Sunday, 27 September 2015

Moulthun Ly and Anton Smirnov share first place in the Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Chess Open 2015. (edited)

Dato Tan

Dato Tan Chin Nam showed his interest in the event which bares his name and which he has sponsored for it's entire twelve year history by speaking at the closing ceremony. He asked one of the youngest competitors, Sultan Al-Zaabi, to join him and to say a few words.

He is very frail now at 89 and needs help with everything, movement, eating but strangely enough not moving the chess pieces. He played several friendly games during the event. Talking itself is a considerable effort so he is economical with his words but makes perfect sense and shows full awareness of the world around him, especially regarding his two great passions, chess and horses.

The Open Winners

Six players finished on 7/9 with tie-break separating them. Full results for all events can be found on the Chess Results website. Australias took out both the Silver and the Bronze.

Brisbane player and coach Moulthun Ly came second

Anton Smirnov from Sydney, the early leader came third. 
His performance was nearly 2600 and at just 14 he clearly has a bright future.

The top seed GM Jahongir Vakhidov was the top seed and played accordingly, winning five games and drawing four. He played the toughest field, took the lead early and drew his way home. A thoroughly professional and deserved victory. 

Moulthun kindly provided one of his games for our viewing pleasure. His others were too dry and technical which one can't say about this one. Stockfish points out that his opponent had chance (understatement alert) around the time control but in practical increment play this is normal, even in games between super GM's. Makes it even more entertaining.

Here is the score of the game. As Andrew Ooi pointed out, the game re-player is not working.

White.   Minh, To Nhat     Black.  Ly, Moulthun

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.Bb5+ Nd7 4.c3 Nf6 5.Qe2 a6 6.Ba4 b5 7.Bc2 e5 8.O-O
Be7 9.d4 O-O 10.Rd1 Qc7 11.d5 Nb6 12.h3 Ne8 13.Nbd2 g6 14.Nf1 Ng7 15.
Ng3 c4 16.Bh6 a5 17.Nh2 Qd8 18.f4 exf4 19.Bxf4 Bg5 20.Qe3 Bxf4 21.
Qxf4 Qe7 22.Nf3 Nd7 23.a4 b4 24.Qh6 f6 25.Rd4 Ne5 26.Nxe5 Qxe5 27.Nf1
Ba6 28.Nd2 Rab8 29.Nf3 Qe7 30.Qd2 b3 31.Bd1 f5 32.e5 dxe5 33.d6 Qf6
34.Rd5 Rbd8 35.d7 Bb7 36.Rd6 Qe7 37.Be2 f4 38.Bxc4+ Kh8 39.Re1 Nf5
40.Re6 Qc5+ 41.Kh2 Qxc4 42.R1xe5 Bxf3 43.Re8 Qf7 44.Rxf8+ Qxf8 45.
gxf3 Qf7 46.Rd5 Qe6 47.c4 Kg8 48.c5 Ne3 49.Qxa5 Rxd7 50.Rxd7 Qxd7 51.
Qb4 Qd3 52.Qb8+ Kf7 53.Qxf4+ Ke6 54.Kg3 Nf5+ 55.Kg4 h5+ 56.Kg5 Qd8+
57.Kxg6 Qg8+ 58.Kxh5 Qh7+ 59.Kg4 Qh4# 0-1

As for my tournament, considering I have not played a lot of chess for several years now and have never had a good tournament in Malaysia, I guess it was not too bad. I started quite badly but recovered a bit in the second half.

My last round game was another blunderfest but am told it was quite entertaining so I have posted it as usual but hidden it here so only the most dedicated reader will see it :-)

Other members of our "delegation" performed well, got some breaks and missed some chances.

Brodie McClymont, who recently tied for first in our Zonal in Sydney thereby becoming an IM, played in his first International open. One bad double round day destroyed his GM norm chances and an unnecessary loss in the last round kept him out of the prize-pool.

David Liu, rated 1461, gained 110 elo points performing at about 2000! Despite this he could have done even better, spoiling some promising positions. He visibly grew during the tournament, adapting to the new environment. The player he drew with in the first round I drew with in the last round so he figures we are the same strength now :D

 Jacob Chan, who rarely plays in even local events excelled in the challengers. He played 9 rated opponents so should emerge with a FIDE rating, probably around 1500, on the next list.

Last but most definitely not least I must mention Jordan Chan.

Jacobs nine year old brother may have had the greatest influence on the future of Malaysian chess of any Australian. Let me tell you how.

Last night I had a cup of tea with Ignatius Leong, Peter Long and Hamid Majid, arguably the three most influential organisers in Asia. The subject of my last blog post, Malaysian cheating championship  came up and I was expecting at least a little rebuke. I was surprised that they were all in agreement and determined to remedy the situation.

Hamid told us that he witnessed the replay of Jordan's game and saw Jordan gently remind his opponent, who had just cheated him, to press his clock.  It was immediately clear to Hamid who was really telling the truth about the previous game and he felt very bad that there was little he could do to remedy the situation. Jordan lost the game and graciously congratulated his opponent.

All the chief organiser (Mr Hamid Majid) could do was give Jordan a medal for sportsmanship but he said "we must do more in future to protect wonderful young children like Jordan against cheating". 

Thank you Jordan, you are an example to all of us. 

Malaysian Cheating Championships.

Today I witnessed the most incredible festival of chess cheating ever. Before I get to the Australian victims let me present an international victim.

Sultan Al-Zaabi
Sultan is a very friendly young man from the UAE. He is only 14 with a FIDE rating of 1981 who I played in the first round. He lost three games to cheating by much weaker opponents, one who claimed he had pressed the clock with the other hand. another, the sister of the previous claimant, accused him of adjusting  a piece and by the third incident the arbiter had already identified him as a repeat offender.

Anton Smirnov lost a game because a piece fell over. Untold games were decided in this manner. It didn't help that the tables were covered in soft cloth, upon which roll up boards and partly unweighted pieces were placed. Every round I observed games were decided by a piece toppling often just because the clock was bashed. One trick, which worked on at least one occasion, was to knee the underside of the table just as the opponent is moving and then claim the game.

Illegal move, like moving King next to King was tried on at least three occasions that I am aware of. In the first case the person losing moved his king into check and when the opponent failed to notice, the first player claimed the game.
The second time, a King moved to c3, a square covered by a knight, deliberately, and again the opponent didn't notice but this time the claimant lost, despite the fact that his opponent didn't notice.
Can you guess how the third incident ended? Draw of course.

Another attempt was holding the clock down but the cheater lost on time anyway.

I should mention that the most egregious incident happened a few days ago where Jordan Chan's opponent just reported that he had won. I saw the game shortly before and Jordan had just liquidated nicely and I left as he had Queen and Knight against nothing (some pawns each).

I am so glad I didn't play as I could well be in jail now, and not for throwing pieces but throwing a cheater or an arbiter.  Amusing for  spectators though :D

The main tournament is over now and I'll do a final report tomorrow. Spoiler alert: It went quite well for the Australian contingent. 

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Chess Open 2015

Stupidity rewarded

Several years ago I was berated by Ian Rogers after winning a brilliant game against a strong Grandmaster with the Hippo as now I made his coaching job harder. When he tried telling his students to play proper chess they would point to this game. Btw, Ian  is right. For every brilliancy there are many stupid losses with silly openings.

Do not copy this one today either. My opponent made a bookish impression on me so I decided to leave theory so played the totally uninspiring move 4.d3. Of course black is immediately at least equal, probably better already. Only a complete amateur would play a weak move like that.

Luckily my "Mullumbimby move" provoked my opponent into an unsound attack trying to blow the patzer opposite him off the board. It backfired and I won my shortest game of the tournament. :-)

Time for din dins. Last round tomorrow, toodles :D

Friday, 25 September 2015

Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Chess Open 2015 Round 7

I have now reached 50% in my personal Indonesian championship :-) Four out of my seven opponents so far have been Indonesians. Luckily this time I played an adult. I got the better of the opening, sacrificed the exchange for a pawn and the two bishops then another pawn, and another, reaching an assessment of 7.7 at one stage. Then one blunder after another led to a queen ending where I was just one pawn up. Finally my opponent gifted me a mate in three. Phew.

Meanwhile on the Junior front, David Liu is going on a drawing spree, getting two draws today, although the first one was due to triple repetition in a superior position. The intention was to repeat twice. Moral of the story. Don't play with your food! Despite missing this half point his performance is nearly 1900

Jacob Chan is on 3/7 performing at nearly 1500. Not bad for his first International open!

That's all for today folks, stay tuned :-)

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Chess Open 2015 Round 6

Toilet Police

After a pleasant evening at a superb Japanese restaurant and a few glasses of wine and good company I slept very well for the first time since arriving in Malaysia. Is wine the secret? Could well be. This morning I was feeling fresh and ready for my game. My first surprise was my opponent. Seeing the name Michael Owen I expected a jaded old white chess tourist like myself, instead I got a motivated young Indonesian kid.

I was quite satisfied with my opening and after a few glasses of water needed to visit the bathroom. On my way out a pretty young lady with a sheet and pen in her hand asked me where I was going. I told her and she asked my name and board number, and noted my exit. As the round went on she seemed a bit overworked because not only are there hundreds of people playing, all leaving the hall for different reasons but with the nationalities represented, occasionally language was also an issue.

Needless to say some players expressed more than a little irritation at being interrogated especially as the time control approached.

I am not sure what this is supposed to achieve and everything (almost) is worth trying once but I hope the organisers shelve this rather absurd idea forthwith.

Round 6

I was quite happy with the opening, especially since Michael consumed oodles of time to get a bad position but on move 14 I thought better of the intended and natural Qf2 and swapped queens noticing that I get at least a pawn back. However it was not so simple and accurate calculation was required which I was too lazy to do.

I did in fact see 22.Rd6, sacrificing the exchange for all his Queenside and central pawns but figured anything won at this stage. A miscalculation later I was a pawn down in a bad rook ending. I was proud of my technique in at least holding the draw until I checked it with Stockfish. Turns out I played it quite poorly. Oh well, at least he did as well.

Now for a quick snack and then the last double round for this tournament.
Toodles :-)

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Chess Open Round 5

Anton Smirnov is in the equal lead with 4.5/5 and Moulthun Ly is not far behind on 4/5. The rest of us Aussies are not fairing quite so well. My second game today was a bit of a disaster. The hippo is a dangerous defense and best played when one is in top form. This was obviously not the case today. I had reservations about castling before I did it but could not find any other active moves so did it anyway. I was surprised when Stockfish endorsed my choice but definitely didn't like my next move  14...f5?? instead Nc6 is almost equal. I did consider it but didn't appreciate that after 15.Ng4 Nd4 16.Nh6+ Kh8 the naked black king is apparently quite happy. Black is a pawn down but the central d pawn is enough compensation for my Silicone friend.

Oh well, at least I learnt something today :-) Would you be brave enough to play that position? I'll have to put it under the microscope before deciding.

Luckily there was some compensation for this incredibly weak game in the form of another meal at
Din Tai Fung. The kitchen staff all wear surgical masks and the kitchen is surrounded by glass so one can see how everything is made. I had walked past it previously and always wanted to check it out and the last two days that dream has come true. Another experience crossed off my bucket list. If you are a foodie I suggest you put it on yours. To that end I have supplied the link. Bon App.

Our group changed a little from yesterday,including Thai administrator and player Sahapol Nakvanich, whose birthday it is. Happy birthday!

Well tomorrow is a rest day. Lets see what culinary delights await us.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Chess Open 2015 Round 4

This morning I faced an underrated junior at 9am who came at me with the accelerated Dragon. This coupled with little sleep can be a dangerous combination. Not wanting to have a theoretic battle, primarily because I didn't even know how to enter one, I tried 3.h4.

The rest of the game I just tried to play simple moves and avoid calculation. It worked a treat.

Now some lunch and if possible a little nap before the afternoon round.
Toodles :-)

Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Open 2015 Round 3

No excuses today, just a fight with many mistakes by both sides. My opponent went wrong first by capturing on d2 with the Queen. If instead 10.Nd2 I cannot move my e pawn (it loses a pawn) so white would have time to play e4,f4 Nf3 and rooks behind. I am not sure where black can find counterplay.

Black was better and I was carrying out my plan unhindered when I suddenly had a brain meltdown with 23...b5 forgetting that the d3 knight defended the rook on f2. Luckily I spotted my mistake immediately and continued as if nothing had happened.

We then got into a messy tactical melee with a swinging evaluation until I played the final blunder 44....Qa3. Instead I should play Qd4 and the position is about equal. This would have given me the opportunity to blunder later. Or maybe..... Spilt milk.

I was feeling a bit annoyed about my play after the game but that soon evaporated when we went to the best Chinese dumpling restaurant ever. Good food, good company, all good.

Now to try and survive another double round day starting at 9am. 

Monday, 21 September 2015

Dato ArthurTan Malaysian Open 2015 round 2.

I feel like having a bit of a whinge today. There are many rules in Chess, some make sense, others don't always and still others change over time. Disturbing your opponent is not allowed but the specifics are not comprehensive. Talking is forbidden as is kicking under the table but more subtle forms of gamesmanship are often overlooked.

One such method is overpowering body odor. There is one Russian Grandmaster, who according to a colleague has no sense of smell, who deliberately cultivates his skunk like odor by not showering for the duration of a tournament (at least). I have played him before and had to stand a long way from the board to be able to breathe and had to hold my breath when approaching the board to play my moves.

Another method is constantly clearing your throat. It may be argued that in some cases it is an involuntary tick but that is a bit like being shot accidentally. Not much consolation. Rocking the table by shaking your leg is also in the top ten.

The type of behaviour I find particularly annoying is constantly snorting your own snot. Everybody gets sniffles occasionally but that's why tissues were invented. The 1994 Candidates match between Gata Kamsky and Nigel Short is remembered for a particularly unpleasant incident. Gata had caught a cold and was sniffling, spluttering and hacking at the board. Nigel suggested that he might like to drink some water. Interestingly THIS is illegal (speaking to your opponent) whereas Gata's behaviour is not. Later Rustam Kamsky, Gata's father, apparently verbally assaulted Nigel including threatening to kill him.

My opponent today was a constant snorter and while I don't think it was deliberate it was definitely very annoying. The arbiter was unable to help as snorting is not included as disturbing behaviour. As you can see white got a considerable advantage in the opening but the worse my opponents position got the more he snorted. I did play some incredibly weak moves and was even worse at one stage and had to scramble a draw with very little time left. An unpleasant day at the office

On the bright side, he was unrated to I don't lose any rating points. Yay :-)

Without further ado, here is the game. My last idiotic mistake was the greedy 48.Rg6 instead of the intended 48.Ra6 first.

At least tomorrows game starts at 3pm.
Pairings and full results will appear here
Toodles :-) 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Dato Arthur Tan Malaysian Open round 1.

Dato Arthur Tan Chin Nam

My first trip to play chess in Malaysia was in 1983 (I think) and that was the first time I met Dato Tan, who was already the main sponsor of Malaysian chess and quite a strong player. He took us out for dinner many times at one of his shopping malls and played blitz regularly with anyone who cared to play. He was also not the youngest man even back then. We Australians just knew him as "the Datuk".

Now he is in his 90's and in a wheelchair but still sharp, playing the occasional game and remembering all the players from the past. A few years ago I remember seeing him arrive at the Cititel hotel and since I had not seen him for decades I did not impose myself and walked past until I heard a loud "Wohl" from behind. He remembered me from all those years ago and we had a nice chat.

He still drops in to watch the games and to plan future tournaments.

So the tournament started this morning with a bit of excitement. The chief organiser, Mr Hamid, had decided not to be too authoritarian and therefore there was no "zero forfeit" rule applied, meaning if you are not at the board when the round starts you lose. Many players took advantage of this and meandered in late. A forfeit in the first round is a disaster for the player receiving the gift because then there is no norm possibility anymore.

He regretted his leniency and berated the assembled audience after some time had gone by and even the players on board 1 were missing. I suspect he will apply "Zero tolerance" next time.

Round 1

My game was quite easy as my young opponent didn't know my obscure opening choice. This variation is best played when the draw is not made the night before and the opponent cannot prepare. Otherwise it is quite dangerous. Quiet positional play does not work.

Anyway folks, hope you enjoyed that, now its time for the second round.
                                         Wish me luck :-)

Malaysian Chess Festival supporting events.

35th ASTRO MERDEKA RAPID OPEN TEAM CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 (OPEN) 12th Malaysia Chess Festival 2015

Chess in Malaysia reached a new level this year with 104 teams competing in the open event and 47 in the under 12 section. That makes 604 competitors and at least the same number of parents, coaches, organisers,  officials, volunteers and spectators. We took up the entire fifth floor of the Cititel Hotel in the Midvalley shopping centre.

It was a miracle that the event ran relatively smoothly despite several challenges. One (continuing) challenge was that the lifts are being upgraded so a crowd was always gathered in the lobby and the stairwell got a considerable workout. The air conditioning was not quite up to the job but the staff heroically managed to keep the water dispensers filled and clean glasses supplied. Children of all ages littered the floor in chaotic fashion and getting to ones board was always tricky. Here a snapshot during a quiet time. It got a lot worse than this!   

The Doubleroo Chess Academy fielded a team with a ring in, Polgar Chess Asia trainer, Carlo Lorenzo. The concept of the tournament was that the average rating of the team had to be under 2250 so there was quite a bit of juggling going on. Also one could place players in any order.Since we had David Liu (1461) on our team we could have fielded Magnus Carlsen and still come in under the limit. But he could have hardly started better than Carlo who won his first 7 games. 

Brodie McClymont  scored 6/9 on board 1 against the strongest field including a crushing win against GM Oliver Dimakiling 2526.

David Liu played bravely against a 1922 average field scoring a win and three draws. He was also handicapped by some instructions from his coach, which I will not share with you, sorry.

David Liu
As for yours truly, I got a bit lucky in a few games and contributed 8.5/9.

Together we won five matches, drew two and lost two by the slimmest of margins (2.5/1.5). With just a little more undeserved luck we could have easily finished on the podium. Still 15th out of 104 teams (we were seeded 24th) was a very satisfactory result.

Meanwhile Jacob Chan from Kings Christian College GC , the fourth member of our "delegation", joined the INDUS International School team and scored 5/9 against a 1522 average field.

I have to say it again, I love the concept of having a maximum average rating.

Jacob Chan
Chess is a family affair in the Chan household. Jordan played in the U10 today while Mum Audrey kept the lads fed and hydrated.

Audrey and Jordan Chan.

Today the boys played in the 6th SWENSEN’S AGE-GROUP CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP 2015 but since the results have not been posted yet and I went shopping after the 5th round I can't bring you the results yet.

Stay tuned for reports and games from the 12th IGB DATO’ ARTHUR TAN MALAYSIAN OPEN CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP which starts tomorrow morning at the unnatural time of 9 am. It is now 11.59 pm.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Churchie wins 2015 GPS competition.

GPS Chess

Chess does not get much more exciting than this. Grammer and Churchie playing for the title is a fixture of Queensland GPS chess(Click on the link for complete results). I have seen several of these contests and they all see-saw until the time control. Then a single weak move made in haste can decide the fate of the whole season. It seems random from a distance but team spirit and nerves play a crucial role in pressure situations.

The first game that was decided (long before it was finished) was the board three clash between WeiWei Tsai  and Harry Hughes. An opposite colour bishops endgame was reached out of the opening and many moves later black won a pawn....and immediately agreed to a draw.

The board 1 clash between Charles Tsai and Tom Slater-Jones was gearing up to be the contest I expected until Tom blundered an exchange to a knight fork. I had blinked and missed it. 

Now we were one up with two games to go. Ivan Zelich, as black, had a dominating knight on d4 but had used a lot of time and Alex Au, also black, was attacking Jared Louie. Alex broke through with a controlled display (game below) while Ivan took a poisoned pawn and was soon in a bad ending. This one goes to Churchie. As soon as the match was over the lads were already talking about "States" :-)

Sunday Rapid

Charles doubled up on Sunday by picket-fencing the Doubleroo-Churchie Rapid. Andrew Fitzpatrick got conscripted to hand out the prizes. Alex Au led the pack (Alexander Desses, Armaan Kundal) 2 points behind with 5/7. 


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

  1   Tsai, Charles       B         1876 7        23.0  31.0   28.0
 2-4  Au, Alex            B         1417 5        20.0  28.5   19.0
      Desses, Alexander   B         1225 5        19.5  28.5   21.0
      Kundal, Armaan      B         921  5        17.5  27.5   17.0
 5-6  Slater-Jones, Henry B         1584 4.5      22.5  32.5   22.0
      Wang, Jason         B         1489 4.5      22.5  31.5   23.0
7-12  deGit, Cole         B         881  4        19.0  24.5   16.0
      Waddell, Craig      B         892  4        18.5  24.0   18.0
      Young, Dashiell     B         1224 4        18.0  25.5   18.0
      Morris, Byron       GC        950  4        15.0  23.5   17.0
      Ng, Sze-Yong        B         659  4        15.0  21.0   10.0
      Tseng, Daniel       B         608  4        13.5  19.0   12.0
 13   Su, Lucas           B         877  3.5      12.0  18.5   12.0
14-19 Yuan, Dylan         B         783  3        20.5  30.0   15.0
      Huang, Aaron        B         588  3        18.5  25.5   14.0
      O'Donnell, Aidan                   3        18.5  25.5   13.0
      Lee, Chun           B         753  3        18.0  24.5   13.0
      Young, Arden        B         682  3        16.5  22.0   11.0
      Houghton, Sam       B         604  3        16.0  21.5    9.0
 20   Miller, Jack        B         671  2.5      15.5  21.0    7.0
21-22 Lang, Eric          B         625  2        17.0  24.5    9.0
      Su, Marcus          B         712  2        15.5  20.5    6.0
 23   Khagram, Aaryan     B         561  1        16.5  22.5    6.0


The novices section was also dominated by one player, Dillon Fang, with 7/7. Just as in the Open section, three players followed with 5/7. Will Bode took second and third was Ayesha Khagram. Its good to see more girls participating and taking their places on the podium.


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

  1   Fang, Dillon        B         511 7        21.0  29.0   28.0
 2-4  Bode, William       B         581 5        21.0  28.5   19.0
      Khagram, Ayesha     B         532 5        19.0  28.5   20.0
      Tang, Jayden        B         500 5        18.0  26.0   21.0
 5-9  Congreve, Lachlan   B         624 4        23.0  34.0   20.0
      Huang, Adam                       4        21.0  30.0   17.0
      Lee, Adeline                      4        17.5  25.5   17.0
      Yu, Nathaniel                     4        17.5  25.5   16.0
      Hsu, Kelvin                       4        17.5  25.0   13.0
10-12 Brooks, Ardy                      3.5      17.0  23.0   12.0
      Mathew, Christopher               3.5      15.0  20.0   11.0
      Hsu, Perry                        3.5      11.5  15.5   11.0
13-16 Wang, Malcolm                     3        20.0  29.5   14.0
      Lin, Ian                          3        18.5  26.5   15.0
      Lin, Joe                          3        17.0  24.0    9.0
      Li, Josh                          3        14.0  19.0   13.0
 17   Conway, Charlie                   2.5      16.5  22.5   11.0
18-19 Verma, Akshin                     1.5      17.0  23.0    6.0
      Verma, Aarav                      1.5      15.0  20.0    7.0

Churchies master of Chess, Mr Max Condon has put a lot of effort into the chess program in general and the Premier team in particular. Not only are all details taken care of but players (and coaches) regularly get treated to Sushi :-)

Alex joined the school this year and has had an immediate impact. He look completely overwhelmed by the occasion in this photo. He was tongue-tied after his extremely tense game, a rare event :-)

A great game by Alex considering the context. Yes, white could have gotten a substantial advantage early, around move 11 by playing f4 and e4. Later black may have been able to win more quickly but don't forget, this was a 40 minute game. Enjoy

Brisbane Junior Girls

Just down the road from Churchie, at St Thomas's primary school there was another event. I know the winner was Nina Tchitaev with 7/7. The full results will be published on the Southside Junior Chess Club sometime.

That's all folks, I am flying to KL tomorrow to play some chess again myself. Stay tuned.