Monday, August 31, 2009

MCC Site is Alive

I mentioned their website last week, but back then it wasn't finished. However, today the brand new MCC website was finally launched. Here it is again -

Clean, informative and easy to navigate. Like it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Manufacturing Hype & Fiction

In today's Sun Herald GM Ian Rogers points to a recent ruckus in the UK papers over the auction sale of 18 postcards that were exchanged between a couple of competitors in the inaugural World Chess Correspondence Championshps (1950-1953). Yes, it's that one that Aussie CJS Purdy won.

The reason for what Rogers calls "frenzied accounts" in the British press was apparently because one of the competitors in question was none other than Graham Mitchell. At the time of the championships, Mr Mitchell also happened to be the deputy director of MI5.

Here's the Daily Mail and The Telegraph both quoting an "expert" who said: "Agents would be trained to understand chess moves and Mitchell was quite a good chess player. The chances are that these were instructions or intelligence to a Soviet agent or an informer."

Make of it whatever you want but GM Rogers himself seemed pretty incredulous of the whole thing.

But anyway, this now leads me to this somewhat fitting item in yet another British paper, The Guardian. Stuart Evers tells us why our beautiful game is perfert for fiction.

More abstractly, chess is attractive to writers as it mirrors the very act of writing itself. Planning ahead, tactics, manipulation are both part of fiction's palate as well as chess's. In both his fiction and his plays, Beckett used the imagery of the chess set, moving his characters around like lowly, articulate pawns. The conclusion of Murphy may be the finest expression of the game's intrinsic link to both art and humanity – "The ingenuity of despair" indeed.

Read more in Why chess is a perfect game for fiction.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

13th Pinoy GM from Malaysia

The resurgence of Philippine chess stepped up again yesterday as yet another Pinoy player finally reached the rank of grandmaster. IM Ronald Dableo defeated Indonesian GM Susanto Megaranto in the ninth and final round of the Malaysian Open to secure his third grandmaster norm. Dableo thus becomes the Philippines' 13th grandmaster.

Dableo actually finished the event with 7 points, the same as GM Parimarjan Negi, but the Indian had a superior tiebreak and so was declared overall winner.

In the final game Negi had to beat another Pinoy, IM Emmanuel Senador. Senador, who led the tournament going into that last bout, sadly had to settle for 6.5 points - the same as 8 others that included six grandmasters. However, Senador can be very happy that he goes home from KL with his first ever GM norm.

Among the Aussie contingent Melbourne pair FM Igor Goldenberg and Dromagoj Dragicevic tallied 5 points each.

Final table is here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Chessly Delights at The Hutch

These promotional write-ups from our inside gal at the Old Boys Chess Club are so delicious that every other chess club out there should probably give her a gig to do some copywriting. Maybe then we'll see those tournaments have a big rise in attendee numbers.

Anyway, it's on again over at "The Hutch"! This from "AJ":

After the throbbing success that was the last ***CHESS CLUBS*** 2ND BIRTHDAY, hearts were won, teeth were lost and heads were sore. The dream-like memories that sustained, whilst vague and mysterious, leave a deep and sexy scare on the proverbial neck of all who attended. Thanks.

So lets do it again some time...

THIS THURSDAY get yo heads and toes down to The Hutch, as your pals at ***CHESS CLUB*** do the voodoo they do for you to make things just the right shade of awesome. Bells, whistles, smoke AND mirrors, rabbits in hats and tricks for kids.

This month, chess yourself stupid as you eat with your ears. We have a menu prepared by the finest...

B.F.G. - dropping science and jazz in a dub fondue; an XL serving of creamy crunchy goodness.

Claudie Vs Charlie - cookin' up back to back grooves to make make your soul whole. Iron Chef style.

Spannah - gypsy pie with a generous side of carnie salad, served in a top hat.

So come and drop down to Hutch town THIS THURSDAY from 7pm till...maybe forever.

Light and Sound: Andy O Visual
Visuals: Interracial Pawn
Chess: Youz and you

Old coin donation from ya hip to our hat & BYO board of chessly delights.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kasparov - Karpov Match Video

Last month I posted on the "rematch" between legends Karpov and Kasparov. Now, thanks to Chessvibes, I've just seen this well-made "official video" that promotes the event.

I'm really looking forward to this match-up, but I think GM Kasparov will have this in the bag.

By the way, if you ever find yourself in Valencia (which I visited last October) - make sure you have some of that local brew, Agua de Valencia, and enjoy some tapas over at Boatella Cafe. There you'll have the best garlic prawn tapas you'll ever have in all of Spain!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Melbourne CC News

I've just received Melbourne Chess Club's issue number 5 of their club newsletter. In case you're wondering about their new website (which looks to be at this address,, the following is the update:

The website has been thoroughly worked on by Bob Krstic and Janis Lesinskas and is very, very close to release now. The structure is complete and 95% of the content has been added. We could’ve released it earlier, but we decided that a perfect finished product was worth waiting for rather than releasing an unfinished website just to get it done quickly.

However, the best news I read is the regular Saturday allegro. These events are reportedly sponsored by a local joint the Gypsy Bar on Brunswick Street. Sounds like my kind of event! I'm definitely heading down. 12 September will be the day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Swiss Radio Interviews Anand

Last weekend some of the greats in chess, both past and present, gathered in Zurich, Switzerland to celebrate the 200th birthday of Schachgesellschaft Zürich, the world's oldest chess club. There were simuls as well as a serious rapid event (won by Kramnik).

For World Radio Switzerland, Vincent Landon intervied a few heavyweights and one of them was Vishy Anand who said:

Obviously the average age of the top players is going down. I mean we always had prodigies in chess but they tend to peak much faster as well. And here I think we can see the role of computers. We can also see the role of computers in the other thing where chess seems to go faster. There are more tournaments played and if you have an idea, you can use it once maybe but in a week everybody has already worked it out whereas that ability to handle information was much slower before.

A transcript of Landon's report is available here and that one also nicely includes the actual audio recording.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Chainmail Chess Board and Set

I like this. A chainmail chess set.

Via "Make Technology Your Time". There are more images here.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

DATMO 2009

An impressive lineup has again gathered in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur for this year's edition of DATMO. Nearly a dozen grandmasters - featuring Li Chao, Ghaem Maghami, Negi and RP's Darwin Laylo - as well as a bunch of IMs are in attendance. Of course, as usual, there are Aussies in this event who are spearheaded by FM Igor Goldenberg plus a trio of Kiwis - Hilton Bennett, Paul Spiller and Helen Milligan.

For more, go to the Dato' Arthur Tan Chess Centre website.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

ACF Newsletter Resumes. Again!

After months of being in a coma, the Australian Chess Federation's newsletter looks set to breathe again as wel-known ACT chess personality Ian Rout takes over as its editor. He's just set the following message to subscribers:

The newsletter will generally be issued on the second Tuesday of the month and, if there is sufficient material, the fourth Tuesday. The deadline for submitting material will be the prio Friday. Special issues may occasionally be produced, for instance in the case of urgent ACF announcements, or perhaps for large quantities of material.

This will commence from Tuesday 8 September (deadline Friday 4 September). Note that there will be no second September issue as I will be on holidays.

You can read more including deadline deteails over on ChessChat. Naturally I wish this second, or third, or whatever coming this is, of the newsletter much success. And, of course, to remind readers to actually submit contributions!

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Man of Horses and Chess

Quah Seng Sun, writing in the The Star, has a good piece today on Datuk Tan Chin Nam - a man who is well-known to Aussie chess fans and also horse racing aficionados. On Malaysian chess, Datuk Tan Chin Nam says:

I am very certain the progress will be phenomenal. To achieve this, I am embarking on the Malaysia chess project to take the Malaysian chess culture to a higher plane.

Various Asean governments already support chess to a great degree, including Vietnam, Singapore, the Philippines and Indonesia. Malaysia is the one exception that can do better. So my proposal is that the Government can help chess the same way that it already supports other sports. For example, let foreign professional chess players into Malaysia to raise our standard to the full international level.

Read more in Main man behind chess.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Hyde Park Chess Doco

Here's a good one!

Late last year, ex-Adelaide man Matthew Thistle emailed me about a particular film project that he'd been working on. In fact, I posted about that here. OK, that one hasn't exactly made it to the big screen yet, or the small screen for that matter, but back in 1997 Matthew made a short little doco on the chess life in Sydney's Hyde Park. Below is the wonderful, albeit badly shaped result.

Aah...those were the days. I remember most of the personalities, and some are definitely still around. Parramatta (the Vietnamese guy), for example, still comes along to the Spanish Club, although he seems a bit weaker now and slower. As for other, well, who knows where they are.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

2009 Ford Memorial

There's a couple of events coming up for Sydney chessers. Lightning fanatics can head off to the Canterbury CC for their annual Winter Lightning event. It will be held this coming Monday, 24 August with entries taken between 7PM and 7.30PM. The tournament is a 9-rounder.

Venue: Lakemba Services Memorial Club, Corner Quigg Street and The Boulevarde, Lakemba.

For more serious chess, the Ford Memorial Open sets off from the following night on Tuesday, 25 August and will run until 10 November. That schedule, of course, accounts for breaks and postponement sessions. It's also a 9-rounder with a TC of 90 minutes + 30 second incrtement per move.

Further info can be found at

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Player Dies Over The Board

I'm having an OMG moment. And for this, I blame GM Ian Rogers. In his column last Sunday for Sydney's Sun Herald, GM Rogers reports on the death of one Nikolaos Karapanos, aged 43.

GM Rogers:

The fact that tournament chess can be a stressful activity was confirmed yet again this week with the death of a Greek amateur during a game.

Nikolaos Karapanos, 43, was playing the game of his life against the much higher rated Israeli International Master Dan Zoler at the Acropolis Open in Athens when, with a winning position in front of him, he suffered a heart attack. Zoler, a doctor, tried to revive his opponent but Karapanos was dead by the time an ambulance arrived.

Over on his blog, Dennis Monokroussos tells his readers that he actually witnessed the whole incident!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kruttika Wins Womens Zonal

A recent visitor to Australia, playing in the 2009 Doeberl Cup, WGM Nadig Kruttika of India has just won the women's section of the Asian 3.2 zonals. In the process, Kruttika scores for herself a place in the upcoming World Cup.

From the Times of India: "In a dramatic final round on Saturday, another title contender, Bangladesh National Champion Sultana Sharmin Shirin, surprisingly lost her seventh round encounter against unheralded Sri Lankan player Sachini Ranasinghe."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kasparov in Quebec Controversy

A Europe-based grandmaster, who wishes to remain anonymous, has just sent me this info about a little controversy that erupted in the last round of the recent 2009 Quebec Chess Championships. Unfortunately the article is in French, but if you punch it into Babel Fish, you should pretty easily pick up the gist.

Lors de la dernière ronde du Championnat ouvert du Québec 2009, une des parties de tête a éveillé beaucoup de soupçons. La partie jouée entre Sergey Kasparov et Vladimir Georgiev décidait de la première place et conséquemment du premier prix de 5000$.

Certains joueurs ont prétendu que la partie était «arrangée» prétextant que les Blancs avaient volontairement perdu, malgré qu'aucune plainte ne fut déposée formellement.

The original can be read here. Basically it says that the last round game Kasparov - Georgiev aroused suspicions of having been pre-arranged and that Kasparov had voluntarily lost. Judge for yourselves.

2009 Quebec Championships
Kasparov, Sergey
Georgiev, Vladimir

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Qf6 6. d4 exd4 7. Bg5 Qd6 8. Nxd4 Bd7 9. Nc3 Ne7 10. Qd2 c5 11. Nb3 Qxd2 12. Bxd2 b6 13. a4 O-O-O 14. Be3 a5 15. Rfd1 Re8 16. Bf4 Rg8 17. Bg3 g5 18. Rxd7 Kxd7 19. Nb5 Nc8 20. Nxc7 Rxe4 21. f3 Re2 22. Rd1+ Bd6 23. Nd5 Kc6 24. Nxb6 Bxg3 25. Nxc8 Rxc8 26. Nxa5+ Kc7 27. hxg3 Rxc2 28. b3 Re8 29. Kh2 Ree2 30. Rg1 Re3 31. Kh3 f5 32. g4 f4 33. Rd1 Ree2 34. Rg1 Re6 0-1

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Polgar Fights Ejection

The complicated 3-way crap-fight fight between, in one corner, Susan Polgar and Paul Truong versus, in the other corner, Sam Sloan, and in yet another corner, the USCF, has received extensive coverage in the NY Times. See here and, more recently, here.

Well, anyway, you know those "alleged" fake emails? Finally I've spotted a website that's posted copies of these. Thanks to the Valleywag, these are absolutely good for a few laughs.

Read: Chess Wizards in Huge Online Sorcery Feud.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gene Nakauchi in Japan League

Queensland's FM Gene Nakauchi is in Japan to participate in the Japan Chess League tournament. The event will run from tomorrow until next Sunday, 16 August. More familiar to our foreign readers, however, is one GM Hikaru Nakamura. The American superstar looks like he'll be playing there, too, and is of course the top seed! In fact, it seems like it's not the first time that Naka has played in this event. He was there last year at about the same time.

For details (and only if you can read Japanese, I suppose) go to the Japan Chess Association website.

My thanks to Graeme Gardiner for this information.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

ChessCube Gets VC Funds

Sponsor of the recent South African Open,, has just accomplished what seems to me a near-unbelievable feat. Here's an online chess business that's actually attracting VC money! From their press release (which can be read in full here):

ChessCube has concluded a US$1.25m funding agreement with Venture Capital fund, InVenFin (Pty) Ltd. InVenFin, the VC-focused subsidiary of VenFin Limited, invests in intellectual property-based start-ups with global potential. This transaction brings ChessCube’s total funding to date to US$1.8m.

Quite frankly, I can't see anything special about this site. I first mentioned them in April last year, did have them as my exclusive online chess game site for a while, before eventually giving up. The real problem is, there's just nothing to keep me interested!

Local Photojourno's Chess Pics

Speaking of chess photography: Braden Fastier is a staff photographer at the Manly Daily newspaper in Sydney. Back in January of this year, he covered the Australian Open tournament with his camera and here you can see the results.

That's how it's done!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Argument Over Copyright

Not too many of our Aussie readers will have heard of Lars Grahn. He was founder of Swedish chess magazine Schacknytt and ran it from 1969 until 1990. More recently (2004-08) he was editor of Tidskrift för Schack. Then from 2007, he also began to write a blog.

While his blog is naturally in his native language, Mr Grahn's latest post is written entirely in English. In this one he was talking about a meeting with a certain Raymond Keene.

In that moment I showed a level of restraint I didn’t think myself capable of. I’m a peaceful man (I’ve never even been in a fight), but there and then I came as close as I’ll probably ever get to do what Sweden’s former world heavyweight champion Ingemar ‘Ingo’ Johansson did to Dick Richardson 2 minutes and 13 seconds into the eighth round in Gothenburg on 17 June 1962 to regain the European champion’s belt. Somehow I kept my pugilistic instincts in check, I didn’t punch Raymondo’s lights out.

That incident occured in 1983 and, as you can see, my fellow blogger was absolutely fuming! Find out why in Not so Keene on Copyright.

By the way, Lars Grahn is also a photographer himself and throughout his career it's quite obvious that he's managed to snap and collect thousands upon thousands of images. Luckily for us, he's sharing some of these historical pictures via his posts called "Talking Pictures". Here are the first four: photo 1; photo 2; photo 3; and photo 4.

My thanks to Lars for pinging me and sharing his collection of historical tidbits.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

GM Howell Wins British

English grandmaster David Howell, 19 years old, is the 2009 British Champion. He was clear first with nine points from 11 games, a half point ahead of equal second place scorers grandmasters Mark Hebden and Simon Williams. Howell completed his event by signing a truce with IM Gary Lane after just 19 moves.

Lane, on the other hand, enjoyed a reasonably good tournament finishing with 7 points overall, the same tally as GM Gawain Jones. Jones suffered back-to-back setbacks in the seventh and eight rounds when he fell to Palliser and Conquest respectively.

Games and tournament details are available on the official site.

Friday, August 07, 2009

The Guardian on The Scandinavian

Aficionados of The Scandinavian Opening (also called The Centre Counter) might like to turn their attention to The Guardian's chess section over the next few weeks. For there you'll find novelist Ronan Bennett and GM Daniel King talk about your beloved system. Every instalment is in a conversational style, with each author offering their views/assessments of the given position. For example, after 1 e4 d5 2 exd5 Qxd5 3 Nc3, Bennett says:

Life is busy and time is short, too short for me ever to have bothered to study the Scandinavian, so I have no idea what theory recommends. I can see two viable options. The first is the retreat to safety, 3...Qd8. The only reason I'd be tempted to play this is that I have a dim memory of seeing the black queen get cornered and captured in some Scandinavian game or other. But it seems such a waste of time. The more aggressive option is 3...Qa5, with the hope of putting further pressure on c3 with a later ...Bb4. Play might go 4 d4 Nf6 5 Nf3 and maybe now 5...c6 would be advisable, providing an escape route for the queen.

Well, OK, it all sounds a bit pedestrian so far - but hopefully, the pace and really interesting bit will pick up as soon we get into the middle game. Part 1 was last week, while part 2 was just posted today.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Smerdon Leads Wang 3-2

With just one more game to play in their six-game contest, GM Smerdon leads his Kiwi opposition 3-2. After winning the first bout, the Australian has managed only draws in the next 4 games. The last one was quite exciting.

2009 Australasian Chess Match
IM Puchen Wang
GM David Smerdon

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be3 Bg7 7. f3 O-O 8. Qd2 Nc6 9. Bc4 Bd7 10. h4 h5 11. Bb3 Rc8 12. O-O-O Ne5 13. Bg5 Rc5 14. g4 hxg4 15. f4 Nc6 16. e5 Nh5 17. Nd5 Rxd5 18. Bxd5 dxe5 19. Nb3 Qc7 20. fxe5 Qxe5 21. c3 Bf5 22. Rhe1 Qc7 23. Bxc6 Qxc6 24. Bxe7 Qa4 25. Nd4 Bxd4 26. b3 Bxc3 27. Qxc3 Qf4+ 28. Kb2 Rc8 29. Rd8+ Rxd8 30. Bxd8 Be6 31. Rd1 Kh7 32. Bg5 Qf3 33. Rd3 Qf2+ 34. Rd2 Qf3 35. Qc5 g3 36. Qf8 Bd5 37. Qh6+ Kg8 38. Be3 Qf5 39. Bd4 f6 40. Qe3 Qe4 41. Qc3 g2 42. Bxa7 Nf4 43. Qxf6 Nd3+ 44. Kc3 Nf4 45. Kb2 Nd3+ 46. Kc3 Nf4 47. Qg5 Kh7 48. Bd4 Ne6 49. Qe7+ Kh6 50. Qf6 Qf3+ 51. Qxf3 Bxf3 52. Bb6 Nf4 53. Rd8 Nd5+ 54. Rxd5 Bxd5 55. Kd2 Kh5 56. Ke1 Kxh4 57. Kf2 Kg4 58. Kg1 Kf3 59. b4 Bxa2 60. Bc5 b5 61. Bf8 Bd5 1/2-1/2

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

GM Jones Co-leads British

Aussie international master Gary Lane currently has 4.5 points after seven games in the ongoing British Chess Championships. So far, Lane has lost only one game to GM Simon Williams.

Jointly leading the event, with GM David Howell, is current Melbourne resident GM Gawain Jones! Both these guys have 6 points apiece. In the fifth game, Gawain defeated GM Aaron Summerscale on the black side of a KID. It looked all so easy. Just follow the pattern, maybe a little cuddle with Sue in-between moves, and BANG!

2009 British Championships
Summerscale, Aaron
Jones, Gawain C

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. d4 O-O 5. e4 d6 6. Be2 e5 7. O-O Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 9. Ne1 Nd7 10. Be3 f5 11. f3 f4 12. Bf2 g5 13. a4 Rf6 14. a5 Rh6 15. Kh1 Nf6 16. c5 Qe8 17. Ra3 Qh5 18. Bg1 Qh4 19. Bb5 Nh5 20. Ne2 Ng3+ 21. Nxg3 fxg3 22. Nd3 Ng6 23. c6 Nf4 24. Nxf4 Qxf4 25. Qe1 bxc6 26. Bc4 c5 27. Rb3 Bd7 28. Qe3 Rxh2+ 29. Bxh2 Qh4 30. Qg1 Rf8 31. Rb7 Rf4 32. Rxc7 Qh6 0-1

You just gotta love that one.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Wiser and Weaker

Aah, old age. It catches all of us, even some of the greatest. IM Jack Peters, writing for the LA Times, says that while these guys may be wiser, they are much, much weaker!

Can chess, not a physically demanding sport, really be so difficult for its aging champions?

Absolutely! The rating lists provide conclusive evidence that the ability to play chess at a very high level declines sharply after age 50. Even those rare grandmasters who remained successful in their mid-50s, such as Viktor Korchnoi and Sammy Reshevsky, were markedly weaker than in their prime years. For most grandmasters, the drop is between 100 and 200 rating points. Others, though, retire rather than let their rating plummet.

From Some grandmasters are older and wiser, but weaker.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Smurfo Wins First Game

It's on. The six-game match between Australian GM David Smerdon and IM Puchen Wang of New Zealand began today with the Aussie winning with the black pieces in 56 moves. The official site has both live coverage and downloadable PGNs.