Destined to be featured in a future edition of "The Complete Chess Addict" comes a game from the recently completed 2013 European Individual Championship. It is not every day you see 3 queens of the same colour on the back rank (outside school chess events anyway), but at move 50 you do. Despite the smattering of material for White, and a passer on a6, the co-ordinated forces of her majesty's is enough to win the day.
(Thanks to Chesstoday for bringing this game to my attention).
Normally the FIDE Laws of Chess get updated every 4 years. The last update came into force on the 1st July 2009, which means that on the 1st July 2013 an updated set of Laws was to be published. One of the reasons for this is that changes to the Laws of Chess must be approved by the FIDE General Assembly, which normally meets every 2 years.
However the process went a little of the rails last year, meaning that the new Laws will not be published on the 1st July. One of the reasons was that despite the efforts of all involved (including myself), there were a couple of issues unresolved when the GA was in session. At first it was thought that the best way to deal with this was to leave the final approval of the proposed changes to the FIDE Presidential Board. However the PB then came back with proposed changes beyond what was discussed before the last GA, leading to a kind of confused impasse. Members of the PB wanted to see their changes go forward, while members of the FIDE Rules and Tournament Regulations Commission weren't happy with changes that had not been discussed by the committee. As a consequence the FIDE website has just announced that that proposed changes (which haven't been officially agreed upon) will be discussed at the FIDE Congress in Tallinn later this year, with the possibility of publishing them in 2014.
The 2013 Asian Continental Chess Championship is currently being held in Manila, The Philippines. This years event has quite a large prize pool, courtesy of celebrity sponsor, Manny Pacquiao. Pacquiao is the first boxer to win titles in 8 separate divisions, as well as being a member of The Philippines House of Representatives.
Fourteen countries are represented in the Open Championship, in a field of 77 players. The largest entry comes from the host country, and while Australia/NZ/PNG are not represented, tiny Guam is being represented for the first time by Efren Manuel.
If you want to follow the action then the best link is probably here, as I have not been able to find a tournament website. There is also links to results, pictures and videos from this page.
Blind Chess is not quite the same as Blindfold Chess. In the latter a sighted player plays without sight of the board, while in Blind Chess, the players are visually impaired.
For those that have played at the SIO or various NSW Country events, Alex Momot is an example of a blind chess player, while Ted Bullockus, who played in the Doeberl Cup in the 1990's was legally blind, although he did have partial sight. And in last years Chess Olympiad, the team representing the International Blind Chess Association finished 44th winning 5 matches (including one against New Zealand), drawing 3 and losing 3.
Blind Chess is particularly popular in India, and there is now a documentary on the subject. "Algorithms: Four moves in, we are all blind" is being shown at the upcoming Sydney International Chess Festival. It follows 4 blind chess players from India for 3 years, leading up to their participation in the World Junior Blind Chess Championship.
The premier of the film is 6:00 pm Thursday 6th of June at the Dendy Opera Quays Cinema in Sydney, while there is a repeat showing at 4pm on Saturday 9th June. If you want to find out more about the film before seeing it (including watching the trailer) then visit the film's website at http://www.algorithmsthedocumentary.com/
Well Norway 2013 did not quite go according to script, with Sergey Karjakin finishing half a point ahead of tournament favourite Magnus Carlsen. Karjakin had a half point lead going into the final round, and kept that lead after his game against Topalov was drawn, while the Aronian - Carlsen game also ended in a draw. Joining Carlsen in second place was Hikaru Nakamura, who defeated Jon Ludwig Hammer in a nice final round game.
One thing that is now starting to look like a tradition was the moments of madness that occured in the last 2 rounds. Round 8 saw both Karjakin and Carlsen lose, while the last round saw World Champion Viswanathan Anand lose to Wang Hao. Despite finishing on 50% (and in 7th place) Hao beat the World No. 1 and the World Champion in successive rounds. The thing to note with this tournament was the number of decisive games, with 24 wins ahead of 21 draws. In part this was due to both Karjakin at the top (+5=2-2) and Hammer at the bottom (+1=1-7), but every player dropped at least 1 game. A rarity at this level.
Having just started another round of junior coaching, I'm always on the lookout for a set of 'stock' games I can show my students. The level of students requires a little bit of a balancing act, as they hover between being able to solve specific problems (mate in 2, material winning combinations), while not always finding them in actual games.
While I lean towards the Morphy/Blackburne style of game (rapid development, central control, tactical finish), such games often contain things you want to teach (mating attacks), and some things you want to avoid for now (giving up material).
Today I played the kind of game that falls into this category. I was quite pleased by the finish, which demonstrates some nice tactics, but it did depend on a little bit of generosity from my opponent. In initially declining to take on f7 in the Traxler, he gave me a couple of free moves. Eventually he decided that he should take on f7, but this only played into my hands. It turns out I also missed 12. ... Nxh2! but if I had played it, I may not have ended the game in the way I was looking for.
While working on my tactical training, I've come across two sorts scoring systems. The first is to rate your results on the accuracy of your solutions, while the second is to take the speed of your solutions into account. While I can see the merit in the second system, I've always felt that to 'reward' fast solutions also encourages mistakes. The temptation to try the first plausible move can be dangerous, and may prevent you from correctly analysing real game positions.
As a follow up to this, I wondered whether there is a direct correlation between chess strength and solving speed. I suspect there is, but what form this correlation takes was, up until now, a little unclear. But someone was thinking about this topic before me, and has produced a short discussion post on the topic.
Have a look at this post at the AoxomoxoA Wondering blog, where the author uses his own experiences to try and answer the question. I wouldn't say it is a comprehensive answer to the initial question, but it is at least a start.