Thursday, 25 December 2014

Yusupov: It's a Question of Probability

by Junta

A couple of excerpts from a recent interview (originally in Russian for ChessPro) with former world #3 player, Artur Yusupov, which left an impression on me:

Why sport and fitness are important

Every element is important – the pure chess element as well, of course, but not only. It’s a case of increasing the probability of a good performance, which is something many people fail to understand. They think, “Ah! Today I didn’t play any sport but I still won, so I don’t need it”. Or the opposite. “I played sport but lost the game”. And people don’t realise that it’s a question of probability. You can do everything correctly and increase the probability of winning by some percentage, but it’s never going to be 100%. Surprises can’t be ruled out. You can, of course, do everything correctly and lose, or everything wrongly and win, but the person who does everything correctly will win more often. You can’t argue with the statistics, and that’s the big difference. Those who fail to follow a sporting regime can be very talented and win individual events, but over a long period of time they’ll do worse than the professionals, and that’s the whole point. When I went on all my runs before important tournaments I thought: “I’ll suffer now, but in the tournament I’ll pick up an extra half point!

On how wins aren't always the result of our brilliant play

A win is always the “achievement” of our opponents. I understood that very well when analysing my old games. I’d naively thought that I outplayed my opponents, but a closer analysis with the help of the computer showed: nothing of the sort! Basically my opponents had even understood the position better than I did and they played well (laughs), but at some decisive moment, perhaps, they lacked energy. They committed a bad mistake which altered the logical course of the game. Analysis showed a totally different picture. So you always win due to the mistakes of the guy sitting opposite. It’s simply not possible otherwise.

Anti-Hassberg and Ellerman Blend Themes

by Junta

Pinning and unpinning...lots of pinning and unpinning in two themes from the Encyclopedia of Chess Problems (Chess Informant), a merry book for chess problem lovers which I came across in the chess collection of the State Library of Victoria.





520 pages with 1726 problems!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Australasian Masters 2014

Junta and Moulthun are currently playing in the inaugural GM norm section.

Some details taken from Bulletin #1 by Kerry Stead:

Participants

GM Event

GM Murtas Kazhgaleyev 2576 Kazakhstan
GM Vasily Papin 2502 Russia
IM Max Illingworth 2493 Australia
GM Rustam Khusnutdinov 2472 Kazakhstan
IM Moulthun Ly 2463 Australia
IM Bobby Cheng 2435 Australia
IM Anton Smirnov 2420 Australia
IM Junta Ikeda 2418 Australia
FM Luke (Zuhao) Li 2342 New Zealand
Karl Zelesco 2256 Australia

GM Norm Requirements
IM Max Illingworth – 7 points
IM Moulthun Ly, IM Bobby Cheng, IM Anton Smirnov, IM Junta Ikeda, FM Luke Li & Karl
Zelesco – 6.5 points
IM Norm Requirements
FM Luke Li – 5 points
Karl Zelesco – 4.5 points

IM Event

IM Kanan Izzat 2402 Azerbaijan
IM Igor Bjelobrk 2355 Australia
FM Greg Canfell 2349 Australia
Eugene Schon 2287 Australia
FM Robert Smith 2245 New Zealand Top seed GM Kazhgaleyev
FM William Jordan 2233 Australia
Yi Liu 2233 Australia
IM Mirko Rujevic 2211 Australia
Carl Gorka 2089 England
Mehmedalija Dizdarevic 1923 Bosnia & Herzegovina

IM Norm Requirements
All non-IMs - 7 points

Live games can be watched at http://www.boxhillchess.org.au/live/tfd_full.htm
Round 2 (Dec 14): 5:30pm AEST
Rounds 3-8 (Dec 15-20): 4pm AEST
Round 9 (Dec 21): 2pm AEST

Bulletins, games (.pgn download) and final crosstables available here.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Qatar Masters Open

By Moulthun Ly

Right now there is a super strong open taking place in Qatar. It has a 2200+ rating cutoff and features an abundance of top GM's over 2600. Often, while watching elite events, there may be long waiting periods while the players decide on a move, due to the small number of games. However, with so many interesting games going on that has not yet been an occurrence.

In fact, several months ago, I had the intention of playing this event but later decided not to for various reasons. This wasn't specific to this situation - it has applied on and off the board. I did feel a small sense of regret for not playing when it was possible, but this is nothing new and happens almost all the time during my games. I will choose a line only to have a change of heart shortly after.

Even at top level this can happen, for instance during the recent World Championship match when Anand missed his big winning opportunity in a crucial game. I wonder for how long that must have affected his state of mind. The best thing I have learnt to do, is take everything "move by move" and "game by game". This can happen to anyone so unless we are able to adjust, the rest of our games/tournament is pointless. So I suggest you do not overlook this, always keep looking forward.

You can catch all the live action at:
http://www.qatarmastersopen.com/live-games/

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Costeff Promotion Study

by Junta

"...When I think of an abstract idea, I manage with no board and pieces. But after that, I use the board, and every once in a while I check things with the computer...This tool helps me to save earlier versions, so you can see how the idea has evolved. For some of my studies I have in my files 100 different versions, and there is at least an equal number of versions that I do not bother to save."
- Gady Costeff,
 in an interview from the book The Grandmaster's Mind (2004)

I was compiling six studies for my column in the 50 Moves Magazine (December issue will be out on Monday!), and came across some brilliant pieces which didn't make the cut - below is just one example. The theme for this issue was promotion. The solution is playable in a game viewer below the diagram, so don't scroll down if you want to solve it. By the way, the difficulty is super-duper high so unless you're a problem aficionado (even then!), it's going to be a fatefully tough one to crack. Please enjoy the solution (and all of the beautiful variations) either way!

White to play and win


Gady Costeff, 3rd Place
EBUR {ARVES}, 2004







While I was compiling studies for the issue, I went through all of Costeff and Gurgenidze's published studies (for which the stipulation was White to play and win) - they're definitely two of my favourite composers.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Chess Reading List

By Moulthun Ly

I am often asked by people to recommend various chess books. 
Therefore, I have gone through my collection and taken note of 
those I felt helped my chess improvement or were particularly interesting. 
Of course there are many others which I may not have had a chance to read. 

I have avoided listing any opening books for now as they are specific to players
interests. However, I may also go through and list these at a later time
as there are some great books being released. 

They are roughly grouped by various rating levels in which they were read.
However, many can be enjoy by players of all levels.

Happy Chess Reading!  


STARTING
Beginner - 1500
  • Attacking Chess by Josh Waitzkin
  • The Ultimate Book of Chess Puzzles

INTERMEDIATE
1500 - 2000+
  • Simple Chess
  • Chess for Zebras
  • The Seven Deadly Chess Sins
  • Secrets of Spectacular Chess
  • John Nunn’s Chess Puzzles
  • The Sorcerer's Apprentice

ADVANCED
2000+
  • The Life and Games of Mikhail Tal
  • Domination in 2,545 Endgame Studies
  • Dvoretsky’s Endgame Manuel
  • Perfect Your Chess

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Vikings Weekender 2014 Open Section - Pictures

by Junta

Canberra's third biggest annual tournament (after the Doeberl Cup in April and ANU Open in July) is the Vikings Weekender held in November. This year the Open section saw 21 players and the Minor section 38 players, a healthy turnout.

There were six players rated over 2000 in the Open section.
Registered players sorted by rating and title
IDNameFedOriginTitleRtgFRtgN
1Ly MoulthunQLDIM24632512
2Ikeda JuntaACTIM24182427
3Smirnov AntonNSWIM24152402
4Hu JasonNSW--21382192
5Yin WenlinACT--19862064
6Bliznyuk AndreyACT--21321999
A truly Aussie weekender in its toughness of having to play four games of 60 10 on the Saturday (10:30am-10pm), followed by three on Sunday.

6/7 - The winner was Moulthun who conceded draws with Jason and Anton. As usual he played games in his correct and positional style, not giving his opponents any chances, only being in real danger in our Round 4 encounter.

5.5/7 - 2nd was Anton who surprisingly conceded a draw to rapidly improving ACT junior Dillon Hathiramani (rated under 1700 - a great upset!) in Round 1, and otherwise just conceded draws with Moulthun and myself on the second day. It was nice to catch up with him after we played together in the Politiken Cup and Olympiad back in July and August.

5/7 - I came 3rd after losing to Moulthun in a close game in Round 4, and drawing with Jason and Anton on Day 2. I was happy with most of my games after a 3-month break from playing.

4.5/7 - three local players shared 4th-6th, with special mention going to Dillon - after drawing with Anton in Round 1, he did not slow down and scored 4.5/7 (PR 2033) against opposition averaging 1931 - his expected score was 1.75! He is coached by local trainer Peter Simpson (who has also been the trainer of Olympian Emma Guo, and has been helping many Canberra juniors over the years). 

Jason Hu was one of the players on 4/7 - he has recently been performing strongly, and in this tournament he managed to hold a draw against Moulthun, took a half-point bye in Round 4 due to illness, drew with me in Round 5 when he had a rather simple mate in the final position (instead giving perpetual check), and lost to Anton from a position of strength in Round 6. In fact, his biggest test may have been the drive to Canberra - on his last two occasions, in pretty much the same area on his way from Sydney he had crashed into kangaroos who had 'come out of nowhere'.
Dillon is on his right
Local junior Michael Kethro celebrated his 15th birthday on Day 2 of the tournament. Apart from Jason, he was the only player to play against the three IMs in the field.


The final crosstable:
Cross Table at round 7
PosTNAMERtgFedPts1234567APRO
1IMLy Moulthun2512QLD6.0
21
1
5
1
7
½
3
1
2
½
4
1
11
1
1968.0
2IMSmirnov Anton2402NSW5.5
6
½
22
1
11
1
5
1
1
½
7
1
3
½
1781.9
3IMIkeda Junta2427ACT5.0
10
1
13
1
8
1
1
0
7
½
11
1
2
½
1995.1
4--Chibnall Alana1882ACT4.5
19
1
7
0
20
1
13
1
8
1
1
0
5
½
1844.0
5--Bliznyuk Andrey1999ACT4.5
17
1
1
0
18
1
2
0
20
1
9
1
4
½
1843.4
6--Hathiramani Dillon1661ACT4.5
2
½
14
½
9
1
8
½
11
0
12
1
13
1
1739.4
7--Hu Jason2192NSW4.0
18
1
4
1
1
½
BYE
½
3
½
2
0
8
½
1991.2
8--Press Harry1903ACT4.0
15
1
9
1
3
0
6
½
4
0
17
1
7
½
1882.9
9--Yin Wenlin2064ACT4.0
16
1
8
0
6
0
17
1
13
1
5
0
14
1
1679.4
10--Braguine Victor1770ACT4.0
3
0
12
½
21
1
11
0
18
1
14
½
17
1
1647.4
11--Kethro Michael1961ACT3.5
BYE
½
20
1
2
0
10
1
6
1
3
0
1
0
2078.7
12--Van Den Hoff Damien1460VIC3.5
13
0
10
½
14
0
22
1
16
1
6
0
20
1
1410.7
13--Booth William1911ACT3.0
12
1
3
0
16
1
4
0
9
0
20
1
6
0
1785.4
14--Suptut Jeff1817ACT3.0
20
0
6
½
12
1
BYE
½
BYE
½
10
½
9
0
1768.6
15--Badrinarayan Sankeer1334ACT3.0
8
0
16
0
19
½
21
0
22
1
BYE
1
18
½
1306.5
16--Radisich Matt (W)1620ACT2.5
9
0
15
1
13
0
BYE
½
12
0
19
1
1551.2
17--Hellmann Oskar1483NSW2.5
5
0
21
½
22
1
9
0
19
1
8
0
10
0
1498.4
18--Hummel Mark1623ACT2.5
7
0
19
1
5
0
20
0
10
0
22
1
15
½
1483.9
19--Yuan Ziqi1053ACT2.5
4
0
18
0
15
½
BYE
1
17
0
16
0
22
1
1286.3
20--Nwosu Nnaemeka0NGR2.0
14
1
11
0
4
0
18
1
5
0
13
0
12
0
1578.1
21--Barker David (W)1783NSW1.5
1
0
17
½
10
0
15
1
1845.5
22--Jain Kamal1694NSW0.5
BYE
½
2
0
17
0
12
0
15
0
18
0
19
0
1612.3

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The Magnus Effect?

by Junta

As a chess player, it's a nice feeling when chess occasionally reaches the non-chess public (in a positive light!). Thanks to the World Championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand currently going on, today I had several non-chess playing friends here in Canberra ask or talk to me about the match, and Magnus.

One chanced upon a broadcast of Game 2 on twitch.tv, the #1 broadcasting site for gamers, while another 'was watching a few videos of Magnus Carlsen this morning, beating a little girl in chess with a 30-second timer. So brutal.' Another, already a fan of Magnus, sent me a picture of watching the match on the big screen (connected to PC) in her room.

One can easily point out some of Magnus' endeavours in the last year to promote the game - continued modelling with G-Star RAW, the Play Magnus app, utilising social media such as Facebook and Twitter, and making high-profile appearances in public (opening a Real Madrid soccer match, meeting Mark Zuckerberg, playing a game with Bill Gates...).

Magnus is again in the driver's seat in this match with a lead after the first two games. I'm looking forward to seeing him promote the game in a continued reign as World Champion next year!

a screenshot from the official website, sochi2014.fide.com

Friday, 7 November 2014

#1 on Chess.com Tactics Trainer

by Junta

Shameless self-promotion: I've made it to the top of the list on the Chess.com Tactics Trainer rankings.



Having unlimited access to the Tactics Trainer as a titled player, I'd been solving an average of around 20 problems a day since June. Answering a problem incorrectly, it gives you the same one (with the exact same variation) again after a while, and since the problem pool only had a finite amount of problems rated 3000+, soon I'd pretty much gone through them - even after answering correctly, the same ones kept coming up, so I figured it was a good time to stop. I may come back to it from time to time, but for tactics I think I will go back and resume work on the book Grandmaster Preparation - Calculation by Jacob Aagaard which I highly recommend for players rated over 2000 or so (very challenging problems)

I hadn't solved tactics online since chess.emrald.net many years ago, but this Chess.com Tactics Trainer was very well made, with plenty of challenging and interesting problems for any level. I've heard that the Tactics Trainer on Chesstempo is just as good.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Video: Chess.com Bullet Match Live Commentary

by Junta

Cool, a friend notified me of a video where American IM John Bartholomew live commentates on a recent 10-game bullet match we had on Chess.com. Good opponent. The many blunders and missed opportunities can't be avoided in bullet chess, but it is for fun after all.

I started playing on ICC in 2004 and used to play a lot there. For the last few years I haven't been playing much online, but this year I signed up to Chess.com and have found the Tactics Trainer there quite a handy training tool, as well as playing the occasional blitz or bullet.