Wednesday, 10 January 2018

SA Junior team championships

The South African junior team championships for 2017/18 were held at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg from 3rd to 8th January 2018. Detailed results for all the sections can be found on, for example, here is a link to the results of the under 20 A section. There were more than 250 teams with about 2 500 players taking part in the team event, which was divided into multiple sections in each age group, from under 8 up to under 20. For purposes of this report, I will note the sections and summarise the results of team KZN:

Firstly, our Ilembe district sent 4 teams. They finished 7th in the u10C section, 3rd in the u12C, 5th in the u14C and 4th in the u18C section.

Our King Cetshwayo district sent 6 teams. They won a magnificent 2 golds and a silver! Their golds came in the u10C section and u12D section, with silver in the u16C section. Their other teams were 7th in the u12D, 4th in the u14C and 6th in the u14E section.

The Ethekwini district sent the most teams, which were all competing in the A sections of each age group. They were 2nd in the u8A, 3rd in the u10A, 3rd in the u12A, 5th in the u14A, 3rd in the u16A, 4th in the u18A and 5th in the u20A section. Considering that the results were better in the younger age groups, this bodes well for the future. Perhaps the most disappointing result was the u16A, which won a gold medal last year, and could have won gold again, had all the top players been available.

Lastly, I must mention that Joseph Mwale won the very strong blitz event with a perfect score of 7/7, showcasing once again his talent at blitz.

Photos and videos from the event are available on Facebook.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Know the rules

There was an unbelievable incident at the recent World Blitz Championship, held on 29th and 30th December 2017, which showed that top players and an International Arbiter did not know the FIDE rules of chess! I am referring to the first round game between Carlsen and Inarkiev, where the following incident occurred:

As can be seen in the video, White plays Rxb7+, which was answered by the illegal move Ne3+. Carlsen should have claimed the game immediately, in terms of Blitz rule A.4.2, but instead played Kd3. At which point Inarkiev stopped the clock, claimed that Carlsen made a move in an illegal position, and somehow got the match arbiter to give him the point!!

Soon after this, the Chief Arbiter correctly told Inarkiev that Kd3 was not an illegal move and asked him to continue the game. Black refused, knowing that he had a lost endgame after the Rooks were swapped off, so the CA gave Carlsen the point.

This decision then went on appeal, and the appeals committee ruled in White's favour. You can find an interesting interview with Takis Nikolopoulos and another interview with Malcolm Pein about the incident and the relevant rules. It is worth noting that from 1st January 2018 the FIDE laws for Blitz and Rapid have been changed so that the second illegal move loses the game, but at the time the game was played, the first illegal move in Blitz or Rapid lost the game.

The moral of the story is know the rules! You can download these from the FIDE rules website.