Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wijk 09: Kramnik beats Carlsen, leads with Shirov

In his distinguished career, Vladimir Kramnik has never yet won Wijk aan Zee, but today he took a giant step towards doing so, by beating Carlsen with Black. A fascinating battle ended with a colossal time-trouble blunder by the world number one.
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Carlsen,M (2810) - Kramnik,V (2788) [E04]
Corus A Wijk aan Zee NED (9), 26.01.2010
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3. An interesting choice, confronting Kramnik with one of his own favourite weapons. 4...dxc4 5.Bg2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 a5 7.Nc3 0–0 8.a3 Be7 9.Qa4 c6 10.Qxc4 b5 11.Qb3 Ba6 12.Bg5 Nbd7 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Qc2 b4 15.Na4 Rc8 16.0–0 c5
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17.d5. A very interesting pawn sacrifice. 17...exd5 18.Bh3 Bb5 19.axb4 axb4 20.Rfd1 d4 21.Bf5 Ne5 22.Bxh7+ Kg7 23.Nxe5 fxe5 24.Bf5 Rc6 25.Qe4 Rh8 26.Qxe5+ Bf6 27.Qe4 Re8 28.Qg4+ Kf8 29.Be4
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29...c4!?
Fritz 12 strongly prefers 29...Qd6. 30.Bxc6 Bxc6. At this point, Carlsen had just two minutes, plus increment time, to reach move 40 – little enough in any position. In this one, I am sure, he would have preferred a couple of hours. 31.Qh5 Re5 32.Qh6+ Ke7 33.e4 d3 34.Qe3 Bxe4
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And now, with his flag tottering (yes, I know digital clocks don't have flags – it's called poetic licence...), the World Blitz Champion, clearly in turmoil, produced the horror blunder. 35.Nb6?? and a piece was lost after 35...Bb7. The game ended 36.Qf4 Qxb6 37.Qxc4 Re2 38.Rf1 0-1.
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Kramnik's win, his third in four rounds, took him to +4 and a share of the lead. Earlier in the afternoon, Shirov had achieved the same score, after notching the easiest of draws against Ivanchuk, with a remarkable piece of computer-based preparation.

source: Chessbase

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Budget cut

Chess
By QUAH SENG SUN
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Budget slash a setback for development of chess in schools.
SO it happens yet again. The rumour that I have been hearing for the past few months has been confirmed. Chess is out from this year’s national schools’ sports programme, a victim of the drastic cost-cutting measures by the Education Ministry.
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According to a news report last week, the ministry had slashed its annual grant to the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM) from RM6mil to a measly RM1.5mil. As a result, the MSSM is forced to reduce the number of sports in its calendar from 24 to 13.
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Of course, I’m disappointed with the consequences of the budget slash. Who wouldn’t be? A student’s all-round education should encompass both academic and non-academic activities.
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While emphasis should rightly focus on academic results, non-academic activities should not be overlooked. This nation is not built on bookworms alone.
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So chess is one of the sports affected. There won’t be an MSSM chess tournament at the national level this year. No doubt, there may still be some school chess tournaments on a state-wide level if the states can find the funds themselves, but without a school competition at national level, it will never be the same.
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More than 10 years ago when the country was hit by recession, chess was also a convenient victim. Funds were also withdrawn from chess at the MSSM and it was only many years later that the game was re-instated into the programme.
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In the process, we lost more than a generation of chess players. The luckier states like Selangor and Penang were able to continue nurturing their young crop of players but in most of the other states, chess development in the schools was practically at a stand-still. These states suffered the most.
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Losing this generation of chess players meant that many of our young citizens never had the opportunity to uncover or develop their full potential. Goodness knows how many of them were wasted.
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Then, when chess was re-introduced into the national sports programme a few years ago, it took a while before the game got back into its natural groove. No doubt, the same thing is going to happen again. There’ll be another generation lost.
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The only comfort which chess players can perhaps derive from this setback is that we are not alone. Together with chess, other sports like bowling, squash, archery, table tennis, rugby, cricket, sailing, softball, handball and cross country have been axed from the programme.
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But is this the time for self-pity?
No! Not for chess or any of the other games that were taken off the MSSM calendar. If anything, this is the opportunity for the state sport associations and the national sport federations to do something positive on their own to maintain the interest and momentum in the sport they profess to represent.
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If a state education department cannot organise a state-wide school chess competition, come in with your expertise to hold your own state-level age group tournaments. If there is no MSSM competition for your game, the federation should step in to help out with a national age group event.
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In this sense, perhaps chess is a little fortunate because the Malaysian Chess Federation (MCF) has had an annual national age group chess competition running for a few years already. It started about the same time that chess went off the MSSM radar in the last decade.
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It just grew from there. The national age group competitions never stopped, even when chess was re-instated into the MSSM calendar. They simply co-existed, one event complementing the other.
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So this year, the national age group competition in March will be taking on a special importance again. It will be a premier junior tournament to judge the chess abilities of our youth on a national platform. I would urge them – all the chess players who are still below the age of 18 – to come and give your support to this event. It will be your chance to demonstrate that scholastic chess can continue growing despite this momentary setback.
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Incidentally, I shall be in Kuala Lumpur this weekend to attend a meeting at the Datuk Arthur Tan Chess Centre – initiated by the grand old man of Malaysian chess, Datuk Tan Chin Nam – of interested chess parties in an effort to find a common ground for chess organisations and chess personalities to grow together.
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I laud his efforts in organising a brain-storming session. We have to take the cue from the axing of MSSM chess. It is imperative for everyone connected with chess to cooperate and take the game to the next level. In the face of shrinking grants, chess in this country should look to more efficiency. By working together, we’ll find that the chess pie is large enough for everyone to share.
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See you at the meeting on Sunday morning.
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Source: The Star

Kasparov kalahkan Karpov

MADRID 25 Sept. - Legenda catur Rusia, Gary Kasparov menewaskan Anatoly Karpov hari ini untuk memenangi perlawanan ulangan daripada kejohanan catur dunia yang klasik pada 1984, dengan meraih sembilan daripada 12 pertarungan.
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Dalam persekitaran yang jauh daripada perlawanan sebenar mereka dahulu iaitu ketika ketegangan Perang Dingin - telah menjadikan Kasparov diminati di blok Barat.
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Semalam, Kasparov turut memenangi lima pertarungan pantas dalam lapan permainan.
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Kedua-dua mereka merancang untuk 'bertarung' semula di Paris pada Disember ini, kata jurucakap kerajaan tempatan Valencia, lokasi pertarungan mereka semalam.
Pada 1984, Kasparov, kiri berusia 46 dan merupakan pembangkang terkenal terhadap Perdana Menteri Rusia, Vladimimir Putin - bersaing hebat dengan juara bertahan, Karpov, kini 58 tahun, tetapi ditamatkan selepas 48 perlawanan berikutan kebimbangan mengenai kesihatan mereka yang bermain berterusan.
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Ketika perlawanan 1984 dihentikan, Karpov sudah pun memenangi lima perlawanan dan Kasparov tiga, dengan 40 seri. - REUTERS

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Johor Chess Festival 2010


The Johor Chess Festival 2010 incorporating:

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1) 14th Bandraya Chessmaster Johore Open Chess Championship

2) 2nd Bandaraya Chessmaster Johore Open Team Championship


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14TH BANDARAYA CHESSMASTER JOHORE OPEN CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP
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Organiser : MBJB, Johore Chess Academy and JB Chess Association

Venue : JB Indoor Stadium ( Stadium Bandarya Johor Bahru )

Date&Time :Sunday, 28th March 2010

Time Control : Swiss system of 7 rounds with 25 minutes per player to complete the game.
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Entry Fee : RM 70 for Open

RM 15 for Under 18

RM 10 for Under 12
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Prizes :
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Open Category ( 1st to 10th placing cash prizes 11th to 15th hampers)

( RM3000, RM1000, RM700, RM600, RM400, RM300, RM300, RM200, RM200, RM200 )
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Under 18 ( 1st to 10th placing cash prizes and 11th to 15th placing hampers)
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( RM600, RM250, RM100, RM80, RM70, RM50, RM50, RM 50, RM 50, RM50)


Under 12 ( 1st to 10th pacing cash prizes and 11th to 15th placing hampers)

( RM300, RM150, Rm80, RM70, RM60, RM50, RM50, RM 50, RM50, RM50 )


Closing Date : Shall not be later than 24th March 2010


Late entries and entries without payment will not be accepted. Entry fees are not refundable. In the event of any disputes(outside the Laws Of Chess) the organizer'sdecision shall be final and no further correspondences shall be entertained.
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Those interested in participating this event, kindly email your names to me.

For further information, kindly contact :


Narayanan Krishnan

Tournament Director

Johore Chess Academy

H/P N0 : 013 7717 525

Friday, January 8, 2010

Masters of the game

CHESS By
QUAH SENG SUN
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Kudos to Malaysia’s two new international masters.
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NEW Year’s Day brought some mixed news for the Malaysian chess scene. I don’t like to use well-worn clich├ęs but anyway, the good news should come first and it is that two new International Masters were confirmed by the World Chess Federation last November.

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Lim Yee Weng achieved his three IM title norms at the Turin Chess Olympiad in 2006 and two of the Malaysia open tournaments in 2007 and 2008.

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Last September, we knew that Mok Tze Meng had been awarded a provisional IM title pending his rating points jumping above 2,400. Well, his title has now been confirmed.

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The other player who now also has a confirm­­­­ed IM title is Lim Yee Weng. His application to Fide was made in November 2008 after he had achieved his three IM title norms at the Turin Chess Olympiad in 2006 and two of the Malaysia open tournaments in 2007 and 2008. At that time, Fide agreed to the application but made his IM title conditional upon his rating rising above 2,400 points. He did achieve this subsequently and the title was finally confirmed in last November’s rating list.

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Good for the two of them because they had put in a lot of hard work to get their titles.

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As it stands right now, Malaysia has five international masters.

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Jimmy Liew was the first to achieve this title so there is always a special place reserved for him whenever this subject of international masters is raised locally. Mas Hafizulhelmi was our second player to gain this title and he also has a special place in Malaysian chess because after all these years, he remains our strongest player.

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Apart from Liew, Mas Hafizul, Mok and Lim, our other international master is Wong Zijing who is unfortunately inactive because he’s totally caught up with his studies overseas. Hopefully, we shall be able to see him return to active chess duties sometime in the future.

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The bad news is that, suddenly, I discover that Malaysia’s name has disappeared from the Fide list of member nations. For that to happen, it can only mean one thing: that the Malaysian Chess Federation’s (MCF) membership standing with

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Fide has not been regularised in the past one year. The MCF has been such a long-standing member of the world body since 1974 (even longer if we consider the days of the old Chess Association of Malaysia, which was the MCF’s predecessor) that it is embarrassing that this should happen.
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New level: Mok Tze Meng, who was awarded a provisional International Master title pending his rating points jumping above 2,400, has finally achieved that.

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Unfortunately, such delistings do happen once in a while even to more active chess federations. The least that the MCF should do now is to take steps to rectify this hiccup as soon as possible.

Monday, January 4, 2010

On top of the world

by Quah Seng Sun
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Norwegian Magnus Carlsen has risen to the top of the World Chess Federation rating list for the new year.

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WELL, a happy new year to you! By tradition at the start of every new year, the World Chess Federation (Fide) releases its January edition of the Fide rating list. It’s always the case that chess players worldwide – those who are internationally-rated, anyway – look forward to the release of the Fide list to see where they stand.

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It is a numbers game and the higher one’s rating gets, the inference is that one has become a stronger player. It works conversely, too. A decline in chess ratings means a decline in a player’s chess strength.

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However, much interest also centres on the top echelons of chess players. Understandably, people are also very interested to know the rankings of those super-level grandmasters whose ratings are way above the ordinary folks. And any number above 2700 qualifies a player as super-level.

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If you have been following the developments in world chess, it will probably not come as a surprise to know that today, there is a new, official No.1 chess player in the world.

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Yes, Bulgaria’s Veselin Topalov has been toppled from the Numero Uno spot. His successor? None other than Magnus Carlsen – that 18-year-old former Norwegian wunderkind that I had written about last October.

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His new official rating is 2810, a jump upwards by nine points from his last published rating in November last year. Within a spate of two months, he now stands entrenched at the top of the chess world.

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Although this does not mean that he is world champion, surely that target cannot be too far away if Carlsen continues to improve. And he will improve with Garry Kasparov as his trainer.

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Last September, the chess world was abuzz with news that the two of them would be working together to take the Norwegian’s chess level to a higher plane. Prior to that announcement, the former world champion had already been working informally with Carlsen for about six months.

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I had the opportunity to ask Kasparov recently at Putrajaya how long he hoped to work together with Carlsen.

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“I wish I have the luxury of making long-term plans,” Kasparov replied. “We live in an ever-changing world. I cannot foresee the consequences of this cooperation. However, I hope that we will have at least one more year and I hope that I will help him to become not only No.1 in the unofficial rating list but a solid No.1 in the official rating list and eventually the world champion. And he will deserve to win the title if he continues to work hard and if he brings more hard work to his unique talent.”

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What about his chess ideas, I asked Kasparov. In his decades at the top of world chess, he would have accumulated a wealth of information. How much would he be prepared to reveal to Carlsen?

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“It doesn’t make any sense to hide my secrets,” he told me. “Undoubtedly, I have the largest database of opening ideas in chess and I keep working on updating this. Carlsen will always have full access to my library.”

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So there you have it. The great man himself obviously sees a lot of himself in Carlsen. Will the Norwegian cement his position at the top of the world chess rankings? The next one year will see how the cooperation between the two of them bears out.

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How Carlsen rose to be No.1

Soon after news broke of Carlsen training under Kasparov, the Norwegian grandmaster flew to Nanjing, China, to participate in the Pearl Spring chess tournament in September together with Topalov, Wang Yue, Dmitry Jakovenko, Teimour Radjabov and Peter Leko.

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His results in this double round-robin event made nearly everyone sit up to take notice of this young man. Carlsen scored an astounding eight points. By comparison, second-placed Topalov obtained only 5½ points. This tremendous result against his fellow super-level grandmaster opponents boosted Carlsen’s rating by 28.8 points.

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In November, Carlsen was playing in the Mikhail Tal memorial tournament in Moscow. The field included notable chess heavyweights like Vladimir Kramnik, Alexander Morozevich, Levon Aronian and world champion Viswanathan Anand. Though he did not win this event – he came second behind Kramnik – the result was still good enough to add a further 4.7 points to his rating and lift his standing to unofficial world No.1 position.

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Then in December at the London Chess Classic, he finished ahead of Kramnik and six other players to add a further 3.9 points to his rating.

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I should also point out Carlsen has played 28 straight games at the top level without loss. His last defeat was at the hands of Kramnik at the Sparkassen tournament in Dortmund, Germany, as long ago as July last year.

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Here is an example of Carlsen’s recent form in a game from the Pearl Spring tournament in China:

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Magnus Carlsen – Dmitry Jakovenko,

Pearl Spring tournament, China

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1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Be7 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bf4 c6 6.Qc2 Bd6 7.Bxd6 Qxd6 8.e3 Ne7 9.Bd3 b6 10.Nf3 Ba6 11.0-0 Bxd3 12.Qxd3 Nd7 13.e4 0-0 14.e5 Qe6 15.Rae1 Rfe8 16.Nh4 Ng6 17.Nxg6 Qxg6 18.Qd2 Nf8 19.f4 Qf5 20.Nd1 f6 21.Ne3 Qd7 22.Qd3 fxe5 23.dxe5 Ne6 24.f5 Nc5 25.Qd4 Ne4 26.Nxd5 Qxd5 27.Qxe4 Rad8 28.e6 Qxe4 29.Rxe4 Rd6 30.g4 Kf8 31.g5 Ke7 32.Kg2 Rd5 33.Kg3 Kd6 34.h4 c5 35.f6 gxf6 36.gxf6 Rd3+ 37.Kh2 Rd2+ 38.Kh1 1-0. -The Star