Archive for December, 2015

It’s been a very exciting week of chess for me with the RJ Shield Finals being played at Melbourne University last Sunday followed by the National Schools Finals on Monday and Tuesday.

I had to give a couple of lectures at the Nationals – one on “where do I want my pieces?” and one on “co-ordinating my pieces” plus go through players’ games after each round.   It was great to meet young players (particularly from Interstate) and to discuss chess and how they can improve.  Indeed I missed the prize-giving as I was having a very nice chat with a lad from Tasmania who wanted help with his openings.

RJ

Sam v Liam in the last round.

I expected the top seed Sam Trewin to win the RJ Shield final but he faced stiff competition from Liam and Zoe Harrison from Mildura and Alistair McCutcheon to name but a few of the better players.  I managed to record a number of the games on my iPad, with help from a couple of parents, and whilst some good chess was played it was noticeable that even the top players would blunder a piece (or more) during their game.  Little Atlas, just back from the World Youth Championships in Greece, allowed his Bishop to be trapped by a4 (winning a B for a P) but his opponent Alistair didn’t notice.  Later he was coasting along a piece ahead in an ending when he allowed a back rank check winning the piece back …. his opponent’s hand hovered over the Rook to make the killer move, but then moved it somewhere else!

The tournament was decided by Blunders in the last round.  Alistair was losing a R+B ending when his opponent blundered his rook so all eyes turned to Sam v Liam on top board.  Sam had the better of an ending with B+N v R but he moved his B to where it was defended by the N but when the overloaded N was itself attacked he had to drop a piece and the game and the title.  This left Alistair and Liam tied for first on 6/7 with Liam winning on count-back.   Both players collected $250 for their trouble.

Poor Sam was doubly unlucky because in the previous round against Liam’s sister, Zoe, the following position was reached with Black to move.  Sam (Black) had about 15 seconds and Zoe had about 12 seconds so any result was possible.  After quick thought Sam settled for a perpetual check but he had better!   See if you can find a winning line for Black.