Archive for March, 2010

Great to see the Mildura RJ Shield with more participants than the Melbourne ones. Some good publicity helps!

Archive for March, 2010

Recently I’ve been following the Amberchess 2010 tournament in Monaco which boasts a prize fund of around $300,000 (US) and which finished last night.   This event attracted many of the world’s top players and has an unusual format in that players are paired against each other for one blindfold game then one rapid game.  I guess this is the way to make chess faster and more appealing to the media.

Last night I was able to follow the games “live” for the first time (the last round started early) and was excited to listen to the comments of American Grandmaster Larry Christiansen on the games in progress.  I played Christiansen once back in 1976 so it’s good too see he is still involved with chess.

Of particular interest was the blindfold game Dominguez v Aronian where they reached the diagrammed position with Black to play.  White is struggling to find a good defence and Christiansen was analysing 1…Be6 2.Rc1 Bxa2 which looked very strong.  GM Jonathan Speelman passed by and suggested that 2.Rc2 Bxa2 3.Ba4 was better.  At that moment Aronian (blindfolded), the world number 5 player, made two quick moves and it was clear that he had seen what the sighted grandmasters had not.

Today’s puzzle is to find the winning line that Aronian played.  (If you want to make it tough then look at the position then blindfold yourself)!

[fen caption=”Black to Play and win”]1rr3k1/5p1p/2B2p2/p3pb2/1bR5/4BPP1/PP2P2P/3K3R b KQkq – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for March, 2010

Archive for March, 2010

Archive for March, 2010

These days we think of China as a huge superpower that is set to dominate the world both economically and in sport.  China hosted the Olympics in 2008 and finished second in the medal tally, and in chess too they are an emerging super-power with very strong female players and up-an-coming grandmasters.

Back in the 1970’s it was vastly different.  No-one had ever heard of a Chinese chess player and we were surprised in 1977 when then sent their first International Chess Team overseas to compete in the Asian Teams Championship in Auckland.  I was playing top board for Australia and was wary of the Chinese, so I played a quick draw with their board one then, despite the language barrier, we ventured outside to play frisbees!

At the Chess Olympiad the following year in 1978 the veteran Dutch Grandmaster Jan Donner was not so circumspect when he expressed the view that “no Western Grandmaster could ever lose to a Chinese player.”   It was interesting therefore when the following day Holland faced China in the Men’s Olympiad and Donner, playing black, reached the following position with his opponent to move.

Was Donner right?   How did the game finish?

[fen caption=”White to play”]r2qnr2/pp3kbQ/2npb1p1/2pN1pP1/4P3/8/PPP1BP2/R1B1K1NR w – – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for March, 2010

How do you think you would go against the highest rated chess player in the world?

In a full game of chess you would clearly lose, but what if you took over a game that was already half-way through?  Perhaps then you have a chance?

The world’s highest rated player is 19 year-old Magnus Carlsen from Norway who will no doubt be world champion before too long.  He has an unfair advantage of course as his coach is a guy named “Kasparov”.

So, let me get you started against Carlsen.  You can play black in the following position taken from one of Carlsen’s games in the Norwegian Championships.  It’s Carlsen’s move and he plays 1.f3 …. now off you go!

[fen caption=”White plays 1.f3.  Can you beat him?”]2b3k1/ppp4p/6q1/3pr2r/4p3/1NP1Q3/PP3PPP/4RR1K w – – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for March, 2010

Archive for March, 2010

Today is shaping up as another glorious day in marvellous Melbourne.   The temperature is 25 degrees, my boss (the Chess Guru) is on holiday roaming around Europe, so I’m free to do whatever I want.   I’ve decided that listening to old goon shows on the radio, watching Tomic play in the Davis Cup on TV (with the sound turned down) and eating Lindt chocolates is the way to go.  That takes care of the senses of sight, sound and taste so all I need now is a bit of intellectual stimulation.   That must be why chess was invented.  I could drag out Fred Reinfeld’s book “1001 Chess Combinations” but I’ve found his puzzles on the internet via my iphone and so am working my way through them.

I particularly like endgame puzzles where, despite the absence of many pieces, you can still find a quirky twist or an unexpected finish.  Here is one that appealed to me with only four pieces on the board.   I’ll give you a Lindt chocolate if you can solve it in under 30 seconds.

[fen caption=”White to play … Find the Quickest way to win”]8/8/8/6pp/6pk/1R6/6KP/8 w kq – 0 1[/fen]