Chess Moves

One person's short journey into the world of Australian chess

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Manly-Warringah League Club Simultaneous Play

Tough week.

Together with my brother-in-law, I decided to attend the Simulaneous Play by the club champion at Manly-Warringah League Club on Monday 23rd Jan. So off I go there.... after seeing the number of people who turned up (approx. 20+ people), it was getting impossible for the club champion Mark De Groen to play so many people and to finish in 4 hours.

Nevertheless, I was very impressed with his stamina and he did very well.

My brother-in-law wanted me to take White.... but I thought I give Black a try. :)

After approx 2+ hour of gameplay at 11pm, the number of opponents had dwindled down to 15 odd people and my game was still a long way off.

By then, fatigue had clearly set in to my game (see diagram on the left) and I figured I was about 10 moves from defeat. In the end, I told my brother-in-law that I need to go off and asked him to inform Mark that I had to go (I still need to get up to work early tomorrow unfortunately).

Just FYI, it was my turn next.... and I would have played ...... Bc5.


Monday, January 23, 2006

Corus: Topalov and Anand neck-to-neck

As expected, the Corus Chess tournament has shown the two most strongest players tied at the moment. Topalov and Anand are currently on joint top. Topalov will have his task cut out for him as his remaining challengers are fairly strong (including the ever improving Leko, Karjakin) while Anand has only Gelfand and Topalov among the top players to match wits with.

Last night was basically a non-event with Topalov drawing against Gelfand (who would have thought the match will play for another odd 30+ moves after the last rooks were exchanged off the board). Bacrot had an unfortunate match with Anand and Anand appears at one stage to have missed the winning move towards the later stages of the game but still won enough as his position was strangling Bacrot's pieces.

There's been not much to report on the home front. I hope to look forward to playing some chess at the North Sydney and Eastwood league clubs soon.

In the meantime, Happy Australia Day, everyone!!

Monday, January 16, 2006

FIDE Champion Topalov Falls To Adams

If Anand stole the show with his sacrifices yesterday, Adams wowed the crowd today with unerring positional accuracy to defeat Topalov.

The game was very intriguing as Adams and Topalov traded blows with pins, counter-pins, deflections and sacrifices in the rather sharp line of the Scheveningen Sicilian. It takes a lot to bring down the current FIDE World Champion and Adams definitely proved a point that Topalov is still vulnerable with a relentless attack that had Topalov struggling to find cover in the later stages of the game.

In other matches, Ivanchuk won again putting him as the leader after 2 rounds after Anand could only salvage a draw (although he looked to be in a winning position at one point with the Closed Ruy Lopez) with Aronian.

Tomorrow, Anand faces up against Ivanchuk. Anand would be desperate to prove something but I can forsee a draw to be the end result.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Karjakin Feels The Wrath Of Anand

I was up in the wee hours of the morning watching this match and true enough, Anand didn't disappoint. In fact, not only did he didn't disappoint, he played what is probably one of the best games involving sacrificial play. Tal will be so proud of him.

Corus Chess 2006, Wijk aan Zee Round 1 Kajarkin - Anand, 2006.01.13

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e5 7. Nb3 Be6 8. f3 Be7 9. Qd2 O-O 10. O-O-O Nbd7 11. g4 b5 12. g5 b4 13. Ne2 Ne8 14. f4 a5 15. f5 a4 16. Nbd4 exd4 17. Nxd4 b3 18. Kb1 bxc2+ 19. Nxc2 Bb3 20. axb3 axb3 21. Na3 Ne5 22. h4 (see diagram on right)

At this stage, Black's pieces are horribly hemmed in. White's pieces are active and White's kingside pawn structure is fast closing in on the Black king looks dangerous indeed.

Black's only active piece is that undisturbed rook on a8.

If Black doesn't do something soon, White will overwhelm and storm through Black's barricades like a hot knife through butter.

Karjakin at this point must have thought he can safely write 1-0 on his scoresheet.....

At this point, Anand goes into deep thinking mode for the next 15 minutes and suddenly pulls the rug out from under the young GM with .... Ra5 23. Qc3 Qa8 24. Bg2 Nc7! (see diagram below) sacrificing the Knight

Play continues...... 25. Qxc7 Rc8 (now Black sacrifices his Bishop!) 26. Qxe7 .... at this point we're wondering if Anand is losing it (maybe coming in second in San Luis has affected him) but he pulls off the stunning move Nc4!

White is stunned! Suddenly, the roles are reversed. White is looking extremely vulnerable. The White Queen has been lured away from the protection of the King to gobble up Black's 2 most inactive pieces on the board. A fatal mistake!

27. g6 hxg6 28. fxg6 Nxa3+ 29. bxa3 Rxa3 30. gxf7+ Kh7 31. f8=N+ Rxf8 32. Qxf8 Ra1+ 33. Kb2 Ra2+ 34. Kc3 (see diagram on left)

At this point, most players would have thought of the followup move .... Qxf8 but not Vishy Anand. He ponders over this for a good 10 minutes and comes out with a mate in 6!!! Starting with Qa5+! 35. Kd3 Qb5+ 36. Kd4 Ra4+ 37. Kc3 Qc4+ . At this point, Karjakin is another 2 moves from mate and promptly resigns. 0-1

A fanatastic first round display by the lightning "kid" from India.

This game play was similar to the one played by Peter Leko vs Francisco Vallejo-Pons at the 14th Amber Tournament: Rapid 2005 but that game was a blitz game and it petered out to a draw. It is clear that Anand saw potential in this game and developed it further. Great homework done by Anand nonetheless!

Saturday, January 14, 2006


I just realised how badly I sucked at OTB playing while playing at the league club this week.

I lost all my games. 4 of the 5 games I played were blitzed games. Where has all my concentration gone? Down the gutter, that's what. Heheheh.... oh well, when you're down, the only way to go is up.

I do notice one thing, when observing another game, I noticed that one of my opponents (who beat me in a 5min blitz game) didn't pick the best moves in a slow 20min game with another weaker player . I spotted at least 5 different times that his chess pieces movement would have led to an instant winning position but he missed it. So it does look like all that chess study is paying off. The problem therein comes when it's my turn at the board. I couldn't concentrate for the first game and lost easily but really should have drawn the second and third game.

Anyway, my BIL who was there, played with me and I found that he was having problems (I played a different opening repertoire) and we actually enjoyed a very good game. I was playing Black and had managed to repulse his attack and achieved equality in the middlegame. But he got me in the end with a pin (that should never have happened)........ D'oh!!. I need to conduct my attack more judiciously.

On the next day, at work during lunch, I played another opening I was "trying out" and took my colleague Szabo to the endgame where I won because I had a better grasp of endgame knowledge. Szabo then commented that I used to beat him in the middlegame. So in my followup game with him, I switched back to my opening repertoire and pulverised Szabo as Black in 15 moves. I didn't really like that so I decided to ease up and get him into the middle game so that I can learn to formulate tactics and positions and more importantly, how to position my pieces.

So far, I'm starting to train up for the upcoming competitions. Hopefully, I will do better. I've been reading up and exercising in the gym in an attempt to get myself fitter and sharpen my concentration and boost my energy levels. Hope all this work is worth it... :) And even if it didn't, at least I'm having fun doing it anyway.

Onto international news, the draws for the Corus Chess Competition has just been announced.

Round 1 - Saturday the 14th

L. van Wely - I. Sokolov
S. Mamedyarov - E. Bacrot
S. Tiviakov - M. Adams
V. Topalov - G. Kamsky
B. Gelfand - P. Leko
S. Karjakin - V. Anand
L. Aronian - V. Ivanchuk

The draw of this round will surely be the young, aggressive Karjakin facing the much experienced "lightning speed" Anand.

Michael Adams will be anxious to reverse his horror show at FIDE Chess Championship in San Luis last year. I hope he does well.

The Aronian-Chukky match is also another match to watch for. I can't wait for Saturday to come.... :)

Monday, January 09, 2006

Kramnik Blues

It is somewhat sad that Vladimir Kramnik has withdrawn from the Corus Chess Tournament at Wijk aan Zee. Major bummer!

Full details at

Over in Singapore.... happier news awaits... the 2nd Singapore International Chess Convention which was wrapped up recently looked to be a stunning success. Man, why didn't they have this sort of event when I was much younger. I would have loved to participate in the Asian Schools Chess Festival. More details at:

Friday, January 06, 2006

Chess Openings: Changing Lanes

Office work has really got me occupied the past week *phew* that I barely had a breather and I need to work over the weekend again....

During this time, I had a look at a few books. I'm still struggling with trying to find an opening that's appropriate to my style of playing but so far have had little success.

I've halfway through Emms' book on the Sicilian openings and am unsure if it really fits me at all.

I've right now perusing through the Modern Defence, King's Indian, Queen's Indian, French, Nimzo-Indian etc.

Hopefully, I have one that's more to my playing style. I know what my BIL plays... he plays the Modern defence all the time.... the trick is that his tactics and positional skills are far superior to mine.... oh well, c'est la vie.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Chess Competitions - The Best Is Yet To Come

The Russian Chess Championship Superfinal ended on New Year's Eve with Sergei Rublevsky emerging the winner having gone the whole competition undefeated with 7.5/11 score.

The final positions as follows:

Sergei Rublevsky 7.5/11 (+4 -0 =7)
Alexander Morozevich 6.5/11 (+4 -2 =5)
Dmitry Jakovenko 6.5/11 (+3 -1 =7)
Peter Svidler 6/11 (+2 -1 =8)
Vadim Zvjaginsev 6/11 (+2 -1 =8)
Evgeny Bareev 6/11 (+4 -3 =4)
Vladimir Kramnik 5.5/11 (+2 -2 =7)
Alexander Motylev 5/11 (+2 -3 =6)
Alexander Khalifman 4.5/11 (+0 -2 =9)
Alexey Dreev 4.5/11 (+1 -3 =7)
Sergey Volkov 4/11 (+2 -5 =4)
Evgeny Tomashevsky 4/11 (+1 -4 =6)

The new year will start with a bang for the chess world as all eyes focus on the upcoming Corus Chess Tournament being held at Wijk an Zee, Netherlands from Jan 13-29.

Participants of this tournament will be (country and FIDE ratings included):

GM Viswanathan Anand IND 2788
GM Veselin Topalov BUL 2782
GM Peter Leko HUN 2751
GM Vassily Ivanchuk UKR 2748
GM Vladimir Kramnik RUS 2739
GM Etienne Bacrot FRA 2725
GM Levon Aronian ARM 2724
GM Michael Adams ENG 2718
GM Boris Gelfand ISR 2717
GM Sergey Tiviakov NED 2700
GM Ivan Sokolov NED 2696
GM Gata Kamsky USA 2690
GM Sergey Karjakin UKR 2658
GM Loek van Wely NED 2648

It's the first time that champions Topalov and Kramnik are in the same competition since Topalov won the FIDE World Chess Championship in San Luis, Argentina.

More details can be found at

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year Blues And Clearing Diagonals

This looks like it's going to be the start of the same old year for me....

First of all, I lost 2 games with my BIL (brother-in-law) when we played over on New Year. However in one of the games, I'm surprised that I'm starting to think deeper (at least 2 moves ahead now).

Here's the position setup of one of my games. My position was rather precarious and the white Knight on b7 is a real thorn. My only choice perhaps was to draw from that position. So after this position, I played

1. ...Nf3+.
(If my BIL had taken that Knight, it would've been perpetual check with:
2. gxf3 Qxf3 3. Nc5 Qg4+ 4. Kh1 Qf3+ .....)
So he played 2. Kh1....

The rest of the game didn't pan out too well for me as I made an error allowing White to win the endgame.

I noticed that I'm very impatient and I would definitely need to learn to think things through at a slower pace (see what happens when you play too much blitz?). Oh well, hopefully, I will improve during this year.

Onto Australian chess news, while picking through the Australian Chess Championship games, I saw one game that is educational. IM Alex Wohl v James Obst.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. b3 b6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 a6 6. Bd3 Qc7 7. O-O Nf6 8. c4 d6 9. Nc3 Be7 10. Bb2 Nbd7 11. Rc1 Bb7 12. Qe2 O-O 13. f4 Rfe8 14. Nf3 Rac8 15. Bb1 Qb8 16. Rce1 g6 17. Ng5 Nh5 18. Qg4 Ng7 19. f5 Ne5 20. Qh4 Nh5 21. fxg6 fxg6 22. g4 h6 23. gxh5 hxg5 24. Qg3 gxh5 25. Qh3 g4 26. Qxh5 Rf8 (see left diagram) 27. Nd5 exd5 28. exd5 Rf6 29. Rxf6 Bxf6 30. Bxe5 dxe5 31. Qg6+ Bg7 32. Rf1 1-0 resigns as it cannot stop Qh7 mate on the next move (Note that Black cannot play 28... Nf3+ 29. Rxf3 gxf3 30. Qh7# nor 28. ... Nf3+ 29. Rxf3 Rxf3 30. Qxg4+ with Qxf3 to follow and Black would have lost a pawn and a minor piece for nothing and his position has worsened).

It showed me the importance of knowing how to sacrifice to open lanes. Both White and Black Kings are exposed but Black is in more peril as:

a) the two White bishops on b1 and b2 are poised for attack (but only if the diagonals are cleared)
b) the e6 pawn and e7 Bishop is undefended (this would prove costly on move 31)
c) Blacks' Queen and c8 Rook are inactive and away from the King

Wohl chose to sacrifice his Knight via Nd5. The resulting exchange favoured White as it allowed White to open the lane for his b2 bishop to remove the Black Knight guard on e5 that's protecting the square g6 and the pawn g4.

Very nice technique!