Archive for October, 2016

Chess tournaments can be great fun but if you have a quick win (or loss) the problem arises of what to do in the time between rounds.

One solution is for tournament organisers to put up some puzzles on the wall for players to try to solve between rounds.  This works well at the RJ Shield where I sometimes set up a “find the grandmaster move” puzzle and then we can also use the time before the prize-giving to go through the solution with the kids.  At the recent Victorian Youth Championships there were a number of endgame puzzles put up so when the kids started their games I sat down with Frank Meerbach (one of the Chess Kids coaches) and had a look at the puzzles.  I always like catching up with Frank as he enjoys a good puzzle and invariably has a few good new ones to show me.

We started off with the puzzle in the diagram below which Frank had been pondering over.  After a couple of minutes I worked out the solution.  The technique that I use I to ask myself questions about the position.   For example “How am I going to win – can I win his material or do I win by checkmating his King?”  If I’m going for checkmate “Which square can I checkmate him on?”  Then “which piece is the one most likely to give checkmate.”

In the puzzle below the questions for Black are obvious.  “Can I stop him Queening.”   “Can I checkmate his King?”  “If I can’t stop him queening can I win his Queen.”  “Which piece is most likely to be able to take the queen, my rook or knight?”   Hopefully you get the idea.   Several days later I was driving home and my mind drifted back to this puzzle when an alternative solution suddenly hit me.  “Why can’t Black play ….. and win” I pondered.   Perhaps I had cooked the puzzle.  (A “cook” is an alternative solution).  To my surprise when I set up the position on my computer it found a very sneaky flaw in my second solution which allowed White to draw.  So your task for today is to find both “solutions” and the resource that I missed.   Enjoy….

Archive for October, 2016

School holidays are always a good time to try to improve your chess skills and the last week of the recent holidays gave the better students at Chess Kids an opportunity to compete in the Victorian Youth Championships held in Bulleen.  The wet and cold weather was no deterrent to chess players and a very good field assembled to contest the titles.  The U/15 was of particular interest where there were a number of strong players competing and it was not easy to pick a winner.

As it turned out the most hotly contested title was the U/9 age group where top seed Gavyn drew with Oliver and they both won their remaining games thus bringing about a play-off.   The first play-off was two 10 minute games.  Oliver won game one and looked set to take the title when Gavyn blundered his queen for two pieces in game two.  A counter queen blunder however allowed Gavyn to turn the tables and even the score.  The play-off then moved to two 5 minute games.  This time Gavyn won the first but blundered again and Oliver evened the score.  Thus it all came down to a sudden death game – Gavin had White and 6 minutes to Oliver’s 5 minutes but a drawn game would give Oliver the title.   The large crowd gathered around for the exciting climax and saw Oliver blunder a piece to give Gavin the title!   A great and exciting event.

In the main (U/15) event Daniel Poberovsky zoomed to a 4/4 lead on the first day but then lost all 3 games on the second day!  Amit took the lead after round 5 only to lose to Kayson who became joint leader with Isaac going into the last round.  In a thrilling final round Amit defeated Issac and Kayson was losing a rook endgame against Sam Trewin.  Sam lost the plot and blundered his rook only to see Kayson offer a draw in a winning position.  This left Amit with the U/15 title and Kayson with the U/13 title.

 

Congratulations to all the winners as follows:

U/15 Champion Amit Ben Harin 5.5 pts

U/13 Champion Kayson Wang 5.5 pts

U/11 Champion Shawn Zillmann 6.5 pts

U/9 Champion Gavyn Sanusi-Goh 6.5 pts

U/7 Champion Oliver Chen 7 pts

 

Amit Ben Harin Victorian Youth Chess Champion 2016

Amit Ben Harin Victorian Youth Chess Champion 2016

Here is the end of one of Amit’s games where he exploits his opponent’s blunder.