Saturday, October 3, 2009

Shirov fire on Gold Coast boards; Ketsana rain in Manila castles

WHILE tropical storm Ketsana was wreaking havoc over the weekends in Metro Manila, Philippines, a figurative wildfire was ablaze in the Land Down Under—at the Surfers Paradise in Gold Coast, Australia—when Spanish super grandmaster Alexei Shirov, one of the world’s elite players, took on 26 opponents in a simultaneous exhibition at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre on Sunday, 27th September.

Ketsana, locally named Ondoy in Manila, poured a heavy volume of rain the country has never seen before to unsuspecting population in the metropolis and nearby cities and municipalities. Nearly a month's worth of rain fell in just six hours Saturday, triggering the worst flooding in the Philippine capital in 42 years, which stranded thousands on rooftops in the city and elsewhere.

Destruction to houses and properties and death tolls were colossal in magnitude. The raging flood caught by surprise both the unwary local and national governments. A selection of photographs from the affected areas over the past week can be viewed here.

Surfers Paradise triple chess events

The Shirov simultaneous exhibition is part of the Surfers Paradise triple chess events held at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre and organized by Amir Karibasic who is fond of novelty events. Here’s a description of the events from the tournament chief arbiter, Charles Zworestine:
"For the 2008 event, Super GM Alexei Shirov judged the brilliancy prize: a nice feature of the event, which understandably proved very popular. But this time, both Amir and Alexei did substantially better: Alexei showed up in person! Yes, he made the long trip to Australia (his second visit, after the 2000 Olympics in Sydney where he played an exhibition game against Vishy Anand) to give a talk on the Saturday night and a simul on the Sunday afternoon.
Shirov played against 26 “brave souls” (in Dr. Zworestine’s words) from across Australia including youngsters, adults and seniors such as Gold Coast organizer Graeme Gardiner who was seen playing for the first time by most Aussie chess players and parents. It was originally planned for Shirov to play against 25 players but Amir decided to use the opportunity to play the super grandmaster who willingly accommodated him as the 26th entry.

Here is the list of the participants to GM Shirov’s simultaneous display:

Wildfire on chess boards

The spectators were all amazed to witness one of the world’s chess elite players aggressively attacked on practically all boards. The kibitzers and the challengers realized why Shirov's play is described as 'fire on board' which bear the title of the two volumes of his best games. No wonder after almost three hours of play all challengers went down in defeat save for one! The last man standing (‘last kid sitting’ is literally more apt) was 11-year old Daniel Lapitan who offered the grandmaster a draw after his 28th move of their Sicilian Sveshnikov encounter.

"I drew with the Super Grandmaster!"
Daniel Lapitan's Score Sheet
As a matter of protocol a draw offer should come from the exhibition player but here Shirov did not mind consenting to a draw because as he told the crowd after their game Daniel, playing black, ‘has a better position’.

Shirov gave Daniel his new book entitled “Fire on Board Part II”, along with an autographed chess board. This was the second time Daniel finished in a draw with a Grandmaster in a simultaneous chess game. He was only eight years old on the first occasion when he finished in a draw with Grandmaster Dejan Antic from Serbia/Montenegro.

Another junior player, Amin Fazel also came close to getting a draw as Shirov, who admitted afterwards, thought about offering a draw in their game. Amin played for a win but lost in the end, as it was the super GM who better handled the pinning tactics…

Here is the score of the Lapitan (Black) game:

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Bxf6 gxf6 10.Nd5 Bg7 11.Bd3 O-O 12.c3 Re8 13.Nc2 f5 14.Qh5 f4 15.g3 Ne7 16.Ncb4 Bb7 17.gxf4 Nxd5 18.exd5 e4 19.Be2 Qf6 20.Rg1 Rf8 21.Rg4 Kh8 22.O-O-O Qh6 23.Qxh6 Bxh6 24.Nc2 Rae8 25.Ne3 f5 26.Rh4 Bg7 27.Rg1 Bc8 28.Kd2 h6 1/2-1/2

Eight of the 26 games were streamed live on the internet via Monroi and can be replayed from here.

Shirov lecture on Saturday night

Besides the simultaneous display Shirov also gave a lecture the night before on Saturday. He first showed one of his games as Black in the complicated Dragon variation of the Sicilian Defense. He used it to demonstrate how top players prepare for a game, trying to find favorable transpositions to improve on the standard positions arising from the opening. Then he showed something completely different: how he thought at the board in a game where his position was not good, and managed to win the game.

Chess Results

Here are the results of the main tournaments:
The tournament arbiter's description of the main tournament follows:
"Amir’s 3 tournaments: the 6 round Open and Under 1600 events on both days, and the 6 round ‘fun tournament’ on the Sunday. While not quite as strong as last year, the Open event still featured our latest GM, David Smerdon, as top seed; an IM, fourth seeded Leonid Sandler; a WIM, fifth seed Anastasia Sorokina; and two FMs, second seed Vlad Smirnov and young Gene Nakauchi. Add to this a former Australian Junior Champion, third seed Moulthun Ly, and we knew we're in for a fun event!"
Open Prizes: = 1st Moulthun Ly, Phachara Wongwichit, David Smerdon 5/6; = 4th Leonid Sandler, Jonas Muller, George Lester (the latter two = 1st Under 2000) 4.5/6; = 5th (and all = 3rd Under 2000 except the first two) Vladimir Smirnov, Ben Lazarus, Yi Liu, Brodie McClymont, Ian Rout, Ryan Stevens, Justin Tan, Bruce Williams 4/6.

Under 1600 Prizes: 1st Joerg Hackenschmidt-Uecker 5.5/6; = 2nd Doug Williams, Alex O’Flynn 5/6; 4th Craig Stewart 4.5/6; = 5th Axel Stahnke, Mark Cervenjak 4/6; = 1st Under 1200 Joe Delmastro, Kees Huband-Lint 4/6.

Under 1000 (Fun Section) Prizes: 1st Curtis Jack 5.5/6; = 2nd Jake Pyper, Andrew Peck 4.5/6; = Best Junior (latter two also = Best Female) Alex Jack, Melanie Karibasic, Shelley Xing 4/6.

1 comment:

  1. The Chess Connoisseur received a comment which, due to server error, was not published and vanished in thin air. To do justice to the sender, we are posting it ourselves according to our recollection on order that the reader will not be led into a "false belief". If memory serves, here it is:

    "The last kid standing is not Daniel Lapitan but 11-year-old Ivan Zelich, ACF 630, who check-mate (strictly "checked"-TCC) Shirov with his rook. Shirov has to cover with his queen which he lost in exchange for the rook. The game continued until past 8:00 pm. The kid lost because he was exhausted."

    Our thanks to the sender for the additional information that provides a much fuller picture of the simul.

    Readers of this blog have probably noticed that The Chess Connoisseur aims at a more comprehensive coverage of events or subjects it posts.

    Readers contribution and participation in this way is most welcome.