Africa Chess Net launches its online blitz chess tournament

Africa Chess Net blitz
Africa Chess Net blitz

Africa Chess Net is delighted to announce its first online Blitz chess tournament. The first such tournament will be run on Saturday, 14 May 2016 on the chess24.com platform. The tournament will start 7PM (Johannesburg time). We have been planning this tournament for some time now and finally this evening the dream will become a reality. This first tournament is a trial run to see if such tournaments would be popular with chess players on the continent. 

The top seed for the tournament at the time of writing was International Master (IM) Prince Daniel Mulenga of Zambia. His blitz rating is 2441. Prince Daniel Mulenga

The main idea behind the tournament is simply to promote chess in Africa. We hope that by running a few tournaments online we will get more people to play chess and those already playing chess to improve their skills. You prize fund for the first tournament is very small at only 30 US dollars. Prize money will be paid via PayPal. The aim is to grow the number of players who take part in this tournament and hopefully also increase the price.

Entry to the tournament is FREE. While anyone can take part in the tournament, the idea is to encourage African players to take part in their numbers. For now we can only accommodate a maximum of 50 players. The time control is 4 + 2 and there will be only one winner.  In the event of a tie on points the tie break rules are: Direct Encounter, then Sonnenborn-Berger and then Games played with Black.

Anyone can take part in the tournament but only African players are eligible for prizes.

To register for the tournament please click here

If you don’t have a Chess24.com account you can register for one here.

 

Today I played a Super GM

How many of us have ever played a Grand master? OK, maybe a few. How about a Super GM? Here’s a riveting account by Prince Daniel Mulenga of Zambia about his encounter with a Super GM online. The result was very predictable but it was an experience he will never forget. Here is the story by Prince Daniel Mulenga (reproduced from his Facebook profile with kind permission!).

Prince Daniel Mulenga
Prince Daniel Mulenga

I have analysed both literally and virtually thousands of Super (>2700) GM games for the past 10 years and i have always been left in awe as to how beautiful and incredibly high their chess level is. I have always wished to play them in one way or another especially at World Chess Olympiads or World Chess Cup just to have a feel of their chess and today my wish was granted!!!

My day seemed to be heading in a very boring lane but before it could get any worse, I switched on my personal computer just to browse the internet as a way of killing time. I opened the following tabs on Chrome; facebook,Chess-results.com, 2700chess ratings.com, Youtube.com and Chess.com, obviously one can see that Music, Chess and Social networking was my intended remedy to kill the seemingly boring day!

As I was multi-tasking on my pc, i could not believe what I saw on one of my tabs, Chess.com to be specific, the King of “Internet Chess” had just logged in, in just nano seconds, i checked if he had started playing already owing to thousands of people wishing to play him on the site but i was surprised he was not. I immediately challenged him to a 3 minutes blitz game and to my Surprise, he accepted the challenge despite being 500+ points higher rated than me on the site, there i was with the white pieces against the King of Internet Chess who has practically demolished everyone who plays Blitz aswell as Bullet Chess on Internet for the past 15 years,from sites like Internet Chess Club( ICC), Playchess.com to Chess.com but just before i could play 1.e4( my trusted move when am in a combat mood) the game got aborted due to my poor network.

Damn, this stupid african network!,I screamed. It just robbed me the chance to play against one of the worlds best. I tried checking once more if he had started playing some other users and to my surprise he was still not! At the speed of light, i jumped to my bed to grab my phone and hope to challenge him using the chess.com app which i almost always use when i want to play games on the site. I quickly logged in on my phone and challenged him and boom!, he accepted and the game started.

I swear I have never felt both powerless and hopeless in my entire chess life as I did today, this guy gave me no chance to show him what i can do over the board, he was brutally imposing his will on me, I tried to hold up his pressure on the board but it was too much and before long I resigned. In a blink of seconds, I asked for a rematch and he gladly accepted. This time I had black, we played a theoretical line and I was amazed at how quick and fast he was banging out theoretically best moves which I had studied over and over, his ideas, strategies, tactics and incredible time management was just too much for me to handle, i felt really hopeless and once more i had to bury my head in sand by pressing the resign button. 2-0 in less than 5 minutes? Not even 2600 GMs does that to me on the site, i play them everyday and i cant lie, i get beaten in a decent way but this guy was not beating me, he was smashing me left, right, in and out!! There was no fighting, he was savagery demolishing me, I was not playing chess but I was going down in flames like a city invaded by drones! He made it seem like I knew chess today.

To my amazement, I thought after smashing me that badly, he would stop playing me and go and seek better opposition but this guy was the one offering me a match in our third game! I was like,”what”? This guy has just demonstrated how weak my chess is and he still wants more? With false confidence, I accepted his challenge, this time convincing myself that I could fight better, I stayed composed and boom! I was the first one to launch an unjustified attack on his king, he took my material one after the other finding the best counter resource available till my material disadvantage proved decisive,I swear I have checkmated GMs before on the site in a Nezhimdtinov style but not this guy! He was able to defend like a machine, seeking active defence at every chance and he just seemed so rounded up on his game.

4-0 it was! Without a meaningful fight? This was not happening to me! 5-0 it became! At this point I just wanted to break my phone by throwing it away but I remembered it is one hell of an expensive phone!( LOL). You should have seen how my face changed using all the colours of the rainbow due to the intense and severe pain this guy was inflicting on a poor soul who happens to be a unique talent in his country! After beating me five straight, this guy still kept on challenging me for a rematch, it seemed like it was hell in a cell for the weaker me,those wrestling matches with no way out, my instincts told me to run for my life but somehow I convinced myself that,what use is living longer on earth as a coward? I better die young with bravery and courage attached to my coffin! So I picked myself up from his knock out blows, I was limping but still i was more than ready to give my all, if he meant to kill me, let him do it, I convinced myself, i was not scared anymore of his beatings, they had become too much hence i was getting immune to them!! ( LOL)!

6-0 it was and he logged out! What the hell just happened to me? I tried to check the kibitzers comments( people watching), I saw like a billion comments on our game! I play GMs, IMs and FMs on the site every day and I never have such a multitude of people watching me but this guy just seemed to draw thousands of people to watch him that is when reality dawned on me that i was playing the King of Internet Chess himself, the Super Grandmaster, former World Championship Candidate a few days ago, the Current World Number 6 “Classical Chess” (2787 Fide) and the Current United States Champion!!!!
Ladies and gentlemen, today I played GM Hikaru Nakamura!!!!! Such an experience i will never forget in my life!!!!

Screenshot from Chess.com

Results of the games

The business model in chess is broken, for the players

Kathu Chess picWhen a singer releases a song they copyright it, they are able to earn an income from it. In theory if you want to own a song, you have to pay for that, one way or another. When a top chess player plays a game, he cannot directly earn anything from it. The game is free for anyone to play through and relive the magic. It is no coincidence that some of the top players in the history of chess died in poverty. A few names that come to mind are Mikhail Tal and Alexander Alekhine. These were brilliant players who went on to inspire future world champions.
 
Chess websites take  free chess games and package them into premium products which are paid for by chess players. This is a service appreciated by the chess fans who are prepared to pay a once-off amount or a subscription. Why don’t the chess websites provide these products free of charge? No they cannot do that. You see they cannot provide these products and services for free because they have spent money to create them. It has cost them something and they need to recover those costs and make a profit. If they provide these products for free they will operate at a loss and will probably have to close shop for good, sooner or later.  However, the money still from this still does not find its way to the chess players who created that initial product. I think there is something wrong with the business model chess for the players. They just create a product that is enjoyed for free to infinity.
 
What about the chess professional? He probably spends several hours preparing for tournaments. On average some players spend at least 5 hours or so studying chess.  How does he recover his costs? Some of them have coaches and seconds who must all be paid. Surely that money should not just come from prize money. No, it must come from sales in one way or another of their product, not the moves, but the game!
 
Paul Morphy quit chess because people made fun of it and just could not get to take him seriously. He had beaten just about everyone and could lay claim to being the best player in the world yet people of the day thought chess was too trivial a pursuit for one to make a living from. They were wrong. Today we have millionaires like our World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen. However, Carlsen should not be one of the few who can make a decent income from chess.
 
So the question ladies and gentlemen, is how can chess players benefit from their creation. I think there has to be a way. When a soccer game is played, not just anyone can broadcast the game. There has to be a broadcast licence in place. There is big money involved in the broadcast business, billions. Because there is so much money the soccer clubs are able to get a share of this money and then distribute it to their players.
 
Soccer players are rich not just because soccer is a popular game but because they found a fantastic way to monetise their business. Popularity is not enough to make money. You have to find a way to convert it into money into sales.
 
When you want to watch a good game of football at the stadium, you don’t just walk into the stadium. No, you buy tickets! You have to buy a ticket and you are willing to buy that ticket because you get good value for your money when you go to the game. Chess fans get good value from watching chess games. How much do they pay for this value. How much are they prepared to pay?
We are able to enjoy the genius of the great Jose Raul Capablanca because he was able to play chess without ever having to worry about money. The Cuban government paid Capablanca a salary if you want for most of his life as a roving ambassador. Thus Capablanca was able to focus on what he did best, play chess.
The money from the sale of chess related products is not finding its way to the original creators, the actual players.  Any chance that one day chess players might benefit directly from these sales? Time will tell. The business model in chess is broken. Chess professionals need a better deal.
 

Grandmaster Maurice Ashley inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame

Grand master Maurice Ashley
Grand master Maurice Ashley

Grand master Maurice Ashley will be inducted in the US Chess Hall of Fame on 13 April. For many years now Maurice Ashley has been working tirelessly to promote the game of chess. When he is not promoting chess on the World stage he has been busy in communities helping to transform lives through the power of chess. As a player Maurice overcame huge obstacles to become a grandmaster. He tremendous faith and self belief carried him through that and he has taken that self belief and conviction to everything he does whether it is working with youths from poor communities or introducing new ideas in the way tournaments are organised.

Chess’ First African American Grandmaster: The Infectious Wisdom of Maurice Ashley

Maurice is one of the people behind Millionaire Chess, a tournament which has breathed fresh air into the way tournaments are organised with its unique format at the end of the tournament.

Together with fellow partner Amy Lee they have established a tournament that is already one of the most exciting on the chess circuit as it pulls in some of the very top players in the world. After only 2 editions chess fans like myself are already looking forward to the next edition.

By getting inducted into the Hall of Fame Maurice Ashley becomes the first player of colour to achieve such a feat and joins a select few black Americans who have been honoured to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. These highly esteemed individuals include none other that President Barack Obama.

A Jamaican immigrant raised in Brooklyn, Maurice Ashley became the first black person to achieve the rank of grandmaster in 1999. At the time, it was a title possessed by less than 500 people in the whole world.

Here is an interview with CNN – Maurice Ashley: Life As A Grandmaster

The first time I heard Maurice commenting on a game of chess I was blown away. It was one of the tournaments sponsored by Intel and featured heavyweights like Garry Kasparov and speed King Vishwanathan Anand. Maurice did his commentary with such energy and enthuasism it was like you were watching a game of football. He brought the game alive, taking you through all the drama on the board, the ups and downs, every single minute and second of it. It was a game you wanted to watch until the very end.

According to its the website the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) celebrates one of the world’s oldest and best-loved games (chess) through vibrant, engaging exhibitions and creative programming. A not-for-profit, collecting institution situated in the heart of Saint Louis, the WCHOF houses both the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame, which honor the accomplishments of the game’s finest players.

The tributes are already pouring in on social media about Grand master Ashley. Below are just a few comments that were posted on social media about Maurice’s achievement at the US Hall of Fame.

That is so amazing! Congratulations Maurice. You have worked so hard in this area of your life and deserve all the great rewards of your work. I feel blessed to have been tutored by a Hall of Famer. – CS

I had already foreseen this. smile emoticon Everytime I go to WCHOF and look at the plaques, I envision both of these. It was a matter of when. – DS

Can’t wait to hear your induction speech because you are the best speaker in the business as well. – EG

Also thanks for inspiring generations of young african-american men from afar to pursuit the game with love and respect that it deserves. Remember seeing you for the first time at 11 years old and thinking one day I’d love to achieve such a profound level of excellence. RW

I can never forget asking myself what is this guy’s brain made of the first time I met him and saw him play blindfold chess against 5 people back in 2009. Now that I am in business with him, I admire him for his integrity and kind heart. Maurice is truly a special man! Very proud of his achievements! – AL

For many of us who have been following the Grand master’s career we cannot wait to see what his next milestone is. He is someone who is always aiming high and for the very best in everything he does. Let’s part with a quote from the Grandmaster, Losing is learning!

Finally what happens the Grandmaster meets a trash-talking hustler from New York.

The South Africa Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC), chess extravaganza with over 2400 players

The South African Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC) hosted at the University of Cape Town from 3 to 10 January 2016 was truly a massive event in its scope , a chess extravaganza if you like over the course of an entire week. At least  two thousand four hundred chess players took part in the  SAJCC tournament and there were over two hundred and forty teams of ten players per team took part in the event. It was hard to believe that there were so many chess players, so much chess taking place in one place. For a whole week thousands of people lived, breathed and ate chess. From the start to the end of the tournament there was excellent coverage of the tournament in the media.

Pictures from some of the winning teams

2 3 FB_IMG_1453366816205 Image
During the tournament, there was  an analysis room  at the Sports Centre that players and coaches could use.  It was a hive of activity throughout the City Sports Centre, the players in deep thought in the hall while nervous and anxious parents and coaches followed the games from the terraces, often for many hours before there was a result.
How can one forget the arbiters, what a job they had during the tournament.ArbitersThey have to criss-cross the hall endlessly as they attend to all kinds of queries. In the last hour of play it seems the number of blunders and illegal moves just increased. I for one did not envy the arbiters. One evening I saw a player who was completely winning, perhaps overcome with excitement, make an illegal move while in check.

Unfortunately he had moved his queen, and had to use the piece to block the check and the piece went for absolutely nothing. He resigned a move later. I felt for him. All those hours spent racking his brains and now it ends so suddenly and so painfully. How do you console such a player?

More pictures

During the tournament we were able to follow the games being played. How was this possible? Spare a thought for those who captured the games so that we can get them in PGN. They have to try and read the handwriting of players who under pressure can sometimes write like doctors, no offence to doctors.

There are many people running around behind the scenes to make sure that the shuttles arrive and drop off people, the rounds start on time and that things work as they should. It is hard to imagine that a venue can have as many as two thousand one hundred and fifty-eight people, all trying to checkmate each other.

The determination of the players just to get that point is just amazing. The time control means that players can be playing for at least 3 hours per round not even taking the increment into account. This means by the end of the day they can played for at least 6 hours a day. Getting rest before games is EXTREMELY important

All the best to our players and teams, some of whom are doing very well. There is still a great deal to play for in this tournament. The teams have 10 players and every single board makes a difference. May the best team and player win.”

It was such great pity I could not capture Roland Willenberg on video during the ‪#‎SAJCC2015‬ prize-giving. I missed the golden opportunity I had. His energy and support of the Western Province Team is really amazing. Seeing him in these junior chess championships is for me one of the highlights of the events. Great to see people so passionate about the game of chess.

Roland Willemberg
Andrew Fisher, the Convenor of the SAJCC 2015 gave updates every morning  during the chess championships to keep everyone in the loop with important information about the tournament.
Andrew Fisher
The buses ferrying players to and from the hostel to the playing venue worked liked clockwork which was extremely convenient for all concerned. It meant that players could focus on their most important task, playing chess!
Pictures from the Cape Town at the Inter Provincials and wild card events. The Inter-Provincial and Wild Card Events followed the main South African Junior Chess Championship.

Update from the ‪#‎SAJCC2015‬ Prize-giving ceremony

Deon Solomons , President of Western Province began his address for the prize-giving of the #SAJCC2015 which had kicked off with the introduction of the CHESS SOUTH AFRICA Executive Board.

There are many people who have been working behind the scenes to make the event a reality. 4000 litres of water have been supplied to #SAJCC2015.

Mark Lewis, the President of Western Cape gave his welcome remarks and the role of the Western Cape Province in the event. The number of players from the Western Cape taking part in the event wad amazing. Mark acknowledges the people he has been working with in the province. He ended with the following quote: No matter how many games you have lost you are still a winner.

Shanks Naidoo, Vice president of CHESS SOUTH AFRICA, expressed deep gratitude at the hosting of the event. There’s a lot that went into the hosting of an event of this magnitude. One of the big challenges was funding to ensure that players are able to make the event. Shanks ended by challenging the next CHESS SA to organise a bigger event.

A representative of the Provincial government was on hand to talk about the importance of chess in the province. The department of Sport and Recreation fully endorses chess. One of the greatest opportunities you can give learners is the opportunities to play sport. Well done to all the winners who will get their prizes. Chess is one of the codes where there’s a close working relationship between the Federation structures and the school structures. Chess is one of the codes where the province is doing exceptionally well as evidenced by the performance of the schools in national events.

CHESS SOUTH AFRICA President Eldo Smart was called upon to give some remarks. He asked all the arbiters to stand up. The arbiters are the unsung heroes of the game of chess. They were the first ones to arrive and the last ones to leave. Eldo shared the story of a child in the tournament who with a perfect 6 points was in a completely winning position. However, he agreed to a draw with his opponent in the last game, why? The opponent was crying because he only had one point in the whole tournament. So this very strong chess players sacrificed half a point for the sake of a weaker players. The fact that you are already here at the #SAJCC2015 makes you a winner. The motto at the Department of Sport is Better Together. That applies a great deal to chess players.

Report by Bruce Mubayiwa, who attended the event as a Teach Manager for Northern Cape, Under 14A Team.

Introducing Tornelo, next generation chess tournament management software

CaptureTornelo is web-based application (“in the cloud”) that allows a single arbiter or organiser to run a chess  event with instant results updates, pairings, game collection and more. You can run the event on any internet-connected device; an iPhone, tablet or computer.

The pairing engine in Tornelo

There are 2 options Tornelo provides for Pairing Engine…. the first “Tornelo” is an approximation of the FIDE Swiss rules. The second “JaVaFo” is the official FIDE engine written by a person with intimate knowledge of the FIDE system. This engine provides perfect pairings, and usually exactly the same as Swiss Manager or Swiss Perfect. It is the very same engine that is used in Vega, another tournament management software.
 
Changes made implemented immediately
Tornelo is Web-based Tournament Management Software or pairing program. Every change which you make in the software is INSTANTLY live on the internet. During a tournament the moment you enter a result in the program the website is updated for public users to see results.
 
You can setup a computer for players to enter results (there is a feature called KIOSK MODE in Tornelo) and players can enter results but not have other arbiter features. It’s a bit better than writing results on a piece of paper and of course results are then live online.
 
Quick pairings
Of course pairings are also posted live the moment they are done, so during a long-play tournament the players can just check the internet on their phone while having lunch and see already the next round pairings.
 
Recording the move of games
Tornelo can record moves of GAMES as well and the moment a move of a game is put into Tornelo the game is also broadcast live! Now you can broadcast every single game in your event live without buying a single DGT board! No setup, no cables, no technical knowledge needed. Imagine 100% of your games being broadcast live
 
So, how can the game moves get into Tornelo?
 
There are 3 ways:
 
1. Manual input after the game. The Kiosk Mode allows it, or an arbiter can enter moves off a scoresheet like the old days
 
2. Live input by tournament staff.
There is an Live Games Touch Input option, this is optimised for a tournament staff member to enter moves on an iPad or similar internet connected tablet. A cheap tablet is about 10% the cost of a DGT board and you can get a volunteer or arbiter to walk around the games and input moves into the tablet. These games  are then being broadcast live online without any further efforts. An arbiter can easily enter 20 games as well as do all the regular arbiter duties. There is also the possibility to get a dedicated move-input person and they can update many boards.

How to run the Tournament Management Software Tornello

Please go to the link for Tornelo – Australia,  https://au.tornelo.com.  Look for a link which says sign in using Facebook. That is to create an account using Facebook account.

Sign in
Looking for somewhere top right where it says Run a tournament. Click on it and you can start entering details on running a tournament now. Please make sure you leave PRIVATE TOURNAMENT Blank. Tornello will keep a record of the tournaments you run in the program.

How to run the Tournament Management Software Tornello

Please go to the link for Tornelo – Australia,  https://au.tornelo.com.  Look for a link which says sign in using Facebook. That is to create an account using Facebook account.

Sign in
Looking for somewhere top right where it says Run a tournament. Click on it and you can start entering details on running a tournament now. Please make sure you leave PRIVATE TOURNAMENT Blank. Tornello will keep a record of the tournaments you run in the program.

My tournaments
VERY IMPORTANT – Tournament is NOT FIDE APPROVED. However, it is great for organising unrated tournaments. It could very well be a glimpse of the future in organising tournaments.
 

Sandile Mfundisi wins the Lesotho Open

The Kasparov Chess Foundation recently posted the following article on their Facebook page about the Lesotho Open:

“Sandile Mfundisi emerged victorious at Prestige section of the 2016 Lesotho Open as he held his nerve in the final round to head home a 1/2 point ahead of the field of 44 players.

Sandile gets his trophy Sandile Mfundisi, Winner of the Prestige Section of the Lesotho Open

Sandile was made to wait before claiming the prize however as the final standings were decided by board 1 match which proved to be the last game in the entire event to finish. Clive Mthunzi eventually had to agree to a draw on board 1 after pushing for many hours against the local hero Tokelo Klaas and this left both players in a tie for second place. They were joined by WFM Jesse February who beat the ever consistent Alfred Pesa in the final round to also secure her place on the podium.

Lesotho Open

Klaas ended as the top ranked Lesotho player and earned over 60 FIDE rating points for his efforts. He is expected to improve to number 3 in Lesotho as a result of his efforts.

Congratulations are also due to Khanyapa Theko; Nyofane Katleho; Motlohi Motlatsi; Mohlahli Motsie; Maepe Thabang; Sekhoto Lehlohonolo; Motlomelo Khotso and Mohale Lebona
who all achieved full FIDE rating results in the tournament.

There were over 120 players participating across the 3 sections which also saw 40+ players in the U/14 section and a further 40+ players in the Open category.

We look forward to seeing the overall impact of the tournament when the February FIDE rating list is released next week.

Final results are available at http://www.chess-results.com/tnr202904.aspx… and the games from the top 10 boards in each round will be uploaded shortly for those that wish to retrieve them.”

Sandile had this to share about the tournament in his status update on Facebook:

“Very happy that I won the 2016 Lesotho Championship and I would like to say thank you to everyone who helped me participate and do my best in it. Lesotho is a very beautiful country with great people and I will certainly be going back to defend my Title.

I appreciate all your support. It was not easy but with unwavering self-belief, motivation from loved ones and remembering who I am, the underrated underdog came through once again. The Ultimate Upsetter. The favorite in disguise.

Thank you all. You can also be winner. Just have faith in the fact that God can never create a loser because you are his image and everything is possible for Him therefore victory is DEFINITELY possible for you as well.”

A very happy winner! Enjoying the moment

Donald Macfarlane, the man who beat Vishwanathan Anand and Michael Adams

There is a chess player who has  beaten the likes of Vishwanathan Anand and Michael Adams and he is right here in South Africa.  Anand, one of the best chess players in the history of the game, the man who won the World Chess Championship more times and in more different formats than anyone else. Who beat him in a game? Michael Adams was a mainstay in the World’s very top Grandmasters in the past few decades and has recently been a second to current World Chess Champion  Magnus Carlsen. Who is that man from Africa who beat both these chess giants over the board?That man is Donald Macfarlane.

International Master David Gluckman recently posted in the SA Chess Players Group on Facebook: For those with long chess memories … South Africa’s best ever junior player is 50! Western Province Closed champion at age 13, South African Closed champion at age 17, 3 times SA High Schools’ champion aside from victories over the Super Grand masters Former World Chess Champion Vishwanathan Anand and British Grand master Michael “Mickey” Adams.

The McFarlane Clan

Mark Rubery, a great source of information on chess then weighed in with some fascinating details on the encounters between MacFarlane and the Super Grand Masters. He added: Here is a chess trivia question for you: Which South African born chess player has beaten a World Champion? Clue: He was the youngest South African Closed Champion at 17. The answer is the 1983 SA Closed Champion Donald MacFarlane who defeated a promising 16 year old from India in the following game.

Anand,V (2385) – MacFarlane,D [D42]
Lloyds Bank op London, 1985
1.e4 c6 2.c4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.d4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Be7 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Bd3 Nc6 9.0-0 0-0 10.Re1 Nf6 11.a3 b6 12.Bg5 Bb7 13.Bc2 Re8 14.Qd3 g6 15.Rad1 Nd5 16.Nxd5 Qxd5 17.Bb3 Qa5 18.d5 Bxg5 19.dxc6 Ba6 20.Bc4 Bxc4 21.Qxc4 Bf6 22.Re2 Red8 23.Rxd8+ Rxd8 24.c7 Rc8 (Not 24…Rd1+ 25 Re1 Rxe1+ 26 Nxe1 Qxe1+ 27 Qf1 win-ning) 25.Rc2 Qd5 26.Qxd5 exd5 27.Kf1 Kf8 (And Black is already better as his bishop will dominate the knight) 28.Ke2 Ke7 29.Kd3 Kd7 30.Nd2 Rxc7 31.Rxc7+ Kxc7 32.b3 Kd6 33.Nf1 b5 34.Ne3 Bb2 35.Nc2 a5 36.f3 Ke5 37.g3 g5 38.a4 bxa4 39.bxa4 Kd6 40.Ne3 Kc5 41.Kc2 Bd4 42.Nf5 Bg1 43.h3 Kb4 44.Nd6 f6 45.Ne8 Bd4 46.Kd3 Ba1 47.Nc7 Kxa4 48.Nxd5 Kb3 49.Ne3 a4 0-1

The next year the South African defeated the 15 year old Michael Adams convincingly and then in Fischeresque fashion left competitive chess, never to return.

MacFarlane,D (2360) – Adams,M (2295) [A22]
Oakham YM Oakham (6), 1986
1.c4 e5 2.e3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Nge2 0-0 5.a3 Bxc3 6.Nxc3 Re8 7.Be2 e4 8.d3 exd3 9.Bxd3 Nc6 10.b3 d6 11.0-0 Ne5 12.Bc2 Ng6 13.Bb2 c6 14.Qd4 c5 15.Qd2 Ng4 16.Rad1 Be6 17.Qxd6 Qg5 18.Qg3 Qh5 19.Nd5 Rac8 20.h3 Nh6 21.Nf4 Qh4 22.Qxh4 Nxh4 23.Nxe6 Rxe6 24.Rd7 Rb6 25.Rfd1 Ng6 26.Rd8+ Rxd8 27.Rxd8+ Nf8 28.Be5! 1-0

One can’t help wondering how far Ian MacFarlane would have gone with his chess. That’s a question whose answer we will never know. One thing for sure is he left the scene at the very top of his game, just like the legend Bobby Fischer. Donald MacFarlane is surely a legend himself! Happy Belated Birthday.

Credit for information and pictures:  Mark Rubery, David Gluckman

6 years since we started Africa Chess net!

Its been 6 years since I started running the website AfricaChess Net. Its been an amazing journey, learning how to manage a wordpress website, do a little bit of coding here and there and promoting a game I love so much, chess! Necessity is the mother of invention. When you are thrown in the deep end you have no choice but to learn how to swim.

When I started the website I had a bit of trouble trying to get someone to run the website for me. I got so frustrated that at some point that I  just wanted to quit trying to sort out all the website issues and problems. In the end  I decided to learn from myself how wordpress works.  What does it take to run a wordpress website? This was a question on my mind for a very long time.

Today I am very grateful for these painful lessons over the years which included the website crashing, losing content which was not backed up, expired domain names and email, and hacking as well. All these lessons and experiences  got me to learn more about how websites work.

In the time that Africa Chess Net has been running we have tried to promote chess on the continent but we still have a very long way to go. We are under-reporting chess events on the continent by a long shot. There is so much happening in African Chess and we are not even skimming the surface. It would be great if we could have an article a day on African Chess with the website having sections per country. However, it is not easy to find chess writers who focussed on the continent.  So far the website design is very simple. Maybe in future we can become more sophisticated and offer more to our readers. Here’s to another 6 years of promoting the game of chess on our continent.

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen recaps 2015

World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen recently took time out from playing chess to recap his previous year in chess (2015).  He gave a frank overview  of the year highlighting the highs and lows of his year. What is quite unusual is the fact that such strong player, a world champion, in fact the highest rated player in the history of the game being so accessible and sharing such insight and detail about his chess. Being so frank and honest about both victory and defeat. This is very refreshing. Players do give interviews now and then but it is hard to recall a World Champion doing this kind of thing. It can only augur well for the popularity of the game. We have been following chess for some  time now and I cannot recall a player of Carlsen’s calibre sharing such information with the public.

In recaping his year Carlsen did not shy away from the disappointments of the year and pretty much covered all the events he took part in. According to Carlsen, he played the worst tournament of his career 2015. That tournament was the Arctic Open where he failed to achieve 50% in the tournament and lost in the last round to his Norwegian counterpart Jon Ludvig Hammer. It was probably the first time that a reigning World Chess Champion had done so poorly in a chess tournament. At that point in the year things were certainly going south but he managed to turn around the year spectacularly.  By his standards Carlsen did not have a great year, but he finished it on a high winning the Qatar Masters Open and the Grand Chess Tour.

Carlsen is pushing the limits not just on the chess board but away from the board as well. Carlsen is reshaping the way we see the chess players and I think in some respects setting a standard when it comes to promoting the game. Just like his level of chess, the standard he is setting for promoting chess in the general media is very high.What an ambassador for the game we love so much. Hopefully he will have a better 2016.