Thursday, 26 March 2015

If this is a trap ...

I had an interesting experience during my game at the local club last night. Having played the first 9 moves of Marshall Gambit theory I was surprised by my opponents 10th move. 10.d4 seemed slightly odd, but at first I could not decide whether it was good, bad or just different. After taking the pawn I was then surprised by my opponents 12th move, when he took of d5 rather than d5. For a brief moment I thought I had been tricked, as the bishop on e7 hangs after Qxd5. But then I thought to myself "If this is a trap I would have heard of it before". The Marshall is a well established opening, and I have been playing it for 30 years, so a surprise like this would have come to my attention long ago. Armed with this knowledge it did not take me long to realise that Qxd5 was more than fine, as Bb7 threatening mate on g2 holds everything together.
It even turned out the the whole idea was worse for White than I or my opponent realised. After White played 14.f3 I decided to try and trap the rook with 14. ... Ne6 and eventually I won the exchange. But 14. ... Qc5 is even stronger hitting the rook on e7 and threatening all sorts of discovered attacks. So there is a trick in this variation, but it is a trick for Black, not for White.

Cunningham,Cam - Press,Shaun [C89]
ANU Challengers, 26.03.2015

2015 ANU Masters - Litchfield wins

Eighteen year old Fred Litchfield is the 2015 ANU Masters Champion, after a final win over Harry Press. The last round saw 4 players still with a chance to win the tournament, but the win by Litchfield, and a loss by Victor Bragine saw Litcfield win the tournament by a full point.
Tied for second were Braguine, Miles Patterson, and Alana Chibnall, on 4 points. Braguine, who lead the tournament for the first 6 rounds, was beaten by top seed Andrey Bliznyuk, who finished the tournament on 50%. Patterson looked like he was winning against Adrian De Noskowski, but a perpetual check saved De Noskowski, who finished the tournament with 5 draws from 7 games. Chibnall reached +1 with by beating Jeremy Reading, who ended up tied for 6th place with Press and De Noskowski.
In the supporting Challengers event, Brian Butler defeated Michael Reading to finish on 5./7, qualifying for next years Masters.

Litchfield,Frederick (1994) - Press,Harry (1965)
2015 ANU Masters Canberra AUS (7.1), 25.03.2015

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

2015 O2C Doeberl Cup - places filling fast

If you haven't entered this years O2C Doeberl Cup, and are still planning to, you better enter as quickly as possible. The last week has seen a big rush of entries, and as a result a number of events are near capacity. Surprisingly it is the Major (Under 2000)  that has filled up first, with only 1 place left (and that was after the the limit was increased!). The Premier still has 15 spots open (although 80 is the hard limit for this one), while the Minor (Under 1600) has 13 spots open. The Under 1200 still has plenty of room, but with only a maximum 50 players in this event, entering sooner rather than later is the smart thing to do.
At last count there were 209 entrants across the 4 events, around 50 short of the maximum the venue can hold. With the new venue (University House, ANU) we hope to avoid the crowd issues of the last few years. There is plenty of space outside the venues, and there is a large bistro and bar located downstairs. Even if you are not planning to play, it is a very good setup for spectators who simply wish to spend a day watching chess.
Tournament information, including online entry, is available at the tournament website

(** I am a paid official for this event **)

Monday, 23 March 2015

The bigger they are

An interesting story buzzing around the net for the last few days concerns mathematician John Urschel. He recently published a joint paper titled 'A Cascadian Multigrid Algorithm for Computing the Fiedler Vector of Graph Laplacians' The fact that he published such a paper is not that suprising really, as he does hold a masters in Mathematics.
Slightly more interesting is that he is also a chess player. According to one bio I saw he played in the Under 1700 section of the 2015 Pittsburg Open, scoring 3/5. Of course that does not make him that special, but neither maths or chess is his current day job.
The real reason why his paper has attracted so much attention is that when he isn't writing papers or studying chess, he is an offensive linesman for the Baltimore Ravens NFL Team. An odd mix of career  (although not completely unknown) but one he is comfortable with for know.
More background on both his paper, and his sporting career can be found here.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

2015 Dubbo Open - Day 2

The 2015 Dubbo Open ended with Harry Press and Dragan Granjis tying for first place with 5/6. Half a point behind were David Lovejoy and NSW Country Champion Fritz Vander Waal.
The second day started with David Lovejoy half a point in front, and he kept his lead with a draw against Alana Chibnall. He was joined by Harry Press, who beat Oskar Hellmann, and they played in the 5th round. After a lot of manoeuvring in the Ruy Lopez, Press found a breakthrough on the kingside and went into the last round with a half point lead. Close behind Press were Dragan Granjis, who had beaten Chibnall in round 5, and Vander Waal, who had beaten Malachi Odonoghue.
In the final round Press drew with Vander Waal to guarantee at least a share of first place, where he was joined by Granjas, who beat top seed Don Keast. In third place were Vander Waal, and David Lovejoy, who beat tournament organiser Alexander Aich, to reach 4.5.
Rating prizes were shared by Aich, Col Parsons, Hellmann and Bill Egan (Under 1700), while John Sumner won the Under 1300 prize. Nikhil Rajesh was the best junior player.
While the field was a little smaller this year it was still an enjoyable event for all who took part. The make up of the field meant that all the games were hard fought, and there were no easy draws. Press and Granjas went through the tournament undefeated, as did Fritz Vander Waal. Full standings from the tournament can be found here.

Lovejoy,David - Press,Harry [C90]
2015 Dubbo Open, 22.03.2015

Saturday, 21 March 2015

2015 Dubbo Open - Day 1

The first day of the 2015 Dubbo Open saw the day end with a number of players still in contention for the title.  The top end of the 25 player field were seeded reasonably close together so it was no surprise that each round saw a number of close games.
Upsets started as early as round 1 when top seed Don Keast was held to a draw by former winner Bill Egan. Jonathon Harding also had a good start, beating Pertti Sirkka in a rook versus pawns ending.
Given the makeup of the field, it was no surprise that the third round of the day saw a number of hard fought draws. In fact 5 of the top seven games ended in draws, all hard fought. As a result David Lovejoy was the only player to finish with 3/3, although there are four players half a point behind.
This evening also saw the popular Time Handicap Blitz. Alana Chibnall won for a second year running, with 4.5/5, just ahead of Harry Press on 4 and Shaun Press on 3.5
Results from the event can be found at and are updated after every round. Tomorrow sees David Lovejoy play Alana Chibnall on the top board, and the winner of this game will be well placed to win the tournament.

Friday, 20 March 2015

When small children break your database

In preparation for from trip to the Dubbo Open tomorrow, I decided to have a look at my past games from the tournament. From way back in 2003 I noticed I had played IM John-Paul Wallace and not remembering how the game went decided to have a look. The first moves looked ok although the choice of 2.Qd3 by Wallace seemed a little surprising. I wasn't sure whether this was an interesting opening experiment, or just a Carlsenesque attempt at livening up things.
However once I played a few more moves it suddenly became clear. At some point in the past my son Harry, had been playing around with my chess database. This was when he was around 5 or 6 and well before he became a 1900+ chess player. It seems he inserted a number of random moves into the game, and then saved it to my database. There was at least one other game similarly affected, although I am yet to do a complete audit to determine the full extent of the damage. 
I'm pretty sure the result is recorded correctly (a win for J-P) but sadly it seems the correct record of the game has long been lost. So all I have left to show is a game that never took place, containing moves that don't make sense.

Wallace,John-Paul - Press,Shaun [E92]
Dubbo Open Dubbo (5), 16.03.2003