Wednesday, 20 August 2014

2014 ACT Women's and Girl's Championship

The ACT Junior Chess League is holding the ACT Women's and Girl's Championship this weekend (23rd and 24th August). This event has been run successfully for a number of years, and often draws a larger field than comparable event in the bigger Australian states.
It is being held at the Campbell High, Treloar Crescent, Campbell (the ACTJCL HQ), from 10am Saturday. It is played over 2 days with a time limit of G60m+10s. There will be 6 or 7 rounds (depending upon numbers), and players can request half point byes if they need to fit it in with other activities.  It is open to female players of all ages (not just juniors), and each year sees a few veterans take on the younger brigade.
You can register before 9:45am on Saturday. For further information, visit the ACT Junior Chess League web page.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

2014 Olympiad - Accuracy

Harking back to a post I made a month or two ago concerning best moves versus accurate moves, I had a quick look at who might have been to most 'accurate' player at the Olympiad.  The simplest way to measure this was to see which players made moves which 'damaged' their position least, at least according to various computer engines.
Having had a look at the numbers it is no surprise that a number of very strong GM's headed the list. The top 10 all came in below .035 pawns per move, which means you would have to wait 29 moves before they dropped a pawns worth of evaluation. At the other end of the table there were players who did damage at a far quicker rate, with 6 moves being around the average wait for moves that dropped a pawns worth of position.
The player who came top of the list for accuracy was Vietnamese GM Ngoc Truong Nguyen. Playing board 2 he scored 8.5/10 and won the Gold Medal for best performance on board 2. In the following game he defeats GM Emilio Cordova in an almost flawless game.


Ngoc Truongson Nguyen (2634) - Emilio Cordova (2629) [E32]
Chess Olympiad Tromso NOR (9.15), 11.08.2014

Monday, 18 August 2014

2014 Chess Olympiad - (small) Oceania Teams

The 2014 Olympiad saw a fantastic result for the Australian team (=24th seeded 60th), while the New Zealand team would be disappointed with their result (=97th seeded 76th). As for the smaller Oceania nations, the results were somewhat mixed.
Fiji finished top of the Oceania "2nd Division" with 7 match points. They turned it around after getting 'blanked' in the first 3 rounds, winning 2 matched and drawing 3. CM Sam Goundar was the best performer, with a 50% score (4.5/9). PNG could not repeat there performance from 2 years ago, scoring 3 wins for 6 match points. The team was well placed going into the last 4 rounds but a couple of bad results left them short of the 8 point mark. FM Stuart Fancy was the outstanding performer for the team, scoring 7.5/11 on board 1.
Guam had a promising debut, also finishing on 6 points. They scored a lot of their points in the first half of the event, but were made to pay for this with a tough finish. Board 4 Jonathon Molod did enough in the early rounds to earn a CM title, and finished as top scorer on 4/10. Palau had a tough event, with only 4 match points. Jeffrey Balbalosa was the best performer, scoring 3/8 on the bottom board. The Solomon Islands finished at the tail of the tournament, but 3 drawn matches gives hope for the future. They were also ham strung by travel arrangements that meant they had to miss the final round.
Overall, the small Oceania teams (with the possible exception of Guam), ended up in the same places as previous events. This reflects that other developing countries are on the improve, while Oceania is yet to see a new wave of players coming through. Nonetheless, experience in playing in the Olympiad is an invaluable one for helping develop chess in these countries, and hopefully the next decade will see these countries keep pace with the rest of the world.

Saturday, 16 August 2014

2014 Chess Olympiad Day 11 - China and Russia

The 2014 Chess Olympiad ended in victory to China in the Open Section and Russia in the Women's section. Both were leading going into the final round, and avoided any last minute problems to take the top spots.
With Hungary and India taking 2nd and 3rd in the Open, it was an interesting trifecta, which would have paid out big for anyone having a punt. The Chinese team is a relatively young team, while Hungary is based around some experienced stars. The Indian team is somewhere in the middle in terms of age, although a resurgent Anand would have made it stronger still.
The final round was overshadowed by the tragic death of Kurt Meier, who collapsed during the game, and a second player after the round had finished. I met Kurt on a number of occasions at Olympiads ( as PNG had played the Seychelles a few times ) and hope to do a bigger post on him a later date.
Currently flying into London, and spending a day there before heading back to Australia. When I am on solid ground below the equator I hope to do a better summary of what was an interesting Olympiad.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

2014 Chess Olympiad - Day 10

The win by China over France in round 10 leaves them in the box seat to win their first ever Open Olympiad. The 2.5-1.5 victory leaves them with a 1 point lead over Hungary and a 2 point lead over a large number of teams tied for third. In the final round they are paired with Poland, and barring a last round accident they should end up either in first or tied for first. However Hungary are holding out hope that they can defeat Ukraine while Poland steps up to take down China. The third scenario involves both China and Hungary slipping up and then a whole raft a teams ending up on 17 points. While the Olympiad tie break rules are a little complicated, I suspect that China would probably end up in first place in this case anyway.
In the Women's event the Russian team look good for first place. The lead by a point ahead of China and the Ukraine, and with China and Ukraine playing each other in the final round, the Russian have an easier path to victory.
The Australian team has a difficult task with Germany in the final round. Obviously a win would give them a fantastically high finish, while a loss will probably drop them to their seeding level. Nonetheless, apart from a few early hiccups, the team has pretty well, scoring a number of good wins in the run home. The Australian Women's team is currently sitting around their seeding, but a last round pairing against Malaysia gives them a good opportunity to achieve a much higher placing.
Round 11 starts early today, and is probably underway as you read this. There is live coverage at the Chess24 website, while Chessbomb has also had live games available there as well. The presentations and closing party take place this evening, and tomorrow will see the exodus from Norway begin.

Fressinet Laurent (2708) - Yu Yangyi (2668) [A37]
WCO2014 Tromso (10.27), 12.08.2014

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

2014 Chess Olympiad - This thing happened

For context click here.

Fumey Enyonam Sewa (1833) - Skehan Craig [B10]
WCO2014 Tromso (10.26), 12.08.2014

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

2014 Olympiad Day 9 - No change at the top

While round 9 of the 2014 Chess Olympiad was taking place, another game was being played on the other side of town. The 2014 FIDE Presidential Elections took place during the 1st day of the 2014 FIDE General Assembly. It brought to an end a 2 year campaign between the incumbent Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and the challenger Gary Kasparov. The campaign was noted for its level of vitriol, which as in all 'good' campaigns, was far worse by 'other side' (no matter which side that happened to be),  and only happened as a response to the other sides 'misinformation and lies' (again the side did not matter).
But once all the shouting and arguments were finished, Kirsan Ilyumzhinov won the election 110-61. The result wasn't far off the low-ball figure of 58 votes for Kasparov, but the margin was still bigger than most people expected. While the Kasparov campaign probably succeeded in securing more votes in Africa (and the continent most likely was split 50-50), they failed to pick up many more votes elsewhere. Once again the Americas was continent that contributed most to Kirsans victory, with Kasparov picking up at most 3 votes.
The Kasparov team was understandably disappointed, while the Kirsan team was very happy with yet another election win. It is not clear who will turn up in 4 years time to run for President, but if they do, history may be the best guide to what they will be up against.