Archive for March, 2012

Harran v Henry, Novice Tournament Board 1

Last Sunday was the Novice Tournament at Monash University which attracted an excellent field of 91 players many of whom were playing in their first tournament outside of their school chess club.   The surprise winner was Henry Bayliss who beat several higher ranked opponents then conned William Maligin into accepting a draw in the last round because William mistakenly thought he had to allow triple repetition.   If only William had taken my advice to look at more candidate moves in critical positions!

There were a number of strong players playing but I noticed in particular how poorly almost everyone played in the endgame.   This is something that Carl and I are going to focus on in our lessons next term, so we may as well start early and set you an endgame puzzle today.

One of the most dreaded endgames you can get is R+B v R which is meant to be a draw with best play but even grandmasters have failed to defend properly.   Fortunately I’ve never had this endgame in my own games.  I remember that you have to force the King to the corner covered by your B and I remember also there is something called “the second rank defence” which refutes White’s obvious winning attempt in the position below.  Apart from that I can’t help you, so good luck!  Can you win for White from the position below?

[fen caption=”White to play and win?” ]8/8/4KBr1/7k/8/8/8/4R3 w – – 0 1[/fen]

Archive for March, 2012

This Sunday we have the Chess Kids Training Squad “Run Down” at Monash University where Carl and I are going to summarise what we have been trying to teach the kids in term one.   For my part I’ve been trying to stress the importance of playing carefully and when your opponent moves to always ask yourself “what are they threatening?”  When you have decided on your move, you must then have a quick look around for unexpected replies and check that your move is OK before you actually play it.   This should eliminate most of the blunders that decide games between juniors.

I’ve now played through all the games from the recent Ballarat Open weekender and it and seems that some of our leading senior players would have done well to follow the above advice!   IM James Morris was in an ending with R+B+2P v R+B+P where he was a little better but he forgot to ask “what is he threatening” when his opponent made his last move.  James made a natural looking rook move whereupon his opponent immediately pounced with Rh2 and James King was in a mating net.  He could easily have avoided mate had he seen it coming.

Similarly IM Leonid Sandler was coasting along a pawn ahead in an ending when his opponent left a N “en prise”.   Leonard decided to take the free N but forgot to asking himself “what will my opponent reply” (and look at all checks and captures in particular).  His opponent immediately jumped in with Qc8+ with forced mate in two moves.  Oh dear!   Even the great Stephen Solomon was not immune.   He was playing White in the position below and his opponent has just played 19…b4.   Should Solo play 20.Na4 or 20.Nb1 or something else?

[fen caption=”White to play?” ]3r1rk1/1b1Bbppp/p1p5/2q1p3/1p2P3/2NR4/PPP1QPPP/3R2K1 w – – 0 20[/fen]

Archive for March, 2012

This Sunday we are hosting our first “Run Down”. This is a revision session for everything which has happened during this term in the Training Squad.

If you have considered joining one of the training squad sessions then this is the perfect opportunity to see first hand the sort of things we do and meet the other squad members, coaches and parents.

After some coaching we then follow up with a teams tournament.

No need to book, just be there by 9am on Sunday.  Download Run Down flyer.

Archive for March, 2012

Bobby Cheng at the Interschool Tournament

I had a strange experience yesterday at the Bayside Interschool Tournament.

The tournament was very strong with Melbourne High, led by Bobby Cheng, scoring an impressive 27.5/28 to take first place.  I was trying to record some of the games on my iPad so as to publish them in “Knight Times” and was entering the moves for one of Bobby’s games.  It was quite interesting as Bobby had blown the exchange (for nothing) and was trying to fight back.  His opponent I gather was the sort of chap who focused on what he could attack, without paying too much attention to his opponent’s possibilities.  Bobby walked away from the board for a moment and his opponent quickly moved and pressed his clock.  Perhaps it then dawned on him that his move may be a blunder, so he pressed the clock back again and retracted his move!  Not a good idea, particularly when an arbiter is recording the game behind you on his iPad.

Needless to say I forced him to play the original move, and after 3 more moves Bobby had an easily won game.   He gave mate 4 moves later, so the attempted cheater got his just desserts.

This week’s puzzle is to work out, from the evidence that I’ve given you, what were the next 3 moves played in the game.   My friend “CheckNorris” often complains that my puzzles are too easy.  So from him, I want the next 7 moves to finish the game!

[fen caption=”What were the next 3 moves?” ]1rbq1r1k/pp2p1bp/2p1Pp2/6p1/2BPN3/5N2/PPP1Q1PP/5RK1 b – – 1 15[/fen]

Archive for March, 2012

A number of the Chess Kids Training Squad players visited Ballarat last weekend to take part in the annual Begonia Open. This is by far the biggest and best weekend chess tournament in Victoria and provides an excellent event for kids who are stepping up to start playing open competitions. It is not only a huge learning experience, but also an opportunity for  a social weekend away. Results see Tornelo.

Archive for March, 2012

Our summer holiday program was fully booked, so make sure you book your Easter holiday place early because we only have 12 places each day!

Download Easter Holiday Program info (PDF)

Archive for March, 2012

I play a bit of on-line chess at and its great fun …. but there is a problem.   Sometimes players seem to improve rapidly out of the blue and start beating everyone.   The suspicion of course is that they are using a chess computer to help them, but how do we catch them out?   We can put the moves of the game through our own chess engine afterwards and see if they are the same, but chess is such a complicated game that even chess computers don’t always agree on what is the best move.   And what if our sneaky opponent is only using the computer at the critical part of the game?

I recently had a complaint from several players that a certain “J-Rules” was cheating.   I played through a lot of his games and certainly he went from being an average player to winning 42 out of his last 45 games, some against very strong opposition.  The fact the he generally played 15 minute games (instead of a faster game where there is less time to consult a computer) was suspicious.  The clincher for me however was the following position.  J-Rules, playing White, is winning easily.  Black is attacking the N on f3 but White has several promising lines to choose from.   My candidate moves would be 1.Qxe6+, 1.dxe6, 1.Bg5 or 1.Nd4 all of which look good.   The line played by White won quickly and was quite pretty, but could an average junior playing a relatively fast game have found such a nice variation?   I doubt it.   Have a look at the position yourself a decide what you would play and compare that with the actual line played.   And, of course, NO CHEATING, or you may end up in my next blog.

[fen caption=”White to play and win.” ]r2qkb2/pbp3r1/1p1pp2Q/3P4/2P3p1/2N1BN2/PP3PPP/R4RK1 w q – 0 16[/fen]

Archive for March, 2012

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Archive for March, 2012