Wednesday, 29 August 2018

A Very Friendly Friendly!

For the first time in many a year, KCC found themselves involved in a pre-season friendly last night, thanks to a kind invitation from Stratford to help them inaugurate their impressive new venue at the Home Guard Club in Tiddington. After much to-ing and fro-ing we managed to assemble 9 players, and with Stratford lending us two more, the match took place over 11 boards.

The KCC Massive! - left to right Mike J, Matt, Dave, Mike D, Bernard R, Tony, Chris, Bernard C and Algis

Most boards were contested over 1 x 60 minutes game, but a few intrepid souls (Attention Deficit Disorder?) preferred to play 2 x 30 minutes, though for match score purposes each board still counted as one point per winner.

We ended up as convincing winners by the score of 8-3, with even our loanees from Stratford doing us proud by contributing 1.5 points.  I missed much of the action, but there were quick wins from Bernard R and Bernard C - in fact two quick wins from the latter, whose creative juices are clearly in full flow ahead of his forthcoming art show at Rugby!

An away win!

The points continued to flow but not necessarily where they deserved to. Mike J blundered a queen away in a winning position, to only draw his 2 game match, while Chris contrived to lose on time when a piece up. But to balance that, Matt somehow turned a lost position into a win. After losing the exchange, he found himself with rook and bishop against two rooks, with a two pawn deficit to boot. I came back a few minutes later and while Matt still had a bishop, the other three rooks (and a couple of black pawns) had disappeared. A remarkable turn-around!

Algis contributed a nice win and Dave won his mini-match by winning game two from a very dubious position after a game one draw, and suddenly the only game remaining was the board one match up. This was a very wild affair with Mike D being material up, but under strong pressure from Richard McNally. Calm defence and consolidation eventually led to a counter attack by Mike where he had two pieces and several pawns against a rook. Mike pushed his queen side pawns against the rather exposed Black king, and with both clocks ticking down Mike kept his calm and wove a beautiful mating net with his minor pieces. The coup de grace was the move Bc8 mate - not something you get to play too often!

Mike D setting up his mating net in the Board 1 encounter

So a good time was had by all, and many thanks to Stratford for the invitation and their excellent hospitality - the buffet was much appreciated! We might even consider arranging such an event ourselves in future? But right now, I'm just hoping that we haven't used up too much of our good luck before the season has even started!

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Boring, But Essential, Reading!

The countdown to the new season is firmly underway, with next week's friendly at Stratford starting us off, and the first competitive game - the inevitable Kenilworth B v Kenilworth C inter-necine bloodbath - scheduled for September 10th.

Which prompts me to mention two issues:-

1  Those of you who were ECF members last season should have received a reminder to renew for 2018-19, unless you have a multi-year membership extending beyond 2018. You can do this at the ECF website. If you weren't an ECF member last year, and you expect/want to be playing league matches this season, then you need to join. You can do this here.There's no immediate deadline, but for the sake of the Club Organiser's well-being, the sooner the better, please!

Everyone needs to be an ECF member to play in league matches for us, at Bronze level (£16 pa) or above. If not, we have to charge you £2.50 per game, as that is the fee levied on the Cub by the ECF for grading the games of non-members.

2  The full fixtures are now out for both the Leamington and Coventry Leagues, and our inimitable Webmaster has already posted these on this website at the respective/appropriate pages. Please try to keep as many dates as possible free for matches in which you might expect to be needed.

Hopefully the next post on this Blog will be more interesting. But I can't give any guarantees. Still, in an attempt to give you some reward for reading this far, click this link to see an extensive article about Paul, with two of his games annotated by GM Jonathan Speelman.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Graves of Famous Chess Players: No 9 in a Series of .....

Whatever happened to instalment Number 8, I hear you say? Well it was there within my Bobby Fischer retrospective, it just never made it into the title. But how do you follow a star turn like Bobby? Clearly, some random Victorian English pawn-pusher wouldn't do, so it has to be another big hitter to warrant resurrecting this series. And it is!

But this time, it's not me who has been grave watching. So famous, though, is this series, that without even asking I now apparently have agents out scouting the world's cemeteries for more chess memorials. Consequently, I shouldn't have been that surprised when an e-mail from my sister landed in my inbox complete with photos of the grave of none other than the 4th World Champion, Alexander Alekhine. It was a bit serendipitous, as she was actually strolling round Montparnasse Cemetery in Paris, looking for the grave of Samuel Beckett (well, it takes all types) and chanced upon Alekhine as a bonus. (And also Susan Sontag, for what it's worth.)

The headstone is apparently surmounted by a stone relief portrait.
Alekhine's 4th wife is also interred with him.

I wonder who left the toy car? And why??

Alekhine died in Lisbon in 1946 (possibly murdered by the Soviets) and is the only World Champion to have died while still in possession of the title. His remains were only moved to Paris in 1956, after a long campaign by his widow, as his apparent complicity with the occupying Germans during WW2 had made him, even in death, persona non grata in France for many years.

On the board, Alekhine was, of course, one of the greatest players of all time, and he created many brilliant games that stand comparison with any in chess history. This is possibly his greatest masterpiece, of which he himself wrote, " One of the most beautiful games I have ever played." No kidding!! I am not even going to attempt to provide any annotations - this level of chess is way beyond my pay grade! - but if you are interested, then the works of either Alekhine or Kasparov could reasonably be consulted for some fittingly high-powered commentary.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Game of the Month, August 2018

Well, I did warn you that a number of wins by Andy against big-name opposition had come into my possession, so it can't be a surprise that the latest Game of the Month should come from this source. And it really is a big name, even though its also Short. Yes, back in 1978, Andy came up against a rather useful 13-y-o from Lancashire, who had already played in the British Championship at the age of 12 (where he defeated 10 times champion Jonathan Penrose!), and who would go on to become England's most famous chess player and to challenge for the World Championship.

The following encounter is razor sharp, and understandably the complications are a bit much for both players (says the man using Deep Fritz!), but it is Andy who keeps his cool and stands firm against an avalanche of White pieces, when lesser men (eg the Club Organiser) would have wilted in the face of a frightening onslaught.

This is a very nice scalp to have on one's CV, and one that most of us could only dream about. Kind of makes you want to treat the old geezer with a bit more respect, doesn't it!?