Sunday, February 28, 2010

Doeberl Corrects a Blunder

Lucky these Prodos and Catholics have a fairly good sense of humour. If it was any other religion, the 2010 Doeberl Cup t-shirt design might have just caused a small stir. You know what some people are like.

Sadly, I won't be there, of course. Even sadder especially that I'll be missing out on the return of the supposed-to-be-traditonal lightning, which the silly bastards gave up last year for something called random.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Boost for Malaysian Chess

Malaysian chess looks set to get a boost with the arrival next week of Bangladeshi grandmaster Ziaur Rahman. Quah Seng Sun is very excited:

Why would we need a foreign grandmaster here in Malaysia? Well, it is to boost chess development in the country. We need someone who is experienced enough to be a catalyst to raise our game. Ziaur happened to be available and he was interested in the challenge.

Read more here.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Spiderman as Bobby Fischer

The star of the Spiderman series on the big screen, Toby Maguire, looks set to play a whole new role as Bobby Fischer in an upcoming film called "Pawn Sacrifice". First Showing has the juice.

Polgar v Kaidanov

I've just received this info from Zeljka Malobabic on the J Polgar - Greg Kaidanov match. Looks like a theme type match on the Sicilian System. So far, Kaidanov is up 2-1 and all games have been won by the white pieces. Here's the first game.

Kaidanov, Gregory
Polgar, Judit

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 f5 11.Bd3 Be6 12.c3 Bg7 13.Nxb5 axb5 14.Bxb5 Bd7 15.exf5 Nb8 16.a4 O-O 17.O-O Bxf5 18.Qf3 Be6 19.Ne7 Qxe7 20.Qxa8 d5 21.a5 Nd7 22.Qa7 Qd6 23.a6 e4 24.Bxd7 Bxd7 25.Qe3 f5 26.Rfd1 Bc6 27.a7 Ba8 28.Qe2 Qc5 29.Qa6 f4 30.Ra5 Qe7 31.Raxd5 e3 32.Qd6 exf2 33.Kf1 Qe3 34.R5d3 Bxg2 35.Kxg2 f3 36.Kh3 Qe2 37.a8Q f1Q 38.Rxf1 Qxf1 39.Kh4 Qe1 40.Kh5 1-0

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sydney's Canterbury Chess Club

I meant to post about this sooner when I got the email from Stewart Enfield a few weeks ago.

Canterbury Chess Club in Sydney is possibly one of the smallest clubs around, but it has a core group of very committed members. Among them is former national champ, FM Fred Flatow. Others to appear in their club rooms are IM George Xie and the hustler, Ernesto Puzon.

I mention this club because, while my connection with them had already waned by the time I left Oz last month, it's a club that gave me nice memories. For instance, the only trophies I ever got from chess were won from Canterbury CC events. But more critically, I mention them because they need members; and they need volunteers.

In Dr Stewart's email (he was the club secretary at the time) he said, "Clearly, if we do not have enough hands to run the club, it will fold. None of us wishes to see that outcome."

Well, I hope it doesn't fold and will still be there by the time I get back.

The club is located meets in the Lakemba Services Club, cnr Quigg St and the Boulevarde, Lakemba. They meet Mondays, starting from 1930.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Magnus: The Sulky Mozart

From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Initiated into chess early on by his father, as a boy Magnus nevertheless preferred other pastimes that he explored on his own.

Aged two, he could recite all car brands; as a five-year-old, he built monumental creations out of lego; then he moved on to memorising the world's countries, their flags, capitals, and areas.

But he was soon brought back to chess by the desire to beat his older sister at the game.

Read in "Sulky 'Mozart of chess' the new Kasparov".

Friday, February 19, 2010

Book Store Events in RP

Good news from Filipino chess writer Bobby Ang:
The National Book Store is putting together a series of chess tournaments aimed at kiddies (two categories: 15-under and 11-under) to be held at the Robinsons Galleria Activity Center starting in March. National Book Store wants to use chess as a marketing tool for itself (makes sense, chess and books have an intellectual bent) by sponsoring a series of large (200 participants) tournaments every six months, then between those tournaments a smaller tournament every month (about 40 participants). The idea is to attract and encourage our younger players and give them a venue to learn chess and to develop their skills.
Read more.

When I entitled my post "Darwin Ducks Out", I had no idea that the guy was going to take it so literally. He is reported to have withdrawn from Aeroflot going into the eight round. Compatriot Wesley, on the other hand, performed creditably and finished with 5 points.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Black Chess Master

I quite like this article in the Cape Code Times by Sean Gonsalves. Here Sean talks about the role of chess in the education of black America. Even get the University of Sydney gets a mention.
OK, so it may be overstating it a bit to say chess is a game that may help alleviate the education crisis troubling black America today. But it can't hurt to celebrate this new hero emerging out of communities of color — the black chess master; a strategic thinker and potent alternative to the drug dealer/rapper/basketball player ideal that holds the imagination of far too many black youth. As Fred Reinfeld said, "the pin is mightier than the sword."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oz Olympiad Selections Open

Selections for this year's Olympiad representation have just opened. Dr Bonham makes the announcement here.

The men's team shouldn't be too hard. I'll stick with the 2008 crew, except that I'd dump Solo and replace him with IM Alex Wohl. It's a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned. And I think it's important to keep hammering with George. He'd have already learnt quite a bit from his last campaign and more hungry this time.

On this distaff side, well, who the hec are we going to put on board 1 other than WIM Arianne Caoili? As for the rest, Berezina-Feldman is an easy pick on second board, powerhouse Moylan on three, and I'd seriously start looking at Guo and, wait for this, Vaness Reid.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Look NSWCA

Finally back online after 2 days of going without the internet! I think that's the longest stretch I've been without some sort of connection. I'd have gone totally mad if not for smoking some shisha, drinking chocolate beer and some damn fine yakitori! Tokyo is the bomb.

First good news I spot is that the NSWCA's website has undergone an overhaul, apparently the handiwork of Quentin Reitmans who, I believe, works as a graphic designer. He's done a pretty damn good job and I can only hope that the NSWCA paid him well for it. The site is even coded using CSS, a big contrast to that awful specimen of amateurism, the Chess Victoria website (and Sydney FC rules). Mr Reitmans has thought a lot of things through properly, including even the itsy-bitsy icon in the browser's addy bar. Nice touch!

The logo, too, has seen an upgrade. It's thoroughly modern, but probably won't win too many design awards. What I find interesting is that Reitmans' bosses within the association have opted to dump their body's establishment date ("Est. 1900", I think it used to say), a feature that accompanied the last logo. I suppose that's them saying, "Look at us, we're looking to the future"!

But right about there I can hear some of the usual critics cry out, "Yeah right!" At least for the association, their usual nemesis happens to also be their present boss.

I only have 2 little whinges. The 'About' section seems a tad misplaced. The IA suggests that most content talking about the body are linkable from the footer. So why leave the 'About' page on the left nav bar? Surely it's not because it's more important than "NSWCA Council'. That saved space might be useful for 'News', for example. Secondly, the trio of square tournament adverts on the homepage occupy far too much space than they deserve. In fact, there's absolutely no reason to have these at all since the same pieces of info could be adequately presented under 'Coming Events'. Dumping the square boxes should push more of the content upwards above the fold.

And lastly, I couldn't help notice the number of current full members. I was genuinely surprised to find that this number is just a bit over 200 souls! Let's hope the new website will do something to boost membership. How? I do not know!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Darwin Ducks Out

GM Wesley So is off to a good start in the 2010 Aeroflot Open, in Moscow, as he collects 1.5 points from three games. After a draw in the first round with GM Gaem Maghami, he won the second over GM Bocharov, before losing the third game to Vietnam's GM Ngoc Nguyen.

The other Pinoy in the tournament, GM Darwin Laylo, is having a terrible time. After 3 games Laylo has a trio of ducks against an all-GM opposition. Normally, an IM could be considered a reprieve, but the next opponent is 2519-rated Russian, Alexandre Danin, one of only five IMs in the A1 section.

I'd give you guys a game, but these haven't been uploaded onto the site yet.

(Note that I won't be posting anything over the weekend. Unfortunately, my new apartment doesn't have its internet connection enabled yet. Too bad. The good thing is that the place is equipped with fibre optic connection. So I'm really looking forward to that 100Mbs connection speed. Yeah, yeah, it's only achievable under best conditions, but whatever I get is ahecofalot faster than anything in Oz!)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Banjo Set for GM Title

Looks like the Philippines is going to get another grandmaster. The now US-based international master Rogelio Barcenilla will finally receive his long-awaited GM title. Marlon Bernardino reports here.

For Barcenilla, also known as 'Banjo', it wasn't an easy road to this high honour:

However, the World Chess Federation (FIDE) didn't confirm Barcenilla’s GM status in the 2000 FIDE Congress in Istanbul, Turkey.

His GM title application came to a final standoff when votes were tied after all but one of the officials had cast their votes. The last official to vote, who will therefore break the tie and decide whether or not Barcenilla becomes a GM, happened to be a Filipino. But to everyone's surprise, he voted to reject the application.

The reason he cited was the tournament format being used in the last event Barcenilla competed in which was the Marshall system, a format that was not included among those cited in FIDE's guidelines that could bestow GM norms.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Cherny... Who?

I've never heard of this bloke, but GM Konstantin Chernyshov of Russia has just won the Moscow Open. The Asian region, though, can claim their hero in Vietnamese grandmaster Le Quang Liem, who finished 3rd on tiebreak. Here's one of Liem's wins, beating the Indian Sasikiran.

Moscow Open 2010 - Section A
Le Quang Liem
Sasikiran, K.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. e4 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bg7 7. Bc4 c5 8. Ne2 Nc6 9. Be3 O-O 10. O-O Qc7 11. Rb1 Bd7 12. Bd3 Rfd8 13. h3 e6 14. Bg5 Re8 15. Qc1 cxd4 16. cxd4 Qd6 17. Rxb7 Rab8 18. Rxb8 Rxb8 19. Qc5 Qxc5 20. dxc5 h6 21. Be3 Rb2 22. Rd1 Nb4 23. Bc4 Bc6 24. a3 Nc2 25. Rd8+ Kh7 26. Bc1 Rb7 27. Bd3 Ne1 28. Ba6 Rb1 29. Kf1 Nc2 30. Bd3 Bb5 31. c6 Bxd3 32. Rxd3 Rb6 33. c7 Rc6 34. Rd7 Nd4 35. Bf4 Nxe2 36. Kxe2 e5 37. Be3 1-0

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Musashino Chess Club

Finally moved into an apartment this weekend. It's in the neighbourhood of Kichijoji. I'm already liking this place. It has the flavour of Paddington, in Sydney, or St Kilda, in Melbourne. Just like those suburbs Down Under, Kichijoji is hip and happening. My kinda town.

But the best bit, I think, is that there's a local chess club! It's the Musashino Chess Club and I found it thanks to this website (ran by a Japanese bloke with an American accent).

Friday, February 05, 2010

Computers and Chess Strategy

An interesting post in Tech Republic:

Some chess players are deeply into technology; others, not so much. Many of today’s young champions are in their teens and twenties. They are “digital natives” — part of the generation that grew up with computers. They tend to be comfortable with using high-tech aids to help them prepare for games and hone their tactics and techniques. Many of the players at the top layers hire someone else to handle the data analysis and assist them in planning strategies — after all, two heads are always better than one, and it helps to have different perspectives.

Read more in The role of computers in planning chess strategy.

Chess Now Videos

This just cracked me up. The Chess Now series has been going on now for about 3 years and are already up to there 62nd episode. But it's the first one that's a true classic, I reckon.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Russia Bound So

Coming up next: Aeroflot 2010!

Backing up just after his excellent fourth place finish last week in Corus 'B' is GM Wesley So who, I'm sure, will give his many fans yet more sleepless nights. I just hope that he actually scores a few more wins than draws. Joining the Pinoy number one is compatriot, GM Darwin Laylo.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

GM Gawain Jones with IM Watson

Current New Zealand resident and now surely to be known the world over as that grandmaster with the deadly smirk, Gawain Jones, is featured in IM Watson's series of interviews for the ICC. Preview is available here.

Also from the ICC are Macauley Peterson's videos from the just concluded Corus. The last one is great!

Monday, February 01, 2010

News from The Ranges

Courtesy of the Knox Leader:

Ethan Lim from Ferntree Gully gained the Under 8 national title for a second year in a row when he won a playoff against a junior from NSW. Ethan also came first in the Under 8 Rapid Chess competition. His 10 year old sister, Denise Lim, won second place in the Under 12 Girls Championship and came second in the Under 12 Girls Rapid Chess. Also among the winners was Ruihong Lu from Boronia who came third in the Under 14 Girls Rapid Chess and won the Under 16 Girls Lightning Chess Championship.