Friday, June 29, 2012

The strongest Malaysian chessplayer

Friday , Friday. For some, its the day to hit the pub , for some it is party time. But before that you need to loosen up so here is a joke to help you do just that.

Since not everyone will get this joke so apologies in advance to those who do not understand it - Chinese Hokkien people will sure understand :). Oh, and apologies too to my Singaporean friends :)

At one Miss Universe contest, the three finalists are Miss America, Miss Australia, and Miss Singapore.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Is this game fixing?

I read with great interest Steve Giddins recent satirical post  where he took to task the Kosintseva sisters, Tatiana and Nadezhda, for repeatedly drawing their games. I think it was not so much the draws but the way they fixed the draw using the same game which resulted in repetition each time.

In my opinion, agreeing a draw is not such a big crime as opposed to throwing a game, and I do not mean in the context of a mobile phone ringing ( he-who-we-shall-not-name-here should take note of the correct meaning of game throwing). Players draws because they want to avoid a loss and a share of the prize and standings. Other reasons for draws are the players are close friends and frequent  team-mates or related as is the case here. But playing the same drawing game time after time maybe pushing it too far. The Kosintseva sisters should at least show some creativity :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

This explains everything


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Stop telling me what to do

Ever notice how someone keep telling us -

- who can be MCF President

- who should be MCF Secretary

- you must make a speech to be a worthy MCF President, no speech no President

- how he is a good chess coach

- how everyone else is not a good chess coach

- who you can  have lunch with

- who should be in Olympiad team

- who should NOT be in Olympiad team

- who can even accept invitation to be in Olympiad team

Don't you just hate it? Don't you just want to reply to him....






Stop telling us what to do, you're not our MOTHER.

Note: Whoever is choosen to represent Malaysia, I urge you to ACCEPT it irregardless. That way you can show he-who-we-shall-not-name-here you are the one in charge of your own life. I know I will accept, if only to show him I do not answer to anyone else but myself. My life, my choice.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Tal Memorial - Carlsen steals the tournament

Carlsen beat Luke McShane to bring his score to 5.5/8 which was enough to bring him the championship trophy as Caruana went down to Aronian and Radjabov could not win against Nakamura.

So Caruana and Radjabov ties for second while Kramnik, Morozevich and Grischuk still have to win to tie with them. My prediction is Grishuk will beat Tomashevsky while Kramnik and Morozevich will draw their game.

It has been a great tournament with many good games and many tense moments as well as those following the games online will attest to. Congratulations to world number one, Magnus Carlsen for adding another tournament victory to his already impressive list of tournament wins. It's amazing how he always starts his tournaments lukewarm but powers his way to the finish in the last few rounds. It will be great to see him in a world championship match.

Tal Memorial - A surprise sole leader

After eight rounds of play, a sole leader has emerged and its not Kramnik, Carlsen or Morozevich. The surprise leader is GM Caruana with five points and plus 2. He beat Kramnik in the eight round. Caruana was never close to the lead in the early rounds and most observers were not concentrating on him. He got where he is now by solid if uninspiring chess ( I hardly watched any of his games!).

The other possible leader was Carlsen who had to beat the tailender Tomashevsky. Easier said than done. At this level, there are no players who you can be sure of the point. Carlsen as usual was pressing in an interesting ending but in the end Tomashevsky held the draw.

Morozevich lost his third game in a row to Luke McShane. McShane is really on fire having defeated Aronian, Morozevich and Kramnik. He faces Carlsen in the final round.

Caruana is almost certain of winning the tournament with a final round draw with Aronian who is not having his best tournament - he is the second last in the table right now with minus one. Kramnik plays Morozevich and I am sure both will want to finish with a plus one, so some fighting chess can be expected (what else can we expect from Morozevich anyway?).

For Morozevich, this tournament will be a most bitter one. After leading for the first half, he suffered three defeats in a row. The problem is he only plays one way -  to win. And he takes risk and plays unusual moves just to avoid a draw. That is his downfall - if he had played solidly in the last three games he would still be leading now.

Theoretically, either Carlsen or Radjabov can still win the tournament, provided Caruana loses the last game so  final round pairings are going to be most interesting -
Aronian - Caruana
McShane - Carlsen
Kramnik - Morozevich
Tomashevsky - Grischuk
Nakamura - Radjabov

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tal Memorial - Leader lose

Round seven of the 2012 Tal Memorial saw both leaders lose. All other games were draw therefore five (!) players now tie for the lead.

Morozevich lost his second game in a row to tail-ender Tomashevsky. The game looked equal until Moro tried to complicate the position with 31...Ng7 ?! Of course Moro wants to win against the tail-ender but this was too much. You do not expect a 2700 player to fall for 32. Rxg7?? Rf1+ 33. Rxf1 Qxf1+ 34. Qxf1 Rxf1+ 35. Kc2 Kxg7 winning the exchange. Moro ended up a pawn down in a lost rook ending.

The other leader also lost to a tailender. Luke McShane was pressing for a win from the opening against Kramnik. In a major piece ending of Q+R v Q+R, Kramnik made several errors to allow McShane his second scalp. Both Morozevich and Kramnik were in no mood to show up at the players press conference. McShane has a long commentary which is very instructive and I urge you to view the video here.

Five players now tie for the lead with another player, Nakamura, just half point behind. With two more rounds to go all six still have the chance to become the champion on tie-break.

Standings after round seven

The round eight pairings see Morozevich against the unpredictable McShane. I hope Moro can play more stable chess, another loss would kick him out of the race for first.

The only undefeated player is Carlsen. He has the best chance, in my opinion, of getting the first placing. Round eight starts tonight at 7:00 PM

Friday, June 15, 2012

Morozevich loses, Kramnik catches up

A sad night it was, Morozevich losing his first game in this tournament. It was doubly painful as Morozevich played some creative chess (23. f5!) and it looked like Nakamura was getting mated on the king-side. But stubborn defence from Naka and a blunder much later by Moro (38. Qd1?) worked in the American's favour. Morozevich was pretty upset with this loss as you can see from the post-game commentary. I hope he can still win this tournament.

Kramnik seems to make winning easy. Against Tomashevsky, he won in 83 moves from a simple looking opening where black seems to have equalized. Kramnik moves into shared lead with this win. Three players are in the chasing pack with 3.5/6, and anything can still happen. I like Carlsen chances as he has already played most of the "tough" players. The games resume on Saturday after a rest day today.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Morozevich takes clear lead

Morozevich beats Levon Aronian in impressive style. He thus takes the sole lead as the co-leader, Radjabov lost to Carlsen. Morozevich now leads with 4/5 a full point ahead of Carlsen, Kramnik and Radjabov all at 3/5.

Morozevich took over 40 minutes for his eleventh move and what a move it was! It offers a pawn and possibility for white to sacrifice a piece for many pawns. Aronian went for the latter and gradually his position became worse and lost all his compensation. It's hard to describe Morozevich's style but it seems very effective. There are so many things going on in his games that his opponents tend to choose the wrong lines which he exploits mercilessly.

Carlsen beat Radjabov with one of his famous grinds. It seems white is ok and should be holding the draw at some point in the end-game but Radjabov went seriously wrong with 50. fxg4.

Radjabov realising he is lost, giving Carlsen the "glare"

ChessTv has an English commentary by Australian GM Ian Rogers. There is a quiz every round and yesterday the quiz was like this.

Salo Flohr once played a simul where the players brought their own pieces. One gentleman had a less than perfect set, you know, the type where bishops and pawns are not easily distinguishable from each other. Flohr complained that this was not the correct set to play on. Whereupon the gentleman replied that he had used this very same set in a simul by Richard Reti. On hearing this, Flohr burst out laughing.

The question is - why did Flohr laugh at the reply?

I thought hard about this for a few minutes and it finally hit me. Reti must have been playing blindfold! I sent in my answer - hopefully it is the first correct answer received by the organizers. I'm not even sure what the prize is or whether there is even a prize! Even GM Rogers does not even seem to know.

The sixth round continues tonight at 7:00 PM as usual. Tomorrow will be a rest day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tal Memorial, Morozevich and Radjabov leads

After Round four last night, both Morozevich and Radjabov are leading with three points.

Round four was a round with interesting games. Carlsen buried his own bishop on g3 where it looks very unlikely to see action. Nevertheless Carlsen is Carlsen and eventually created strong threats against Grischuk's king-side. Both players got into time trouble and repeated moves by move forty of the time control to settle for the draw.

English GM McShane who had beaten world number two, Levon Aronian , in round three, looked like a sure winner against Nakamura.Somehow he went wrong and had to go into a rook ending a pawn down but with all pawns on one side the draw was never really in doubt. McShane even  exchanged rooks (unnecessary, he could draw just as easily with rooks on) to go into a pawn ending with a humourous end. Check it out below.

The only player to win in this round was Caruana who beat Tomashevsky quite easily. At the official site there is a daily commentary in Russian. Well, if you do not understand Russian like me, go to the English commentary at by Australian GM Ian Rogers. Rogers does a great job under the circumstances (he is the lone commentator).

Friday, June 8, 2012

Srinath is Asian Junior Champ

Indian IM Srinath has won this year's Asian Junior Championship  in Tashkent. He won it with a round to spare. The Asian Junior winner earns an automatic GM norm so this will be his first norm.

Srinath was here last year playing the Selangor Open. Here he is pictured with Sumant Subramaniam at that tournament.

Tal Memorial

Soon....very soon. To be exact 7:00 PM in Malaysia, same as World Championship. Just nice for me as I reach home just after seven.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Olympiad Dream Team

Andrew has a little poll over at his GilaChess site (its on the right side bar). It's called Olympiad Dream Team where you can vote for who you think should be in the Dream Team.

So far , Yeoh Li Tian is leading the poll though Roshan and IM Mas is close behind. But he-who-we-will-not-name is jumping up and down screaming "poll is fixed,poll is fixed" and accusing Andrew of playing God. Whereupon I put on my thinking cap. Why call Andrew playing God? Now this is just a fun poll and it is not like MCF will use this poll when doing their selection.

It did not take me long to figure it out. For some time now, Andrew has removed he-who-we-will-not-name blog from his Malaysian Chess Blogs. Let me start my famous impersonation . [Start impersonation] Is this a clue? Can you see this now?  What does this say? [End impersonation].

Back to serious mode, there is one problem with this poll. Andrew did not make up his mind what the choices were from the start. For example he started adding me (and others) after the poll had already started. When I voted, I did not see my name so I voted for someone else. Then my name appears a bit later but unfortunately for me :(  I cannot vote again (so much for rigging).

Anyway the poll is just a fun thing.  But hey, this does not stop you readers (also known as Jimmy's cronies in the words of  he-who-we-will-not-name) from voting for me, ok? ;)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tal Memorial 2012

The 2012 Tal Memorial  is due to start in a few days time from 7th to 19th June, 2012, in Moscow, Russia.

The confirmed participants are:

Magnus Carlsen, Vladimir Kramnik, Levon Aronian, Radjabov Teimour, Hikaru Nakamura, Fabiano Caruana ,Alexander Morozevich, Alexander Grischuk, Evgeny Tomashevsky and Englishman Luke McShane. Interestingly, Luke McShane got his place through a popularity contest.

The Russian Chess Federation had a voting contest allowing chess fans to select the final 10th player. McShane was the favourite polling 3860 votes beating Alexei Shirov who had 3732 votes.

Vietnam's Le Quang Liem was removed from the voting list. The Russian Federation removed him from the voting list because they detected or suspected (?) that his supporters were unfairly rigging the voting. According to Quang Liem,the organizers should have ensured the voting was fair and not penalise him for something he had no control over.

By the way, both Anand and Gelfand could not play as the tournament is still too close to their recently concluded world title match.

The last edition was won by Carlsen on tie-break. He caught up with Aronian in the last round with a win over last placed Nakamura.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Our current national champions

Did anyone notice that both current Open and Women's National Champions are under 15? What an achievement for these two juniors!

Roshan won the Open tournament while SEA Games bronze medallist Najiha took the women's crown. The latter's win did not come as a surprise to me.  I already picked her as our most promising youngster here.

The other player that is fast coming up the ranks is Camilia Johari. Not to say she is a newcomer, but she has mostly been in the shadows of  Najiha, Nabila, Fong Mi Yen and Li Ting (and maybe still is?). I see her play has been maturing over the past two years. She just needs to increase her self-confidence.

On a side note, I think our best bet for our ladies olympiad team should be these five players. They have proven themselves in the past. I would have included Alia Bakri who had an outstanding result in the last olympiad, but I did not see her play anymore after the 2010 Olympiad, and competing should be a criteria in selection.

Roshan's win has to be  the most convincing in the history of our National Championship. Normally it is quite close till the end and even sometimes gone to tie-breaks. This year he won with a round to spare which says something. It would have been even more astonishing if he could have won the last game, making it a perfect 9/9, something unheard of in our National championship history.