns to competitive play after a 7-month self imposed hiatus. We understand that his break was largely due to a heart-breaking loss to GM Murray Chandler in January at the Australian Championships in Brisbane. In a winning position, Canfell fell for a cheapo and lost horribly.

Well, it seems that his break has done his chess a lot of good and he's fully recovered. We hope so anyway. Last Sunday, he faced off against German visitor Rasmus Koelln and won. With special (make that "shirty") permission from Greg Canfell, we republish his annotations to his first round game.

Annotations by FM Greg Canfell
NSW State Ch 2006
Rasmus Koelln
Greg Canfell

1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6 3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.cxd4 e6 6.Bc4 I know this is one of the main lines, but Bxd5 never seems to offer much - so why not put the Bishop on its natural attacking square, d3.

6...d6 7.Nf3 Nc6 8.Bxd5?! exd5 9.0-0 Be7 10.Qb3?! 10.Nc3 10...dxe5 11.Nxe5?! White would certainly like to exchange knights as now 11...Nxe5 12.dxe5 is far preferable to the immediate 11.dxe5 when simply 12...0-0, followed by either Be6 or Bg4 is very pleasant for Black - Qxb7 will always be met by Nb4. But 11.Nxe5 has its own problems

After 11. Nxe5

11...Nxd4! 12.Qa4+ Nc6 13.Nc3! The best reaction. After 13.Nxc6 Qd7 - the move Rasmus missed when he embarked upon 10.Qb3 - Black would simply be a pawn up 13...0-0 14.Nxc6 bxc6 15.Qxc6 Be6 Black's advantages are the 2 bishops, an unblockadeable isolani, and a badly offside White Queen, but it's still a very difficult position 16.Rd1 Rc8 17.Qa6

After 17. Qa6

It is essential that White not be allowed to play Be3-Bd4 - otherwise he might even be better. 17...Bc5 would transpose to the game after 18.Be3! d4 18.Be3 Bc5 Immediately giving up the queen was another way. 18...dxe3 19.Rxd8 exf2+ 20.Kxf2 Bc5+ 21.Kg3! Rfxd8 and the bishops and rooks look impressive but maybe White simply plays 22.Rd1.

19.Na4 either this or 19.Ne4 was forced 19...dxe3 20.Rxd8 exf2+ 21.Kf1 Rfxd8 22.Nxc5 Rxc5 23.Kxf2 Rc2+ 24.Kg3? or 24.Kg1? Rdd2 25.Qb7 h6 followed by ...Bd5 when the WK is a sitting duck. The only chance was 24.Ke3! when it's surprisingly difficult for the rooks and bishop to net the king. I was going to go pawn-scabbing for a while first, but a line like 24...Rxb2 25.Qxa7 h6 26.a4 Rdd2 isn't clear, although Black has all the chances. I must feed this to the machines. 24...Rxb2! Taken with impunity. If now 25.Qxa7 Rd3+ and mate soon follows.

25.Qa3?! Rdd2 and it's all over, apart from my subsequent vacillation over where best to put my rooks 26.Qe7 Rxg2+ 27.Kf4 Rbf2+ 28.Ke3 Re2+ 29.Kd4 Rd2+ 30.Kc3 Rc2+ 31.Kb4 Rb2+ 32.Ka3 h6 33.Rd1 Rxa2+ 34.Kb4 Rgb2+ 35.Kc5 Rc2+ 36.Kd4 Rxh2 37.Re1 Rh4+ 38.Kd3 Rh3+ 39.Re3 Rxe3+ 40.Kxe3 a5 0-1

Monday, August 21, 2006

1st Cordillera Open

Thanks to Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino and Rick Reyes for the following photos of the opening day of the 1st Cordillera Open. The event is held at the Baguio Country Club and will see RP's best players gather to compete for a P40,000 first prize. Among the top players are Torre and GM title candidate Jayson Gonzales.

NCFP executive-director Sammy Estimo delivers the welcome address

NCFP head Congressman Prospero Pichay (white pieces) seen here against GM Eugene Torre. Seen standing are (L-R) Voltaire Acista, NCFP director Atty. Raul Molintas and NCFP executive director Atty. Samuel Estimo.

NCFP head COngressman Prospero Pichay (centre) in conversation with NCFP board member Atty. Raul Molintas (left) and NCFP executive director Atty. Samuel Estimo (right).

If we're lucky, we might receive more photos from Rick Reyes. Our best wishes to the tournament and to the players.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Arianne in Mainz

Six hundred and thirty-two players are competing in the 13th Ordix Open. It is reputed as the world's strongest rapid event and the 2006 edition maintains that reputation. Morozevich, Shirov, Grischuk and Naiditsch are just some of the top names battling it out over 11 rounds.

And, as expected, we note one young Australian in the event. Who else but WIM Arianne Caoili?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Pinoy GMs Snub Swiss

The National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) will choose a swiss system format eliminations tournament to select the team that will represent the country at the Asian Games in Doha later this year. In response, RP's 3 top grandmasters are not very happy.

Mark Paragua, Joey Antonio and Eugene Torre asked the national body to reconsider via a letter to fed boss Congressman Prospero Pichay: "There are other ways and criteria to best select our representatives in important international events as practiced by other countries...The Swiss System is definitely not one of them."

More from the Manila Bulletin.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Open Thread

These open threads seem to be quite popular so we'll have another one. Besides, just about the only interesting item I spotted is all this bitchin' over Jennifer Shahade's book title, "Chess Bitch". What was the NY Times thinking?

Anyway, we like an anonymous poster's suggestion for a Friday Open thread topic: "the effectiveness of communication and information dissemination within the Australian chess cummunity."

The guys over at WACA produce a fantastic monthly downloadable newsletter in PDF format. For my money, this is definitely the best approach. Those who prefer a printed format by snail mail, or don't have net access (hard to believe but, yeah, they're out there) can receive that; and those that prefer to download can do so.

What about you, dear readers - any thoughts? Where are we lacking? How can we improve? Well OK, we can start with maybe updating the federation's website! Maybe a chess blog by your friendly Ratings Officer?

This is an open thread so talk about anything you want. I notice that there's the usual stoush between monsieurs Dr Bonham (who doesn't like to be referred to as an ACF official) and Sydney chess organiser Matt Sweeney, along with their respective supporters. Feel free to do that, but please keep the lingo kosher.

Finally, I'm off to some artsy do tonight. A Japanese musical thing, organised by an oversexed chess mate of mine. I gotta be there to make him look good. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Vince Salvador!

Roland Salvador and Rolly Martinez were joint top finishers on 7 points at the 10th Genova Open in Italy. FM Salvador was declared winner on Bucholz tiebreak.

The tournament organisers have provided excellent tournament bulletins. In the last issue, a Pinoy name is up in lights, "Vince Salvador!" Bulletins and games can be downloaded on this page.

Here's a couple of games from our Pinoy heroes! And I must thank our reader, Mr. Michael Rabena for this news tip. Thank you, sir.

10 Open Genova
Salvador, Roland
Barsov, Alexei

1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 e6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. e4 Bb4 6. Bg5 c5 7. e5 h6 8. exf6 hxg5 9. fxg7 Rg8 10. Qc2 Qf6 11. O-O-O Bxc3 12. bxc3 Nc6 13. Bxc4 Bd7 14. d5 Qf4+ 15. Nd2 exd5 16. Rhe1+ Be6 17. Bxd5 O-O-O 18. Bxe6+ fxe6 19. Qe4 Rxg7 20. Qxe6+ Kc7 21. g3 Qxf2 22. Ne4 Rxd1+ 23. Rxd1 Qe3+ 24. Kc2 Re7 25. Qd6+ Kb6 26. Rb1+ Ka5 27. Nd2 Ka6 28. Rb3 c4 29. Ra3+ Kb5 30. Ra5+ Nxa5 31. a4+ 1-0

10 Open Genova
Martinez, Rolly
Dzhumaev, Marat

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. Be3 Nd7 5. Qd2 a6 6. h4 Ngf6 7. Bh6 Bxh6 8. Qxh6 c5 9. Nge2 Qa5 10. f3 b5 11. Qd2 Bb7 12. g4 O-O-O 13. g5 Nh5 14. Bh3 Kb8 15. Bxd7 Rxd7 16. dxc5 b4 17. Nd1 Qxc5 18. a3 d5 19. axb4 Qc7 20. Qc3 Rc8 21. Qxc7+ Rcxc7 22. c3 dxe4 23. fxe4 Rc4 24. Nf2 f5 25. Rh3 fxe4 26. Ra5 Rc8 27. Re5 Rcd8 28. Nxe4 Rd1+ 29. Kf2 Rf8+ 30. Rf3 Rxf3+ 31. Kxf3 Ng7 32. N2g3 Nf5 33. Nxf5 gxf5 34. Ke2 Rh1 35. Nc5 Rh2+ 36. Kd3 Bc8 37. Rxe7 Rxh4 38. c4 f4 39. Rf7 Rg4 40. Ne4 Bb7 41. Nc5 Bc8 42. b3 Rxg5 43. Rxf4 Rg6 44. Rf8 h6 45. Kc3 Kc7 46. Kb2 h5 47. Rh8 Bg4 48. Rh7+ Kd6 49. Nxa6 Ke5 50. b5 Kf4 51. c5 Kg5 52. Nb4 h4 53. b6 Bf3 54. b7 Bxb7 55. Rxb7 h3 56. Rh7 Kg4 57. c6 Rg5 58. Nd3 Kg3 59. b4 h2 60. c7 1-0

New Look for Yahoo!Chess

Back in the day, long before I joined the popular chess servers, there was Yahoo!Chess. It was free, which is why I joined in the first place. There was just a couple of problems. First, there were no controls in cheating unlike on paid-service sites like ICC. Second, the interface had a "cartoony" feel to it. And so it wasn't long before I just gave up.

But now, courtesy of Zero G Games, Yahoo! has relaunched their chess site. The site offers multiplayer and cross-platform capability which allows players to take their games on cell phones. Cool!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

China, Russia on Level Terms

I have not seen any coverage of this event by the regular chess sources. All info I find are via the People's Daily. After 4 rounds, both nations are on par at 20 points each. If not for their women's team, the Chinese would be way behind.

Xie Jun was quoted as saying, "If the Chinese men don't lose too many games in later rounds and let the Russians run too far away, the Chinese team will very likely win the competition".

Kasparov on Mobile

A mobile entertainment firm, Glu Mobile, is working with former World Champ Gary Kasparov on developing "Kasparov Chess".

Kasparov Chess, which will be available on wireless carriers worldwide beginning in early 2007, will offer a number of ways to play including cross-carrier, international multi-player capabilities allowing players to challenge other chess players around the world. Complete features of the game will be announced upon launch.

Link: Glu Mobile Announces Plans to Launch Kasparov Chess

Monday, August 14, 2006

Teams Challenge 2

Congratulations to Max Sac Hackers team for winning the second NSWCA Teams Challenge event with 24.5 points after 7 rounds. Led by Neil Wright, they edged out the top seeded Sydney University 1 team by half a point.

And in case you're wondering, 'Sac' doesn't mean these guys just go berserk with the sacrifices. I didn't know this until yesterday but 'Sac' actually means "Sydney Academy of Chess" - the team's principal sponsor.

Low numbers in the second Teams Challenge

Only 14 teams competed in the second edition of the Teams Challenge. Last May, 25 teams turned up. It's difficult to say why so many players stayed away; maybe they're just busy with other things. The school sides of Fort Street and Knox Grammar, for instance, were absent yesterday. And the powerful Team Koala, led last time around by international master Gary Lane, failed to make an appearance. But the most notable absence was that of Team Maybe, the first edition winners.

Despite the low turnout, everyone was very competitive especially the guys from the University of Sydney. Australia's oldest university sent in 3 teams. Captained by Jason Chan, their premiere side came packing with two PhD's - Mr Chan himself and the economics lecturer Dr Vladimir Smirnov. Sydney University 2 was much weaker but did feature two unknown players from overseas, Thomas Kohli and Sebastian Hermann. Being unknown is sometimes an advantage because no one knows your style. As it turned out, these two guys were very competent players. They helped to rout my side, Parramatta A, 4-0 in the second round!

The University of NSW also came along. They couldn't find find enough students or staff so they conscripted a senior player, Mr Toby Lewski. We jokingly called him a "mature-age student".

That was the final Teams Challenge event for 2006. I love the format. Given my busy schedule, these one-day events are about all I can devote my time to except for the larger nationals as well as the Doeberl Cup. And playing for a team adds an extra dimension. I always feel disappointed when I lose. But I feel even more disappointed for the whole team when I lose. Feeling that kind of pressure pushes you to work harder. On the other hand, there is a certain sweetness to watching a team-mate struggle through his position knowing that he is desperately trying to do his best for you. I can't wait for next year now.

More photos available in my Flickr.

40 Years Ago in WA

The Western Australian Chess Association produces an excellent newsletter in PDF format. In their August issue, Haydn Barber looks back at the state championship event in 1966.

Six times former champion Leonhardt knew what was required and settled down to play careful determined Chess from the onset and his reward was 7½ points from the first 8 rounds, the draw being with Foster. Woodhams, confidently walking the tightrope of a series of combinational crises had slipped but once (versus Raudzins) and had drawn with Lilly to be only a point behind. Meanwhile, Stannard, Jones, Foster and Lilly had all lost at least two points and were almost out of it.

The newsletter can be downloaded here.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dutch GM in Brunei

Dutch grandmaster Erick Van Der Doel is visiting Brunei to promote the game. He is there on the invitation of Brunei Chess Federation and the Ministry of Education.

Link: "Chess Grandmaster at Sayyidina Husain"

China vs Russia

The old power Russia and one of the world's rising chess giants, China, are about to go head-to-head. It will be the third such match-up between the two countries. China's chief delegate is optimistic: "China stands a better chance than in any of the previous two contests, since Chinese players, especially the men's team, have improved a lot".

Link: "China hopes to win chess contest against Russia"

And when you've finished reading that article, check out this article on the Chinese juggernaut by Pinoy chess writer Bobby Ang.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Open Thread

Our first open thread last week was a success - 25 comments! OK, here's another one. Discuss:

1. Matt Sweeney's rival forum - an ACF official asks, will he or will he not enforce Code of Conduct declarations?
2. A Sydney chess personality wonders why the 2007 Sydney International Open doesn't have rating prizes
3. Can someone please confirm that the 2008 Olympiad will have these changes (i) a 5-man team down from 6, four still play and (ii) distaff side will have also 5 players and 4 play up from 3?

Have a good weekend ladies and gents. Yours truly will be at the NSW Teams Challenge 2 event this Sunday. I can't wait.

Chess Player Banned for Steroids

It had to happen sooner or later. After the controversy surrounding cheating with the use of electronic aids at the World Open, now we have a real case of steroid use by a chess player. And he's only 13-years old!

According to a news report, the 13-year old Bobby Baines "was one of 17 professional chess players ranging in ages from 8 to 97 years old, that are under suspicion for blood doping and taking drugs on the USCF list of banned substances".

I must say, the last 3 months - from that Gormallygate incident to an apparent suicide, then to the World Open controversy and finally this - has not exactly been the best for chess. What next?

Link: "Anabolic Steroids Invade the World of Professional Chess"

Nur Yachou's Tour

I was rather delighted to receive an email from my friend Nur Yachou. As you may recall, the Victorian played in this year's Dubai Open. After that event, our good friend went on to travel the world and right now he is in his homeland of Romania.

Bucharest-born Nur is currently playing in the Predeal Chess Open. Says he, "I have not played in any tournament since last April in Dubai, so I am out of practice".

The tournament is quite strong, with a number of 2500+ masters at the top. Nur provides the following tips on how to read the Romanian listing: MMI = GM and MI = IM and MF = FM and if you see a small letter f [like] "MIf", [it] means IM female.

Good luck Nur! We are hoping to be in constant touch with our lone Aussie warrior and maybe, if we get lucky, we'll post a few pictures from this beautiful mountain city of Predeal.

World Youth Olympiad Update

After 7 rounds, the Aussies are in 8th place overall with 16.5 points. Team Ukraine leads with 20.5 points.

In round six, Australia were routed by the powerful Indians 3-1. The single point came off a win by Aussie board one Zhigen-Wilson Lin (rated 2031) over Adhiban B rated 2310.

Australia reversed their fortunes in the following round by beating South Africa 3-1. Zhigen-Wilson and Rukman, boards 1 and 2 respectively, both won their games while the Aussie boards 3 and 4 drew theirs.

Next stop for Australia is Hungary, a team led by international master David Berczes.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Club Slams Door on Freeloaders

With the above title, I just thought I'd top DG's "Tightening the screws" post yesterday. Most of you have probably already heard of the Internet Chess Club's decision to increase their basic membership cost to US$59.95 (about AUD$85). The ICC is also removing the ability for "guests" to chat and play.

Two things. First, the cost is really nothing. But with rising interest rates and petrol prices, not to mention over-priced bananas, the ICC may find itself with a reduced customer base.

It will be interesting to see how Playchess will respond whose basic membership fee is still at the much lower US$31.50. The German service offers a much slicker interface and I particularly like the multiboard view during live tournament coverage. Plus there is, of course, GM Yasser Seirawan's dulcet voice ("dulcet" is a word I learned yesterday in a project walkthrough session, believe it or not. I just thought I'd slip that in).

What Playchess lacks, however, is atmosphere. Nothing beats kibitzing on ICC.

Secondly, why does ICC do away with guest chat and play? Surely a blunder! I recall my first trial years ago. I logged in as a guest, played a few games, went around the chat rooms, then decided to join for good. I always like going for a bit of a test run before a final commitment.

I have no doubt that are those who are basically "permanent guests", folks who just keep it creating new FREE accounts. These guys consume bandwith. And Caissa knows, I need all the bandwidth I can get - what with this stupid Australian senator who thinks that 1.5Mbps ADSL, offered by my ISP Telstra, is perfectly satisfactory. How do these women get elected for crying out loud?

I'm sticking with ICC.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Chess for (Real) Dummies

I suppose for some the rules of the game is just way too hard. That's where the Chess Teacher comes in.

From Gizmodo.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

U16 Chess Youth Olympiad

Nearly missed this but we have Canberra organiser Jenni Oliver to thank for pointing this out. The World U16 Youth Olympiad is currently being played in Turkey. It's a 10 round event and will finish on 12 August.

Mrs Oliver informs us, "Quite a good Aussie team playing (although nowhere near what we could field. Ben Harris had a tough time getting there, with late planes and missed connections, so forfeits in the first 2 rounds, but he seems to have got there in time for round 3."

The other 3 players in the Aussie squad are Zhigen-Wilson Lin, V. Rukman and Derek Yu.

After three rounds of play, the Australian chessers are on 6 points. In the first round, they were routed by an IM-led Georgia 4-0. Round 2 was an even affair with the Aussies scoring 2-2 against Syria. Then in round 3, our young hopefuls delivered a 4-0 wipeout against Turkmenistan B.

Turkmenitan's A team will have a chance to strike revenge as they meet the Aussies in the fourth round.

You can follow the event in the official website.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Australian Computer Championships

For Aussies who fancy themselves as the next Stefan Meyer-Kahlen (Shredder) or Amir Ban and Shay Bushinsky (Junior), the next National Computer Chess Championships (NC3) is being held from 20 August as part of the ANU Chess Festival.

It will be an online event which means that spectators can log in and watch these chips battle it out.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Diploma in Chess Mastery

No joke! Yes, the country where chess originated is now creating a formal university qualification in chess. Would-be grandmasters can earn their diploma in chess at the Symbiosis University, in India.

Dr Satish Thigale, faculty head at the university:

The game originated in India, but over the years the West has left its mark on the game due to persistent efforts and systematic coaching. It’s time we change that and the best way to go about it would be developing it in school.

The idea certainly contributes to India's very high ambitions of notching up 100 grandmasters by the year 2012. So far, they have 14 - a long way to go!

The idea of chess being part of some kind of tertiary study is probably nothing new. I'm pretty sure the Russians have been doing it for years. But I'm not certain if they had a stand-alone qualification like a "diploma in chess". Perhaps our more learned readers can clarify.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Big Chess in Chatswood

I didn't realise that they had this big board in Chatswood. Check out this shot in flickr.

Don't Worry, Be Happy, Play Chess

Last night, while out having drinks with the boys, we got to talking about chess. As usual, we found ourselves in the Spanish Club - the scene of many a blitz battles right into the early hours of morning. We were specifically talking about entry fees into chess tournaments.

Somebody said, "I don't play chess any more. The entry fees are extortionate". He was complaining about NSWCA entry charges of around $70 plus or so.

To which another fellow replied, "What are you gonna do with your money? When you die, you can't take any of it! Just play and have a good time".

'Nuff said!

In NSW there are a couple of excellent tournaments to play in. The Teams Challenge is always fun and has been the most popular event in the NSWCA's calendar over the last 2 years. And I just love it. Knowing that you're playing, not just for yourself, but for a team gives brings on extra pressure. The excitement of that last deciding game puts everyone on edge. If you're in NSW, get yourself a team and play the Teams Challenge.

Later this month, of course, is the annual state championships. At one game a day, it's ideal for those who prefer a more relaxed pace with plenty of time to prepare for a game or recover from a traumatic loss.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Chess Makes Better Students

At the Central Catholic Elementary Schoolin Texas, "Chess makes better students".

Link: "Chess champs at Central Catholic"

Friday Open Thread

Our two posts on Matt Sweeney's Australian Chess Club Forum are breaking records by being the two most commented posts so far in the blog's history. Both have 20 comments or more each. You can read the first post here and the second one here.

Perhaps the most amusing comment was from an anonymous poster who said that Matt Sweeney's new forum was basically a split thread from Australia's liveliest chess bulletin board.

Unfortunately, as I add more posts, the old ones are pushed further and further down. So dear readers, feel free to continue the discussion here.

Have a happy weekend.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Chess Variants Tourney

We received an email from PhD student Jason Chan, who is also the president of the Sydney University CC, about an interesting little side show during the Australian Universities Rapid Championships (AURC). During the lunch break of AURC, the players got down to some interesting games playing chess variants with names like "grand crossing", "stationary king", "explosion chess" and "hidden clock".

They played one variant per round over 9 rounds.

In his report, Jason says, "We ran each round at the blitz time control of 5 minutes, and just before the start of each round, a variant was randomly chosen and then the rules quickly explained."

Sounds like it was a day of jolly good fun! I regret to have missed it.

Jason Lyons' Blog

Local international arbiter Jason Lyons has began a blog. It's called "Mise En Scene". It's a little short on content but if you know Mr Lyons, then you can keep a track of him via his blog. As I understand it, he's currently somewhere in the United States.

Aussie FIDE Ratings

That scholar and gentleman, Fide Master Greg Canfell has set up a special page packed full of information about Aussies' FIDE ratings.

You can view the page here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Natasha Fairley: Chess is Sport

Continuing our series on women chess players with something to say, we now have an entry from across the Tasman. Natasha Fairley is a familiar face to Aussie chess fans. She's been seen in a Doeberl Cup and I last spotted her at the Queenstown Chess Classic tournament.

In this interview with New Zealand's Stuff, Natasha says: "When people say it's not a sport I always have a little argument with them...Using your brain and controlling your brain is just as hard as running or lifting something. In fact you could say it's harder".

We agree with Natasha. Read the complete interview here.

Kosteniuk: Life Is Not Eternal

It seems every chess playing woman described as an "Anna Kournikova" of chess is giving out their bits of wisdom. Speaking to Satya Siddharth Rath, Alexandra Kosteniuk said:

I always feel I must do something in life. Life is not eternal, one must always keep moving ahead. I want to leave behind a trace of my passage on earth by doing some good deeds, by showing people the joys of the game of chess, which has given me a lot of happiness.

From DNA Sport.