Friday, February 29, 2008

Ian Rogers in Linares

Grandmaster Rogers may be retired but he's never too far from the action. Here he is blogging on the Linares tournament for the United States Chess Federation.

Google Sites for Chess

Last month I posted some tips on building better looking websites. Well here's another idea. Google has just recently launched a new service called Google Sites. And yes, it's FREE, although a premium version is also available.

The service can be used for chess clubs, team discussions (forget that clunky mailing list) or a state association website. It can even be good for private chess coaching since it's possible to limit access to certain users (e.g. paid up students).

There's more in TechCrunch who have also posted a video.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Australian Junior Chess League

Is there a need for a new national body that is tasked with specifically governing junior chess affairs? How might such a body, if it were formed, be structured? Exactly what are its areas of responsibilities?

These, among many others, are just some of the questions currently being hotly discussed by some of Australia’s big wigs in junior chess. Dubbed as “AusJCL” (though the formal name is yet to be finalized), the body’s raison d'etre is one of the key points being addressed. In a spirited email, the now retired administrator and junior chess stalwart Jenni Oliver outlines her ideas:

I would see it being primarily responsible over time for the national tournaments, overseeing things like Ergas and overseas team management and most important of all being a repository for procedures and standards. At the moment we have such a vacuum. E.g. every year Charles [Zworestine] writes up some recommendations for improving the Aus Juniors and every year they disappear into a black hole. Another e.g - I spent 2 months in 2006 investigating world youth management and submitting a lengthy report with multiple recommendations to the ACF – it disappeared into the same black hole. I do not mean that an AusJCL would run national tournaments – the current system would continue. However it would develop much better information to be given to a prospective bidder on what were essential parts of the particular tournament and non-negotiable standards and conditions. It could then work with a prospective bidder in a timely fashion to resolve any problems and also make sure that things were on track – e.g. website up by an agreed date etc.

This is not to blame the ACF – it just doesn’t have the resources or expertise to cope with many of these issues.

Of course there are still many issues to overcome. The original proposal document, for instance, written by ex ACF head honcho and lawyer, Denis Jessop, outlines a number of matters from the naming of the new body, its structure and to its relationships with the ACF. Denis, a regular guest to this blog, ends his proposal with the words: “The actual structural relationship with the ACF is a difficult question,” and adding, “Much will depend on the attitude of the ACF to the proposal”.

So - there you have it: the whole thing could collapse at the whim of the ACF. Let’s hope their attitude is a positive one.

Reminder: Rapid GP this Weekend

A quick reminder that the first leg of the brand new Sydney Rapid GP is on this Saturday. Robert Ambalong, one of the guys over at the host club, Rooty Hill CC, emailed me to say that IM George Xie has confirmed his participation in the event. It looks like George is aiming to win this one for a third straight time.

Anyway, here's a map to the venue. Actually I just wanted to test embedding a Google map to my blog post. Let me know if you spot problems.

View Larger Map

For more details about the tournament, click here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wii Chess Special for Aussies

I posted about Wii Chess here last December. While there's no release date yet for locals, the crew over at Aussie Nintendo have a special discount for those who can't wait. Just click on that image.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Leonardo da Vinci and Chess

Leonardo da Vinci - painter, engineer, inventor - could very well add yet another credit to his expansive list of achievements. He might also be the world's first illustrator of modern chess puzzles. That is, if the experts agree!

Written around 1500 by a Franciscan friar and mathematician, Luca Pacioli, De Ludo Schacorum is a collection of chess puzzles that are no different to what we find today in newspapers or magazines.

In most contemporary depictions, the pieces were represented by letters or numbers. Two depictions used figures, but they were crude, like the chess pieces of the day.

In De Ludo Schacorum, also known as the Schifanoia (the "Boredom Dodger"), king, queen, bishop and knight are all represented by elegant and distinctive symbols.

A Milanese sculptor and architect, told the Guardian that was just one of several reasons why he was "more than certain" that the illustrations were Leonardo's.

The clue to a da Vinci connection is the so-called Golden Mean.

Read more in The Guardian: The Last Supper - now how about a nice game of chess?

Chess on Facebook

If you're on the popular social networking site Facebook (and I certainly know a few chess players there), then I'm sure you've also heard of an application called Scrabulous. As that name suggests, it's basically an online replica of the popular board game of Scrabble (causing the official Scrabble distributor, Hasbro, to send the Scrabulous guys a shutdown order).

Now Scrabulous creators, the Agarwalla brothers, Rajat and Jayant, have created something for chess fans. Called Chess Pro, the new app is turn-based meaning that you and your opponent(s) don't have to be online simultaneously to play a game. This is a little problem in itself because sometimes folks just forget to move for days. Hopefully, a timeout feature will be added.

Chess Pro

Honestly, this is is yet another one of these "web 2.0" time-wasters. But lucky for me, my work proxy server bans Facebook!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Project Grandmaster

Here's something that the Australian Chess Federation could try and emulate. (I know, I know - we just hate playing second to those Kiwis). Their counterparts across the Tasman, the New Zealand Chess Federation, are running a so-called "Project Grandmaster". The idea is to support that country's search for its next GM which, at the moment, looks very likely to be in 17 year old IM Puchen Wang. And the Kiwis aren't being modest about it, too, aiming for a budget of $50K (I'm guessing that's NZ dollars) to achieve their objective. Kiwi fans can donate monies in a number of ways. In return, they'll "have access to a special website where Puchen will report his results, annotate some games, and keep us in touch with how he is getting on" as well as, of course, get that nice warm feeling that they've contributed something to New Zealand chess.

Good luck to Puchen. He recently competed in Capelle La Grande, in France, where he finished with six points from 9 games. His tournament ended very positively with a win over Georgian grandmaster Davit Shengelia, rated 2568. Unfortunately, the official site doesn't have that game available, but we do have Puchen's draw in round 2 against English GM Mark Hebden.

24e Open de Cappelle la Grande
Wang, P.
Hebden, M.

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 g6 3. e3 Bg7 4. Bd3 O-O 5. O-O d6 6. Nbd2 Nbd7 7. e4 e5 8. c3 b6 9. Re1 a5 10. Nf1 Bb7 11. Ng3 Re8 12. d5 c6 13. c4 Nc5 14. dxc6 Bxc6 15. Bc2 Qc7 16. Nd2 h5 17. f3 b5 18. Ne2 bxc4 19. Nxc4 d5 20. exd5 Nxd5 21. Bg5 e4 22. Nd4 Bxd4+ 23. Qxd4 Ne6 24. Qd2 Nxg5 25. Qxg5 Nb4 26. Rac1 Nxc2 27. Rxc2 exf3 28. Ne5 Qa7+ 29. Rf2 fxg2 30. Rc1 Rxe5 31. Qxe5 Re8 32. Qf4 Bd5 33. Qd2 Ba8 34. Re1 Rxe1+ 35. Qxe1 Bd5 36. Qe5 Qc5 37. Qc3 Qe7 38. Qd2 Qe5 39. Re2 Qf5 40. Re1 Bxa2 41. Qxg2 Bd5 42. Qg3 Bc6 43. h4 a4 44. Re2 Qd5 45. Qf4 Qd1+ 46. Kf2 Qh1 47. Rd2 Qg2+ 48. Ke3 Qg1+ 49. Qf2 Qc1 50. Qf6 Bb5 51. Qg5 Bc4 52. Kd4 Be6 53. Qf4 Kg7 54. Ke3 Qg1+ 55. Qf2 Qh1 56. Qg3 Bg4 57. Kd4 Qc1 58. Qc3 Qe1 59. Kc5+ Kh7 60. Qf6 Qxd2 1/2-1/2

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Polgar: No need for separation

Vijay Tagore, writing for India's Daily News & Analysis, has an interview with top woman player GM Judit Polgar.

Tagore: You aimed to become a world champion. How far you think you are from that goal?

Polgar: Well after my kids were born, I have been wanting it less than before, and it is not only because I have less time to work on chess, but also because when you want to become number 1 you have to ignore everything else. Everything takes a backseat, at least for some period of time. For me, my family gets the preference right now.

And later...

Tagore: How do you look at women’s chess right now?

Polgar: I believe there is no need for separation, and I believe in the long run it will disappear. Logically also it doesn’t make sense to separate a game like chess.

Read the full interview in DNA. And as we haven't had a poll in a while, I thought I'd put up a new one to explore that second point by Polgar: that there is no need to separate men's and women's chess. Look to the right just below my profile.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Malaysian Quest for GM

Malaysia may not be a powerhouse in Asian chess but they do have a lively local chess community. They host, for instance, a well-attended annual chess festival and an online Yahoo Group devoted to Malaysian chess is also very active. Yet to date, the country has so far failed to produce a grandmaster. All hopes are on a certain international master Mas Hafizul.

Quah Seng Sun quotes Mas: "Chess fascinates me like no other game and the fact that there are no grandmasters in Malaysia gives me the impetus to be our first grandmaster."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Appeals Coordinator Named

We've got an update to this post on the Olympiad Appeal. In a completely unrelated discussion, ex ACF boss Denis Jessop revealed that the appeal coordinator has finally been named. It is seasoned chess administrator and organiser Ian Murray of Queensland. We can expect a formal announcement and a call for donations to appear in the next ACF newsletter. Right, let the pennies roll in!

India and China Rising

A quick run-through of the game's rise outside of Russia. "Soon, it seems, when people think of chess, they'll think of India or China before Russia. Then again, maybe they'll think of Fritz", says Matthew Hennessey in Policy Innovations.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

78th FIDE Congress Minutes

FIDE has just released the minutes to their 78th Congress Executive Board meeting that took place last November. It's an impressive document spanning nearly 50 pages! It could take some time before this hits the chess blogosphere, but a couple of things immediately caught my attention.

For this first bit I just hope to Caissa that FIDE doesn't get anywhere near Sydney. The Toaster is quite enough, thank you very much.

In his trips and meetings with heads of various countries he had realized that there is a necessity to have chess centres and museums in all the capitals of FIDE member countries. So he proposes to introduce the project of construction of chess centres. This is a programme of creation of a global network of chess centres, to be achieved together with an international development company, Chess Lane.


It is planned that the centres will be in the shape of a tower, similar to chess pieces, with separate entrances for differing functional sectors. Leading international architects, who were selected through a tender, participated in the creation of the chess centres concept. Soon the first variants of the concept are going to be finalized and presented for discussion. The construction of such chess centres will create new possibilities for national federation activities, and eventually will provide an added impetus for popularization and development of chess in the world.

Similar to chess pieces? They can't be serious.

The section on FIDE's financials is also riveting reading. This part, especially, made me envious: "Mr. Freeman (FIDE treasurer) said that it was agreed in the Mexico Presidential Board that that if the Presidential Board members have a flight which is longer than 4 hours they can travel in business class". Even my current private sector employer isn't as generous; our minimum is 7 hours.

And to combat cheating, the following may be coming to a tournament near you: electronic gates, software that can tell if you're cheating and "special punishments".

Enjoy reading!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Doeberl Premiere is Full

If you intended to play in the premiere section of this year's Doeberl, tough luck. They're full. Sign up for the majors instead as there's still plenty of room available.

Note that you can actually just register on the official site without having to pay. Though funnily enough, that's all exactly what I did a few days ago, but these guys had me down as fully paid!

Pinoys Draw in Aeroflot Open

Draws by Sadorra and Gomez in their respective round 6 games yesterday took both players to 3 points apiece in the A2 section of the Aeroflot Open in Moscow. To date, the two Pinoys have had identical records at this event: 2 wins, two draws and two losses each. Sadorra will now face Russan GM Aleksandr Rakhmanov (rated 2524) next, while Gomez will front up against the untitled Chinese player Siyuan Shen (rated 2339).

GM Marat Askarov leads A2 on 5.5 points, while three players - Dreev, Rodshtein and Nepomniachtchi - lead the main section with 5 points each.

And by the way, the huge Capelle La Grande Open is also on. Their stats page alone is quite fascinating reading. Our Kiwi fans should note that there is apparently one New Zealander in the event, but I've got no idea who it might be. Anyone know?

EDIT: Right, thanks to our anonymous poster the Kiwi player is none other than IM Puchen Wang. So far he's garnered 2.5 points.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stealing Chess Pieces

A New Zealand town is beset with vandals and thieves. Twenty-nine of their 32 giant chess pieces have been kidnapped! From the Bay of Plenty Times.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Meet Katrin Wills

This is old news but I have to mention it because I had no idea about the central character of this post until this afternoon.

Chess Victoria has a new boss and her name is WFM Katrin Wills. Some of our readers may remember her as Katrin Aladjova, a former winner of the World Girls U18 in '89 and the World Girls U16 in '86. Back then she played under the Bulgarian flag.

Apart from running a state chess association, she also runs her own make up business. ("The key to my success is the constant improving of my skills to keep up to date with the latest changes within the fashion and the make-up industry".) Just pop on over to and check it out.

Now Katrin might be an ex world champion, but according to our Australian ratings officer, she's just, well, a little better than a complete beginner! Her ACF rating? 1667! She can thank Glicko for that.

GM Joel Benjamin

I remember GM Joel Benjamin. He was here in '99 to play in a couple of events (winning the Saintly Cup) and also gave a lecture on the IBM v Kasparov match. He won't remember yours truly, but at least he's quoting the blog.

QVB Festival (GM Joel Benjamin Simul)
Benjamin, GM Joel
Rosario, Amiel

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. Be3 Ne8 9. h3 Kh8 10. Qd2 f5 11. Bg5 Bf6 12. Bxf6+ Qxf6 13. dxe5 dxe5 14. c5 f4 15. Nd5 Qd8 16. Qc3 Nf6 17. Nxe5 Kg8 18. Nxc6 bxc6 19. Nxf4 Nd5 20. Nxd5 cxd5 21. exd5 a5 22. Rad1 Ba6 23. Bxa6 Rxa6 24. d6 Ra8 25. d7 c6 26. Rd6 Qc7 27. Qc4+ Kh8 28. Re1 1-0

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fashionable Move

An ad in the Weekend Australian's magazine insert took me a few seconds to digest. Big chess tourney in Melbourne? Not quite, it turns out. It's the Melbourne Fashion Festival.

"We don’t take life seriously but we are serious about fashion". Your move.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Kasparov: Rely on Intuition

Quite an interesting interview of Gary Kasparov by Newsweek's Steven Levy. The ex-champ talks about his same-old-same-old battles with Putin, life after chess and still accuses IBM of cheating.

Levy: You also urge people to act on intuition.

Kasparov: That was one of my greatest advantages at the chessboard. My intuition was wrong very few times. You have to rely on your intuition. It's like a muscle; you must use it. In fact, we are not doing it all the time. I believe that people, especially now when there is so much information available, are trying to find a very scientific way of resolving problems. But because everybody has access to this kind of information, you have to rely on your personal instincts rather than on information available to everybody on the Internet.

From Newsweek's Q&A section, Life After Chess.

Morelia-Linares Begins

As I'm writing these words, the first round of Morelia-Linares is taking place in Teatro Ocampo in Mexico. For the first seven rounds, at least, Sydneysiders can start watching the games from 8.30AM. Then the event moves back over to Europe when it's back to the late nights for us.

All the usual coverage is available over at ChessVibes and from our friends in ChessDom. I'm sure also that GM Mihail Marin will be producing his usual good stuff for ChessBase.

Friday, February 15, 2008

International Chess Association Changes Rules

It's always nice to end the week with a couple of slightly off-beat stories. From The Spoof, FIDE's rival body the International Chess Association (ICA) has reportedly made a bold move by making some radical changes to the game.

The colours of the chess pieces were the first to change, they can now be any and all colors. The old colours were racially divisive white, red and black. It's a lot prettier this way too.

While now certainly multiracial, chess can only have one definite origin. According to Joseph A. Bailey, II, M.D., the game came right out of black Africa. Believe it or not.

Aeroflot Open 2008

The strong Aeroflot Open began last night and Pinoy chess fans will be happy to know that they are represented by RP's two talented international masters. John Paul Gomez and Julio Catalino Sadorra will be fighting it out against powerful opposition in the A2 section of the event.

Earlier reports of Filipino participation in Moscow actually had GM Mark Paragua as a participant. But, according to this report, he just failed to show up during pre-departure proceedings forcing the NCFP to send Gomez instead.

This is not the first time that Mark failed to reach Moscow.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

CV: ACF Not Helpful

This had me quietly laughing in the office. From the CV minutes:


Despite having a Victorian President our relations with the ACF council did not improve in 2007. Reference by one ACF councilor when discussing our ill-fated 2008 Australian championship bid to CV officials as Afghanistan warlords was not helpful. We have lodged a bit for the 2009 Australian Junior Championships and are hopeful that the ACF council will appreciate the quality of proposal and allow this tournament to return finally to Victoria.

I think I must have missed that one. I wonder who in the ACF said that these Victorians were like Afghanistan warlords.

Fijian Male Athlete of the Year

Here's something that I didn't know. Fiji's Manoj Kumar is his country's Male Athlete of the Year (2007). He'll be in action this weekend in the Kundan Singh Open Chess Championships.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Chess Posters as Banner Ads

Where are those chess posters? I notice that they're quite common in European tournaments, but not so here. It's a pity as an online version, like that you see on my right sidebar, works quite well for websites. Thanks to Helen Milligan for providing this Queenstown one.

Below are some examples of posters I've spotted recently.

Samples of chess posters

Obviously a full printed poster will be too expensive. But a simple online version, nothing too fancy, will do just fine. These can be quickly shared in any number of websites and provide any event that little extra visibility and promotion.

GP Dates and Players' Undertaking

FIDE has just released details of the 2008-09 Grand Prix. There is also a downloadable players' undertaking in PDF format. 4.3 seems a little too open-ended to me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Olympiad Appeal Now

The 2008 Olympiad in Dresden is slated to take place from 12 November to 25 November later this year. That's not too far off. Hence, I was wondering when the Australian Chess Federation will begin their Olympiad funding efforts as I'd not seen any references to it either on their website or in their latest email newsletter. But lo and behold, according to this, the problem seems to be that these guys don't currently have an Olympiad Appeal Coordinator.

I've no idea what the job specs are for that role, but it is a terribly critical position that will hopefully be filled fairly soon. So if you think you've got the goods, drop those ACF dudes a quick line.

On the other hand, time is quickly running out. We can only hope that the ACF will have already laid down some contingency plans in case the coordinator's role isn't filled. I read somewhere some advance suggestions on how to go about this year's appeal: raffle tickets, setting up Paypal, guess the team competitions, etc. But the simplest is probably to just call for donations now! Frankly, I don't see why not.

Driving You Mental

Overheard last night during the blitz.

Player 1: "Chess drives me mental"

Player 2: "Chess has been driving me mental for a long, long, long time."

Does chess drive you mental?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rapids Galore

My old club, Canterbury, will host a rapid play tournament that will be held over the next three Mondays commencing tonight at 7.30PM. Venue will be the Lakemba Memorial Services club located at 26 Quigg St, in Lakemba. I must say that I didn't know anything about this event until I received the NSWCA's email, so thanks to them for the info, although it could have been sent a little earlier.

If you're going, try to turn up on time - that is, way before 7.30PM. We don't want to be there til late.

Speaking of rapids, my friend Leo Tenorio sent in some info about their club's next event this coming March 1. It will be the first leg in a new series of rapid events in Sydney, just perfect for those time-starved weekend warriors out there who have neither the time nor the inclination to surrender a whole weekend to chess. The problem is, anyone living above, say, Strathfield, could be easily forgiven for thinking that this whole event is really just for "Westies"!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Remembering a Different Bobby Fischer

It's been more than a couple of weeks after his death and yet plenty are still written about Bobby Fischer in the mainstream papers. In today's NY Times, Dick Cavett reminisces on the chess champion's appearance on his TV show back in 1971.

Getting Fischer on my show that first time, before the big match, was considered a major catch at the time. If anyone in the audience shared my image of what a chess genius probably looked like, Bobby’s entrance erased it.

Here was no Nabakovian homunculus. There appeared, somewhat disconcerted, a tall and handsome lad with football-player shoulders, impeccably suited, a little awkward of carriage and unsure how to negotiate the unfamiliarity of the set, the bright lights, the wearing of make-up, the band music, the hand-shaking and the thundering ovation — all at the same time. I had hoped to avoid the cliché “gangling,” but Bobby gangled. He sort of lurched into his chair.

The accompanying video, too, is not to be missed. From Was It Only a Game?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Kasparov Makes Comeback

Not quite, but the former World Champion will be in the Czech Republic for a simul. From ChesssDom.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sweet Little Pawn

Shaun's post the other day on the worth of a pawn reminded me of J.H. Donner's "ode to a pawn". It came at the end of Donner's annotations to his encounter against Velimorovic, Havana 1971, a Benoni system with Donner on the white side. The ode is something most of us can understand as it speaks much to the heavenly heights of victory in what seemed initially to be a lost cause.

Naturally I'm not going to copy the entire annotation but will pick only a few highlights.*

Capablanca Memorial 1971
Donner, Jan Hein
Velimirovic, Dragoljub

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 g6 4. Nc3 Bg7 5. e4 O-O 6. Be2 d6 7. Nf3 e6 8. O-O exd5 9. cxd5 Re8 10. Nd2 a6 11. a4 Nbd7 12. Re1 Rb8 13. Bf1 Ne5 14. f4 Neg4 15. Nf3 c4!! (These marks are also Donner's).

Donner: "The battle is done, indeed. Black wins any way he likes."

16. a5 Qc7 17. e5 Qc5+ Donner recommends, instead, 17...dxe5 18. fxe5 Bf8 as the coupe de grace.

18. Qd4 Qxd4+ 19. Nxd4 dxe5 20. fxe5 Nh5?

Position after 20...Nh5

Donner: "Again, Black fails to make the best move. After 20...Nxe5 21. Bf4 Nh5 22. Bxe5 Rxe5 he would have had a winning endgame with his strong pair of bishops."

21. Nf3 Nxe5 22. Nxe5 Bxe5 23. Be3 Bd7 24. Bxc4 Rbc8 25. Ba2 Rxc3?

Donner: "Just as I thought! I would have bet my life on it! A player like Velimirovic totally lacks the patience to knibble away quietly at such an endgame. Actions is what he wants. The pair of bishops becomes a major force from now on and because Velimirovic finds out too late, he loses in the end.

26. bxc3 Bxc3 27. Bf2 Rxe1+ 28. Rxe1 Bxe1 29. Bxe1 Nf6 30. Kf2 Bf5? 31. Ke3 Be4 32. Kd4

Position after 32. Kd4

Donner: "The game received quite some attention from other players. To draw a veil over their shame I'm not going to give any names, but there were two grandmasters who asked me why I hadn't forced a draw here with 32. Bh4. The numbskulls!"

32...Bxg2 33. Ke5

Donner: "The king breaks through and the fighting-power of a king mounting the attack from behind the enemy pawns to my mind equals that of a full rook."

33...Kg7 34. Kd6 Kf8 35. Bb3 g5 36. Bg3 Ke8 37. Be5 Nd7 38. Ba4 Bh3 39. Bf6 h6 40. Kc7 Bf5 41. Kxb7 Kf8 42. Bxd7 Bxd7 43. Kxa6

It is at this moment that Jan Hein Donner now delivers the ode:

"Dear pawn on a5,

Sweet little thing, a rook's pawn you are, just one square is all you control. You're so small, almost nothing and throughout the game you've been standing there on your little place, but all that time my hope was built on you, and all my fearful hankering was for you. I did see you standing there, you little rascal. People thought, of course, it was the d5 pawn that it was all about, he drew their attention, they all looked at him, but you and I knew better, it was all about you, about you and you alone.

You've been waiting, you naughty boy, not wanting to come on, because you knew that all the time I was only thinking of you and that you didn't have to do anything at all, because I would be coming to you of my own. Little rook's pawn, you're free now. Go ahead, unspeakable bliss is waiting for you and me on a8. Thank you, you sweet little thing. I love you,

your King
Black resigns."

That's the beauty of pawns: they have potential.

* Material is taken from J.H. Donner, "The King" (translated by Richard De Weger), 1997, New In Chess, Hardcover.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Amateur Hour in FIDE

I don't know if it's the worst FIDE faux pas but this latest is a pretty bad one for a large world organisation. Remember that FIDE newsletter? Well I've just received my first issue, but with it were the names and email addresses of some thirty recipients! The sender, it seems, didn't bother with the blind carbon copy. A very bad case of amateurism in the house of FIDE.

That this is the first issue is no excuse. Even more concerning is that the newsletter is a PDF with no outgoing link to an unsubscribe page or instructions on how to. I'm guessing we're supposed to email the "postmaster" Dr Peter Rajcsanyi who, according to the FIDE site, is the organisation's marketing and PR director.

As for the newsletter itself, it's quite basic. There's a puzzle, a calendar of events, a short player profile (on Judit Polgar) and the usual news. All in two pages. I think the whole thing takes about 30 seconds to read.

Quite frankly, these guys are better off hiring our friend in RP Manny Benitez. Manny's output is way more professional and with a heap more content.

Chess - Force for Liberation and Tyranny

Just spotted this courtesy of Arts & Letters Daily. Writing for The Humanist, Sally Feldman argues for what seems already obvious:

So chess has been the exemplar of the best and most noble of human endeavours, and its worst excesses. And that struggle between virtue and tyranny, truth and dissembling, is perfectly represented by the board itself, its two opposed sides fighting out the eternal conflict between good and bad, black and white.

A fascinating read in "Check Republics".

Monday, February 04, 2008

Informant Celebrates 100th Volume

A hat-tip to GM Joel Benjamin for this. Chess Informant has recently published their 100th volume. It's quite an amazing achievement considering that the whole project began way back in 1966. Frankly, I've never been a fan of the product: way too high-falutin for my liking and not to mention, pretty expensive! The last time I ever came close to buying one of these was when I was eagerly awaiting the analysis of the following unforgettable gem.

Wijk aan Zee 1996
Ivanchuk, Vassily
Shirov, Alexei

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Bg5 dxc4 6. e4 b5 7. e5 h6 8. Bh4 g5 9. Nxg5 hxg5 10. Bxg5 Nbd7 11. exf6 Bb7 12. g3 c5 13. d5 Qb6 14. Bg2 O-O-O 15. O-O b4 16. Na4 Qb5 17. a3 exd5 18. axb4 cxb4 19. Be3 Nc5 20. Qg4+ Rd7 21. Qg7 Bxg7 22. fxg7 Rg8 23. Nxc5 d4 24. Bxb7+ Rxb7 25. Nxb7 Qb6 26. Bxd4 Qxd4 27. Rfd1 Qxb2 28. Nd6+ Kb8 29. Rdb1 Qxg7 30. Rxb4+ Kc7 31. Ra6 Rb8 32. Rxa7+ Kxd6 33. Rxb8 Qg4 34. Rd8+ Kc6 35. Ra1 1-0

Estimo Continues Attack on Pichay

Sammy Estimo's assault on rival Butch Pichay isn't slowing down. Below is a portion of another press announcement sent by Estimo.

NCFP executive director Sammy Estimo announced yesterday the resetting of the election of the 15 NCFP directors set by his group today at the Amoranto Sports Complex.

Estimo said the postponement to a later date was made in deference to the comment of Quezon City Judge Reynaldo Daway last January 30 that he would soon resolve the contempt charges filed against NCFP president Prospero Pichay, Mayor Abraham Tolentino and their co-respondents for defying the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the court on January 16 stopping the NCFP polls at the Tagaytay Convention Center on January 19.

Estimo also yesterday met with Atty. Emigdio S. Tanjuatco Jr., Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) legal counsel, and requested for copies of the report of POC deputy secretary general Mark Joseph and that of Mayor Tolentino’s report to the POC about the Tagaytay polls.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Rogers: Zhao's Feat is A Record

The ABC's Paula Kruger has brief quotes from both GM Ian Rogers and Sydney arbiter Dr Charles Zworestine.

"You need a series of world class performances and Yuan has achieved them in seven weeks, it's a record," he said.

"No one has ever scored three Grand Master results in such a short period of time. It's absolutely incredible.

"In fact, in December he played his first ever Grand Master tournament, he won it. His second one, he won that as well.

In Aussie becomes youngest chess 'Grand Master'.

As an aside, it's no wonder that Zhao can be very successful in this game. These guys have incredible memories. One night during last year's SIO, while having dinner with the then IM and a few other players, Zhao surprised me by asking if I remember our first game. Of course I did! That was way back in '99 at the unforgettable Australian Open in Buderim. I lost in 18 moves.

I remember thinking, "My God, I can't believe I lost to this punk".

Friday, February 01, 2008

Heath Ledger's Queen's Gambit

Heath Ledger was reportedly in talks for his directorial debut in a chess-themed film to be entitled, The Queen's Gambit - "an adaptation of the novel about an orphan who becomes a chess prodigy".

Now I don’t know about Heath’s chess skills, but all we know (thanks to Haydn Barber, current CAWA president and himself a multiple champion of Western Australia) is that the actor did play junior chess back in the late 1980’s to early 90’s in the U10 and U12 divisions.