Monday, May 30, 2011

MCC Open Round 5 live

There were 2 byes taken for the 6th round and one of them was by our DGT expert Frank Lekkas. As a result we have no DGT transmission tonight which is a disappointment as our 2 IM's face off on board 1. I will try to keep things up to date as they happen. First game to finish was the Tan-Palma game, where white knew his Sicilian better than his opponent.

2 hours into the games:

The MCC welcomes Thai Ly back into the club after a holiday in Europe (lucky devil!). And a walk round the boards gives us interesting sights.
The top board game has Mirko down to 30 minutes and a pawn down:
Mirko is deep in thought as to how best to proceed here.

The rest of the games in the top room are still complicated, though Ari Dale has a rather precarious looking king. Karl Zelesco has some pressure against Alex Kaplan who is again proving a difficult man to beat.Shane Lawson is a pawn down as is Charlotte Dilnutt. In the battle of the elder statesmen John Dowling is down to 30 minutes, but the game with Richard Voon is very tense. Kovacevic has a protected passed pawn that guarantees him an edge, and Endre Simon looks on the verge of victory int he following endgame.

"All rook endgames are drawn", but James Brennan as black is probably wondering how this can be?

Well it looks like it will be a good week for studying minor piece endgames:

 Gary Bekker as white has less than 10 minutes but has played excellently against higher rated Jim Papadinis.
 Paul Kovacevic still has his protected passed pawn on e4, but Abdullah Durani has a king side pawn majority.
Richard McCart and Malcolm Pyke show why they are on board 4 in the back room, as both are able to play with their minor pieces in the worst possible positions!

A happy teenager! James Morris is chewing a toothpick to aid concentration against Mirko Rujevic who also regularly chews toothpicks!

Quote of the day! "I lost....I 'accidentally' blundered my queen!" though I'm not saying who said it :)

Some results are coming and another game finishes in the back room. Malcolm Pyke won his game against Richard McCart

A last comment before goodnight. James Morris has won on the top board. David Beaumont scored the upset of the night beating Eddy Levi, quite convincingly. The remaining game in the back room is between Dragicevic and Garner where David as black is a pawn up in a knight ending with 3 versus 2 on the same side. Ari Dale gains another scalp winning against Kerry Stead, after it looked very much as if Kerry was weaving mating nets around Ari's king. But it was not to be and the material that Kerry had given counted in the end.

The only other game still going is the Voon-Dowling game where they are trying to make more moves than their combined ages. We're in for a long night!

Full results and standings can be viewed on the MCC website.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

MCC Open Games from rounds 3 and 4

Finally I have had some time to put these games into pgn and upload them. There have been some great fights over the past 2 rounds. Both IM's have moved on to 4/4 though not without some fortune. Rujevic seemed to be dead lost after blundering a pawn to Malcolm Pyke in round 4. The clock made things very difficult and Mirko was able to create some complications, though he was still losing. However, Malcolm over stepped the time limit while searching for possible saving perpetuals. Round 4 was in fact a round of time losses. David Beaumont lost on time in a dead level endgame against James Morris, gifting the IM a half point. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to piece all of this game together, but I will try to get the remainder of the game from the players. The other player to lose on time was John Dowling who seemed to be pressing for much of his game against Richard McCart, but in the time trouble he dropped a piece and found himself in difficulties.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

MCC Openings Group 25/5/2011

This evening the Melbourne Chess Club Openings Group met and discussed a novelty which occurred in a game  of the ongoing tournament, the MCC Open. After a philosophical warm up where we thought about the relative merits of following theoretical paths to striking out into virgin territory, the group got down to business. The game that we looked at was from round 3 of the MCC Open between Domagoj Dragicevic and David Beaumont. It started as a Sicilian Dragon, and white chose the Levenfish Variation with 6.f4. This is not as topical as many lines in the Dragon, but still quite interesting. Beaumont chose a relatively rare move then in 6..Qa5 and after 7.Bb5+ Bd7

Domagoj chose a move which had previously not been played in 8.Qe2.

In the above position, the group came up with a number of alternative candidate moves. Previously, 8.O-O had been played but we also examined:


There may be other moves, but it took us quite a while to work our way through these, some of the analysis which we came up with is provided with the game.

Monday, May 23, 2011

MCC Open Round 4 live

On the 60th Birthday of ex World Champion Anatoly Karpov, it is fitting that the MCC should recognise nostalgia. The first occurrence to aid this was our printer running out of ink, which meant the pairings had to be produced by pen and paper. Secondly, the players were reminded about the upcoming Fitzroy Skittles event, bringing a tournament from the past back to the present. In the Skittles, players get assigned a certain number of points depending on their rating, and this represents the number of points they can lose before they are eliminated from the event. Even though this tournament is to be played at the allegro time control of 15 minutes per player, I reckon some of the long play adherents of Monday nights will be attracted to it.

The live game for the night sees 2 ex club champions battling it out on the top board, but there are interesting games throughout as the tournament starts to sort itself out.

Some interesting stuff early on. Firstly, one default as Stephen Jago had to pull out due to illness and we hope he has a speedy and full recovery. Besides that all the games have started, and Eddy Levi even managed to turn up less than 10 minutes late for his game. We have an interesting Anti Moscow gambit on board 3, Bird's Opening, a Leningrad Dutch, Chmiel has just got himself an IQP and a little space against Voon, Wyss looks to have a horrible position against Zelesco, we have oppsite castled Sicilian's and Dutch. Kevin Brown is going to become known as the man who won't castle.....until someone blows his king out of the centre! But the big news of the night is that Jim Papadinis has dumped the Colle/Torre/London systems against Dragicevic. I was so surprised I had to check the board and players twice!!

1 Hour gone

....and no games finished yet, though Gary Bekker looks close to winning. The news is: Mirko is behind on the clock, which is a bit unusual. On board 2 David Beaumont is behind on the clock which isn't unusual at all! The games on 3 and 4 are wild. Garner-Tan is a full blooded crazy Slav, while Shane Lawson has a terribly exposed king against an underdeveloped Eddy Levi. Domagoj has won a pawn against Jim Papadinis,  but Jim has some interesting looking king side threats. Richard Voon is tutting against Rad Chmiel who has placed all his pieces across the third rank. Felix Wyss has decided his king isn't safe on the king side and has started a march to the other side of the board....I'm not sure it will be much safer there! Anton-Lycett is a mad opposite sides castling Sicilian where it looks to me as if Gary has the initiative. These things can change pretty quickly though. Kevin Brown has finally castled, albeit queen side where he has advanced his pawns! And Abdullah Durani has a huge outpost on d6 in a Sicilian where white has exchanged knights on c6 and black recaptured with the b-pawn. Unfortunately, black never advanced his d-pawn!

On to some specifics. Frank Lekkas has sacrificed the exchange against Alex Kaplan. What For? You tell me, it's white's move:
Roger Beattie also has an interesting position where he is a pawn up and it his him (as black) to move against Mario Palma, but....

The board 3 game started crazily enough with David garner as white choosing the Anti Moscow Gambit against Justin Tan. Now white doesn't have a queen, but has plenty of compensation.
Justin as black is on move here, but I'm not sure I'd like to be playing either colour in this game!

The bottom board game between Michael hain and Ben frayle sees the age old question of knights versus bishops. White to move here:

2 Hours down

We have just had a flurry of activity as a number of games have just finished. Wonderkid Zelesco wins again, but Justin Tan was not so successful, losing to David Garner. To be honest he had chances if the analysis is anything to go by. It was a mighty interesting game. Some lower board games have also finished, with the prettiest finale going to Anthony Hain who made the most of his opponent's weak back rank in beautiful fashion.
White thought he was winning material after 1.Rxf7, but black won beautifully with 1..Rxc7 2.Rxc7 Nf2+ 3.Kg1 Nd3+!! (line closing the bishop) 4.Kh1 Rf1#

Papadinis sacrificed a lot but it didn't quite work against Dragicevic, while Gary Lycett won his wild game with Sarah Anton and Mario Palma converted the position from earlier against Roger Beattie. Adbullah Durani played in the style of birthday boy Karpov, fixing on a weakness with total doggedness, in this case the d6 square.

This endgame has been reached in the game Ogden-Lenard on board 20. I'm sure both these players wished they had come to our Wednesday  night endgame groups.

3 Hours down

Mirko is down to his last 10 minutes and the board is full. Morris-Beaumont is an opposite coloured bishop ending that should be drawn.
Shane Lawson seems to have got out of jail against Eddy Levi and his central king may now be a plus. John Dowling looks to have a good position but is down to 3 minutes against Richard McCart and the other Richard, Mr. Voon, has the 2 bishops against Rad Chmiel and seems to be pressing. Jack Puccini was a little unlucky against Roger McCart when he overstepped the time limit. That is something that he will need to address in the future, as it is the second game he has got into time trouble in this event. However, the save of the day may be from Frank Lakkas who was 2 pieces down at one point. I will attempt an interview with him regarding this game afterwards....lucky, or inspired?

The last report?
Tension is high in the back room on the top boards. Mirko is being put under the pump by Malcolm Pyke. Shane Lawson is holding his own against Eddy Levi. David Beaumont is also holding his own against James Morris, though David only has 1 minute left. John Dowling has less than a minute to convert what is probably a winning position against Richard McCart. The other games still in progress look to be wins for Kerry Stead, and Richard Voon. The game of the round was the "nervewracking" encounter between Lekkas and Kaplan.

Carl: Was the Exchange Sacrifice sound?
Frank: Yes, it's a theoretical position, that I've never had before... 

Carl: So what did you think then?
Frank: ... what do I do now ...?

Carl: Was there a checkmate at any stage?
Frank: No, I basically spent 40 minutes calculating the move following the exchange sac, realised Ng5 didn't work, looked at Bc4, thought it was much more sound after about 20 minutes and was about to play it. The problem was that I play Ng5 in the Bc4 line as well but at a later point, and the last move I checked in the line was after Ng5, so naturally when I decided it worked I played... Ng5

Carl: Did you consider resigning at any stage?
Frank: No

Carl: What about at the end? Did you think you had chances in the queen endgame, or just before that?
Frank: I was just trying to get it back to level ground after I blundered with Nf6. I thought I had chances with 3 pawns for the piece considering my pawns were so strong and black's knights were so weak and away from the action. The other thing was his king was so exposed by the time I had castled I thought I was almost winning. I'm pretty sure the queen ending is drawn, and even the king and pawn ending after Qc4 b5 Qxf7+ Kxf7.

Carl: Thanks Frank

Ok, that's it folks, but watch out for the ending between Morris and Beaumont, it is a cracker with James trying his hardest to win it.

Monday, May 16, 2011

MCC Open Round 3 live

Round 3 of the MCC open began about 45 minutes ago. It is officially the deadline for entries so we can now say the field is closed. We have 44 players of varying standards, including 2 International Masters playing. The only matter of interest so far has been a no show by Jack Puccini, which is a shame after his excellent draw last round with superkid Karl Zelesco. Anyway, the first winner of the night is Jim Papadinis. The MCC displays one game live per week on its DGT board, and tonight IM Mirko Rujevic is playing our American visitor, John Dowling. I will be picking up some of the action as it happens as long as my role of arbiter permits.

Early news includes the surprising fact that Eddy Levi hasn't sacrificed anything yet while most of the spectators seemed fixed on the game between Stead and Morris. I'll bring some positions here soon.

1 Hour down

A quick walk round the boards sees some intersting points. Board 2 is a cracker. Kerry Stead has ditched a pawn on the white side of a Benoni, but has great piece play against James Morris. Dragicevic has chosen the Levenfish variation against Beaumont's Dragon. The game started 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. f4 Qa5 7. Bb5+ Bd7. Besides this we have a Leningrad type structure, some Stonewall Attack type positions, a couple of opposite castling Sicilians, a queenless stodge and a couple of games where neither king looks as if it will ever find safety. However, the worst looking king belongs to Felix Wyss. It is a white king sitting on g3, with pawns behind it on g2 and f2, and a black knight on g4 stopping it returning home!
The position Wyss-Garner where black played here ..Nh5!?

There's nothing quite like an opposite side castling hack to get the blood pumping. On board 6, Justin Tan and Sarah Anton have reached the following position with black to move.
Meanwhile, Kerry Stead offers an exchange to James Morris.

Dragicevic plays TN! According to my database, after the moves 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. f4 Qa5 7. Bb5+ Bd7 the only move to have been tested is 8.O-O. Dragicevic plays 8.Qe2 and the game continues 8..Nc6 9.Bxc6. Both players have used a great deal of time to get this far!

2 Hours down

Early winners include Peter Fry and Abdullah Durani. Their opponents were succinct with their appraisals. Stephen Jago is a welcome visitor back at the club with his down to earth attitude. "It was level then i dropped a piece". Damien Feaine, who is making the brave step up from novice night to main tournament night was also succinct when he noted "things looked good but I missed his mate!"

Dragicevic-Beaumont gas continued interestingly 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. f4 Qa5 7. Bb5+ Bd7 8.Qe2 Nc6 9. Bxc6 bxc6 10. e5 Nd5 11. Bd2 Qb6 12. Nxd5 My little engine thinks the position is level after 12..cxd5, but both players seem uneasy. Morris has taken the exchange againt Stead but doesn't look entirely happy with his position. Malcolm Pyke appears a solid pawn up against Ari Dale, while Sarah Anton is also a pawn up against Justin Tan but it is anything but solid.  Shane Lawson also looks to be a solid pawn up, but Roger Beattie can be a slippery customer. The game between Chmiel and Lekkas is heading to an ending. Which way should black recapture the queen?
The game between Kevin brown and Karl Zelesco is an absolute mess that I will try to reproduce later. I have no idea what has been happening as both players seem to have made concessions. Richard McCart and Richard Voon seem to have winning material advantages but there is a very interesting position on the lower board game between Gary Bekker and Endre Simon. Here it is Gary as white to move:

 Computer assisted post mortems...Anthony Hain and Damien Feaine
Traditional analysis methods....Ben Gavine and Riley Lenard being watched by Elie Beranjia

2.5 Hours down

Most of the bottom boards have finished but things are heating up on some of the top boards. On board 2, Stead and Morris have played a most interesting game that has resulted in this position:
Meanwhile the Tan-Anton game has also seen interesting play and now sees Justin a piece up, but it looks as if Sarah might be able to take back the pinned bishop on c1. Or can she? It's white's move here:

The following interesting pawn ending has arisen in the game Chmiel-Lekkas with white to move:
Time to go, but I'll leave you with Birthday boy, Gary Bekker. Behind is Kerry Stead who celebrated his birthday yesterday.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

MCC Open Round 2

The second round of the MCC Open saw some upsets, most notably on board 3 where young Ari Dale beat the experienced FM Eddy Levi. There were also upsets on some of the lower boards, notably Shane Lawson beating Richard Voon, and Ben Gavine beating Abdullah Durani. What was noticable from a spectators perspective was how competitive the games were across the boards. In the end the majority of the games went with seeding, but not without quite a few struggles along the way. And surprisingly, the last game to finish was between 2 promising young juniors who battled out an endgame to the bitter end, finishing at about 11.20pm when most of the adults were ready for bed!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Blogger: Victorian Team Chess Championships - Create Post

At the weekend, I met with the President of Chess Victoria, Leonid Sandler, and a draw was made for the Victorian Teams Championships. There will be 3 round robin divisions though in the third division are only 4 teams, so that will run as a double round robin tournament. The first round will be played on Sunday 15th May at Box Hill Chess Club at 4.30pm, and there will be a captain's meeting at 3.30pm.

The draw for the first round is:

Division 1



Elwood Bye

Division 2





Division 3



There are still some teams who I don't have the squads for, and some teams that have small squads with places that can be filled. On Sunday, the captains will receive a full set of fixtures for the season, and the rules will be clarified before the event. To all players, helpers, captains and spectators remember this is an event in formation and any ideas to improve it in the future will be appreciated.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Tournaments in Progress

The MCC Open started last Monday with about 40 players signing up to play. This is a good turn out for this event which is usually overshadowed by the Club Championship which comes directly before it. With 2 IM's and a host of strong players, it promises to be an interesting event, and I can't pick a favourite to take the event. The first round saw few upsets, though Shane Lawson did well to hold the ever improving Justin Tan to a draw, while Endre Simon also claimed a draw with a higher rated opponent in Richard Voon. Full results and the second round draw can be seen on the Tournaments in Progress page of the MCC website.

The top boards from the event will have carbon copies that will published here. I also hope to comment live on some of the rounds, though Blogger isn't working perfectly on this computer at the moment.