What do we have to look forward to in the chess world?   Australia has just announced its Olympiad Teams for the Chess Olympiad scheduled for Tromso in Norway from August 1st to 14th.   I’m thrilled that young FM Anton Smirnov has been selected as the no.5 played in Australia’s team, making him our youngest ever Olympian.  Regrettably it seems that Anton may not even get to push a pawn in the Olympiad however as there are rumours that the event may not go ahead because of funding problems.  It’s the ultimate thrill to play for your country so let’s hope that the problems can be sorted out.

I’m looking forward also to the Victorian Open Championship being played over the Queen’s birthday week-end in June at the Box Hill Chess Club.  I’m sure that quite of few of my students will be playing so that should be a good source of new games for coaching material.   Meanwhile the Victorian Championship are moving along towards the half-way mark and I’m predicting that IM James Morris will be the new champion.   He is off to a good start with 3.5/4.  The next round is at Noble Park CC on Saturday at 3pm so that will be a good opportunity to follow the live games.  Of course tonight the Box Hill Club Championship continues also, with 5 live games to watch, and I’m predicting that Luke Li will emerge as the club champion.  My student Gary continues to do well in the event, drawing with Eugene Schon last week after missing a chance to score the full point.  If only I could persuade him to spend less time analysing opening variations and to save his time for later in the game.

Another event coming up soon that I’m looking forward to is the annual Chess Kids camp at Phillip Island, from July 8 – 11.   This year the theme is “defending” whereas last year we looked at endgames.  “Defending” is not a topic that is often covered in chess lessons, as I’m sure that most players would prefer to attack rather than defend, however for every attacker there must be a defender so it’s still an important skill to have.  No doubt there will be lots of Petrosian games to use as material.  They used to say that World Champion Petrosian was so good at defending that he often anticipated his opponent’s threats and countered them even before the attacking idea had entered his opponent’s mind!

One defensive idea that sometimes comes into play late in the game is stalemate – snatching a draw from the jaws of defeat because you have no legal moves left and you are not in check.  Have a look at the position below for example.  White is clearly winning, but perhaps Black can secure a stalemate draw if he plays his cards right … perhaps not?  What is the result with best play?

[iframe width=”500″ height=”685″ src=”http://chessmicrobase.com/microbases/1565/games/56414?token=eoslgbj&embedded=1#hcp-” frameborder=”0″>]

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