Wednesday, 13 May 2009

M-Tel masters 2009 - round 1

M-Tel masters 2009 started today. Chess fans around the world gathered on the internet to follow live transmissions of the event. Myself I was looking forward to see fellow countryman Magnus Carlsen in his fight against Veselin Topalov. It was not to be. Due to technical difficulties no moves were transmitted in the Carlsen - Topalov match, and only a few ones came in from Vassily Ivanchuk vs Alexei Shirov and Yue Wang vs Perez Leinier Dominguez.

According to an eye witness who reported on the problems were caused by the Mayor of Sofia and his sense of humour. The Mayor officially opened the event by making the first move in the Carlsen - Topalov match.

Instead of making one move, he made two, however. Both as white. He explained that this is how he and his friends did it in his childhood. They had misread the rule stating that a pawn is allowed to go two squares forward the first time it moves. Undoubtedly happy with his crowd pleasing joke, the good Mayor corrected this mistake and moved the d-pawn forward two squares as Carlsen had instructed him to.

Humour, however, is not the domain of technology. Instead of smiling the computers got utterly confused. What is this? Two white moves? Oh, and this, three? A pawn moving backwards? A fourth? A fifth? All by white? Hey, guys, how about reading a rule book? And with this the live transmission went down. Not only from the Carlsen - Topalov match, but from the two matches that had already started as well. I guess the programmers at DGT found a test case they didn't think of before. And while chess seems to be one of the easiest sports in the world to report live from, practical experience is indicating otherwise.

Anyway, the games came in a few hours later. It turned out to be a fine one by Carlsen who defeated the world's top rated player in grand fashion.

Play chess online!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Wrimle vs Hebrit

This is a turn based game I recently played against Hebrit on GameKnot. Playing against Alechine's Defense is not in my repertoire, although it should be, as black plays Nf6 on move one. Luckily GameKnot allows and indeed has an integrated opening book, which makes it easier to survive unknown openings. Actually I often play thematic tournaments on GameKnot to develop my opening repertoire.

The game below has a nice trap and combination at the end, I think.

First Visit at the Chess Club

Last night I visited the local chess club. I never was there before, except to look around.

I didn't come to play. Over the board is new to me and the advertized time controls are too fast. I just wanted to watch and learn. But they where one participant short of making and even number so I joined anyway.

We were using the club's new digital clocks, the state of the art DGT 2010 model. To make use of its advanced features the time control was 10 minutes plus 5 seconds increment per move. In the end, nobody understood how to set the Fisher increment, though, so the time control was changed to 12 minutes.

The first game I lost to a kid. I played the Caro-Kann and he played the Panov Attack. I struggled a bit with visualizing tactics, not being used to the live board. I got a passed pawn on the a-file which I pushed. When it got blocked on the seventh rank I supported it with all I had. In the end I opened up too much and he got connected passed pawns on the queen side. I resigned when it was clear that one of them would promote. It would have been mate in a couple of more moves.

In the second game my oppoent played 1.d4 and I played the Leningrad Dutch. The game was quite even for a while. Then I had to play faster as my time ran low. Soon I was a couple of pawns behind and in the end I lost on time. He had unstoppable passed pawns anyway.

In the third game I was white. My opponent played Sicilian. I played the Closed Sicilan. The position was quite even. Then my opponent didn't see that he was in check and made an illegal move. He thought an illegal move was an automatic loss during a blitz game. A kibbitzer said no, I should have two extra minutes on my clock. We were using the club's new digital clocks, though, and nobody knew how to add time on them. I said that I didn't know the rules, I just played. So we played. Then a few moves later my opponent offered a draw. I accepted, realizing I would have lost on time.

The fourth game I was white and played the Vienna Gambit. My opponent correctly declined by playing 3...d5. Yet I got the initiative a couple of moves later as he didn't know the right answer to 5.d3. I built a powerful attack with all my pieces. Then I got overambitious and blundered a piece after an exchange sac. I was mated in a few more moves.

In the fifth game I played Caro-Kann again. I got a very bad position early on as my opponent played a variation I didn't know. My pieces were all locked in and uncoordinated and my king was stuck in the center. Then my opponent blunderd a horse as he was too occupied with capturing my queen. After that I got a nice attack and actually mated him. My opponent was quite annoyed with being beating by a beginner it seemed.

It was a nice experience. Playing live people sitting in front of you is quite different from sitting in front of a computer. More social in a way. And the people were really cool.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009


I got up when I heard one of the kids crying in the kitchen this morning. The 2 year old and the 5 year old was playing around during breakfast and one of them had fallen off the chair. My wife came in from the bathroom at the same moment, yelling at our son, the oldest of them, for being a kid instead of finishing his breakfast and coming to the bathroom as she expected him to.

I helped get the kids ready. Kids and my wife out of the door I fired up the computer and made a couple of moves on GameKnot. Then I didn't go to work quite yet. Instead I went back to sleep for a couple of more hours. Chess kept me up a bit long last night. As usual.