Monday, August 29, 2011

Malitis Memorial Round 7 Commentary

The final round of the Malitis Memorial is underway and I am unhappy to say that a number of forfeits have occurred in the last round. This is very inconvenient to the organisers, arbiter, and opponent's and I for one would like to see some form of penalty apply to players who pull out at late notice, or even worse, just don't show up without telling anybody.

So the early winners of the night included Gary Bekker, who's opponent called in about half hour before the round was due to start to say he couldn't play tonight. Charlotte Dilnutt also won, but had to wait the full 30 minute default time before knowing her opponent wasn't going to show up. Anthony Hain's opponent called in sick about 30 minutes before the game, but Anthony sportingly agreed to be re-paired against Ruben Nowak who was due a bye.

The first game to finish on the night was the top board affair which was not exactly the most exciting finish to the tournament. Jesse Jager needed half a point to ensure a victory and offered a draw after 9 moves which were Kerry Stead agreed to. Tournament over, congratulations to Jesse for winning the event, and Kerry needs to wait to see if he finishes equal second, third, or equal third.

Half way through...

About an hour and a half through the session and things are heating up. John Dowling has sacrificed an exchange against Justin Penrose in a typical Dragon type position. It is utterly wild. Ari Dale is fighting a typical Grunfeld against Michael Addamo's centre. Richard Voon has an IQP, but plenty of activity against Peter Fry. Thai Ly has 2 bishops against Jim Papadinis. Philip Drew has a shocking bishop, but some good major pieces against Paul Kovacevic. Roger McCart is continuing his good tournament, 2 pawns up against Michael Hain, while James Martin and Alex Kaplan are a pawn up.

On to some concrete positions:

 Philip Drew as black has a shocker of a bishop!
 Thai Ly has a comfortable edge, with 2 bishops.
On board 2, John Dowling just sacrificed the exchange on c3.

Some results in the meantime: Anthony Hain beat Ruben Nowak, Roger McCart won against Michael Hain, and Phillip Drew and Paul Kovacevic was a draw.

The third hour:

Justin Penrose wins!! Justin guarantees himself outright second with an excellent victory against John Dowling, both players displaying excellent fighting spirit. Rad Chmiel also wins, and we now have only 5 games left:

Addamo-Dale: a complex Grunfeld middlegame that I cannot judge....I have no idea!

Voon-Fry: Q+R+ 5 pawns each, probably a draw, though Richard seems to have a little initiative.

Ly-Papadinis: Thai Ly is 2 pawns up, and looks to have this ending in the bag

Stone-McCart: Ian Stone has the 2 bishops, but the position is half closed. Ian is better, but is it enough to win?

Puccini-Frantzeskos: Robert Frantzeskos is a pawn ahead for no compensation. Jack is beginning to mass pieces on the king side to try to drum up some counterplay.

Thai Ly has won, but there are still 4 games left, with 2 interesting endings:

 Richard Voon as white is a pawn ahead, but it might be difficult to win this position. Peter fry has excellent piece placements
A very tough endgame between Ian stone and Richard McCart

On board 3, young guns Michael Addamo and Ari Dale battle it out. I would like to think Michael is a pawn up and better, but they are both down to about 10 minutes and the position is still very complicated. Black to play here.


Addamo-Dale is simplifying with Michael maintaining his pawn edge. However, with bishops of opposite colours that may make the drawing chances higher. The game Voon-Fry hasn't moved far since the above diagram, though Peter is down to 1-2 minutes, and his scoresheet is getting quite messy. Ian Stone is wirking hard on the pawn endgame but that hasn't moved too far either. I would love to analyse this endgame when they've finished with it. The last game however has taken a dramatic turn, as Jack Puccini has somehow ended a piece up against Robert Frantzeskos. I'm not sure how this happened, but Jack is in the box seat now and has more time on the clock.


Jack Puccini and Ian Stone both score full points which leave the 2 games in the top room still in progress. Michael and Ari are both looking tense and it could swing either way. Michael still has an extra pawn, but it isn't clear how he can make use of this at the moment. Richard Voon is also a pawn up, but has his pieces in a bit of a tangle. Peter Fry has a mate threat on the board and his queen and rook are generally becoming very active.

It's a win for Addamo! Michael jumps into equal third in the tournament. That leaves just one game which has reduced to a pure rook ending. Both sides have 2 pawns, but Richard still has the initiative. I think it will end a draw, but most of my predictions have gone astray tonight.

That's it for this tournament. The results will be posted on the MCC website as soon as the event is finished, and sent to the ratings officers immediately the final game finishes.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

MCC Endgame Group 17/08/2011

It is always good to look at endgames by our club members, and tonight and last time we have looked at  endgames played by MCC members. Tonight was a game from the Victorian Reserves tournament played between Beattie-Lekkas last night. The position that was of interest was:

In this position there was some debate as to what black's best plan was, though it was generally agreed that black was better. Plan A was to immediately bring the bishop to b4, swap minor pieces and leave white with a series of weak pawns that black's active rook would have excellent chances of exploiting. The main downside of this plan is whether black wants to exchange his good bishop for white's bad bishop.
An alternative Plan B was to probe a little on the king side, hoping to either close that side of the board, or to create a second front, possibly aiming for the invasion of black's king.

Candidate moves in the above position were:

They all have their points, and I would be interested to know what others would play in this position.

The last endgame group saw an analysis of the endgame between Jesse Jager and Justin Penrose from the Malitis Memorial, our Monday night tournament. We actually got a bit carried away, and looked at some theoretical endgames with rook versus knight and 2 pawns going beyond the usual time for the group to end. Hope you enjoy the analysis.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Malitis Memorial Round 5 live

Round 5 of the Malitis Memorial tournament starts soon, with Ari Dale currently in clear first, facing his biggest challenge yet against top seed, Jesse Jager. Meanwhile there are interesting match ups through out the event. I particularly like the battle of the veterans on board 3, where Richard Voon and John Dowling play, though it is tough to beat sibling rivalry, so the match between McCart and McCart will be good.

From an arbiter's point of view, the tournament has become rather frustrating. I walked into the MCC tonight and was immediately hassled about pairings. I made it perfectly clear that this tournament would be run using a pairings program and I would interfere with the pairings absolutely minimally, and probably not at all. Still this doesn't stop some people from moaning, and after a while it can start to grate. It is no wonder that so many volunteers are short lived in their activities, with the amount of hassle they get, and I applaud all who work voluntarily for the good of the game :)

The first round has started, and we have one non-show in Jack Shanks, so it is an easy point for Thai Ly, though no doubt a bit frustrating for him. All the other games are under way and i will update some positions shortly. James Brennan had a bye this round, so there are still 13 games in progress.

1 hour into the games:

Interesting fact for the night....the role of James Bond was turned down, by among others, Prisoner and Danger man star, Patrick MacGoohan. What has this to do with chess? Absolutely nothing, but then again, so does a lot of the conversation that happens at the Melbourne Chess Club. However, there is also some interesting chess discussion as well. Pre tournament announcements included adverts of upcoming events, the Fitzroy Skittles on September 4th and the next Monday night event starting on September 12th, the City of Melbourne Open, a 9-rounder.

I've also had some time to kibitz over a position that occurred in one of MCC committee member's Paul Cavezza's games. But as the friendly chess continues to all comers to the club, the real stuff is happening in the tournament.

The board 1 game is a complex Grunfeld where white has fianchettoed on the king side. Board 2 is intersting with a QGA/Slav structure with a number of weak central and queen side pawns for both sides. Kerry Stead seems to have a winning material advantage against Michael Hain, being a piece up, as is Alex Kaplan against Tristan Rayson Hill. Anthony Hain is developing a nasty looking attack against Jim Papadinis from an Italian type opening. And th girls both have solid but passive positions with even material. Structurally, Charlotte Dilnutt and Sarah Anton are better in their games, while their opponent's Jack Puccini, and ian stone have the greater dynamic chances in the short term. Finally, it looks as if Rad Chmiel has found a nice tactic to break through Ruben Nowak's defences. I'll get some concrete positions now.

 Board 1: is the white pawn strong or weak? The MCC welcomes IM James Morris into the house. Regarding this position Morris said "White is better, the d-pawn is huge" 
 Anthony Hain as white has a massive looking attack against Jim Papadinis.
A mess on board 2 as Michael Addamo and Justin Penrose both have weaknesses.

Rad Chmiel was the first winner of the night. I'll get his break through against Ruben Nowak as it was pretty nice. The battle of the McCart's is heading Roger's way, at least if his extra queen has anything to do with it!

In this position, Rad uncorked 1.Bxe6! and won soon after.

Alex Kaplan hasn't been having a good tournament, and was "thrilled" with his win tonight. Maybe this will kick start his tournament. Roger McCart has won his game, even though Richard did get a pawn back for the queen!

I've just been kibitzing the top board game with James Morris and Paul Cavezza. Ari has an extra piece for 2 pawns, but Jesse has a lot of threats. A tough position for both players.

Kerry Stead has won, after Michael Hain miscalculated some exchange sequences and lost a piece. Justin Penrose seems to have a mass of pawns while Michael Addamo has some knights and his queen near Justin's king. Is it a winning attack or has he sacced too much? Anthony Hain is an exchange up in the endgame but is making slow progress against Jim Papadinis. Peter Fry has dropped a pawn to Robert Frantzeskos, but the position is anything but clear. And Charlotte Dilnutt has 2 pawns advantage against Jack Puccini, but young Jack is trying to create some king side threats.

Frantzeskos-Fry with black to move.

The games are getting to critical point now. Jesse Jager has just walked out after a win against Ari Dale. The final position I saw looked like:

Typically, there have been a number of games where one side has found themselves material down, and tried to create threats against their opponent's king. White was too much ahead here, and the threats were not great enough. Jesse as white won.

Michael Addamo has chosen the same strategy as Ari in his game as white against Justin Penrose. How much white has in this position will be seen over the next few moves.

Another interesting position is on board 6 where Paul Kovacevic has a massive pawn on e7, but it can't quite get any further. It is tying James Martin up at the moment. Who will be able to coordinate their forces over the next few moves?

Jim Papadinis has made a miracle comeback against Anthony Hain and won the endgame an exchange down. Anthony forgot that in the endgame, the king can still be a target. I am sure Anthony missed some knock out blows earlier, but there are many players who will know how hard it can be to put Jim Papadinis away.


Looks like we might get an early night as there are only 2 games left. Philiip Drew won against Gary Bekker. Gary never really got going in a Sicilian where they castled on opposite sides. Paul Kovacevic won his game, and the girls had a good night, with Sarah drawing against Ian Stone, and Charlotte winning against Jack Puccini.

The 2 games left are between Voon and Dowling and Addamo and Penrose. Michael has an exchange for a host of pawns, and both kings look a bit dodgy. Richard is a pawn down against John Dowling, but John is down to just 2 minutes and will be playing on his increment soon. Both of these games could go either way.

It's all over, with John Dowling and Michael Addamo coming out victorious. This leaves Jesse Jager as sole leader half a point clear of Ari Dale and Michael Addamo.

Thanks for following this blog, I'll be putting some games up in the next couple of days.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

MCC Openings Group 10/08/2011

From a competitive perspective in chess there is definitely something lacking in short draws. It is as if the fight is about to begin, but both players have decided to call it off for the day. However, from an openings perspective, short draws can be quite interesting, at least some short draws. Some short draws see new moves, and then that game may be suddenly cut off. A flurry of research may then take the new move a bit further, and further practical tests may be seen.

Other short draws can be examined by players who aren't familiar with a certain opening. That is what we looked at tonight, a recent game that was cut short on move 11 in a position full of interest. Of course, this sort of short draw leads us to examine early middlegame positions which is generally good for our chess. If the positions are unusual, or different to what we normally play, then it may broaden our horizons and offer new experiences.

A look at this opening, the Trompowsky, saw most of us at the group tonight out of our theoretical knowledge, but 8..Qd8 looks bad after 9.d6. We then added the moves 9..Qb6 10.Qe2+ Kd8 and played some games from this position.

In this position, 11.Na3 was the move of choice so as to answer 11..Bxd6 with 12.Nc4. Frank Lekkas tried to sacrifice his queen and got very good play with his pieces against me in some games, but that might be more to do with my lack of defensive skills against Frank's excellent attacking abilities rather than anything regarding the position :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Malitis Memorial Round 4 live

The fourth round of the Malitis Memorial has just started and we are privileged also to be hosting a postponed game from the Victorian Championship between 2 of our members, Domagoj Dragicevic, and GM Darryl Johansen. There has already been some complaint about the pairings for this round as Jesse Jager wan't floated up to play against Ari Dale, but then again Kerry Stead who is playing Ari on board 1 was floated down in the last round and the pairings program wanted to equalise that issue.

We have one player who cannot play due to work commitments, Sarah Anton and she has been replaced in the draw by Alex Kaplan who is playing James Martin. This leaves me free to blog and fulfil my role as arbiter, as Michael Hain requested a bye in this round due to work commitments, and John Dowling decided not to play as he was competing in the Oceania Seniors tournament at Box Hill Chess Club. Congratulations go to MCC's very own Mirko Rujevic for winning this event. I was at the event yesterday for some time and it was great to see so much experience behind the chess board gathered in one place.

1 hour of chess played:

Today I will be kibitzing with FM Bill Jordan. A couple of quick winners tonight were Charlotte Dilnutt over James Brennan, and Jesse Jager over Jack Shanks.

On board 1 we have a Czech benoni with a huge wedge of interlocked pawns. Something will give at some stage. On board 2 Anthony Hain looks to have lost his queen for not enough compensation. On 4 there are 2 very tired looking guys playing. Richard Voon has been playing in the seniors, while Gary Bekker has been conducting an arbiter's seminar and course. Other games of interest include pawn advantages to Jamie martin and Paul Kovacevic, while Ruben Nowak has 2 pieces for a rook but his position is still very bad.

2 hours down.

Justin Penrose won against Anthony Hain on board 2:

 Board 3 is very interesting, with Gary Bekker as black down to 8 minutes against Richard Voon.
The board 1 game between Dale and Stead is reaching critical point.

Around the boards, Peter Fry appears to be a piece up against Richard McCart. while Paul Kovacevic seems to have an extra 3 pawns in a rook ending against Robert Frantzeskos.

Amazing how soon things can change. The time issue hassled Gary Bekker who is now a piece down. Ari Dale looks to have a big position now. He has got g6 in and looks to be opening up Kerry's king side.

The game on board 8 is quite interesting, between Thai Ly and Rad Chmiel. Thai has the 2 bishops but it is a bit of a mess. Quote of the night goes to Jesse Jager, "Isn't white just a pawn up?" Actually, no, it's materially level, but we still like white :D

It's great taking the fun out of someone for counting the board wrong like I just did to Jesse. Deservedly, I now have to admit I did the same thing in the Voon-Bekker game. Gary isn't a piece down, but an exchange up! However, he has the 30 second increment to finish his game. I have had to remind a player about making a number of draw offers again. This time, after making the draw offer, he was unsure that his opponent had heard so he asked again....and again....and get the picture!

Some interesting endgames:

 Roger McCart seems to be winning as white against Ruben Nowak
Thai-Ly Rad Chmiel is still unclear.

Currently in the Victorian Championship game, Johansen as white is a pawn ahead against Dragicevic and with the move, should be considered favourite.

We're getting into the last parts of the games now. Ari Dale looks comfortable now against fact they've just come through and Ari has won and stays clear in the tournament. There has been a deal of criticism of the draw which was produced by swissperfect without any interference by me. To be fair, I did say that I wouldn't be changing the pairings without exceptional circumstances as I don't have time to work on them, but that hasn't stopped some from displaying their disgust with the draw. The issue is whether the top seed should have floated up, and to some extent I have sympathy with this as it seems natural. But is it right? I don't know, especially with Kerry already having floated down.

Anyway, back to the games. Phillip Drew has an exchange for some pawns against Michael Addamo, and Wichael only has 3 minutes. The only other game is Thai Ly and Rad Chmiel which hasn't changed much from before.

Vic Champs update: Johansen has 2 pawn advantage, though it's all on one side now.

Michael Addamo's pawns smashed through the centre, and Johansen converted his advantage in the Victorian Championship. There is still one game going, between Thai Ly and Rad Chmiel, but that is it for me for tonight. I will post some games in the near future, and the full results on the MCC website soon. The pairings for round 5 will be posted probably Wednesday night.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Tactics Friday

In this position, black had just played 14..c5, but it loses material to an exchanging sequence, though you have to be able to see the fork at the end of it. 15.Nxd7 Opening the 5th rank and removing a vital defender 15..Nxd7 This is the defender....not of c5, but of h7 16.dxc5 will now win material. Black can't allow c6 forking 2 pieces so would have to take on c5 but loses a piece after 16..Nxc5 17.Nxc5 Bxc5 18.Qh5 forking h7 and c5. In the game black resigned after 16.dxc5, Arutinian-Bystrov Czech Open 2011

Todays puzzle:

White to play and win

Answer Monday ;)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Tactics Thursday

Well, my daily tactical exercise doesn't seem to be happening, so it will from now on be an occasional tactical exercise!

Solution to the last puzzle:

The World Junior Championships is currently underway, and this is from the 2007 edition:
White has a mating net, Popov-Priborsky World Junior 2007: 1.Rd6+ and it's mate in all variations. The game went 1..Ka5 2.Qc7+ Kb4 3.c3+ Kxb5 4.Qb6+ Ka4 5.b3+ Ka3 6.Qc5+ and black resigned in view of the mate in one to follow.

Todays Puzzle:

White to play and win

Answer tomorrow ;)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Malitis Memorial Round 3 games

The top games from the Malitis Memorial were engrossing last night, with games swinging to and fro.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Malitis Memorial Round 3 live

The Malitis Memorial is entering its third round, and that is when entires officially close. With the late inclusion of Ian Stone, the tournament is back up to even numbers which may mean me playing in future rounds, but we'll see about that. The tournament has been caught by late winter illness, with both Roger McCart and Jim Papadinis calling in sick. Roger's opponent, James Brennan has generously agreed in principle to rearrange the game, while Jim is getting a bye and his opponent, Jack Shanks has agreed to play Ian Stone. The other game not started tonight is between Sarah Anton and Robert Franczeskos as I as arbiter had made an error forgetting that Sarah was unable to play the game tonight. They will also try to rearrange their game. All the postponements will count as draws for pairing purposes.

Before the tournament I asked some of the senior members of the club what they remembered of the man who this tournament is named after. Besides being a former club champion of the MCC, Edwin Malitis was a dedicated committee member and long time treasurer of the Melbourne Chess Club. A group of current members including current President Grant Szuveges, and former Preisdents Bill Jordan, Greg Gatto and David Beaumont all reminisced about a man who was first and foremost devoted to the Melbourne Chess Club, and along with another former President Bob Brooking steered the club through some difficult times and brought the club to its current premises at Leicester Street. He is remembered as being tight with the financial reigns of the club, a necessity of any good treasurer, and a man who didn't allow reputations to cloud his judgement. As part of the group of Latvians who emigrated to Australia after the Second World War he made his life in Australia and was a successful businessman. But the reason his name is commemorated in this tournament  is that he devoted so much time and effort to working at and for the Melbourne Chess Club.

I would love to hear any more stories or anecdotes that would shed further light on Mr Edwin Malitis.

First Hour:

We have a number of strong players hanging around the club tonight so I'll try to get some kibitzing from the likes of Bill Jordan, James Morris, Frank Lekkas and David Beaumont. There have been no early casualties. It looks as if Jesse Jager is a comfortable pawn up on board 1, and John Dowling is a pawn up against Ari Dale on board 2 but it is a bit more complicated. The board 3 game game is a young guns Najdorf between Hain and Drew which is yet to really get started. On board 4, according to FM Bill Jordan, Kerry Stead ahs a promising position against Thai Ly. Board 5 is a typical Dragon with Richard Voon as black with Rad Chmiel playing a quiet line castling king side. Michael Addamo seems to have a space advantage on board 6, but whether he can convert it is another matter.

In the main room, Gary Bekker is an exchange up against Richard McCart, and Paul Kovacevic is a piece up against Charlotte Dilnutt. The other games are all tight, with the notable interest for me being how long Ian stone is taking over his moves. He is already down to 37 minutes. The bottom board between Ruben Nowak and Tritan Rayson Hill has already hit the following tricky endgame. Who will be the master of the heavy pieces?

2 hours gone:

Bill Jordan was a little surprised by Jesse Jager's decision to sacrifice the exchange. Bill, and myself, would have preferred a slower approach to the position. The resulting ending may still be won for white, but we are not certain. Follow it live to see the conclusion. Dowling-Dale is an interesting material imbalance with Ari having a queen for rook, piece, and pawn.
Anthony Hain is a pawn up, with double rooks and opposite bishops on the board against a cold ridden Phillip Drew. Stead-Ly is beginning to build into a tough game. Chmiel-Voon is a tough queenside battle. Michael Addamo seems to have a comfortable position with some space and the bishop pair. It is the sort of position that he would convert if he was in good form, but I'm not sure how much chess he has played recently. Gary Bekker has won, the first winner of the evening, and Michael Hain and Paul Kovacevic (who was actually only a pawn up, I miscounted) soon followed. The M. Hain-Martin game had an interesting position.
Michael as white solved his problems by playing Qg4, which at least wins a pawn by force. Our endgame from earlier has moved forward a little with Ruben Nowak's rook getting amongst black's pawns, and it is advantage to Ruben.

Jack Shanks has a clear pawn advantage against Ian Stone.

And the kibitzing is liking Penrose on the top board at the moment, bringing into question Jager's earlier exchange sac. Beaumont thinks black is winning....hold on, he is wondering about a mating net in the corner..."it wins for white" D. Beaumont

The top board game is causing big headaches. Jordan and Morris are unsure, Beaumont wavers between white win, black win and draw, and I am playing devil's advocate. Frank Lekkas with the help of Rybka 4 thinks the position is technically a draw.
Black here played 1..Rc6. We were wondering about 1..c4?

Dowling seems to be in control against Dale and is now picking off pawns. Ari needed to create some king side counterplay and it never happened. Actually, I was just called to this game as John complained about his opponent adjusting one of his pieces away from the centre of his square. I told Ari to readjust his piece, and the game continued, but I'm not exactly sure of the rules here.

On board 3, the game has levelled out with 5 pawns each and opposite bishops. I expect a draw here relatively soon.

Jager looks absolutely gutted. We have the theoretically drawn ending or king and rook versus king and knight. Will Justin play it out? John still looks good against Ari, and Hain-Drew looks dead drawn now. Thai Ly has a mterial advantage against Kerry stead, an exchange, but time is getting short. Richard Voon has just won, and Michael Addamo is showing his lack of match practice as he is now very low on time and his 2 bishops have gone. The only other game is between Jack Puccini and Alex Kaplan where the young Jack looks good, but again he is low on time.

There are some vigorous and interesting post mortem analysis going on at the moment, so with just a couple of games left I will leave you with Richard Voon's efficient victory against Rad Chmiel tonight. The rest of the games will be published soon, and I will try to include some post mortem analysis ideas. Thanks for following this blog :)