Archive for March, 2011

A classic Chess Interschool moment. The top player from Firbank and top player from Tucker Rd battling it out right down to the wire.

The pressure. The speed. The excitement. The camaraderie. The way the players handle the situation. Doesn’t get better than this!

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Archive for March, 2011

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And the newspaper too!

Archive for March, 2011

Chess, along with Maths and Music, is one of the few activities that produces prodigies.  The history of chess has a number of examples of diminutive children in short pants playing against experienced masters and winning, or even playing simuls against a number of adults at the same time to demonstrate their prowess.

Here in Australia we have been thrilled with the exploits of Bobby Cheng, who won the World 12U Championship in 2009 and is now often beating some of our leading adult players, but Bobby may now have a rival prodigy!   11 year-old Karl Zelesco, a small, pale little boy with piercing eyes who plays at the Box Hill Chess Club (and anywhere else he can) has been showing great promise and the other night actually defeated former Australian Champion, International Master Guy West, in the Melbourne Chess Club Championships.

Imagine that you a seated next to Karl in the big game.   You have a strong passed pawn in the position (see diagram) but can you find the win against your experienced opponent.  It’s your move.   Good luck!

[fen caption=”White to Play”]3r1bk1/p2P3p/p1b1p1p1/2N2p2/8/1N6/PP4PP/3R3K w – – 2 30[/fen]

Archive for March, 2011

One of the skills needed to be a good chess player is to understand your strengths and weaknesses as well as those of your opponent.  IM James Morris has just had a very successful tournament at Ballarat scoring 6.5/7, and he won the tournament by aiming for complicated positions where he could demonstrate his tactical flair whilst his opponents only became more confused.

I followed with interest his game as White against Lee Jones and when James’ 25th move (25.Ng7) came up on the screen I could only presume that it was a clerical error!   True, it was a blunder, but it resulted in a messy position that suited James and eventually the players arrived at the position in the diagram with Black to move.

[fen caption=”Find the mistakes”]3kr3/pR6/3r4/7p/8/7P/P5P1/5R1K b – – 0 42[/fen]

Play continued 42…Ra6 43.Rff7 Rxa2.  In this sequence of moves White had missed a winning opportunity and Black had made a big blunder.   Today’s puzzle is what was Black’s blunder and what was the opportunity that White missed?

Archive for March, 2011

Some things it seem are better with age.  Red wine springs to mind.   And perhaps chess ratings!   I’ve just received an email suggesting that I look at the new (revised) Australian Chess Federation ratings which apparently list me as the highest rated Victorian.   Seeing that I haven’t played a rated tournament game in many years this is a great effort.   Who says the ACF Ratings Officer isn’t doing a great job!   (Answer: just about everyone!)

My mission these days is not to improve my own rating but to help others improve theirs.   Last night, for instance, I was giving an on-line lesson to a boy in Brisbane on the topic of tactics.   I had some really tough puzzles for him and he actually solved some of them, with just a couple of hints from me.   Today I’m off to a school in Brighton for their lunch-time chess lesson so I thought that I’d give them a tactical puzzle also.   See how you go with it.   The solution is quite pretty but you need a bit of imagination to find the winning move.

[fen caption=”White to play and win”]rnbk1b1r/ppqpnQ1p/4p1p1/2p1N1B1/4N3/8/PPP2PPP/R3KB1R w KQ – 6 11[/fen]

Archive for March, 2011

Chess Kids coach, Vineetha Wijesuriya, spent last Sunday hanging out with the Mayor of Dandenong and promoting chess at a music festival.

Vineetha was playing up to 20 games at the same time and won every game!

Vineetha with Cr Roz Blades (Mayor of Greater Dandenong)

Archive for March, 2011

How do you improve quickly?   I’ve just started on-line coaching with a promising junior in Queensland and my advice to him was to work on his tactics.   Specifically get one of those “1001 Checkmate” books and go through every puzzle.   Mark the ones that you don’t solve then go back and do those ones again until you can solve them.   That way you will get the various tactical patterns into your memory bank and hopefully your brain will recognise the patterns when they come up in your own games.

I then showed him one of my old games against Doug Hamilton which ended up in the diagrammed position with White to play.   White is a pawn ahead and trying to attack but Black has just played Nc6 attacking White’s “d” pawn.   How should White proceed?  I also suggested to my student that he “examine all checks and captures” if he thought that there may be a tactic around, but try as he could he couldn’t find a clear winning line for White.   Can you do better?   That’s today’s puzzle.

[fen caption=”White to Play”]6k1/p2bp1q1/1pn5/3pP1PQ/3P2N1/1P1B4/P7/6K1 w – – 3 32[/fen]