Sunday, December 5, 2010

Australasian Masters and other things

Today was the start of a very strong Round Robin tournament that I am competing in, the Australasian Masters. I will be writing more about this in the days to come as it takes place over 9 consecutive days. I have played in a number of these tournaments over the years and they constitute the main way for Victorian players to gain IM norms on home ground. I even organised one of these events back in 2006 and I can say that it is no easy matter. Anyway, as I've already said I'll write plenty about the Masters this week.

Trevor Stanning (left) of Box Hill Chess Club, the host of the Australasian Masters, and Leonid Sandler, the organiser of the event.

I wrote in an earlier post that I had bought a biography and some people tried to guess who it was. The guesses included Keres, Larsen and Karpov, but it was in fact Alexander Munninghoff's biography of Max Euwe, the Dutch World Champion.
It is a really heartfelt account of an amateur who made it to the top of the World. Euwe seems much more 'human' than most of the World Champions I've read about. Max Euwe was a guy who could blunder, and did regularly; was a guy who played regularly in his home town even though he was way above everyone else; was a guy who didn't put chess above everything else, and when he tried to this, in the lead up the 1948 match tournament for the World Championship, he played some of the worst chess of his life. Euwe was a great chess player and administrator, with a life outside of chess. He was a family man, and loved mathematics and his teaching jobs as much as chess.

The book is beautifully written, bringing Euwe's life into perspective according to the times when he lived. His faults aren't apologised for, but it is obvious the author has no time for people who underestimate Euwe's role in the history of chess, and his right to be claimed an all time great of the game. After reading this biography I would have to agree. I can remember one of the first games I ever saw by Euwe was his amazing win against Geller from the 1953 Candidates tournament. I was stunned that anyone could play like that, and dreamed of playing a move like 22..Rh8 in my games, but alas it has never happened. Anyway, see for yourself...


  1. I found this blog today while searching for the results of the Australasian Masters. In particular I wanted to know how my friend Mike Steadman finished up (not so great unfortunately). I watched him in person against Solo. I hope it wasn't annoying to you having a spectator looking over the top of your board. I don't normally watch games live unless I'm also playing, so it was interesting to have the opportunity to really concentrate and play "guess the move" on three boards at once (Mike's, yours and Bobby vs Erik which was a quite brilliant game).

    Anyway, the real point of my post is to say your blog has been a nice find. Many nice, well written posts. Well done, keep it up please.

  2. Thanks for that, and no worries, I'll be keeping the blog going as and when I can. In fact, I have a few things to write about soon, then there'll be the Australian Junior Champs, and then the new Australian club season starts. So there will be loads of chess content in 2011, and some coffee content as well :)