Monday, 28 May 2012

My thoughts exactly

GM David Smerdon is going to represent Australia at the Chess Olympiad in Istanbul on board one. I am proud to say he is also a former student of mine. Disclaimer: I am not taking credit for his achievements. He would have become a GM anyway due to his interest in the game and great work ethic. I did however enjoy our sessions on the Gold Coast in the 90's.

Not only is David a great chess-player but also a gifted writer. This has been recognised by Chessvibes, who gave him a spot on their very popular website. His latest post mirrors my opinion on the current World Chess Championship  in a very entertaining way. Although written after game 9 nothing has changed since.

The post game press conferences were hilarious. Boris looks like somebody with kidney-stones as he testily answers questions about why the match is so boring while Vishy is practising for a career in politics judging by his replies. (depends on what your definition of "is"is) [William Jefferson Clinton]
Most of the questions are about the validity and value of the match and the high percentage of boring draws not seen since Kramnik-Leko.

Oh yeh, 6-6 and now we will see some rapid games and then we will have a winner. I don't really care any more.  It has been a long time since the strongest player was the World Champion and we have to go back to Topalov to find one who played entertaining Chess.

Who is at fault? I blame first and foremost FIDE, followed by Kasparov and to a much lessor extent Short. FIDE for changing a great system, Kasparov for privatising the title. Next he "chose" his next opponent after Short. Some organisation he formed organised a candidate selection process. Everything was going according to plan until Alexei Shirov crushed Vladimir Kramnik in the final. Kasparov then refused to play Shirov and a year later played his preferred opponent Kramnik anyway! Well then as we all know he lost to Kramnik and Vlad was smart enough not to give him a re-match. The best laid plans...

Alexei was cheated out of his chance and Kramnik went on to defend the title against Leko and Topalov finally succumbing to Anand. This is what Alexei did to Vlad in the last game of their match.

Why Nigel? Well he went along with Garry but who can blame him too much? It was a big pay-day.

Enough ranting for now, we'll just have to wait for the next big tournament to see the best players play.

One more thing, I found an old picture I would like to share with you.

Toodles :)

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Doeberl cup 1982, part three

Elite Group update
We are ready to go this Sunday. There are still a few places left. Once we reach eight the group will be closed. 

World Chess Championship

Am watching the live transmission from Moscow and listening to Peter Svidler  explain the World Championship game. Draw :(  I was just about to type that it looks like an interesting position.

Doeberl Cup, last two rounds

Back to memory lane. David Ferris retired with an ELO of 2325. I don't know if he still plays social or club Chess at home, which used to be Canberra. Drawing with David was a good result although undeserved. His extra b pawn should have carried the day.

Richard Farleigh was the Star of the Narwee high school Chess team and the most feared Junior in Sydney. Richard was one of the first players I met when I started playing. He once bet me he could beat me 50 games in a row. He got to 49 :)

A few years later the boot was on the other foot. While Richard had wasted his youth earning a degree and building a career, I had concentrated on Chess! He did make it into the BRW 200 list of the wealthiest Australians but his Chess has suffered.

This game demonstrates the "good knight" v "bad Bishop" theme.

End of the tournament patient reader, no more Schwaiger games....for now. 

Monday, 21 May 2012

The Hjorth Attack

Greg Hjorth is a name known to all who played Chess in Australia in the late seventies, early eighties. By the time I had learned the moves in 1978, Greg had been a prodigy for many years. We met at a Chess camp where Australia's best players including then, number one IM Robert Jamieson were instructing Juniors. Greg offered to play me 1 minute to 5 and a Queen start.

Greg Hjorth (photo taken by Haydn Barber)
We became good friends and would often look at chess together. One of Greg's more imaginative (crazy) ideas was to play d6, Nd7, e6, Be7, Nf8 and g5! launching an attack on the hopefully castled white King. Greg was smart enough not to play it in serious games (to the best of my knowledge) but I could not resist. First an unsuccessful attempt against Haydn Barber!  

Terrey Shaw was one of Australia's leading players back then, former winner of the Doeberl cup, First equal in the 1977-78 Australian Championship and member of the Olympiad squad not to mention one of Australia's very few International masters back then. An enormous challenge as you can imagine, considering my rating (1895) and position in Australian chess. But so stubborn and arrogant was I at that age that I was going to try the "Hjorth Attack" again despite the drubbing given me by Messrs Brown and Barber. Luckily for me Terrey attacked before I could misplace all my pieces and forced me into a normal position. Greg meanwhile crushed everybody and won the tournament.

I have guessed Haydn and Terrey's ratings since I did not fill in my score-sheets properly. A lesson for youngsters. One day you may want to look at how you played 30 years ago. Fill in your score-sheets properly. Even better, digitise the information. (as well)....and brush your teeth :-)

World Championship update
The Defending World Chess Champion, Viswanathan Anand won in 17 moves to equalise the score. It looked like the Challenger Gelfand was deliberately trying to provoke Anand. Perhaps he should have stuck to plan A. There are a few places to see the game with commentary

  1. the official site
  2. Chessvibes
  3. Andrew Martin on youtube

Andrew Martin's commentary is the easiest to understand for casual players.

Have a nice day :-)

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Gelfand breaks through

World Chess Championship

Finally a decisive result. The game itself was not the most exciting I've ever seen, in fact I fell asleep watching it live. Peter Leko's commentary was partly responsible :-) Karpov made an appearance and showed why he dominated Chess for over a decade. He was my childhood hero

On the official site  you can watch the games live with special guest appearances like Kasparov and Karpov. Doesn't get much better. Chessvibes is my daily first-coffee site and again they have great reports. Youtube has a good video of game 7 commentated by someone who sounds like Michael Caine  (IM Andrew Martin) and for analysis and some interesting gossip go to Susan Polgar's website.

I predict the next few games will be a lot more exciting as Vishy now has to go all out to win a game, otherwise the title he has had since 2007 will be gone. Will the real Vishy please step forward!

More Schwaiger

Two more Schwaiger (aka Wohl) games for you. I am less impressed with this effort against Phil Brown, one of the great NSW players of the period. The opening I will explain in my next post. 29...Qh3 is a move that I would never play these days. Decentralising to be near the white King without any supporting pieces. The misplaced aggression of youth. 

Here in round 3, I was again paired down. Noticable is that again the Queen's Rook ( 15Ra-e1) was activated before concrete operations.

Next post "Hjorth Attack" Toodles   :-)

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Doubleroo Chess Academy update


The Website is turning into a bit more of a challenge than first anticipated but should be up sometime next week. This is why you are here if you logged in via  I have kidnapped my Blog for a while until the website is ready. The 1300 number is also suffering a technical glitch and my mobile was left in the rain overnight so is also doing strange things. Remarkably it is still working...kind of. The only ways to reach me for sure is my email
Anyway, despite some minor technicalities we are ready to offer our first course. 

First Course

Elite group:This group is restricted to serious Chess Players and will be limited to eight students(minimum four). Students will learn to calculate, prepare, use Chess software and play in a professional manner. homework and a non-disruptive manner is compulsory.
Sundays 1-5 pm cost $35
Instructor International Master Aleksandar Wohl

Happy News

IM Peter Froehlich (aka Peter Happy) is known to many of you already and has been coaching Chess in Australia for about a decade. He is going on a business trip to China for a week so his courses will commence first weekend of June. Here he is working hard on our office computer.
International Master Peter Froehlich

Alex Schwaiger

Who? Long story, well not that long. My family goes by a few different names.  Dexler, Texler, Wolkenstein, Misner and a few others I may not be aware of. I was the only Wohl until Nina (my daughter) was born in 2006. In my teens my family decided to unite under a common name, that of our stepdad Heinz Schwaiger. The attempt only lasted a year or two and then we all went our separate names but this phase coincided with the early part of my Chess career.  

Recently I found an old box containing all my old score-sheets. Some date back to my junior days and have not been looked at for more than thirty years. Time to digitise them! 

This game was from the first round of the Doeberl cup in 1982. Not an artwork but despite no opposition I played a few moves I am proud of. 13.Ra-e1 shows that already then I liked to play with all my pieces and 16. Kh1 was a forerunner to the famous Kasparov "high class waiting move".

The rest of my games from Doeberl 1982 and Doubleroo Chess Academy updates coming soon, very soon. Have a nice day :-)

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Doubleroo Chess Academy

We officially opened our doors yesterday! Yay! A Somerville house training tournament was our first event. Somerville house has had a dedicated Chess programme for many years. It shows. The girls are enthusiastic and highly skilled.  Mrs Connie Pizzato and her team of coaches have done an excellent job.
Penny dominated this event with 6/7. I am at home now and didn't bring the results with me so full results will be published next post with results from today's Junior open blitz which starts at 1pm.
Drinks and snacks will be available all afternoon for parents, friends and all chess-players.

In other Chess news, the World Chess Championship has started. So far we have had two extremely boring draws. So boring. If you want to learn how to get as many pieces as possible off the board in the shortest number of moves then check the games out! 


ps: The advertised website in the photo is not quite fully ready :( 

Friday, 11 May 2012

Rating thieves rob Peninsula open

Last weekend the 47th Peninsula open took place and though I didn't have the time to take part I followed the tournament with some interest. After many adventures IM Steven Solomon and Gene Nakauchi tied for 1st with 6/7 closely followed by Brodie McClymont and Ranga  Mashamhanda half a point behind.

I was more interested how two young students of mine were playing. David Liu rated 388 (!!) began the tournament with a draw against CAQ president Mark Stokes 1610 and finished on 3/7 despite not being in the best of health. His rating might go up a bit :)

Kevin Song rated 1050 finished on 4/7 beating a much higher opponent in a pressure last round game. Even more impressive is that he used all his time and remained focused right to the end. Craig Macgregor swung just as hard in this tactical slug-fest but must have missed the point of 26...Qe3, luring the white bishop to d2, where it interferes with the queens defence of the bishop on c2 allowing 27...Qc5 to win a piece. Enjoy.

Coming up next

Doubleroo Chess Academy opens it's doors tomorrow (22 Mayneview st Milton) at 1pm tomorrow and our first event is going to be a training tournament for Somerville Girls. Sunday 1pm we will be holding a Junior open blitz. Photo report next post, or if you are in Brisbane feel free to drop in.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Australian Olympiad Team

The selection has been made and yours truly is in the team! Yay!

1 Smerdon 2512
2 Johansen 2433
3 Ly 2386
4 Wohl 2412
5 Solomon 2386

Our highest rated player, Zhao, was selected on top board but had to withdraw as he couldn't get time off Uni. The team is almost in rating order. The only exception is Moulthun Ly who was picked above his rating. This was a good decision by the selectors in my opinion. Young and talented players should be encouraged even if they have some bad results occasionally.

Lower down there was a strange decision. IM Gary Lane was picked last in 10th place despite being 4th on rating! I am not privy to all the information available to the selectors , however checking his ratings card I notice Gary has been active and in good form gaining a massive 25 points in his last two tournaments, the Doeberl Cup and the Sydney international, results the selectors were undoubtedly aware of. Curious.

 The Ladies team is

1 Caoili 2225
2 Berezina 2190
3 Guo 2005
4 Yu 2007
5 Nguyen 2105

Here we have a strange decision. WIM Bilijana Dekic has been selected in 6th spot despite out-rating the three players above her by as much as 100 elo points! I have heard that the Women's team selection has been challenged but cannot find verification online.

I have not posted any games recently mainly because I haven't played any. The reason is that I promised a friend I wouldn't. The previous two Olympiads I was left out of the team due to bad play immediately prior to the selection process.  My friend, who shall remain nameless told me that I will make the team if I don't play and he would really like me to come to Istanbul so made me promise not to play. It worked!

On a completely unrelated topic, a fascinating match took place last week between the second and third rated players in the World, Levon Aronian and Vladimir Kramnik.Lev won the first game, Vlad the fourth and the rest were hard fought interesting draws. According to the match rules, if a game finishes early a rapid game would be played. This occurred only once but what a game!! Blacks play falls into the "don't try this at home" category. First g5, then 0-0, then h5, h4. Do yourself a favour and play through it.

Finally I would like to mention the Olympiad Appeal. Australia is one of the very few countries in the World that does not send it's representatives to the Chess Olympics. We have to pay the Airfare ourselves. Thankfully the Australian Chess Community helps offset some of the expense. The target is $17,280 and so far $6,831 has been generously donated. If you would like to help please go to   Your donations are listed on the site.

To the Australian Government I would like to say, thanks, for NOTHING!