Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dinner with Jimmy

My Singaporean friend, Jimmy Ng hosted a dinner for his team after the first day of the Merdeka Team Rapid. His team, Unexplained, consisted of IM Yu Lie, WGM  Zhang XiaoWen , Ng Ee Vern,Cheah Eu Gene and Jimmy himself had a good performance and finished in the prize list. I was invited to join in.

Ng Ee Vern is an ex-student of mine. I still remember when his father brought him to me at age 10 or thereabouts. Ee Vern showed aptitude for the game at that young age. He went on to capture the National title in later years.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Simple rook endings?

This is the position from Bacrot Etienne against Ray Robson in the FIDE World Cup. The players had gone into tie-breaks and after 65 moves the following position was reached.
Bacrot - Robson, FIDE World Cup tie-breaks

Monday, August 29, 2011

IM Jimmy Liew - FM Nicholas Chan, Merdeka Team

IM Jimmy Liew - FM Nicholas Chan
Merdeka Team, Round 7

1. d4 c5 2. d5 e6 3. c4 exd5 4. cxd5 d6 5. Nc3 Ne7 6. h4 a6 7. a4 Ng6 8. h5 Ne5
9. f4 Ng4 10. e4 Be7 11. Nf3 Bf6 12. h6

Black cannot take with 12...Nxh6 because 13. e5 will be very strong. If 12...gxh6 , white will regain the weak h-pawn and control the open h-file. Besides the black knight on g4 will have no retreat squares.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

2nd in Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng Seniors

The tournament was won for the second time by Uzbek GM Dimitri Kayumov who had a big lead over the rest. I managed a second placing in the Seniors tournament. Thanks largely to the last round game between Filipinos IM Luis Chiong and  Efren Bagamasbad.  Luis Chiong had a half point lead over me and needed only a draw in the last game to take the second spot on better tie-break.

The Filipino IM was in trouble in the middle-game. Somehow he managed to survive to the ending. Thereupon he sacrificied his bishop and knight for black's two remaining pawns, thinking that he had a theoretical draw. Now, two knights ending is drawn except when the opponent has a remaining pawn. Furthermore the win can only be achieved if the pawn is blocked on certain squares. In this game the pawn was blocked correctly. Black displayed some good technique to force the white king into a corner reaching the following position with black to move -

IM Luis Chiong - Efren Bagamasbad

Black won with 1....Kd2! 2. Ka2 Kc2 3. Ka1 Ne4! and white resigned. The end is close - 4. g5 Nc3 5. g6  Na5 6. g7 Nb3 mate.

DATMO 2011 is over

I just came back from the closing ceremony. China's Li Shi Long is this year's winner although he was only seeded seventh on rating. He was undefeated. I was watching some of his games and thought he is the most boring player at the event. But boring (or solid play) brought home the trophy for him.

In fact he was in trouble in two games. Against IM Oliver Barbosa he was two pawns down and against IM Oliver Dimakiling he was one pawn down. His results in these two games? He drew with Dimaliling and won against Barbosa! That's the mark of a strong player , turning unfavourable games around.

So what's his secret? From my observations I can say two factors. One is that he is a very disciplined player. He almost never gets up from the board. He concentrates one hundred percent in every game. The other is his ability to calculate moves. Quite impressive. Those who thinks that technical is less important needs their heads examined.

The only other that interested me was how the local players fared. There were five prizes for Malaysians. The first prize was won by IM Lim Yee Weng (no surprise here). The second to fifth were won (in order) by Cheah Cheok Fun, Ajeet Singh Roshan, Elgin Lee,and Justin Ong. They edged out our top juniors , Lim Zhuo Ren, Sumant Subramaniam and Mark Siew. The best Malaysian ladies prize went to Narayanan Renitha who was ahead of Nur Nabila Azman Hisham on tie-break by half a point.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Those were the days - correction

Quah Seng Sun has corrected me on the people in the picture in the post Those were the days

I mistook Koo Hock Song for Mr. Gong Wooi Mau. But..but... that's not Tan Kai Ming? Man, you can knock me over with a feather.

I'm even starting to doubt that boy in the middle is me. Thanks a lot, Seng Sun, for destroying my memories. The reason I think it is me - the hair style and a picture of me at the board came out in the Chinese press that my father cut out and showed me, not sure if it is the same picture though.

The only one we know for sure who is in the picture - Kotov!

Glass ceiling

Another great cartoon

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stories beyond the board - Homeless yet compassionate

A homeless man jumps into a river to save his rabbit, after someone tossed the rabbit over the bridge.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Latest: Lim Zhuo Ren ends World Junior with loss

Lim Zhuo Ren has lost his last round game to finish with a total of 5 points out of 13 rounds. That is only about 38%. The only bright spot is he more or less played to his current rating.

A true hero

Last night, I watched the final of the badminton World Championship between our Lee Chong Wei and China's Lin Dan. Naturally I was rooting for Chong Wei to win his first World Championship. In the rubber game, twice in a row, Chong Wei was one point from winning the match. A single mistake would have ended the match for Lin Dan. But fate was not kind to Chong Wei or possibly Lin Dan possessed nerves of steel. The Chinese eventually won two consecutive points to win the World title for the fourth time.
Datuk Lee Chong Wei

Watching Chong Wei at the prize presentation, you can see how dejected he must have been. Only a player will know the heartache , when the holy grail is within your grasp and it slips away. Watching this video I felt sympathy for our champion. You will understand his emotional state of mind when you realize how much sacrifices a true champion has to make and yet not achieve his ambition of winning the World Championship and the Olympic gold.

Despite this setback, for many Malaysians like me, Lee Chong Wei is a true hero for he has consistently brought back honors for the country. We await the day that he brings back Malaysia's first Olympic gold.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Those were the days

In 1975 Soviet Grandmaster Alexander Kotov visited Malaysia  I remember he was in my home state of Penang to give a talk and simul. I think it was a Thursday and the venue was the Hooi Lye Association in Kimberley Street, where the Penang Chess Association held regular playing sessions.

Kotov played eighteen boards drawing three and winning the rest.


Saturday, August 13, 2011

14 year old Indian makes GM norm at World Juniors

A 14 year old Indian has made his first grandmaster norm at the 50th World Junior now being played in Chennai, India. Koushik Girish who is currently a FIDE master achieved the norm after nine rounds. Another Indian Vidit Santosh Gujrathi and Italian Axel Rombaldoni also made their grandmaster norms. For the former, it is already his second norm.

Once upon a time, the World Junior was the fast track to a Grandmaster title as the winner automatically awarded it. Kasparov himself won the championship in 1980 and was given the title (although he had grandmaster norms from other tournaments).

Nowadays youngsters are becoming GM and then playing the World Junior. At the current championship I counted nineteen grandmasters.

Another testatment to the strength of the juniors are that US GM Ray Robson and Russian GM Sugirov Sanan who both are top juniors in their own countries are not in the running for the first place. They are in 6th and 29th position after ten rounds. The lead belongs to GM  Robert Hovhannisyan from Armenia who has 8.5 points.

Malaysian participant Lim Zhuo Ren has four points , still under 50%.

Lim Zhuo Ren draws FM

Zhuo Ren managed to draw against a higher rated Belgian FM yesterday.  He made a very enterprising sacrifice of queen for rook and bishop plus an advanced and passed b-pawn. The game ended in a draw after the Belgian sacrificed back to reach a 2R v Q ending.

Game here

Friday, August 12, 2011

Lists - 10 Dangerous Moments in Chess

I found this list compiled by Edmund Wee Beronio.

01.) There has been a change in the pawn structure. Your opponent has 8 and you don't have any.

02.) Your opponent begins to throw pawns at your eyes.

03.) You have a position won but your opponent has a gun.

04.) The arbiter tells you not to bother turning in your scoresheet after the game.

05.) Before the game begins you notice your opponent first initials are 'GM'.

06.) After completing your development, you sense your opponent playing the endgame.

07.) Just as you make your opening move your opponent announces mate in 11.

08.) You don't control any squares at all.

09.) Your draw offer sends all the people watching your game into uncontrollable laughter.

10.) Your opponent has 3 bishops.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lim Zhou Ren 9th round pairing

A pity Zhou Ren lost the eight round game. I believe this could be his best game in the tournament if he had not mis-judged the position. A win would have moved him up at least 16 boards amongst the higher rated players.

Today he is paired against another Indian, Yohan J. rated at 2017. With Zhou Ren's rating of 2155 , he is around 140 points above Yohan, so a win is necessary in order not to lose rating points. As usual games begins at 4:30 PM local time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Krishna - Lim Zhuo Ren, World Junior

Lim Zhuo Ren played a good middle-game and reached a Q+R+N vQ+R+B ending. His opponent has a worst minor piece and I expect at least a draw at worst for LZR. It is even possible he might win with accurate play. The position below is after White played 47...Qh5

Krishna - LZR

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chess Vibes interview Morozevich

I found this interview very interesting and revealing. It is well worth your time to go through it.

I have this on-going argument with my friend Chin Seng on the various schools of chess , especially the Chinese school. When I give my own views on chess, he will dub it the "Jimmy School" :).

In the interview the part where Morozevich mentioned coaching Zhu Zhen and how different Chinese players think is very interesting. Unfortunately he did not go into more detail.

And when asked what he thought of the Soviet School of Chess, he could not comment as he did not understand what that was!

Monday, August 8, 2011

My preparations

This year's Senior event eligibility dropped down to 50 years and above. I do not know why the requirements were changed, possibly to attract more participation?  Since I am eligible, I will be competing in the Seniors followed by the Rapid Team event.

Time is moving so quickly. So little time and so much to do. And I even allowed myself to be caught up by the rantings of a self-important nobody. It is my own fault and I promised myself again to concentrate on more important things these days.

Preparations for Malaysian Chess Festival.

1. Eat less rice. You may be laughing at this but Malaysians eat too much rice. The reason is in our history and too long to go into here.

2. Eat more fish.  Brain food.

3. Exercise. You need to be in good physical shape to play your best.  I know for a fact that I do not play well after the first three hours as I start to tire and missed opportunities e.g see this. The mind cannot function well if the body is not in good shape.

4. Refresh opening repertoire. At last year's Malaysian Open, I had worked out a new repertoire and that worked really well.Time to check out new games played since and refresh my repertoire.

5. Review opening repertoire. With today's advances in internet and Chessbase (!) my games will be available to everyone. Time to make changes and put in some surprises for future opponents.

6. Less online games. I play too much bullet (one minute) chess online. This is not real chess, in fact it will destroy your chess.

7. Apply leave !

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another young grandmaster

Daniil Dubov has achieved the grandmaster title at the age of fourteen. While still not the youngest in history, nevertheless it surprises me how easily the current youngsters get their GM titles.

Read the story at Chessbase

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Being a top chess player does pay off

According to this article in Susan Polgar's blog, Magnus Carlsen earned USD 1.5 million in 2010. The bulk of the money came from a deal with G-Star clothing manufacturer.

If Carlsen had not dropped out of the recent world championship qualifiers, he would probably earn even more in 2012, providing he qualified which looking at his form is entirely probable.

Friday, August 5, 2011

SEA Games Selection - a small incident

At the start of the SEA Games Selection, the arbiter announced the rules and so on as per normal. After that Gregory Lau stepped forward and made a strange little speech. Essentially he told everyone that anyone caught cheating or helping someone to make the SEA Games team will face serious consequences. Even those who eventually qualified will be kicked out if he got wind of any hanky panky.

As I sat there listening to him, I thought this was very unusual. Why did he think something like that might happen when we have not even pushed the first piece?  I thought that this little speech was addressed to the four IMs present. My first impression was that he was warning us not to form a cabal to exclude the others from possibly qualifying. At the time I felt very unhappy and offended.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Lim Zhuo Ren at World Junior

Those wishing to follow Zhuo Ren's third round game can do so here

Games starts at 2:00 PM Indian time which should be around 4:30 PM in Malaysia.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Who lies and who spins

Some things should never be brought into the open and someone just do not know when to keep silent. Remember the story of Pandora's Box. Once opened you can never fully restore it back to before.

Raymond, you knew fully well what actually happened but choosed to spin it to make your son sound like a hero. You consider that is not lying?  The worse thing is you do not even realize you sacrificed Sumant in the process.

Read the latest post and see what Raymond really thinks - everyone of us  is a moron. There are so many inconsistencies, half truths, spins and smoke screening  in this single posting, I do not even know where to start to point them out.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What it was about

Raymond Siew has been blowing so much smoke that I myself almost lost track of what it was all about. All this talk about "fair fight" and who has the majority, selection , ratings not important - they are smoke screen to distract us all from what it was really about.

It started because Chin Seng made some comments which were not favourable to RS on Najib's blog. In retaliation, RS brought up Li Tian's sponsored training in China and commented that it was unfair. Then he goes on to question how strong Li Tian is. Co-incidence or vindictiveness? Readers can make their own mind up.

I was really curious to see how strong Mark is and checked up the FIDE rating. Now we know who the top juniors really are. Which leads now to the smoke screen that RS is blowing.

Enough said, I will not go into this topic any more.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Higher rating is stronger

Generally speaking the higher your rating the stronger you are. Ratings are an indicator of strength.. Many of us considered Kasparov the strongest player in the history of chess. Kasparov achieved the highest rating of all time. The two highest rated player currently is Anand and Carlsen, one is the current world champion and the other considered to be a future world champion and one of the strongest active players in the world.

Of course you will lose the odd game against someone rated much lower than you. But over a larger number of games, you will score more.

If ratings are not reliable, then Mas cannot claim to be the best Malaysian player. Going by this logic, the number one Malaysian  player should be the national champion and that is Lim Zhuo Ren. See how ridiculous it is if we adopt this logic?

Of course if the ratings are not in your favour, discount them as not relevant, not important, not indicative and so on. However the whole chess world uses the FIDE rating as indication of strength so if you think otherwise then you are in the minority of which you are the only member.

How strong is "strong"

"We dont get to meet him". How about entering in the Malaysian Open the last two years? Then you have a chance to meet him as well as the grandmasters and international masters and players rated 2300 and above.

If you can draw against an IM, maybe that was a fluke. The IM underestimated you, he is not feeling well, you were at the top of your game at that time. But if you can repeat this few times, it is something different. I know Li Tian has drawn a couple of IMs and GM. Is there any other current Malaysian junior that managed this? If there is, do let me know in the comments.

Mention is made of pitting Mark Siew v. Lim Zhuo Ren or Mark Siew v. Yeoh Li Tian

I wondored about this suggestions. How strong is Mark Siew? I do not remember seeing him play in any Malaysian Open or if he did, he did not impress.