Monday, 30 September 2013

George Trundle Masters Round 3

Today our house scored 3/3! Our host Bruce Watson won an incredible game against Athula Russell, who is our fourth foreigner although he lives in New Zealand now. I was certain that he was busted but Bruce's mate Fritz disagrees with me.

Steven {Solomon} got off the mark at last as well with what looked like an easy win against the talented youngster Gino Thornton. All the games can be played over here.

And this is Bruce's house in the northern Auckland suburb of Beach haven.

With surroundings like this it is easy to be relaxed when playing your game. Below is the view from the driveway. Not too shabby :-)

My own game was quite smooth. I have seen this kind of thing happen before from the white side against the Kings Indian. After developing all the pieces to good squares one needs to find a plan, otherwise black unravels and takes over the initiative. It is difficult to pin down exactly where white played the decisive error. For that I would have to understand the position better. Maybe 18.Qd3 ?

So can this run continue for another round? Stay tuned :-)

Sunday, 29 September 2013

George Trundle Masters Round 2

Today I played my host, Bruce Watson. We have played before and that too was a scrappy game. Last time, in the 2000 zonal, while trying to convert, I blundered with 84.Kg6?? allowing mate in one. Instead Bruce played 84...Qc4?? allowing 85.Qd8 mate!

Today neither of us blundered quite so badly. Bruce sacrificed the exchange for a pawn for more compensation than I realised and the game was within the drawing margin for quite a while. 61....Kf7 was a mistake. Instead after Bf4 black should draw I think. A tough game.

Tomorrow I am playing the super solid Paul Garbett, a player who has given me trouble before so wish me luck :-)

Saturday, 28 September 2013

George Trundle Masters

It has been a few years since I have been to Aotearoa, aka New Zealand, and I have missed it. The country is the most beautiful one on planet earth, or at least the most beautiful I have seen. The chess scene is vibrant and friendly despite it's distance from the rest of the world.

One of the reasons for its success is the Auckland chess centre. It is located just south of the city near Dominion road where one finds a plethora of nice restaurants and take away's. Helen Clarke, a former three term prime minister, lived a few doors away, also on Cromwell street.

And here is the tournament hall, complete with DGT boards.

Here is where I won the Oceanic zonal in 2000, qualifying for the FIDE world championship in Delhi.
The main reason though is not a single building but the people who play and promote chess tirelessly.

I would like to mention Helen Milligan to start with. I am told she is responsible for the New Zealand chess federation website, where you can follow all the games from this tournament live and also inform yourself about past and future tournaments. There are also other chess related stories like a tribute to George Trundle, after whom this tournament is named.

Another pillar of New Zealand is Bob Smith, my opponent today. He has won the New Zealand Championship in correspondence, rapid and classic time-control! He has represented NZ in 12 Olympiads! Apart from playing he has also been president of the chess federation and captained the national women's team. This list is nowhere near complete.

I have played him before and he is always a tough customer. I got lucky with my choice of opening today. The main point of 2...a6 is that 3.d4 gives black an easy game. In the end I was even allowed to sacrifice a piece although admittedly it was not too deep.

Well thanks for watching and don't forget, you can watch all the games live here
Enjoy :-)

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Nell van de Graaff Classic, Judgement Day

Yayyy :-) After several consecutive second places it was nice to finally win one. The morning round had me paired against Gene Nakauchi, one of Queensland's talented young players. After failing to play 6...d5 he never quite equalised. I could have finished early had I spotted that 18.Qg3 threatened more than just the g pawn { Nc5 }

A draw with black against a higher rated player is a good result but considering I was just a pawn up for nothing I was mildly disappointed. 21...Rfd8 is the natural move that I would have played instantly in lighting. Unfortunately I had time to hallucinate something that talked me out of it.

The last round saw the pairing I was hoping for in Logan. When we were teenagers Steven inflicted many painful losses on me so I enjoy my rare wins against him more than against any other player. We now have a very long friendly rivalry going and I anticipate that it will continue for many decades yet. While all our contemporaries have grown up Steven and I are continuing to play and are maintaining our ratings.

I think giving me the two bishops was a dubious decision. Black never got any real counterplay going and 31...f5 was the final bluff. Mind you the only way to refute it was to take it. Since I have been advocating greed to my students I had no choice.

Below are the final results taken from chesschat. So I shared first with Moulthun and won the countback. Luckily the prizes were not shared so I got the full $750. Unfortunately the prizegiving was
held well before the advertised time of 5pm so I missed the opportunity to gloat :-)  

No Name                 Feder Rtg  Loc  Total  1    2    3    4    5    6

1  WOHL, Aleksandar H   QLD        2486 5.5   27:W 21:W  7:W  3:W  2:D  5:W
2  LY, Moulthun         QLD        2492 5.5   19:W 10:W 20:W  6:W  1:D  8:W
3  NAKAUCHI, Gene       QLD        2213 5     36:W 35:W  4:W  1:L 10:W 11:W
4  MAGUIRE, Tom         QLD   1657 1643 5     28:W 23:W  3:L 24:W 20:W  7:W
5  SOLOMON, Stephen J   QLD        2452 4.5   26:W 12:W  8:W 16:W  6:D  1:L
6  MCCLYMONT, Brodie    QLD        2441 4.5   25:W 13:W  9:W  2:L  5:D 20:W
7  KITIKOV, Oleg        QLD        1751 4     38:W 32:W  1:L 12:W 22:W  4:L
8  STAHNKE, Alexander   QLD   1899 1891 4     30:W 33:W  5:L 17:W 21:W  2:L
9  D'ARCY, Michael      QLD        1693 4     31:W 22:W  6:L 35:W 16:W 10:L
10 SLATER-JONES, Tom    QLD   1662 1620 4     46:W  2:L 23:W 39:W  3:L  9:W
11 WELLER, Tony         QLD        1738 4     39:W 24:L 18:W 33:W 13:W  3:L
12 MATHER, Andrew       QLD        1590 4     51:W  5:L 25:W  7:L 34:W 24:W
13 ZHONG, Tony (Junhao) QLD   1629 1607 4     41:W  6:L 36:W 40:W 11:L 22:W
14 FORD, Daniel         QLD        1585 4     49:W 16:L 29:W 20:L 23:W 21:W
15 HARRIS, Bruce        QLD        1461 4     45:W 20:L 30:W 21:L 42:W 33:W
16 LESTER, George E     QLD        2050 3.5   42:W 14:W 24:W  5:L  9:L 17:D
17 STOKES, Mark C       QLD        1524 3.5   37:L 34:W 31:W  8:L 26:W 16:D
18 BARROSO, Xavier      QLD        1042 3.5    0:D 37:W 11:L 22:L 36:W 35:W
19 RANDALL, David       QLD        1196 3.5    2:L 46:D 27:L 51:W 39:W 34:W
20 DUFFIN, Mike         QLD        1914 3     29:W 15:W  2:L 14:W  4:L  6:L
21 VUCAK, Mark          QLD        1642 3     40:W  1:L 26:W 15:W  8:L 14:L
22 USCINSKI, Jordan     QLD        1285 3     50:W  9:L 28:W 18:W  7:L 13:L
23 SONG, Kevin          QLD   1414 1256 3     52:+  4:L 10:L 31:W 14:L 40:W
24 LEE, Leon            QLD   1371 1317 3     43:W 11:W 16:L  4:L 40:W 12:L
25 WILSON, Callum       QLD   1028 1068 3      6:L 41:W 12:L 37:D 38:W 28:D
26 AHMED, Hammad        QLD   917  1134 3      5:L 51:W 21:L 30:W 17:L 39:W
27 WANG, Jason          QLD        1158 3      1:L 40:L 19:W 41:W 35:D 29:D
28 YOUNG, Dashiell      QLD   978  819  3      4:L 43:W 22:L 36:D 37:W 25:D
29 OSTAPENKO, Michael   QLD   1118 1016 3     20:L 45:W 14:L 44:W 33:D 27:D
30 MANUNEEDHI, Kabilan  QLD   1046 958  3      8:L 48:W 15:L 26:L 50:W 41:W
31 SOUL, David S        NSW        908  3      9:L 50:W 17:L 23:L 46:W 42:W
32 BOONOW, Henry        QLD        1400 3     47:W  7:L 39:L 34:L 44:W 45:W
33 WALLIS, Phil         QLD        1450 2.5   48:W  8:L 37:W 11:L 29:D 15:L
34 MENHAM, Allan        QLD        893  2.5    0:D 17:L 46:W 32:W 12:L 19:L
35 STAHNKE, Axel        QLD        1541 2.5   44:W  3:L 42:W  9:L 27:D 18:L
36 MCCONNELL, Matthew   QLD   1206 1067 2.5    3:L 44:W 13:L 28:D 18:L 49:W
37 PARLE, Hughston      QLD   639  489  2.5   17:W 18:L 33:L 25:D 28:L 46:W
38 MCCONNELL, Harrison  QLD   1109 940  2.5    7:L  0:D 40:L 49:W 25:L 47:W
39 YANG, Thomas         QLD   1057 909  2     11:L 47:W 32:W 10:L 19:L 26:L
40 DESSES, Alexander    QLD   987  708  2     21:L 27:W 38:W 13:L 24:L 23:L
41 WATKINS, Sophie      QLD   748  598  2     13:L 25:L 45:W 27:L 43:W 30:L
42 SLATER-JONES, Henry  QLD   1204 1029 2     16:L 49:W 35:L 50:W 15:L 31:L
43 WATKINS, Bridget     QLD   642  211  2     24:L 28:L 44:L  0:W 41:L 50:W
44 SHELDON, Daniel      QLD   866  512  2     35:L 36:L 43:W 29:L 32:L 51:W
45 CONGREVE, Sophie     QLD   602  452  2     15:L 29:L 41:L 47:W 51:W 32:L
46 KULARATNA, Mineth    QLD   857  707  1.5   10:L 19:D 34:L 48:W 31:L 37:L
47 TRINH, Ian           QLD   763  248  1.5   32:L 39:L 49:D 45:L  0:W 38:L
48 CONGREVE, Lachlan    QLD   500  350  1.5   33:L 30:L 51:D 46:L 49:L  0:W
49 KAHN, Raini                691  541  1.5   14:L 42:L 47:D 38:L 48:W 36:L
50 WATKINS, Rachel Jane QLD        100  1     22:L 31:L  0:W 42:L 30:L 43:L
51 TEOW, Jaden          QLD   731  581  .5    12:L 26:L 48:D 19:L 45:L 44:L
52 KOPAVNIK, Izidor                     0     23:-  0:   0:   0:   0:   0:

Wishing you all a nice day,

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Nell van de Graaff Classic 2013

First thank you all for     100,000 page views!

I have been a bit inactive lately, some temporary health issues {all better now :-) }, nothing much happening and laziness contributed recently. Anyway, I am playing a tournament again and next week I am off to beautiful New Zealand so there will be an inundation of pictures, especially when I get down to Nelson.

I nearly didn't play this morning. It was a perfect beach day this morning but I figured that since I live in Queensland, there will be more. Also it was a strong field. Then my car didn't start. I emailed to say I wouldn't be playing after all. Battery charger to the rescue. I wrote back annulling the last one.

Jason Wang, my first round opponent is one of Brisbane's brightest talents.He has attended some Doubleroo coaching clinics and has participated in several of our tournaments. He played quite solidly today. If he had played 16.Be3 there would have been nothing wrong with his position. I predict this young man is going to get very strong.

Round two was the pick of the day. My opponent Mark Vucak, who hails from Townsville, surprised me in the opening with 3...Be7. I knew the move existed of course but that is where my knowledge stopped. After some thought I decided to play 4.Bc4 and if Bh4 check, then g3 sacking some pawns. Looking at my database now I see that is how Morphy played against Bird in London 1859. The game with notes can be found here. Highly recommended.

I played what I thought was a clever pawn sack but my engine is not impressed. 19...h6 throws the game away though. After 20.Nf7 black could have resigned with a clear conscience allowing us both to squeeze in lunch.

I will not bore you with my third round. Better you look at the Morphy game. My opponent played very quickly, dropping material at regular intervals. He didn't appear very motivated.

So 9am tomorrow morning the business end of the tournament starts. Since the morning bye idea didn't work perfectly at the Logan tournament I have decided to play the dreaded morning round.

Wish me luck :-)

Oh yeah, if you wish to see the draw or follow the tournament you will have to go to

Chesschat is where its happening in Australian chess. I am planning another review of the official Australian Chess Federation website soon. Look for yourself and tell me what you think.


Sunday, 1 September 2013

R.I.P Maxwell Leonard Fuller

When Max did not appear at Peter Parr's funeral we all suspected something bad had happened. Transport had been arranged but Max could not be reached. During the course of the day our worst suspicions were realised. Max had suffered a stroke and was in the emergency room in hospital. A few days later, on Tuesday the 27th of August the news came through that Max had passed away, at approximately 6.30 pm.

Max was my first chess hero. When I started playing Max was already a living legend. Luckily he lived in Sydney, frequented Peter Parr's chess centre and was happy to share his knowledge. Many evenings a group of us would go to chinatown for a meal and/or to the pub for a drink or two. Max liked the odd schooner or five and would often entertain us with stories from around the world. The more beers, the better the stories and many cannot be repeated, here or elsewhere.

I spent Tuesday evening looking through some of Max's games.  Many I had forgotten, especially a few between us. Between the mid eighties and mid nineties Max and I played quite a few times. I was just becoming one of Australia's better players and Max still was. Most ended up decisively and the one below still is my quickest loss ever. I hope this record will remain :-)

I had been having a terrible tournament and missing mate on e3 topped it off. I forgot the bishop was no longer on g5. I remember that Max took me to the nearest bar, bought me several beers and entertained me with stories of his own and other peoples incredible blunders. It did make me feel a lot better.

A year later Max helped me win the Australian Championship in 1991/92. I was racing for the line with Tony Miles and Max was in Tony's way. He didn't get past him and didn't even manage to draw. Technique was Max's middle name :-)

I have not looked at the games of Maxwell Leonard Fuller for decades. Only when looking at them now do I realise what a huge influence he had on my chess. Double fianchetto openings, Kings Indian formations, love of unbalanced positions and complications and....the occasional oversight. His scalps include Eugene Torre, Tony Miles Mikhael Tal and many others.

Max was a true gentleman, well spoken, well attired and kind and thoughtful. The last time we spoke was at the Australian Championship at Norths. I was able to have several beers with him and catch up. He had not changed.

You are immortal Max and you will continue to teach those who study your games forever.