Archive for September, 2014

Today I made a bad decision.  I could have gone to Noble Park to watch the last 3 rounds of the Noble Park Classic Chess Tournament, after all you never get injured watching chess.  Instead I decided to play in an old people’s tennis tournament at Frankston.  I won the tournament but came away hobbling and barely able to walk.  I’ll know better next time.

That’s not to say that you can’t get injured playing chess, but they are generally mental injuries, not physical ones.  Judging by the live on-line games from the tournament there will be a few players nursing mental injuries from the event.  Take Dusan Stojic.  He was the exchange up and crushing IM James Morris in round 5 but somehow James managed to escape with a draw.  Despite this set-back he went into the last round in the joint lead with James and faced tricky old IM Mirko Rujevic.  Dusan swapped off into an ending two pawns up for nothing with his opponent having no play.  He forced Mirko to sac his B for the two pawns and so Dusan had R+N+2p v R+2p.   An easy win but that was not the result …. Mirko swindled a draw.

The prize however for the most painful mental injury from the tournament must surely go to Bosko Mijatovic.  In the last round Bosko was a piece down and getting crushed by Victorian Champion IM Kanan Izzat, then the impossible happened!  Kanan made a huge blunder.   In the position below he should just play 31.h3 and he doesn’t have any problems.  Instead he played 31.Rg3?? and Bosko seized his chance with 31…Qd1+ 32.Kf2 Qe2+ 33.Kg1 and Kanan’s offer of a draw was accepted.  I wasn’t there but I’m wondering how long it took for someone to tell Bosko that he agreed to a draw in an easily winning position (mate in 12 according to my computer).  Can you do better?  What should Bosko have played?

Archive for September, 2014

Holiday Program Sept 22 – Oct 3

Archive for September, 2014

facebook.com/chesskidsaustralia

Archive for September, 2014

Which is better, R+P or B+N? A tough question which one of my students asked me last Friday. I tried to explain that in the middle game the pieces were usually better, but in an endgame with open files and play on both sides of the board the rook would do OK.  Strangely that night I was watching a live game in the Box Hill Grades in which White put both his knights on the side of the board.  I tell my students that this is usually bad, but not everyone agrees with me.  The game then came down to the material imbalance of R+P v B+N.  Later that night I had the following conversation with one of my internet friends about the game (which was still in progress):

RJ: “You’ll be pleased to know that Max Chew Lee has his Ns on a3 and h3 tonight.”
Reply: “OK, good, seems to have done well for him.”
RJ: “The game is still in the balance.”
Reply: “Hardly, surely White is winning.”
RJ: “But will he win?”
Reply: “Hardly in the balance –  2 pieces much better than R+P.”
RJ” “Don’t see why.”

So, what happened?  Did the B+N triumph or did the R+P hang on for a draw?  And what of the knights on the side of the board? How did they go?  I’m afraid that to find out the answer to these intriguing questions you will have to play through the whole game.  But I can guarantee you one thing …. it’s a real knightmare!

Archive for September, 2014

Last Sunday I attended the Bentleigh RJ Shield Tournament which attracted an amazing 78 players for the two events.  The under 10 event was won by 7 year-old Atlas Baillieu with a perfect 7/7 – perhaps a name to watch in the future.  In the over 10 event Daniel Poberovsky scored 6.5/7 to win his first RJ Shield.

I watched as many of the leading games as I could, and recorded a few for my lessons, but even on the top board it was disappointing to see the number of blunders being made.  The key game between Daniel and Alistair saw Daniel blunder a piece (Alistair missed it), then Alistair blundered a piece which Daniel promptly blundered back, and the game was decided when Alistair missed a fork and Daniel won a free rook.   Whoever said that a game of chess is won by the player who makes “the second last blunder” was right on the mark.  Even my most promising student, Shawn Zillman, fell for two opening traps and lost a couple of games horribly.

This creates a problem for me.  How can I teach my students not to miss obvious tactics?  I tried a new idea yesterday.  I set up a position from one of the RJ Shield games in which White missed a mate in 1 move then numerous mates in 2 moves until he eventually stumbled upon a checkmate.  I decided to turn this into a “game” for my super squad who had to find the fastest forced mate in each position and then put up their hand.  If the got it right they scored a point but if they got it wrong they were out of the game.   I hoped that this would encourage them to make certain they had the correct answer (move) each time rather than just seeing something flashy and claiming that they had “solved it”.  It went reasonably well although by the end of the game there was only one player who had not been disqualified!

Let me give you an example of the sort of thing that players are missing at the RJ Shield, although this one is reasonably difficult.  White is a pawn ahead and Black’s King is open, but White’s two knights are attacked.  What should he play?  (Needless to say in the actual game White played something different but did manage to grind out a win in the end).