Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Carlsen's Heathy Obsession

Reuters UK has a special report on GM Magnus Carlsen.

He brushes aside comparisons with the world's troubled chess geniuses such as Bobby Fisher, a prodigy and champion who became engulfed by chess and detached from the rest of the world.

"Bobby Fischer was obviously one of the greatest chess players of all time -- one of the inventors," Carlsen told Reuters in an interview.

"The difference between him and me, for example, is that he was obsessed with chess in a way that is not healthy and that's a line I don't intend to cross."

Read more in Norwegian teenager to be crowned new chess king.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

FM Dmitry Gedevanishvili

In my post yesterday I included a link to a list of FIDE-rated Australian players. One fellow whose name stood out to me is FIDE master Dmitry Gedevanishvili (or just Gedevani). He's been out of action for a number of years, I think over a decade, yet amazingly there he is - still among the top.

I mention Gedevani because there are a couple of guys at the Town Hall CC who apparently have never of him! And no doubt there are still many more, especially the young guys, who also might have never heard of one of the strongest players in this country.

Well, this much we know: Gedevani has 4 IM norms and, according to Cathy Chua in her book "Australian Chess at the Top", was a former champion of Georgia. Yes, that's the ex-Soviet state of Georgia, not the US version. He came to Australia in 1988.

I used to see him in weekenders as well as big events. In 1995, he participated in the Australian Championships (the one that IM West won). Here's a nice game from that tournament.

1995 Cepacol AUS ch
Gedevani, Dmitry
Dinh Duc Trong

1. Nf3 g6 2. e4 Bg7 3. d4 d6 4. Be2 Nf6 5. Nc3 c6 6. O-O O-O 7. h3 Nbd7 8. Bf4 Qa5 9. Nd2 Qc7 10. a4 e5 11. dxe5 dxe5 12. Be3 Rd8 13. Bg4 Nxg4 14. Qxg4 Nf8 15. Qh4 Ne6 16. Nf3 Nd4 17. Nxd4 exd4 18. Bf4 Qd7 19. Rad1 Qe8 20. Bg5 Rd7 21. Ne2 b6 22. Rfe1 Ba6 23. Ng3 c5 24. Nf5

Position after 24. Nf5

24...gxf5 25. exf5 Qc8 26. f6 Bf8 27. Re5 Bb7 28. Rde1 Kh8 29. Bh6 Qc6 30. Rg5 Qxf6 31. Bxf8 Rxf8 32. Rg8+ Kxg8 33. Qxf6 Rd5 34. Re4 Bc8 35. Re7 Bf5 36. Qg5+ Kh8 37. g4 Be6 38. Qf6+ Kg8 39. Rxe6 1-0

As far back as 1970, he fell victim to a certain Tal! Again involving a pesky knight.

1970 GEO-ch
Tal, Mihail
Gedevanishvili, Dmitry

1. e4 Nf6 2. e5 Nd5 3. Nc3 e6 4. d4 Nxc3 5. bxc3 d6 6. f4 c5 7. Nf3 cxd4 8. cxd4 dxe5 9. fxe5 Bb4+ 10. Bd2 Qa5 11. Bd3 Nc6 12. O-O Bxd2 13. Nxd2 Qc3 14. Rf4 O-O 15. Kh1 Ne7 16. Ne4 Qb2 17. Rb1 Qxa2

Position after 17...Qxa2

18. Nf6+ gxf6 19. Bxh7+ Kh8 20. Rh4 Kg7 21. Qc1 Ng8 22. Bxg8 1-0

So there you have it, just a few tidbits about FM Dmitry Gedevanishvili. Another one who dropped off the scene, sadly a talent lost to our game. I'm sure there are good reasons.

I have no idea where he is today. Last I heard, he was driving taxis around Sydney.

Monday, December 28, 2009

So to Rejoin Top 100

There's big news coming from The Philippines regarding the ascent of GM Wesley So back into the world's top 100 players. Marlon Bernardino reports in Business World:

His sterling performance in this year’s World Chess Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, after beating World no. 12 GM Vassily Ivanchuk of Ukraine in round 2 and last year’s World Chess Cup titlist GM Gata Kamsky of the US in round 3, gained him 15.8 points and he is expected to climb to 2656 when the Jan. 1, 2010 FIDE-RP rating list is formally released in a few days. He currently has an Elo rating of 2640. His best Elo rating is 2646 in July 2009 then lost two Elo in September 2009 (2644) and four Elo in November 2009 (2640).

Of course, the Australians don't have anyone with the firepower of Wesley So. The Aussie top dog is only a distant 2572. He can still play, but he ain't going anywhere near Corus anytime soon.

In next month's Corus event, grandmaster So steps up from Group C to Group B.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Tourns on the Cheap

Over on Australia's number one chess bulletin board, user "michael.mcguirk" posted the following question: "How do YOU get accommodation when you go to a chess tournament?"

Well, he could just follow the example of some backpackers: buy a campervan and pretty much park and sleep anywhere. There's just one issue:

Residents in Wolseley Road, Coogee, open their curtains each morning to million-dollar ocean views across to Wedding Cake Island. But with the warmer weather a convoy of campervans has arrived.

One homeowner, Lee, said: "It has become a problem. I'm presently looking at five campervans parked in front of my place. I'd rather them not be there but, because we are smack-bang beside the ocean and there are no parking restrictions, they flock here."

He said confrontations had erupted in the street. "There was a group that would go down to Coogee, get on the booze all night and then return here to have a few more.

That's from today's SMH.

Another option is basically to "couch surf". In fact, there's even a website dedicated to the whole business. Check out Female readers, though, should probably take extra precaution by travelling in pairs or more.

One likely down side to couch surfing is that some couches may not be available for the entire stretch of a weekender, let alone a whole week (if you're playing in a big event like the SIO). You may need to arrange multiple couches.

For those with a little bit more dough but still want to realise some savings, I recommend a try of "Secret Hotels".

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Time on Magnus

Time magazine has a Q&A session with super GM Magnus Carlsen:

Your coach, former world champion Garry Kasparov, says your strength is not calculation, but rather your ability to intuit the right moves, even if their ultimate purpose is not clear. Is that right?

I'm good at sensing the nature of the position and where I should put my pieces. You have to choose the move that feels right sometimes; that's what intuition is. It's very hard to explain.

Read more in Magnus Carlsen: The 19-Year-Old King of Chess.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Japan Chess Association

I received a rather nice Christmas message from Canberra's Bill Egan yesterday who sent in his congrats about my upcoming move to Tokyo. I just hope that he's right: that my three years there would be interesting chess-wise. But I don't know about his suggestion of me becoming a big fish in Tokyo (as opposed to being a small fish here). After all, and I've just checked the FIDE ratings list, Japan does have a few master strength players.

Their current number one is FM Yoshiharu Habu, rated 2404, followed by two other FMs, Loren Schmidt and Akira Watanabe. Not exactly mugs.

The first thing to do, however, is to pick up some Japanese lingo skills quickly or at least find myself a translator just to get around the JCA's pretty comprehensive website. From what I can tell, the site is updated frequently and has most info one could possibly need. This page, for instance, appears to have a list of clubs, though I can't find one anywhere near central Tokyo itself.

In case you want to check out Japanese chess, then see this page from a recent tournament.

And by the way, speaking of Bill Egan, the signature down the bottom of his emails reminded me of a couple of things. First, his book on jazz singer Florence Mills. I thought that this was only recently published. But, in fact, the book came out a number of years ago now. I haven't read the book myself, so you'll have to read others' reviews here, including a brief recording by NPR. There's also a short Q&A here with the author himself.

Secondly, I'm reminded of another book that Bill is supposed to be writing! It's one about the history of the Doeberl Cup (which he "abandoned in favour of the Florence Mills book"). I just hope he'll finish the thing by the time I'm back in this country. C'mon Bill!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Christmas All

The BBC wonders about how common a white Christmas is in the United Kingdom. Well, it just so happens that around about the same time in 1970, it snowed during the famous Hastings Congress. In fact, they have the picture to prove it.

Picture courtesy of Getty Images

Anyway, on that note, I hope you, dear readers, will have a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. It's been another fun year in 2009. And to all those participating in the upcoming Aussie Chess Championships: Good Luck!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My First Tourney Game

Last Sunday, in prep for my move to Japan, I spent some good time packing away stuff, archiving personal items and deciding what bits to keep and what to discard. In the process I also rediscovered a number of long forgotten, but still memorable belongings - like my old cassette tapes. Cassette tapes!

But of even older vintage were a couple of my old records. Yep, it turns out that I actually own records. Among a pile of New in Chess magazines, I stumbled across Jimmi Hendrix's "Crosstown Traffic" and Nina Simone's "Little Girl Blue". Good stuff, actually.

And then there were my scoresheets, in the hundreds. They brought back memories. Like this first ever game that I played in a tournament.

1996 NSWCA Queen's B-day we
The Closet Grandmaster
Tidswell, Duncan

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Nf3 c5 8. Be2 Nc6 9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O Bg4 11. d5 Ne5 12. Nxe5 Bxe2 13. Qxe2 Bxe5 14. Rac1 Qa5 15. c4 Rac8 16. f4 Bg7 17. f5 Qc7 18. Bf4 Be5 19. Bxe5 Qxe5 20. Rf3 Rfd8 21. Rcf1 b5 22. fxg6 fxg6 23. Rf7 Qd4+ 24. Kh1 Rf8 25. Qf3 Rfe8 26. Qh3 Qh8 27. Qe6 1-0

That one was played back in the days when tournament chess in Sydney used to be held right near the CBD. The venue then was in front of St Mary's Cathedral, what is today the Cook and Phillip Park. I miss those days.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jones for Aussie Champs

The upcoming Australian Chess Championships is going to be an exciting one. The field now features no less than three grandmasters - locals Zhao and Johansen as well as the Englishman Gawain Jones. Also fronting up will be IMs Solo, Lane and Wohl, themselves ex-winners of the title (one each), plus the highly ambitious IM Xie.

If I had to pick a winner, though, there's only one obvious name. I know it's a kind of treasonous thing to say, but I've got a couple of hundred yen on Jones to outpoint the rest of 'em. The man will be too good. In the majors section, the recent PhD recipient Jason Chan is my pick. He's been in training over the last couple of weeks and he's looking red hot. My yen's on Dr Chan.

One more thing.

In case you still don't know how to get to the venue, just look at this map.

View Larger Map

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chess Through a Leica

As we again find ourselves in the summer season, almost each day is a perfect day to stay out in the park for a few, actually many, games of blitz. I imagine that it was a summer day back in '69 when Aussie photog Roger Scott snapped this photo. Last weekend, I snapped my own version.

There's more about Roger Scott here. His book, "From the Street", is very good and I recommend it.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Earth vs Space Chess Match

It's a winto Earth.

Photo courtesy of NASA

State of Chess in Israel

As we all now know, of course, Israeli grandmaster Boris Gelfand won the World Cup. He defeated Pono with 7 points to five in the finals. As one might expect, the result made its way to the mainstream papers in Israel.

While Israel may possess one of the world's best players and a strong national side, you would think that chess gets some serious government backing. Actually, just like in Australia, it doesn't. And two writers lament this fact.

First, Eli Shvidler:
"The budget of the Israel Chess Federation doesn't exceed NIS 2 million," said federation director Yigal Lotan in a voice that seemed to betray a bit of embarrassment. He said the state's funding doesn't amount to a portion of the salary of an average player in Israeli soccer's Premier League. Without support from the Immigrant Absorption Ministry, the chess scene here would have become truly catastrophic, he added.
Secondly, Eitan Bekerman, who wonders why chess is pushed to the sidelines:
The answer might lie, paradoxically, in the fact that chess is considered a "Jews' sport." The list of male and female Jewish champions may be as long as your arm, but our Sabra, the New Jew, is better off excelling at surfing, mastering a bow and arrow like the Maccabees, shooting a rifle, or kicking a ball. What do we have to do with Boris, a bespectacled Russian Jew untouched by the Mediterranean sun? Give us a Gal or Shahar or Yael or Arik.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Chess From the Outside

I found this surprisingly refreshing. A top level chess tournament from an outsider's point of view.

Carlsen squirmed in his seat. On the stage alongside him, three other games were also in progress. He turned his head to examine the big screen backdrop, which mapped out the progress of all four matches in real time. He slouched, wagged his foot, sipped his drink, toyed with his cuff again, and then got up and walked up and down the row of tables, staring over the shoulders of his rival players to examine their matches.

Ten minutes ticked by before Carlsen exited stage left. Fifteen passed, and he returned stage right. Howell has still not moved.

Chess is not a great spectator sport.

Read more in "A half-hour's inaction and wagging feet – chess is a world beyond my grasp".

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Caoili Wins Womens Invitational

Australia's WIM Arianne Caoili finished outright first in the London Chess Classic Women's Invitational with an emphatic 8 points from nine games. Her nearest rival and the only player to steal a full point was IM Susan Lalic who ended the tournament with 6 points.

For Caoili, it was yet another successful campaign after her win in the women's Oceania Zonal earlier this year. And for the Aussie selectors, the only question that matters now is who will fill boards 2 to four in the next women's Olympiad team.

London Classic - Womens Invitational
Ikonomopoulou, Maria
Caoili, Arianne

1. d4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 g6 4. g3 Bg7 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O d6 7. Nc3 Nc6 8. Rb1 e5 9. d5 Ne7 10. b4 h6 11. Ba3 g5 12. c5 f4 13. Nd2 fxg3 14. hxg3 Ng4 15. Bf3 Qe8 16. Kg2 Qh5 17. Rh1 Qf7 18. Nde4 Ne3+ 19. fxe3 g4 20. cxd6 Nf5 21. Bc1 gxf3+ 22. exf3 cxd6 23. Qe2 Bd7 24. b5 Qg6 25. g4 h5 both players were now down to their last half-minute 26. Rxh5 Nh6 27. Rg5 Qh7 28. Bd2 Nf7 29. Rh5 Qg6 30. Rbh1 Rac8 31. Nd1 Rc2 32. Ndf2 Rxa2 33. Nd3 Bxb5 34. Nc3 Qxd3 35. Qf2 Rb2 36. Kg3 a6 37. Kh4 time, but black was clearly winning anyway 0-1

In the main event, GM Magnus Carlsen was victorious finishing with 13 points ("football scoring system" in case you're wondering), while Kramnik secured second place with 12.

Last round. Photo courtesy of John Saunders

Chessvibes has a vid interview with the winner here. And by the way, a mate of mine keeps telling me that Carlsen once called Kasparov an idiot.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Law Firm Sponsors Juniors

Just a few hours after my last post featuring GM Ian Rogers, I receive a press release from the man. It's very exciting news for junior chess. I'm just going to cut and copy the whole thing here.

Australian junior chess, already feting their first World Champion in Melbourne’s Bobby Cheng, has a new reason to celebrate with the signing of a new sponsor for the national chess Junior Elite Training Squad, JETS.

The JETS squad, founded in 2000, features 30 of the best junior players from around Australia, with an emphasis on developing the skills of young talents of 14 years or less. Johns-Putra Limited has agreed to fully fund the 2010 JETS squad, including the national camp in Sydney in July.

Managing Director of Johns-Putra Limited, Geraldine Johns-Putra expressed her pleasure at the agreement struck with the Australian Junior Chess League, the organiser of the JETS squad; “As someone who has benefited tremendously from chess as a junior, I feel privileged to be in a position to do something for Australian juniors today. Many of the opportunities I gained through chess would not have been possible without the support of individuals who donated time and money. I wish all of the juniors in the JETS squad the best and hope that they learn and grow as much as they can from this wonderful initiative. "

Johns-Putra Limited is a London-based boutique legal consulting practice focussing on cross-border China mergers and acquisitions. Its mission is to help clients build bridges between China and the West and to secure success across cultures. It is committed to advancing cross-cultural business in China and is one of the few boutique legal consulting practices in cross-border corporate transactions in China.

The Australian Junior Chess League is dedicated to organising and promoting chess among young people around Australia. In January the AJCL will be backing the Australian Junior Championships in Hobart and later in 2010 will select players to represent Australia at the Asian and World Junior Championships.

For more information, please contact Geraldine Johns-Putra, on +44 (0)20 7286 7664 or at, or Ian Rogers, Deputy President AJCL, on +61 (0)416599230 or .

I think the first time I saw Geraldine, although we never formally met, was way back in the 1995-'96 Aussie Championships. It's that one that IM Guy West won. Now if you don't know her, she, of course, was once a regular competitor. Here's a sampler.

1999 Oceania zt (Women)
Johns Putra, Geraldine
Lip, Catherine

1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 Nc6 3. f4 g6 4. Nf3 Bg7 5. Bc4 e6 6. f5 Nge7 7. fxe6 fxe6 8. O-O O-O 9. d3 d5 10. Bb3 a6 11. Bg5 Qd7 12. a4 b6 13. Qd2 Bb7 14. Bh6 Nd4 15. Nxd4 Bxd4+ 16. Kh1 Bg7 17. Bxg7 Kxg7 18. Qg5 Qd6 19. Rae1 Rae8 20. exd5 Rxf1+ 21. Rxf1 exd5 22. Ne4 Qe6 23. Nf6 Rf8 24. Nh5+ Kg8 25. Rxf8+ Kxf8 26. Qh6+ Ke8 27. Ng7+ 1-0

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rogers on London Classic

GM Ian Rogers looks to be doing a coverage of the London Chess Classic for the USCF magazine, Chess Life Online. It's all a bit thin at the moment, but hopefully there'll be more in the next few days.

Ni Hua - Carlsen, 0-1. Photo courtesy of John Saunders

And speaking of GM Rogers, I just read my mate Shaun Press' latest post over on his blog. Umm...looks like a good opening this 1. c3. So, in the midst of writing this post, I head over to ICC and give it a try.

ICC 1 0 (Yes, it's only bullet)
The Closet GM

1. c3 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Qc2 Nc6 4. d4 Nf6 5. Bg5 Bd6 6. Nbd2 O-O 7. e4 h6 8. Bh4 dxe4 9. Nxe4 Be7 10. Nxf6+ Bxf6 11. Bg3 Bd7 12. Bd3 e5 13. d5 Ne7 14. c4 Ng6 15. Bxg6 fxg6 16. Qxg6 e4 17. Nd2 Qe7 18. O-O e3 19. Nf3 Rae8 20. fxe3 Qxe3+ 21. Bf2 Qe2 22. Rab1 Qxc4 23. Rfc1 Qd3 24. Qxd3 Bf5 25. Qxf5 Re7 26. Re1 Rfe8 27. Rxe7 Rxe7 28. Re1 Rxe1+ 29. Bxe1 Kf7 30. Bc3 a6 31. Nh4 Ke7 32. Qe6+ Kd8 33. Bxf6+ gxf6 34. Qxf6+ Kd7 35. Nf5 c6 36. Qd6+ Ke8 37. Qe7# Black checkmated 1-0

Cool opening!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chess by the Roadside

I stumbled across this photo on Flickr. It's a street scene somewhere in RP, although it's not exactly clear from the photographer where in The Philippines it is. Can you solve the puzzle?

In case you need reminding of how the pieces work or their relative values, then this article might help!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Carlsen Leads London

Kudos to GM David Howell. In his round 3 game of the London Chess Classic, the Englishman held Magnus Carlsen to a draw. But not without a little oversight from the super grandmaster Norwegian.

After Howell's 52. Nf5, Magnus could grabbed victory with 52...Ra2+.

But the game continued: 52...Rd7 53. Rh8+ Kf7 54. Kg3 Rb3 55. Kf4 Rb1 56. Kxe4 Rf1 57. Rh7+ Ke6 58. Rh8 Rc7 59. Nd4+ Kd6 60. Rd8+ Rd7 61. Rc8 Rg7 62. Rd8+ Rd7 63. Rc8 Re7+ 64. Kd3 Rc7 65. Rd8+ Rd7 66. Rg8 Rg1 67. Ke2 Kc5 68. Kf2 Rb1 69. Rf8 Rd6 70. Rf7 Rb2+ 71. Kf3 Ra2 72. Ke4 Kb6 73. Rf8 Rg2 74. Kf3 Rh2 75. Rb8+ Kc7 76. Ra8 Kb7 77. Rf8 Rh7 78. Kf4 Rh1 79. Kf3 1/2-1/2

And this from John Saunders' press release:
As the players signed their scoresheets, Malcolm Pein took upon himself the lugubrious duty of informing the world number one what he had missed at move 52. Magnus took it pretty well, on the whole – a pained expression briefly crossed his face, and sotto voce he uttered the comment “that’s a bit embarrassing”. It broke his streak but he will come back refreshed after the rest day (Friday 11th). The last word must be for David Howell – he showed true grit to defend a horrendous position through two time scrambles. OK, ‘England’ lost the four-game ‘match’ by the odd point to the ‘Rest of the World’ but I think David’s performance on its own deserves the singing of a few choruses of the country’s favourite footie chant. Altogether now, everyone, there’s only word to learn: "Eng-er-land!, Eng-er-land!, Eng-er-land!..."

Meanwhile, Caoili still leads the Women's Invitational by a full point, on 4/5, despite her expected setback against IM Susan Lalic. The good thing is that games from the women's are now available and can be viewed here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy 40th, Vishy

Today is a special day for Indian super star GM Vishy Anand. He turns 40. Thanks to Rediff for the tip.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Kasparov Has Hairy Back

With an estimated population of about 3.25 million people, Armenia is a small country. In chessic terms, however, the Armenians are a powerhouse. Exactly how did this small nation come to achieve such distinction?

That's the question that David Edmonds seeks to answer in his article for Prospect magazine last month. Now I could have quoted any number of more relevant passages, but I really cannot help myself and must quote this:

The long-time world champion and now political activist Garry Kasparov was born Garry Weinstein, but his mother was Armenian. Levon Aronian has an Armenian mother and a Jewish father too. With those genes, he said mischievously during a break in the competition, “my genius was guaranteed.” He was eating supper in the dingy dungeon dining hall along with Arianne Caoili, a rare female player who accompanied Aronian to the tournament. “But you have two advantages over Kasparov,” said Caoili. “You speak better English, and your back is less hairy.” Three years ago, when Armenia won the gold medal at the chess Olympiad for the first time, Caoili briefly and inadvertently helped propel the game into the mainstream news. The brainy, beautiful Filipino-Australian, a master-strength player, was dancing with Aronian when an English GM, Danny Gormally, became jealous and punched him. Another Armenian took umbrage at this assault on his nation’s idol and later thumped Gormally back. Typically, Aronian proved the more astute tactician; he and Caoili are now together.
Which naturally begs the question: how does our beautiful Ari know the hairiness of Garry Kasparov's back?

The entire article, "The lion and the tiger", can be read here. There is also an accompanying photo essay by one of my favourite photogs, no less than Magnum photographer, Stuart Franklin.

Some of our non-Pinoy readers may wonder about Aronian's attire in the photos. That is a Barong Tagalog, a traditional formal wear for Filipino men.

Caoili Posts Second Win

WIM Arianne Caoili posted her second straight win yesterday, going up to 2/2, after beating WFM Maria Yurenok in the Women's Invitational section of the ongoing London Chess Classic event.

WIM Arianne Caoili. Photo courtesy of John Saunders

For Caoili, currently the top ranked Australian woman, the event should serve as a good workout (probably one of many she'll enter) leading up all the way to next year's Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. Her biggest challenge in London is likely to be IM Susan Lalic.

Unfortunately, it looks like all the resources for the event are focused on the main classic, hence PGNs from the women are not available. Hopefully, that will soon be corrected.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Not Short of Moves

I could be mistaken but the McShane - Short game in the first round of the London Chess Classic might just be the longest top level game this year. The whole contest lasted 163 moves! In the end, the younger McShane emerged the winner after he finally managed to outflank Short and successfully exploited his pawn advantage.

Chess Classic
McShane, L.
Short, N.

The following position arose after Short's 119...Nf8.

McShane now continues with 120. Kd3 Nd7 121. Kc2 Nf8 122. Be1 Nd7 123. Bg3 Nf8 124. Kb2 Nd7 125. Ka3 Ba5 126. Ne7+ Kb6 127. Bd6 Ka6 128. Nd5 Bd8 129. Bg3 Ba5 130. Ka4 Bd2 131. Bc7 Bc1 132. Bd8 Bb2 133. b4 Bd4 134. b5+ Kb7 135. Kb3 Be5 136. Kc2 Bd4 137. Kb3 Be5 138. Be7 Bd4 139. Bd6 Bf2 140. Kc2 Ka7 141. Kd3 Kb7 142. Ke4 Bd4 143. Be7 Be5 144. Ne3 Bf4 145. Ng2 Bg3 146. Kd5 Bf2 147. Ke6 Ne5 148. Bxf6 Nxc4 149. Bxg5 Na3 150. f6 Bd4 151. f7 Bg7 152. Bf6 Bf8 153. Be7 Bg7 154. Bxc5 Nxb5 155. f8=Q Nc7+ 156. Kf7 Bxf8 157. Bxf8 Kc6 158. Nf4 Kd7 159. g5 Nb5 160. g6 Nd4 161. g7 Nf5 162. g8=Q Nh6+ 163. Bxh6 1-0

Of course, the big news from the event is the much-awaited encounter between Carlsen and Kramnik. Carlsen, playing the white side of an English, won that one with seeming ease.

In the women's section, WIM Arianne Caoili is also off to an excellent start by beating WFM Olivia Smith.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Carlsen Wins Opener

Well, sort of. Before the actual hostilities with his fellow super grandmasters, GM Magnus Carlsen sat down to a friendly with a local English player, Stephen Moss. This game was played just prior to the opening day's press conference.

My thanks to John Saunders, chief press officer of the LCC, for sending me this along with a bunch of photos (one of which can be seen below).

Moss, Stephen
Carlsen, Magnus

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. c3 Nf6 4. e5 Nd5 5. d4 cxd4 6. cxd4 d6 7. Bb5+ Bd7 8. Bxd7+ Qxd7 9. O-O Nc6 10. Nc3 Nxc3 11. bxc3 Rc8 12. Ba3 dxe5 13. Bxf8 Rxf8 14. Qb1 "Imaginative", according to John's annotations and for which Magnus was apparently complementary. 14...exd4 15. cxd4 g6 16. d5 exd5 17. Qb2 f6 18. Rfe1+ Kf7 19. Nd4 Rfe8 20. Qd2 Nxd4 21. Qxd4 b6 22. Red1 Rc5 23. Rd3 Qc7 24. Rad1 Re4 25. Qa1 Qe5 26. Qxe5 fxe5 27 Rxd5 Rxd5 28. Rxd5 0-1 Saunders: "I think Stephen may have actually resigned some time after the rook left d1 and arrived on d5, as he suddenly noticed the 'down train' which is on its way to the 'terminus' on e1."

Moss - Carlsen, 0-1Moss - Carlsen, 0-1

Short: Chessers Shoot Themselves

On the eve of the strongest tournament in London, an event that will attract hundreds of thousands, Jonathan Clegg considers why chess has so far failed to attract the big dollars. He quotes Nigel Short:

Chess has simply failed to tap into its enormous potential: We have too many people shooting ourselves in the foot, or in the head if you like, and we're not enough progressive enough as a sport," says Nigel Short, a former world championship challenger and current British No. 1.

He blames the International Chess Federation, known by its French acronym FIDE, for failing to leverage the sport's enormous global reach. With 158 member nations, FIDE is the second largest world-wide sporting organization after FIFA, the governing body of world football.

From the WSJ's, "Chess Wants Sponsors as Mates".

Note that, as I posted last week, WIM Arianne Caoili will also be playing in the Women's Invitational.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Ang on So vs Ivanchuk

Bobby Ang's column today in the Philippines' Business World paper features the recent mini-match between GM Wesley So and super GM Vassily Ivanchuk. Hurry before this goes into the archives.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Young Talent Time

The Norwegians have Magnus, while Filipinos have Wesley So. Of course, the latter isn't quite in Magnus' league (maybe not yet), but both have certainly stirred excitement aplenty in each others' homelands.

After his powerful performance in the World Cup, GM Wesley So returns to a hero's welcome in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, writing for the UK's Telegraph paper, Max Davidson has this interesting quote by Magnus' father, Henrik Carlsen: "Boys are very good at focusing their attention on one thing at a time...Girls are better at multitasking. I would not say Magnus is naturally hard-working. In fact, he can be quite lazy at times. But when he is following his intuition and curiosity, there is no stopping him."

Read more in Magnus Carlsen: the rise and rise of chess's answer to Mozart.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Heading Back to Tokyo

Well it's just been announced at work, so I suppose I can now also say it here.

As a matter of fact, the reason for my recent trip to Tokyo was to recce the place. To orientate myself with the city, to find apartments and meet my new colleagues. Yes, that's right: I'm moving to Tokyo for work.

In January I'll be packing my bags, head off to the Japanese capital and begin a 3-year stint as an expat. Thus, very sadly, I'll be MIA from the upcoming Australian Championships as well as from the couple of biggies that I normally attend - SIO and Doeberl.

What does all this mean for the TCG blog, you ask. Very little, except for the fact that I'll be doing my blogging from Tokyo. After all I do most of this now 'remotely'.

As soon as I arrive in Tokyo, probably one of the first things I'll do is to find out where the local chessers hang out. If none exists, well, I'll just have to set one up! Also, I plan to meet up with a certain Miyoko Watai - Fischer's wife. I understand that she's the head of the Japan Chess Association. That should be an interesting meet-up.

So, it's not goodbye yet. But that's my big news for the day.

So Set to Join Elite

His run was always going to come to an end sooner or later in the World Cup. Pinoy talent GM Wesley So was stopped in the rapid game phase by GM Vladimir Malakhov. The Russian was too good. However, So can at least return to RP knowing that his rating edges ever closer to that magic 2700!

Even The Freeman newspaper in the province of Cebu (where I come from) is getting all excited with their headline, "RP chess prodigy Wesley So steps closer to Super Grandmaster norm".

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

London Chess Classic 2009

Top level chess is set to return to the city of London. And I only wish that I could be there.

From 8 - 15 December this year the 1st London Chess Classic tournament will be held at the Olympia Conference Centre in London. As the website says, this event "will be the first in a series of events designed to reinvigorate UK chess and promote the game and its undoubted educational benefits in schools and communities."

The top section will feature no less than the likes of Carlsen, Kramnik and Naka. But there will also be supporting events including a Women's Invitational. WIM Arianne Caoili is currently slated to play in that event. With a super GM for a support crew, I reckon she'll be the one to beat!