Friday, 19 September 2014

2014 Vikings Weekender 15/16th November

The 2014 Vikings Weekender, Canberra's 'Biggest Little Weekender' is being held on the 15th and 16th of November. Once again it is being organised and hosted by the Tuggeranong Chess Club, and sponsored by the Tuggeranong Vikings Rugby Union Club. The tournament details are

Date: 15&16th November 2014
Venue: Tuggeranong Vikings Rugby Union Club, Ricardo St, Wanniassa, ACT
Divisions: Open and Under 1600 (ACF)
Format: 7 round swiss
Prizes: Open 1st $1000, Under 1600 1st $500 - Other prizes based on entries but last years prize pool was over $2500
Entry Fee: $65, Junior/Concession $45 GM,IM,WGM,WIM Free
Rounds: 15th (Saturday) 10:30am, 1:30pm, 4:00pm, 7:00pm 16th (Sunday) 10:30am, 1:30pm, 3:45pm
Arbiter: IA Shaun Press

Enter online (no payment required) at (NB If asked to enter a player ID, any number will do!. Players with FIDE ID's can simply use the search function). Entry fees will be collected on the morning of the event.

(I am a paid official for this event)

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The saga of 11.3b

If you aren't a regular visitor to, you may have missed the following announcement concerning Article 11.3b in the Laws of Chess.

The Rules Commission reported that they have altered Law 11.3b in the Laws of Chess to reflect the request of the ACC. The new text reads: During a game, a player is forbidden to have a mobile phone, electronic means of communication or any device capable of suggesting chess moves on their person in the playing venue. However, the rules of the competition may allow such devices to be stored in a player’s bag, as long as the device is completely switched off. A player is forbidden to carry a bag holding such a device, without permission of the arbiter. If it is evident that a player has such a device on their person in the playing venue, the player shall lose the game. The opponent shall win. The rules of a competition may specify a different, less severe, penalty. The arbiter may require the player to allow his/her clothes, bags or other items to be inspected, in private. The arbiter or a person authorized by the arbiter shall inspect the player and shall be of the same gender as the player. If a player refuses to cooperate with these obligations, the arbiter shall take measures in accordance with Article 12.9.

This new ruling came about as part of the work done by the FIDE/ACP Anti-Cheating Committee, and is a change from the previous, harsher version agreed to in 2013.
The only problem is that changes to the Laws of Chess need to be agreed to by the FIDE General Assembly, and this did not happen in Tromso. The reason for this was once all the excitement of the elections was over, a large number of delegates (including the PNGCF delegate) failed to turn up when this was supposed to be voted on, meaning the GA lacked the necessary quorum.
 Personally I found this very disappointing, especially I was one of the authors of this new rule, and 6 months of hard work looked to be going to waste. What has now been decided is that while the change is not official, tournament organisers can follow the new rule, without fear that events won't be rated or that they will fall foul of other anti-cheating regulations. The intention of course is the changes will be approved at the next General Assembly, but at his stage this not planned to occur until 2016. But while the solution to getting the new rule in place is not perfect, it at least is better than what it could have been.

Old or new

The following game from the 2014 European Club Championship is already receiving high praise. Grischuk does his best to keep Rodshtein's king in the centre, sacrificing material to do so.
But having played through the game I am undecided whether I am looking at a modern masterpiece, or a homage to a previous time. The sacrifice of material, combined with direct threats against an uncastled king, reminds me of some of Keres' games from the 1930's. However, to pull this off requires pretty exact calculation, which is more the hallmark of the modern player. Nonetheless, one thing seems to be a constant in this game, and that is falling behind in development gets punished, whether it is 1934 or 2014.

Grischuk,Alexander (2789) - Rodshtein,Maxim (2678) [A07]
30th ECC Open 2014 Bilbao ESP (3.3), 16.09.2014

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

I feel like Bobby Fischer

If you hang around long enough, you eventually become your parents. So I'm not surprised that the music I listen to is moving further away from what my children choose to listen to. But I still try and stay relevant by listening to JJJ, even if they seem to be showing signs of middle age themselves.
Occasionally I will catch a song which jumps out at me. The other day I happened to be listening 'Cosby Sweater' by the Hilltop Hoods. Now the title is amusing in and of itself, but like a lot of hip-hop they name check a number of people. And in this case Bobby Fischer gets a mention, in the lines
I feel like Bobby Fischer, always 4 moves ahead of my competition

Now I don't know if that counts as 'bigging yourself up' in the hop-hop community, but the lines are repeated throughout the song. I'm also assuming the Hilltop Hoods knew enough about chess to think of Fischer, but given that 'Magnus Carlsen' also scans, maybe not so much to give the song a more contemporary feel.

Monday, 15 September 2014

How does Microsoft stay in business?

The joy of computer upgrades. My previous adventures were chronicled here, and 5 years later nothing has improved. In fact the 'Easy Transfer' software has since been crippled, as you cannot transfer data across your home network anymore (expensive usb drives instead). Even the obvious 'drag and drop' from shared folders is a nightmare, as obscure file permission and ownership issues lurk at every turn.
Compare this with just about every Linux upgrade I have ever done. apt-get dist-upgrade and the latest and greatest operating system appears. Transfer files, no worries. scp or rsync and you're away. No fuss, no muss, and all for free.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Bilbao Masters (and European Club Championship)

After the excitement of the 2014 Sinquefield Cup, attention now moves across the Atlantic, to the Bilbao Masters, which begins this evening. Nominally the final of the Grand Slam, the field consists of Ponomariov, Anand, Aronian and Vallejo Pons. Probably the major interest from this event is how Anand will perform in the lead up to his World Championship match with Carlsen, but obviously the games and the likely winner will also be important. Having nailed my prediction for the Sinquefield Cup (Caruana), my instincts see a return to form for Aronian, and a tight first place for him.
Running alongside the Masters is the European Club Championship. This event seems to be growing in popularity, with 61 teams taking part this year. The SOCAR team from Azerbaijan are the rating favourites, with an average rating of 2750., and there are 4 teams rated above 2700. While the top teams are fielding a raft of GM's, I am keeping a watch on the lower boards, where the minnows (including White Rose) will be battling it out.
Both events are under way (11pm starts Canberra time, I am guessing), and you can *some* live coverage at (NB Both events are linked to from this page)

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Stop me if you've heard this one before

Hotter weather, hotter chess? There probably isn't a correlation between the two, but the return of the spring sunshine has seen some quite nice games at Street Chess recently. Of course faster time limits tend to result in more direct chess, so there may be additional factors at play.
The following game was actually shared with me by the loser, who thought it was nice enough to include in this blog. Both players castled long, which is quite rare, but White's decision to copy Black turned out to be a tactical blunder, as the immediate sacrifice on c3 was winning. White declined the first sacrifice, only to be hit by a stronger one 2 moves later. As mate was forced, White at least allowed Black to play the prettiest mate, one that I have seen played in a number of beautiful attacking games from the 70's

Chibnall,Alana - Ambrus,Endre [B18]
Street Chess, 13.09.2014