Tag Archives: chess lecture

A Chess Lecture on Losing

Rhys Goldstein
Rhys Goldstein

“The Role of the Loser” by Rhys Goldstein

…a lecture on losing inspired by the following quote:

“What we shouldn’t forget is that it takes two very good players to create a brilliant game. I always feel the role of the loser in a brilliancy is underestimated. I always thought the loser should really get the money for the brilliancy prize. The winner’s happy anyway.”

– Bill Hartston

  • 6:50-7:20 pm
  • 918 Bathurst
  • Mon March 23
  • $5 casual drop-in fee
  • Free for ACC members and chess students

If you missed the lecture, here is a great article version (pdf) of the lecture: Role_of_the_Loser

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GM Elshan Moradiabadi in Toronto

July 8 – Simultaneous Exhibition and Chess Lecture

While the 126 mm of torrential rainfall in Toronto on Monday afternoon and evening (beating the one-day record set during Hurricane Hazel) dampens some spirits (and drenches others as it causes flash flooding and power outages around the city) we still have quite a good turnout at the Club to meet with, learn from, and play against our visiting Iranian grandmaster, Elshan Moradiabadi. Thirteen players play in the simultaneous exhibition, and many regulars as well as half a dozen guests join in for the lecture. But before GM Moradi gets started, we are treated to a special presentation (and an urgent plea) by David Bitton.

Before the show – David Bitton’s chessboxing documentary

David Bitton

The evening’s opening act is David Bitton, promoting his documentary, Chessboxing: The King’s Discipline. David is currently using Kickstarter to fund production of the film. If he raises $35 000 before Wednesday July 18, he gets to keep all the pledges. (Note that there are T-shirts and other rewards in return for your donation.) But if not, he gets nothing, the money is refunded, and the film doesn’t get produced – crowdfunding through Kickstarter is all or nothing! Please help him out if you can. Check out the promo video, below!

Elshan’s lecture – “Simple Chess: Capablanca to Carlsen”

Moradi Lecture at ACC - play

The theme of Elshan Moradi’s lecture is “simple chess,” which is a common chess expression used to describe calm, solid moves that simply enhance one’s pieces, creating a stronger, more logical position. Contrary to popular belief, Elshan emphasizes that these “simple chess” moves are not to be played as an alternative to complicated calculations, but rather “simple chess players do have to calculate well – and at a very deep level.” Using Capablanca as the original “simple chess” player, Elshan shows how the “simple chess” tradition is continued through Karpov and Carlsen. He also humbly includes himself in the list of “simple chess players.”

“Capablanca is a very logical player,” he tells us. “His play looks easy.” But not only does it often take a lot of calculation to be able to see that Capablanca’s solid “simple chess” move is playable, it can take a lot of foresight to see where the pieces have to go to create a “simple,” logical position. And then the slight advantages played for by “simple chess players” like Capablanca often require a lot of finesse to convert to a full point.

After establishing the “simple chess” technique in Capablanca’s games, the lecture moves on to examine Karpov’s play. Along with showing Karpov’s strong “simple chess” moves, Elshan jokes about points in his games where Karpov just plays a3 or h3 (or both!), waiting to see what his opponent will do. “a3, h3; a3, h3; … You should see how many games there are where Karpov plays a3 and h3!” But not everything the strongest players do should be imitated. “Karpov can play a3 and h3 because he’s Karpov. I’m not allowed to play like that.”

Elshan is even more full of admiration (and humour) when it comes to Carlsen. Carlsen doesn’t mind, even when he’s playing white, exchanging pieces into a position that looks dead equal. In a few moves, it won’t be equal any more. “Carlsen doesn’t like to play opening theory…. He wins because he’s Carlsen.” Showing a position where Carlsen has gained a very slight advantage, Elshan admits that “it’s not easy to win from this position. But Carlsen just …” At this point Elshan imitates Carlsen putting his hands up, stretching on one side, then on the other, as we all laugh. “Yeah,” he says. “Have you seen Carlsen play? It’s like he’s at a picnic.”

This enjoyable and instructive lecture comes with fully annotated games, which Elshan has promised to provide. We’ll post the notes here.

The Simul – GM Elshan Moradi vs 13 Toronto chess players

GM Elshan Moradiabadi at Adrian Chin's board 12 (Mike Ivanov on 11, Marcus Wilker on 13)
GM Elshan Moradiabadi at Adrian Chin’s board 12
(Mike Ivanov on 11, Marcus Wilker on 13)

With a few more players joining night-of, there are 13 players ready to play. Fourteen boards are set up, including a board with no player, as it turns out to be impossible for Lanting Qian to make it in from Mississauga.

Board Player Result
1 Vlad Nitu 0
2 Manuel de Jesus 0
3 Jeff Back 0
4 Richard Morrison 0
5 Brett Campbell 0
6 Lanting Qian (absent)
7 George Supol 0
8 Rhys Goldstein 0
9 Ted Winick 0
10 Indervir Dhaliwal 0
11 Mike Ivanov ½
12 Adrian Chin 0
13 Marcus Wilker 0
14 Robert Roller ½

At the end of the night, Elshan walks away undefeated, with a +11 -0 =2 record! (Congratulations Mike Ivanov and Robert Roller for holding the GM to a draw!)

Selected games:


6:30 – doors open
7:30 – lecture “Simple Chess: Capablanca to Carlsen”
8:30 – simultaneous exhibition


Click below for .pdf of the original promo flyer

moradiabadi july 8

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Dave Southam wins the ACC Summer Love!

Susan Polgar asks, “What movie is this chess scene from?”

“Summer lovin’, had me a blast. Summer lovin’, happened so fast!”

Annex Chess Club – Summer Love Swiss Tournament

To celebrate the end of a fantastic summer in Toronto – and before the summer days drift away – we’re launching another CFC-rated club tournament on August 20 (the week after the last round of our Beach Blanket Swiss). As per usual, it’s a 5-round Swiss in 3 sections: Premier (>1900), Reserve A (1500-1900), and Reserve B (U1500). And as per usual, the Premier section is also FIDE-rated.

Complete results are on the table below.

“Tell me more, tell me more…”

Round Five – September 24

In the Premier section, Dave Southam, with the better tie-break, needed only a draw against rival Pavel Peev in the last round to secure first place. Dave did just that and finished first with 4.0/5. Congratulations, Dave!

Dave Southam

In the U1900 section, Arkadiy Ugodnikov, with a last-round win over Zaki Uddin, finished alone in first with 4.0/5. Congratulations, Arkadiy!

Arkadiy Ugodnikov

Finally, in the U1500 section, six-year-old Harmony Zhu, with a win against Shabnam Abbarin, took first place, finishing undefeated at 4.5/5. Harmony will be playing in the U1900 section next tournament. Way to go, Harmony!

Harmony Zhu, analysing her final-round game with her dad and her opponent

Next week, Monday October 1, we’ll be starting a new tournament, the Autumn Colours Swiss. The first round starts at 7:30 pm, but please arrive by 7:00 pm to register if you haven’t already.

Final Results

SwissSys Standings. Summer Love: Premier

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total
1 David Southam 102535 2176 W8 W9 W13 D3 D2 4.0
2 Pavel Peev 122223 2209 W7 B— W3 H— D1 4.0
3 Wajdy Shebetah 148432 2132 W18 W6 L2 D1 W5 3.5
4 Daniel Wiebe 132137 2012 W5 H— H— U— W7 3.0
5 Hayk Oganesyan 152587 1827 L4 D8 W18 W12 L3 2.5
6 Rolando Renteria 152626 2249 H— L3 L8 W18 W16 2.5
7 David Cohen 100234 1812 L2 W18 L11 W17 L4 2.0
8 Zehn Nasir 148198 1878 L1 D5 W6 D14 U— 2.0
9 Geordie Derraugh 132393 2242 W15 L1 H— H— U— 2.0
10 Melissa Greeff 153598 2112 W19 H— H— U— U— 2.0
11 Morgon Mills 127517 2206 H— H— W7 U— U— 2.0
12 Adrian David Valencia 153521 1967 H— W15 U— L5 U— 1.5
13 Pepin Manalo 112277 1845 H— H— L1 U— D18 1.5
14 Alex T. Ferreira 127516 2051 H— H— U— D8 U— 1.5
15 Andrew Pastor 127521 1926 L9 L12 H— H— U— 1.0
16 Scott Cliff 137007 1989 H— H— U— U— L6 1.0
17 David Krupka 102648 1943 H— H— U— L7 U— 1.0
18 Daniel Zotkin 146857 1920 L3 L7 L5 L6 D13 0.5
19 Adie Todd 125156 1718 L10 U— U— U— U— 0.0

SwissSys Standings. Summer Love: U1900

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total
1 Arkadiy Ugodnikov 146626 1679 D13 H— W11 W2 W4 4.0
2 Ulli Diemer 153538 1576 W4 W10 W3 L1 D5 3.5
3 Manuela Renteria 152627 1654 H— W13 L2 W7 W11 3.5
4 Mohammad Zaki Uddin 152024 1631 L2 W20 W15 W10 L1 3.0
5 Hooshang Ab-barin 152910 1669 L12 W19 D7 W8 D2 3.0
6 Josep Sobrepere 152976 1503 H— H— U— W14 W10 3.0
7 Jack Maguire 144604 1514 W8 L9 D5 L3 W19 2.5
8 Marcus Wilker 102713 1667 L7 H— W13 L5 W14 2.5
9 Adie Todd 125156 1726 B— W7 H— U— U— 2.5
10 Abdolreza Radpey 149018 1424 W19 L2 W14 L4 L6 2.0
11 Daniel Sirkovich 145096 1541 H— H— L1 B— L3 2.0
12 Chris Wehrfritz 151679 1660 W5 L16 H— H— U— 2.0
13 Kevin Gaffney 102701 1596 D1 L3 L8 W19 U— 1.5
14 Peter McNelly 106141 1645 H— H— L10 L6 L8 1.0
15 Nicholas O'Bumsawin 151261 1756 H— H— L4 U— U— 1.0
16 Ian Prittie 153588 1135 U— W12 U— U— U— 1.0
17 David Tolnai 126875 1571 W20 F— U— U— U— 1.0
18 George Supol 152286 1393 U— U— W19 U— U— 1.0
19 Bill Thornton 131181 1641 L10 L5 L18 L13 L7 0.0
20 Edmond Jodhi 150171 1679 L17 L4 U— U— U— 0.0

SwissSys Standings. Summer Love: U1500

# Name ID Rating Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total
1 Harmony Zhu 151635 948 D10 W16 W14 W9 W4 4.5
2 Ian Prittie 153588 1135 L9 B— W17 W11 W8 4.0
3 Kuhan Jeyapragasan 147906 1467 H— H— W10 W14 W5 4.0
4 Shabnam Abbarin 151181 1385 W22 W11 D9 W6 L1 3.5
5 Vinorth Vigneswaramoorthy 153938 1349 W18 L9 W15 W7 L3 3.0
6 George Supol 152286 1393 W7 L14 B— L4 W10 3.0
7 Jean-Marc David 151900 1203 L6 W12 W16 L5 W14 3.0
8 Alejandro Renteria 152628 1379 H— H— W19 W13 L2 3.0
9 Yanfeng Zhao 154318 unr. W2 W5 D4 L1 U— 2.5
10 James Mourgelas 108540 1393 D1 W15 L3 W19 L6 2.5
11 Marc Antonio Nunes 154427 1034 W19 L4 H— L2 W20 2.5
12 Enrique Rodriguez 154428 1433 L14 L7 W18 W15 D13 2.5
13 Nick Harding 154309 1234 H— W21 H— L8 D12 2.5
14 Christopher Field 108098 1244 W12 W6 L1 L3 L7 2.0
15 Raymond Lin 150193 960 X23 L10 L5 L12 D17 1.5
16 Milan Cvetkovic 150817 1286 H— L1 L7 W18 U— 1.5
17 Eli Teram 107314 1287 H— H— L2 U— D15 1.5
18 Dennis Li 153129 982 L5 L19 L12 L16 W21 1.0
19 Jeffrey Zhu unr. L11 W18 L8 L10 U— 1.0
20 Michael Vermont 151783 1474 H— H— U— U— L11 1.0
21 Stone Hu 153507 653 H— L13 U— U— L18 0.5
22 Brian Groat 153518 634 L4 H— U— U— U— 0.5
23 Lawrence Garcia 106367 1438 F15 U— U— U— U— 0.0

Round One – Aug 20

Almost forty players came out for the start of the tournament – including three masters and a WGM!

With just one round in the books, it’s too early to announce tournament leaders, but with so many mismatched games on opening night, there are, as usual, a few nice (or painful, depending on your perspective) upsets to announce. In the top section, there were no surprises: the favourites won every game. In the bottom section, there was one upset draw (Harmony Zhu against Jim Mourgelas). But in the middle section, every single winner was a rating underdog! Special congratulations to Abdolreza Radpey, Jack Maguire, and David Tolnai, whose opponents out-rated them by over 100 points!

Chess Lecture

Before the tournament started, players were treated to a chess lecture by Rhys Goldstein: “Safety Behind Enemy Lines,” 6:50 to 7:20 pm. If you missed the lecture, you can check Rhys’s lecture notes. (Even if you saw the lecture, you’ll enjoy the bonus material in the notes.)

It would be great to have chess lectures more regularly. You don’t have to be a master. If you have an interesting game to analyse, or an opening line to explain, or a few examples of a middle-game or endgame theme to share, or any other aspect of chess culture or history you’d like to delve into, let us know and we’ll find you a slot in the schedule.

A couple of games from Round 1

Featured games this week include father-and-son games in the same opening: Jack Maguire was victorious (finally!) in what must be his fourth essay of the Budapest Gambit against Marcus Wilker, while his son Zehn (in the top section) was not so lucky with 2…e5 and 3…Ng4 against David Southam.

Round Two – Aug 27

After two rounds of play, there is a three-way tie for the lead in the top section, as David Southam, Pavel Peev, Wajdy Shebetah all have two points. In the middle section, there are just two leaders: Ulli Diemer and Adie Todd, with two points apiece. And finally, in the bottom section, unrated Yanfeng Zhao is tied for the lead with Shabnam Abbarin and Chris Field.

Labour Day – Sept 3

We were closed Monday September 3, but a number of our players played in the Labour Day Open, September 1, 2, and 3 at Hart House. Results are now posted on the CFC site.

Round Three – Sept 10

After three rounds of play, David Southam is leading the Premier section, with three wins and a 3.0/3 record. Pavel Peev is tied for first with two wins and a full-point bye. The two are due to face off in Round 4.

In the middle section, Ulli Diemer is alone in first, perfect at 3.0/3. George Supol, who was re-paired to the middle section after his opponent didn’t show, debuted in fine style with an upset win over Bill Thornton.

In the bottom section, unrated Yanfeng Zhao is tearing it up with 2.5/3 after a draw with co-leader, Shabnam Abbarin. Young Harmony Zhu, with a Round-three win over Chris Field, is tied for the lead.

Finally, in the casual section, Yakos Spiliotopoulos was proud finally to win a game against Brian Fiedler, after years of unsuccessful attempts.

A couple of games from Round 3

Featured games this week include George Supol’s debut upset win in the middle section, and Dave Southam’s third win in the top section. Dave gave a great demonstration of how to go for the kill in a relatively level-looking position.

Round Four – Sept 17

Six-year-old Harmony Zhu is on a rampage. She entered the bottom section with a 948 rating, but mid-tournament she scored 5.0/6 (+4 =2 -0) in the Toronto Labour Day Open, so her rating is actually now sitting at 1330. She’s continuing her unbeaten streak in the ACC Summer Love, with a 3.5/4 score, winning her last game in only ten moves. Shabnam Abbarin, who also won her Round-4 game, is still tied for the lead with Harmony.

In the middle section, Arkadiy Ugodnikov beat previously undefeated Ulli Diemer, to catch him at 3.0/4. Zaki Uddin also won his Round-4 game, joining the two leaders in a three-way tie for first.

In the top section, Dave Southam ended his winning streak but held onto his lead with a draw against Wajdy Shebetah; Dave now has 3.5/4. Pavel Peev, with a bye, is tied for the lead at 3.5/4.

Chess Lecture

We started off the night with a lecture by Michael Sutton, “Chess 960: Is this the future of chess?” 6:50 to 7:20 pm.

Michael says he quit playing “Classic Chess” four years ago and never looked back. A self-confessed Chess-960 evangelist, Michael argues that 960 saves the game from the computers and gives it back to human players.

If you missed the lecture, check out Michael Sutton’s lecture notes, and the 960 demo game, below:

Round-4 Games

Here are a few games from Round 4, including two 10-move wins by Harmony Zhu and Hayk Oganesyan, and the Shebetah-Southam draw from board one.

Round Five – September 24

In the Premier section, Dave Southam, with the better tie-break, needed only a draw against rival Pavel Peev in the last round to secure first place. Dave did just that and finished first with 4.0/5. Congratulations, Dave!

In the U1900 section, Arkadiy Ugodnikov, with a last-round win over Zaki Uddin, finished alone in first with 4.0/5. Congratulations, Arkadiy!

Finally, in the U1500 section, six-year-old Harmony Zhu, with a win against Shabnam Abbarin, took first place, finishing undefeated at 4.5/5. Harmony will be playing in the U1900 section next tournament. Way to go, Harmony!

“Uh, well-a, well-a, well-a, uh!”

Summer Lovin’

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John sang “Summer Lovin'” in Grease (1978).
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Nigel Short visits ACC

On Monday June 18, 2012, GM Nigel Short came to Annex Chess Club in Toronto to deliver a chess lecture and hold a 20-board simultaneous exhibition. His lecture featured one of his games from the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters tournament at the beginning of the year – which he won on tie-break over Hou Yifan.

Nigel Short’s chess lecture at ACC
(photo by Dave Bitton)

The game he chose for the lecture was from the tenth round of the Gibraltar tournament, where Nigel played a Benoni against India’s number two player, Krishnan Sasikiran. Asking the audience if anyone played the Benoni, he called those who did (including himself, apparently) “masochists.” When one of the audience also admitted to playing the Stonewall, Nigel said that was even worse. “The point of the Stonewall,” he quipped, “is to give yourself weaknesses at the start.” Its redeeming feature, however, is that “you know what they are.”

The same Stonewall logic – that playing a move you understand is more important than playing a move you know is “correct” – seemed to guide him in his own play against Sasikiran. With respect to his choice of 9…Nbd7 and 10…h6 in the game, he explained that he had asked Garry Kasparov why everyone plays 9…a6 in that position. “Garry said it was so you could put your queen on c7 without being disturbed by a knight on b5.” Nigel didn’t dispute the correctness of the move. “But I was thinking,” he continued, “why in the hell do I want my queen on c7?” The anecdote served as an opportunity to teach an important lesson: “You shouldn’t just follow what other people do. You’ve got to think for yourself.” And that is what he does in his lecture game. “I go my own way. It’s not that my understanding of the Benoni is correct, but at least I know what I’m trying to do.”

While it’s important to understand your own reasons for the moves you make, Nigel insists it’s equally important to be flexible and willing to change plans. “You have your basic ideas, but – in chess as in life – when the circumstances change you have to alter your plans.”

His lecture entertained a broad audience of beginners and experts, old and young. It was peppered with British humour, had a number of references to well-known figures in chess, and even contained several facetious evocations of the basic guidelines that every beginner learns – such as the point system of piece values (a queen is worth nine points, etc.). With reference to the classic question of the relative strength of bishops versus knights, for instance, he jokingly pointed out that “rooks are better than knights, especially in the ending.”

One of the most well-received pieces of wisdom he imparted was the emphasis on tactical play. “There is no such thing as a good strategic player who can’t play well tactically. You very often have to use tactics to achieve your strategic ends.” Later in the lecture, he put it more emphatically: “Games are decided by tactics, really. Cheap tricks. All this stuff about strategical play is rubbish. I may look like a quiet person, but… I always keep my eye open.”

Here is the game featured in his lecture:

After the lecture, the simul began. The following are the 20 players who tried their luck against Nigel. The final result, though, was 20-0.

1. Shabnam Abbarin
2. Jeff Back
3. Brett Campbell
4. Geordie Derraugh
5. Rowan James
6. Jim Mourgelas
7. Zehn Nasir
8. Razvan Preotu
9. Ian Prittie
10. Alejandro Renteria
11. Manuela Renteria
12. Rolando Renteria
13. Carlos Romero
14. Josep Sobrepere
15. Michael Song
16. George Supol
17. Michael Sutton
18. Daniel Wiebe
19. Marcus Wilker
20. Yuanchen Zhang

Some players may be embarrassed by their games (some of which ended after a dozen moves or so), but I’ll post here the ones I get. If you’re not too ashamed (and you shouldn’t feel bad – he is 2700 after all), please send your gamescore to info@annexchessclub.com.

Nigel Short simultaneous chess at ACC
(photo by Dave Bitton)
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Play a Game Against a Grandmaster

GM Nigel Short at Annex Chess Club – June 18

Annex Chess Club is proud to present a chess lecture and simultaneous exhibition by English GM Nigel Short.

This January, Nigel won a very strong Tradewise Gibraltar Masters tournament, spoiling an otherwise fantastic tournament for Hou Yifan, who lost to him in a rapid tiebreak playoff.

In April, he won the 12th Bangkok Chess Club Open with 8/9, after which he re-joined the prestigious 2700+ club.

From May 11 to 12, he was in Moscow providing live commentary for the first two rounds of the World Championship match. (See this recent interview for some of his impressions of the match.)

And June 18, on his way to the 7th Edmonton Chess Festival, he is stopping in at Annex Chess Club.

Short Biography

Nigel Short (Elo 2705) is the most famous English grandmaster of recent times. He has had a long career among the world’s elite. At 19, he was the youngest grandmaster in the world; now in his late 40s (and currently ranked 40th in the world) he is the oldest player in the FIDE top 100.

He is especially known for his successes in the 1980s and 1990s when he won the British Championship several times, came first in a number of international tournaments, ranked third in the world by rating, and challenged Gary Kasparov for the World Championship.

Nigel in Toronto

We had a great time when Nigel visited us last September, and we are very pleased to have him return to Annex Chess Club this June 18. He will once again give a chess lecture and offer a simultaneous exhibition, playing up to 30 chess games at the same time.

His chess lectures are always entertaining, and the simul is a rare chance to play a game against such a legendary super-GM.



The simultaneous exhibition is limited to 30 players on a first-come, first-served basis

Register online today through Guestlist.

  • lecture and watch simul – $10 (free for ACC full-year members)
  • play a game against GM Nigel Short – $60 ($50 for ACC full-year members)

Hosting an awesome event? Guestlist makes event registration easy!

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