Archive for November, 2009

Half way through the National Interschool Champinoships and going very well. We’ll have some photo’s up shortly… for progress scores and games

Archive for November, 2009

A bit of fun this morning with Chess Kids Superstar, IM James Morris, launching the National Interschool Chess Championships by playing a blindfold game against Cr. Ken Ong on a giant chess set in Swanston St, Melbourne City. The game drew quite a crowd with applause and cheers during the game for well played moves!

The game was played to launch the event starting on Monday, with 250 players flying in from every state in Australia (and New Zealand) this weekend.

It was James’ first public blindfold game and Cr. Ong turned out to be a tougher challenge than expected. Well done Cr. Ong!

James Morris and Cr Ken Ong blindfold challenge

To see the game

Archive for November, 2009


Archive for November, 2009

What an achievement! Bobby Cheng became the first Australian World Chess Champion (World U/12 Youth Champion) last night with his victory over Vaibhav Suri.

A huge congratulations and great to see he achieved the recognition he deserved for the time, passion and hard work he has put in over the years. From everyone at Chess Kids – we’re proud of you Bobby!

Keep an eye out here for Bobby’s exclusive report – we’ll hardly let him get over his jet-lag before we’re hounding him for a full report!

To see Bobby’s crushing last round victory

Archive for November, 2009

In 1953 Australia had its first (and only) world chess title holder when Cecil Purdy won the first World Correspondence Chess Championship.   We now have another!

12 year-old Bobby Cheng has just won the World 12U Youth Chess Championships which were played in Turkey from November 11 – 23.   Bobby was seeded fourth in the tournament and started slowly, but with one round to play had clawed his way into a tie for first with 3 other players.   In the final round he had black against the top seed, Vaibhay Suri (India) who was rated 142 points above Bobby.

Undaunted, Bobby played a slashing game to finish off his opponent in only 27 moves.  He then had a long wait to see the outcome of the second board game where a win for either player would see them take the title on count-back … but the game was a draw!

So, dear reader, place yourself in Bobby’s position in the diagram below.  Can you find the winning line and take out the world title!

[fen caption=”V.Suri v B.Cheng …. Black to play and win”]2r1k2r/1p3p2/2b1p3/3qn2B/p2P2P1/P7/4Q2P/1RB2RK1 b k – 0 26 [/fen]

Archive for November, 2009

This event is in progress at the moment in Turkey (Nov. 11-23) and we are all interested to see how Chess Kids Superstar Bobby Cheng performs in the 12 and Under Event.

Archive for November, 2009

The highlight of anyone’s chess career is to represent your country at the highest level, the Chess Olympiad, which takes place every two years. Australia first participated in 1964 and has sent both a men’s team and a women’s team to just about every Olympiad since then.

One of the more unusual Olympiads took place in 1976 at Haifa, Israel. The event was boycotted by both the Arab and Communist nations but never-the-less attracted a strong field with the USA being one of the favourites. The Australian team arrived a few days early for this event and had arranged to spend time on a Kibbutz (a collective farm) to get used to the climate. My strongest memory is arriving at the kibbutz at dinner time after a 20 hour trip from Sydney and being seated down by our host for dinner. A plate was place in front of me containing a gherkin and a fish head. I stared at the fish head and it stared back at me! “Where was the bit you eat” I pondered. That night my dinner was a mars bar!

Despite this unsettling experience, Australia started well and soon found itself playing against the mighty USA team – big thrill for our players.

On board two Max Fuller was paired against grandmaster Larry Evans, the famous chess columnist and author, and they reached the following position.

See diagram below with Black to play. Now clearly Black is better, but his King is exposed and he has two pawns in danger of being captured, so Max may have chances to draw.
[fen caption=”Black plays 1…Nf4. What should White reply?”]3kr3/1p4Q1/p7/3p4/1PP5/8/P3nqPP/3R3K b KQkq [/fen]

Evans played 1…Nf4 and Black is now threatening mate with 2…Re1+ so White must choose between 2.Rg1, 2.h3 or 2.Qg3. Unfortunately Max chose the wrong move and had to resign. Which move did he chose and what was Evans’ devastating reply?

Archive for November, 2009

Chess Nightmare!
Last night in Melbourne it was terribly hot, around 20 degrees, and it was very hard to get to sleep, particularly after four hours solid coaching the Chess Kids Elite group that afternoon. My mind was still all abuzz with chess. I tried eating chocolate (Lindt of course), I tried a cool icy-pole, I tried counting sheep but nothing seemed to work. Finally my mind turned back to Jammo’s Chess Puzzle number 16 where Black dropped a rook but had all these extra pawns trying to queen. My mind went through the variations and I finally got down to a position where Black had two pawns supported by his King with White’s Queen trying to stop them or at least get a perpetual check.

See diagram below with Black to play.
[fen caption=”Black to play – can he draw?”]8/8/8/5p1p/5P1P/p1Q3P1/1p5K/k7 b [/fen]
Can Black hold the draw or is there a sneaky way for White to win? My mind rushed through the variations. Pretty soon I had forgotten the heat and, basking in the joy of finding the solution, I fell asleep.

Have a go yourself and see if you agree with my assessment. If you find a flaw in my conclusion please don’t tell me. I’ve had enough chess nightmares for one night!

Archive for November, 2009

The 2010 Australian Junior Championships will be played in Tasmania, for the first time in 35 years, in January 2010 and Chess Kids is sending a team. This leads me to cast my mind back to the 1975 Australian Junior Championships in Hobart when everyone expected our up-and-coming junior Ian Rogers to dominate the event. He did not. The tournament was won by a diminutive 15 year-old boy, with long blonde hair, from New Zealand of all places. His name was Murray Chandler and he, like Rogers, went on to become a leading grandmaster. In fact he has a 2-0 record against Kasparov!

I’ve been playing through some of Chandler’s games recently and came across the following position:

[fen caption=”Chandler v Bologan 1992 – Black to play.”]8/1r6/8/2RQ1p1p/pk3P1P/1p1p2P1/7K/1q6 b [/fen]

Black has been winning easily all game and is close to queening his pawns, but White has a few annoying checks. In the diagrammed position Black should probably play 1…Ka3 but instead chose to attack with 1…Re7??. White replied 2.Rc4+ Ka3 and 3.Qd6+ winning the R. Black must now chose between 3…Ka2 and 3… Kb2. Today’s puzzle is which move should he choose?