Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Chess Victoria Primary Open Semi Final 2

Yesterday saw the second of the Chess Victoria Primary Schools Semi-Finals played at Club Tivoli in Windsor, this time with 179 players from across Melbourne & Geelong. Once again, many of the best primary school players in the country were in attendance, including Luis Chan, Kris Chan & Alanna Chew-Lee, amongst others. As with yesterdays event, the favourites once again filled the top placings, with Kris Chan taking individual honours with 7/7, his brother Luis finishing second with 6.5/7 & Alanna Chew Lee headed those on 6/7 to also be the best finishing girl. Ryan Lumpreiks also had an excellent tournament, being the only player all day to take any points from the Chan brothers, after drawing his round 7 game with Luis, as well as being the only player other than the Chan brothers not to lose a game all day! 
In terms of the team results, Mount View & Deepdene were the the class teams of the field, finishing with 31.5 & 28.5 points respectively, which was 5 points ahead of the schools in third place! 
This sets up an exciting Final, with a number of schools very closely matched at the top of the field, with Mount View, Greythorn, Ivanhoe & Deepdene being the teams most likely to take out the title. Will the team format help or hinder some of these schools? We'll find out on November 9 at Box Hill Chess Club, where the top primary schools will battle it out for a place in the National Final in Canberra. 
Full results from the day are available on ChessChat
Also, with a number of teams finishing tied for potential qualifying places, there may be 2 extra teams added to the final (potentially 22 teams instead of the intended 20 teams), though this is to be confirmed by Chess Victoria in the coming days. 

Below are some photos from the day: 

The room was once again full for semi-final 2! This photo is taken at the opposite end of the room to the other photos
 The top boards were roped off to ensure players were not disturbed
 Another view of the venue with a round just underway
 A small canteen, with hot chips, hot dogs and other snacks was available during the day
Top boards ready to go in the final round
 Final round underway, with the players on the top boards in deep concentration

Monday, 29 October 2012

Melbourne Chess Club Open Round 8

The Guy & Dusan show continues to roll on, with wins for the two leaders over Carl Gorka & Richard McCart respectively. Ari Dale moved into outright third place with a win over Jim Papadinis, although Jim had the better position for much of the game. No less than six players are a further point behind on 5/8, and are hoping Ari stumbles to grab a share of third place. As is usual in this event, there were a few upsets, with John Beckman beating Paul Kovacevic & Tanya Kolak beating Gary Bekker, while Jack Puccini managed to hold a draw against Justin Penrose in a tough rook ending.
As usual, results are on ChessChat.
This week, David Beaumont finally gets a run as 'game of the round' after his victory over Mehmedalija Dizdarevic. After employing the Sicilian Dragon, Beaumont played the speculative b5, followed not long afterwards by a thematic Rxc3 sacrifice. Although it looked like Dizdarevic had things under control, Beaumont managed to activate his bishop pair, while limiting Dizdarevic's rooks, winning a few pawns, which he pushed to create threats, before finally setting up a mating net, which could only be prevented with heavy loss of material.
Also a reminder for players that the final round is in 2 weeks time (November 12) due to next weekend's Cup Weekender.

Chess Victoria Primary Open Semi Final 1

Earlier today almost 200 of the brightest young chess players from all parts of Melbourne & Victoria converged on Club Tivoli in Windsor for the first of two Chess Victoria Primary Schools semi-finals. The event featured a number of the best primary school players in the country, including David Cannon, Finley Dale, Enoch Fan & Tristan Krstevski, amongst others. The top four places were filled by the favourites, with Enoch Fan taking the individual honours with a perfect 7/7! Finley Dale & Tristan Krstevski were half a point behind after agreeing to an early draw in their final round clash, while David Cannon headed those on 6/7. Petra Suric was the best of the girls, finishing with 5.5/7.
Of course another part of today's event was about teams qualifying for the upcoming Primary Open Final at Box Hill Chess Club late next week, and Ivanhoe & Greythorn both put themselves in a position early favourites for the final, finishing tied for first with 29 points (of a maximum 35 - top 5 scorers counting towards the team total).
Full results from the day are available on ChessChat

Below are some photos from the day:

The calm before the storm ... ready to go before the chess starts!
 Action from the top boards
A full house of almost 200 students from all parts of Melbourne & Victoria!
 The line for reporting results ... it never seemed to end at times!
 Action in the final round, with a healthy crowd of parents & teachers keeping an eye on proceedings
 The trophies to be awarded for the finals next week
 All players received one of these fantastic looking Certificates of Participation!

Friday, 26 October 2012

MCC Fight Club

Thursday nights at MCC have officially been dubbed 'Fight Club' & have been very entertaining playing and watching blitz matches with a variety of people. This week started a little late as there was a committee meeting beforehand, however this also meant that a few people who may have otherwise not been involved in Thursday night got involved. The late start meant that there was only time for two matches, the first being myself against Anthony Hain, with a match between David Beaumont & Paul Cavezza finishing off the night. Ultimately the match with Anthony (where I had 4 minutes to Anthony's 5minutes) ended up 2.5-2.5 & it was decided that there would be a 1 minute playoff game, which I managed to win. In the other match, David overcame a 2-0 deficit to prevail over Paul 3-2.
The best place for information & videos about Thursday night is the thread on OzChess.
Other places to look for videos are my YouTube Page, as well as both the first & second pages of Paul Cavezza. The first YouTube page has clips from my match the previous week against James Morris. Paul's blog also has some interesting material on it - most often about his Monday night games at MCC, but a recent post has discussed junior chess coaching at MCC & some of the considerations that go into analyzing a game, which I found interesting.
Paul is the one with the fancy camera, so most of the vision from Thursday nights is recorded on that camera, so most of the Thursday night videos appear on Paul's YouTube page, and almost always appear in the OzChess thread shortly afterwards. The memory card on the camera was full, so my iPhone became the camera for the third game in the match between myself & 'Scrappy', which you can see here

I also hope to have the fancied up version of the Cavezza - Tosevski match from a few weeks ago uploaded sometime in the next week, but I've just had very little time in recent weeks to begin turning the ideas into digital reality.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Melbourne Chess Club Open Round 7

The sense of deja vu from last week became a little stronger this week, with both Dusan Stojic & Guy West winning their games, to now share the lead in the tournament on 6/7, a point clear of the pack. Carl Gorka beat David Beaumont to join Ari Dale on 5/7 in the chasing pack, which has a few surprises, with Jason Chew getting an unfortunate win on forfeit against an unwell Malcolm Pyke, while Richard McCart found a swindle against Phillip Drew to join Ari & Carl on 5/7. The upset results were not restricted to the top boards, with Jim Papadinis beating Justin Penrose & Abraham Widjaja beating Roger McCart.
As usual, results are available on ChessChat.
Although it was tempting to post the Beaumont-Gorka game, which saw 20+ minutes of post-game analysis between the players, followed by 20+ minutes of analysis with Beaumont & Cavezza, followed by more analysis with Beaumont, Cavezza, anyone else who wanted to join in & Cavezza's laptop as I was leaving, I have decided to post the Richard McCart swindle. Everything is going just fine for Phillip Drew early on in this game - he plays a solid opening, gets a fine middlegame position, builds pressure on the queenside before finally winning material ... all that is left is apparently a simple matter of technique! Just when the end seemed to be in sight, McCart pulled out the interesting (if not completely sound) 42.Rxf6, which obviously shocked Phillip. After walking the king forward to g6, Phillip was faced with the tricky 45.Ne3!? & failed to find either Rc8 or c2, which Fritz saw as the only defenses, and was ultimately checkmated with a somewhat unusual placement of pieces.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Chess Victoria Secondary & Primary Girls Schools Finals

Tuesday saw the finals of both the Secondary & Primary Girls Schools finals being held at Lauriston Girls School, where I was once again an arbiter, along with Leonid Sandler & Tony Davis. As with the Secondary Open even the previous day, this event featured two strong tournaments, with the Secondary event including players such as May Foo, Zhi Lin Guo & Janaki Narenthran in the 56 player field. The Primary event was also strong, with Alanna Chew Lee, Phoebe Fan & Emily Lin being some of the more fancied players in the 102 player event.
Both events featured a number of excellent performances, along with upsets & surprises. The two standout performances were from May Foo in the Secondary & Emily Lin in the Primary, with both players winning all their games to finish on 7/7, which is a fantastic result in such a tough event. In the Primary event, the best surprise performances were from Jamiee Renshaw, who scored 6/7, only losing to Emily in the final round & Alexandra Irvine, whose 5/7 included a win over Alanna Chew Lee and a 5/5 start before losing her last two games. The standout surprise results in the Secondary event were from Shanaya Mendis, whose 5.5/7 included a win against Deborah Chong & a draw with Janaki Narenthran, while Xuan Le's 5.5/7 saw her hold Zhi Lin Guo to a draw in the final round.
In terms of team results, PLC managed to win both divisions, albeit by slim margins, just one point ahead of Mac Robertson in the Secondary & half a point ahead of St Andrews in the Primary!
I also took a few photos on the day, which you can see below

Secondary Girls tournament, along with the top few boards of the Primary Girls event
 The other boards in the Primary Girls event
 The winning teams from PLC, with the Secondary team in the front & the Primary team at the back

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Melbourne Chess Club Open Round 6

Round 6 of the MCC Open had a certain sense of deja vu about it. There was a tournament earlier in the year (the MCC Championship) where Dusan Stojic was leading the field by a point, with Guy West a point behind, after unexpectedly dropping a point earlier in the event. Dusan & Guy were then paired against one another, with Dusan having the while pieces & Guy managed to win a hard-fought game after employing an unorthodox opening. Both players then went on to win their remaining games & finished =1st in the tournament (although Dusan later won a playoff for the title). Round 6 saw the first of these events happen once again, although this time Guy employed a slightly more orthodox opening as black (although hardly something that could be called 'main line') to once again defeat Dusan Stojic, to join Dusan in a share for the lead. The second board game between Ari Dale & Jason Chew is to be played later in the week, and this game will see the winner joining Guy & Dusan in equal first (or if it is a draw, both players will be half a point behind), so the top prize is still very much up for grabs! Other games saw Mehmedalija Dizdarevic beat Mirko Rujevic to be half a point behind the leaders, while Carl Gorka, Malcolm Pyke, David Beaumont & Richard McCart are all a further half point back on 4/6 after winning their round 6 games. The higher rated players did not have it all their own way, with Richard McCart, Jim Papadinis & Andrew Louis all recording wins against higher rated opposition.
As usual, results are available on ChessChat.
The Stojic-West clash is the obvious choice for the game of the round, with the game fairly evenly balanced for much of the opening. The first sign of trouble for Dusan, according to Fritz at least, was after 27.Rc2, when Guy started to develop a strong initiative, which ultimately became a decisive advantage.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Chess Victoria Secondary Schools Final

Today was arbiter double-duty for me. I started the day at Brighton Grammar for the Chess Victoria Secondary Schools final, acting as an arbiter along with Chess Victoria President Leonid Sandler & Jamie Kenmure. The tournament was a very strong one, with a number of players in the upper echelon of Victorian Chess, not just Victorian junior chess. Although players were initially seeded alphabetically, the unofficial top seeds were FM Bobby Cheng, Eugene Schon & Karl Zelesco, with plenty of other strong opposition, such as Allen Yu, Michael Chan, Max Chew Lee, Zachary Loh & Kyle Gibson all in contention for individual honours. The top contenders for the overall team were Scotch College (Eugene Schon), Melbourne High (Bobby Cheng), Balwyn High (Karl Zelesco) & Glen Waverley Secondary (Michael Chan).
The early result that shaped the tournament was Eugene Schon beating Bobby Cheng in round 3. Karl Zelesco turned out to be the other player who was beating all his opponents & the climatic final round saw Eugene playing Karl, with both players on 6/6. Although Karl won Eugene's queen, Eugene had a rook, knight & bishop for it & eventually converted this material edge into a win in the last game to finish in the tournament! This turned out to be a critical game, not only in terms of individual results, but also for the team results.
Individually, Eugene Schon was 1st with 7/7, with a number of players tied for 2nd with 6/7. Ultimately the 3rd place trophy went to Bobby Cheng, while Karl Zelesco was 2nd on countback. The team results saw Scotch College win by 1 point ahead of Melbourne Grammar, with Glen Waverley Secondary taking 3rd place.
I also took a few photos that I have included below

Round 7 underway, with the vital top board clash between Eugene Schon & Karl Zelesco
 The rest of the playing hall in the final round ... 138 players makes for quite a big tournament!
The trophies & medallions for the winning individuals & teams, as well as the perpetual trophy in the middle. 
 Individual 1st place Eugene Schon receiving his trophy from Leonid Sandler
The winning team from Scotch College. They now play in the Australian Schools tournament in early December in Canberra, and look to defend their title from 2011!

Friday, 12 October 2012

Thursday night at MCC

I decided to venture down to Melbourne Chess Club last Thursday night, to see what the fuss was about the 'fight club' matches being played at MCC on Thursdays. I arrived to find a group of regulars at the club playing blitz, kibitzing on games, enjoying some Turkish bread & just generally having some fun!
I arrived at the tale end of a match between Michael Baron & David Beaumont, before squaring off myself against Tom Kalisch, who I remember from trips to Melbourne in my younger days (for events like the Australian Championships at the Melbourne Town Hall in 1997/98) when I lived in Sydney. We played a match that was first to 3 & I got off to a very slow start, losing the first two games (in spite of having reasonable positions in both cases early on), before finishing strong, winning the final three games, to notionally win the match 3-2. The quality of the chess varied greatly, with some great tactics mixed in with some horrible blunders. Paul Cavezza brought along a camera & recorded some of this action, as well as some of the Baron v Beaumont shenanigans, and hopefully I'll be able to post some of this action here in the future.
The next to take to the board was Paul Cavezza & Tony Tosevski. The battery on Paul's camera died, so I decided to get my iPhone out & record a few of the games from the match, which again featured chess of varying quality, which Tony eventually won 3-1.

Here is game 3 of the Cavezza v Tosevski match ... or as it was called at the club, The Electric Eye v The Magic Flute!
After finishing the match, Paul & Tony played a few more games & this was the final game of the night ...

I might try to do something a bit different with one of these videos over the next week or so (or possibly some of the stuff Paul recorded), so that it looks a bit fancier than just a recording from a phone!

Monday, 8 October 2012

Melbourne Chess Club Open Round 5

Round 5 saw Dusan Stojic continue in the lead, defeating Mehmedalija Dizdarevic to move to 5/5, one point clear of the chasing pack. The chasing pack is at present made up of juniors, with Ari Dale beating Carl Gorka & Jason Chew continuing his excellent start to the tournament with a 19 move win over Mirko Rujevic. Unfortunately Malcolm Pyke has fallen ill, so his game against Guy West has been postponed until later in the week & the winner of that game (if there is one) will join Ari & Jason on 4/5. Most of the lower board games went according to rating, although Richard McCart managed to beat Garry Lycett.
As usual, results are available on ChessChat.
The game of the round this week is Jason Chew's victory over IM Mirko Rujevic. In a fairly standard looking Advanced French position, Mirko decides to castle queenside & snatch black's b-pawn. Unfortunately this just opens a file in front of his king & Jason finds the knockout blow quickly!

Monday, 1 October 2012

Time for a change ... and things to look for in the future

Although I had taken a fancy to the light red background & colour scheme previously used on this blog (which had occasionally been referred to somewhat negatively as pink!), I have decided to change things up & go for a slightly different look, with a mostly purple background. Its good to see Blogspot continuing to develop new templates for bloggers to use, although the one thing I still dislike is that there is no option (that I have found) to change the page width, which is ordinarily not an issue, but becomes one with things like the Chess Victoria teams competition page, which incorporates a fairly large amount of information from Swiss Perfect. Another option could be to use different templates for different pages, although I can understand why this would not be a standard option.

Something else that I'm looking to do in the coming weeks in terms of content, is attempt a series of posts about various aspects of chess across Australia, with a particular focus on comparing the different states & how they run chess in their part of the country. From a personal perspective, the states I am most involved in are Victoria & NSW, as I have lived in both states for a number of years, as well as being involved administratively in a number of councils & committees in both states. I have also traveled to all states of Australia, although I have not quite managed to play tournament chess in all of them (I'll play a tournament in Tasmania one day), but still have some idea of how the states are organised & will try to give my view on the differences between them, as well as trying to assess their various good and not-so-good points. At present, my best idea for a name for the series is 'The State of Play' or 'The State of Chess', although I'm open to suggestions.

I'll also think about posting some more coaching-style chess and poker content ... and possibly even get around to finishing (or at least continuing) the series I started late last year on the Broken Arrow!

If you have any ideas or suggestions for content (and in particular video content), then please let me know!

Melbourne Chess Club Open Round 4

Round 4 saw Dusan Stojic continue his winning ways, moving to 4/4 after defeating Mirko Rujevic. Dusan now has the outright lead, at least until Wednesday, when Ari Dale plays Mehmedalija Dizdarevic (Ari went to Sydney over the weekend to the Ryde-Eastwood Open, where he scored 5/7, including a win over IM George Xie). There were a number of other players who moved to 3/4, joining Mirko Rujevic. These were Guy West, Carl Gorka, Malcolm Pyke & Jason Chew. Jason played a very impressive game against David Beaumont, which you can see below. On other boards John Beckman beat Richard Voon & Ben Frayle beat Paul Cavezza, while Phillip Drew did as his name suggested against Alex Kaplan. Other results went according to rating.
As usual, results are posted on ChessChat.
This week's game sees Jason Chew play a nice attacking game to upset David Beaumont. David goes astray in a slightly worse position with 13... f6 & Jason follows up very accurately, winning a queen for rook, and soon after the game.