Saturday, 25 May 2013

Japanese Championships 2013: Miniature

"Get some rest Pam, you look tired."
Jason Bourne
by Junta
This was my quickest win from the Japanese Championships (19 moves). An attacking setup with an early h2-h4 against my opponent's kingside fianchetto worked very well, and most of White's army joined in the fun.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Japanese Championships 2013 - Results

"Poi-Poi is everything, but at the same time it is also nothing."
From an intense conversation about an abstract concept 'Poi-Poi' after one of the rounds

by Junta
From May 1-6 I played in the national championships finals in Tokyo - 43 players, all qualifying through regional championships, other major annual events, rating etc. I was given one of the three 'presidential nominee' spots as a player with a high rating (I was 2nd seed).
I'd finished the Doeberl Cup in Canberra, my last tournament in Australia before my 10 months' exchange in Japan, very badly losing nearly 30 Elo, so I wanted to relax, not think too much about results and enjoy playing in a new environment.
This worked very well, as I scored 8 wins and 3 draws, winning the title of Japanese Champion for 2013. I really enjoyed catching up with friends and meeting many new faces in the Japanese chess scene, and I look forward to playing in Tokyo again (maybe in August).
Chris Kevork, another Canberra player, also took part and performed well (he is currently working in Japan).
From the closing ceremony. Photo courtesy of Masako Uesugi
The final standings and crosstable (in starting rank order of Japanese Chess Association ratings) are below.


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

  1   Junta Ikeda,       2367 2077 9.5      55.5  68.5   57.5
  2   Shinya Kojima,       2384 2408 8.5      60.0  74.5   57.5
  3   Naohiro Nakamura,  2058 2097 7.5      59.0  73.5   46.0
 4-6  Akira Watanabe,       2281 2334 7        56.0  69.5   37.5
      Gentaro Gonda,     2078 2058 7        54.5  67.0   39.5
      Naoto Mitsuya,          1894 7        52.0  63.0   38.0
7-13  Ryosuke Nanjo,       2327 2365 6.5      59.0  73.0   42.0
      Koji Noguchi,       2072 2129 6.5      57.0  71.0   44.5
      Atsuhiko Kobayashi,  2011 2059 6.5      57.0  71.0   42.0
      Ryo Shiomi,       2109 2210 6.5      55.0  69.5   42.0
      Masahiro Baba,       2235 2239 6.5      53.0  65.5   32.0
      Sho Inoue,       2038 1966 6.5      52.0  63.5   39.0
      Enju Sakai,       1978 1959 6.5      50.0  61.5   35.5
14-18 Yoto Usuba,            1883 6        56.5  68.0   40.0
      Tang Tang,       1927 1988 6        54.0  68.5   37.0
      Averbukh,Alex,  2214 2325 6        53.0  66.5   37.5
      Kazuhiro Sotoo,       1966 1769 6        51.5  61.5   35.0
      Teruomi Toshiba,       2001 6        49.5  60.0   35.0
19-23 Hideaki Ukai,       1810 2031 5.5      50.0  61.0   33.0
      Chris Kevork,   1892 1631 5.5      49.5  59.5   34.0
      Hiroto Taga,            1700 5.5      49.0  62.0   31.5
      Taro Shinoda,       1918 1901 5.5      48.0  60.5   30.0
      Satoshi Hirao,       1795 1835 5.5      41.0  51.5   29.0
24-31 Toshiki Tanaka,       1838 1886 5        53.0  65.5   38.0
      So Sakai,       1831 1789 5        52.5  63.0   41.0
      Go Umayabara,            2045 5        51.0  63.0   32.5
      Toyoaki Fukuda,       1934 1797 5        48.0  58.0   30.5
      Mikio Takahashi,       1894 5        44.5  54.5   27.0
      Koichi Sugimoto,   1989 2027 5        44.0  53.5   29.0
      Kenji Hiebert,        1371 5        44.0  53.5   27.0
      Akira Kinoshita,  1804 1751 5        38.0  46.5   25.5
32-34 Kenichi Hamane,       1884 1775 4.5      44.5  57.0   29.5
      Yuichiro Takada,          1818 4.5      44.5  54.0   28.5
      Daigo Kanda,       1906 1793 4.5      44.0  53.5   24.5
35-37 Ryo Kitano,            1661 4        45.5  55.5   24.5
      Kohei Takatsuki,       1636 4        43.0  53.5   25.0
      Soichi Wakahara,       1461 4        38.0  47.5   21.5
38-39 Kenshin Matsumoto,  1562 1541 3.5      44.5  53.5   21.5
      Hiroaki Manabe,            1628 3.5      41.5  51.5   25.0
40-42 Eiji Hakamada,       1743 1475 3        41.0  50.0   17.5
      Megumi Hasegawa,     1752 1623 3        39.0  47.5   14.5
      Yosuke Kawanaka,       1604 3        38.0  46.0   11.0

Cross Table

No  Name            Rtg  Total  1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10   11  

1.  Shinya Kojima,       2384 8.5   11:W  6:W 22:W  8:W  7:W 10:W  9:D  2:D  5:L  3:D  4:W
2.  Ryosuke Nanjo,       2327 6.5   12:W  7:L 25:W 17:W  9:L  3:D 16:W  1:D 22:W  8:D  5:L
3.  Akira Watanabe,       2281 7       :D  8:L   :D 21:W 19:W  2:D 11:D 10:D 15:W  1:D 23:W
4.  Averbukh,Alex,  2214 6       :W  9:D 16:D  7:L 25:D 26:W 12:D 23:L 34:W 18:W  1:L
5.  Masahiro Baba,       2235 6.5     :D   :D   :L   :L 34:W 12:D 23:D 20:W  1:W 10:D  2:W
6.  Ryo Shiomi,       2109 6.5   14:W  1:L 26:D 42:W 23:D 13:W 17:W  7:L 28:W  9:D  8:L
7.  Koji Noguchi,       2072 6.5     :W  2:W 29:D  4:W  1:L 28:L 30:W  6:W  9:L 17:W 20:L
8.  Naohiro Nakamura,       2058 7.5   16:D  3:W 20:W  1:L 22:W 23:W 28:W  9:L 17:D  2:D  6:W
9.  Junta Ikeda,       2367 9.5   19:W  4:D 32:W 29:W  2:W 16:W  1:D  8:W  7:W  6:D 10:W
10. Atsuhiko Kobayashi,       2011 6.5   21:W 16:L 27:W 22:D 30:W  1:L 15:W  3:D 23:W  5:D  9:L
11. Gentaro Gonda,     2078 7      1:L 23:W 34:W 30:D 20:W 17:L  3:D 12:W 18:L 28:W 35:W
12. Go Umayabara,            5      2:L 24:W 30:L 27:W 29:W  5:D  4:D 11:L 35:D 19:L 42:D
13. Hideaki Ukai,       1810 5.5     :D   :D   :D   :D 32:D  6:L 27:W 26:D 16:D 21:W 18:L
14. Koichi Sugimoto,       1989 5      6:L 28:L 38:W 33:L 39:W 42:W 22:L 25:W 26:W 23:L 30:L
15. Teruomi Toshiba,            6       :D   :D 36:W 23:L 26:D 29:W 10:L 19:W  3:L 16:D 28:W
16. Tang Tang,       1927 6      8:D 10:W  4:D 35:W 28:D  9:L  2:L 30:D 13:D 15:D 22:W
17. Sho Inoue,       2038 6.5     :D   :D 41:W  2:L 33:W 11:W  6:L 35:W  8:D  7:L 19:W
18. Enju Sakai,       1978 6.5     :D   :D   :D   :D 35:D 30:L 29:W 32:W 11:W  4:L 13:W
19. Taro Shinoda,       1918 5.5    9:L 29:L 40:W 34:W  3:L 27:D 31:W 15:L 32:W 12:W 17:L
20. Naoto Mitsuya,          7     33:W 32:D  8:L 24:W 11:L 35:D 36:W  5:L 30:W 22:W  7:W
21. Mikio Takahashi,            5     10:L 30:W 24:D  3:L 36:L 39:L 38:W 33:W 42:W 13:L 31:D
22. Toshiki Tanaka,       1838 5     34:W 41:W  1:L 10:D  8:L 32:W 14:W 28:D  2:L 20:L 16:L
23. Yoto Usuba,            6     35:W 11:L 33:W 15:W  6:D  8:L  5:D  4:W 10:L 14:W  3:L
24. Satoshi Hirao,       1795 5.5   36:W 12:L 21:D 20:L 42:D 33:D 32:L 41:D 39:W 31:D 34:W
25. Yuichiro Takada,          4.5   37:D 31:D  2:L 41:W  4:D 36:D 35:L 14:L 29:W 30:L   :D
26. Toyoaki Fukuda,       1934 5       :D   :D  6:D 32:D 15:D  4:L 33:W 13:D 14:L 35:L 36:W
27. Daigo Kanda,       1906 4.5     :D   :D 10:L 12:L 41:W 19:D 13:L 40:D 31:L 29:D 39:W
28. So Sakai,       1831 5     38:W 14:W   :D   :D 16:D  7:W  8:L 22:D  6:L 11:L 15:L
29. Kenichi Hamane,       1884 4.5   39:W 19:W  7:D  9:L 12:L 15:L 18:L 37:D 25:L 27:D 38:W
30. Kazuhiro Sotoo,       1966 6     40:W 21:L 12:W 11:D 10:L 18:W  7:L 16:D 20:L 25:W 14:W
31. Akira Kinoshita,       1804 5     41:L 25:D 42:L 36:D 37:W 40:D 19:L 38:D 27:W 24:D 21:D
32. Hiroto Taga,            5.5   42:W 20:D  9:L 26:D 13:D 22:L 24:W 18:L 19:L 39:W 33:W
33. Ryo Kitano,            4     20:L 38:W 23:L 14:W 17:L 24:D 26:L 21:L 41:D 40:W 32:L
34. Kohei Takatsuki,            4     22:L 37:W 11:L 19:L  5:L 38:W 40:W 36:W  4:L 42:L 24:L
35. Chris Kevork,   1892 5.5   23:L 40:W 37:W 16:L 18:D 20:D 25:W 17:L 12:D 26:W 11:L
36. Hiroaki Manabe,            3.5   24:L 39:W 15:L 31:D 21:W 25:D 20:L 34:L 38:L 37:D 26:L
37. Megumi Hasegawa,     1752 3     25:D 34:L 35:L 38:D 31:L 41:L 42:L 29:D 40:D 36:D   :D
38. Yosuke Kawanaka,            3     28:L 33:L 14:L 37:D 40:L 34:L 21:L 31:D 36:W 41:W 29:L
39. Kenshin Matsumoto,       1562 3.5   29:L 36:L   :D   :D 14:L 21:W 41:W 42:D 24:L 32:L 27:L
40. Eiji Hakamada,       1743 3     30:L 35:L 19:L   :D 38:W 31:D 34:L 27:D 37:D 33:L 41:L
41. Soichi Wakahara,            4     31:W 22:L 17:L 25:L 27:L 37:W 39:L 24:D 33:D 38:L 40:W
42. Kenji Hiebert,        5     32:L   :D 31:W  6:L 24:D 14:L 37:W 39:D 21:L 34:W 12:D

From the closing ceremony. Photo courtesy of Masako Uesugi

Monday, 13 May 2013

Hello from Kyoto

'My life is a stalemate'
A certain Japanese chess player on the train

by Junta

I heard Andrew wrote a post, so I came to the blog to read it. Yes, many young Australian players are on the rise which is wonderful news, and I look forward to reading his second post on the topic.

It's been over 5 weeks since coming to Japan, and it's been really great! There's been a surprising amount of chess in my life here, and I've got a fair bit to write about.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Great things happening in Australian Chess

by Andrew

Over the last 6 months or so, Australia has seen some great new developments in chess from some of our younger players. I have compiled an annotated list of some of these recent achievements. Though this list could really span the last few years it has been the last 6 months in particular in which young Australian players have demonstrated tremendous success nationally and internationally and, by some in particular, an unprecedented rise in chess ability.

Part 1 - November 2012 to January 2013


  • 20-year old (19 at the start of the tournament) IM-elect Max Illingworth convincingly won the very strong MCC Cup Weekender with 8.5/9, ahead of IM Stephen Solomon on 7.5, myself on 7 and NZ's young star Luke Li on 6.5 (now living in Australia!).

  • 20-year old QLD IM Moulthun Ly not long after his excellent olympic debut for Australia won the Tuggerarnong Vikings tournament in Canberra with 6.5/7, ahead of IMs George Xie and Vladimir Smirnov (and just in time for his 21st).

  • 20-year old ACT FM Junta Ikeda (who you should know pretty well by now...) played in the Commonwealth Championships in Chennai, India and scored 7.5/11 with a 2400 performance, just missing an IM norm.


  • Junta then played in the super-strong Rose-Valley Open in Calcutta scoring 6/11 with another 2400 performance and narrow miss of a norm. In total Junta gained around 40 points which in India, where people are often substantially under-rated, is very impressive.

  • Over in England a bunch of Australian players participated in the London Chess Classic FIDE Open. Ari Dale, Justin Tan, and Arianne Caoili all had suberb performances, though Arianne was very unlucky to miss out on a WGM norm playing and losing against Ari in the last round.

  • The Australian Young Masters in Adelaide featured fantastic performances from local Alistair Cameron who scored 6/7 and Queensland's Brodie McClymont (a perfect 7/7!). (Unfortunately for me as top seed, I got rather 'beaten up' this tournament, scoring a dismal 3.5/7.) In the game between the two Brodie held a solid advantage for most of the game but missed a tricky tactic forcing the loss of a piece that could have eventuated in the game, later pointed out by GM Ian Rogers.
  • Brodie's win was of course no small feat and to my knowledge was only the 2nd time in the tournament's history that the winner has got a perfect score. Though Brodie has gotten into the habit of doing this in recent times, with picket-fence victories in a series of strong weekenders in 2012. Brodie is 20 years old and has only been playing a short number of years. He does not often play FIDE tournaments which has held that rating back a bit but is on the verge of breaking 2400 ACF following his stellar performances in 2012. It is clear to me that he has immense talent and with some real dedication and study I am sure he could reach the grandmaster title and go well beyond.

  • At the same time an I daresay even more impressive feat occurred in the Australasian Masters tournament in Melbourne. 11 year-old Anton Smirnov places =1st with 6/9  (yes, 11, you are reading correctly), and wins on tiebreak ahead of IM James Morris (18) and FM Bobby Cheng (15), narrowly missing out on an IM-norm in the process. This tournament signalled Anton's emergence into the top echelons of Australian competitive chess, and within the coming months he proved for certain that this victory was no fluke. On January 1 2013 Anton was listed as the number one player for his age in the world, a feat that to the best of my knowledge has never before been achieved by an Australian. 


  • The 2013 Australian Open Chess Championships at Norths Chess Club in Sydney was one of the strongest Championships to date, featuring at the top of the list GM Igor Khenkin of Germany, at the time ranked in the top 100 in the world, and nearly all of Australia's best active players. However it was 15-year-old (former World U/12 Champion) FM Bobby Cheng from Melbourne who took the $4500 top prize with one of the most impressive performances by an Australian in an open tournament to date. Having taken a bye in the first round, Bobby mowed down his opposition (Khenkin included), to win 9/10 (+ 8 = 2 - 0) and take the Championship by a full point. At the same time, he also scored his second IM norm (exceeding the required score by 2 points) and with a performance rating well into the 2700s missed out on a GM norm only for the fact that he didn't get the opportunity to play GM Darryl Johansen for his required third GM.
  • Other notable performances by young Australians were =2nd to Figjammer IM Moulthun Ly, Australian No.1 GM Zong-Yuan Zhao, and IM Max Illingworth all with 8.5/11. Junta and I scored 7/11 - with Junta picking up his second IM norm and both of us performing in the 2400s for the tournament. Western Australian 20-year-old Yita Choong also performed very well, just missing an IM norm, but still picking up a bucketload of rating points.

  • In the Lightning, which was the strongest for many years, yet again it was Australia's young players who shone, with FM Bobby Cheng and IM James Morris tying for 1st with a huge score of 9.5/11 (and both beating GM Khenkin in the process).

  • In the presentation, IM Max Illingworth was awarded Australian Player of the Year for the second time running, in recognition of his excellent performances in such tournaments as the NSW Championships (8.5/9), the Ryde-Eastwood Open (6.5/7), the aformentioned MCC Cup Weekender (8.5/9), and the World Chess Olympiad where he scored his final norm and thus fulfilled the requirements for the International Master title.

  • In late December and early January ACT's WIM Emma Guo (17) played in several strong European tournaments and performed extremely well, gaining over 85 points over the period. Unfortunately the tournaments were only 7 rounds so she was not able to get any higher title norms.

  • And last but not least Victorian Ari Dale (14) and Figjam member Fedja Zulfic (20) played in separate challengers tournaments associated with the famous Tata Steel Chess (Wijk aan Zee) festival in The Netherlands. Fedja played well in his tournament making solid rating gains, and Ari played magnificently, winning his event with 8/9 and skyrocketing his rating well into the 2200s - overall a very successful Europe trip for Ari.

Congratulations to everybody on these recent successes!

Part 2 - February to May, will follow next week.