Saturday, 25 June 2016

Bourgogne shopping trip.

Tradition plays a strong part in Burgundy's hedonistic lifestyle so I thought I might take you on a traditional shopping trip. Although there are several large supermarkets in town, the closest being an Aldi less than 5 minutes walk away, today we decided we can do better.

Our route to "Madame Claire's" takes us deep into the hills along picturesque country roads. First we have to cross the Arroux at Toulon sur Arroux, a beautiful little town worth a post on its own but for today just a few pictures will have to suffice.

Next to the bridge we have one of the many stunning old estates that are still residences instead of museums although this would not be out of place.

A few clicks out of town one has to turn left onto a single lane road with no sign to help you find your way. Since it looks more like a driveway it is easy to miss.

Just a bit up the road one comes to an old Iron bridge back over the Arroux.

The river is swelled from recent rains.

After a few more unsigned turns we come to the "town" of Armecy with its three houses.

The centre of town. We did not know which house but we had a one in three chance of getting it right. Our first guess was wrong but unsurprisingly the friendly farmer knew which of the other two houses was Madame Claire's.

I was hoping this was not the way to the front door. Luckily it was not.

Madame Claire was a vivacious, beautiful lady in her 60's who has tended her livestock on this property all her life and according to a local (jokingly) has just recently found out that WW2 is over. I would have loved to take a picture of her hacking our huge rabbit up but thought it a bit unseemly to point my phone at her.

Anyway, here is our shopping, a 5.2kg rabbit, a 3.5kg chicken and a whole heap of farm fresh goats cheese. All for 70 Euro. She threw in the chicken feet for free. They make great soup especially for arthritis.

We didn't need anything from the vegetable patch,

and we had plenty of water.

Mushrooms we had to collect ourselves. Here is the Fungi department. Location a closely guarded secret.

When looking for mushrooms one scans the ground for colour. We were after "girolles".
This fungus is the right colour but not edible to the best of my knowledge. It is an interesting life form though, going through three stages in its life. It flowers, the spores disperse emerge as tiny bugs which congregate, melt and merge, flower....etc.

These sponge mushrooms are edible but not plentiful or amazingly tasty so we let them be. 

Gold! These are Chantrelles in English and what we were looking for. They do get bigger but at this size they are at their crunchy, peppery best.

After this first lot I got collectors fever and stopped snapping. An hour later we were on our way back with plenty for dinner. Never take more than you need.

Thanks for following our shopping, see you soon :-)

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Churchie International pictures and game against Caesar

I am working from memory so if I have the move order or something else wrong in the game, well nobody is perfect :-)  Next time we will need to have score-sheets with carbon copies. Churchie's senior tournament advisor (moi) forgot to mention it. (oops)

First here are some great photo's taken by a parent. Sorry, but I haven't been told who yet, will credit when I can. After there is my game against the (co)winner IM James Morris.    

There was a delay with the start of the first round, something not uncommon in chess tournaments. It involved crashing computers, software glitches and wi-fi access problems. This caused some consternation for the arbiters the organiser and some parents. The kids just sat down, played some friendly games and didn't seem to care.

Mobile phones are not allowed in the tournament hall in FIDE tournaments. Peter Long here showing what a mobile phone looked like to clear up any misunderstandings.

Raymond Zhuang looking quite relaxed while Michael Dullaway looks like he is doing some kind of Shaolin mind control.

Yi Lui looks very excited to be playing chess at his old school. To his right is Michael Ostopenko, eating his t-shirt.

Erin Dullaway looks warily at the two black knights near her king.

The top seed IM Moulthun Ly and Clint Therakam both deep in thought.

Harry Potter hypnotising his opponent?

Ok, now to my round 4 game against the second seed IM James Morris. The winner of the Doeberl cup is one of Australia's strongest young players. In preparing for him I was impressed by his imagination and tactical ability. I also noticed that he plays a lot of the same rubbish I do and also plays virtually anything so preparing was useless. In fact the last time we played he started with the kings pawn and in this game he played the English.

Already on the second move the "rubbish" (2...Na4) arrived. Move 3. Nf3 is just bad but that was James's last bad move. Black had a slight edge and could have kept it by playing 15....Bc4 followed by Qe6 or a6. Instead I saw a nice way to force a perpetual and couldn't resist.

Another game and more pictures coming. Toodles :-)

Monday, 2 May 2016

James Morris wins the Churchie International 2016

Churchies first internationally rated tournament has just finished with smiles all round. Either Mr Max Condon, Churchies master of chess, likes giving out prizes or he was quite happy with the course of events.

It is always nerve-racking running an event for the first time. Is anyone going to play. Will things run smoothly? Will it run over budget?  Well, despite some gremlins on the first day everything turned out fine. 

Please enjoy this preliminary report with just some pictures from the prizegiving and one game. I need to take an International Arbiter sightseeing tomorrow so need some rest after the gruelling weekend.

Ben Stevens looks pleased with his 2nd unrated prize.

Noah Milbourne won the unrated section. Amazingly this lad has been playing chess for less than a year.

Col De Git was runner up in the next group.

Aaron Fahey, Nudgee's premier board 1 was the winner.

There was another rating group but since the players didn't/couldn't  pick up their prizes I have no pictures of them. Also their prizes will be donated to support struggling viticulturists/ 

In the open section eight players shared 4th and 5th prizes. From left to right we have Ryan Luis, Ross Lam, Moulthun Ly, Gene Nakauchi, Henry Slater-Jones, Clint Therakam and Tom Maguire.

Outright 3rd was taken by Churchie old boy Yi Liu pictured with his dad and brother. I miss our blitz sessions since he has graduated and moved to Sydney.

I managed to deprive James of a few dollars by also scoring 6 points so we shared 1st  and 2nd prizes. The Glory however, is all Caesars. We played an entertaining draw which I will present in the follow up post.

We had a great group of parents volunteering for the tuck shop. They did a brilliant job all weekend.

Let us not forget the Sheriff Peter Long and his deputy Michael D'Arcy. Apart from the normal challenges of running a tournament, they had to cope with half a room of children who were not familiar with FIDE behaviour standards.  

I have not posted like usual during this tournament. The schedule was hectic and the Arbiters were using my laptop to do the draw. I was going to use that excuse if I had had a bad result as well.

I will get to it but for now  present my final round game against the top seed IM Moulthun Ly. Actually Moulthun has been terrorising me since he was a kid. He beat me in our first two encounters when he was many hundreds of points lower rated and nearly made it 3. To be honest my main priority today was to not lose but somehow he drifted in the ending, made a few inaccurate moves and I stumbled into a good rook ending.   

The crosstable can be viewed on the "chess results" link.

Anyway folks, 3 am, I need a few hours. Toodles :-)

Monday, 28 March 2016

Caesar Conquers Doeberl

James Morris, aka Caesar, giving his victory speech at the Doeberl cup. Veni vidi vici? Not really, Caesar seemed a bit stunned himself. His play was solid with an artistic streak. The final position in his game against GM Hrant Melkumyan could be the basis of an endgame study. Also worth viewing is his game against Max Illingworth. The final position has that comedy noir factor going for it. If you don't know what I mean try finding a move for white.

For full results and games go the the official site.

Second on 7 points were our two visiting GM's, Anton Smirnov took 4th place and the best junior title for the second year running and Heather Richard the best female prize. 

The Major section was won by David Cannon with 6/7 followed in second and third by Churchie boys Jarryd Luis and Tony Zhong.

Mark stokes took gold for Queensland in the minor and was all grins.

As for yours truly, I finished with 6.5/9 in fifth place. Much better than I expected.
My last game was my best of the tournament against a traditionally difficult opponent for me. Today he just played a bad opening variation and I did not panic when short on time.

Thanks for reading, see you soon :D

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Doeberl Cup rounds 7&8

Yesterday the morning started badly and the game went well, this morning I was informed that I had won the "lucky door prize" which was a $50 voucher for chess books and the game went badly. I had many easy wins and ended up blundering into a draw.

Round 7

I don't know how I talked myself out of 25.Na6 which wins the house. Checks and captures again. Groan.

In this game I should have lost. Dusan refuted my clumsy plan comprehensively but then got his attacking pieces stuck in my position and I finally got the e5 pawn. Yay! more luck than I deserve but I'll take it.

Round 8

We also had a little incident today. Izzat Kanan, the reigning Australian champion spat the dummy after losing last night to Heather Richards and withdrew from the tournament. He was not Ill, just disappointed. The question I put to my readers is this,

 Is Izzat Kanan a pussy?

 I don't know as I have not had the chance to speak to him. You be the judge dear reader. Here is the game for your viewing pleasure.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Doeberl Cup, rounds 5&6

The dreaded morning rounds started today  and it started with me missing the exit to the Uni, then misreading "maps" causing the need for another correction and arriving 5 minutes late.

Round 5

My opening was uninspiring and black was more than fine had he sacked a piece with 24....Nf2. It is a positional piece sack which neither seriously considered I guess. Swapping queens was not the way to go and now I felt I was just playing for one result. Blacks pawns fall like Autumn leaves. Even quicker had I noticed the blindingly obvious 31.Nd5. Checks and Captures, how many times do I have to remind myself. Maybe a tattoo on the forehead?

Round 6

I'm not going to waste your time, dear reader, by showing you the 10 moves of my afternoon game. I must say that I was surprised by the offer as I was expecting the black side of a long Maroczy squeeze, something Grandmaster Darryl Johansen is known for. Maybe the two rounds a day had tired him out.

Anyway, home straight now, a few good games will put a $mile on my face.

Hasta manjana amigoes.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Doeberl Cup rounds 3&4

University house is a nice venue. I was less impressed with yesterdays playing hall, not that it wasn't perfectly acceptable, clean quiet etc, but it did not have the class befitting a grand event. But the main hall definitely does. It was booked for a function on the first day.

One of the reasons I decided to play was that I had not seen some friends for years and all and sundry come to Canberra for this traditional tournament. They even leave the hills of the Shire for this annual pilgrimage.

Round 3

I have no reason to complain about this result. My opponent just played well and Stockfish agrees. I guess I do need to update my openings.

(Edit) As rapidly pointed out by readers (thanks David, Jeff) the game replayer has malfunctioned so here is the pgn for those whose life is meaningless without my games. :-)

[Event "Doeberl Cup Premier 2016"]
[Site "University House"]
[Date "2016.03.25"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Black "Litchfield, Frederick"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[WhiteElo "2056"]
[BlackElo "2334"]
[ECO "C10c"]
[EventDate "2016.03.24"]

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nc6 4.Be3 Bb4 5.Ne2 dxe4 6.a3 Bxc3+ 7.Nxc3 Nf6
8.Qd2 Bd7 9.h3 h6 10.g4 Ne7 11.Bg2 Bc6 12.O-O-O Qd7 13.Qe2 O-O-O 14.
h4 Kb8 15.g5 hxg5 16.hxg5 Nfd5 17.Nxe4 Nxe3 18.fxe3 b6 19.Nc3 Nf5 20.
Rxh8 Rxh8 21.Bxc6 Qxc6 22.e4 Nd6 23.g6 fxg6 24.Qg4 e5 25.Qxg6 exd4
26.Qxg7 Re8 27.Rxd4 Nxe4 1/2-1/2

Round 4

The Alekhine defense used to be my main defense and I felt the need for familiar territory. The Be3, Rc1, b3 line has been annoying Alekhine's players for decades now. I had this idea of re-routing the b6 knight to f6 for a while and today it worked out ok. Perhaps Jonas should not have allowed ....d5 and his b4 was also suspect.

And tomorrow, the dreaded morning round.