Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Off to the (expensive) Tromso Olympiad

Like a lot of people in the chess world, I am heading off to the 2014 Chess Olympiad. When the bid was received from Tromso, it did look quite impressive, but some people did suggest it would be an expensive place to go to. At the time this concern was mainly concerned with the price of alcohol, but it turns out just about everything is pricey. I expect there is going to be a degree of 'price shock' when the masses arrive at Tromso Airport.
Getting fed is probably going to be the biggest challenge, if you are not there as a player. The meal package seems to be around $110 a day(!), for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As this is the first Olympiad I will be attending as a non-player, scouting around for a good hot dog stand may be my best option. Even a load of washing is going to cost $45, so buying new shirts might be the most economical plan.
I am leaving tomorrow evening so the usual blogging caveats apply. Light blogging while in transit, with the chance of no posts for a day or two. Stopping over in London both there and back, otherwise it will be 15 days of reporting from Tromso.

Monday, 28 July 2014

If you can snatch these pebbles from my hand

While the Poltiken Cup is a 300+ player swiss, it did not stop the smaller group of Australian players (6) from occasionally running into each other, at the board. Olympiad team captain FM Manuel Weeks had to play FM Junta Ikeda and IM Moulthun Ly, and scored a credible 1/2. For a slightly  younger generation of Australian players this may be a bit of a surpise (as Manuel does not play a lot these days), but he was a strong player when active, and has quite extensive opening knowledge. This knowledge came in quite handing when I roomed with him at a couple of Olympiads, and it was no coincidence that I had my best  Olympiad results when he was able to help me with my preparation.
Here is the game where he defeated IM Moulthun Ly. Normally the two bishops should beat the rook, but the passers on the edges of the board proved the difference.

Weeks,Manual - Ly,Moulthun [D03]
Politiken Cup, 26.07.2014

Sunday, 27 July 2014

2014 ANU Open - Day 2

After 7 tough rounds, the 2014 ANU Open ended in a tie between FM Endre Ambrus and IM Andrew Brown. Brown had lead the tournament with 4/4 after the first day, but a loss to CM Jonas Muller in round 5 suddenly opened up the tournament. However Ambrus almost knocked himself out of contention in the same round, dropping an exchange against Wenlin Yin in an ending. But in a still tricky position, Yin failed to find a clear path to victory and actually lost on time.
Ambrus then overcame Muller in round 6, before overcoming some determined resistance from Alana Chibnall in the final round to finish on 6/7. Brown reached the same score by beating Michael Kethro and Clive Ng. Muller finished in outright 3rd on 5/7.
Dillon Hathiramani continued his good run in Under 1600 events by finishing outright first in the Minor. He drew with joint leader Kayleigh Smith in round 5, beat Mitchell Jones in round 6, before a quick last round draw with Bazli Karattiyattil in the final round left him with 6/7. Karattiyattil shared second place with MV Shasthry on 5.5
Full standings and replayable games from the Open are here. Results from the Minor are here. (NB I am having difficulty with how Vega handles the links to pgn files, but if you want to download the games, chop one of the repeated ANUOpen2014 strings in your browsers address bar)

Muller,Jonas (2131) - Brown,Andrew (2336)
2014 ANU Open Canberra AUS (5.1), 27.07.2014

Saturday, 26 July 2014

2014 ANU Open - Day1

The 2014 ANU Open began today, with a much smaller field than last year. Of course the top section was affected by an upcoming tournament in Norway, but I am not sure why numbers are down by 25%.
The Open started with 19 players, and is already looking like a tough affair. Top seed IM Andrew Brown finished the first day on 4/4, after dispatching his closest rivals. His round 3 win over 2nd seed FM Endre Ambrus was probably the critical game of the day, with a tactical skirmish ending with a killer night fork.
Ambrus still holds a share of second, along side 3rd seed Jonas Muller. Muller dropped a point to Wenlin Yin, but bounced back with a 4th round win over Fred Litchfield.
In the Minor event, Dillon Hathiramani and Kayleigh Smith lead with 4/4. Smith, a last minute entrant, said her main goal was not to lose all her games, so clearly she has met that goal! There a 9 players behind them on 3/4, so a win for either in tomorrows round 5 clash will make the the clear favourite to take out first place.
At the web page for the 2014 ANU Open, you can find both the results, and replayable games from the early rounds. Results for the 2014 ANU Minor can also be found, although no games as yet.

Friday, 25 July 2014

2014 ANU Chess Festival - Pawn Grabbers!

The first event of the 2014 ANU Chess Festival was the ANU University Co-op Bookshop Canberra Club Challenge. It was for teams of 2 players playing blitz (G/5m) in a 5 round swiss. Last years event was for club teams but this year it was opened up to any team of two. Apart from a couple of club teams (ANU Scholars, Belconnen Bruisers), there were a number of 'pick up' teams, and overall the tournament was quite strong.
The first few rounds saw The Ladies who Blitz (Alana Chibnall and Kayleigh Smith) take a clear lead. However their run was stopped by The Lads (Harry Press and Michael Kethro) in the third round. Meanwhile the Pawn Grabbers (Elwyn Teki and William Booth) recovered from a round 2 loss to The Lads, to also take a share of the lead. In the final rounds the Pawn Grabbers scored 2 wins over the Belconnen Bruisers (Stephen Priest and Cam Cunningham) while The Lads dropped a crucial point to Just Met (Damien Van den Hoff and Leron Kwong). This left the Pawn Grabbers in front by a point, with The Lads taking second. Third on countback were The Ladies who Blitz, ahead of defending champions the ANU Scholars (Jeremy Reading and Miles Patterson).
The whole event was more about fun than blood, although the Pawn Grabbers were pleased with their victory. King O'Malley's provided the venue free of charge, and while their regular patrons weren't quite sure what to make of it, a good time was had by all.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

A nice game - Tiger v Ikeda

Got caught up with FIDE Anti-Cheating work last night, meaning I missed a blog post. But I awoke this morning to see the following battle from the current Politiken Cup. The guy with one of the coolest names in chess Tiger Hilarp-Persson up against one of the coolest guys in Australian chess, Junta Ikeda.
The game looked to contain trademark play from both sides, with Tiger sacrificing a piece for lots of pawns and play, while Ikeda kept finding tricky moves in the materially unbalanced ending. Eventually Ikeda found a nice way to draw, sacrificing his last piece for a Bishop and wrong coloured rook pawn ending.

Hillarp-Persson,Tiger - Ikeda,Junta [E39]
Politiken Cup, 23.07.2014

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Politiken Cup 2014

The Politiken Cup in Denmark has always been a pretty big event. This years tournament is being held just before the Olympiad, and as a result a number of players are stopping en route to Norway. In fact four fifths of the Australian Open team, along with the team captain are taking part, and all seem to have got off to a good start. IM Mouthun Ly, FM Junta Ikeda and FM Anton Smirnov are all on 2/2, while GM David Smerdon and FM Manuel Weeks (Team Captain) are on 1.5.
As the field is a very large 314 players, there are still a few rounds before the real battles start. However such a hit out against a high quality field will help the team get into form before the Olympiad starts.
The website for the tournament is very nice, and not only contains live coverage, but also replayable games as part of each players personal page.