It’s been a big chess weekend for me starting on Friday night when I had the first meeting of my little “super squad” at the Waverley Chess Club.  This week we had Shawn, Atlas, Oliver and Elijah plus Sam who had come down from Yarrawonga to play in the RJ Shield.

I started off by giving them the “Chess IQ Test” in which you have a knight which must do a tour of the board from h8 whilst avoiding squares occupied or attacked by 4 black pawns on c3, f3, c6 and f6.  The trick is to see how fast you can complete the tour and this is meant to be an indicator of your chess talent.  It was very exciting with me calling out as to who was in the lead ( a bit like a race call) and it ended up with Atlas finishing first in just under 5 minutes followed closely by Shawn in just over 5 minutes.  Elijah was next in over 7 minutes, followed by a disappointed Sam in 7 and a half minutes whilst poor Oliver was really struggling to complete the tour in the allotted 10 minutes, having hurt his finger in the process, and promptly burst into tears at the end.  Oh well.

We then played some training games and I went over one of the games with the kids after the games had finished.  All in all in think it worked out quite well and we plan to do this once a month through the year.

On Sunday of course it was the RJ Shield.  We had a reasonable roll up at the new Mt.Waverley venue and the facilities (including air conditioning) are certainly nicer than at Tucker Rd.  There were a lot of very hard-fought games, including some strange endgames which seemed to fluctuate between win/draw/loss as the players stumbled on without too much knowledge of endgame theory.  Twice, in a rook ending, I saw a player make a move which allowed his opponent mate in one when there was an alternative (sneakier) move which forced stalemate in one!  Such is the small margin between a loss and a draw.

The surviver through all this was Callum McGrath who zoomed out to 5/5 only to lose his next game and then be gifted a half point when his last round opponent accepted a draw in an easily winning position.  Callum thus finished in first place on 5.5/7 followed by Shawn and Maha on 5 points.  In the under 10s Isaac Rajit scored a solid 6/7 to win that event.

RJ Shield Winners.

RJ Shield Winners.

Tim and Frank did an excellent job as arbiters and the event finished ahead of time at 4.30.  I’m very much looking forward to the next RJ Shield and hopefully an even bigger turn-out for this fun event.

This weeks puzzle is from a game played on Friday night at the Box Hill Autumn Cup.  Black is the stronger player and has a nice position but White made it easy for him by blundering next move with 1.cxb5.  How did Black finish him off?

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