Archive for December, 2013

Well it’s almost holiday time …. for me just one more lesson then I have two months off!  May get in a bit of gardening but, unfortunately, there is no rest over the holidays for we keen chess spectators.  

Last week I had to follow the Australian Junior Masters in Adelaide where James Morris scored an impressive 8/10 to finish 2.5 points ahead of second placed Moulthun Ly.  This week I have 10 live games to follow at the Australian Masters Championship at Box Hill where our aspiring players have the chance to get GM and IM norms.  Hopefully the likes of Anton Smirnov and Karl Zelesco can play well enough to give themselves a chance for a norm.

Perhaps I will get a few free days over Christmas then it’s straight into the Canterbury Summer Swiss, where two GMs are expected to play, followed by the Australian Championship at Noble Park starting on 2nd January.  Then of course the Australian Junior Champions start up in Sydney later in January.   Yes, it’s a tough schedule.  What drives we chess spectators on under such difficult circumstances?  The chance to see a nice combination or, even better, a silly blunder makes it all worthwhile.  I’ve come across a couple of good ones so far … which I’m happy to share with you.




Archive for December, 2013

Last Sunday I popped in to the Box Hill Chess Club to catch a bit of the action at the Victoria Lightning Chess Championship – no, wait, I’m wrong!  I forgot that we have all been Americanised and it’s now called the Victorian Blitz Championships – I’m so old that I think that “blitz” is when the Germans bombed London during the Second World War.

Anyway, it was a really strong blitz tournament with the young guns represented by IM Bobby Cheng, IM James Morris, IM Ari Dale, FM Luke Li and Laurence Matheson whilst the old guard was there also in the form of IM Leonard Sandler and IM Mirko Rujevic.  Strangely none of these distinguished players won the tournament.  Instead a little 14 year-old boy rated 1899 (blitz) won with a round to spare on 11/13 followed by Bobby on 10.5 and James on 10.   Even stranger, this little kid was not named Anton Smirnov (who didn’t play – probably something to do with not being a Victorian) but Karl Zelesco.  I was witness to the big game Karl v Bobby, which Bobby was winning, and in the time scramble he saw the chance to win a free rook by playing QxR+.  Only trouble was that, as his hand quitted the Queen, Karl pointed out that Bobby was already in check and had thus played an illegal move (which is an automatic loss).  Bobby took it in good spirits and looked up to the heavens with a broad grin on his face.

Other players however were taking the event a little more seriously.  Now I know that lightning chess is a very fast game and some strange things can happen.  I must confess that once I was very naughty and made a illegal move in a lost position which my poor opponent failed to notice (to his detriment).  Even better, I saw Ozols once playing in an even rook ending on an open board when his opponent’s King was on the back rank.  Ozols (white) played Ra7 (not Ra8!) and said “check” whereupon his opponent naturally assumed that Ra8 had been played and so moved his King to the 7th rank whereupon Ozols was able to play RxK!  Such tactics usually result in some sort of dispute which the poor arbiter must rule on.

At Box Hill there was one unlucky player who had the misfortune to be involved in three such disputes!  I’m advised that in one game with K+R v K+R he played on and tried to “clock” his opponent who had less time.  Perhaps this is legal but, unless you are a member of the Australian Cricket Team, most people would agree to a draw.  In a more interesting dispute which held up the tournament for some time, James Morris, playing against this player, claimed “illegal move” with only 3 seconds left on the clock.  By the time the arbiter was called James’ time had expired so both players claimed a win.  In a “Solomon-like” decision the arbiter declared it a draw.  (For those of you who don’t study history that’s not IM Stephen Solomon from Queensland but King Solomon from Israel who resolved a dispute over a baby by ordering that the baby be cut in two).

I witnessed the 3rd dispute myself and am left wishing that I had videoed the game.  Our player had 2 minutes on the clock to Laurence Matheson’s 30 seconds but Laurence was winning on the board.  A hasty King move allowed Laurence to jump in with a winning Knight fork which cost Black a Rook.   Black quickly replied Kxh2 smashing the clock with all his force and propelling both clock and h2 pawn onto the floor.  Clearly he was not happy and claimed the the rogue Knight had not been correctly placed on the appropriate square.   A claim which, from my spectator’s point of view, I can only say “was not supported by the evidence.”  The Arbiter reset the clock and Black resigned shortly thereafter.

Now back to the more mundane matter of today’s puzzle.   Have a look at the position below from a game played by one of my students at the Mildura Open.   Your task is to choose between Kg2 and Kh4 and to supply the correct reasoning.  It’s not hard, but my student made the wrong choice.  Hope you can do better.