Chess for 2009

It’s around 11 months since I started playing chess again so I thought I’d do a bit of a review and some goals for 2009.

I’ve found I enjoy playing quite a bit both at the club, tournaments and online as well as doing study both by myself and with others. So I’m definitely going to keep going this year.

In the last rating list my rapid rating went from 1276 to 1314 but my normal rating only went from 1261 to 1274. The main reason for this is that I am still losing the odd game to very low ranked players though carelessness. My actual rating is probably closer to 1400 in both rapid and normal going against my results against players in the 1400-1500 level.

Goals for 2009

  1. Get my Rating to over 1700
  2. Play in NZ champs in early 2010 and do well in under-2000 grade.

Programme to accomplish this

  1. Keep playing at the Club
  2. Enter as many tournaments as possible.
  3. Play in over-1400 grades when able
  4. Train 10-20 hours per week
  5. Keep going to fortnightly coaching

Weekly training

  1. 10-20 hours
  2. 500 problems on tactics server ( 4 hours )
  3. 20 Blitz games on FICS each week ( 4 hours )
  4. 10 Standard games on FICS each week ( 4 hours )
  5. Study Openings repertoire and practice it ( 4 hours )
  6. Play though annotated games ( 4 hours )

Well that is the plan anyway. Certainly if I keep to it I’ve got a chance at reaching the goals. However keeping myself on track will be the hard bit.

I’m using a little area in the spare room going as a study space. For a computer I’m just going to use my Eee ( with external keyboard, screen and mouse ) but keep it off the network most of the time to cut the urge to browse. But for now just a board and a few books but thats enough for a start.


Merv Morrison – Days 2 and 3

After my dumb loss in round 1 I was being extra careful the on Saturday in rounds 2 and 3.

In round 2 I was white against William Zhang. I was playing a little passively but got a bit ahead before my opponent my an error on move 22 I I won the exchange (  I won a rook for a bishop ) and then a few moves later lost a Knight. After that it was just a case of cleaning up.

Round 3 was against a Monish Santhosh who is a young guy ( 7 I think ) playing in his first tournament ( he had a bye in one round for a point which is why he got matched with me ). Easy win although I did look at a position for a whole two minutes before I noticed my Queen was en prise.

Round 4 and 5 were on the Sunday.

First up I had white against Stefan Kolev. Stephan was on a provision 1200 rating but is probably a little above that. I was a little disappointed with this game, I lost a pawn early on and gradually got a worse position by making inaccurate moves. Eventually my opponent had a passed pawn on a2 which completely tied me up and allowed him to capture a bunch of my King side pawns until he had a won endgame and I resigned.

Round 5 was against George Trundle and was short but fairly interesting. White played a sort of Stonewall Attack although he didn’t really get a chance to develop it correctly. He brought out his queen a little early and I ended up winning a Knight when the queens were swapped off. I was then in quite a cramped position while he pushed up some pawns and made a queenside attack. However after he made an error and allowed me to swap off some of his attacking pieces he decided that his attack had run out of steam and resigned.

So after 5 rounds I was now 3 wins and 2 losses out of 5 games. Unfortuneately all my games had been against players rated lower than my current rating ( let alone what I hoped to be on) so it didn’t look like I was going to lose ratings from the tournament.


Merv Morrison 2008 – Day 1

Over Labour Weekend I was in the Merv Morrison Chess Tournament at my local club, The Auckland Chess Centre. I was in the under 1700 rating division. I thought I’d post a little about it. It also gives me the excuse to test the Chess by Blog plugin for wordpress.

The Tournament was 6 rounds over 4 days ( 1 game Friday evening at 18:30, then 2 games at 09:30 and 16:00 on Saturday and Sunday plus one game at 09:30 on Monday) with 90 minutes for each player plus an additional 1 minute added for each move.

There were two divisions, a over-1700 ( NZCF rating points ) with 11 players and an under-1700 with 21 players.

The New Zealand ratings are due our at the start of November so I was hoping for a good result to push up my rating a little. I’m currently at 1261 by I’m probably playing closer to 1400.

My first game was against Bella Qian, who has a 650 rating against my 1260 rating, which means I should beat her 90-something percent of the time. However I wasn’t being careful ( silly really considering the fairly long time control ) and completely blew the game. You can follow the game below and my comments below.

[Event “Merv Morrison 2008, under 1700”]
[Site “Auckland Chess Centre”]
[Date “2008-10-24”]
[Round “1”]
[White “Bella Qian”]
[WhiteElo “646”]
[Black “Simon Lyall”]
[BlackElo “1261”]
[Result “1-0”]
[JsCom “startply 0”]

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bc4 Bc5
4. Nc3 Nf6
5. d3 O-O
6. Bg5 d6
{ I probably should have played Be7 here to prevent the bad pawn structure after Bxf6 and gxf6 }
7. h3 a6
{ Na5 was a better way of attacking the Bishop on c4 }
8. Nd5 b5
9. Bb3 Nd4
{ This is a bad idea, I should be swapping this Knight for the Bishop , not White’s inactive Knight }
10. Nxd4 Bxd4
11. Nxf6+
11. … gxf6
12. Bh6 Re8
{ I’m down but 12 … Bxb2 13 … Bc3+ at least gets a pawn and forces White’s King to move }
13. c3 Bb6
14. Qh5
14. … Be6
{ This move loses the game, The rest is a force mate by white }
15. Bxe6 Kh8
16. Qxf7 Rg8
17. Bf5 Rg6
18. Bxg6 Qg8
19. Qxf6+
{ and I resign, Mate next move }


Split RSS feeds

In the past this blog has been mostly a tech orientated one with around 2/3s of the posts I make being about computers and the Internet. With the new software I’ve decided to split things a little so I can post on some other subjects. WordPress makes it fairly easy to provide alternative feeds on a per-category basis so I’ve split things as follows:

  1. Tech is anything Computer or Internet related, benchmark here is stuff that I think people on somewhere like might be interested in. ( I’ve asked the maintainers of that planet to switch their feed to this)
  2. Chess is chess related stuff
  3. Misc is general stuff not in the above two categories like what I did last week, posts on random junk etc, the sort of stuff random family and stalkers might be interested in.
  4. Everything just covers every post andis what the old RSS feeds redirects to.

Posts ( like this one ) that cover multiple topics will be posted to multiple feeds. But I’ll guess I see how things go.


I like WordPress

I spent a couple of ours doing a mock up of a possible new website ( sorry not online) for the
[Auckland Chess Centre]( (link is to the old site) using [wordpress](

I must say I was fairly impressed the [5 minute install]( really does
only take about 5 minutes and everything else is pretty easy. The only hard
bit was finding a good theme since most of those out there are blog based rather than
designed for fixed websites but I ended up picking the [deLight]( theme which [looks okay](

Overall I’m pretty impressed with WordPress and it took just a couple of hours of playing around
to get the site to 95% of what I want. Depending on the feedback I might be able to go
live in a few days.

Throughly recommended for small sites.


End of July Misc post.

As usual I’m a bit behind in stuff but the excuse this time is that around 6 months
ago I started playing chess competitively again ( previously was when I was still at school) so
I’ve been spending a bit of time at it. Right now it involves going to
[the club]( ( site being redone soon) one evening
a week, the odd tournament and some study and practice on [sites like this]( .

I’m now [ranked]( 332nd= in the country but
I think with a bit of work I could be in the top 200 in a few months if I keep at it.

Other stuff that is happening is that a proposal for a [Sysadmin Miniconf]( has been submitted
to [ 2009 in Hobart]( More details to come.

Some links:

A good paper at Usenix 2008 on [Handling Flash Crowds from your Garage](
[PDF version with the diagrams]( .

…and an interesting article on [How long will we be trapped in this mobile hell hole?](
panders to my dislike of mobile applications.

And finally a Watchmen Trailer / Heroes Mashup video: