Thursday, May 20, 2010

Playchess interviews Anand

There is an amazing interview with Anand conducted on Playchess. Finally Anand revealed who is on his team. A big surprise is the number of top players who worked with him in some way. Read this - Magnus Carlsen, Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik! Strangely, according to Anand, they are the ones who offered their help not the other way round.

This might seem very strange, Kasparov has retired from active play but the other two will continue to be over the board rivals with Anand for some time in the future and might even be challenging for the world title in 2012.

It is hard to imagine any of these three doing the same for anyone else.
I believe this is a testament to Anand himself. I had the opportunity to meet him over the board way before he became a super grandmaster. It is very hard not to like the man. After smashing my position and mating my king, he was humble and polite in the post-mortem. No ego at all, just a simple boy who happen to be a genius at chess.

He is really Mr. Nice Guy and people respect not just his chess but his character and the way he conducts himself. He is like an ideal role model and I do not mean from a chess point of view. One other reason may be that none of them wants to see Topalov win!

The first part of the interview is reproduced on Chessbase here

Friday, May 14, 2010

Shoutbox gems

Most blogs allow feedback in the form of a shoutbox. Mostly the comments are bland interpersed with self promotion from our own Stone Master and his various incarnations.

But once a while, we can get some comments which are amusing to read and some so unintentionally funny they really crack me up. You can find some real gems if you are really paying attention.

It really is a waste to see them disappear so I decided to collect them up here (bad spelling and all) for posterity and your amusement. My comments in italics. Enjoy.

# 1
Guest: I pun fed up. give up & 7up, but up2date haha

# 2

Guest: who is this yat? I will look out for him and beat him.

yat: y suddenly my name mention..-.-

# 3
Guest: Get a life.

Mat Crack: What life, get a file is better, open the file is the best

# 4
(on charging fees for rating events)
CH: why keep on charging, we are not batteries

# 5
Danial: I doesnt play NAG

Guest: im not playing at NAG not i doesnt play!! wat grammer r u using

Danial: yeah, bad.geez,need to learn grammar again.

EnglishTeacher: No. You are both wrong. It's " I did not play at the National Age Group"

Danial: It looks like my grammar need to be repair.OMG

# 6
(on MCF selection guidelines)
Guest: I am beginning to hate the words "President's Choice"

# 7
(in response to Gilachess "tin can" project)
Mr.No nonsense: ya, wheres the result. wats all about the tin can, u 1 2 drink!!

# 8
(on race based tournaments)
Guest: I find it really hard to not play the race card, but unfornately the deck is filled with jokers.

# 9
CH: It is not difficult to become a GM

# 10
Eloman: Jimmy already said that I'm not sm, haiyah....

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Interviews with Anand

Here are some interviews after Anand won the world title match. The first is with Anand's parents

Anybody can be good in games but I want him to be a nice person also - Anand's mother

Interview with Anand from NDTV

Nice to know I can wake up as World Champion - Anand

I feel a decade older after this match - Anand

Anand wins, retains title

Anand won the final 12th game last night to retain his world chess title. The last game was quite surprisingly won by black. In all previous games, black has always been struggling to draw. All won games had always been by the player with the white pieces.

The opening was a Queen's Indian Declined. Topalov took one of his rooks to the queen-side. Anand quickly reacted in the centre playing ...e5 and ...f5. Anand was helped by horrible moves from Topalov on his 31st and 32nd move. I completely do not understand how Topalov could play a move like 32. fxe4, allowing the bishop on b7 to come alive. After that the result was never in doubt.

Anand can now take a deserved rest. His next defence of the title does not come till 2012.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Anand - Topalov , 12th Game (updated)

The world championship match between Anand and challenger Topalov continues tonight at 8:00 PM local time. This will be the last game with long time controls. Both players are tied with 5.5-5.5, winner takes the world title home.

Anand had his chance with white in game eleven on Sunday. For the first time in the match a non-queen pawn opening was played. Anand opened 1.c4 and the game continued with a English Opening. Some people think that Anand was lucky to hold the draw in that game.

So far nobody has won with black and I do not see it happening in the last game. Anand has not impressed with his blacks either. If he holds the draw, then the match goes to rapids. Everybody seems to think Anand has the edge over Topalov in faster games.

Will Topalov deviate just like Anand with his last white? Topalov might just play 1.e4 for the first time in the match if he thinks he cannot match Anand in the rapids and have to win the last game at all cost.

Updated - 11:065 PM

Topalov made two blunders on 31st and 32nd move and Anand is poised to win this game and retain his world title.

Topalov's king is exposed on h4 square and with major pieces on the board, I do not see how he can survive.

After 38...Rxg4+ 39. Kh3 , Anand has to find a winning move. Possible is 39...Rf7 , if 40. Rxf7 Bg2+ wins the white queen. Maybe there is something better, Anand is still thinking..

39...Re7 played, Anand threatens ..Rxe3+ and ...Rh4+ mating

Friday, May 7, 2010

Anand - Topalov, 9th game drawn

The 9th game of the World Championship match between Anand and Topalov ended in a draw but not without some heart-stopping moments.

Anand changed openings with 3. Nc3 entering a Nimzo-Indian. Topalov surprised everyone by giving up his two rooks for white's queen. Around 1 A.M in the morning , after Black played 48...Kb7, I had to retire for the night (or morning if you wish). At that point, Anand looked like winning although he was rather short of time.

Unfortunately Anand missed several wins later on in the game. The game ended with Topalov giving perpetual check. Most observers online thought that Anand was tiring which is not a good sign. He has black in the next game and let us not forget that he lost the last black. Will he continue to play the Slav defence?

Both players are now tied with 4.5-4.5 with another three games to go. Tonight's game starts at 8 P.M. Malaysian time.

Ole! Ole!

We have seen First Saturday, Rookie Tornado, Razzle Dazzle, Sizzling Rapid, seems like chess organizers trying to outdo each other with more and more outrageous names for their tournaments. 1st Rapid, 2nd Rapid seems so outdated now :)

Latest announcement is the Ole Ole Chess Championship (how do they come up with these names?) run by Abdul Haq - also known as The Malaysian Hulk ;). Details below:


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Ole Ole Shah Alam

Chess Championship

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Date: 10 July
2010 (Saturday)

Venue: 1st
Floor, Ole-Ole Shopping Centre,

No. 7, Jalan
Pinang A 18/A, Seksyen 18,

40200 Shah Alam,

Selangor Darul



Time Control    
: 25 minutes

2 Categories         
: Open and Under 12 (Age is taken as of 1st of January 2010) 



am - 09:30 am
Registration (Entry confirmation)
am - 01:00 pm
Round 1 – Round 3
pm - 2:00 pm
Lunch Break
pm - 5:00 pm
Round 4 – Round 6
Prize giving and closing ceremony

Entry Fees : i. Open - study/
work/ stay in Shah Alam (RM 15.00), Others (RM 20.00)

              ii. Under-12 – study/ stay
in Shah Alam (RM 10.00), Others (RM 15.00)

Prizes (Open Category) Prizes
(U12 Category)
Open Best Under 18 Under 12
- RM 250.00 + Trophy
1st – RM 100.00 1st – RM 100.00
+ Trophy
– RM 150.00
2nd – RM 75.00 2nd – RM 75.00
– RM 100.00
3rd – RM 50.00
3rd – RM 50.00
– RM 80.00
Best Ole-Ole (Open)

RM 50.00

4th - 8th
RM 30.00
– RM 70.00
Best Ole-Ole (U18)

RM 50.00

Best Ole-Ole (U12)

RM 30.00

- 10th – RM 50.00
Best Girl

RM 50.00

Best Girl

RM 30.00


* Ole-Ole Winners – Eligible
for participants from Shah Alam only

  • Only the first 100
    entries will be accepted

closing date: 5 July 2010

  • Entry fees to be
    paid before closing date
  • Pay direct/ Bank

Account. No: 1226 0083 1755 22

7718 (Abdul Haq Mohamed)

  • Bring along the
    official receipt or bank slip on tournament day.

For further enquiries, kindly

En Abdul Haq Mohamed 013-392

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Campo, R.I.P.

Florencio Campomanes passed away on Monday, 3rd May 2010. I only managed to sit down to write this today, I still feel saddened by his passing. Death is so final.

I first met him in 1978 although I cannot claim to know the man very well. He had a personal touch with people. On the occasions that our path crossed, he always had time for a few words with me. Unfortunately I did not have a chance to catch up with him when he was in Malaysia not so long ago.

Campomanes was not just an official, he could play and play well too. In his younger days he had represented Philippines at the olympiads. At the 1980 Malta olympiad, he stopped by unexpectedly at our lodgings (we were accomodated in a three bedroom house instead of hotels) one night. On seeing us playing blitz, he joined in for a few games. In every game he opened with 1. f3 followed by 2. Kf2, which I naively tried to smash without success. He kept trying to get me to play for money which I naturally declined. Poor chess players like me cannot afford to lose money at blitz.

In 1981, I went to Hong Kong to play a tournament to be followed by another tournament in the Philippines. After the Hong Kong tournament ended, I decided it would be cheaper to stay in Manila then in Hong Kong. I re-arranged my flight to be with Filipino IMs Rico Mascarinas and Lito Maninang. The tournament was in Baguio City and there were some ten days before the start. So, on arrival they took me to the Manila YMCA.

There were various room options with corresponding prices. There were single , twin sharing as well as six sharing rooms and with or without air-conditioning. Mindful of the pocket money I had and that I had to stay for some ten days, I choose the cheapest room with six beds. Rico suggested it would be more comfortable to take the twin sharing and I settled on the cheapest available. There was no air-conditioning and the baths and toilets were in a common area. I shared the room with a Filipino weight lifter.

The next day I was summoned to the manager's office. There was a phone call for me. I was puzzled as I did not know anyone in Manila. On the other side was Campomanes, playing the perfect host. When he found that I was staying in a room with only a ceiling fan, he asked to speak to the manager. I was promptly transferred to a much larger room with attached bath and most important in the Manila heat , air-conditioning! When I protested that I could not afford such a room, the manager calmed me down. All the expenses were already taken care of. Campo always looked after visiting chess players.

While he was a friendly person, there was another side to him which I personnally observed. He was a very competitive man and could not stand losing.
At the 1983 Asian team, the Chinese were vying with the Philippines team for the championship. Both teams were neck to neck. On one of the rest days, the organizers arranged a sight seeing trip to the famous Taj Mahal. As we were waiting in the bus, Campomanes came by. When he saw the Filipino players sitting in the bus, he exploded. It was quite a frightening sight watching him bawling out his players. They got off the bus and back to their rooms. Perhaps Campo knew sometime. This was the first time that Philippines did not win this tournament.

Rest in peace, Campo.

Topalov wins game 8

Topalov has won game 8 of the world championship match with Anand to level the score at 4-4. There are four more games to go and all bets are off on who will be ahead after twelve games.

I was very surprised to learn this morning of Anand's loss. I retired to bed with the position in a rook and bishop versus rook and bishop ending with the bishops of opposite color. I fully expected another draw. True, Anand was about to lose a pawn but you do not lose an opposite coloured bishop ending because of a pawn minus.

The opening was a repeat of games three and five. Anand played a Slav defence but deviated from the early games, playing 13...Rc8. I guess it is just to avoid any Topalov preparation after the earlier two games where he played 13...a6. White maintained a slight edge all the way before black gave a pawn to get to an opposite coloured bishop ending. Surprisingly, Anand resigned early instead of playing to the end. Perhaps he feels he needs to conserve his energy for the remaining four games.

They will take a rest today. The ninth game will resume on Thursday, 6th May.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Analysis: Nicholas - Jimmy, Selangor Open

Even though Nicholas has already been around for a long time, this is only our first meeting. As usual, I considered what to play for. I had black so a draw is a good result, but I wanted to keep some chances too. The night before, I had a brief look at the Slav and decided which line to play.

[Event "Selangor Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2010.05.01"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Nicholas Chan"]
[Black "Jimmy Liew"]
[Result "*"]
[ECO "D17"]
[BlackElo "2315"]
[Annotator "Liew,Jimmy"]
[PlyCount "69"]
[SourceDate "2010.05.03"]

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 e6 7. f3 Bb4

Those of you following the current world championship match will know that Anand played ...c5 in games two and four. Anand drew both games easily but he never had any winning possibilities. Blacks position is solid but too passive for anything other than holding a draw.

8. Nxc4 c5 9. dxc5 Qxd1+ 10. Kxd1

Both of us were out of our prep here. Nicholas thought 10...Bxc5 was the best continuation. During the game, I thought it better to recapture with a knight

O-O 11. e4 Rd8+ 12. Kc2 Bg6 13. Be3 Nbd7

13... Nfd7 regains the pawn and prevents white next move. But I wanted to keep this knight on f6 where there is a possible sacrifice as well as a later ...Nd5

14. c6 bxc6

Although the pawn blocks the c-file and shelters the white king
from checks I really did not mind because the c6 pawn controls a key square on
b5 as well as supporting d5 square when I can place my knight there.

15. Bd3 Bc5

In the post-mortem, Nicholas said he thought 15...Nd5 was the best move
during the game

16. Bf4 Bd4 17. Ne2 Nc5

I thought I had something here. Black is threatening 18...Nd5} (17... c5 {is probably the only other move.
After 18. Nxd4 cxd4 19. b4 white's king is reasonably safe.

18. Nxd4

I mistakenly thought this was bad and white had to play the line 18. Rhd1 Nd5
19. exd5 Nxd3 20. Rxd3 exd5

18... Nxd3

18... Rxd4 19. Be3 Rdd8 20. Bxc5 is really bad for black as he has two weak queen-side pawns and his pieces on the king-side are out of action

19. Kxd3 c5 20. Bd6 cxd4 21. Kxd4 Rac8 22.Rac1 Rxc4+ 23. Kxc4 Rxd6 24. Rhd1

Black's back rank weakness is his undoing. There is no way to avoid trading rooks.

Rc6+ 25. Kd4 Rxc1 26. Rxc1

There is no stopping the white queen-side pawns as both black minor pieces are unable to come to the queen-side

26... Ne8 27. Rc8 f5 28. e5 Bh5 29. b4 g5 30. b5 Kf8 31.
a5 g4 32. Rc3 gxf3 33. gxf3 Ke7 34. b6 axb6 35. axb6 1-0

Nicholas wins 2010 Selangor Open

The 2010 Selangor Open was won by Nicholas Chan with a half point lead. This is Nicholas third Selangor Open win.

Here is the final ranking list (top 20 only)

Rank SNo. Name Rtg FED Pts BH. Position
1 1 Chan, Nicholas 2398 MAS 53CHAMPION
2 2 Liew, Chee-Meng-Jimmy (V) 2315 MAS7 51½2ND
3 5 Wahiduddin, Kamalarifin 2122 MAS7 49½3RD
4 21 Yeoh, Li Tian (12) 1971 MAS 494TH
5 4 Loo, Swee Leong 2162 MAS 475TH
6 25 Zulkifli, Muhd Syazwan 1916 MAS 466TH
7 23 Tan, Ken Wei 1957 MAS 467TH
8 3 Udani, Ian 2286 PHI6 538TH
9 10 Wahiduddin, Mohd Khair 2088 MAS6 529TH
10 15 Ismail, Ahmad 2033 MAS6 50½10TH
11 17 Ahmad Fadzil Nayan 1995 MAS6 48½
12 18 Cheah, Cheok Fung 1988 MAS6 46
13 28 Fong, Yit San 1856 MAS6 45½
14 16 Fong, Choong Ee 2013 MAS 48
15 26 Low, Jun Jian 1907 MAS 47½
16 12 Mohamed, Abdul Haq 2057 MAS 47
17 7 Yusof, Kamaluddin 2104 MAS 47
18 27 Azhar, Muhd Syakir Shazmeer 1859 MAS 44½
19 6 Nik, Nik Ahmad Farouqi 2108 MAS5 51
20 13 Lim, Zhuo Ren 2055 MAS5 50½

I was surprised during the closing to hear Tse Pin announce that I had the most number of Selangor Open wins, eight in total. I thought I might have won only seven times but hey, I may have stopped counting at some stage :)

The key game was my game against Nicholas in the fifth round. I knew this probably will decide the championship and went for a win with black pieces. But Nicholas was the better player that day.

The top seeds more or less confirmed their seeding with the exception of Ian Udani. Ian drew a winning game against Nicholas in the eight round. Hairulov has a good analysis of the key position. Ian unfortunately had to meet Wahiduddin Kamalarifin in the final game with both in a do or die situation which he lost after a long battle.

Youngster Yeoh Li Tian continued his good tournament results with a fourth placing. He won six games, losing only to Nicholas and the third placed Kamalarifin and drawing the last round with black against Loo Swee Leong (fifth place). A fascinating game with both sides going for each other's king ending in perpetual check. After the game, Li Tian showed how white could avoid the perpetual and win!

I really like the newly renovated DAT Chess Center which served as the venue for this year's Selangor Open. The centre is bigger now after taking over the restaurant next door. There is plenty of space for larger tournaments like this. It is also easier to watch the games without disturbing the players. The location is good with nearly LRT (Light Transit Railway) and ample parking in the building except for working hours.

The only drawback is the thumping beat of the music coming from a disco downstairs. The music is so loud, I had some trouble in one of my games converting a ending with a piece up! Thankfully, this only starts late at night.