Jul 20 2009

Playing tournaments online


As you probably know by now, the ChessCube SA Open 2009 implemented a world-first by allowing players at a venue in Melbourne , Australia to compete in the main tournament held in Cape Town, South Africa. This was accomplished by playing the games between these opponents online using ChessCube’s server.

Each round the players in South Africa were transported to ChessCube’s offices where they played under the supervision of FIDE Arbiter Simbarashe Murimi. Players were given the option to use a normal board in conjunction with the computer, or the computer alone. Except for one game, all players chose to still use the normal board as well.

Round 1: Arbiter “Simba” and player Leon Smit

Round 1: Arbiter “Simba” and player Leon Smit

On the Australian side GM Gawain Jones, IM Puchen Wang and IM Mirko Rujevic were playing under the watchful eye of International Arbiter Gary Bekker. Because of the eight hour time difference the games in Melbourne usually started in the early morning hours – about 2:30 AM local time! However, despite these conditions the players were always on time and in a cheerful mood, ready to battle for the full point.

The players down under…

The players down under…

The tournament saw the world’s first Grandmaster clash online in a Round 8 encounter between GM Dimitri Komarov and GM Gawain Jones. Unfortunately for such a noteworthy occasion the game ended much too soon when the players agreed to a draw after only 11 moves: 1. d4  Nf6 2. Nf3  g6 3. c4  Bg7 4. Nc3  O-O 5. e4  d6 6. Be2  e5 7. O-O  Nc6 8. d5  Ne7 9. b4  c6 10. Nd2  a5 11. bxa5  Qxa5  1/2-1/2

The result might be understandable from a psychological point of view, but it did not go down well with the numerous online spectators who were hoping for an exciting game between the tournaments strongest players.

The eventual winner of the event, GM Amon Simutowe, also played two games online. He looked right at home in the online environment and left with two draws against his strong opponents. After the games he commented that it went much better than he had expected and that he enjoyed the games. He also said that ChessCube was very easy to use and that he really liked the site, “technically it was a home run”.

Winner of the event – GM Amon Simutowe

Winner of the event – GM Amon Simutowe

One of the most exciting games was played in the penultimate round when FM Charles de Villiers took on GM Gawain Jones. The game proceeded as follows:

1. d4  Nf6 2. c4  g6 3. Nc3  Bg7 4. e4  d6 5. f4  O-O 6. Nf3  Na6 7. e5  Nd7 8. c5  c6 9. Bxa6  bxa6 10. Be3  Rb8 11. O-O  Rxb2 12. Qa4  Nb8 13. Qa3  Rb7 14. cxd6  exd6 15. Ne4  d5 16. Nd6  Qe7 17. Bf2  Rb6 18. Bh4  f6 19. Rae1  Be6 20. Re3  Qd7 21. exf6  Bxf6 22. Bxf6  Rxf6 23. Ne5  Qd8 24. Ng4  Bxg4 25. Re8+  Qxe8 26. Nxe8  Re6 27. h3  Rxe8 28. hxg4  Re2 29. Rf3  Rb1+ 30. Kh2  Rbb2 31. Re3  Rxg2+ 32. Kh1  Rge2 33. Rxe2  Rxe2 34. Qd6  Re8 35. Qc7  a5 36. f5  gxf5 37. gxf5  Rf8 38. f6  Rxf6 39. Qxb8+  Kg7 40. Qxa7+  Kg6 41. Qxa5

White should have an easy win

White should have an easy win

At this point White should have an easy win, but somehow black managed to fight on and get away with a draw.

41… Kf5 42. Qc7  Rh6+ 43. Kg2  Ke4 44. Qe5+  Kd3 45. Kf2  Rh1 46. Qe3+  Kc4 47. Kg2  Rb1 48. Qe2+  Kc3 49. Qe3+  Kc4 50. Kf2  Rb2+ 51. Kf3  Rxa2 52. Kf4  Ra8 53. Qe7  Kxd4 54. Qb4+  Kd3 55. Qb6  Ra4+ 56. Ke5  Re4+ 57. Kd6  Rc4 58. Qb1+  Kd2 59. Qxh7  d4 60. Qh2+  Kc3 61. Qe5  Kb3 62. Qe4  Kc3 63. Qe1+  Kc2 64. Qe2+  Kc3 65. Qe1+  Kc2 66. Qe2+  Kb3 67. Qd3+  Kb4 68. Qb1+  Kc3 69. Qa1+  Kd2 70. Qb2+  Ke3 71. Qb6  Rc2 72. Ke5  c5 73. Qh6+  Kd3 74. Qg6+  Kc3 75. Qg1  Kc4 76. Qg8+  Kc3 77. Qg1  Kb2 78. Ke4  Rc3 79. Qf2+  Kb3 80. Qf7+  Kb2 81. Qf2+  Ka3 82. Qd2  Kb3 83. Qd1+  Kb2 84. Qe2+  Kb3 85. Qb5+  Ka2 86. Qa6+  Kb1 87. Qb5+  Kc1 88. Qf1+  Kd2 89. Qf2+  Kd1 90. Qf1+  Kc2 91. Qe2+  Kc1  1/2-1/2

In the end it was not to be for Charles and he had to be satisfied with a draw. Nevertheless it was an excellent game to watch, with most online spectators being present for hours while the game was taking place.

Round 10: FM Charles de Villiers almost causing an upset

Round 10: FM Charles de Villiers almost causing an upset

All in all most players seemed to enjoy the new experience very much, with most of them having their first chance to play against a titled player. Feedback was positive and will be reported soon!

Jul 17 2009

Amon Simutowe wins SA Chess Open 2009


Amon Simutowe wins SA Chess Open 2009, and is the first FIDE Grandmaster in sub-Saharan Africa

It was a week of firsts for the 2009 SA Chess Open. Amon Simutowe, a 27 year old Zambian chess player, won the 2009 SA Chess Open on 11 July, and became the first FIDE Grandmaster in sub-Saharan Africa in the same week. The SA Open was also the first FIDE rated tournament to include online matches.

The SA Open 2009, sponsored by ChessCube, was the strongest SA Open ever, with 5 International Masters and 3 Grandmasters competing. For chess players, the tournament also featured FIDE rated online matches with three participants joining in from Australia.

Simutowe at ChessCube

Simutowe competes at ChessCube

Although Grandmaster Gawain Jones led the tournament for several rounds, playing all of his matches online using ChessCube’s live chess platform, it was the 27 year old Zambian Amon Simutowe who took home the title.

“The SA Open 2009 demonstrated that online matches are viable and such participants will become increasingly common in over the board tournaments,” says Mark Levitt, CEO and founder of ChessCube. “It was very encouraging to see the enthusiastic participation of the players in this chess tournament world first.”

Chess is truly a sport that brings people from around the world together. Grandmaster Simutowe has travelled to over 40 countries playing chess, and the SA Open 2009 saw participants from over 14 countries converge on Cape Town to compete. Although ChessCube is based out of South Africa, it boasts users from over 200 countries. While chess has always enabled top players to travel the world to play matches, the Internet now allows players from anywhere on the globe to play each other online.

ChessCube is proud to have been a proponent of this exciting new development in chess tournaments.

Jul 15 2009

SA Open 2009: winners and results


The SA Open 2009 came to a close on Saturday 11 July. Amon Simutowe of Zambia won the SA Open, and also became a FIDE Grandmaster in the same week.

All results can be found on the SA Open 2009 website, and the top 30 players are listed below:

===    =======    =====    ==============
1    1    ZAM    SIMUTOWE, A
2    2    ENG    JONES, G
3    3    NZL    WANG, P
4    3    UKR    KOMAROV, D
5    3    RSA    VAN DER NAT,
6    6    RSA    MOSETHLE, KK
7    6    ZIM    MAKOTO, R
8    6    RSA    VAN RENSBURG
9    6    ZAM    SIMUTOWE, M
10    6    ZIM    MOYO, L
11    6    GER    LOCHTE, T
12    6    RSA    STEENKAMP, J
13    6    HUN    KISS, P
14    6    ZAM    PHIRI, R
15    6    RSA    MEYER, GC
16    16    RSA    MABUSELA, JM
17    16    RSA    WEIDEMAN, HJ
18    16    RSA    DOLE, A
19    16    RSA    DE VILLIERS,
20    16    RSA    SOLOMONS, DM
21    16    RSA    MEINTJES, JC
22    16    AUS    RUJEVIC, M
23    16    ZIM    CHIMBAMU, E
24    16    RSA    REDFORD, SJ
25    16    RSA    KLAASEN, CJ
26    16    RSA    DAVIES, JS
27    27    RSA    MATHE, LD
28    27    RSA    WILLENBERG,
29    27    RSA    NELSON, WJH
30    27    MAW    MBEDZA, R

Congratulations to all the participants. We will be posting pictures and feedback from the event.

Jul 10 2009

SA Open: two rounds to go


There are only two rounds left of the SA Chess Open 2009, and it looks to be a fiercely contested title. In the top three, after 9 rounds, we have A Simutowe from Zambia, G Jones from England (and playing from Australia) and P Wang from New Zealand (also an online participant).

The last two rounds will be played this evening and on Saturday at Wynberg Boys’ High School in Cape Town, with the closing ceremony at 6pm on Saturday at the same venue.

If you’re in the area, you should stop by to watch! All online games are broadcast on a big screen at the venue.

Watch this space for a round-up, and feedback from the players in this very unique tournament.

Jul 3 2009

FIDE rated tournament participation online


ChessCube, the fast-growing online chess community and live chess platform, in association with Chess South Africa (CHESSA), is proud to announce a world first: participants in Australia will compete in the ChessCube SA Open 2009 by logging in to ChessCube and playing scheduled matches online.

ChessCube is the sponsor of the SA Open 2009, hosted by Western Province Chess Association under the auspices of CHESSA. While ChessCube is pleased to continue its sponsorship of this event, this year marks a world-first occasion. Players in another location, in fact another continent, will compete in the SA Open 2009 using the Internet.

As well as players and teams from southern Africa, four players in Australia will participate online using the ChessCube server. The four players, who will be playing from Melbourne Australia, are GM Gawain Jones (GBR – ELO 2550), IM Puchen Wang (NZL – ELO 2453), IM Mirko Rujevic (AUS – ELO 2282) and IM Leonid Sandler (AUS – ELO 2332) on standby. The arbiter in Melbourne is IA Gary Bekker (AUS).

Each Australian player will use a computer to connect to ChessCube and play their game, and will be supervised by the arbiter on that side. Similarly the players paired against them in Cape Town will play their games online using a computer, and will be supervised by an arbiter on this side. The remote players are in contention for all prize money and titles – similar to local players. FIDE have also agreed to officially rate the games played over the Internet.

The SA Open 2009 Tournament will be held at Wynberg Boys High School in Cape Town from 3 to 11 July. The pairings for round 1 will be published on 3 July, with the first games taking place from 18:30 on Friday 3 July. The full schedule will be available online at www.saopen2009.com.

Spectators can also follow the online matches by logging in to www.chesscube.com. The scheduled matches will be announced by ChessCube and on www.saopen2009.com.