Archive for June, 2012

This weekend is a big week-end for young chess players in Melbourne.  On Sunday we have the Chess Kids Novice tournament at Monash University plus the Victorian 12U Championships at Box Hill Chess Club on Saturday and Sunday.  I’m planning to drop in to Box Hill to go through some games of our 30 or so juniors who are playing, however the number of entrants currently stands at a massive 106 so there may not be much room for parents and coaches!  If worst comes to worst I guess I can always set up my iPad in one of the Maling Road Cafes and do some coaching from there – sounds like a good option actually!

On Monday the JETS Training Camp starts (also at Box Hill) and I’m planning to lecture on “How to do nothing” using some of my games from Chess Kids on-line as examples.   It’s remarkable, if you just play solidly, how many of your opponents just “self-destruct” without you having to do anything special.  I think playing solidly is a valuable skill for kids to learn, but my favourite on-line opponent “Mysteryman” has been begging me not to show his games.  Alas I cannot agree.  Players should not be embarrassed by their losses.   Losing is a great way to learn from your mistakes!

Today’s puzzle is from the game Arkadius Kalka (2359) v Andrew Brown (2236) from the Gold Coast Open played last week-end.  White is a pawn down but he has a dangerous passed “d” pawn and Black’s attempts to attack on the kingside have been blunted.  It’s White to play so he has three options.

He can try to pick up the “b” pawn with 1.Qb6; He can try to promote his “d” pawn with 1.d6 or he can play 1.Qg4 to swap off queens followed by Bb6 threatening Bc7 and Nc4.  One of these moves is a bit better for White; one is equal and one loses!    Which is which?

Archive for June, 2012

Training Squad students were given an assignment; to annotate a game. The best annotated game won a 1-hour private lesson with Carl Gorka. Here is the winning entry, well done Ryan Kam!

Archive for June, 2012

It’s been a miserable week in Melbourne – constant rain and freezing cold, so I’ve been trying to think of things to do for keen chess players.  Some Victorians are fleeing North this weekend to the sunny Gold Coast Open – a very strong tournament run by Gardiner Chess.  I’m pretty sure that they will have live games on-line, so sitting in front of the heater with a cup of coffee and following the action is sounding like a good option for this week-end.   What you should try to do is to guess the next move in the game that you are following and then compare your choice with the move actually played.   An excellent way to learn!

Thinking further ahead to the following weekend the Vic. Under 12 Championships will be played at Box Hill Chess Club on the Saturday and the Sunday.  I’ll be following the fortunes of our Chess Kids squad members who are playing, and I think Gary Lin has a chance of doing very well – he’s getting very hard to beat at “Chess Kids On-line.”   There should be live games on-line for this as well.

The following week is the elite JETS Training Squad “camp” also at Box Hill from 2nd to 7th July.  I’ll be joining Rogers, Zhao, Johansen, Solomon and others in coaching Australia’s top juniors so if you want to pop in to have a look I’m sure you’d be welcome.

If you are still at a loose end then there is always “Chess Tempo” the on-line chess tactics site to help you build your mental muscles.   Here’s a sample puzzle which managed to stump me.   Black to play and win …. hope you can do better!

Archive for June, 2012

It’s nearly time for school holidays! Hooray! If you’re looking for a fun activity for the chess-a-holic in the family, why not join us on our 4 Day Chess Intensive Camp, being held 14 – 17 July.

For $650 per player (or $358 per parent)  our camp includes:

  • 3 Nights accomodation in a 4.5 star luxury resort in Hobart, Tasmania
  • All meals included
  • Private and Group Coaching Sessions
  • Tournament games and prizes
  • Sightseeing and Tourist Activities

Call 1300 424 377 today to secure your place – but get in quick, there’s only 5 places left!

More information about the camp can be found on the Training Squad website here

Archive for June, 2012

Archive for June, 2012

Most chess games are decided by blunders.   At least that’s what I tell my students.  Unfortunately even very good players, Grandmasters, International Masters and Australian Champions, are not immune.

I can think back over my chess career and remember some of the silly mistakes that I made.  The most embarrassing was probably at Interclub shortly after I had just one the Australian Championship for the first time.   All of Victoria’s top players were present for the A Grade competition and before we started play the arbiter congratulated me on being the new Australian Champion and everyone clapped.  Play commenced.   About 10 minutes later I had already lost my game in 12 moves against John Hanks!  Alas I had nowhere to hide.   Serves me right I suppose for playing a silly opening like 1…b6.

A couple of years later I was playing in the Australian Kriegspiel Championship (kriegspiel is a variation of chess where you can’t see your opponent’s pieces and you have to guess his moves).   I was doing well and had White against a player rated about 600 points below me.   Unfortunately I was checkmated in 3 moves by a knight!   Served me right for playing the same opening in each game and making it easier for my opponent to “guess” where my pieces were.

Over the last weekend a couple of Australia’s best players were similarly embarrassed.   Playing in the Vic. Open, Bobby Cheng was cruising against Doug Hamilton in an ending where Bobby’s Q + N were dominating.  Bobby decided to swap off into a winning pawn ending and Doug duly lost after he let Bobby’s King into his position.  What both players had missed was that Doug could have just defended with his King and the position was an easy draw!   A little embarrassing but not nearly as bad as what happened to Australia’s top player, GM Zong-Yuan Zhao, playing in the NSW Open against IM Andrew Brown.

Zhao had also been cruising for most of the game and had outplayed his opponent to be a knight ahead (see diagram).   Brown was having a great tournament and had defeated all his main rivals but would lose top spot if he went down to Zhao.  What happened?  Well, Black had just played 1…h4 and it was White to play.  The game lasted only a few more moves.  Your puzzle today is to tell me what happened.

Archive for June, 2012

Archive for June, 2012

Our Winter Holiday Program timetable has just been finalised! Book your place early so you don’t miss out! Only 12 places available each day.

If you haven’t been to one of our Holiday Programs before, make sure you Download the Winter Holiday Program info (PDF) to give you a quick summary of what we do.

As always, the holiday program has a theme… our Winter program is all about Tricks and Traps! We’ll be looking at strategies and openings that’ll help you beat any opponent (including your parents!), discussing famous players from both past and present as well has heaps of fun games and prizes!

We run the program in half-day blocks (every half-day is different, so you can come to every session without hearing a repeated lesson!) and during each half-day we have 3 lessons and a tournament. There are points awarded, rating points up for grabs and prizes every day.  We tailor the sessions to the players who show up on that day, so it is equally suited to beginners or more experienced players.

Can’t wait to see you there!

Archive for June, 2012

The interschool season is well under way. Today we were at Wooranna Park Primary and the clash of the two ‘big guns’ was on board 1 in round 3. Here is how the game turned out:

We also turned this game into a video lesson for our free online webinars. You can see the video here.

By the way, Ryan won 7/7 and his school, Wooranna Park Primary, comfortably won the day. Full results.