Can you keep a secret? I’m meant to be on holidays until February, but if you promise not to tell the Chess Guru, I may be able to rip in a quick New Year’s Chess Puzzle without him noticing. Indeed a couple of people have asked me why there was no puzzle last Friday so here it is!

Despite it being the holiday season, last week saw some chess action at the Box Hill Chess Club with 75 players competing in the Summer Swiss Tournament. The winner was young NZ import Luke Li who scored an impressive 6.5/7 from Greg Canfell on 6 points. He made only one mistake in the tournament. He said “OK”. His opponent, top seed Canfell, had just offered a draw in a clearly inferior position. Still, he’s only young, and may not yet be confident enough to play on against higher rated opponents.

I turned up to watch on three of the days mainly to see how some of the juniors were going and to congratulate Marcus on his upset draw with Canfell. The arbiter was also very kind in making my “dream” pairing of Jordan v Matheson – an interesting clash of the generations between two of the top seeds. On this occasion youth came out on top when the older player (predictably) made a tactical oversight in an even position. I can sympathise with Bill. I made a mistake too, in one of my more recent games, in 1995 against Marcus, but fortunately for me he missed it. Last night on Chess Kids Live we were discussing what to do when you blunder. Swearing under your breath was one option, but maintaining a poker face is the best option for me anyway.

I’m writing this blog, by the way, from Bowral (in NSW) birthplace of Don Bradman. I’m on my way to Sydney to visit Evelyn Koshnitsky, the grand old lady of Australian Chess, now aged 95 years and living in a nursing home in Sydney. Then I’m off to visit Felicity Purdy and have a look at John Purdy’s chess book collection. John sadly passed away earlier this year but if I can pick up some of his chess books and recycle them to promising juniors I’m sure that he would have been pleased. The only trouble is do juniors read books these days? I’m not sure. Maybe the internet has taken over, but I certainly learnt my chess from reading books, so I hope that at least some of my students will get into reading.

I’ll be in Sydney a day to early to see the start of the Australian Open but, hopefully, many of the games will be shown live so there is no great need to turn up as a spectator.

Fortunately over the holidays there is always some chess going on that can be followed live on the internet. I came across a cute little finish to a rapid game the other day. See if you can spot how White finished off the game.

[iframe width=”500″ height=”685″ src=”http://chessmicrobase.com/microbases/258/games/10980?token=grkzepyy&embedded=1#hcp-” frameborder=”0″>]

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