Friday, 31 December 2010

Hastings round 4

Many of England's top players come to Hastings every year and not just for the Chess. There are many side events like the pairs blitz. The combined rating must not exceed 4400. When you pair 2500 with 1900 you get very entertaining games. Since it is held at the Pig in Paradise the atmosphere is great.
Between rounds some players and spectators stand outside in the freezing cold to satisfy various addictions. Here is a selection of Britains finest.
Now to Chess. Today I played Richard Pert with the black pieces. He struck me with a novelty (8.e5) that he had been waiting to spring on someone for a year. My position was so bad that at least one friend stopped watching the live feed as he saw no point in watching me suffer. But through stubborn defense, a few second-best moves from my opponent and one really sleazy trick at the end I managed to grovel a draw. 

Well that's all for this year folks, here is wishing you all a very happy new years eve. I will wait for 2011 at the Pig.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Hastings round 3

Long game today, at several stages there was drawing danger. I got a good position from the opening but played too lazily assuming if I had a queen and my opponent didn't I would win without effort. Oh well.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Hastings round 2

Not a bad day today, my opponent stumbled into one of the very few lines I know and although I had some trouble remembering it was enough to get an advantage. I am sure I let the noose slip but just as it was getting messy he offered a draw. Not being able to find anything clear I accepted. The postmortem did not clear anything up.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Pig in Paradise

Although I do not refer to myself it does seem appropriate. I do not remember the last time I played in a tournament where all the rounds are played at the same time of day. No morning rounds, no double rounds or weekender time controls. Hastings has the unmistakable Stewart Reuben stamp on it. There is always some room for improvement, like more stable tables, more elbow room and the playing hall is a bit chilly but all told a job well done. After the game one can wander around the town and it's many pubs restaurants and Cafes. I spent the evening at the "Pig in Paradise", an old favorite amongst chess players.  More details and pictures of Hastings soon. First todays game

Now I need to do some prep. My reward for this gem is black against the top seed Edouard Romain. Any ideas?....anybody?....

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Antipodeans in London.

It is a long way to the Heart of the Empire but four of us made it.The Womens tournament features Shannon Oliver from Australia who is in London primarily for the shopping I assume but has has the convenient excuse of Study to mask her spree of the London shops.
After winning her first round game against top seed IMSusan Lalic she has not fared so well and is on 1/4

Natasha Fairly has the same score through two draws.
Another New Zealand star is here, Sue Maroroa, but she is restricting her Chess to blitz

and yours truly has recovered from the mobile loss with three straight wins.
Here are two of them

In the main tournament Luke McShane has been joined by Vishy Anand in the lead. The official site  has more.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

My trip to London has not started  optimally to say the least. First there was security at Munich Airport. You don't need to go to the USA to get a good grope, for the mere price of an airline ticket you can get one in Germany. The amount of security with scary weapons is increasing as well.
Next was Customs in Stansted.  I was asked endless questions for no particular reason. The young Lady seemed unable to understand how one can travel all the time. Perhaps it was just curiosity.
Next day the London classic started and I am playing in the Open. Fellow Australian Shannon Oliver is playing in the Womens tournament and started with a Bang beating IM Susan Lalic. Shannon told me it was he first competitive game in two years!
In the main tournament Luke McShane caused a sensation by crushing Magnus Carlsen
As for me... well the game was just embarrassing. I played atrociously but my opponent missed a few ways early . Just as I was trying to find a way to make my extra pawn count my mobile phone turned itself on. It was in my pocket and I guess something pressed on the on button. Oh well,


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Chicas crush Legends

The last two months have not been very exciting but the main reason for my "Hiatus" has been laziness. Blogging for me is a little like porridge. If I don't have/do it every day motivation dwindles. Also I prefer to report on positive experiences rather than annoying or depressing ones. Here some feedback would be appreciated. Should I write about non-positive events? Is anybody interested? I do have one particularly galling unfinished tale involving a Car and French roadside assist on file. I will tell if asked.

Meanwhile something happy. Yesterday Thomas Luther and I decided to take the Train to Marianske Lazne
(aka Marienbad)  to watch a traditional match of talented young Ladies against Legends. Everything was normal until we got to the border. Strangely enough we had to show documents before entering another Schengen Country but the real surprise was still waiting. I had expected the Czech Republic to be a bit like Slovenia, but instead, when we arrived in the border town of Cheb, it felt like going back in time. The Railway station had a Cafe which closed as soon as our Train arrived (perfect timing) at a quarter to four in the afternoon! The Trains were ancient as was everything else at the Station. We arrived at our destination and the tourist information office was closed of course, it was raining and there was no city map anywhere. There was a Taxi stand but no Taxi's and a whole bunch of other people waiting.

Things picked up from there. We just started walking in the direction of town and managed to hop onto a Bus which accidentally took us nearly to the door of the Hotel Villa Butterfly where the tournament is held. It is as good as it looks in the pictures. We were then welcomed by World blitz champion Levon Aronian and watched Arianne Caoili crush Dragoljub Velimirovic ! 

Thank you for the nice welcome to both :-) After we all went to the "Wellness" area for Sauna's, Whirlpools etc. Then to Dinner in the Hotel Restaurant followed by a drink at a Hotel down the Road. Then Ari had to retire as she needed to prepare for her game against Lajos Portisch. The games can be followed live here

Perhaps some pics tomorrow? Bye

Monday, 13 September 2010

Medieval Market Fuerstenfeldbrueck

 Sunday was a wonderful sunny day in Upper Bavaria so my friends Claudia, Klaus and I decided not to waste it and went to the Medieval Market.
It was held on the grounds of a Monastary and the theme was Orient meets Occident. It was divided into two parts. First the Occident (West)

                                                                 Bee products
Traditional Basketry

Wood turning


Entertainment and much much more. All the Vendors spoke in Old German and wore Medieval Clothing and even quoted prices in old Currency, Thaler instead of Euro which did lead to some short term confusion. The Oriental part was in another Courtyard.

Here one could sit in a tent and drink Arabian Mokka

with delicious cakes (eg Fig fingers)

smoke a Hookah

or ride a Camel. I know a little three and a half year old girl who would really enjoy that :-)
So as  you can see there are lots of things to do in the Five Lakes region in Upper Bavaria especially in Summer. Toodles :-)

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Island of Pag

Well we did get up early enough but the weather was lousy in the morning so no Boat. It cleared up by 11am so we decided to do the trip by Car instead. From Karlobag it is a 70 km trip south to the bridge over to the Island. OUr first stop was Vlasici which is a sleepy little town with a little Harbour and Beach
but it was too windy for comfort so we decided to keep driving to Pag city for lunch

our starter was Pagski Sir, local sheep cheese which the Island is famous for and which according to locals won a gold medal in Paris. It was delicious. Hand-woven place mats were another local offering and there was a bronze statue dedicated to the Artisans who produced them.

All over the Island we saw Stone fencing. We assume they must have at some time served a purpose but what that purpose was or is remains a mystery to us.

 I had an irrisistable urge to go swimming so we headed to the Beach. 

With a full day behind us we headed to the ferry to go back to the mainland

leaving just in time to avoid the storm and were treated to a display of thunder and lightning.

We got to the mainland just as it was getting dark

but luckily we were only 14km from our Hotel and a well deserved rest and Dinner. Tomorrow we are driving back up the Croatian coast to Slovenia and the EU. I feel so at home here and will be back as soon as possible. This is really the country for people who appreciate the good Life, good Food, friendly People, History, Culture and natural Wonders. Hasta Manjana amigo's <3

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Back in Croatia

The last time I was in Croatia it was still a part of Yugoslavia, 1987. Since then many things have changed. Some things haven't, the great food, hospitality and the beauty of the Country. Last week my "Homies" from Byron Bay, Pascale, Marlee and Kathy visited me in Munich and we decided to do a Roadtrip.
This is us on a train going through the Karawanken tunnel (no joke!). Our first stop in ex-Yugoslavia was in Bled, Slovenia to check out Blejski Grad where the Ladies took some photo's. It was a team effort.

We spent the night in Ljubljana, the Capital and the next day continued on to Croatia. After an hour in Rijeka, the City where I was born we left for Opatija. Rijeka was a disappointment for me. The city is a mess with roadwork and construction everywhere. We had lunch near the Yacht club in Opatija,
our first meal in Croatia and it was good but nothing like what was to come. We deicided to continue to Ogulin where I lived until I was four years old. Our first taste of Ogulin came when we accidentally tuned into Radio Ogulin and heard good music. I was amazed by how much the town had changed. This sleepy little Village has become a cool place. Not only does it have a great Radio station but a new Town Park, Tourist office, Maps and Info in English, lots of Cafe's and Restaurants and much more. I met some old People in town who knew my Family before they left more than 50 years ago. Sensational! We stayed at Ive's Restaurant just out of town next to a nice lake.
We got up early this morning to go to the scenic highlight of our trip, Plitvice Lakes. On the net you can find many better pictured than mine but here is a taste.

I'm not sure I understand this sign. Only Bears allowed between 11pm and 7am?

Ok, gotta stop, am getting carried away :-) The plan for tomorrow is to take a Boat trip to the Island of Pag so if we wake up early enough I will report tomorrow. Goodnight all.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Schwarzach Round 7

Sunny day in St Veit

We finally got up early enough to explore and meet a few locals

and check out the sights. St Veit is a tiny Austrian Village in the Pongau region nestled between mountains with an imposing Church

a Graveyard with a View to die for (pun intended)

and very colorful houses.

In the evening we went down to Schwarzach for round 6 and between the five of us we amassed half a point. I lost to GM Mladen Palac for the umpteenth time. 22....Ng5 would have been interesting but instead I tilted with ....c5. Oh well....

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Schwarzach Round 5

Nice game today with 1.a3. Like I said yesterday, I am playing better with black lately.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Schwarzach Round 4 Black is beautiful

Another win with the black pieces. Although I have been suffering with the white pieces lately I won my seventh game in a row with black. Am seriously considering playing 1.a3 :-)

Schwarzach Round 3

A sad day Chesswise. My excuse could be that I had wake up 7am to drive 400 to Munich and back in the morning but even that does not explain the rush of blood to the Head that lead to my sacrifice which was good enough only for perpetual, which I spurned after only a minutes thought to throw even the half point away.

Schwarzach Round 2

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Life is Beautiful

After a wonderful month in Norway I flew back to beautiful Bavaria on Wednesday. I was picked up at the Airport by my mate Klaus and taken straight to the Augustiner am Woerthsee. I had a need for a Weissbier and Schweinshaxn and Klaus sacrificed himself by having a few Beers as well. Then we went back home for a Pizza and a good nights sleep. Friday we went to the Munich Chess Academy where we were made a brilliant Coffee by Natalia. So good was the Coffee that we Kidnapped her and took her back to Woerthsee.
                                                     Natalia, Claudia and Klaus.
We took a little walk around the lake but all too soon it was time for me to leave because another tournament was starting. I am now in Schwarzach in the Pongau but it is not as bad as it sounds in English :-)
My Home is the Sonnenterrasse
where I am sharing a huge Apartment with four Austrian friends, George, Stefan, Michael and Thomas. We have Wi-fi, a Swimming pool and an Incredible View.
Life is good and I feel as if the "Gods" are smiling on me lately. Further proof was my game where I was definitely the beneficiary of divine intervention. Both 23.Bh7 and 28.Bc4 just win for my opponent.  Sorry folks bot the Chess Game replayer isn't working so I'll just put the PGN.

[Event "Schwarzacher Open 2010"]
[Site "Schwarzach"]
[Date "2010.08.21"]
[Round "1"]
[White "Ebner, J"]
[Black "Wohl, Aleksandar"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteElo "2024"]
[BlackElo "2375"]
[ECO "A40g"]
[EventDate "2010.08.21"]

1.d4 e6 2.c4 b6 3.e4 Bb7 4.Nc3 Bb4 5.f3 Ne7 6.Bd3 f5 7.Bg5 h6 8.Bh4
O-O 9.Qc2 Nbc6 10.Ne2 Qe8 11.O-O-O fxe4 12.fxe4 Qh5 13.Bg3 Bxc3 14.
Qxc3 d6 15.d5 Ne5 16.Nd4 exd5 17.exd5 c6 18.Bxe5 dxe5 19.Ne6 Rf6 20.
g4 Qf7 21.g5 hxg5 22.Rhf1 cxd5 23.Nxg5 Qh5 24.Qxe5 Ng6 25.Qg3 Raf8
26.Rxf6 Rxf6 27.cxd5 Nf4 28.Ne4 Rf8 29.Kb1 Qxd1# 0-1

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Norwegian Saga Pt2

I left Tromso on a Monday, energized and ready to explore the mysterious Islands to the north. Legend had it that there was a land there which no Australian Chess-playing Biker had ever been to before. After crossing the Bridge to Kvaloya I turned right (north) in search of this place called Karlsoy Island. After about 30km I came to the Underwater tunnel Klavsundtunnelen, connecting Kvaloysletta to Ringvassoya. It was here that I received my first important lesson of this trip

LESSON: If you are Cycling downhill in a Tunnel and you suddenly can't see a thing  STOP. 

I continued hoping to reach light but instead hit a traffic-cone, going A/T. This did however prevent me hitting a pile of rocks. There was roadwork being done in the tunnel and therefore many of the lights were out. Slightly shaken but not seriously injured I continued to Hessfjorden where I camped for the night. The next morning I continued to Hansnes where I met three wise men from Olso.
We shared some food and some stories. They told me they had just been to this fabled land called Karlsoy and had attended a Festival. They told me I had to take the ship and go for there I would find both what I seek and that which I did not even know I sought.

First I went to the inter-dimensional Tardis-tourist office but got not much help. I decided to ask some of the local residents
who told me to go to Sandvika. Sure enough, there it was, what I had been seeking. A Camping place with a view of the Beach and fresh water nearby. 

Nearby I found signs of previous habitation. This could be the remains a Pre-Festavillian Hippie Civilization

and this must be either their place of worship where they burned herbal offerings to Gaia or just watched Rainbows which also seems like a good Idea

That evening I cooked Rice with some Mushrooms and herbs I had found nearby and watched the Sky

A few days passed before I felt the need to explore a bit further. The mountain was calling me. It had something to show.

Go to the town and buy some more supplies the Mountain said. The shop is open until 2. It was there that I met the Oracle of Karlsoy. She made many predictions ie: "I will leave the Island before you" and I kid you not, they all came true!!

The next day I packed my Tent and got ready to take the Ferry back to reality but Karlsoy had other Ideas. An hour before the Ferry was due to depart the Sky opened and a Storm swamped the Island. I sought Shelter from the Storm in the Houses of the Hippies.
They welcomed me with open arms, fed me with Rice, Oats and Quinoa, played Shamanic Music for me and let me use the Computers as much as my heart desired. I spent two days and nights there (after five in Sandvika) and besides what I already mentioned, watched "Esoteric Agenda" and "Kymatica" as suggested by one of the young Shamans.
Yesterday it was time to leave. The Oracle who goes by many names had left the night before just as she had predicted days before and after breakfast at Hansnes with a fellow traveler I Biked back to Tromso. I put the seventy-five kilometers to Jan Sigmunds farm behind me as if they did not exist. The tunnel presented no challenge this time and by five pm I was there. After a hot beautiful shower Jan pressed the first of many beers into my hand and then fed me until there was room only for some Wine. I was then reunited with my beloved Laptop. We listened to Music, played some Blitz and then I slept like a baby in a warm soft bed. So what wisdom did I acquire from my spiritual journey to Karlsoy? A new appreciation of the trappings of civilization. Hot Showers, warm soft Beds, Wi-fi, Beer etc.