Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Australasian Chess Match of the Decade

August 1st-6th 2009
Australasian Chess Match of the Decade: IM Puchen Wang v GM David Smerdon, Auckland.
Sponsored by Chess Enterprises New Zealand.
Venue: "Old Boys' Pavilion" at Auckland Grammar School in Mountain Road (off Khyber Pass). Six game match, one game a day, starting at 4pm. Spectators welcome.
You are also invited to attend an informal get-together to meet Puchen and David at the Copthorne Harbourcity Hotel Tactics Bar on Friday evening, July 31st between 6.00 and 8.00 pm. This will be a fundraising evening as well to support the Chess Friends Trust. Donations of support will be most welcome & proceeds passed on to the Trust to help support New Zealand chess development.
more info at

Thursday, July 16, 2009


After securing a 1 point lead midway through the tournament the American Nakamura looked set to be an easy winner. However Ponomariov was able to steadily catch up as Nakamura drew game after game with many being short draws, perhaps taking a leaf out of Kramnik's play book. After 9 rounds Ponomariov and Nakamura where tied so it came down to a blitz play-off which of course suited the blitz expert Nakamura.

The following position is from game one
Nakamura - Ponomariov white to move

White has just played g5 which black replied hxg5 the sharp eye of Nakamura had a surprise coming

33. Qxe5!

The game concluded


33...fxe5 34.Bh5+ leads to mate

34. Qg3 g4 35. Bxg4 Qc5 36.Bxe6+!


Nakamura was able to win the second blitz play-off game and claim outright first. Congratulations Hikaru. The 12th world champion Karpov had I would imagine the worst tournament of his life finishing on 1.5 out of 9. It is clear that even for a former World champion how much work is needed to stay at the top of the chess ladder. Karpov may even fall out of the top 100 after this result, But I am sure all of this will be forgotten if he beats Kasparov in their exhibition match in September.

Official website http://www.donostiachess.com/en/ where full results to the other tournaments running along side this are available.

Palmerston North Club Rapid Championship

Stephen Taylor Mathew King and Justin Davis tied on 5/6 to share first place.

After winning my first 5 games beating my main rival and securing first place I just wasn't up to the task in my last round . Full credit to Taylor for bringing intensitity and capatilising on my mistakes to get a share of first. I have to admit that losing to Stephen was tough to take, It was my first loss to someone lower rated than me since losing to James Stewart in Wanganui last year (although he is now higher rated than me on the latest NZCF rating's list.) But I learnt alot from that loss and will duely do the same with this one.
On a happier (atleast for me) note I am going to show my game with the top seed.
Davis,J 1881 - King,M 1758 [E92]Palmy Rapid Championship (4.1), 25.06.2009
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Be2 e5 7.dxe5

This could be seen to rain on black's aggressive intentions, but not all people who play the King's Indian Defence are one dementional monster's craving a K-side attack at any cost.

7...dxe5 8.Qxd8 Rxd8 9.Nd5

Not the most popular choice. A previous game of ours was agreed drawn on move 8 at white's suggestion in the Club Captain's verse Presidents team match in 2008. White is aiming for a solid position with (in theory) minmul losing chances.

9.Bg5 is a more popular option.

9...Nxd5 10.cxd5 c6

The center must be attacked before white is able to consolidate it.

11.Bc4 b5

This is what was analysed after our earlier game and we agreed black is doing fine.

12.Bb3 Bb7 13.Bg5 Rd7 14.0-0-0 cxd5 15.Bxd5 Bxd5 16.Rxd5

16.exd5 Rc7+ 17.Kb1 Nd7 18.Nd2 f5 19.f4 h6 20.Be7 exf4 21.Bd6 Rcc8 22.Bxf4 g5 23.Be3 f4 24.Bf2 Nf6 25.Nb3 Rd8 26.Rhe1 Rxd5 27.Rxd5 Nxd5 28.Nc5 a5 29.h4 gxh4 30.Bxh4 Ne3 31.Rg1 Nf5 32.Bf2 Re8 33.Nd3 Rd8 34.Kc2 Bd4 35.Rf1 Be3 36.Be1 Nd4+ 37.Kb1 Ne6 38.Kc2 Nd4+ 39.Kb1 Ne6 40.Kc2 b4 41.g3 Nd4+ 42.Kb1 f3 43.Ne5 Rc8 44.Bf2 Bxf2 45.Rxf2 Re8 46.Nd3 Re3 47.Rd2 Kg7 48.b3 Re2 49.Kc1 Rg2 50.Nf4 Rxd2 51.Kxd2 f2 0-1 Herraiz Hidalgo,H-Illescas Cordoba,M/Ayamonte 2002

16...Rxd5 17.exd5


This move was based on inferior thinking. I thought a bishop coming to e7 followed by the pawn supporting it with d6 was good for white. It turns out that white would be over extended and black would suffer no difficilties.

17...Nd7 18.Be7 Re8 19.d6 h6 20.Rd1 Rc8+ 21.Kb1 f5 22.Ne1 e4 23.Nc2 Kf7 24.Ne3 Ke6 25.f3 Be5

18.Be3 Nd7 19.Kb1!?

White will now have first show at the c-file


I decided to defer the pawn advance not convinced I was better and allowed white a chance to cause a permanent structural hit.

Better is of course 19...f5 20.Rc1 f4 21.Bc5 e4 22.Ng5 Nxc5 23.Rxc5 e3!? I just couldn't evaluate this in due time but black is doing well.

20.Bxb6 axb6 21.Rc1

Probably better is 21.Rd1 Kf7 22.Nd2 Ra4 23.Nf1 Ke7 24.Ne3= but white is still believing in his so called "colour advantage" . This is not a reference to ethnicity by the way :)

21...Rd8 22.Rc6?!

Justin still believes he holds the advantage and proudly emphasizes his rook controls the historicaly strong c-file (see the game Botvinnik - Alekhine AVRO Tournament Holland 1938. Annotated in My Great Predessors book volume 2 game 36)

22...Rxd5 23.Rxb6?

White misses black's next move but then to see such a move as powerful is not easy.


The knight's legs are cut from under him.


Slightly less losing maybe 24.Nh4 g5 25.Rb8+ Bf8 26.Re8 gxh4 27.Rxe4 h3! But with this move black is a piece ahead and will have targets in the form of white's affected K-side.

24...Rd1+ 25.Kc2 Rxe1 26.Kd2 Ra1!

Justin is a resourceful player in difficult positions and I must be vigilant with any counterplay white can generate. White's only real counterplay will be his queenside pawns hence why this is better than going after the k-side pawns. It is important not to relax even in a clearly winning position, the game must still be won. As after all black's extra bishop is yet to play an important role.

Still winning is 26...Rg1 27.Rxb5 Bh6+ 28.Ke2 Rxg2 29.Rb8+ Kf7 30.Rb7+ Ke6 31.Rxh7 Rxh2 32.b4 e3!

27.a3 Bh6+ 28.Ke2 Ra2 29.Rxb5 Bc1!

White now will not get even a single pawn for the piece and his only real source of counter play is eliminated. White play's on hoping to swindle black in the time scramble.

30.Rb8+ Kg7 31.Rb7+ Kh6 32.Kd1 Bxb2 33.a4 Bd4 34.Rb4 Bxf2 35.Rxe4 f5 36.Rc4 Ba7 37.Rh4+ Kg5 38.Rxh7 Rxa4 39.Ke2 Ra2+ 40.Kf3 Ra3+ 41.Ke2 Bc5 42.g3 Re3+ 43.Kf1 Kg4 44.Rh4+ Kg5 45.Rc4 Bd6 46.Kf2 Ra3 47.Kg2 Kf6 48.Rc6 Ke6 49.Rc2 Be5 50.Rc6+ Kd5 51.Rc2 Rb3 52.Kh1 Ra3 53.Rd2+ Ke6 54.Re2 g5 55.Rc2 g4 56.Rc6+ Kd5 57.Rc8 Ke4 58.Re8 Kf3!

Checkmate is coming.

59.h4 Bxg3


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kramnik Wins Dortmund

Kramnik's style of chess may not gain a huge fan base but he once again proved his critics wrong. In his first classical tournament this year he was able to achieve some important milestones. In round 4 he finally won a game with the black pieces against Naiditsch, his last one (in a classical time control) was way back in 2006 against Topalov in their World championship match. In round 8 Kramnik was able to crush top seed Magnus Carlsen who had been leading the tournament throughout. This win gave Kramnik the lead which was bolstered by a final round win to finish on +3 undefeated.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

July NZCF Active Rating List

Palmerston North Players

Rank Name Standard rating Rapid rating

24. Charles Ker 2108 2002

55. Justin Davis 1970 1881

77. Mathew King 1889 1750

145. Jeremy Smith 1685* unr

184. Taylor Stephen 1605 1646

239. Dylan Chen 1477* 1493

Stewart Holdaway i 1645

Damon White unr 1533*

Kim, Teh Gyu unr 1473*

Ryan Hill unr 1463*

Matthew Howe unr 1453*

Savern Reweti unr 1407*

DanielYuan unr 1405 *

Michael Yuan unr 1386*

John Young unr 1386*

JuYoung Kim unr 1358*

Dennis Davey unr 1309

Terry Lee unr 908*

Ricky Kim unr 899*

i = inactive
unr= unrated

Friday, July 3, 2009

Oceania Zonal 2009

The recent Oceania Zonal come to a finish with (Aus) GM elect David Smerdon winning the Open section and (Aus) WIM Arianne Caoili winning the women's to each claim a spot in the coming World Cup. For the Kiwi contingent Sue Mararoa gained the Womens International Master title and Mike Steadman was finally able to clinch the Fide Master title.

The following game is from the last round of the Oceania Zonal.
Scott,R (2261) - Steadman,M (2262) [A40]2009 Oceanic Zonal Open Tweed Heads (9.6), 26.06.2009

Steadman had a rough start to the Zonal losing in round's 3 and 4 to lower ranked oponents. He was then able to win the next 4 games giving him a chance for a good finish, all that stood in his way was a former Kiwi now Aussie resident Ronald Scott. Scott on the other hand was having a great tournament and was coming off a win in round 7 against IM Rujevic and a draw in round 8 against IM West.

1...g6 2.c4
A critical last round game, both players need a win to claim the FM title.
2...Bg7 3.Nf3 c5 4.d5 d6 5.g3 b5

White is not willing to grab a pawn believing black's compensation to be sufficient.
6.cxb5 a6 7.bxa6 Qa5+ (7...Nf6 8.Nc3 0-0 9.Bg2 Bf5 10.0-0 Nxa6 11.Ne1 Qd7 12.e4 Bh3 13.Rb1 Rfb8 14.b3 Bxg2 15.Nxg2 Ng4 16.Bb2 Nc7 17.Qc2 Bd4 18.Kh1 Ne5 19.Qe2 Qc8 20.f4 Ng4 21.Qf3 Rb4 22.h3 Ne5 0-1 Nikolic,P-Topalov,V/Linares 1997/) 8.Bd2 Qxa6 9.Nc3 Nf6 10.e4 Qb6 11.Bb5+ Bd7 12.a4 0-0 13.0-0 Bg4 14.Kg2 Na6 15.h3 Bc8 16.Re1 Nc7 17.Bc4 Ba6 18.b3 Nd7 19.a5 Qa7 20.Qc2 Rab8 21.Ra4 Rfe8 22.Bf4 Nb5 23.Nxb5 Bxb5 24.Ra2 Qc7 25.Bd2 Qa7 26.h4 Qa6 27.Bf4 Bxc4 28.Qxc4 Qa8 29.Ra4 Rb7 30.e5 dxe5 31.Bxe5 Nf6 32.a6 Rd7 33.Bxf6 Bxf6 34.Qxc5 Rxd5 35.Qc4 Rd4 36.Qb5 Rd5 37.Qc4 Rd4 38.Qb5 Rd5 39.Qe2 Rb8 40.Qe4 Rxb3 41.Rd1 e6 42.a7 Kg7 43.Nh2 Bd8 44.Kh3 h5 45.Nf1 Rb7 46.Rxd5 exd5 47.Qd4+ Kh7 48.Ra6 Rb1 49.Kg2 Rb5 50.Kh2 Be7 51.Ne3 Bc5 52.Qf6 Rb7 53.Nxd5 Rxa7 54.Nc7 Qg8 55.Rc6 Bf8 56.Qd4 Ra2 57.Kg2 Bg7 58.Qd5 Rb2 59.Rd6 Rb8 60.Rd7 Rf8 61.Qb3 Kh8 62.Qd5 Bf6 63.Qd6 Bg7 64.Nd5 Re8 65.Qf4 Re5 66.Nc7 Rf5 67.Qe4 Qb8 68.Qe8+ Qxe8 69.Nxe8 Bf8 70.Nd6 Bxd6 71.Rxd6 - Nikolic,P-Cheparinov,I/Amsterdam 2007/
6...a6 7.Bg2 Nd7 8.0-0 Nb6 9.e4 e6
A double edged move but Black has some problems developing his K-side.
9...Nf6 10.e5!?

This move allows black to break down white's center. Better is 10.dxe6 Bxe6 11.cxb5 axb5 12.Qe2 b4 13.Rd1 White succeeds in keeping an edge. Black's king is still in the center and because of the coming e5 pawn push black will be hard pressed to hold his position togeather. black's best is probably 13...Ne7 (13...Bxa2?! 14.e5 d5 15.e6!) 14.e5 0-0 15.Ne4 Bc4 16.Qe1 Bd5 17.Nxd6 White has an edge but the position is still quite tricky.

Good for white is 13...Qc7 14.Ng5 Ne7 15.Nxe6 fxe6 16.Bh3 Qd7 17.Nb3±

10...Ne7 11.cxb5

11.e5 This doesn't work anymore 11...bxc4 12.Nxc4 Nxc4 13.Qxc4 exd5 14.Qf4 Nf5

11...exd5 12.exd5 0-0 13.Rd1 axb5 14.Qxb5 Bd7

Also good is 14...Nexd5 15.Ne4 f5 16.Nc3 Ba6 17.Qb3 Bc4 18.Qc2 Nb4 19.Qb1 Re8

15.Qd3 Ba4

15...c4 16.Qf1 Qc7 17.Ng5 Rfe8 White's pieces are unable to coordiante and the d5 pawn is falling.

16.Re1 Nexd5 17.a3 Qd7 18.Rb1 Bb5 19.Qc2 Rfe8 20.Ne4 f5 21.Neg5?

21.Nc3 had to be played


21...h6! 22.Nh3 g5 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8 The knights wil be forked.

22.Nxe1 Re8


The pressure of this game is clear. White now gives black a second chance to win a piece. 23.Bd2 is better where Black is still better but not winning.

23...h6 24.Nh3 g5 25.Bxg5 hxg5 26.Nhxg5 Re2 27.Qd1 Rxb2
Normally it is a good idea to trade pieces when you are up material but this is not always the case. 27...Bxb2 with Nc3 coming would put white on the run.
28.Rxb2 Bxb2 29.Nh4
The smoke has cleared a little and black has a bishop for a pawn. White's only chance is to create pressure against black's somewhat exposed King. White is however in a dead lost position. 29...Bd4
Safer is 29...Bc4 30.Qh5 Nf6 31.Qg6+ Qg7 32.Qxf5-+ and White's trick's are almost over

The pressure is now reaching critical mass and Steadman plays an inferior move, but in all fairness the position is still quite compliceted and black has some tricky threats to deal with.

Winning is 30...Qg7! Perhaps not played because of 31.Nxf5 But 31...Bxf2+! Leads to mate in 13! 32.Kxf2 Qb2+ 33.Ke1 Qc3+ 34.Kd1 (34.Kf2 Qd2+ 35.Kg1 Qe1+ 36.Bf1 Qxf1#) 34...Qa1+ 35.Kc2 Qa2+ 36.Kc1 Qxa3+ 37.Kd2 Qb2+ 38.Ke1 Qb4+ 39.Kd1 Qb1+ 40.Kd2 Nc4+ 41.Ke2 Nce3+ 42.Kf2 Qc2+ 43.Kg1 Qxg2#

31.Qg6+ Qg7 32.Qxf5
32.Qxg7+ Kxg7 33.Ne6+ Kg8 34.Nxf5 White has won another pawn but the position is now simplified and black should win without too much difficulty.
32...Bd7 33.Qf4 Be5
33...Ng4 34.Ne4 d5 35.h3 dxe4 36.hxg4 Qxg4 Is an easy win.
34.Qc1 Ng4 35.h3 Nh6 36.f4 Bd4+ 37.Kh2 Nf7 38.Ngf3 Bb2 39.Qe1 Qc3
39...Bxa3 40.Qb1 Bb4 41.Nf5 Qf6-+
40.Qe4 Qf6 41.Qb7 d5 42.Ng5 Bxa3?!
Black has enough material advantage now was the time for piece trades.
42...Nxg5 43.fxg5 Qe6 (43...Qxg5 44.Qxb6) 44.Nf5 Bxa3 45.Ne7+ Kg7
46.Nxd5 Nxd5 47.Qxd5 (47.Bxd5 Qxh3+-+) 47...Qxd5 48.Bxd5 Bb5 49.h4 c4 50.Be4 Be8 51.Kh3 c3 52.Bc2 Bg6 53.Bb3 Be7 54.Kg4 c2 55.Bxc2 Bxc2 56.h5 Bd1+ 57.Kh4 Kg8 58.g4 Kf7 59.Kh3 (59.h6 Kg6) 59...Bxg5-+
43.Bxd5 Nxd5 44.Qxd7 Ne7

Now the win for Black is no where is sight and more importantly White has taken the initiative and the change from a lost position to unclear has given white a confidence boost while Steadman must be wondering how his won game has turned into this.
45.Ne6 45...c4 46.g4 Ng6?
46...Bd6 47.Kg1 Qa1+ (47...Bxf4 48.Nxf4 Qxh4 49.Qe8+ Kg7 50.Nh5+ Kg6 51.Nf4+ Kf6 52.Nh5+ A draw again or black can risk it with 52...Ke5 53.Qxf7 Qe1+) 48.Kf2 Qb2+ 49.Kg3 Qc3+ 50.Kg2 Qd2+ 51.Kf1 Qc1+ (51...c3 52.Qe8+ Kh7 53.Qxf7+ Kh6 54.g5#) 52.Kg2 Qd2+ 53.Kf1 Qd3+ 54.Kf2 Kh7 55.Nf5 Black has a perpetual and at a glance I couldn't find anything better. With time I am sure better moves will be found.

47.Nxg6 Qxg6 48.Qc8+ Kh7


The table's have turned and white now has a definate advantage in his 3 connected passed pawns on the K-side. Black's c-pawn was not just a pawn it was an important source of diversion it was after all 3 squares away from becoming a Queen.

49...Bd6 50.Kg2 Qf6 51.Qe4+ Kg8 52.g5 Qb2+ 53.Kg3 Qb3+ 54.Kh4 Nh8 55.g6?! 55.Nd4 This should win. 55...Qf7 56.f5 Be7 57.Ne6 Qe8 58.Kg4 White must not rush the pawn advance, black is toast.

55...Be7+ 56.Kh5??
better is 56.Ng5 although most variations lead to a draw Bxg5+ 57.Kxg5 Qg3+ 58.Kf6 Qh4+ 59.Ke5 Qxh3 60.f5 Nxg6+ 61.fxg6 Qc3+ 62.Kf5=; 56.Kg4 Qd1+=



An epic battle where either side could have won. I imagine Scott will be devastated for a long time losing in such a way.
Congratulations to Michael Steadman on achieving the FM title and more importantly stopping another Australian getting one!

July FIDE Rating List

Country rank by average rating of top 10 players

Top Countries

1. Russia 191 GM's
2. Ukraine 72 GM's
3. Israel 42 GM's
4. China 25 GM's
5. Azerbaijan 17 GM's
6. United States of America 65 GM's
58. Australia 3 GM's
71. New Zealand 1 GM

Russia has a total of 1906 titled players compared to New Zealand's 28!

The Top 5 Players

1. GM V. Topalov (Bulgaria) 2813
2. World Champion V. Anand (India) 2788
3. GM M. Carlsen (Norwegian) 2772
4. GM L. Aronian (Armenia) 2768
5. GM D. Jakovenko (Russia) 2760

New Zealand's Top 5

1. GM M. Chandler 2518
2. IM P. Wang 2465
3. IM R. Dive 2371
4. FM R. Nokes 2327
5. IM A. Ker 2321

Local players

J. McDonald 2080
C.Burns 2054

Palmerston North
M. King 1963
J. Davis 1939