Thursday, 30 October 2014

Video: 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 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 and have found the Tactics Trainer there quite a handy training tool, as well as playing the occasional blitz or bullet.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Tigran Petrosian's Positional Exchange Sacrifices

Photo from Chessdom
"I repeat, that the first and main difficulty in making a positional exchange sacrifice is a psychological caution: after all, you have to give up a rook for a minor piece. The second difficulty is that the exchange is given up when this is not forced by circumstances. Therefore you must anticipate beforehand, in good time, how events will develop and take the necessary measures." 

by Junta

In a training session with a student last night, we were looking at one of Petrosian's games (a loss against Fischer), when I mentioned that one of the things he was known for was his positional exchange sacrifices.

Compiling a database of such games later, the first hit on a Google search gave me this game collection on, and for the next hour I was amazed to discover (or be reminded of) just how many beautiful games involving positional exchange sacrifices Petrosian had left with us (and of course, there must be even more). I'd seen a lot of them (especially the PES moments) before from various books, but to play through these entire games one after another felt like rediscovering an old hobby.

I was reminded once again of the class of past champions - make sure you check the collection out! In the upcoming Petrosian Memorial, it would be sweet to see a game with a winning positional exchange sacrifice, as a tribute to this unique strength of his.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Nov 3-11: Morozevich in Action

by Junta

I've just read about a new tournament in Armenia, the Petrosian Memorial, which is sort of a replacement for the annual Tal Memorial.

Participants in the single round robin, from the chess24 article:

1. Alexander Grischuk, 2797
2. Levon Aronian, 2793
3. Vladimir Kramnik, 2760
4. Boris Gelfand, 2748
5. Peter Leko, 2731
6. Ding Liren, 2730
7. Alexander Morozevich, 2724
8. Ernesto Inarkiev, 2672

As a fan of Morozevich, I will be watching the tournament with the usual mixture of hope and fear.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

The First Japanese IM: Ryosuke Nanjo

by Junta

In July, I posted an interview with the 2014 Japanese Champion, Ryosuke Nanjo. Back then he was rated 2344 with no IM norms, but a few short weeks in August changed everything. Becoming your country's first IM is obviously very special, but read on to find out how this case of title achievement was destined to be, from its sheer perfection of numbers.

Playing as Board 1 for Japan at the Olympiad, Ryosuke scored a strong 7/11, beating two GMs in the last two rounds:

His performance rating was just over 2450, so as per Olympiad regulations he scored a double IM norm and gained 30.8 points, bringing his live rating to 2374.8.

Next, he flew to Latvia for the Riga Technical University Open. After the Swiss rollercoaster of win-loss-win-loss in the first four rounds, Ryosuke got down to business, scoring 3.5/5 against strong opposition, beating an IM in the last round to finish on 5.5/9.

His performance rating? Exactly 2450, gaining the third and final IM norm.

His rating gain? Exactly 25.2.

2374.8 + 25.2 = 2400.0.

Ryosuke's title will be ratified at the FIDE Presidential Board meeting at Sochi in November. Congratulations!!

Saturday, 4 October 2014

FIGJAM in January 2015

The four of us will be playing in the two big national opens of Oceania in January 2015.

Andrew, Junta, Moulthun: Australian Open in Castle Hill, NSW, January 2nd-11th.
First prize of $8000, a record in Australian chess! Perhaps it will also be one of the strongest Australian Opens ever, with 13 GMs, 7 IMs and 2 WGMs already registered!

The playing venue is the Castle Hill RSL Lyceum - picture from Western Sydney Academy of Sport gallery here

Fedja: New Zealand Open in Devonport, Auckland, January 1st-9th.
Although a continuation of the Queenstown tradition from 2006, 2009 and 2012 was not seen, playing in New Zealand is always an enjoyable experience, and Devonport looks like a beautiful seaside resort. There are already 4 GMs, 3 IMs and 1 WGM registered.

The playing venue is the New Zealand National Chess Centre - picture from official site

Friday, 3 October 2014

Homeless Pony

by Junta

My friend Shinsaku Uesugi has built an awesome free-to-play iOS app where you are a pony who jumps in knight-moves around a 5x5 grid. Of course, there will also be obstacles and enemies in the mix. Chess players with iPhones or iPads are sure to enjoy this outwardly simple but challenging puzzle game. There are 100 levels! Gotta love the design.

Below are images taken from iTunes.

Chess players should love the idea of this game
You can even design your own level
Author's overview with more details on the game
iTunes app page

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Australia's Digital Chess Magazine - Founded by FIGJAM Duo

by Junta

The August issue cover

On August 1st, 2014, the first issue of 50 Moves Magazine was released. Congratulations to my good friends, FIGJAM duo Moulthun and Fedja who have launched this exciting project!

From the website,

50 Moves is Australia’s new and exciting digital chess magazine, created in PDF and PGN form to allow for easy reading. Our team of contributors features some of Australia’s chess legends and combines their knowledge and experience with the energy of our leading young stars to create a magazine which is both entertaining and informative.
What can you expect from our magazine?
— 6 issues a year covering major Australian chess news
— PDF and PGN format for easy reading
— A fascinating interview with the Australian player of the moment
— Overseas tournament reports from Ian Rogers
— Opening surveys by Max Illingworth
— Chess history, humour and trivia with Guy West
— Studies and a game of the month by Junta Ikeda
— Endgame lessons from Chris Wallis
— Chess psychology and miniatures by Andrew Brown
— Tournament reports featuring analysis from the winners
Take a look at our samples for a preview!
The second issue, full of Olympiad content, will be published later today, October 1st. The first issue spanned 83 pages, and the second looks to be just as rich in diverse and quality content.

The October issue cover

A brief review of the August issue can be read on popular Aussie blogger, Amiel Rosario's blog here.

50 Moves Magazine Facebook page