Archive for February, 2012

We are very excited to (finally) be starting the chess club in Doncaster with 7 sessions per week, plus a Training Squad. All sessions start from Tuesday March 6 (updated 27 Feb, note no class on Sat March 3) and because we are running only for the second half of Term 1 all fees are reduced by 50%. Term 2 will start on April 16 and will run a full term program.

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Archive for February, 2012

RJ Shield - Nicole v William

Last Sunday was the first RJ Shield tournament for the year and we had a good turn-up of 43 keen young chess players plus assorted parents.   Nicole Chin (pictured left) scored a perfect 6/6 to win the Open Division whilst Alistair McCutcheon won the U10 division with 7/8.

I had planned to record some of the games on my iPad for my on-line coaching lessons but instead was co-opted to help Frank Meerbach run the tournament.  I only had time for one quick sortie to have a look at the play when two of our training squad members, William Maligin and Gary Lin were paired against each other.   Fortunately I arrived to look at the board (see diagram below) at a very interesting position which I spent a few seconds analysing but did not reach a final conclusion.   Shortly thereafter the game finished and my enquiries revealed that only 3 more moves were played from the diagrammed position before it was all over.   Black had chosen a different line to the one that I was looking at and when I went home and ran the position through my computer it came up with a totally different line that we had both missed.

So today we have a three part puzzle!

A) What were the 3 moves from the diagram to the end of the game?

B) What line did I look at where the losing player could have defended better?

C) What “killer” move did the computer find that totally reversed the result of the game?

[fen caption=”White to play – what is best play for both sides?” ]1r4rk/5pp1/5b1p/4n3/p1p1P3/4BP1R/2K2P1P/6R1 w – – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for February, 2012

Smirnov v Jordan

The game that perhaps attracted the most interest in the recent Australian Championships was the clash between the oldest player, 55 year-old FM Bill Jordan (who was once ranked in Australia’s top 10) and the youngest competitor, 10 year-old Anton Smirnov.  Jordan held a healthy lead in rating points and experience on young Anton and so was expected to win comfortably.

Indeed, after the exchange of a few pieces they reached the following position with Jordan playing White.   Black is threatening to win the c4 pawn but Bill has a nice space advantage and the better pawn structure so all is going well.   Surely it should just be a matter of technique for White.   Unfortunately, we older players sometimes tire a bit during a hard game and make mistakes, and Bill is certainly getting on so perhaps you could give him a bit of help.   What should he play to keep his advantage?

[fen caption=”What should White play?” ]3r4/pp2p1bk/1np3pp/4N3/2P3P1/2B4P/PPb2PB1/4R1K1 w KQkq – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for February, 2012

Over the recent holidays we not only had the Australian Championships but also the Australian Reserves Tournament for players deemed not to be of Championship standard.   This event was particularly exciting this year largely because of the participation of 3-times Australian Champion Doug Hamilton, now in the veteran category, who decided to forgo the Championship and play in the Reserves.    How would the veteran go against the up-and-coming juniors and players around 1900 rating in the Reserves?

Doug managed to fight his way to the top board by round 10 but, as so often happens when we get older, was brought down by a blunder just before the time control in his game against Frank Lekkas.   Doug has always been a perfectionist, seeking after the very best move in each position, but his old enemy of time trouble stepped in to bring about his downfall.   Can you, I wonder, without any time pressure, do better?

White is a pawn ahead but must defend hi “h” pawn.   What should he play?

[fen caption=”Should White play 1.h3, 1.g3 or 1.Qg3″ ]5rk1/1b3pp1/p6r/2pPq1p1/2B3Q1/1P3P2/P1R3PP/5RK1 w – – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for February, 2012

Schools are back and Chess Kids is now in full swing for 2012.   One new thing that I’m very excited about is that we have an Aus. Junior Training Squad consisting of around 25 aspiring juniors spread over three states who are already in training for the 2013 Australian Junior Championships in Queensland.    My role is to do an online training lesson each Thursday night which involves me having one junior receiving a private lesson “online” with the other squad members looking on and commenting.  It should be fun and hopefully the kids will learn a lot over the course of the year.   We have promised them each a 200 point rating increase so the pressure is on!    The squad even has its own website,, which will include recordings of the lessons for the kids to playback at their leisure.


Part of the program requires the squad members to play games at Chess Kids Online and thus supply me with material for their lessons as well as a chance for them to implement their new ideas.    I was online last night going through some games and I stumbled across a very interesting position that may contain a brilliant tactic that the players missed.   Have a look and see if you can spot it.

[fen caption=”Does White to play have a winning tactic?” ]r1bqkbnr/pp4pp/2p2P2/8/2P1p3/2p3P1/PP2PPBP/R1BQK2R w – – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for February, 2012

Welcome back to Jammo’s chess puzzles for 2012.  I’ve collected quite a few interesting positions to show you over the next few weeks.  It’s certainly been a great Summer of chess with the Australian Championships in Geelong, the Australian Junior Championships in Melbourne and then the Queenstown Chess Classic in New Zealand.

I only attended the Junior, where I had to give a speech at the opening ceremony to give a bit of advice to our young players, but I avidly followed the other events on-line each day.   The prize for the silliest play of the Summer goes to Max Illingworth against Yi Lui at the Australian Championships (see diagram).  A close second is Max Illingworth (!) for his draw in NZ with  GM Zhao Xue where Max went from R+B+4P v R+N+1P to R v R+N.  Yes, he lost his B and 4 pawns for just one pawn!  Not to be outdone he played on for 79 moves without a pawn move or capture before finally claiming a draw under the 50 move rule.  Now that’s fighting spirit!

Anyway, in the diagram Max has White and his has played a nice combination to win a rook for a couple of pawns. Now 1.Qe1 would quickly bring about a comfortable victory.   Instead Max played the worst move of the tournament which allowed his opponent to immediately turn the tables.   What was Max’s blunder and his opponent’s devastating reply?

[fen caption=”White to play a huge blunder and lose!” ]rn5R/pp2kpp1/4p1p1/3p4/1q3Pn1/3Bp3/PP2K1PP/2BQ3R w – – 4 9[/fen]