Thursday, June 25, 2009

Tactics Puzzle

Here's an interesting position I just played on FICS.

Hint: Black to move and win material.

Answer can be found by highlighting between the brackets
[1. Bxe4 Bxe4
2. Nxe4 Qxe4
3. Re8 Qf3
4. Rxe3! and White cannot take the Rook back because of Bd4 pinning the Queen]

Friday, June 19, 2009

Do Losers Make Their Own Bad Luck?

Here's some food for thought.

As chess players, what do we regard as really important ?

I for one have no ambitions of ever attaining any titled rank. The amount of effort required to reach the highest echelons of chess involves an enormous amount of time and resources which I currently do not possess.

But is it possible that chess players suffer from status anxiety in one form or another?

IMHO, the more engrossed we are in chess and the more emphasis we place in chess, there is a chance that the level of our dissatisfaction with chess itself arises.

We start to compare with other people, be it other players of the same club or with people who we perceive to be our
"equals". And when our peers start to get better or rise up the ranks quicker than us, we feel resentful. We may even starting cursing ourselves for our own inadequacies and our failings.

Chess is a rather strange beast.

Much like the secular world we live in, we largely perceive the chess world as meritocratic. In chess, everyone is more or less granted the same in terms of equality with regards to the various rights, opportunities and methods to improve our knowledge and understanding of chess.

And herein lies one of the problems with this meritocracy. If as chess players, we believe that those at the top merit their success, then by logical reasoning, are we also inclined to believe that those at the bottom merit their failure? Does this also not mean that those at the bottom brought it upon themselves? Are they - as Ben Kingsley so coldly call them in the movie, Searching For Bobby Fischer - losers?

The oft quoted modern punishing mantra in the chess world is "We make our own luck."

So why is it that when winners say they were lucky, we are more inclined to believe it. But for the defeated to blame it on bad luck, why are we less inclined to believe the opposite?

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

U1800 Rd 4: Norths Grizzlies v Ryde Eastwood Results

I didn't fare so well in my game last night and lost after making a positional blunder vs Gordon Miller. Oh well, I will just have to take the lumps as it goes. Fritz had a look at the position this morning and spotted something (strangely enough, a purely positional move) that I would never have considered. :)

My team overall put up a decent performance.

Fellow team-mate Brenton beat my brother-in-law Steven in a tense game on Board 1.
Lorenzo lost against Oscar Wang on Board 2.
David French drew with Marek Baterowiz on Board 3.

So that effectively puts us at 1.5-2.5 for the overall result.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Norths Winter Challenge

This was a game I played during the Winter challenge 2 weeks ago.

During the middlegame, my opponent made some mistakes and I made some mistakes as well and we quickly transpose into an endgame in the following position.

The question is:

Should White play Qxh5(yes that Knight really is en-prise)? Black's a-pawn is going to head home soon because Black will be trying to play Qd4+ on the next move followed by a2 then a1=Q.

Answer can be found by highlighting the brackets

[1. Qxh5 is correct but there's a hidden reason. Play continued....
1.... Qd4+
2. Kh1 a2

3. Rxg7+!! It's mate in 3]

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

U1600 and U1800 Rd3 Results

Tonight is a bit of an unusual situation.

Both of my teams, the U1600 Norths Bear and the U1800 Ryde Eastwood were playing in the same venue at Norths League club.

I had earlier informed my U1800 team captain David French 2 weeks ago that I could not play for them tonight as I would be playing for the U1600 Norths Bear.

As a result, David had to find 2 players to fill in (Lorenzo was away as well) and Dennis Hale and young Dylan Siow-Lee luckily filled in for replacements for Lorenzo and me.

So the U1800 Ryde Eastwood team comprises Brenton Yum, David French, Dennis Hale and Dylan Siow-Lee.

I had a slight shuffle in my U1600 Norths team as well. The players were me, David Stern, Andrew Johnson and Michael Anderson respectively. We were playing the team from Manly (yes, I know how this sounds really strange) comprising Jack Mejzini, Chris Dimock, Gordon Miller and Nina Vayssiere.

My opponent was Jack Mejzini. I was Black and we quickly transposed into the Sicilian Dragon. Jack made a mistake and blundered his Knight (I was shocked that he left his Knight en prise that I spent nearly 10 minutes calculating the effects of taking it). He got 2 pawns for the Knight in return but it was insufficient compensation and I basically traded into a winning endgame.

Boards 2 and 4 were a draw and Board 3 was lost, so the U1600 Norths emerged 2-2.

I was watching the U1800 Ryde Eastwood team but unfortunately, we didn't fare so well, we lost on all boards and ended up 0-4.

An absolute bummer.

Friday, June 5, 2009

U1600 Rd 2: Parramatta vs Norths Bears Results

I lost to Vaness Reid (1563) last night at Parramatta.

Blundered a piece for nothing in a + position. I've also learned a lot from my game last night. When I went home, I briefly annotated my game by myself first and found quite a few mistakes I make in my decisions. It's funny how a calm and rational mind sees things differently. I'll let Fritz go through the motions over the weekend to see what else I might have missed.

The rest of our team's results were not so good.

Our team captain, David Stern drew with Shane Burgess, and with 3rd Board Andrew Johnson and 4th Board Robert Laurie losing their respective games, it puts us at 0.5-3.5, capping off a rather miserable night for us.

Overall, we're 2 points out of a maximum of 8 points - having played 2 clubs.

I would especially like to thank Robert Laurie for sending me to and fro from the club from Norths League club and also kudos for David Stern for making the necessary arrangements.

I don't have much time to quell on the results. Next Tuesday, I'm up to play Manly and I expect to face Jonathan Adams or Chris Dimock.

While I was at Parramatta, their U1800 team didn't fare so well. Joshua Christiansen and Sitompul Sotarduga lost.

It's a been a long night and I'm off to sleep.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

U1800 Rd 2: St George vs Ryde Eastwood Results Update

I fought tooth and nail on Tuesday night but unfortunately, my opponent prevailed after I blundered as I was nearing time controls.

Result for Ryde Eastwood: Brenton drew on Board 1, Lorenzo lost on Board 2, David won on Board 3 and I lost on Board 4.

That puts our score at 1.5-2.5.

My opponent was Michael Babic (1709) and I had Black. We got into a Symmetrical English opening where neither side was making much headway. Our game was equal for the most part but I miscalculated a tactical combination 4 moves deep allowing him to win a Rook for a Knight. I should have seen it as all the moves were forcing moves. After the game, I congratulated Michael on his win and he didn't seem keen to analyse the game afterwards so I didn't bother asking him.

Lorenzo drew in his makeup game vs Parramatta's Frank Barisic on Wednesday night. So that put Ryde Eastwood effectively at 4.5 points in total.

Tonight, I'm playing against Parramatta for the U1600 for North Sydney Bears on Board 1.

U1600 Canterbury team captain Roger Gordon has emailed my team captain, David Stern about a rescheduling of our game vs Canterbury from Monday Jun 15 to Tuesday Jun 16. Unfortunately, this clashes with my game (playing for Ryde Eastwood) on Tuesday night vs Norths Grizzlies. As a result, David would have to find a replacement for me for that night.

I've yet to find some spare time to post my game... I hope to do so soon!


Monday, June 1, 2009

Ratings Suicide

The ACF June Ratings are out and as I expected, I've slided down horribly in losing 4 games against 1300-1400/unrated opposition and have dropped 70 rating points from 1540 to 1472.

Since my debut in chess last year, my ratings have gone as follows:

1534 -> 1500 -> 1540 -> 1472.

However, I'm not unduly worried. I had expected my rating to fall because my competitive spirit had been lacking the last month.

Heck, I'm not sure if I can ever win it back.

Tomorrow I'm up against rather formidable opponents. The U1800 St George Saints group on their home territory and the last I checked, their lowest ranked player at the last board is 200 points above me. There's nothing to lose now, I guess. :)

U1800 Rd 1: Ryde Eastwood vs Parramatta Redux

Quick update: There has been a protest(?) lodged regarding last week's game on Board 2 vs Parramatta. The result was that our team-mate Lorenzo Escalante will need to replay his game against his opponent on Wednesday again.

So the score is now 2-1 at the moment as reflected in the official NSW Grade Match Results here.

We have a game against St George on Tuesday and I have a subsequent Thursday match ironically against Parramatta yet again but this time playing in the U1600 division for North Sydney.