Saturday, 4 October 2014

Queensland Championship, rounds 2 & 3

Old age seemingly does not go away if one ignores it. After a rather intense Thursday, a stressful Friday was more than my system was able to take. I left home at 1pm to give myself plenty of time to get to the venue, St Josephs Nudgee College, by 2.30 pm. Maps estimated the journey at under one hour but I only arrived at 2.50, 10 minutes before forfeit time. There was an accident somewhere apparently. Tony Dowden got caught in it, and with less of a safety margin built into his trip, missed the round.

Still, after some moves I was ahead on time and had a better position. Tristan had misplayed the opening badly and by move 20 black was all over white. Not taking the pinned pawn on e4 was criminal. One of my students had the cheek to say "checks and captures" with a grin on his face. He had heard me repeat this hundreds of times. Perfectly right!

I was a bit rattled by failing to finish the game quickly and kept making mistakes. According to stockfish black was still better and missed several chances later. Then I missed 40.Bd8! and defended badly although now white was better. The game did go longer than recorded here but my scoresheet was too messy to reconstruct.

Now I had about 10 minutes to compose myself before the next game! My brain was now mush but luckily for me Gareth spent all his time playing natural moves. Blacks position was fine, maybe a bit better, when he thought himself down to a minute for many moves and blundered a Mate.

I got home after another hour drive at about 11pm. That is when a migraine started and didn't go away. By 6am I had not slept, had a fever and a blocked nose. If I had been in Brisbane at a hotel around the corner I might have swallow a whole lot of tablets and soldiered on but the drive as well was just too much. I emailed my withdrawal, swallowed more pills and finally fell asleep.

Now two days later I feel human again. What lesson do I take away from this experience? I need to accept that I am no longer in my prime. No more driving for hours before chess games and only a game a day tournaments. What about fasting? Probably not a good idea immediately prior to an event.

Thanks for reading my whinge :-)  Next post will be more positive, promise! 

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Queensland Championship 2014 Round 1

After a bit of a break I am back in the saddle again playing a tournament. This seems to be chess season in Queensland. But of all the tournaments that have passed this is the only one with a first prize of more than $1000 and anything less is just not worth wasting a nice weekend for, especially now that spring has arrived.

My day started nicely enough, waking up in Wilsons creek with a view of Mount Chincogan where I was staying at a friends place attempting my first fast for more than a year. I say attempt because I had the odd bite and didn't even go the minimum of 7 days. In the morning I found out that the tournament was starting Thursday night and not Friday. Oops.

On the way home I stopped in at the Broadbeach Mall to watch some of my students play. I took a few pictures to show you but then promptly lost my phone. When I returned to where I had left it minutes earlier it had gone and had not been handed in so I presume stolen. So off to the  Vodafone shop I go and walk out with a new Samsung 5. In that short hour without a smartphone I felt completely disconnected from everything. I miss my Nexus but that was not on offer and I couldn't bear to be phoneless a minute longer.

My first round game  started at 7.30pm at the Brisbane Bridge Club. An excellent venue with a glass cage similar to the one in Bilbao with the exception that it is not restricted to the players.

You will like this game. It features a piece sac and finishes with a Queen sac.

As usual I am going to be totally self-centered but should you be interested in the rest of the tournament then click on this chesschat link
Have a nice day and stand by for hopefully more of this sort of chess. And some pictures taken with my new phone which I can now enjoy courtesy of a thief.

Always look on the bright side of life.. .

Sunday, 7 September 2014

First Sunday @ Churchie

Tom Maguire scored a picket fence 7/7 on Sunday. Apparently he was a bit lucky in some of the games but the good player is always lucky. For his "luck" he got to take home $150

Second place was a tie between Hughston Parle and Alexander Au on 5.5/7. They took home $75 each.

Best Girl was won by Brigitte Watkins with 4/7.  This a remarkable performance by the Somerville house girl against a very strong field especially considering she had a splitting headache for most of the event.

 Second place was won by Isabel Stevens with 2.5/7 and for her fine effort she was rewarded with Kevin Casey's " Australian Chess Brilliancies "

The U800 division was won by Churchie boy Reece Cameron Lyons who's rating of  547 only shows that this talented youngster doesn't get the opportunity to play many tournaments. Reece took home a wooden chess set.

Second U800 was taken out by  Ben Stevens of Grammar. He also took home a copy of "Australian Chess Brilliancies ".

Isabel also showed a remarkable ability to guess the amount of lollies in a jar.

Below the final standings.

First Sunday Junior Rapid - Round 7


Place Name                 Feder Rtg Loc  Score M-Buch. Buch. Progr.

  1   Maguire, Tom         B         1732 7        21.5  30.5   28.0
 2-3  Parle, Hughston      B         1162 5.5      21.0  28.5   21.5
      Au, Alex             B         1147 5.5      19.0  26.5   20.5
 4-9  Wang, Jason          B         1306 4        21.0  30.0   18.0
      Cameron-Lyons, Reece B         547  4        19.0  27.0   15.0
      Ostapenko, Michael   B         1491 4        18.5  27.5   16.0
      Stephens, Ben (ACGS) B         709  4        16.0  23.5   14.0
      Shresth, Aryan       B         826  4        15.0  21.5   15.0
      Watkins, Bridgette   B         760  4        15.0  21.5   15.0
 10   Liu, David (GC)      GC        1408 3.5      22.5  32.0   17.5
11-12 Lupari, Isaac                       2.5      17.0  21.5   12.5
      Stephens, Isabel                    2.5      13.0  17.5    9.5
13-14 Watkins, Rachel      B         541  2        18.5  23.5   10.0
      Khagram, Aaryan                     2        14.0  20.0    7.5
 15   Chappell, Georgina                  1        14.5  19.0    3.0
 16   Khagram, Ayesha                     0.5      16.5  23.0    1.0

Cross Table

No Name                 Feder Rtg Loc  Total  1    2    3    4    5    6    7  

1  Maguire, Tom         B         1732 7      7:W  3:W  2:W 10:W  6:W  5:W  4:W
2  Parle, Hughston      B         1162 5.5   16:W  9:W  1:L  4:W  3:D  7:W 10:W
3  Au, Alex             B         1147 5.5   14:W  1:L  5:W  8:W  2:D 10:W 16:W
4  Wang, Jason          B         1306 4     13:W  8:W 10:L  2:L  9:W  6:W  1:L
5  Cameron-Lyons, Reece B         547  4      6:W 10:L  3:L 15:W  8:W  1:L 14:W
6  Ostapenko, Michael   B         1491 4      5:L 11:W  7:W  9:W  1:L  4:L 13:W
7  Stephens, Ben (ACGS) B         709  4      1:L 14:W  6:L 16:W 13:W  2:L 12:W
8  Shresth, Aryan       B         826  4     15:W  4:L 12:W  3:L  5:L 13:W 11:W
9  Watkins, Bridgette   B         760  4     12:W  2:L 13:W  6:L  4:L 11:W 15:W
10 Liu, David (GC)      GC        1408 3.5    0:D  5:W  4:W  1:L 11:W  3:L  2:L
11 Lupari, Isaac                       2.5    0:D  6:L 16:W 14:W 10:L  9:L  8:L
12 Stephens, Isabel                    2.5    9:L 16:W  8:L 13:L 14:D 15:W  7:L
13 Watkins, Rachel      B         541  2      4:L 15:W  9:L 12:W  7:L  8:L  6:L
14 Khagram, Aaryan                     2      3:L  7:L 15:W 11:L 12:D 16:D  5:L
15 Chappell, Georgina                  1      8:L 13:L 14:L  5:L 16:W 12:L  9:L
16 Khagram, Ayesha                     .5     2:L 12:L 11:L  7:L 15:L 14:D  3:L
by Swiss Perfect (TM)

Special thanks must go to our Arbiter Tyson Walker. It is a pleasure to have a consummate professional running a tournament. 

The Master of Chess at Churchie Max Condon put in the most work of anyone, organising and setting up the excellent venue and grilling sausages for lunch. Thanks also to Max's daughter, Grace Condon, ran the canteen all day long.

Churchie has a long tradition of supporting Chess an this weekender continues this. Thanks for making the Brene Pavillion available to us. It is a roomy quiet venue next to the main oval and the tuckshop. Waiting parents were able to use the free wi-fi provided.

Summing up I believe all had a great Sunday. We did not have as many entries as hoped but this may have had a few contributing factors. We announced the tournament very late and clashed with fathers day and another junior event on the Gold Coast. As a "proof of concept" event however it was a success. All aspects of the tournament ran smoothly so we know the next one will be even better. 

The next Sunday rapid is scheduled for the 26th of October.
 I hope to see you all there :-)    

Sunday, 27 July 2014

End of Leiden and the journey home.

I must work on my planning. Immediately after the last round I drove 900km to Vendenesse sur Arroux, then the next day, my 51st birthday (21/7) I continued on to Munich, another 700km, and the next day I boarded a flight for Brisbane, a mere 30 hours. Am too old for this ****.

Only now did I look at the final results from Leiden and noticed that IM Das, Arghyadip had won with 7/9! A great result especially considering the strength of the field.

As for my last round game, it was pretty boring. I decided not to be a wimp (offer an early draw) but then played without any real conviction or interest. Going through the motions. 13...Ne4 was too impatient (...e6 is better) and after some more badly thought out winning attempts I was a bit lucky to draw.

Now I am back in Australia. At the moment I am still wondering why. Travelling around Europe with the family playing in chess tournaments was a lot more fun. Instead I was met by a whole pile of letters from government departments which is never good. I'll spare you the details, at least in this post.

Anyway in a few hours my lessons start up again and teaching my students always (almost) cheers me up.

See you soon :-)

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Leiden Open round 8

Todays game started at the unusually early time of 1pm. Not much time for tourism so the ladies spent the day at Katwijk beach while I played quite an interesting game. I missed a chance to take a serious advantage with 17.Nbd6 according to stockfish. Then everything was balanced until I played the "winning" 39.Qd5??

What I had missed was that I can't answer 42....Rb6 with Nc3 because black just takes the knight and queens. Oh well, last round tomorrow, 11.00am :-) That's another thing I like about the Dutch. They aren't really morning people either.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Leiden Open round 7

After yesterdays somewhat lame expedition to Corpus we decided to just go for a walk in town today. As we were walking past the Windmill museum " De Falk " curiosity finally got the better of us so we decided to have a look. Good move! 

There is a video explaining the history and the importance of Windmills in Holland on the first floor in many languages including French and English. 

Here we have some millstones.

The Millar and his family lived in the mill. Like the living room?

Old equipment is everywhere. No indication of what it is though.

The view from the top is quite spectacular.

Now we are in the guts of the mill.

Bench full of gears, weights etc...

Guts again.

And a little window half way down.

The Molenmuseum De Falk gets my seal of approval. The stairs are a bit scary and there are lots of them but the view is worth the effort if nothing else.

Ok, on to my game. We returned home around 6pm so I had about an hour to come up with something. I noticed very quickly that my opponent doesn't play open Sicilians. In my long career I have tried all kinds of ways to avoid playing 3.d4 but have come to the sad conclusion that they all suck. Therefore whenever I see someone not playing the open, I play 1.c5 :-)

My opponent was well prepared and had played the variation in the game many times. Still, he got nothing from the opening and his position imperceptibly went from equal to slightly worse then clearly worse, then hopeless. I have played the same game from the other side. Trust me youngsters, the anti-sicilians all suck.

As my reward I am back on board 3, white against GM Predrag Nikolic 2605! Scary :-)

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Leiden round 6

Our sightseeing today had a curious start. A group of us put on headphones in the desired language and took an escalator into the human digestive tract...through the most convenient orifice.

We were visiting Corpus, an educational attraction that takes you on a journey through the human body. I must admit that it was not the highlight of our holiday. Strangely enough there were lots of senior citizens taking the tour which seems mainly suited to 8-12 year olds. They all queued at some "well being" machine in the interactive section.

Meanwhile Nina burned off 70 calories on the exercise bike provided.

At the reception they keep an eye on you :-)

Comprehensive anatomical posters can be found on the walls throughout the complex.

Well today was one for the spectators. I thought it was a good day to go all out for a win and I got close but when it was time to play 25.c5 I changed my mind and played the philosophical 25.0-0. Not fatal but I followed up with the horrible 26.Qa7. I had a feeling it was a bit decentralising but played it anyway, against my better judgement.
Annoying actually but tomorrow is another round. 

I am still clinging onto the live boards actually, board 8, so if you are really bored......:-)