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Sunday, 22 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick note to make sure you're all aware that we take a brief break over Christmas. The calendar looks something like this ...

  • 26 December 2013: No club night
  • 2 January 2014: No club night
  • 9 January 2014: Weekly meetings resume

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and look forward to seeing you in the new year.

Sunday, 4 August 2013

Summer Gambits

In case you'd like to do some preparation, I've now published the four gambits we'll be playing on 22 August. Here's a direct link, but you can also get to them from the Summer Programme.

This Thursday (8 August) is a 15-minute x 5 round tournament, but members are welcome to play one of their Club Championship matches instead if they so desire.

ECF Summer Grades

The new grades are out now. It looks like the usual mixed set of results with some of us fairing well and others not so well (I'm in the second category). See how you did at the ECF Grading Database.

It's worth checking the games list for your record in case any games are missing or something has been assigned to you that shouldn't have been. Contact the ECF if you notice any irregularities (there's a contact link on the grading site). I had a few games of another chess player by the same name attributed to me a few seasons back ... 

The new grades will also appear on our Membership pages soon.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Summer Programme Updates

There's still lots to come this summer at Chess Club. We have the AGM this week, and then on 13 June we have our "Thematic Tournament". We'll be playing the Sicilian Najdorf - Polugaevsky Variation.

There are some other updates to the programme too, including the addition of a "Lightning Tournament", and confirmation of the dates for the both legs of the BACL Rapidplay event. Check out all the details here.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Puzzles Evening (Part 5)

In the final part of the series from our puzzles evening, we have the ninth and tenth puzzles. The answers are included below, but in white. If you highlight the relevant area with your mouse, you'll be able to see the answers.
Puzzle #9: White to move
Highlight below for the answer
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1.c5Ke4
2.h4Kxd5
3.c6bxc6
4.a6
or
1.c5bxc5
2.a5
or
1.c5dxc5
2.a5bxa5
3.b6cxb6
4.d6
--------------------------------------

Puzzle #10: White to move
Highlight below for the answer
--------------------------------------
1.Bd4Qxe2
2.Rxf7+Kg8
3.Rg7+Kh8
4.Rg6+mating swiftly

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Monday, 13 May 2013

Puzzles Evening (Part 4)

Continuing with the puzzles, here are numbers seven and eight. The answers are included below, but in white. If you highlight the relevant area with your mouse, you'll be able to see the answers.
Puzzle #7: White to move
Highlight below for the answer
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1.Rg8+Qxg8
2.Qg7+Qxg7
3.fxg7Kg8
4.Ne7#
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Puzzle #8: White to move

Highlight below for the answer
--------------------------------------
The first two moves may be played in either order
1.Kc7+Qxg6
2.Nb4+axb4
3.Qa1#

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Sunday, 12 May 2013

Puzzles Evening (Part 3)

And now the third set of two from our puzzles evening. The answers are included below, but in white. If you highlight the relevant area with your mouse, you'll be able to see the answers.
Puzzle #5: White to move
Highlight below for the answer
--------------------------------------
1.Bxf7Kxf7 (Rxf7 allows Ne6 winning the queen)
2.Ne6
Either white wins the queen (after dxe6) or a deadly king hunt follows (after Kxe6). --------------------------------------

Puzzle #6: White to move
Highlight below for the answer
--------------------------------------
1.Qh2+Qxh2
2.Rh8

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Saturday, 11 May 2013

Puzzles Evening (Part 2)

Here's the second set of two from our puzzles evening. The answers are included below, but in white. If you highlight the relevant area with your mouse, you'll be able to see the answers.

Puzzle #3: White to move

Highlight below for the answer
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1.Rxh6+Kxh6
2.Qf4+g5 (actually Qg5 is best, but loses the queen to Qh2+)
3.Qh1+Kg6
4.Qh5+Kf6
5.Qf7#+
--------------------------------------

Puzzle #4: White to move

Highlight below for the answer
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The black rook is ideally placed on the e-file. King moves lose to rook checks on the eighth rank. It turns out that e2 is the best square for the rook, and that any other square allows white to initiate a winning strategy for either Re3 or Re1
1.Rh7Re3
2.Rd7+Ke8 (if Kc8 then Ra7 followed by Ra8#)
3.Ra7Kf8
4.Rf7+Ke8
5.Rf4Kd8 (if Rd3 then Rg4, while if Re2 then Bc6+)
6.Be4Ke8
7.Bc6+Kd8
8.Rf8Re8
9.Rxe8#

1.Rh7Re1
2.Ra7Rc1
3.Rf7Re1 (the rook arrives on f7 with gain of time)
4.Bf3Ke8
5.Rf4Kd8
6.Ra4Rc1
7.Bg4Ke8
8.Be6Rd1+
9.Bd5Kf8
10.Rg4with Rg8# to follow
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Friday, 10 May 2013

Puzzles Evening (Part 1)

Since we had our puzzles evening on Thursday (9th May), I thought I'd put the puzzles online too. Just two in each post. The answers are included below, but in white. If you highlight the relevant area with your mouse, you'll be able to see the answers.

Puzzle #1: White to move
Highlight below for the answer
--------------------------------------
1.Qg5g6 (not Qxg5 since Rxe8 is mate)
2.Qh6gxf5
3.Rg4+fxg4
4.Bxh7+Kh8
5.Bg6+Kg8
6.Qh7+Kf8
7.Qxf7#
--------------------------------------

Puzzle #2: White to move

Highlight below for the answer
--------------------------------------
1.Rb7Qb1 (if Rxb7 then e8=Q followed by Qe2#)
2.Rxb1Nxb1
3.g4+ (if f6 then Kg6)Kxg4
4.f6
White is a rook behind, but his pawns are unstoppable.
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Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Summer Programme 2013

Following on from the closure of the survey. I've just published the first iteration of this year's Summer Programme. You can find it here, or via the home page.

You'll notice that while the dates are confirmed, several events are not, as indicated by an asterisk (*). If you plan to be selective about which events to attend, do check back regularly.

If you have any comments or questions about the programme, do get in touch.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Summer Programme: Survey Results

Many thanks to all those who participated in the survey. I intend to publish the programme soon, but in the meantime, here are the survey results.

Question 1: You were asked which of a list of events you would attend. Responses were as follows.

EventScore
Blitz tournament (from 5 to 15 minutes)90%
Coaching from our top players80%
Simultaneous Exhibition with one of our top players80%
Simultaneous Exhibition with a Master80%
Rapidplay tournament (15 to 25 minutes)80%
Lightning tournament (move on the buzzer)80%
Thematic tournament80%
Gambit tournament80%
Coaching from a Master70%
Fischer Random (Chess960) tournament70%
Puzzles evening70%
Time handicap tournament (strong players have less time)60%
Piece handicap tournament (strong players have fewer pieces)40%

No alternative activities were suggested. As expected, very few of you would have been happy to pay more than the customary £1 unless a GM was involved.

Question 2: For Rapidplay and Blitz tournaments, you were asked which time controls you'd be happy to play.

Time ControlScore
15-minutes (5 games)80%
05-minutes (10+ games)50%
20-minutes (4 games)50%
25-minutes (3 games)50%
10-minutes (7 games)40%

Question 3: Lastly, you were also asked if I should collect your preferences this way in the future.

Should I collect views like this again?Score
Definitely90%
Don't mind10%
I suppose so0%
I'd rather you didn't0%
Heck no0%

Thanks again for being involved. Check back again soon to see the programme.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Summer Programme Survey

We still have a very small number of responses, and certainly not enough to warrant inviting a titled player for either coaching or a simul. If that's what you're hoping for but haven't responded, now is the time! There are only a few questions, and you'll be done in a couple of minutes.

Click to Take the Survey

Saturday, 23 March 2013

Online Chess

Online chess has good points and bad points. Let's start with the bad points.
  • It can be a terrible time sink. Be careful of too many late (k)nights!
  • Playing on a screen rather than over the board takes some getting used to. Have you ever played chess against your computer? It feels much the same to begin with.
  • You can pick up bad habits. Most online chess is blitz chess (or faster), making it difficult to play carefully. If that makes its way to your over the board play, you won't be very popular with your team captain.
  • There are quite a few cheats around. I'm not sure I've run into any, but there are some unscrupulous players out there who will put your moves into their chess computer and play their computer's moves against you. You might be playing against Fritz (or another powerful chess engine) without realising!
In my view the good points outweigh the bad.
  • It can be tremendous fun.
  • Unlike playing against a computer, your opponents will make mistakes.
  • You can get lots of practice for a new opening in a short space of time.
  • If you find yourself running out of time in over the board play, online play may help you learn to play a little faster (when required).
  • Play on the right websites, and you could find yourself playing against a GM.
  • If you don't like the tight time controls, several sites allow "non-live" play. It works in a similar way to correspondence chess.
There are lots of places to play chess online. One of my favourites is Chess.com. You can join for free (or get paid membership for extra benefits and the removal of adverts). The site allows both live and non-live play, and you can search for opponents based on their rating. The site also has lots of extra learning resources including puzzles, tutorials, articles and videos. At the time of writing Chess.com has 6,819,325 members, ranging from complete beginners to Grand Masters. They have team matches (I'm a member of two teams), tournaments, and an active online community. They've also made most of this available via their (free) iPhone and Android apps.

If you have any thoughts about online chess (for or against), or would like to recommend any chess websites for playing or studying, please leave a comment below.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

January Grades

I announced via email that the January Grading list was published a few weeks ago. There have since been some amendments, though as far as I can see those affect only two of our members (Anita Somton and David Wood).

As well as being available on the ECF grading database, the latest grades are also available at Dave Wild's grading site, and for our own club on our membership page.