Sunday, 30 December 2012

2013 Australian Open Preview

In a few days time (January 2nd to be exact), the 2013 Australian Open will begin at norths Leagues Club in Cammeray. I am one of the arbiters for the event, alongside IA Charles Zworestine & Alana Chibnall.
I've put together a short video preview of the event & hope to do similar short video reports during the tournament itself.
Here you can also find links to the various websites to check during the event, although I also hope to be posting something here on a daily basis.
Website links:
Tournament Website
Norths Chess Club
Norths Leagues Club

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Bob Brooking Round Robin Round 5

The final round of the Bob Brooking Round Robin had me paired against Sylvester Urban, with four players potentially in contention for first place in the division, depending on other results. Although I liked my position early, Sylvester managed to generate some counterplay on the king side & I felt I was in a bit of trouble for a while. The critical position arose on move 21, where I chose to play Rxg4, going into somewhat complicated territory, which I further complicated by playing 22.Rxg6 (rather than bxc3 immediately) preferring to give up an exchange than have two pieces for a rook & a pawn or two, as I would have lost the initiative. As it happened, I misplayed a few later moves & allowed my e pawn to be taken, after which Sylvester had a definite advantage. After some further exchanges, I tried to generate some play, but seemed to be making little progress until Sylvester played 44...Rb2+. Once his rook left the back rank, it allowed my pieces to get somewhat active & after Sylvester played 46...Kg7, the game should have been over very quickly. Of course I managed to miss a simple win with 54.Qd8+, but thankfully I was able to avoid Sylvester's attempted perpetual check & eventually win the game.
David Beaumont won his game to win group B, with my 3/5 enough for outright second in the group. Final cross tables for all divisions are on ChessChat.
David also managed to win the MCC Grand Prix as a result. It is good to see someone who is a regular at the club, who played in most (if not all) MCC GP events during the year, win the top prize!
That was the final tournament for the year at MCC ... so bring on 2013!

2012 Australasian Masters

The Australasian Masters is a 10 player round robin IM-norm event that has been held in Melbourne on an almost-annual basis since 1987. This year was very much a triumph for youth, with the tournament ending in a three-way tie between IM James Morris, FM Bobby Cheng & Anton Smirnov, with Anton winning the title on countback (he beat both James & Bobby in their individual games).
Throughout the tournament there were quite a number of well played games, although there were also the occasional blunder or inaccuracy. The two games (or game & position) I want to highlight are Arkadius Kalka's quick demolition of Eddy Levi in round 6, as well as an amazing tactic missed by Luke Li in his round 2 game against James Morris.

Arkadius 'takes the bait' against Eddy & the game is decided shortly afterwards, but not how Eddy was hoping!

In the following position, James Morris has just played 44.Ra8 against Luke Li, who had been defending a worse position for most of the game. Here, the game continued 44...g2 45.Rxa7+ Kf8 46.Ra8+ Kf7 47.Ra7+ Kf8 with a draw, but Luke missed the stunning shot 44...Rg5+! This allows the king to hide from rook checks on d6, while also blocking the white rook's path to g1, so black will be able to promote the g pawn & have a winning (although still tricky) ending.

This was the first time I was directly involved in the tournament, although I only attended the venue (Box Hill Chess Club) on a few occasions during the event. My involvement came in the form of editing the tournament bulletins, which were produced for the players on a daily basis. The Bulletins from the tournament can be downloaded as a Zip file from 4Shared (hopefully this remains in place for a reasonable length of time - if not send me an email & I'll send the bulletins to you). Feel free to post any comments you might have about the bulletins & what can be improved in the future.
I have also uploaded a PGN file of games from the tournament.

To finish the post, I have added some photos from tournament organiser Leonid Sandler.

A relaxed start to the game between Bobby Cheng & James Morris
 German FM Arkadius Kalka
James Morris after playing the winning Rg8+ against Eddy Levi
 Three winners, Bobby Cheng, Anton Smirnov & James Morris
 Anton Smirnov with the perpetual trophy

Thursday, 20 December 2012

MCC Christmas Swiss

42 players turned up for this annual event on the Melbourne Chess Club Calendar, this time with the list headed by two interstate visitors, GM Zong Yuan Zhao & IM Max Illingworth, both from Sydney. Although most of the higher rated players won their early rounds, they were not without their upsets, with Matthew Clarke holding Calvin Bennett to a draw in round 1, while in round 2 Kris Chan beat Richard Voon, Chloe Chin beat Vishal Bhat & Andrew Thornton held Tristan Krstevski to a draw.
Round 3 saw the first big boil over of the tournament, with MCC favourite David 'Firegoat' Beaumont beating IM Max Illingworth in a game that David described as his best played game of all time! Also in round 3, young Kris Chan held Dusan Stojic to a draw. Round 4 saw no major upsets, but a number of draws, including Dusan Stojic holding top seed Zong Yuan Zhao to a draw in the last game of the round to finish, as well as Ray Yang drawing with Franz Oswald, along with a few more closely matched contests.
The final day saw most of the top seeds winning in the morning round, although Tony Davis managed to beat Dusan Stojic, Ray Yang beat Tristan Krstevski & Andrew Thornton beat Ben Frayle. The Chan brothers continued their impressive tournaments with draws against Calvin Bennett (Kris) & Will Bakanursky (Luis). The final round saw the tournament finish in a four-way tie, with Justin Tan & Zong Yuan Zhao drawing on top board, with Max Illingworth & Tony Davis winning their final games to join them on 5/6. Kris Chan finished off a good tournament with a win over Gary Bekker, Chris Chin beat Calvin Bennett & Dominic Lai beat Rebecca Strickland in final round upsets, while Will Bakanursky was lucky to escape with a draw against Ray Yang.
Full results & prizewinners are listed on ChessChat.

MCC Grand Prix winner David Beaumont faces GM Zong Yuan Zhao in round 5
Three of the four winners, GM Zong Yuan Zhao, Tony Davis & IM Max Illingworth
David described this win as his best ever, so I thought it might be worth including on the blog!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

When you are too busy to blog ...

This past week has been fairly hectic for me, so I haven't had a chance to update the blog as much as I would have liked. Earlier in the week my flatmate was in hospital for an operation, so I spent a bit of time visiting & making sure the house stayed in one piece while I had it to myself for a while, as well as being the general helper with getting things around the place.
Chess-wise I've experienced the first Chess Victoria executive meeting that had to be adjourned because it was going for too long! So the meeting was reconvened later the following week to finish it off ... and the second part of the meeting still went for around 3 hours!
In addition to that, I've been editing the bulletins for the Australasian Masters which is nearing completion at Box Hill Chess Club (today is the last round). I've also been arbiter for the MCC Christmas Swiss, which also finishes today. I've also had a few schools to coach at during the week, with the upshot of it being that I haven't really had a spare 20 minutes or so to post something useful here (and I'm only doing this while I wait for the last few games to finish in the round at MCC!).
I'll attempt to update the events individually tonight, although after the tournament finishes at MCC I have to take GM Zong-Yuan Zhao to the airport, as well as get some things ready for Monday, so will see how I go with getting things done ... HOPEFULLY I have time!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Bob Brooking Round Robin Round 4

Round 4 of the Bob Brooking round robin event saw me play a decent game against 'Firegoat' David Beaumont, which has meant that top honours in that division are still well and truly up for grabs! Although I was slightly worse out of the opening I managed to hang in & eventually began to generate some threats. After an exchange of minor pieces, the position was fairly balanced, until David played 35.Nd7 in an attempt to generate winning chances & unbalance the position. Although the silicon monster tends to think the position is still equal after 39.Bf4, David's choice of 39.d5 allowed me to take the initiative, although d5 does seem like the most logical move to continue the attack, or at least to try and create an attack. After getting my queen active, I was definitely better & managed to win David's b pawn. With David's knight out of play on the king side, I was able to use my bishop pair & rook to further improve my position, ultimately pushing home my own b pawn to finally win the game.
In the top division, the only game played was between Karl Zelesco & Malcolm Pyke. Although Karl appeared to have a slight advantage out of the opening, Malcolm was able to exchange pieces & ultimately with a level rook ending in sight the players agreed to a draw.
In other divisions division C is between Peter Fry & Michael Addamo, division D has Gary Bekker at least equal first, although Felix Wyss can tie for first if he can beat Gary in the final round, while division C is once again up for grabs with Joel Kamer beating Michael Hain to leave Michael in equal first with Jason Chew.
As usual, results are on ChessChat.
This should make for an interesting final round next Monday!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

That horrible feeling when you lose to Richard Voon ...

Unfortunately I officially became part of the club tonight, when I lost my postponed round 1 game from the Bob Brooking Round Robin to Richard Voon. Once again I had a promising position, or at least I thought I did (the computer thinks it was marginally better at best), until I decided to try to complicate things & play for a win, so I sacrificed my knight for 3 pawns & a scary looking attack. Perhaps some signs from earlier in the game should have told me otherwise (I didn't see Richard's 14.Nd4, which was awkward to deal with, nor did I notice that 14...Qd7 actually lost an exchange) & I should have gone for the safe option of 32...Nc7 (which Fritz sees as 0.00) rather than the speculative 32...Nxf4 that I decided to play. Of course I also missed a number of defensive moves that Richard played, in particular 40.Kh1. I was of course hoping for the spectacular 40.Qxd8? when after 40...h3 41.Qxc7+ Kh6 there are no more useful checks & I have a forced checkmate, in spite of being 2 rooks & a bishop down! Alas, this loss leaves me with just 1/3 so far, with the top 2 seeds (David Beaumont & Sylvester Urban) to play in the coming weeks. Let's hope something improves for those games!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Bob Brooking Round Robin Round 3

Its been a while & I was definitely struggling for a while, but I finally managed a win in a tournament game (my first since June - albeit that that was when I last played a tournament game, but that's not the point). My game against Justin Penrose had quite a few twists & turns. I decided to deviate from my 'standard' 1...g6 as black & played 1...e5, mainly because I knew Justin played the Ruy Lopez as white & I am reasonably comfortable playing either side in that opening. I decided to play the Berlin Defense (3...Nf6), although I was probably not going to play it in the 'usual' manner as seen in the Kasparov-Kramnik match in 2000. Anyway, after Justin played 4.Qe2, I was out of any sort of theoretical knowledge I may have had of the position & just had to play chess. Although I didn't think my position was that bad, the silicon monster didn't like my 14...Na7 or 16...Nh7, in spite of their aesthetic symmetry & thought white had the better position for a decent part of the middlegame. Although I wasn't convinced that 17...f5 was the best move in the position, it seemed like the obvious pawn break to make & I didn't want to wait for Ng3, which would have further hindered any plans of expansion I may have had. Ultimately its a blunder that should leave me with a worse position, although apparently I had a few opportunities to play a timely Ra8, which would have neutralised some of that advantage. Justin held the advantage until he played the seemingly natural recapture 37.Qxf5 (Bxf5 was better), which allowed me to play 37...e4 & start to turn the game around. Ultimately it was the combination of playing R1a6 & Bb3 that left Justin with problems in the centre & on the back rank, which I was able to convert into a win.
In other games, Mirko Rujevic has taken a temporary lead in division A after beating Karl Zelesco (with the help of the 'get out of jail free' card after getting into trouble in the opening), moving to 2.5/3, joining Justin Tan in the lead, although James Morris is on 2/2 with a game in hand.
David Beaumont continues to find ways to win from difficult positions & leads division B with 3/3. Peter Fry has taken the sole lead in division C after beating Jack Puccini in a tactical struggle to move to 2.5/3. Gary Bekker beat Anthony Harris to take the outright lead in division D with 3/3, while Michael Hain won again to keep his lead in division E with 3/3.
Results from last night's games are on ChessChat.