Friday, 29 July 2016

2016 ANU Chess Festival

The 2016 ANU Chess Festival begins today (29 July 2016), with the 2016 ACT Teams Blitz event at King O'Malley's Bar in Canberra City. This event is for teams of 2 players and starts at 6pm. Entry is free, teams can be formed on the spot, and there is $250 in prizes.
Tomorrow and Sunday (30/31 July) sees the ANU Open and Minor, at the ANU School of Art. This 7 round swiss has already attracted a number of strong players (IM's Ikeda, Brown and Jones), all fighting for the $1000 first prize.
Then on Tuesday and Wednesday (2nd/3rd August) the ANU Schools Championship is being held at University House ANU.
There will be live DGT coverage of the ANU Open over the weekend. Head over to to see the latest tournament results, plus games from the top 4 boards from 10 am tomorrow.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

The British

The 103rd British Championship is underway, with a couple of rounds already completed. The field is pretty strong at the top (Adams, Howell, Jones) but then falls away after that, with less than a quarter of the 86 player field rated over 2300.
One player in the above 2300 group is Australian player Justin Tan. Since the tournament reverted from being open to any Commonwealth players to being a UK& Ireland affair, there haven't been many players from the colonies, but Tan benefits from having dual Australian/UK citizenship. Given his recent excellent form, I expect him to do well in the event, and hopefully he can pick up another GM norm.
The event homepage is here, and his has links to live coverage and results. The rounds start at 11:30 (Canberra time), and you can catch the commentary at

Monday, 25 July 2016

Chess politics

According this report, the Armenian team will not be playing in the 2016 Olympiad hosted by Azerbaijan.  This is of course due to the dispute between the two countries over Nagorno-Karabakh, and the boycott had been on the cards since the Olympiad was awarded to Baku in 2012. At the time the Armenian delegation protested the awarding of the Olympiad to Azerbaijan due to the conflict between the two countries, but as Baku was the only bid to meet the bidding criteria, there wasn't an alternative venue.
Slightly more surprising is the suggestion that Greece won't be going either, although I have no idea the reasons why. Possibly the issue is a financial one as FIDE have included Greece on the list of countries receiving travel subsidies, but there may be other reasons at play.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Album Covers

A recent gift has turned my mind to the topic of chess themed record covers. Probably the most obvious choice is "Chess" by Tim Rice, Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaaeus, but there are others.
Unfortunately my search was hamstrung by two issues. Firstly, searching for chess and music throws up and awful lot of links to "Chess Records", the Chicago based record label, that had Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Chick Chuck Berry and many others on their roster. Secondly, pretty much every other album I managed to find was almost always 1970's prog rock, with allusions to wizards and Alice in Wonderland (although I see Pink has recently travelled this road as well).
But all was not lost. While researching this brief piece I came across a cover of a children's book (not a record) titled "Goodbye Testicles". And that made the whole exercise worth it.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Carlsen equalises

After 5 years of head to head chess, Magnus Carlsen has brought his lifetime score 'Classical' games against Anish Giri up to 1 each (with a bag load of draws). Having first played in 2011 (with a win to Giri), Carlsen has been unable to grab that revenge victory, until yesterday.
In the 9th round of the Bilbao Masters, Carlsen opened with the London System, and although the opening did not seem the give him much, he did get some play on the kingside. Giri however defended his position, and Carlsen even missed a change to win material. But a mistake on move 37 by the out of form Giri gave Carlsen a second chance and he took it.
The win also gave Carlsen an insurmountable lead in the tournament as unsurprisingly, the other two games were drawn.

Carlsen,Magnus (2855) - Giri,Anish (2785) [D00]
9th Masters Final 2016 Bilbao ESP (9.2), 22.07.2016

Thursday, 21 July 2016

2016 ANU Open - Early entry cut off

Tomorrow (22 July) is the cut off date for early entries for the 2016 ANU Open and Minor (Under 1600 event). The tournament is next weekend (30 and 31 July) and has over $3000 in prizes. Full details are available at  (click on the 'Regulation' link).
NB You only need to register early to be eligible for the discount. You can still pay on the day, but as long as you enter by midnight tomorrow you get the $10 off your entry.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

You can find tricks in any opening

There are plenty of weird and wonderful openings I have played, but there is also just as many I haven't tried. One opening I've never really looked at is the Chigorin Defence to the Queens Gambit (1.d4 d5 2.c4 Nc6).  I was asked about it at the chess club tonight, and while confessing a limited knowledge of the main ideas, I still prattled on about it, not realising I was confusing it with the Nimzowisch Defence (1.e4 Nc6).
To rectify this I had a quick search for an interesting/exciting game in the proper Chigorin. I discovered one originally presented in the book "Take my Rooks" by Minev and Seirawan. While probably not representative of a typical Chigorin, it does show that Black can get some nice attacking play, as long as he is willing to toss some material.

Baksa - Szimonidesz [D07]