Sunday, January 31, 2010

Corus 2010, Final Round !

The last round of the 2010 Corus will start very soon. Tournament leader Carlsen has white against Caruana. A draw will give the Norwegian at least shared first. That is provided Kramnik can beat Karjakin.

Carlsen will have no problems with Caruana, talented no doubt but he still is a few years away from the big boys. I believe Carlsen will be going for the win. That will give him clear first and a place in the history books.

Carlsen - Caruana
Corus Chess 2010 Wijk aan Zee (13), 31.01.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.d3

Looks like I am wrong and this cautious line is Carlsen's way of playing for win without playing for a win.

d6 6.c3 g6 7.Nbd2 Bg7 8.Nf1 0-0 9.Bg5 d5 10.Qe2 Qd6 11.Bxf6 Bxf6 12.Ne3 Ne7 13.Bb3 c6 14.h4 Be6 15.Ng5 Bd7 16.Rd1 Rad8 17.Qf3 h6 18.Nc4 dxc4 19.dxc4 Nd5 20.Nh3 h5 21.Qg3 Bg4 22.Rd2 Bxh4 23.Qxh4 Qf6 24.Qxf6 Nxf6 25.Ng5 c5 26.f3 Bc8 27.Ba4 Kg7 28.Rxd8 Rxd8 29.b4 !?

This is really pushing it too far. Carlsen seems intent to mix it up instead of settling for a draw.

Rd3 30.bxc5 Rxc3 31.Kd2 Rxc4 32.Bb3 Rxc5 33. Nxf7 a5

Black is down to four minutes which may explains Carlsen's last few moves. White is running real risks of losing now, with a pawn down and running out of squares for his pieces.

Kramnik has drawn with Karjakin at this stage. However Shirov is still in the hunt against Dominguez so a draw for Carlsen is still "only" a tie for first. But a lost for Carlsen will be disastrous as Shirov will take first with a win.

34. Rc1 Rxc1 35. Kxc1 a4 36.Bc4 b5 37.Nd6 bxc4 38.Nxc8 h4 39.Nb6 Nh5 40.Nxc4 Kf6 41.Kd2 Nf4 42.Ke3 Nxg2+ 43.Kf2 Nf4 44.Nb2

Looks like Carlsen will get his draw after all. By now Shirov has drawn a really crazy game with Dominguez. I don't really know what is happening the last 7-8 moves. Only a computer will know for sure, but Shirov really entertains with his games finding some incredulous moves all the time.

a3 45.Nc4 Nd3+ 46.Kg2 Kg5 47.Nxa3 Kf4 48.Nc2 Nb2 49.Nb4 h3+ 50. Kxh3 Kxf3 51. h4

Hoping to get the king to g5 but Black can play 51...Kf4 and if 52. Nd5+ Kxe4 attacking the knight gains a tempo.

51...Kf4 52. Nd5+ Kxe4 53. Ne7

This move saves the game after all.

Kf3 54. Nxg6 e4 55. Ne5+ Kf4 56. Ng4!

Simple threat of drawing with 57. Nf6 e3 and 58 Nd5 which cannot be avoided

56...Na4 1/2-1/2

Carlsen wins the tournament with clear half point ahead of Kramnik and Shirov

Carlsen takes lead in 2010 Corus

Magnus Carlsen has taken over the lead in the 2010 Corus last night. The then leader, Kramnik was defeated by World Champion Anand. Kramnik repeated the Petroff from the previous round which he nearly lost to Shirov.

The World Champ deviated first with his seventeenth move, instead of 17. Nd2 as in Shirov-Kramnik, Corus 2010. White had come prepared, his Qc1, Qe3 and c4 is very strong. Things were going fine for Kramnik until he overlooked a the strenght of an exchange sacrifice from the World Champion.

Carlsen plays Caruana in the final round. I hope he can win the game to take outright first place.

Anand - Kramnik [C42]
Corus Chess 2010 Wijk aan Zee (12), 30.01.2010

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. d4 d5 6. Bd3 Nc6 7. O-O Be7 8. c4
Nb4 9. Be2 O-O 10. Nc3 Bf5 11. a3 Nxc3 12. bxc3 Nc6 13. Re1 Re8 14. cxd5 Qxd5
15. Bf4 Rac8 16. h3 Be4 17. Qc1 Na5 18. Qe3 Bf8 19. c4 Qd8

19...Nxc4 20. Bxc4 Qxc4 21. Nd2 forks the queen and bishop

20. Ne5 Bf5 21.Qc3 b6 22. Rad1

Maybe not the strongest move. 22. Bf3 intending 23.Bd5 is harder to meet.

Qf6 ?!

I think it is necessary to eject the knight with ...f6

23. Qg3

The plan Bf3-d5 is still good

Nc6 24. Ng4 Qg6 25. d5 Na5 26. Bxc7 Bc2 27. Rc1 Nb3 ?

After this I think white is winning. 27...h5 and exchanging queens with a pawn down was the best chance. Now Anand plays flawlessly.

28. Rxc2 Qxc2 29. Nh6+ Kh8 30. Nxf7+ Kg8 31. Nh6+ Kh8 32. Nf7+ Kg8 33. Nh6+ Kh8
34. Be5 Qg6 35. Bg4 Rxc4 36. Qxb3 Rxe5 37. Rxe5 Rc1+ 38. Kh2 Bd6 39. f4 Bxe5
40. fxe5 gxh6 41. Qe3 Qb1 42. d6 Rh1+ 43. Kg3 Re1 44. Qf4 Rf1 45. Bf3 1-0

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My heart breaks for Wesley

At the 2010 Corus tournament, Wesley was playing with tournament leader Giri yesterday night. Giri has seven points to Wesley's six and half, making this a crucial game for Wesley. A win will allow him to overtake Giri.

Wesley had outwitted Giri tactically and Giri had to sac some pieces for an imaginary attack.

The following position was reached after Black's 34...Nf2-d1. Giri had less than a minute while Wesley had around twenty. Black's attack is a mirage and his last move a desperate one.

35. Qc1 !?

35. Rxd1 Rf1+ 36. Kxf1 Qxe3 37. Ne2 and Wesley is up two bishops , a knight and a rook (!) for his queen.


Now white can still win with 36. Qxd1 Rf2 37. Qf1 Rxf1+ 38. Rxf1 and black has no chance to take on c3 because of the back rank mate.

But with nineteen minutes on his clock, Wesley plays the obvious fork

36. Ne2 ???? Rf1+

and White resigned as he gets mated after 37. Kxf1 Qf2 mate

Don't you just hate the game? It is days like this makes you want to commit suicide.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Shirov - Kramnik , Corus 2010

One of the strongest tournaments is currently in progress. Kramnik, Carlsen, World Champion Anand, Shirov, Ivancuk, Nakamura , Karjakin are amongst those playing at the 2010 Corus Tournament.

Round 11 and is currently in progress and I am following the game Shirov-Kramnik. Shirov had a fantastic start with 5/5 but two loses have allowed Kramnik to take a half point lead over Shirov and Carlsen. World Champion Anand is a full point behind.

Shirov will want to win this to take back the lead and possibly win the event.

Shirov - Kramnik
Corus Chess 2010 Wijk aan Zee (11), 29.01.2010

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6

Kramnik plays a very solid Petroff and likely he is satisfied with a draw

3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0-0 Be7 8.c4 Nb4 9.Be2 0-0 10.Nc3 Bf5 11.a3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 Nc6 13.Re1 Re8 14.cxd5 Qxd5 15.Bf4 Rac8 16.h3 Be4 17.Nd2 Bxg2 18.Bg4 Bh1 19.f3 Bh4 20.Re4 f5 21.Kxh1 fxg4 22.hxg4 Qf7 23.Qb3

I had the good fortune of watching Shirov during the Dresden 2008 Olympiad. I was not playing that round and took the opportunity to see those super grandmasters I normally just read about on chess web-sites.

It was Shirov's move but he was not looking at the board. He had a distant look on his face and I think he was analysing the position in his head. At one point, I thought he was about to burst out laughing. You know, the kind where you are with formal company and someone says or do something funny and you almost start laughing but you suppressed it for fear of offending the others. Really strange. I watched him intently and he almost let another one out. I thought to myself, this guy really enjoys his chess. At that moment, I became an instant fan of him.


This is playable because 24. Qxb7 will be met by 24...Nd5 attacking f4 and c3.

24. Qxf7+ Kxf7

25. c4 should be the next move as white needs to control the d5 square

25. c4

And now Ng6 followed by Bf6 to bring the bishop back to a more useful diagonal. Black has no weaknesses, although his pieces are in less active squares than white. I do not think white can do much although there is still a lot of play in the position and anything can still happen.

25...Ng6 26. Bh2 Bf6

Kramnik has spent much more time than Shirov. The clock shows
White 1:23
Black 0:46

26. Rb1 b6 27.d5

Shirov played this move very quickly as black was threatening to win the pawn with capture on e4. He still leads almost 40 minutes on the clock.

Over in Group B, another interesting battle is taking place. 2nd placed Wesley So has white against the leader A. Giri who is leading with a slim half point margin. Not only is Giri down to half an hour on the clock, but he has a horrible position with his knight and bishop under attack. I'm hoping Wesley will win and take the lead!.


The exchange of bishops will solve most of black's problems. Shirov is having a long think now probably whether he can avoid exchanging bishops with 28.f4

28. f4 Bd6

28. Rbe1 Rxe4 29. Nxe4 and black cannot capture on f4 with bishop because of the pin on the f-file while Nxf4 loses the piece to Nxd6

28.a4 h6

Shirov really thinking now. Clock times
White 0:40
Black 0:36

Meanwhile in the Group B match, So-Giri, Giri is down a piece for two pawns and an imaginary attack.

29. Rbe1 Nf8 30. f5 Nd7 31. Bxd6 cxd6 32. Re6 Ne5

White 0:18
Black 0:20

33. c5 !?

Not an easy move to find with the time left. 33...Rxc5 loses to 34. Ne4 so 33...bxc5 is forced. I think Shirov is bluffing, after 33..bxc5 34. Ne4 Rxe6 35. dxe6 Ke7 I dont see what white has.

Meanwhile Giri has sacrificied another piece in a desparate attempt to whip up an attack. But I'm sure Wesley will have no problems defending. Wesley will get two bishops , a knight and rook for his queen.

Kramnik's down to five minutes now, working out the complications Shirov tries to make up...


Maybe a blunder. 34. cxd6 looks very tempting. 34...Nxe1 35.d7 winning ... or not?

White: 0:08
Black 0:03

35...Nd3 36. Ne4!

On the other board, Wesley blundered into a mate! Man....

Someone now knows why I never teach my children to play chess. It's because of days like these .....

34. cxd6 Nxe1 35.d7 Rcd8 36. dxe8=Q+ Rxe8 37.Nc4 Rxe6 38. fxe6+ Ke7

White should be winning with his passed e-pawn. And he has reached the second time control which means time is no longer the factor here.

39. Ne5 Kd6

Now 40. Kh2 should be winning

40.Nc4+ Ke7 41. Ne5 Kd6 42.Kh2 Nc2 43. Nc4+ Ke7 44. Kg3 Nb4 45. Ne3

Kramnik is planning to sac his knight on d5 take the e6 pawn with king and try to draw by exchanging all of white's pawns.

45...Nxd5 46. Nxe5 Kxe6

Shirov thought for almost 25 minutes but could not find the win.

47. Nc3 a6 48. Kf4 b5 1/2 1/2

White cannot avoid the exchange of his last pawn. 49. axb5 axb5 50 Nxb5 Kf6 51. Nc7 g5+ 52. Ke4 Kg6 and ...h5

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My portrait

One of my staff drew a portrait of me for my birthday last year. I think it is quite a good likeness of me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chess decline is due to poor tournament venues?

According to one of our top juniors, he is convinced that chess has been on the decline in Malaysia because the venue for tournaments are not good enough. For example, he claims the National Juniors tournament was held in a science lab in a school. What next, under a tree?

Even a state assembly have been held under a tree before, why not a chess tournament? But jokes aside, while I think Sumant is a very talented junior, his comments are juvenile to say the least.

There is a serious lack of funding for chess in this country and organizers have to make the best of what money they have to hold their tournaments. Raising money for chess is no easy matter, we cannot expect anything from Malaysian government. Private sponsors and companies want to see the value of contributing to chess. So far, there is little value for them

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

1st National Women Masters

Following on the success of the 1st Malaysian Masters, the Malaysian Chess Federation is organising the women's edition. There are some slight differences. The total participants have been increased to sixteen who will be qualified from the National Womens Championships and National Junior Women Championships from 2009 as well as the highest rated players on the FIDE Rating list followed by the National Rating List.

Whereas the men's event were played over several months, this event will be crammed into four days starting 28th February with the Finals on 1st March 2010, though the Finals may be postponed to another date if both finalists agrees.

I am only disappointed at the prize fund offered. The total prize fund for men is ten thousand ringgit whereas the women's fund is two thousand ringgit. Look at it from another perspective. The men's champion took home four thousand ringgit which is double the total fund for the women's event.

Why this discrimination against the women? Granted, there are not as many women players compared with the men. But a prize fund which is just twenty percent of the men's prize fund is so insulting.

Chess Meeting Open Invitation

Dato' Tan Chin Nam has extended an open invitation to all chess officials, coaches, chess parents and players and all chess lovers to a meeting at the Dato' Arthur Tan Chess Centre (DATCC). The aim is very noble, to change the face of Malaysian chess for the better.

I just hope the DATCC is large enough to accomodate everyone!

Read the invitation below and block your diaries :)

See you there.

Dear Fellow Chess Player:

This letter is to extend my personal invitation to attend an important chess meeting on Sunday, January 17, at 10 a.m. The venue is the Dato' Arthur Tan Chess Centre, at the 4th floor parking lot in Wilayah Kompleks.

Please rsvp my secretary Nancy Chin as soon as possible at nancy@goldis. com. or En Hamid at aham@pc.jaring. my, Choo Min Wang at choomw627@yahoo. com, and En Najib Wahab at najib.wahab@

Chess coaches, officials, club operators all have different, if not necessarily contradictory, understandings of what the phrase, "to promote chess," actually means. Different interests, outlooks and suggestions. We need a brainstorming meeting to see how far we can go to promote chess by seeking unity of purpose and to lessen the spirit of faction and friction among many chess groups.

Since I became involved in chess some 40 years ago, and if I speak candidly, I must say that although there have been improvements, the overall face of Malaysian chess appears relatively unchanged. Many in chess demonstrate the ancient Chinese saying that two together are okay, but add a third, and you get The Three Kingdoms. Tun Mahathir, as well as Tengku Razaleigh, once told a group of Malaysian Chinese leaders to bring him solutions, not problems.

The purpose of the Chess Centre at Wilayah Kompleks is to offer solutions - to show what can be done. As promoter of the Centre, my idea is to involve as many others as possible in mutually beneficial arrangements by privatizing many of the functions. I want to know how the Centre can better serve you. You can offer your chess ideas as possible solutions, and we can become involved with the Centre together.

The Dato' Arthur Tan Chess Centre deserves two years to prove itself by harnessing the energy of you, the movers and shakers of Malaysian Chess. If the Centre succeeds in attracting a significant membership, then it will continue for many years. We will not be back to square one, each of us alone seeking a niche in a small Malaysian chess world.

I hope that you can attend this meeting on January 17, for the benefit of all concerned. A buffet brunch will follow.

And don't forget this year's Malaysian Chess Festival from August 28 - September 8. I hope to meet all of you, since I will be playing in the Chess Challenge event as the youngest 84-year-old in the tournament.

With best chess regards,

Dato' Tan Chin Nam

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Malaysia out of FIDE Ratings List

This has been widely reported in almost all the local chess blogs. Still it is still a shock to me when I tried to access the FIDE ratings page for Malaysia. This is what I got.

My guess is MCF have not paid the fees of some sort and this is the "punishment". The most disappointing is that not one MCF official have come out to explain what has happened. I wondor what they are elected for. I'll gladly publish any explanation given to me for everyone's benefit.