Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Almost ready ...

The video series I am going to be producing on the 'Broken Arrow' is almost ready to be released ... or at least the first episode! I've got the first six episodes planned out (yes, I want to do things that 'in depth'), but I would still like some feedback on how to finish off the series (and in fact the plan has the final episodes to be feedback-driven). I'm hoping to have the first episode uploaded within the next few days, with the plan at present to be roughly one video per week, although I'll see how things go around the New Year, so that schedule might change.

As for the other series of though patterns that I mentioned in my last post, I've since found out that something similar was done over 50 years ago (1946 in fact, in the Netherlands), with the results (what was at the time a university thesis) published as 'Thought & Choice in Chess' by Adriaan de Groot. I've managed to locate a PDF of the book, although at over 450 pages, I suspect it might take some time to get through it all. Although my aim is not quite the same as de Groots would appear to have been (I've read the Preface & skimmed parts of the book), it would be interesting to find out what impact computers have had in terms of evaluating positions. Do players now think in 'concrete' numerical values (similar to a computer assessment of say +0.8), or do they still think in terms of ideas & advantages (eg: I have a queenside pawn mojority & a good white squared bishop)? I have a feeling that this idea of mine may become more than simply a handful of videos, but I'll see how things develop over time.

I'm also going to be running the Victorian Lightning Championship on the weekend. I'm not sure exactly what extend I'll be able to provide coverage here, but I'll try and record a few videos of the action, similar to what I did for the MCC Allegro Championships.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Volunteer call ... and an update

The title of this latest blog post relates to an idea I have had regarding a potential video (or even audio) series. Basically my idea is to try to get players of various levels of rating & experience & have them explain their thought processes when analysing positions. At present the plan was to do this by recording what would essentially be an interview with the player, where they would verbalise their thought processes about a particular position, possibly with specific questions asked by myself. I could then turn the recorded audio into a youtube video, or series of videos, and potentially do some analysis on the idea of thinking processes in chess generally.
However, in order to do this, I need volunteers! My initial thoughts about this were that I might be able to do this at Melbourne Chess Club, particularly with the current Monday night event being structured the way it is. The plan is to try to get people to spend the 15 or so minutes after they have finished their tournament game for the evening, to do the 'thought process' interview, although this is of course only possiblE IF I have finished my own game, and other players have an extra 15 or so minutes to stay around after they have finished their own games.
Another possibility with this is to delay things until sometime next year, when I will be running most of the Monday night events at MCC throughout the year, which would potentially make it much easier to find the time to do the interviews - I  would simply need people who have 15 minutes spare for the interview after their game & hope that the tournament would run dispute-free, at least while I was conducting the interview!

As for the update, I've started working on the upcoming 'Broken Arrow' series, but still need to figure out the 'grand scheme' of how the series will be presented & developed. At present I have a number of ideas & approaches, as well as some content for the series already developed, but I would prefer to have a plan for the series as a whole, so that one episode can follow logically into the next and maintain a sense of continuity throughout, before I start producing & releasing the videos for the series.

If you have any suggestions about the 'Broken Arrow' series, or are interested in participating in the planned 'thought process' series, feel free to get in touch with me melbournegamescoach@hotmail.com

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Melbourne Chess Club Allegro Championships - Day 2

Day 2 started with some minor technical difficulties, with a Spanish Festival leaving many streets near the Chess Club closed or blocked off, as well as making parking anywhere near the club almost impossible! Perhaps this had an affect on overnight leader James Morris, as he lost his first round of the day to Jesse Jager. This allowed Simon Rutherford (who beat Ari Dale) to take the outright lead by a clear point! In other results, Palma, Yu & Krstevski all recorded upset wins, while Finley Dale held Deniz Tuncer to a draw. Round 9 saw Rutherford turn back the challenge of Jager to solidify his one-point lead over Morris, while Lawless scored the only major upset of the round by defeating Ilic. Rutherford continued his winning ways in round 10, defeating top seed Michael Baron, while Ari Dale, Anthony Harris, Bobby Yu & Vishal Bhat all held their higher-rated opponents to draws, while the mother-son battle between Tristan Krstevski & Tanya Krstevska ended in a hard-fought draw.
Round 11 saw the gap between Rutherford, Morris & the field widen, while Voon made a late charge with a win over Beaumont. Krstevski & Archie Beaumont also held their higher-rated opponents to draws. Before round 12 began, James Morris was heard to lament 'Oh dear, Voon is my only hope now!', referring to the upcoming top board clash between Simon Rutherford & Richard Voon! However, Morris need not have worried, as Voon scored the upset win of the tournament, defeating Rutherford, which allowed Morris to join him in a share of first place after defeating Addamo. Urban scored a controversial upset win over Baron, after a frantic time scramble with knight against knight & pawn, to take third place, while most other results went according to seeding.
The final round saw both Rutherford & Morris win their games, to both finish on the impressive score of 11.5/13, and split first prize between themselves! Ari Dale defeated Sylvester Urban to snatch third place, while Jager & Baron both won their final round games to share 5th place. Thai Ly finished with a draw against David Garner, to take out first in rating group A with 7.5/13, while Frank Lekkas, Deniz Tuncer & Tony Tosevski all finished on 7/13 to share 2nd place in the rating group. Giant-killer Richard Voon took out rating group B with 7.5/13, while second place was shared between Finley Dale, Anthony Harris & Tanya Kolac, who all scored 6.5/13. Vishal Bhat scored some good results towards the end of the tournament to finish on 6/13, which was enough to take out rating group C, while second in the group was shared by Tristan Krstevski & Bobby Yu on 5.5/13.

Final Crosstables & a list of all the Prizewinners can be seen at ChessChat.

The final round underway:
Round 9 action ... or should that be inaction:
The finish of the round 11 clash between MCC regulars Voon & Beaumont:

Presentation to the winners James Morris & Simon Rutherford, followed by a short speech from Simon:

Friday, 18 November 2011

Melbourne Chess Club Allegro Championships - Day 1

This weekend I am the arbiter for the Melbourne Chess Club Allegro Championships. This is an annual event that attracts some of the best allegro (15 minute chess) players in Melbourne! This year there were 35 starters for the event, which meant that the main tournament room at MCC was almost full!
There have been a few upsets already, with FM Michael Baron held to a draw in round 1 by Marcus Raine, while round 2 saw upset wins for Milan Ilic & Tristan Krstevski. Round 3 saw upset wins for Garner, Voon, Palma & Wildes, while round 4 saw Morris & Rutherford emegre as equal leaders on 4/4, with upset wins for Jager, Palma, Sumargo & Krstevska.
Round 5 saw Rutherford & Morris share the point, to remain tied in equal first place. Upset results were recorded by Antolis, Archie Beaumont & Yu, while Ly & Palma held their higher rated opponents to draws. Round 6 saw Bhat claim a higher-rated scalp, while Ly & Yu held their higher rated opponents to draws. The final round for the day saw Morris & Rutherford solidify their lead over the field, with wins over Baron & Urban respectively. Upset wins were recorded by Tosevski & Krstevska, while most other results went according to seeding.

Full crosstables after day 1 can be seen at ChessChat.

Tomorrow will see the final 6 rounds of play, starting at 2pm. Will Morris & Rutherford continue their dominance over the field? Will a challenger emerge from the pack? What will develop for the divisional prizes, with a number of players already scoring multiple upset results?

Spectators are welcome at Melbourne Chess Club, or you can follow the tournament progress online either on the blog, or on Chesschat.

I have also recorded a few short (roughly 1 minute in length) video clips during the tournament, which you can see below.

Round 5 action!

Round 6 action!

Round 7 action!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Chess - Ticket to Ryde episode 7

Its FINALLY time for the last episode of the Ticket to Ryde series! This is my round 7 game (as white)against NSW Junior Peng Yu Chen (2156 ACF; 2094 FIDE). This time what starts out as another Trompowsky turns into an unusual Modern Benoni-like position ... yes, transpositions are something I seem to do quite a bit!
Hopefully you enjoy the video!

The final crosstable is available on ChessChat, where you can see that I finished in a nine-way tie for 7th, which meant I left with the massive prize of $15 for the tournament!

As far as future videos are concerned, the next series I plan to record is going to be somewhat theoretical, looking at the 'Broken Arrow'/Dzindzi-Indian opening, which is something I play as black when the opportunity presents itself.
I'm also running the MCC Allegro Championships this weekend, as well as the Victorian Blitz Championships a few weeks after that, so expect to see coverage of that, in one form or another, here.
I'll also try to do another video or two in relation to the Deuces Cracked 50k hands challenge, so you can expect a few more of the multi-table Seven Card Stud videos in the not-too-distant future.
As far as my recent chess is concerned, I finished on 5/9 in the City of Melbourne Open at MCC, losing to Marcus Ogden, David Beaumont & James Morris, holding Malcolm Pyke to a draw & beating James Martin, Zachary Loh, Michael Addamo & Gary Bekker (I also took a half-point bye in one round), which was a reasonable, although slightly below my expected result.
If you have any other suggestions for content, whether it is chess, poker or something else, please feel free to let me know melbournegamescoach@hotmail.com

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Deuces Cracked 50,000 hand challenge

Enough of the chess stuff!

Its that time of year, when the (now annual) Deuces Cracked 50k hands challenge is on! I attempted this last year & managed about 35,000 hands before going 'busto' (you started the challenge with $100), largely playing limit holdem, with the occasional session of no limit thrown in.

This year the challenge is largely the same, although rather than being a total bankroll, the $100 is now a 'stop-loss' figure, meaning you can play whatever tables you want, but as soon as you lose $100, you are out. Of course I'm being the odd one out this year, as I'm planning to make my 50,000 hands up by playing various forms of Seven Card Stud.

Hopefully I'll be able to record some of the sessions I play and upload them to YouTube, simalar to a previous session I posted on here. I doubt I'll win the most money in the challenge, however it will be good to try to get through that amount of hands, and hopefully at the same time improve my game!
I was also asked a question recently about the previous Stud multitabling video, in terms of how I managed to keep track of all the dead cards, different games, etc when playing. I have to admit that I don't keep a full eye on everything that is going on at all tables, however when I have a playable hand, I try to take note of the relevant door cards (so if I have [9h8h]Th in Stud high, I am most interested in the cards 6 through Queen, as well as any hearts that are out & I will try to remember them. If an opponent folds the 4d, its not going to make much difference to my hand, so keeping an accurate mental note of it is less important), but realise that I can not keep track of ALL the information at the table all of the time. Another thing to keep in mind is that I am playing relatively low stakes ($1/2 or lower & typically 25/50c or 50c/$1), so the quality of play is generally not of the level that you need to be paying attention to that sort of stuff in minute detail.

I'll try to post updates of my progress (or otherwise) here, though you can also keep a track of the challenge itself on the Deuces Cracked thread.

As for the 'enough of the chess stuff', I do still have at least one more episode of the Ticket to Ryde series to complete, as well as making a start on the 'Broken Arrow' theory series, so there will definitely be more chess content to come in the not-too-distant future.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Melbourne Chess Club Melbourne Cup Weekender Day 5

Well the 2011 Melbourne Cup weekender has been run and won, though it was nowhere near as close as the horse race which gives the tournament its name.

Round 8 results on Chesschat, as well as the round 9 results.

Round 8 saw both George Xie and Bobby Cheng win their games, while Justin Tan's late charge continued with a win over tournament overperformer Max Chew Lee. Andrew Brown got the better of Justin Penrose in a tense endgame that was the last to finish for the round, while all other boards were decisive, with most going pretty much according to rating.

The final round saw George Xie clinch outright first with another win, this time over Justin Tan. Bobby Cheng wore down Andrew Brown to take outright second, but this left a six-way tie for equal thrid between IM's Solomon, Morris, Brown & Rujevic, along with Garner & Tan. Both Tony Davis & Max Chew Lee won their last round games to finish on 5.5/9 and secure outright first in their respective rating groups, which left a five-way tie for =2nd in rating group 1 (on 5/9) between Hamish Selnes, Zachary Loh, Justin Penrose, Enoch Fan & Ari Dale, while Jack Puccini, who also finished on 5/9, was outright 2nd in rating group 2.

A few games from round 8:

Some games from the final round:

This tournament was the George Xie show & he clearly demonstrated why he was top seed, with a final score of 8.5/9 & a performance rating of roughly 2680! He also added around 16 points to his FIDE rating, which puts him that little bit closer to the 2500 mark needed to secure his grandmaster title. His only real scare came in his clash with tournament runner-up Bobby Cheng & he always seemed to be in control in his games, or at the very least ready with resources to deal with whatever his opponents could throw at him.
Bobby Cheng's 7.5/9 would in most circumstances be enough to win the tournament, however on this occasion it was only good enough for second, though he was 1.5 points clear of the rest of the field. Bobby played some fantastic chess during the event & showed a range of skills, from tactical brilliance to tenacious defence.
The players who tied for third could all feel both a little disappointed and a little lucky with their results. The four IMs all had a game or two they would rather forget, while David Garner was always near the top of the pack and Justin Tan made a great recovery after a poor start to the tournament.
Max Chew Lee had a standout performance, winning his rating division with a score of 5.5/9 & only conceeding one loss throughout the event. Zachary Loh also showed strong form early, before some losses to the top seeds in the later rounds brought him back to the pack. Justin Penrose shared a similar story, with a strong tournament being soured by losses to two IMs on the final day. Both John Wildes & Savithri Narenthran also had good tournaments, claiming a few scalps along the way to a final 50% score.

Overall I felt that the tournament was a success in terms of how it was run & organised, even if the numbers were a bit lower than anticipated. The venue at the Fitzroy Town Hall was magnificent, and player (and spectator) feedback is always welcomed in order to improve the event for future years. Personally I would like to thank everyone at Melbourne Chess Club involved in putting the event on, particularly Grant Szuveges, Elizabeth Warren & Jack Hughes, who all played their own roles in ensuring the weekend ran smoothly and largely hassle-free.

Hopefully you have enjoyed following my daily reports on the tournament ... and take the time to have a look at the blog every now & then ... at least until the next chess tournament I arbit & report on comes around!