Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Arianne Breaks Record

Last Friday, yours truly had a front seat preview for tonight's salsa performance by Arianne Caoili and her partner Carmelo Pizzino in DWTS. A quick text to my cell said go to Hippo's (a salsa joint) - so I did. I'm not really the dancing type myself so I spent the whole time doing just about the only "Latin" thing I could do: downing my Coronas!

I must admit, I wasn't impressed with what I saw that night. Arianne seemed stiff. I'm thinking, Jesus woman, don't think - just move. Well, it looks like Carmelo must have been pulling some miracles over the weekend because tonight the two of them blew the competition away.

Thirty-seven points! That's right, 37 points - the highest scored by anyone in this current series and which also includes a perfect 10 from judge Mark Wilson. Sexy, sultry, oohlala!

Arianne is safe for another week. So we'll see her again next Tuesday.

Wohl - Salvador, 0-1

A reader did tip us to this game. It's in the last bulletin. Silly me. Here it is. After Wohl's 36. R1d2, there would follow 36...Nd4+.

Roland Salvador Wins Arco

While we've been covering the exploits of the Australians in The Netherlands (Essent) and the Filipinos in Spain (Calvia) as well as the juniors in Georgia, of course - there were actually another two of our beloved compatriots who were battling it out in another European country - Italy. Both FM Roland Salvador, from RP, and IM Alexander Wohl, from Australia, competed in the 28th Festival Scacchistico Internazionale Open held from 21 October to 29 October.

We're terribly sorry, indeed, that we are very tardy with this information. We just didn't know about it! Now, I must thank our good friend from the Philippines, Mr Michael Rabena, who pointed us to this very important news - especially, from the Pinoy point of view.

Roland Salvador came out on top of a field of 108 players in section A of this Italian tournament. The field included the likes of GM Milan Drasko, GM Dragisa Blagojevic and famous author IM Jacob Aagard. FM Salvador actually scored the same number of points as IM Aagard and Michael Shaeffer but was declared overall winner on tiebreak. IM Alex Wohl scored a total of 6 points. In the ninth and last round, Wohl and Salvador crossed swords. The Filipino won that game. We'd like nothing better than to present that encounter - however, it's not available on the official site.

Instead, we bring you this win by Salvador over IM Paolo Vezzosi. The Italian Vezzosi has had some prior match-ups with Pinoys this year. In the Lodi tournament last June, he lost to Yves Ranola and defeated Arianne Caoili.

Below are the round-by-round results of both Wohl and the eventual winner.

Roland Salvador (7 points out of 9)
1 bt di Lazzaro
2 bt la Manna
3 bt Schaeffer
4 1/2 Drasko
5 bt Vezzosi
6 1/2 Bronznik
7 1/2 Teske
8 1/2 Aagard
9 bt Wohl

Alexander Wohl (6 points out of 9)
1 bt Bondielli
2 bt Wagman
3 1/2 Happel
4 lost Vezzosi
5 bt Schrott
6 bt Diotallevi
7 1/2 Blagojevic
8 bt Isonzo
9 lost Salvador

Video of Moulthun Ly

It's very nice to wake up in the morning and to discover in your inbox a little news tip. Overnight, we received an email from Peter Doggers, from The Netherlands and blogger for Doggers Schaak blog. Peter was writing in to tell us about his latest post that includes extensive coverage of Australian Moulthun Ly who, of course, only recently secured his second IM norm at the Essent Open.

There's a couple of photos and a YouTube video. Well worth checking out here.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pinoy Final Results in Calvia

The tournament actually ended a couple of days ago so this is late. Here are the final results for the five Filipino players.

Jayson Gonzales - 6 points
Gomez, Dimakiling, Laylo, So - 5.5 points

In the 9th and final round, John-Paul Gomez and Oliver Dimakiling lost to Francisco Vallejo Pons and Michele Godena respectively. 13-year old IM Wesley So drew his game against Holden Hernandez, but Jayson Gonzalez secured a good a finish by beating IM Thomas Rendle. Jayson Gonzales also ended his Spanish outing well with a win over Ali Ehsan for his last encounter.

Round nine games are not yet available on the official site. Instead, we bring you Wesley So's game against Swedish legend Pia Cramling. A draw.

The five Pinoys now haul themselves to Germany where they once again cross swords with some top talents - exactly what these guys need to achieve those highly sought after GM norms. We'll be keeping an eye on the boys in the Bad Wiessee event.

We thank Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino and the Pinoy fans over at chessgames.com for the various bits of information contained in this post.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Kirsan: There are no compromises

Journo Ed Vulliamy has a very long article on Kirsan Ilyumzhinov for The Guardian's Oberver Sport Monthly. It's an interesting piece that recounts Kirsan's political beginnings and his business ventures. On these three of his interests - chess, politics and business - the Kalmyk leader says:

As in chess, I have to think, in politics and in business, not only about the next move, but to be 10 moves ahead. A ruler and a businessman must be 10 moves ahead of his people or competitors. And as in chess, there are no compromises.

Read: The man who bought chess

Moulthun Bags IM Norm

The Essent Open ended last night and the Australians completed their ninth round missions on a positive with not a single loss to their scorecards. More importantly, Queenslander Moulthun Ly also secured his second IM norm.

Results were as follows:

Peng, Zhaoqin - Rogers, Ian 0-1
Smerdon, David - Vedder, Richard 1/2
Van Der Elburg, Freddie - Ly, Moulthun 0-1
Weeks, Manuel - Kulago, Alexander 1-0

And final scores for the Australians.

Rogers - 6
Smerdon - 5
Ly - 5
Weeks - 3.5

A very good tournament overall for the Australians especially for Moulthun. This young man looks set to one day join our Olympiad firepower and we can only hope that the national chess body, the Australian Chess Federation, does everything it can to provide much needed assistance. If there was a worthy policy aim of the ACF, then it must be surely be to identify talents like Moulthun and helping them get to the top.

Moulthun's tally of 5 points included wins or draws with experiened masters plus, of course, that very memorable victory over GM Vyacheslav Ikonnikov in the first round.

One of the challenges of blogging a tournament is choosing what game to present. Rogers'win or Moulthun's? The Australian GM's full point from Dutch GM Peng was methodical and the end was nice. Still, I think it best to celebrate the future. Go Moulthun!

Official site

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rogers Drops Second Game

GM Ian Rogers dropped his second game in a row after last night going down to third seed Evgeny Postny. The Australian possibly misjudged the consequences after his 21. Qxd8+, forsaking the Queen for two of Black's pieces. Postny's Queen-side pawns were also just a tad too fast in their forward advance and Rogers simply lacked the resources to stop them.

IM David Smerdon was victorious over Dutch FM Menno Okkes and Moulthun Ly drew with the untitled 2378-rated Robin Swinkels. Manuel Weeks lost to Jan Van Der Veen.

Australian Scores after 8 rounds

Rogers - 5
Smerdon - 4.5
Ly - 4
Weeks - 2.5

The Doggers Schaak blog's coverage of this event has been very impressive. Peter Doggers, the blogger, happens to be also participating and presently has 3.5 points after 8 rounds. I love the YouTube videos, the first I've seen this used for a chess event - definitely somemething for a future Australian tournament.

Official site

Adventures in Georgia

Our deepest thanks to Jenni Oliver for sending us a copy of Michael Brown's updates from Georgia whose son, Andrew, is a participant in the World Youth Championships. For easier reading, we're not going to blockquote the text.


By Michael Brown
Yesterday as I said goodbye to Andrew and he went into the playing hall there was a beaut scene that I'll remember for a long time. As I watched Andrew go in, his 2nd Azerbaijani opponent - the one who had outplayed Andrew for most of the game a few rounds ago but had been stunned and left open-mounted by a sudden somewhat lucky checkmate - saw Andrew coming and raced across to Andrew with a great big smile and handshake and then they entered into one of those "gestures conversations" as they had no common language as they walked in together. Given that the Azerbaijani boy, who looked like about half Andrew's size, could be expected to have rued his missed opportunity against Andrew, I thought that was a beaut gesture - great to see.

The Australian team put in a shocker in yesterday's 9th round (2 wins, 4 draws, 10 losses for 25%) and Andrew put in an absolute shocker. Every one of the older players (U12, U14, U16 and U18) lost except for Angela Song,who drew. The good news is U8 Cedric Koh's form - he is on 5.5 from 9, having strung together 4.5 from his last 5 games. He now has 1/2 a point more than Raymond Song! Today's 10th round, now underway, is bound to be better! Andrew is on 4.5 from 9,and Megan Setiabudi is on 3 from 9. There is some mental fatigue around.

Andrew and I enjoyed some tennis yesterday afternoon. The courts we've been using are tournament-standard courts - which doesn't stop us hitting the ball over the wall from time to time!

I am enjoying many things here that strangely remind me of my childhood in Korea in the 1960s and early 1970s. Figs, chestnuts, persimmons, little muscatel grapes. Given that Korea was then a 3rd-world country, other things here that remind me of Korea of 34-46 years ago are the tiny little street stalls that make you wonder how on earth people eke out a living, and the state of the roads and buildings.


Overnight it rained. More furniture rearrangement in our room so that the steady drip from the ceiling hit the edge of my bed rather than the middle.

The thought occurred to me that maybe this hotel isn't real. Maybe it's one of those Hollywood facades, put up temporarily. Maybe as soon as we leave this weekend the cardboard will all be folded up and there'll be a vacant lot once again.

Yesterday I saw the Gregorian (Armenian) church; a gallery; the aquarium; and a museum. The museum was certainly worth a visit. Once again there was a 5 staff to 1 visitor (ie me) ratio.

That's all my news for the moment.


After 10 rounds, Cedric Koh, playing in the U8 boys section, is the highest scorer amongst the Aussies on 6.5 points. The last 4 rounds were all wins for Cediric. Raymond Song is on 6 points, a run that included a string of 3 straight losses from the 7th to the 9th rounds. The rest of the Australian tally is available here.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Open Thread

We havent' had one of these for a while. But just to get things moving a little, take a look what Matthew Sweeney, Australia's loudest critic of the country's official chess bodies, is saying on his bulletin board: "Several agents from several states are now actively planning to usurp the ACF".

Does he know something?

Australians Suffer Defeats

Round 7 turned out to be a poor one for the Aussie contingent as Rogers, Smerdon and Moulthun Ly lost their games. Manuel Weeks managed a draw against 2122-rated Rudolf Potze.

GM Rogers and Moulthun bowed to their GM opponents while IM Smerdon, playing the Alapin, one of his favourite anti-Sicilian systems, went down to untitled player Robert Ris. Smerdon actually followed his game against Quezada from the World Juniors in 2004 until the 17th move. In that earlier encounter, the Aussie opted for the high risk 17. Qe3 and the game ended a draw. This time around, Smerdon played 17. Bxe7 instead. Perhaps he was fearful of an ambush.

Three players are now in the lead on 5.5 points. The Australian scores after 7 rounds are as follows:

Rogers - 5
Smerdon, Ly - 3.5
Weeks - 2.5

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ian Rogers Defeats Dutchman

A very good day out of chess for the 4 Australians in Hoogeven last night in their 6th round assignments. None of them dropped a full point. On board 4, Ian Rogers defeated ninth seed GM Jan Werle in a long struggle lasting 85 moves. Rogers' h-pawn was crucial in the endgame phase as it threatened to promote. This forced the Dutchman to ditch his only remaining piece and, therefore, also the game.

Rogers goes up to board 2 in the seventh round to face second seed 2632-rated GM Ivan Cheparinov of Bulgaria.

After beating Ian Rogers in round 2, local FM Babak Tondivar must have been looking forward to his second Australian victim. But I bet that the Australian crew were all hands on deck to help Moulthun Ly produce something special and bring home the point. Indeed, the young Queenslander was the first to deviate from theory with the spine-tingling 7. g4. Ly forced Tondivar's resignation by the 49th move and sets up a date with Russian grandmaster Yury Piskov in the seventh round.

The two other Australian games ended in draws: Weeks with Van Geffen and Smerdon with Hoeksema.

Scores for the Australians at the 6th round mark are:

Rogers, 5 (currently in joint first with Brodsky and Goloshchapov)
Smerdon and Ly, 3,5
Weeks, 2

Official website.

2012 Olympiad in London

The 2012 Olympic Games will be in London. The English Chess Federation's Mark Hogarth says that they'd like to also see the Chess Olympiad held in that city."Believe me...this is a massive opportunity for this country. People would be amazed by the scale of the event. We really should go for it", says Hogarth.

From The Telegraph UK.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Paxman's Ozbase Updated

Jonathan Paxman has now integrated the entire Ozbase into his own verson of the Australian chess games database. You can see his site here.

There are also a couple of enhancements. The search facility is now cleaner and more usable. Search results, for instance, appear below the form field instead of above. For the moment, move search has been disabled as, we understand, Jonathan is still working on that. What we have here though is pretty fantastic!

Gomez GM Kill

Poland's GM Heberla Bartlomiej must be scratching his head wondering what these Filipinos are eating. Sir, let me tell you: sweet smelling dried fish! In the second round of Calvia, the Pole played against 13-year old Wesley So and drew. Then in the 4th round, Bartlomiej faced another Pinoy and this time, the Pinoy won. That makes Bartlomiej John-Paul Gomez's second GM victim at this event.

For our Pinoy fans, enjoy:

A game worthy of any 'how to attack' books. It's beautiful to witness the power of those Bishops. A needed win by Gomez who is targetting another title norm (he has one IM norm from the recently compeleted World Juniors).

Other Pinoy results were as follows:

Spraggett - Dimakiling, 1-0
Laylo - Planas, 1-0
So - Fokin, 0-1
Gonzales - Klein, 1-0

Three Wins for Rogers

Grandmaster Ian Rogers is cranking up his game as he posts his third win a row in the Hoogeven Open. Last night he defeated local FIDE master Petra Schuurman. IM David Smerdon, currently a resident of Holland on uni exchange, also won by beating another Dutchman Adrian Clemens.

Olympiad captain Manuel Weeks lost again. He was outplayed by IM Willy Hendriks who sacrificed his Queen on the way to victory. A nice win by Hendriks.

It's easy to see that one day Moulthun Ly will hold a master title. He already has one IM norm which he acquired in this year's World Open. Our only hope is that he gets there very soon. The young Queenslander certainly does have the talent. Last night he drew his game against Israeli IM Yochanan Afek. That result takes Ly to 2.5 points overall and sets up a showdown against FM Babak Tondivar (GM Rogers' conqueror in the second game).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Unexciting Dance by Arianne

An unexciting but careful performance by Arianne Caoili and partner Carmelo Pizzino who tonight danced the samba. I was expecting a lot more of those hips shake about, but nope, didn't see too many. For their efforts, they scored 27 points.

When asked by the host if there's been some reaction in the chess community to her new found fame, Arianne's answer was a simple, "I don't know actually". Hhhmm...we'll have to fix that. This girl could really do with some coaching in public speaking.

She's through to the next round.

In case you missed it, here is a chessic item in New Idea that features Aussie junior Oscar Wang. Oscar is in Batumi, Georgia proudly flying the Australian flag in the World Youth Championships. After 6 rounds, young Oscar has 1.5 points.

Rogers Was Only Winner

GM Ian Rogers was the only winner among the Aussies in last night's round 4 of Essent. Australia's number one downed Yochanan Afek, rated 2372 - a quick 16-mover miniature. All three other Aussies lost their games.

Van Beek, Alexander - Smerdon, David, 1-0
Rogers, Ian - Afek, Yochanan 1-0
Ly, Moulthun - Peng, Zhaoqin 0-1
Weeks, Manuel - Swinkels, Robin 0-1

And how about Veselin Topalov? That's 0/2 for him after going down to Judit Polgar in round 2 of the Crown Group. I just feel like screaming out loud to this guy, "You're going down man!" Chessbase has their usual coverage and brief analysis here.

Near Win for Dimakiling

Pinoy fans, observing on chessgames.com, were getting a little bit excited over the round 3 clash between Oliver Dimakiling and GM Hichem Hamdouchi in the 3rd Calvia Festival. In a completely winning position, the game suddenly ended a draw!

Here is the game.

Instead of 35. Ne5, 35. Rh8+ would have given the Pinoy a 3/3 start.

Pinoy scores after round 3 are:

Gomez, Dimakiling - 2.5
So, Laylo - 2
Gonzales - 1.5

Monday, October 23, 2006

Georgian Royalty Visit Aussies

Well, chess royalty at least anyway. Latest reports from Michael Brown Eunice Koh (team manager), via Jenni Oliver, indicate that conditions are on the improve for the Australian team in Georgia after that very shabby treatment by Georgian border guards late last week.

Even the menu has been overhauled. Pasta, salads, fresh fish and lots of party food are now keeping the Australian juniors happy.

When I headed to the organizers’ office today to sort out the Georgian passport problem, I was advised by the organizer, Akaki Iashvili that Denis had complained to Ignatius Leong (FIDE secretary) about the treatment for Australian delegation. It became a major issue such that we started to lose some of our team members to the 5-star hotel Intourist. But fortunately for the team, it is getting better. We asked for light lunch meals and a more substantial breakfast. Today for lunch, we had pasta, a variety of salads, much better as the days go by, the hotel is improving on a daily basis. Dinner was excellent, there was pizza, fresh fish (with bones), soups, lots of salads, biscuits – party food! We also had a surprise visit from the Georgian chess royalty – Akaki Iashvili did mention he was coming to visit to view the conditions but he brought along the VP of FIDE, Azmaipashvili Zurab & his spouse Marina, Makropolou Fide CP, Nana Aleksandria, Gaprindashvili Nona - 5 time world champion, Michael Khodarkovsky.


They checked out the place and I got all the parents to give feedback with the exception of those parents who left to go to Intourist Hotel. Anyway, Akaki promised us that the standard of food will be the same as what we now have. He also wanted us to write back to you folks in Australia to try & spread the word that things are improving and not as bad as what we initially reported.

After 5 rounds, Raymond Song (who moved to Shanghai, China last June) is the highest scorer among the Australians. He is on 4 points. And James Obst thankfully appears to have bounced back well from that illness which forced a visit to the hospital. The South Australian is on 3/5, the same score as compatriot Andrew Brown.

The rest of the Australian info are available here.

Arianne's Mother Jailed!

This is a revelation that even we didn't know about. In this week's New Idea magazine, Annette Caoili, mother of Arianne Caoili, tells readers that she was once imprisoned in a Manila jail. The charges, later proven to be false, were apparently for heroin trafficking. The story is so unbelievable that it's like reading a spy thriller. Take this for example:

Every week the military police would blindfold me and take me to an underground room. They would shine a spotlight in my face and ask me questions, but I didn't know what they were talking about.

To make matters worse, Annette found that she had fallen pregnant to a Filipino boyfriend (who, apparently overwhelmed by all that drama, left the Australian). This next account is quite possibly the most shocking revelation. Annette aborted the pregnancy!

Abortions were illegal, so the only person I could find ran a horrible backyard clinic. There was no anaesthetic, it was horrendous.

Nearly one year after she was arrested, Annette was eventually acquitted of all charges and her case thrown out on 16 December 1980. She travelled to RP apparently to celebrate her overcoming something called Guillan-Barre Syndrome.

Moulthun Ly Still Unbeaten

Queenslander Moulthun Ly is still unbeaten at the Hoogeven Open. Last night he drew his third round game against IM Anatoly Donchenko of Germany to set up a 4th round meeting with GM Peng Zhaoqin. The 3 other Australians won their games.

We should also mention the top section running in the Essent event - the Crown Group. Doggers Schaak made an interesting video of round 1. You can view that here.

Just back from losing to Kramnik, Bulgarian Veselin Topalov is off to a poor start by going down to Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, the 2005 World Junior champion.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Congrats Greg Canfell

New South Wales Chess Association vice president Andrew Bird has just announced that FM Greg Canfell has won his fifth NSW state championship. Canfell has an unpassable 2-point lead with only one more round to play.

Congratulations to Greg!

We don't have too many games from the NSW state championships event but Andrew Bird did send us this crazy game between Simon Quick and Minir Nanavati.

Is it spam?

The second issue of Matthew Sweeney's "unofficial" newsletter has just been blasted out. Two things about this issue: first, Mr Sweeney appears now to have learned from his terrible gaffe last week when he published the names and email addresses of all his recipients to each other. A Queensland chess official was quick to point out the breach of privacy.

Secondly, we have these questions for Mr Sweeney: (i) where in the world did he collect the emails from? (ii) did he have permission from his recipients to receive that newsletter? (iii) how do people unsubscribe from this newsletter? (iv) does his newsletter direct readers to a site or sites that where goods or services are advertised?

And to the guys at the ACF: what are they going to do about this rebel publication?

Pinoy Masters Invade Spain

A troop of five Pinoy masters have descended upon Calvia (in Spain), host city of the 2004 Olympiad. IM Darwin Laylo, IM Wesley So, IM Jayson Gonzales, IM Oliver Dimakiling and John-Paul Gomez are there to test their powers against the likes of Dutchman GM Sergei Tiviakov, local GM Francisco Vallejo Pons and Cuban number two GM Lazaro Bruzon in the 3rd Calvia Chess Festival.

In the first round, all Pinoys achieved victories in their respective assignments. But round two was a mix bag of outcomes: two draws, two wins and a loss.

Darwin Laylo wrestled against Vallejo Pons' QGD but, sadly, the Spaniard's abilities was too much. Pons produced 8...0-0, a rare continuation which, according to my database at least, was tested only once in D'Arruda - Ronco, American Continental 2005. Jayson Gonzales drew against GM Ehsan Ghaem Maghami; while Wesley So, only recently awarded his IM title, also drew against Poland's GM Heberla Bartlomiej. And playing against the 2295-rated Vidal Alejand Gonzales Arribas, Oliver Dimakiling took 60 moves to deliver the point.

RP's most notable win came courtesy of recent World Junior participant John-Paul Gomez. The 20-year old overpowered the 59-year old Romanian grandmaster Mihai Suba. Maybe Mihai was just tired. According to the site, he is also participating in the seniors section.

I should thank our regular contributor Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino for tipping me of this news item. Marlon informs me that he'll actually be visiting Sydney from the second week of November this year. Hope to see him then.

Tondivar Upsets Rogers

In round 2 of Essent last night, GM Ian Rogers lost his game to local FIDE master Babak Tondivar, rated 2367. Black in the French Defence, Tondivar's c3-pawn bursted down its file for a promotion. This forced Rogers to lose a Bishop and the Australian survived for just another 6 moves.

IM David Smerdon appears to be still missing his mojo as he once again had to settle for a draw against local Roeland Pruijssers. Smerdon's Olympiad skipper, Manuel Weeks, also posted a drawn game to his lower-rated opponent Richard Hendriks.

The standout performer among the Australians is again 14-year old Queenslander Moulthun Ly. After beating GM Ikonnikov in the first round, Ly last night drew with 2423-rated Dutchman Jeroen Willemze.

Ly's next opponent will be IM Anatoly Donchenko of Germany.

Official site. There is also extra coverage by the Doggers Schaak blog.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Bad Night for Blogger

I can't resist blogging this. Some of us can wake up in the middle of night and realise that we've just had a bad nightmare. Well, my fellow blogger and admin over at the World Chess Network, Goran Urosevic, wasn't having a dream.

He was about to go to bed when suddenly - BOOM! I hope that our friend is staying safe.

Rowson on Chess PR

Love him or hate him for his writings (I still haven't finished reading his book "Seven Deadly Chess Sins" mainly for its near sociological impenetrability), one thing you can definitely say about Scottish grandmaster Jonathan Rowson is that he is an original. And in case you didn't know it, Rowson has just won the British Championships for a third time in a row - the first such feat since 1969.

Speaking to the UK's The Herald, Rowson makes some observations about the world of chess. Like this one:

But what's upset me is that chess itself has such little coverage, and this is symptomatic of that. It's not that people aren't interested, it's just that there's something going wrong with the mechanism between tournament players, tournament results and the media. Somehow, those aren't gelling the way they should.

From The Herald.

Ly on Spectacular Start

The Essent chess tournament began last night and, of the four Australians playing, Queenslander Moulthun Ly had the most spectacular beginning. Playing the black side, Ly defeated grandmaster Vyacheslav Innkonikov of Russia.

GM Ian Rogers defeated Richard Vedder while IM David Smerdon settled for a draw with 2184-rated Ben Ahlers. FM Manuel Weeks, the Australian Men's Olympiad team captain, went down to GM Jan Smeets.

Aussie Youths Detained at Border

Sixteen Australians are in Batumi, Gegorgia to compete in the 2006 World Youth Championships. The 16, as well as their scores, can be found on this page.

Now there is no point going to the official site as it's pretty much next to useless. I'm hoping that they can have some games available for download soon.

However, thanks very much to Canberra chess organiser Jenni Oliver (and, of course, her extensive network of contacts), we can at least give you some first-hand reports from Georgia. We understand that the conditions are worse than that near total disaster in Belfort, France.

The following are excerpts from an email all the way from Batumi.

Everyone was expecting a three hours bus trip so we didn’t have dinner. Who could imagine that we got stopped at Turkey/Georgia border? We were always told that there would be no need to apply for visa to Georgia and all we had to do is to give Georgian border our passport and a photo of each person. The border control officer told us that she could not process the visa as a group and it will take 10mins to process each person and there were about 100 of us. We also got told that they could only take Lari for visa application fee and there was no bank open for us to get money exchanged at 12am. My husband called the tournament organizer’s mobile and he talked to the border control officer and he said that he will talk to someone high up and get back to us. Another two hours of waiting….During this time, James got so sick and his face was so paled and he had stomach pain and was throwing up. An ambulance was called. In the mean time, all of us got asked to stay in the bus and the bus door has to be closed. The bus’s engine was shut down so the air inside the bus was really bad. I was yelling at the bus driver and the border control officer and asking them to keep the door open. Eventually we were asked to leave our passports with the border officer so we could keep going our way to Batumi. When we finally arrived in the Hotel Victoria, it was almost 5am.


The dinner was a small dish of cold rice with some threaded carrots on top of it. We also got some cold bread with feta chess. That’s our dinner. No meat, no salad, no fruits. They give us some hot tea so we can swallow the cold food!

Well, that's just awful! But let's not start with the bad vibes. We hope that our band of chess warriors can hold their stomachs together and fight hard in that far away place. Our prayers are with them.

Thanks again to Jenni for this scoop.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Noble Ambitions

Here's a new Victorian chess club - the Noble Park CC, just founded in August this year. Already they have big ambitions including hosting of both the Victorian Masters and Victorian Open. These guys really have balls and even tried to attract a certain Arianne Caoili to play in their event.

From The Star News.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Beta Launch: Chesspark.com

For the past couple of weeks now I've been trialling this interesting new chess server, www.chesspark.com. The official announcement of the beta launch will be tonight AEST, daytime in the US - so this post is a bit of a scoop. Actually, I learned about Chesspark when one of the site's developers, Jack Moffitt, pinged me to ask if I could blog for them (an offer which I sadly had to decline).

Users can sign up for a trial account during the beta phase but I have no idea how long the trial period will last. I'm also guessing that once the site goes into full mode, users will be asked to pay. No hint yet of what the potential hit to your credit card might be.

(UPDATE: While writing this post, Jack popped into Chess Park and we got to talking for a bit. He tells me that users who sign up now during beta phase will enjoy a discount of as much as 50% off of the full subscription fee which is still TBD. Beta testing is also expected to last til about January '07).

Chesspark.com can be accessed in one of two ways, either via your web browser or a Windows client; personally, I prefer the latter. If you're an MSN user, you'll find the UI pretty familiar. It has a nice "widgety" feel to it. Your interactions with the server are through this console:

Fig. 1: Main console

From there you can perform the usual like enter a chat room, initiate a chat, open games and so on. But I'd like to see some improvements here. For example, I want to be able to challenge a user (that I see on the list) with either a left click or a right click on my mouse. Right now all I seem to be able to do is open a chat interface with that user.

The game interface is probably a few notches below that of Playchess' UI or even ICC's, but it's bearable. Pieces and their movements are easy on the eyes. However, right now I seem to be limited to just one design, no customisation yet. That also will need to change.

Fig. 2: Game board

One last thing. Some users may not mind the grey-coloured skin, but I prefer a bit of bright colours myself. It's early days, so I guess we can't expect too much. Overall, the user experience is pretty much on the upside, for me anyway.

And, I promise this is it for this longish post, Chess Park are still looking for that blogger. Titled players preferred.

Ozbase Game Viewer

Jonathan Paxman, creator of the instant tournament website application which we posted about here, has gifted the chess community another one of his brilliant ideas - a viewer for Ozbase.

The viewer can be accessed on this this page. What most users will love is this search function that includes a facility for searching moves. Cool! Of course, it could all do with a bit of spiffing up (like search specific results or even ECO codes), but those can come later, I'm sure.

Please note that the official ACF Ozbase site is www.ozbase.com.au.

An Interview with Fischer

Chessbase currently has an item on Bobby Fischer. All good stuff. But a few days ago, Andrew Ooi, our fellow blogger from Malaysia, featured an old interview with Bobby. You can view the video here in Andrew's blog then visit this YouTube page to see other Fischer-related videos.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Four Aussies in Essent

Four Australians will battle it out against some of the world's strongest in the upcoming Essent Chess Tournament in The Netherlands. Led by GM Ian Rogers, the boys from Down Under include IM David Smerdon, Queenslander Moulthun Ly and FM Manuel Weeks.

The event will run from 20 October to 28 October.

Arianne in Wardrobe Malfunction

Talk about instant book, well this is instant blogging. Just a few moments ago, Arianne Caoili had a near disaster in her dance routine. Dancing the foxtrot, Arianne and partner Carmelo Pizzino pulled off an almost perfect performance. Until, that is, the last few moments.

With her leg slightly raised, and in a tender moment of embrace with Carmelo, it seems that she caught the heel of her shoes with the inside of her dress. Arianne had to hop a little to try and free herself. Thankfully, she did! Almost a catastrophe.

So what did the judges think? They loved it! All four judges gave her 8 points each, handing Arianne Caoili the lead with 32 points for the night. But once again, Arianne's main rival is athletics star Tamsyn Lewis who, tonight, scored 31 points.

UPDATE (21:36) - Arianne survives this week's vote-off so we will see her next week.

Instant Book on Elista

Any bets on who will write the first book on Elista? My money's on Raymond Keene (who has apparently written some 120 books on chess).

Blogger James O'Fee, who was instrumental - by the way - in the whole Gormallygate affair, informs us that Raymond Keene will soon author an "instant book" to be published by Hardinge Simpole. The book should come out very soon.

Meanwhile, Keene has written his initial thoughts on Elista in his blog. Says he:

What is Kramnik's position amongst the pantheon of champions after this success? He has survived three title matches and en route defeated the highest-ranked player in the history of the game. He will be champion for at least 8 years.

In my opinion he is now in the same league as Botvinnik, Petrosian, Capablanca and Karpov, having already surpassed the achievements as champion of Euwe, Smyslov , Tal , Fischer and Spassky. If he fulfills his potential he may even go on to rival Alekhine, Steinitz , Lasker and Kasparov himself, the most outstandingly successful of the great champions.

From Justice Triumphs.

Armenian is World Junior Champ

Russian player Nikita Vitiugov had held the lead for several days. But his half point advantage over the rest of the field was never enough. In the crucial penultimate round, the Russian stumbled against local player IM Zaven Andriasian. This allowed Zaven to hit 9 points and finding himself in a must-win situation against GM Levan Pantsulaia in the final round.

Pantsulaia, a Russian, and Vitiugov both on 8.5 points going into the final game themselves had chances to grab the title. However, after a long tournament, it seems that all players were very tired and quick draws were agreed. Thus, Zaven Andriasian becomes champ on 9.5 points overall!

The Australian boys had a tough time in their final encounters. After 2 wins in a row, Nick Chernih lost his 13th game against FM Sylvain Gregoire while compatriot Tomek Rej was taken out by Armenia's Yuri Hambartsumian. On the distaff side, WFM Shannon Oliver ended her run on a high with a draw and a win in her last 2 games.

John-Paul Gomez, RP's only bet in the tournament, succumbed to strong opposition. Gomez faced back-to-back matches against international masters losing to Ildar Khairullin of Russia in the 12th round then to England's David Howell in the thirteenth. The Filipino finished his campaign with 7 points and also goes home with an IM norm in the bag.

Final Scores
Tomek Rej 5.5
Nick Chernih 4.5
Shannon Oliver 6
John-Paul Gomez 7

For complete details, please visit the official site.

Canberra Chess Chicks

Here's another interesting innovation from the ever creative minds of Canberra chess organisers, especially those in the ACTJCL - the Chess Chicks program.

Tell me more about it, you say. This from the 2005 tournament report (available in PDF):

The 2005 Canberra Chess Chicks program aimed to identify enthusiastic young female players and offer them the chance to make new friends, improve their standard of play and consider chess as a sport full of opportunities!


Specifically, the Chess Chicks program was structured around “team” participation, helping girls to build friendships with new players and encourage one another. It required the most experienced young members to take on leadership roles and take an interest in the progress and achievements of new players. There was a focus on quality, highly targeted coaching with a view to building skills and, alongside that, confidence as a player.

The program first ran last year and, as I understand it, the 2006 edition has just been completed. Organiser Libby Smith informs me that, "In events that followed the Chess Chicks, we had a marked increase in participation by girls who attend the same school as some of the 'Chess Chicks'. Parents have told me this is specifically because they want a place in the program 'next time'".

It's worth noting that the report was actually part of a grant application to the Women's Sports Grant program. The document includes a full financial costing as well as, very interestingly, a survey. For example, the survey reports that 82% of respondents said that they will play in more tournaments because they have improved and learned new things from the Chess Chicks program.

Arianne Caoili: I won't strip

Appearing once again in this week's issue of New Idea, Arianne Caoili tells the magazine, "I wouldn't strip. Beauty can be seen in different ways and I don't see it that way. Personally, that's not how I would showcase beauty."

The Aussie women's number one was referring to Muscovite Maria Manakova's appearance in Speed.

The New Idea article also features Sydney schoolboy Oscar Wang. Some of our readers may recall seeing him in Dancing with the Stars as part of a 'backstage' video sequence with Arianne. New Idea is apparently sponsoring Oscar and his mum, their "Dreams Come True" campaign, to travel to the World Youth Chess Championships (yuck, that is one ugly website) to be held in Batumi, Georgia later this month. Good luck Oscar!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Economists Prove Soviet Cheating

Accusations that the former Soviet players cheated are not new. But now, after all this time, two American scholars are claiming that they have evidence to prove this cheating. Charles Moul and John Nye, both economists at the Washington University in the US, are about to publish a study which claims of mathematical proof of collusion.

From the St Louis Today.

Kramnik: I admire Topalov

Day by day, Vladimir Kramnik demonstrates that he really is a worthy World Champion. Quoted by the New York Times, Kramnik says, "I have definite admiration for the way [Veselin Topalov] plays".

And asked if he holds a grudge against his Bulgarian adversary, the Russian Kramnik says, "I am not the guy who keeps such things too long...I am rather an easy person in general. For me, it would be enough if he does not do such things again".

From the NY Times (but the link appears in IHT, an NYT company).

Unofficial Aussie Newsletter

The official Australian Chess Federation newsletter is now defunct. We are saddened by this because it was certainly one of the more competent efforts by the ACF. The good news is that there are plans by the national body to revive the newsletter.

Meanwhile, Matthew Sweeney, chess organiser, has taken it upon himself to fill this empty hole in Australian chess communications. Issue number 1 of the "Australian Chess Club Newsletter" has just been released. It is a very basic document in RTF format. Any contributors, or if you want to receive a copy, can email mhjs@bigpond.net.au.

However, we are upset at something. Matthew Sweeney refers to TCG as a "bogger". This is not acceptable!

NSWCA: Alarm is not a ring

As we reported last week, Trent Parker lodged an appeal to the New South Wales Chess Association to overturn the result of a game he was involved in at the Ryde-Eastwood Open. The state's chess body has now returned with a decision.

In a posting on the Australian Chess Club Forum, Mr Parker says:

My NSWCA appeal has been rejected on the basis that the alarm is separate from the mobile phone. Also the fact that I should have asked for an appeals committee at the time and not played on.

This baffles me as my interpretation of the rules is that the game should end there and then.

The NSWCA's interpretation of the rule is actually an interesting one and, I have to say, TCG has some sympathy for it. But is that interpretation compliant with the FIDE Laws of Chess? A side-effect to this interpretation is that all arbiters in the land (at least in NSW) will now have to make a determination, on the spot, whether the "ring" was a ring or an alarm. Until such time that FIDE makes a clarification, we could be in for a confusing and argument-filled time over rule 12.2b.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Design Matters

This afternoon I went on a little excursion to Sydney's Powerhouse Museum. The GWoC exhibit is not one to be missed, you just have to see it.

Anyway, I'm not posting to talk about the museum's exhibits. You see, while in the museum, I took a few minutes to check out the blog on an Apple Mac that was actually on display and connected to the net. To my shock, I discovered that the game viewer we've recently installed doesn't work in Mac's Safari browser. Disaster! If you're a Safari user, I'm wondering if you can do me a favour and just check that out for me. Thanks.

Anyway, going back to a bit of arts - Sydney readers might like to check out the Bombay Sapphire Design Discovery Award, held at the Object Gallery in Surry Hills. You'll get to see this.

Topalov: I have no regrets

Back home now in Bulgaria, Veselin Topalov told reporters, "I have no regrets. I have nothing to be ashamed of."

Well, we think he should be ashamed of himself and TCG is glad that his disgraceful accusations did not really amount to anything significant in the ultimate result.

From the Sofia News Agency.

John Paul Gomez Beats GM

All by his lonesome self, in far away Armenia, Filipino John Paul Gomez is doing his country proud. Whatever happens now he will surely return home in triumph. He has already earned an IM norm. But last night, the 20-year old Gomez added just a little extra topping to his excellent performance so far.

Sitting behind his trusty Sicilian, Gomez defeated Indian grandmaster Deepan Chakkravarthy in their 11th round duel to move up to 7 points and set up a meeting with international master Ildar Khairullin of Russia in the 12th round. Chakkravarthy was the first to deviate from theory with 15. e5. But Gomez reacted calmly and even managed to produce a delicious finish to end the encounter.

The local girls hit back yesterday as Armenian Anahit Kharatyan avenged the loss of compatriot Varduhi Kalashyan to Shannon Oliver. Shannon, daughter of prominent chess organiser Jenni Oliver, thus remains on 4.5 points and will now meet WIM Khaled Mona of Egypt.

The Aussie boys, on the other hand, had more positive results as Tomek drew with US international master Robert Hungaski and Nick Chernih defeated South Africa's Calvin Jong Klaasen.

Russian international master Nikita Vitiugov holds a slim lead on 8.5 points in the Juniors. IM Zaven Andriasian, of Armenia, is the next chaser with 8, followed by a group of seven players on 7.5 points. Salome Melia leads the girls on 8 points overall.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Aussie Chessers Imprisoned!

Well, not really.

The other day I received an email from Steven Carroll who informed me about the Mount Alexander Schools Chess Competition. What is interesting about this event, held on October 9, was that they played it inside the Old Castlemaine Gaol, in Victoria.

Chess Kids ran the event and, according to that outfit, it was the biggest rural/regional event Australiawide that they have ever been involved in.

Blogger Sam Grumont has a short report here.

Tomek Rej Double

Sydney's Tomek Rej scored his second win a row last night by beating Finland's Kalle Niemi in the tenth round of the World Juniors in Armenia. In the lower boards, Nick Chernih's woes continue as he once again dropped the point, this time to Nikita Krayushkin of Canada.

Shannon Oliver's rest in the ninth round, owing to a bye, must have done her some good as she posted another win last night. The Canberran defeated local player Varduhi Kalashyan.

Unfortunately, none of the Australian games are included in the downloadable PGN. But we can show you another fine effort by Filipino entry John-Paul Gomez. Last night, Gomez drew with strong Turkish international master Baris Esen. According to the tournament website, Gomez's performance rating is presently at 2513. The Filipino now has a total of 6 points, 2 points behind sole leader Nikita Vitiugov of Russia.

It doesn't get any easier for John-Paul. His next opponent is Indian GM Deepan Chakkravarthy J who sports a rating of 2501. C'mon man, our hopes and prayers are with you.

Official site

Topalov: Life goes on

As expected, the mainstream press is abuzz with news of Kramnik's victory. From London to Moscow, from Texas to Cuba - they're all talking about this excellent and deserved victory by Vladimir Kramnik.

In one of the more frequently used pieces, Mikhail Savinov, writing for AP, cites the defeated Veselin Topalov as saying, "Life goes on, I am 31, and I still have a chance to fight for the champion's title".

Topalov's reaction is to be expected I suppose and it is in marked contrast to Kramnik's own reaction. The Russian apparently planned to get drunk! Good luck with that then Vlady.

Short Upset by Malaysian

We missed this one. Quah Seng Sun, chess writer for Malaysia's The Star Online, appears to have upset one of the world's most prominent grandmasters. Last week, Quah wrote in his column:

THIRTEEN years ago, the chess crime of the century was committed. Gary Kasparov and Nigel Short committed an unthinkable crime when they hijacked the world championship match and took it outside of the World Chess Federation (Fide).

Bad move! Nigel Short wasn't very happy and rapidly sent in a demanding missive. You can read Mr Short's reply here in Quah's follow-up piece this week. But what's this? No apology from the Malaysian writer?

Congratulations Vladimir Kramnik

What an exciting 4-game playoff tonight. It took until the very last rapid game to decide the eventual Champion, but at least the correct winner was decided - none other than Vladimir Kramnik. For those of you who have been so angered by the Bulgarian camp's antics, savour this final position. Even the patzers saw it coming. At the moment of its execution, the move 45. Rb7+ ignited jubilation across the world amongst chess fans on the ICC and Playchess. It is clear that Veselin Topalov is now beaten, not only over the board, but amongst chess fans as well. Congratulations to Vladimir Kramnik!

Black: Veselin Topalov
White: Vladimir Kramnik

Friday, October 13, 2006

Kasparov: Russia is a Police State

Speaking in the wake of Anna Politkovskaya's murder (Anna was a journo critical of the Putin regime), Garry Kasparov, in an interview with Portuguese paper Jornal de Negocios, said, "I try to protect myself and my family as much as possible but I am aware that no protection is possible".

From DNA India

Gomez Defeats Grandmaster

One of my pet hates is travelling hundred of miles to attend some tournament only to play against a friend, a fellow traveller perhaps, with whom I've played many times back home. I'm always thinking, "I didn't come all this way to play this guy".

Well that's exactly what happened to Sydneysiders Nick Chernih and Tomek Rej who had to face each other in the ninth round of the World Juniors in Armenia. Sadly, of course, only one could be the victor and yesterday Tomek Rej prevailed over his friend.

Shannon Oliver, playing in the Girls section, had a bye.

But Pinoy chess fans are waking up today to some fantastic news. RP's only rep in the Juniors, John-Paul Gomez, defeated grandmaster Quang Liem Le of Vietnam. Outrated by over 130 points, Gomez played beautiful chess. The Filipino's piece activity was the important factor as it netted him some valuable pawns on the Queen-side which later on paved the way for a winning endgame.

This is yet to be confirmed but according to a reader, Gomez has just secured a 9-game IM norm.

John-Paul Gomez's next opponent is the IM from Turkey Baris Esen.

Yuriy Kryvoruchko and Nikita Vitiugov are again the joint leaders on 7 points. Last night Vitiugov beat Arman Pashikian, while Kryvoruchko could only manage a draw against Dmitry Frolyanov of Russia.

WGM Salome Melia (Georgia) is the sole leader of the Girls section on 7 points.

Kirsan is a Bush Poodle

German publication Der Spiegel has an article on the Kalmyk leader. On US president George Bush, Kirsan is quoted as saying:

The man provides order...he conquers countries, territories and oil wells. He gives the wells to the rich oil companies, making them even richer, and that's completely okay.


As long as order and discipline prevail -- what's the problem?

From Der Spiegel: The Dictator and His Hobby

Thursday, October 12, 2006

More Ergas Photos

Thanks to Jenni Oliver and other parents for the photos from the 2006 Ergas Training Squad. Last night, I added 10 more images to my flickr stream. News and regular updates can be found on the official site (Note: you may need IE for optimum viewing of that site).

Training with GM Johansen

Gomez Defeats IM Corrales

John-Paul Gomez, of the Philippines, defeated IM Fidel Corrales (Cuba) last night in the eight round of the World Juniors Championships in Armenia. Playing the white side of a Sicilian, the Filipino created a passed pawn on his 25th move and made Corrales' life a tough one thereafter. Gomez now moves up to 4.5 points and will face grandmaster Quang Liem Le (Vietnam) in the ninth round.

After a dark day in the seventh round, when all 3 Aussies lost their games, Tomek Rej and lone girl representative Shannon Oliver again lost their respective eight round encounters. Nick Chernih had a bye.

Tomek fell victim to Indian Rahul Sangma while Shannon lost to Emilie Marchadour of France.

Yuriy Kryvoruchko from the Ukraine continues to lead the field on 6.5 points in the Juniors section, while WGM Salome Melia (Georgia) and WGM Sachdev Tania (India) lead the Girls section with 6.5 points each.

Official website

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Chess Championships for the Blind

The 11th Individual World Chess championships for the Blind is currently running in Goa, India. It is the first time that this event is being held outside of Europe. There is actually an official website, but it's completely useless. For results, we have to rely on this news item and this one for some background.

Also of interest at this event was the launch of a new chess software "which has been specially designed for the visually challenged". Called "Talk 64", the software has all sorts of features including voice, support for keyboard shortcuts and even a database.

Read about Talk 64 here.

Arianne Jives to Third

An update for overseas readers.

Dancing the jive last night, Arianne Caoili and partner Carmelo Pizzino scored 28 points from the judges. This put them in third place behind Tamsyn/Arsen, 33 points, and the Anthony/Natalie pairing, on 29 points.

Australian Olympian Tamsyn Lewis is proving to be Arianne's number one rival in the program. And I must say, Tamsyn's performances over the last two weeks have impressed even the "undancing" TCG. That rumba in the previous week was quite impressive.

But the chess starlet is definitely gaining a following. Some fans seem to think that the judges have been unfair. While others think that she needs to quit with the giggles. In any case, we'll see Arianne for at least one more week. Last night, Tom Waterhouse, son of a prominent local horse racing identity, was voted out of the show.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Game Viewer Test

Here is an innovation that took a little while to implement. I was looking for an appropriate and easy to use game viewer and only now did I find one thanks to Andrew Ooi.

In fact, our gratitude should be directed first of all to Robert Ambalong. It was he who originally programmed the small application, Chess Genie, for the Rooty Hill CC. So thanks Robert!

This post is just for testing purposes. Hope it works well. Do let me know of problems. What better game to feature for the first time than that game 10 win by Kramnik.

Gonzales Takes Equal Second

Going into the last and ninth round of the 19th International Chess Open Es Vermar tournament in Spain, international master Jayson Gonzales led the field by a half point on 6.5. The Filipino needed to win his last game to be safe in first place. However, fellow IM Martin Senff of Germany (rated 2449) proved to be a tough opponent. The German outplayed Gonzales in 61 moves.

This result meant that Senff took first place with 7 points. Gonzales had to settle for equal second place with seven other players that included GM Larazo Bruzon of Cuba.

Gonzales will now need to regroup in the hunt for his third and final GM norm. Good luck sir!

Open Letter to Kim Jong Il

As most of you should know by now, the North Koreans have reportedly carried out a nuclear test. If true, it's rather worrying especially for those of us who live in the region. (I say, "if true" because there seems to be some speculation that it may have been a fake nuclear test).

Anyway, you're now wondering what all this has to do with a chess blog.

Nothing really, except for this open letter by Brad Schader.

Dear Kim Jong-Il,

I would love to play you in a game of Chess because you obviously go for instant gratification over longevity. You do not seem like the type who thinks three moves ahead. You do not seem like the type to expect your enemy to do anything other than cave in. You seem like the concept of defeat is beneath you. Your people may believe these things and let you rule them, but the world does not and will not.

He must have learned something from those two guys in Elista and their respective managers.

When is a ring not a ring?

Last week, debate raged between Aussie chessers over one of the most contentious rules in the Laws of Chess - rule 12.2b, the "mobile phone rule". It was sparked by an incident at the Ryde-Eastwood Open wherein someone's mobile phone rang but the arbiter, IA Jason Lyons, opted not to declare the game lost for the offending player (Player A).

Player B, Trent Parker, was apparently not very happy with this ruling. He has since lodged an appeal with the NSWCA.

For details, check out this post by Matthew Sweeney in the Australian Chess Club Forum.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Kirsan: Aliens Wore Yellow Suits

In his latest blog post, GM Ian Rogers metions that even WaPo has sent in a journo to cover the match in Elista. That journalist must be Peter Finn.

Mr Finn today has a piece in his paper on the FIDE president. If you are reasonably up-to-date on Kirsan's affairs, you'll probably not learn anything new. I have read somewhere before this little detail about Kirsan's close encounter with the third kind, but I don't know the original source. Was it in some book? All pointers welcome.

Read: In Russia, a Checkerboard Field of Dreams

Wesley So - Youngest Pinoy IM

Wesley So's 13th birthday yesterday came with a special but expected present: the IM title courtesy, of course, of FIDE. This is truly a spectacular achievement for Wesley who secured all three required norms in just a few months this year.

The first norm came from last April's Dubai Open wherein the Pinoy young gun notched 5 points out of 9. That was soon followed by another norm at the San Marino Open; then, just a few weeks ago, the third and final norm came from the Malaysian Open in Kuala Lumpur (where the Filipino defeated Aussie, GM Ian Rogers).

According to Marlon Bernardino's calculations (and thanks to Marlon for this news, by the way), Wesley became an IM at the age of 12 years and 10 months. This makes him the youngest Pinoy IM ever. Mark Paragua, on the other hand, reached the IM title at age 14 years and 8 months (in 1999).

Good Day for Aussies

Round 6 at the World Juniors in Armenia was an excellent day out for the Aussies as they all managed to avoid a single loss. Tomek Rej downed the 2291-rated FM Vytautas Vaznonis of Lithuania. Here are the results:

Rej - Vaznonis, 1-0
Chernih - Ciganovic, draw
Teodorescu - Oliver, draw

Philippine rep John-Paul Gomez also won his game against Indian player Rahul Sangma. Gomez improves his score to 3.5 points and will now face IM Dmitry Andreikin of Russia in the next round.

Official site

An OTB Topalov Blunder

What a glorious day to wake up to? The chess world's newest hero, Russian Vladimir Kramnik struck back last night with a win in game 10. It's quite nice to see something like 24...f6? being played. In that moment, even patzers like us can afford a laugh at these top players and most especially at this Bulgarian. May Veselin Topalov make many more such blunders in this match. We can only hope.

One of the fun things about watching live top level game broadcasts is observing the commentary from others particularly the top players. Last night, British grandmaster Nigel Short was at his best.

Kibitzing on playchess, GM Short: "Religion is like when someone says 1. a4 is the best move. You say, "What is the proof?" The clerics say, "It's not a matter of proof. You have to believe."

Meanwhile, I suppose this war between Kramnik and Topalov must be whetting the appetite of world number 2 Vishy Anand for another fight. He told an Indian paper, "Yes, I very much want to be the world champion again".

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Chess Returns to Big Easy

Who can forget Hurricane Katrina? That terrifying force of Mother Nature that so devastated the city of New Orleans.

Over a year ago, I learned for the first time of that interesting character, Jude Acers. I actually posted about him here. He was one of the many chess playing folks in New Orleans whose lives were basically overturned by Katrina. But now, more than a year after the terrible event, those same chess folks are making a comeback.

Thanks to The Chess Drum, we learned of a very interesting article by Michael Tisserand in which he talks about the efforts of those chess aficionados to bring the game back to the Big Easy.

[T]here's a reason why jazz musicians like chess, and it's the same reason the game has been a New Orleans institution for so long. "Chess is a lot like jazz," he says. "You have the form and structure, but inside, there's a lot of room for freedom. The more you understand the laws, the more freedom you have with it.

Read more of Getting Back in the Game in www.bestofneworleans.com.

New blog by Goran

Our friend Goran Urosevic has began another chess blog. This next adventure for Goran is away from his usual chess news stories and more towards instructive lessons.

You can visit Goran's new site at www.chesslodge.com. The new site looks quite nice, clean and easy to read. We hope all the very best for our friend.

Oliver Scores Win

Nick Chernih stemmed the flow of losses last night when he managed to draw against Alan Borda. A few boards up, the other Aussie in the Junior section, Tomek Rej, was outplayed by Iranian FM Sayed Alavi and lost in 43 moves.

Shannon Oliver posted her first win by overcoming Belgian Sarah Dierckens. The Canberran now has a total of 2 points after 5 rounds.

The Philippines'John-Paul Gomez had a setback yesterday when he lost to Russian FM Roman Nechepurenko. It was another long encounter for the Pinoy as the game lasted 83 moves. Gomez remains on 2.5 points. His next assignment is India's Rahul Sarma.

WJGCC 2006
Alavi, Sayed
Rej, Tomek

1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nc6 3. Nf3 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d3 d6 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. O-O Bg4 8. Re1 d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Ne4 Be7 11. h3 Bxf3 12. Qxf3 Nb6 13. Bb3 a5 14. a4 Nc8 15. Ng3 Bg5 16. Bxg5 Qxg5 17. d4 Nd6 18. h4 Qf6 19. dxe5 Nxe5 20. Qxf6 gxf6 21. Nh5 Ng6 22. Nxf6+ Kg7 23. Ne4 Ra6 24. Nxd6 Rxd6 25. g3 Rb6 26. Bc4 Kf6 27. Re2 Ne5 28. Ba2 Rd8 29. Rc1 Rbd6 30. Bb3 Nd3 31. Rd1 Nc5 32. Rxd6+ Rxd6 33. Bc2 Rb6 34. Bd1 Rd6 35. Bc2 Rb6 36. Bxh7 Nxa4 37. h5 Nxb2 38. Bc2 Nc4 39. Re4 Ne5 40. h6 Ng6 41. Re8 Rb2 42. Be4 Re2 43. Kf1 1-0

Yuriy Kryvoruchko and Nikita Vitiugov continue to lead the Junior section on 4.5 points after yesterday drawing their individual match-up. The nearest group of chasers, that includes China's Wang Hao and Dutchman Daniel Stellwagen, are on 4 points. While in the Girls, Mongolia's Bathuyag Mongontuul is the sole leader on 4.5 points after 5 rounds.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Pro League in RP?

I received an email the other day, from Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino, to inform me of plans to create a pro chess league in the Philippines modelled on the teams competitions in Europe. The league will also look after the interests of chess players as well as promote the game throughout the archipelago.

Each team will field 6 players: first board will be manned by either a GM or IM; FM or NM on board 2, while the lower boards will be allocated to untitled players, non masters and juniors.

There's not a lot of information coming out of RP about this yet. There are no mentions even in the mainstream media. Let's wait and see.

E-Vote Machine Plays Chess

In the last US Presidential elections, problems arose in relation to the use of e-voting machines. One worry was that data could be easily manipulated to achieve a certain outcome.

Well, it seems that the Americans are not the only ones to face these issues. When Nedap/Groenendaal, the firm which makes the so-called ES3B system, challenged a group of hackers to prove the machine's weakness - guess what the hackers did? Install a chess program!

From Engadget.

Gomez Win Long Struggle

John-Paul Gomez struggled through a 94-mover yesterday to bring home the full point against Chinese Wang Li. The Filipino now moves to 2.5 points and faces FM Roman Nechepurenko in the next round.

WJGCC 2006
Wang, Li

After 60. Qc3

60...Nb3? The engines prefer 60...f5. 61. Bxf6 Nd4 62. Qg3 Ne6 63. Ba1 Rf7 64. Rh4 Qd7 65. Qg6 d5 66. Qh7+ Kf8 67. cxd5 Nd4 68. Qh8+ Ke7 69. Re4+ Kd6 70. Qa8 Re7 71. Rg4 Qb7 72. Qxa4 Qa7 73. Qd1 Kxd5 74. Bxd4 cxd4 75. Qb3+ Kc6 76. Qc4+ Kb7 77. Qb4+ Ka8 78. Rxd4 Qc7+ 79. Qd6 Kb7 80. Qxc7+ Kxc7 81. Kg3 Kc6 82. Kf4 Re6 83. Kg5 Kc7 84. g4 Rf6 85. h4 Kc8 86. h5 Kc7 87. Rf4 Rxf4 88. Kxf4 Kd7 89. Kf5 Ke7 90. Kg6 Kf8 91. h6 Kg8 92. g5 Kh8 93. hxg7+ Kg8 94. Kh6 1-0

Australia's Tomek Rej had a good outing with the white pieces yesterday by drawing against international master Baris Esen of Turkey. He moves up to 1.5 points. Nick Chernih, on the other hand, settled for his third straight loss in a row. Hopefully he can get back on track against Alan Borda in the fifth round. Shannon Oliver, the only Aussie in the Girls section, also lost to WIM Kruttika Nadig of India.

WJGCC 2006
Rej, Tomek
Esen, Baris

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. cxd5 exd5 6. Bg5 Bf5 7. e3 Nbd7 8. Bd3 Bg6 9. O-O Be7 10. Rb1 a5 11. Qc2 O-O 12. Bxg6 hxg6 13. a3 Nb6 14. Ne5 Ne8 15. Bxe7 Qxe7 16. Na4 Nxa4 17. Qxa4 Nd6 18. Rbc1 g5 19. Qd1 g6 20. f4 Kg7 21. Qd3 Ne4 22. f5 gxf5 23. Rxf5 f6 24. Ng4 Nd6 25. Rf3 Qe4 26. Nf2 Qxd3 27. Nxd3 Rae8 28. Nc5 Rf7 29. b3 Rfe7 30. Rcf1 f5 31. g4 fxg4 32. Rf6 Nf7 33. Nd3 Nh6 34. Ne5 Re6 35. R6f2 Rxe5 36. dxe5 Rxe5 37. Rf6 Rxe3 38. Rd6 Re7 39. Rff6 Nf7 40. Rg6+ Kf8 41. Rdf6 d4 42. Rxg5 d3 43. Rxg4 Rd7 44. Rf1 d2 45. Rd1 Ne5 46. Rg3 a4 47. Kf1 axb3 48. Rxb3 Nc4 49. Ke2 Re7+ 50. Kf2 b5 51. Rd3 Rh7 52. Kg2 1/2-1/2

Friday, October 06, 2006

GM Ian Rogers Makes Comeback

His fans were stunned 2 weeks ago when Ian Rogers' blog in the SMH suddenly disappeared after just 3 posts. Well, good news at last! GM Ian Rogers now has a new home: he's in with the Americans over at US Chess Life.

You can check out his Elista blog right here.

Mixed Results for Aussies

All 3 Australians currently playing in the World Juniors posted a win, a draw and a loss. Rej has finally secured his first point by beating Alan Borda. Sydneysider Nick Chernih, unfortunately, lost his second game in a row by this time going down to India's Rahul Sarma.

Playing in the Girls section, Canberra's Shannon Oliver drew with Argentinian Natalia Buttner. After 3 rounds, the Canberran now has 1 point in total.

The only Pinoy playing in this event, John-Paul Gomez, had an excellent draw last night against South African Calvin Klaasen. Gomez goes up to 1.5 points overall.

Three players are so far undefeated in the Juniors section: Russian IM Nikita Vitiugov, the Ukrainian Yuriy Kryvoruchko and Dutchman Daniel Stellwagen are all on 3 points.

WJGCC 2006
Klaasen, C. J.
Gomez, John Paul

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 b6 5. a3 Bf8 6. f4 Ne7 7. Nf3 c5 8. Bd3 Ba6 9. Be3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 Nf5 11. Bf2 h5 12. O-O c4 13. Qd2 Nc6 14. Ne2 Be7 15. Ng3 g6 16. b4 cxb3 17. cxb3 Nxg3 18. Bxg3 Qd7 19. b4 O-O 20. Rfc1 Rfc8 21. Qd3 a6 22. Nd2 Qb7 23. Nb3 Na7 24. Be1 Rxc1 25. Rxc1 Rc8 26. Rc2 Nb5 27. a4 Na3 28. Ra2 Nc4 29. h3 h4 30. Qf3 Kg7 31. Kh2 Qd7 32. Qd3 Qe8 33. Qf3 Qf8 34. Qg4 Ne3 35. Qe2 Nf5 36. Qxa6 Bxb4 37. Bxb4 Qxb4 38. Qxc8 Qxb3 39. Rf2 Qe3 40. Rf3 Qe1 41. Qd8 Nxd4 42. Qf6+ Kg8 43. Rc3 Qxc3 44. Qd8+ 1/2-1/2

WJGCC 2006
Stellwagen, D.
Sengupta, D

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 c6 4. Be3 d6 5. f4 Nh6 6. Nf3 d5 7. e5 b6 8. h3 Nf5 9. Bf2 h5 10. g3 Qc7 11. Qd2 Ba6 12. O-O-O e6 13. Bxa6 Nxa6 14. g4 Ne7 15. Bh4 Kd7 16. Bf6 Rag8 17. Ng5 Ke8 18. Rdf1 Nb8 19. Rhg1 hxg4 20. hxg4 Nd7 21. Bxg7 Rxg7 22. Rh1 Rxh1 23. Rxh1 Nf8 24. Rh8 Ng8 25. Ne2 Qe7 26. Ng1 Kd7 27. N1f3 Kc7 28. Qh2 Kd7 29. a3 Ke8 30. Kb1 c5 31. c4 Qb7 32. Qc2 dxc4 33. Ne4 Ke7 34. dxc5 f5 35. exf6+ Nxf6 36. Nxf6 Qxf3 37. Qxc4 Rf7 38. g5 Qc6 39. Qa6 Qc7 40. cxb6 axb6 41. Qa8 Qc4 42. Qb7+ 1-0

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ozbase Revival

In case you haven't noticed, the official ACF website is currently in some sort of a coma (OK..OK...not the ACF's fault). We can't access ratings information, latest events, the hall of fame and that all important resource - Ozbase.

Ozbase is basically a collection of Australian chess games going back to the 1920's, I think. I've used it and I'm sure other players have.

Thanks to ACF archivist Paul Dunn, there is now an easier way to access Ozbase. Just go and visit www.ozbase.com.au and save it in your bookmarks.

Hat tip to Shaun Press for his post on Australian Chess Club Forum.

SI on Bladdergate

Thanks to Libby Smith for this tip. Missed this one. From the Sports Illustrated:

Yes, you read that correctly: Until two grown men could agree on exactly when it was OK to go to the bathroom, neither could stand to be under the same roof as the other. It's a little hard to believe that these two guys are engaged in playing a game that is so rich and dignified and respected throughout the world.

From SI.com

2007 Grand Prix Announced

Good news for Australian chessers. The Myer Tan connection with Australian chess will continue for at least another year into 2007. Brian Jones, who took over as Grand Prix director this year, has just confirmed a $16,000 sponsorship for the year-long competition.

Prizes will include cash plus 4 economy class return airfare tickets to Kuala Lumpur to participate in the 2008 Malaysian Chess Festival.

When asked what this continued sponsorship means to Aussie chess, Brian says, "Hopefully more participation in 2007". The GP competiton is growing with 2 tournaments added to next year's calendar. One event is called the March Madness Open in Brisbane, Queensland.

And while making no promises, Mr Jones is planning a few changes for next year's GP including possibly prizes for both U1400 and U1800 sections.

I must say, this move to outsouce the organisation of a fairly complex nationwide event to a professional organiser was definitely one of the ACF's best.

Pinoy Beats Aussie

At the World Juniors last night in Armenia, the Aussie reps Tomek Rej and Nick Chernih suffered setbacks in their campaign after losing their matches against more fancied opposition. Rej went down to Pinoy John-Paul Gomez. Chernih, on the other hand, lost to Vietnamese GM Quang Liem Le.

In the girls section, the only Australian representative Shannon Oliver also lost her game. In tonight's round 3, Shannon will face her third WFM opponent at this event - Natalia Buttner of Argentina.

Here are a couple of games.

WJGCC 2006
Chernih, N
Le, Quang Liem

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 e6 7. f4 Be7 8. Qf3 Qa5 9. O-O-O Bd7 10. Bxf6 Bxf6 11. e5 dxe5 12. fxe5 Bc6 13. Nxc6 Bg5+ 14. Kb1 Nxc6 15. Ne4 Be7 16. Nd6+ Bxd6 17. exd6 Rd8 18. Bd3 Rxd6 19. Rhf1 Qc7 20. Qg3 g6 21. Rf6 O-O 22. Rdf1 Rd7 23. R1f4 Rc8 24. Qe1 Ne5 25. Be4 Rcd8 26. Rf1 Ng4 27. Bd3 Nxf6 28. Rxf6 Qxh2 29. g3 Qh5 30. Rf4 Rd4 31. Rf1 Qg5 32. Qf2 R8d7 33. a3 h5 34. Qf3 Rg4 35. Bxg6 Qxg6 36. Qc3 Rgd4 37. Ka2 Qg5 38. b3 R4d5 39. Rf2 Rc5 40. Qf3 Rf5 0-1

WJGCC 2006
Nechepurenko, R.
Rej, T.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. Qe2 b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. a4 Bb7 9. c3 d5 10. d3 Na5 11. Bc2 Re8 12. Nbd2 Bd6 13. b4 Nc6 14. Nb3 Ne7 15. Na5 Qc8 16. Bg5 Ng6 17. g3 Be7 18. Kg2 Nh5 19. Bd2 Qg4 20. Kh1 Bc8 21. Ng1 Qxe2 22. Nxe2 Bh3 23. Rfe1 Nf6 24. Ng1 Be6 25. Kg2 Rad8 26. Bc1 Bf8 27. Nf3 h6 28. axb5 axb5 29. Nc6 Rc8 30. Ra6 dxe4 31. dxe4 Bd7 32. Bd3 Re6 33. Bxb5 Kh7 34. Ba4 Ne7 35. Nfxe5 Nxc6 36. Nxd7 Nxd7 37. Rxc6 Ne5 38. Rxe6 fxe6 39. Bc2 c5 40. f4 Nc4 41. e5+ Kh8 42. b5 Nb6 43. Be4 Rd8 44. Kf3 Na4 45. c4 Nb6 46. f5 Nxc4 47. fxe6 Be7 48. Bc6 Rd3+ 49. Kg4 Rd4+ 50. Re4 Nxe5+ 51. Kf5 Nxc6 52. bxc6 g6+ 53. Kf4 Rd6 54. Bb2+ Kg8 55. c7 Rc6 56. Be5 c4 57. Re1 1-0

Danailov Digs Deeper

The other day, listening to a Sydney radio station, I heard Silvio Danailov being referred to as the Don King of chess. If that meant making outrageous public statements then the comparison was probably apt.

After several days of controversy fueled by his ridiculous allegations against the Kramnik camp, then later being struck by criticisms from some of the world's top grandmasters, you'd think that Danailov might have actually learned something. But with this latest stunt this guy, it seems, still hasn't found his lowest limit.

There are a couple of blog posts from Mig about this here and here.

While on the chesspro.ru site, GM Peter Svidler came out with this interesting revelation:

I believe that the actions of Silvio Danailov could - and still can, as is evident from his latest outpouring on the subject of percentages - do untold harm to the chess world. What's more, I suspect that Veselin Topalov is slowly coming round to that point of view - I was present at the press-conference after Game 6, and it seemed from his demeanor and his answers (he looked extremely embarrassed, and said he was 'not too proud' of what has been done in his name) that he is aware just how damaged his reputation could be by his manager's actions.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ergas Training Squad 2006

Thanks to Jenni Oliver we have an update from the 2006 Ergas Training Squad. We even have a couple of photos which I've now added to my Flickr photo stream.

The good news is that Mr Ergas has confirmed funding for the program in 2007.

Ergas Squad and coaches
Click on photo for larger image

Jenni also reports that last night, one president, 2 GMs and at least one IM were apparently watching a particular dancing performance on television. I'm sure they would have been disappointed by the judges' score.

Aussies in Armenia

First round has been played and we have the results from Armenia. There are 3 Aussies playing in this event. In the Girls section, WFM Shannon Oliver drew her game against WFM Miranda Mikadze of Georgia. Shannon is slated to play another WFM in the next round - Alexandra Savurko.

In the Juniors section, we are represented by Sydneysiders Nick Chernih and Tomek Rej. Chernih had an excellent start by drawing against French FM Samy Shoker while Rej sadly lost to Russian FM Roman Nechepurenko.

The lone Pinoy in this event, John-Paul Gomez, last night lost to Chinese powerhouse GM Yue Wang.

Official website

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Paper Chess Set

Sometimes, when I'm checking to see traffic to this blog, I often find new incoming links from fellow bloggers. One such link is from e4c5.net. The first thing I saw when I checked out that site is a little bit of, uumm...toilet humour in honour of you know what. And I'm finding it hard to resist - so here it is.

Yes, that's made out of toilet paper. By prisoners! With thanks to www.e4c5.net.

Canfell's Brilliancy

This just in. As promised, here is a game between Greg Canfell and Kevin O'Chee from the weekend's Ryde-Easwood Open. 19. dxc6 is brilliant, a temporary rook sacrifice. I can't provide diagrams as I am on my work PC. Enjoy!

Annotations by Greg Canfell
Ryde-Eastwood Open
Greg Canfell
Kevin O'Chee

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.g3 g6 4.Bg2 Bg7 5.d3 e6 6.Be3 Nd4 7.Nge2 Ne7 8.h4 d6 9.h5 Qb6 10.Rb1 e5 11.Bg5 Qa5 12.h6 Bf8 13.a3 Bg4 14.Kf1 Nec6 15.Rh4 Be6 16.b4 Qc7 17.Nd5 Bxd5 18.exd5 Nxe2 19.dxc6!! Nc3 20.cxb7 Rb8 21.Qf3 Nxb1 22.Qc6+ Qd7 23.Qa6 d5 24.Qf6 Qf5 (24...Qe6 25.Qxh8 Rxb7 26.c4 Nc3 27.Bd2) 25.Bxd5 Qxf6 26.Bxf6 Be7 27.Bxh8 f6 28.bxc5 Nxa3 29.Ra4 Nxc2 30.c6 Bd6 31.Rc4 Bc7 32.Rxc2 Ke7 33.Bg7 a5 34.f4 exf4 35.gxf4 1-0

FIDE VP Speaks Out

Our friend Goran Urosevic, who blogs for Chess News and Events, recently asked FIDE vice president Geoffrey D Borg for his opinion on the recent events in Elista.

We have all learned an important lesson, I believe, and this is the urgent need to have a professional setup, from start to finish, in all FIDE related events if we really wish to bring back global sponsors to our game, or if we realistically aspire to become an Olympic sport.

Mr Borg's whole response can be read on the WCN site.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Toth Wins Ryde-Eastwood

IM Andras Toth won the 3-day long Ryde-Eastwood Open this afternoon with a score of 6.5 points. Presently engaged in Canberra as a chess coach, the Hungarian breezed through the event conceding a single draw to FM Igor Bjelorbk in the seventh round.

One of Andras' victims was top seed GM Ian Rogers. The final position was so shocking that it is hard to believe that the losing player is one of the most theoretically knowledgeable GMs around. We can only wonder where GM Rogers went wrong. 12...0-0-0 maybe?

Ryde-Eastwood Open
Toth, Andras
Rogers, Ian

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Bc5 4. c3 f5 5. d4 fxe4 6. Bxc6 dxc6 7. Nxe5 Bd6 8. Qh5+ g6 9. Qe2 Qh4 10. Nd2 Bf5 11. h3 (11. g4 is the main line.) 11... Bxe5 12. dxe5 O-O-O 13. g4

After 13. g4

13...e3 14. Qxe3 Bd3 15. Nf3 Qe7 16. Qxa7 Qf7 17. Bg5 Qxf3 18. Qa8+ Kd7 19. Qxd8+ Ke6 20. Qe8+ Kd5 21. Qd7+ Kc5 22. Be3+ Kb5 23. Qxd3+ 1-0

I arrived at the venue just in time to observe this exciting last round duel on board one. Toth looks to be winning but happily accepted a draw offer by Igor. He was worried about his time as well as the possibility of e4-e3 plus a check with a Queen on e4. The Hungarian thought it quite "dangerous".

Ryde-Eastwood Open
Toth, Andras
Bjelobrk, Igor

1. e4 e6 2. d4 c5 3. Nf3 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nc6 5. Nc3 Qc7 6. f4 a6 7. Nxc6 Qxc6 8. Bd3 b5 9. Qe2 Bb7 10. Bd2 Bc5 11. O-O-O Ne7 12. Qh5 g6 13. Qh4 f5 14. a3 b4 15. axb4 Bxb4 16. Kb1 Rb8 17. Nd5

After 17. Nd5

17...Bc5 18. Bc3 exd5 19. exd5 Qa4 20. Bxh8 Bxd5 21. c4 Bxg2 22. Rhe1 Be4 23. Bxe4 fxe4 24. Qxh7 Qxc4 25. Be5 Rb4 26. Qh8+ Kf7 1/2-1/2

And just in case you think that we always feature a won game by FM Greg Canfell, this one is a lost effort to the eventual winner. Greg, however, has promised that he will soon publish a game he played against Kevin O'Chee, in the fourth round, wherein he sacked a whole Rook on the way to victory. We can't wait for that one.

Ryde-Eastwood Open
Canfell, Greg
Toth, Andras

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. d3 d6 6. f4 e6 7. Nf3 Nge7 8. O-O O-O 9. Bd2 b6 10. Rb1 Bb7 11. a3 Rc8 12. g4 f5 13. exf5 exf5 14. Ng5 Qd7 15. Nd5 h6 16. Nxe7+ Nxe7 17. Nh3 Bd4+ 18. Nf2 Bxg2 19. Kxg2 Bxf2 20. Rxf2 fxg4 21. h3 gxh3+ 22. Kh2 Rce8 23. Qf3 Rf5 24. Rg1 Kh7 25. Rg3 Rh5 26. Bc3 Nd5 27. Bd2 Nf6 28. Rf1 Qf7 29. Rfg1 Rg8 30. Bc3 Rf5 31. Qc6 Qd5 32. Qc7+ Rg7 33. Qd8 Rxf4 34. Kxh3 Qh5+ 35. Kg2 Qe2+ 36. Kh3 Rf2 37. R3g2 Qh5+ 38. Kg3 Rf3# 0-1

Top scorers (provisional)
6.5 - Andras Toth
6.0 - George Xie
5.5 - Ian Rogers, Igor Bjelobrk, Greg Canfell

Big Number for Arianne Caoili

While the whole chess world are all agog over the events in Elista, Aussie chess fans have another chess story, sort of, to keep an eye on at least for the next few weeks. That is, the progress of Arianne Caoili in Dancing with the Stars. Feedback from last Saturday when I visited the Ryde-Eastwood Open was definitely on the upside. A mother of a NSW junior even called out for an emergency copy of the first show because her son, evidently an avid fan of Arianne's, missed last Tuesday's performance.

Tomorrow night, at 7.30PM on channel 7, will be Arianne's second performance on the show. TCG understands that Arianne and partner Carmelo have a "big number" coming up.

And in this week's issue of women's rag New Idea, Arianne and other members of the show appear posing for a spring fashion photoshoot. They look like a bunch of wannabe upper class New England tossers. Home & Away's Chris Hemsworth, for example, appears exactly like what former Labour leader Mark Latham calls "nervous wrecks, metrosexual knobs and toss bags".

I mean, what is with that sloppy joe wrapped around his neck for crying out loud? Who does that these days?

1st President Arroyo Cup

International chess is set to make a return to Philippine shores when the 1st President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo Cup is held there in November this year. At USD$26,000 the total prize fund is very generous.

Pinoy journo Marlon Bernardino informs me that the official venue will be the NAIA Duty Free Shop in Paranaque City. Overseas players who are interested in competing should contact the organisers. Details can be found on this page.

Arise Veselin Wimpalov

As you no doubt would have heard by now, it's game on tonight in Elista. But for some pundits the situation is not quite right. Score count will resume at 3:2, in Kramnik's favour. One of those points to Topalov was the free point he received in game 5 when his opponent, Vladimir Kramnik, failed to front up.

Why does this Bulgarian insist on carrying with a World Championship with a free point? Both Mig and Susan Polgar have asked him to give it back. The problem here, I think, is that Topa is probably acting on the advise of his manager Danailov. Any backdown now will mean that both, but to a greater extent Danailov, will lose face.

Quoted by Bulgaria's Focus News Agency: "All the negotiations on my part are being led by my personal manager Silvio Danailov".

Well Topalov, we say, think for yourself mate! Be honourable and give back the point. Save chess. Be the hero! Or else, we'll have to start calling this Bulgarian, "Wimpalov" - a moniker that an ICCer used a couple of days ago.

Are you a wimp Veselin?