Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Crashed And Burned

I lost as White last night against Egon Cardenas (ACF rating: 1256) playing a slightly offbeat variation of the Ruy Lopez.

Egon has certainly improved by leaps and bounds and kudos to him for a well fought game.

Despite having an advantage, I blew it away by breaking the cardinal rule of "Always bring all your pieces to the party".


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grade Matches Commences....

It's that time of the year again, and the NSW Grade Matches are starting in ernest.

I'll be playing for Norths in the U1600. Tonight, surprise, surprise, I'll be playing against the lads from Ryde Eastwood. Whatever happens, I'm looking forward to playing again. That's one of the thing about being members of 2 chess clubs. You end playing against the other club one of these days.

I doubt I'll win today but I'll try my best as I need to shake off the "rustiness" from being away from chess for too long.

A couple of updates.

The Manly Leagues Chess club is no more (no they've not decided to call themselves the Womanly Leagues Chess club either). Instead, they were forced to shift base camp to the suburb of Freshwater and is now called the Harbord Diggers Club.

Monday, May 24, 2010

US 2010 Championship Final: Open Mouth - Insert Pie

As the US2010 heads towards the final, 4 GMs, Hikaru Nakamura, Gata Kamsky, Alexander Onischuk and Yuri Schulman qualified.

Given that these are 4 extremely strong GMs (on their day), Hikaru Nakamura sought fit to mention, "Whoever beats Yuri (Schulman) will win the tournament. Me, Gata, and Onishuck will try to draw each other, and beat Yuri." - not subtly implying that Schulman, being the weakest (ratings wise) amongst the 4 will be a punching bag for the other 3.

Nakamura must be extremely pleased when he was drawn with Schulman having the White pieces.

Now he must have really regretted his words because he just got burnt to a crisp and came crashing down in 26 moves!

That was a nice miniature, Nakamura! Thanks for showing us how not to handle the French Defense. By the way, there's a pie waiting for you outside the playing room.

Tournament: U.S. Championship 2010
Round: 09
White: Nakamura, Hikaru
Black: Shulman, Yuri
Date: Mon May 24 2010
Result: 0-1
1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e5 c5 5. a3 Bxc3+ 6. bxc3 Qa5 7. Bd2 Qa4 8. Nf3 Nc6 9. h4 cxd4 10. cxd4 Nge7 11. h5 Nxd4 12. Bd3 h6 13. Kf1 Nxf3 14. Qxf3 b6 15. Qg3 Ba6 16. Qxg7 Bxd3+ 17. cxd3 Rg8 18. Qxh6 Qd4 19. Re1 Qxd3+ 20. Kg1 Rc8 21. Bg5 Qf5 22. f4 Rc2 23. Rh2 Qd3 24. Qf6 Rxg5 25. Qxg5 Qd4+ 26. Kh1 Qe3 0-1

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Anand's Secret Team

From the Chessbase interview with Anand, it turns out that aside from his own team of helpers, Anand also received help from:

a. World #1 rated player: Magnus Carlsen
b. 13th World Champion: Garry Kasparov
c. 14th World Champion: Vladimir Kramnik


d. Godfather Don Vito Corleone

And this photo is irrefutable proof. :)

(speaking of which, Topalov must really be a much "well loved" guy that he's got 2 ex-World Champions and #1 rated player working with his opponent - I can't even remember the last time that has happened)

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quiz: Do You Know Your World Chess Champions?

How well do you know your World Champions? :)

I've come up with a quiz. Now try to figure out who they are - answers can be found by highlighting between the brackets.

To make things easier, I'm limiting the Chess Champions to the 15 Classical World Champions (WCs). In other words, the answers to the quiz are amongst the following:

1 Wilhelm Steinitz 1886–1894
2 Emanuel Lasker 1894–1921
3 José Raúl Capablanca 1921–1927
4 Alexander Alekhine 1927–1935
5 Max Euwe 1935–1937
6 Mikhail Botvinnik 1948–1957
7 Vasily Smyslov 1957–1958
8 Mikhail Tal 1960–1961
9 Tigran Petrosian 1963–1969
10 Boris Spassky 1969–1972
11 Bobby Fischer 1972–1975
12 Anatoly Karpov 1975–1985
13 Garry Kasparov 1986–2000
14 Vladimir Kramnik 2000–2007
15 Viswanathan Anand 2007–present

Ready? Here we go (Googling the answer is for wimps):

Q1. When he was young, this WC's home chess set had a missing white bishop so he used a toy lead soldier in its place on the f1 square instead. He often blundered this toy soldier away as well in his early games.
A1. [Mikhail Botvinnik (Source: Achieving the Aim - Mikhail Botvinnik)]

Q2. This WC once exclaimed,"So great is the conviction nowadays in the advantage of the 2 Bishops (over 2 Knights)". He proceeded to prove his doubters wrong with a win using 2 Knights over 2 Bishops over another WC.
A2. [Vasily Smyslov - His defeated opponent was Max Euwe (Source: My Best Games of Chess 1935-1957 - Vassily Smyslov) ]

Q3. The famous "double bishop" sacrifice was often attributed to this WC but surprisingly, this sacrifice was actually played years before he did it.
A3. [Emanuel Lasker (Source: - the famous game was Lasker-Bauer, Amsterdam 1889)]

Q4. This WC proposed this chess variant (using a 10x8 board) while he was world champion.
A4. [José Raúl Capablanca (Source: Wikipedia - José Raúl Capablanca)]

Q5. This then 18 year old WC created a huge stir when he beat his then more famous GM opponent in classical time controls using only 15 minutes of his own time.
A5. [Viswanathan Anand (Source: Daniel King - How Good Is Your Chess). He beat Soviet GM Gennady Kuzmin in Frunze 1987 (]

Q6. This World Champion had a favorite souvenir made by one of his fans - it was a chess knight made out of onyx and in the eye of the knight, a miniature chess board and on it, the World Champion's 5th game position in his WC match win.
A6. [Tigran Petrosian (Source: Vik Vasiliev - Tigran Petrosian - His Life And Games)]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Big Board Match: North Sydney v St George

The annual "grudge" match was on again. On Tuesday night, the players from St George travelled to North Sydney (Norths) for the annual Big Board match.

The majority of the players from St George turned up and although the games are scheduled to start at 7.30pm, unfortunately, the pairings did not happen until a good 45 minutes later.

In the end, a whopping total of 50 boards was finalised.

My opponent was Graham Allison (1368). There was nothing fascinating about the game. I can only say that I made a few blunders, he made a few mistakes. And in the end, as Tarrasch said,"I was the next to last person to blunder", which was rather unfortunate for Graham and he resigned on move 63.

This was my first OTB game for over a year and I was pretty disappointed with my play despite my win. I got into a winning position and miscalculated... badly and my opponent failed to capitalise on it.

My brother-in-law Steven won his game in his typical 1.d4 opening while my friend's son Dylan won his game in a very nice style with a neat tactical combination by beating a pin with a counter pin.

My board was among the last to finish. In the end, North Sydney emerged with nice little 30-20 victory over St George. This was a slight improvement over last year where North Sydney (Norths) 28.5-19.5 (only to get subsequently clobbered by St George in the return match with 33.5-12.5 *ouch*)

The Grade Matches are due to start in a fortnight's time and I've planned to participate.

I realised that my OTB play has deteriorated beyond comprehension. I seriously need to pull up my socks before then.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I Think A World Champion Knows Better

Oh dear.

Here's a very "thinly" veiled criticism by GM Anish Giri commenting for Chessbase on the final WCC game between Anand and Topalov:

"46.Qxg2 Bxg2. At this point, some people got very nervous, screaming that they had found a draw. The calm World Champion, however, had seen everything in advance."

I'll give you one guess who GM Anish Giri is referring to - it's the GM who stated on her blog that Anand had blundered with

"40...Kg7" (see picture)

The comments have since been "sanitised" to:

"Although 40...Kh7 is a cleaner and more precise, 40...Kg7 also wins after I looked at it again 41. Nf5+ Kh7 42. Rg3 Rxg3+ 43. hxg3 .... -+"


Congratulations To Anand

World Champion successfully defended his title and won the crucial last game against Topalov.

In a 1.d4 opening, Anand chose the Lasker variation of the Queen's Gambit Declined. Topalov again overpressed and once Anand broke through with 30....f5! And when Anand found the counter-intuitive move 34... Qe8! The chess engines started foaming in the mouth.

Not bad for a champion who was once called a "coffeehouse" player. Credit to Topalov for battling out the 12 games. They were great to watch and for once, there were no sheningans in Bulgaria.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Starting Over Knightmares

I'm intending to play for North Sydney against St George next Tuesday at Norths RSL.

As I've not effectively played for more than a year, rustiness has indeed crept in and playing silly moves without much afterthought is going to be a problem for me.

In the meantime, I've not been doing much chess wise. This weekend I'll be busy as I've got relatives over for a short visit and will be having dinner with them.

The problem with being so long out of playing chess is that you've really forgotten all your lines.

Playing on freechess (FICS) didn't help matters as I lost game after game due to silly errors like leaving my pieces en-prise and falling for 1-2 move tactical tricks (shows how much I've backslided).