Tuesday, 30 September 2014

OMG! Did I miss that?

Nice game this evening, good opening, won a piece after my opponent miscalculated, and then all I had to do is stifle my opponents counterplay. Having done that, deal with a couple of last gasp tricks, and then finish the game off with my extra rook. Except both myself and my opponent missed a rather large plot hole. 39.Qf4?? looks like it kills the last of Blacks play but ...

Press,Shaun - Braguine,Victor [B24]
Belconnen FDK, 30.09.2014

Monday, 29 September 2014

Two pawns abreast

While my lifetime score against Australian chess legend IM Robert Jamieson was 0 from 2 (or maybe 3), I remember that the games were hard fought and I was competitive for most of the game. But the other thing I took away from the games was little tid-bits of advice that came in the post mortem. One point that always stayed with me was his asking "Where are your two pawns abreast? You need two pawns abreast to make a break with one". This advice was similar to what I later discovered in Kmoch's Pawn Power in Chess, where he pointed that that pawns standing next to each other cover the 4 squares in front of them.
The further up the board you can march these pawns, the more space you have to operate. I managed to use this to my advantage in a game I played quite recently. While in general I have the feeling that my chess in on the wane, I was pleased that in this game I managed to keep things under control. Once my pawns stood on e4 and d4, I was able to use the space advantage to almost trap my opponents knight (which allowed me to gain a passer), as well as swinging my rook to the queenside via f5. Eventually the pawns were surrendered for material gain, but by then the game was almost over.

Patterson,Miles - Press,Shaun [A04]
Belconnen FDK, 23.09.2014

Sunday, 28 September 2014

2015 Australian Junior Chess Championships

The 2015 Australian Junior Chess Championships will be held in Canberra from the 17th to the 25th of January 2015. The venue will be Canberra Grammar School in Red Hill. There will be 12 main tournaments (U18,16,14,12,10,8 Open and Girls) plus Lightning and Problem Solving events.
The website for the tournament www.ajcc.com.au  is now live, and you can find all the tournament details there. The site also has accommodation options available, and if you are planning to play, it might be worth booking earlier rather than later (The Asian Cup football tournament will be on in Canberra at the same time!)
You can also register for the event under the "Entry Form" menu. As the entries start to come in (and some players have already entered!) the organisers will post them on the website.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

2014 George Trundle Masters

One of the few International Round Robin events in Oceania, the George Trundle Masters, started today at the National Chess Centre in Devenport, New Zealand. The top section is a 10 player event, with representatives from New Zealand, Australia and Russia taking part. Top seed is IM Anton Smirnov, ahead of GM Daryl Johansen and IM Vladimir Smirnov. For the titled players (IM's Lane and Garbett included) the aim will obviously be winning the event or at least picking up some rating points. For the rest of the field, a chance at an IM norm is also on offer, although it may be a tough ask. Along side the master is the Challengers event, which is an all New Zealand affair, and I assume is a qualifier for next years event.
Event details and results are available via the New Zealand Chess Federation page. I am still looking for a link to live games (normally a feature of NZ events), but have come up short so far. If I do find it I will update this post.

What just happened?

Of all the forms of chess problems, I find retrograde problems the most interesting. In a 'retro' you
have to work backwards, to work out what the last move was, or whether a promoted piece was on the board etc Raymond Smullyan, mathematician, logician and magician, is one of the leading composers of these type of problems, and the diagrammed position is due to him. As retrograde problems go, it is fairly easy, but there is still a delight in finding the answer. While it is White to move, the problem is find the last 2 moves (by black and white) that lead to this position.

Friday, 26 September 2014

2014 Women's World Championship postponed

FIDE have announced that the 2014 Women's World Championship has been postponed. While the announcement states that his has been postponed for a few months, it also contains a strong hint that the reason for the postponement is a lack of venue and sponsors. I suspect part of the reason was the concentration on both the FIDE elctions, and trying to secure sponsors and venue for the Carlsen - Anand World Championship match.
The failure to get this event (a knockout this year) going is a bit of a surprise, as FIDE have generally been pretty good in the area of Women's chess. Hopefully the delay really is only for a few months, and the tournament will be held before the end of the year.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

There is a price break at 1000

While investigating future career options, I decided to have a look at alibaba.com For those not aware of alibaba, it is a massive online commerce site, mainly serving Chinese manufacturers. As its main purpose is business to business sales, the bargains often come with conditions.
If you are looking for cheap chess sets, there are a few manufacturers who offer them, at prices down to $2 a set. However you need to order a minimum of 100 sets (in some cases), making the decision to but a non-obvious one. Clocks are even more challenging, with digital clocks going for as cheap as $20, as long as you want 500 of them! And those cheap chess computers you cans till find at Dick Smith or Jaycar. $20 from the factory, assuming you can store 500 in your garage.
So obviously the stuff is a bargain, if you can find a use for it. At this stage I'm looking at smaller quantities for my club, and I assume I can find them if I look hard enough, but the "Shaun's Chess Garage Emporium" is probably some ways off.