Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Test Yourself!

Test Your Rook Endgames!

Today, two rook endgames came to my attention.
I] The first is from one of my favourite chess blogger and author (of chess videos) (and science/maths writer), Dana MacKenzie: see here for the blogpost. He coaches a junior girl and this is from a game she played very recently:

Black to move. How would you play as Black? But firstly how would you evaluate the position? Who is better? Now what is Black's strategy?

II] The second is hot off the press, from the Thessaloniki Grand Prix Round 5 game between Rustam Kasimdzhanov vs Leiner Dominguez Perez. White has just played 28 Re1-d1. What did White missed, what is Black's 28th move worth an "!"?

White has played e3-e4. What was White expecting? However, Black played a brilliant move here, a zwischenzug, placing White is a zugzwang. What is Black's move?

For II and III, see Chessvibes (here) for the complete game and annotations).

Test Yourself Against the Grandmasters!
Black has just played 58...Ra2-c2?! (described by Black himself afterwards as a horrible move). What did Black miss? clue: it is White's 61st move: "This totally changes the whole evaluation. White is playing for a win.".

White played 64 h4-h5 and now what would you play as Black to maintain the draw? What would be a blunder which Black indeed did play in the game?

White has a chance to win after 65...h5-h4. What should White play?

This is the game Etienne Bacrot vs Alexander Morozevich from Round 5 of the Thessaloniki Grand Prix. See Chessvibes and Chessbase for complete game and annotations.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Sydney Film Festival Movies/Docos on chess ......

We had a press release from the 2013 Sydney Film Festival about screenings of two films which may be of interest to chess players/enthusiasts:

Good evening and I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend.

I am very pleased to email you about two films that feature chess, and are playing at Sydney Film Festival. ALGORITHMS and COMPUTER CHESS, it would be great if you could highlight to your readers/members and include on your website, social media and enewsletter.

I have attached images for each and text below along with weblinks and screening times –


Thu 6 Jun
6:00 PM
Dendy Opera Quays Cinema 2

Sun 9 Jun
4:00 PM
Dendy Opera Quays Cinema 3

This documentary follows three budding chess grandmasters, sightless boys from different parts of India, as they battle their opponents and inner demons at the World Junior Blind Chess Championship.


Wed 5 Jun
7:45 PM
Event Cinemas George Street 9

Sun 9 Jun
1:35 PM
Event Cinemas George Street 8

This offbeat mockumentary from Andrew Bujakski (Funny Ha Ha) is set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess-software programmers in the early '80s and was shot with equipment from the era.

Have a great weekend and do let me know if you need anymore information and please do help us spread the word.


Paul Struthers |Assistant Marketing ManagerSydney Film Festival
Sydney Film Festival 1954 to Now: A Living Archive

Doco #1 Algorithms
Official website is here. There is a press release by the film makers on Susan Polgar's blog: see here. And video preview:

Doco #2 Computer Chess
One of my favourite chess/science blogger has a blogpost on the second feature: see here. The official website for Computer Chess: see here. There is a trailer but as befits a doco about computer geeks/nerds it is meant to be a secret teaser. Check out the nerd corner! This doco is great if you wish to see the beginnings of computer chess/engines, the predecessors of the mighty Houdini and Stockfish and Rybka.
Caveat: I am not sure it is suitable for children.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Test Yourself! Fresh Off the Live Games!

Watching Round 5 of the 2013 US Chess Championships live coverage, there was this very interesting position which arose in the game between GM Larry Christiansen vs Gm Conrad Holt, senior vs youth. White just played 44. Ra8-Ra7. What would you play as Black now? It is actually a good exercise to play Black and calculate all the lines to ensure you are winning.

BTW, I recommend watching the live commentary with the lovely Jennifer Shahade (well, you have to get used to her "strine") but the bonus ++ is GM Yasser Seirawan. His mellifluous dulcet tones is very nice on the ear and believe it or not, he has "toned" down Jennifer's strine. If you cannot watch live, I suggest re-watching the broadcast: http://www.uschesschamps.com/live. Yasser's commentary is a class above, even better than the commentary at the just concluded Men's Grand Prix and the now-happening Norway Masters (too much conversation and not enough chessic analyses!).

In the women section, defending Champion IM Irina Krush was running away with the tournament but is now pegged back to a point ahead by IM Anna Zatonskih. Both has a history in recent years of an intense rivalry for the title. Anna lost to Irina in crucial game in Rd 3 but is playing catch-up now. In today's game, she played veteran WGM Camilla Baginskaite and won. In the live commentary, Yasser said Anna was winning around move 46 due to extra a pawn.

He said that in positions when you are ahead a pawn, he was taught to trade off pieces and convert the extra pawn advantage. Black moved 46...Rd7-b7 and he thought the plan was to go 48...Rb8 and trade off the rooks. However he spotted a tactical trick by White. White plays 47 h3 and if Black goes 47...Rb8, there is a tactical try. Can you spot it?

Another tournament happening now is the Fide Fondation Neva Women's Grand Prix in Geneva. Former World Women Champion, 2013 Challenger and top seed (happening end of this year) GM Hou YiFan suffered two shock defeats.

The game making the rounds of the twitterverse and blogoverse is the game between incumbent Women Champion, Anna Ushenina vs WGM Olga Girya. Can you win from this position within the 50 moves rule? White has just captured the last pawn on c3 (72. Nd5xc3). Now there are no more pawns, so the 50-moves rule comes into play. Can you win?

With no disrespect (tournament conditions, OTB play are factors), the World Champion did not win.

The game is below and see if you can spot where she made her mistake.