Saturday, 26 December 2020

That Didn't Take Long!

A few weeks ago (November 20th to be precise, when presenting the Worst Move Ever Played!) I referenced an epic game of mine against Dave Thomas which I won in 10 moves, as Black. This was itself the subject of an article on this website (July 4, 2019), and thinking about it again got me wondering how many other short games of chess I had played in my long and decidedly un-illustrious career. A bit of research told me that I have been involved in just 10 decisive games - out of almost 1,900 competitive over the board games - that have lasted 15 moves or less. Fortunately I have been on the winning side every time! (For the negative minded amongst you, my quickest ever loss was with White against Robin Killick in a Whoberley A v Warwick Uni A match in 2003, when I had to resign after 17 moves.)

Strangely, 7 of these games have been played in the last 14 years, immediately before which there had been 21 years without even a single superfast victory! (OK, I did give up playing for six years, but what about the other 15??) The first three themselves had formed a small cluster in just a seven year period. It transpires that the game against Dave Thomas, at 10 moves, is actually the equal second shortest I have ever played. The two other ultra-quickies are presented below, but here is the full list of my ten quickest ever wins.

10 White v Maurice Staples - 15 moves - Nuneaton A v Coventry A, 17.01.2012
7= White v KE Pullen - 14 moves - Chertsey v Mitcham, 13.05.1983
7= Black v Sean Hewitt - 14 moves - Nuneaton B v Whoberley A, 28.11.2006
7= Black v James Harrison - 14 moves - Kenilworth v Warwick Uni B, 19.11.2019
6  White v Bob Wildig - 12 moves - Rugby A v Whoberley A, 20.11.2007
4= White v Doug Bellis - 11 moves - Mitcham Club Championship, 17.09.1985
4= White v Nalin Kadodwala - 11 moves - Coventry A v Rugby A, 16.10.2012
2= White v P Leary - 10 moves - Kynoch v Bushbury, 04.04.2011
2= Black v Dave Thomas - 10 moves - Leamington v Shirley, 21.01.2009
1   White v Albert Lusty - 9 moves - Self Changing Gears A v Triumph A - 17.10.1978

(Some of these games are still subject to a D-Notice which prevents their publication, as I have not given up all hope of repeating them!)

If I had known back in October 1978 that I would never (probably!) win such a short game again, would I have been so discouraged that I'd have given up chess? Hopefully not - what on earth would I have done with all those thousands of hours I have spent/wasted on the game since then??

This is all by way of a teaser, as I'm sure everyone is on tenterhooks waiting to see these two uber-micro victories of mine. So I won't keep you in suspense any longer! We begin with the second of my two 10 move wins:-

But in pole position, and in splendid isolation, is this 9 move Coventry League masterpiece, played almost certainly on a miserable Tuesday evening at the SCG Social Club on Lythalls Lane, between two great names from Coventry's manufacturing past. (That's the teams, of course, not the players!)

Can anyone do better than 9 moves??

Wednesday, 23 December 2020

2020 Christmas Quiz - The Scores on the Doors

I thought that this would buy me some breathing space till the New Year, but it turns out some mad obsessive individual (not mentioning any names) polished it off on Day 1, and I find myself doing exam marking on Christmas Eve Eve! When I am not, nor ever have been, a teacher. I should have sub-contracted this task to Andy W or Leanne, who have far more experience at this sort of thing.

Joshua's post with his answers should have had Spoiler Alert plastered all over it, but as he did rather less well than I expected, maybe you shouldn't pay that much attention to his answers!

Never mind, though, as he obviously leads the field at the moment - and maybe for all time, as this could well be a walkover. His score is 40.5. He got the 0.5 because I was feeling generous - well, it is Christmas after all! One of his answers was right, but not quite specific enough for my exacting standards.

Anybody else wanting to make a serious bid to be this year's quiz king should perhaps send me their answers by e-mail, to avoid any further spilling of the beans. Especially if they plan to have rather more right answers than Contestant Number 1!!

Tuesday, 22 December 2020

2020 Christmas Quiz Answers (???)

I thought I would have a public go at answering this, to give everyone else a target to aim for (skip over this to Mark's post if you don't have your own answers yet). My main observation is the hardest thing about not being able to look anything up is trying desperately to work out how to spell various people's names. I hope Mark will be generous on this point, but I am not optimistic:

1) I don't know her name, but Bobby Fischer's wife is Japanese I believe, and I think possibly a WFM. I'll go for 2100 as a rating guess for someone with that title.
2) I have absolutely no idea, but it sounds like a good story.
3) I know Peter Svidler does, and I can;t think of anyone higher, so I'll go with him.
4) The only one I know is I think Buenos Aires. To go with that, I guess I'll just pick some generically popular chess places, so Moscow and Paris.
5) The woman must be Hou Yifan. It is presumably between Kasparov and Carlsen for the youngest man, and just because I don't recall people talking about it with Carlsen, I'm going to say Kasparov.
6) This must be one of the women who won it loads of times in the early days, and the only one I can remember the name of is Gaprindashvilli
7) Someone early on I suppose before he was established. Topalov perhaps.
8) Bruce, definitely Bruce, at the Telford congress. Played a fine move when he woke up as well if I remember correctly.
9) No idea at all.
10) Don't know about Sutovsky, but Kasparov and Radjabov were both born in modern day Azerbaijan, so I'll say that. 11) This is that silly g5 Najdorf isn't it. The only Argentinian I'll get is Panov. For the Soviets, let's say Spassky, Keres and Geller. In total, we shall say 64 moves.
12) Chess players, surely.
13) IachesisQ is presumably Nepomniatchi, and I guess Duhless is Dubov. To maximise my chances of getting at least one more correct, I'll guess Grishchuk for all the other three.
14) Adams - 4, Short - 3, Howell - 2, Nunn - 2 (I'm not optimistic at all about those ones).
15) Nakamura must be one. Let's guess Firouzja for the second.
16) The strongest I can think of (here come the difficult names) would be Alina Kashlinskaya and Radoslaw Wojtaschek.
17) Ben Graff, and how we did laugh.
18) I note this says England and not the UK, so let's just say London and Manchester, since we have no actual idea.
19) I had Korchnoi down here for a while, until I remembered he was never actually world champion. A lot of them died quite young - perhaps Botvinnik. For the women I want to say Gaprindashvilli again, which makes we worry even more about using her up earlier.
20) Fabiano Caruana
21) I can't even think of a non English speaking presenter, so I've got nothing here.
22) Father is called Henrick. Don't know about the mother or him, so let's just guess some generic Scandinavian names. My best source for this is the movie Frozen, so she is Anna Elsa, and he is Kristoff Olaf Sven.
23) Since I definitely can't spell any of the more recent possibilities, I'm going to hope it is still Sergey Karjakin. 
24) Wesley So
25) Don't know, so let's just pick some people who were around at the time. Staunton and Paulsen.
26) I don't know so, to make a cheap insult about Andy's age, let's say Zukertort.
27) Adams, Khalifman, Kazimzhanov, Topalov, Anand, Ponomariov.
28) Rachel Reeves - that one actually comes up on standard non-chess pub quizzes.
29) I don't like that this even says towns as well as cities, but let's see if I can even name 12. Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, Bremen, Essen, Leipzig, Bonn, Postdam, Dusseldorf, Frnkfurt, Dresden, Dortmund.
30) Even if I ever knew this, I would immediately have chosen to forget any achievements by my teammates.
31) India, Ukraine, Russia, China, Hungary.
32) I think Ameet Ghazi might still be an IM, so I'll say him.
33) Jonah Willow
34) It must be me surely.
35) No idea
36) No idea - oh dear this is going rapidly downhill.
37) Ian Nepomniatchi and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
38) I know he got close, so let us say 500,000.
39) Illya Nyzhnyk - Ukraine, Nijat Abasov - Azerbaijan, Bogdan-Daniel Deac - Romania, Eduardo Iturrizaga - Ecuador, David Baramidze - Germany.
40) The only person I can think of for the forfeits is Hubner, but I don't think he is old enough.
41) Let's guess the lowest rated active chess player.
42) Topalov, though again I worry since I've already used him as an answer earlier.
43) James Jackson perhaps.

2020 Christmas Quiz

So here we go, with the fourth edition of the Kenilworth Chess Club Christmas Quiz. Inspiration was a bit lacking this year, and all I managed to come up with as an idea was a straightforward chess quiz - but if the idea is good enough for the annual pub quiz at the Reykjavik Open, it should be good enough for KCC.

Now these days, all online activity is plagued by actual or suspected cheating, so I feel it is imperative that there are some stringent fair-play provisions to prevent gratuitous use of Wikipedia to find the answers. (Not that they're all there!)  Consequently, anyone intending to try and solve the Quiz will need to join a Zoom call. Or a Teams call. Or do I mean a Skype call? Oh, what the hell, I can't be bothered with this - feel free to cheat to your hearts content and see if I care! You'll only be deluding yourselves, you know!

There are 43 questions, worth a total of exactly 100 points. Questions worth more than one point are all clearly identified. Happy solving - its now a matter between you and your conscience how much outside assistance you want to call upon. At a rough guess, I reckon anyone who scores over 60 without any third party help is doing pretty well. Let the quizzing begin!



Name Bobby Fischer’s wife. (Mrs Fischer is not an acceptable answer!) And just for fun (no points!) what is her current FIDE rating?


Which Grandmaster lost 28 consecutive games, over 2 tournaments, in 1969, all of them on time?


Who is the highest rated player in the world who consistently wears an earring? (Clue – its not a woman! And its possible I could be wrong!)


In 1971 Bobby Fischer won 3 Candidates Matches to qualify for the 1972 World Championship match against Spassky. Where were these 3 matches played? (1 pt each)


Who is the youngest ever world chess champion (a) Male and (b) Female (1 pt each)


Who won 7 classical World Championships in tournaments and 2 more in matches, running up a combined game score of +90 = 9 -4


Magnus Carlsen first became World number 1 by rating in 2010, since which time only one other player has held that position. Who?


Which KCC member fell asleep during a tournament game and still won?


Which famous chess player once lived at 117 Landsdowne Rd, Notting Hill, London W11?  (Now commemorated by a Blue Plaque)


What have Garry Kasparov, Teimour Radjabov and Emil Sutovsky got in common? (Besides all being rather strong GMs!)


In Rd 14 of the 1955 Gothenburg Interzonal, 3 Argentinians lost against 3 Soviets after each playing the same opening novelty. Name the 3 Soviet players (1 point each) and the 3 Argentinians (2 pts each). And take a bonus point if you can guess, within 5 either way, the total number of moves played in the 3 games. And a further point if you get the exact number! Clue: None of them lasted very long!!


Which group of people did Bobby Fischer describe as ”petty; mean minded; small minded and stupid”?


Identify these 5 Russian Super GMs from their usernames (1 pt each):

  • Fair_Chess_on_youTube
  • Sibelephant
  • Duhless
  • IachesisQ
  • Bigfish1995


How many times have the following been British Champion? Including any shared titles. (1 pt for each correct answer)

  • Michael Adams
  • Nigel Short
  • David Howell
  • John Nunn


As of December 20th 2020, 2 players had bullet ratings of over 3400 (!!) on Name them for 1 pt each.


Name the husband and wife who make up the world’s highest rated married couple (classical chess, December 2020 FIDE list). (1 pt each)


When Phil Wood made his immortal illegal knight move in a Leamington League match, who was his opponent?


The Chess Olympiad has been held twice in England. Name the two host cities/towns. (1 pt each)


Who is the only man to have been both World Champion and World Senior Champion? And who is the only woman to have done the same? (1 pt each)


!n 2011 the 79 year old Viktor Korchnoi defeated a player rated 2721, who was 61 years his junior. Who was it?


In the classic BBC Master Game programmes, which GM – whose English was otherwise impeccable – always referred to the long “dionagal”? Clue – he was believed to have the largest private chess library in the world!


What is the first name of Magnus Carlsen’s father? (1 pt) And of his mother (2 pts) And of Magnus himself? (3 pts)  (Clue - its not Magnus!)


Who is the world’s youngest ever Grand Master?


Who ended Magnus Carlsen’s record run of 125 classical games unbeaten at the 2020 Norway Chess tournament?


Who were Adolf Anderssen’s opponents in the Immortal Game (1851) and in the Evergreen Game? (1852)  (1 pt each)


Which GM did Andy Baruch once play in a blitz game, without having any idea who his opponent was? (Clue - a major opening variation is named after him)


In the period 1993-2006, when there was a schism in the chess world, which 6 players held the title of FIDE World Champion? (1 pt each)


Which current member of the Shadow Cabinet was a British U-14 chess champion?


The 1934 World Championship Match between Alekhine and Bogolyubov was held in Germany in 12 different cities/towns. Name them! (1 pt each)

Warning for cheats – the list in Wikipedia is incomplete!!

Everyone should be able to get at least 4 of these by pure guesswork! But some are rather tricky!


Since 2000, 2 KCC members have won the Leamington League Blitz/Lightning Tournament. Name them (1 pt each)


The ten youngest GMs ever have come from only 5 different countries. Name the countries (1 pt each)

No points for the players, but feel free to amuse yourselves by guessing!


Who is the highest rated English player who is not a Grand Master? (December 2020, FIDE Classical Chess List)


And who is the highest rated English player born in the year 2000 or later? (December 2020, FIDE Classical Chess List)


Since 2000, who is the only KCC member to have won the Stanley Gibbins Trophy, for the highest percentage score in a Leamington League season?


Which English Grand Master and one time British Champion was born in Baghdad in 1962? And which World Champion described this person’s play as that of “a drunk machine gunner”? (1 pt each)


Which English GM is married to the actress Tara MacGowran?


When the 2020 Candidates Tournament was suspended, which two players were tied for the lead? (1 pt each)


How much money did GM Jim Plaskett win on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" in 2006? (Exact amount required!)


What nationality are the following 5 GMs (all rated over 2600!):-

  • Illya Nyzhnyk
  • Nijat Abasov
  • Bogdan-Daniel Deac
  • Eduardo Iturrizaga
  • David Baramidze

(1 pt each)


Which Grand Master and 4 time Candidate is the highest rated active player aged 70 or more (ie born 1950 or earlier)*. Clue – he lost one Candidates Match on the spin of a roulette wheel; and forfeited two others when the matches were still undecided!

(* December 2020, FIDE Classical Chess List)


What unique place in chess rankings (December 2020 FIDE Classical Chess List) is currently held by the Russian, Vassily Malinin?


To whom did Gary Kasparov lose in the last round of Linares 2005, in his last classical chess game before he retired?


Which player has the monstrously improbable score of +4 =3 -0 against the Club Organiser, with all games having been played in Leamington League matches?

Monday, 14 December 2020

Tier Three Weirdness

Who'd have thought it? Kenilworth in Tier 3?? As they say in EastEnders (which is heading into Tier 3 itself, on Wednesday), "It's doing my head in!" Simply everything is weird these days, or at least that's the way it seems to me. I think I'm cracking up. (Possibly due to lack of draught beer!)

So walking along the Greenway recently, I chanced upon this piece of graffiti. Normally I would be going "Tut! Tut! - pure vandalism!" (unless it was an original Banksy on the wall of my house), but right now this resonated very strongly with my mood. You can keep your Question Time and reasoned debate - what we need is more of this type of political protest. From the heart, and to the point!

I think it was meant to read "HS2 is poor value for money", but they ran out of bridge!

And then I found myself having an hallucination in the car park at Packwood House. For inexplicable reasons, I immediately suspected that Paul had started misappropriating Coventry Chess Academy funds to build up a fleet of cars with personalised number-plates! Sorry Paul, but that's the way my mind is working these days. And you know you're in a bad way when reading car number plates is one of the most exciting hobbies you've got.

Would it be a good use of club funds to buy me a car with a KCC reg??

Actually, if its an impressive car registration that you want, you'll have to go a long way to better the one I saw in Prague in March!

Brilliant! - And I'm glad it wasn't wasted on a Lada!

But you really do know that the whole pandemic thing has got too much for you when, on a quiet Sunday afternoon stroll in the lanes near Shipston on Stour, you come across a signpost and think it's someone with a bad cold reading the football results. Pure madness!

A good away win for Spurs at St Andrews!

And I've saved the worst for last! While drinking a cup of coffee the other day, I suddenly noticed that I had subconsciously developed an overly strong attachment to the current Leamington League Chairman. Must be a case of absence making the heart grow fonder. Luckily for Ben, we have no option but to maintain a healthy social distance!

Everybody likes Ben, but I seem to have got carried away. And it is my favourite coffee mug, too. (If having a favourite coffee mug isn't also rather too weird for comfort.)

Well, that's all the weirdness I'm prepared to admit to - or am aware of! - for the time being. The sooner we can get into Tier Two the better. I need something a bit closer to normality. Like a Thursday evening at the Gauntlet! Though that will have to wait for Tier 1!!

Friday, 11 December 2020

Coventry Online League - Week 9 and Season Wrap-Up

With the A team finishing its campaign last week, the B team took centre stage on Monday as it brought its season to a conclusion with a match against Warwick University A. Although - as usual! - it made for agonising viewing, the team somehow made it across the line for a 5-3 win, which ultimately delivered a highly respectable 6th place finish.

Tom had a tough night against Joe Varley on Board 1. Game 1 was a disaster, as Tom's King's Gambit failed to lead to even a single aggressive move, but just lost several pawns. The return was a different kettle of fish as Tom nicely won a pawn, to end up in a double rook and minor piece ending still with his extra pawn. Crucially, though, the White knight was better than Tom's bishop and it was difficult to find a clear plan. After much manoeuvring, when not much happened, and in severe time trouble, Tom tragically overlooked a pawn thrust which won heaps of material.

To counterbalance this, Dave was having a very enjoyable time on Board 3 against Rowan Warner. In Game 1, Black correctly refrained from capturing an undefended pawn on e4 for two moves, having apparently seen that a piece would drop off after a queen check on a4, but inexplicably fell for the cheapo at the third time of asking. Dave then wrapped up a very quick win, and was equally decisive in Game 2 where he won a pawn or two, and then the exchange, before his passer on the a file proved unstoppable.

Solomon also scored 2-0 on Board 4 against Thomas Parmenter, but it was probably his least impressive outing of an excellent season. Game 1 was semi-decent and he eventually won in a bishops of the same colour ending, which was not trivial despite an extra pawn and connected passers. But Game 2???? Oh dear, oh dear! After needlessly sacking a pawn he got into terrible trouble and lost an exchange as well. Black could then have simplified into a position a piece and two pawns up, but chose another path which was also totally winning (+7!). However, Solomon then sparked into life and started playing some tricky moves. Black collapsed and from nowhere White won the Black queen, and immediately followed up with an exchange sac to deliver mate. Phew!! As this was the last game to finish, with the score at 4-3 to us, a certain draw had been transformed into a match win by some fiendishly devious Hayes magic!

Now you might have noticed that I have avoided any mention of Board 2 so far, but not without good reason, I assure you! Game 1, with Ben Black against Jonathan Fowler, was very, very messy. White took a rook on h8 with a knight, and Ben took a rook on h1 with a bishop. But while the bishop got out of the corner easily enough, the White knight couldn't. But just when Ben looked like he was about to trap it, he went wrong and an ending ensued with Ben a pawn down in a bishop and knight ending. Thankfully, he immediately found a way to get the pawn back, and a draw was instantly agreed. But this was just an hors d'oeuvre before the main course was served in Game 2. Ben played a great opening and was all over Black in no time at all. He first won an exchange, and a bit later added a piece, so he was now actually a whole rook up. Black had a few pawns, but Ben took most of them, at the cost of an exchange and reached an ending of RN+3 against R+2. Then Jonathan left mate in one on. Rook to the back rank, checkmate, end of game. But Ben missed it. I screamed at the screen, but surely it wouldn't matter, as we were still a whole piece and two connected passed pawns up? Wrong! Ben rather needlessly stalemated the Black king, which Jonathan noticed instantly and started trying to sac his remaining rook to get the draw. Ben wriggled as best he could to avoid capturing it, but he had to let his knight go to avoid perpetual or stalemate. He still had connected g and h pawns, but a thoughtless rook check suddenly put him in a position where his rook was forever stuck on the g file to defend a pawn, while neither his g or h pawns could move either. And his king could not get out of the checks So it was a draw. Unbelievable! A true online immortal game. But for all the wrong reasons! And while it was happening, I was under the impression it was costing us match victory, adding to the agony of the experience. Until Solomon came along to save the day at the 11th hour.

Final Standings

Nuneaton A ran out convincing Division 1 winners with 14 points from their 8 games - losing only their final match against Shirley A. So Kenilworth A finished only two points off top spot after 6 wins and 2 defeats yielded 12 pts. Third place went to Kenilworth C, sorry that should be Coventry A. Kenilworth B ended up in 6th position on 6 points, edging out Warwick Uni B on game points. Well played the B team, who also finished clear of Warwick University A and Birmingham University in the 9 strong league. Who said chess is a young person's game? Probably me. And it is usually, of course, as our own performances prove!

Because our star performer in the season was - who else? - the amazing mighty atom that is Jude, who scored an unbeaten 8.5 from his 10 games, all but two of which were on Board 1. An absolutely tremendous performance. A close second was the rather less youthful Mike, who - in an ever present campaign - notched up 13/16 for an 81.3% score, with only 1 defeat. Not bad for someone who often seems to be very uncomfortable with online chess! Honourable mentions also to Solomon (7/10; 70% - very impressive for a free transfer signing!); Dave (7.5/12; 62.5%); and Andy W (5/8; 62.5%); myself (9.5/16; 59.4%) and Billy (3/6; 50%).  The only dishonourable mention goes to Bernard R, whose woes with disconnections were very frustrating, and if he can sort this out he will be a big asset to the team in future online contests (from a misleadingly low rating!).

Thanks to all 12 players who, despite often causing me major stress by joining the match very late (I learned to stop caring eventually!), did not default a single board. And thanks to the 13th man, Roy, who was there waiting in the wings and hoping not to be called to action. Glad to meet your wishes, Roy!

Sunday, 6 December 2020

Online Odds and Sods

 A quick round-up of yet more online activity that at least some people might be interested in.

1) Last Thursday the club held its second Online Arena Tournament, this time at 5 mins + 5 secs over 90 minutes. Lionel ran out a convincing winner (modesty forbids me from saying who was the only person to lower his colours - which are the tricolour, by the way) ahead of Jude and Joshua. We had 9 players this time round, with Artistic Bernard the only person who played in the first tournament who couldn't make the second. But why no new players?? Give it a go! It's good fun, especially if you join in the banter on Discord too.

2) On Sunday afternoon, the first LDCL Online Individual Swiss took place, organised by Ben, and also using the 5 mins + 5 secs rate of play. In a field of 14 players, it was a great triumph for KCC as Jude took out first place with an unbeaten 6/7, dropping half points against me and the clock - he was late for Round 1 and only got a half point bye! A useful warm up for the U-10 Online World Championships this week, I hope. I was second with 5.5, losing horribly to Dave Riley of Rugby - who finished third with 5 pts, and Bernard R was half a point off the podium, finishing alone in 4th place on 4.5, so almost a clean sweep by us. Ben was clearly affected by the strain of organising and playing, finishing in midfield, while Joshua turned up for Rd 1, lost horribly and immediately disappeared into the ether.

3) Just in case you haven't caught up with the news, the British Online Championships are being held in December and early January, with a variety of time controls from 60 mins to bullet, and with events for all ages and standards. All the information can be found here. I hope we can rustle up a good turnout to match the impressive numbers we managed at the last OTB British Championship in Torquay in 2019.

4) Some potentially useful technical/practical advice from Mike who has been a relatively recent - and not always enthusiastic! - convert to online chess. Whether any of this will help the hapless Bernard R in his fight to stay connected on is another matter! Thanks for the contribution anyway, Mike.

Type of mouse used 
(a) laptop touch pads with pressable solid button are OK speedwise for drag and drop of pieces but can become slippery after some period of play. For making a move in 1-2 seconds  they can be viewed as "slow" and not reliable.
(b) old fashioned ball mice (maybe rated at 400 dpi) used with a mouse mat and wire, are relatively slow compared to laptop touch pads and can suffer from severe skidding and judder, which may make a move difficult to complete. They need large movements of the mouse to move the cursor any sort of distance and may result in the mouse moving off the mat.
(c) gaming type of mice at, say, 4000dpi or above, are far too sensitive for chess and may suffer overrun.
(d) I  have today tested, using Chessbase only so far, a cordless wireless mouse with "darkfield" invisible laser. This is rated at 1000dpi and works on any surface (no mat needed) and needs very little movement of the mouse to move the cursor the distance of an electronic chess board.

Internet connection 
For Windows 10 based computers the automatic reconnection switch needs to be set at "on". Recent updates of Windows 10 have tended to reset this as "off" with no notification of this to the user.

Automatic loss on
This seems to occur in something like 2-3 minutes if:
- an internet disconnection occurs for this sort of time scale (note that very short disconnections often occur during a game on which appear to have no effect)
- if a player arrives later than 2-3 minutes from the start time of an organised match.

5) And finally, on the eve of the European Qualifier for the U-10 Online World Championships, "Good Luck, Jude". We're all rooting for you!

Friday, 4 December 2020

Local Heroes!

Great news from the first ever Leamington League Online Individual Tournament, where KCC members came away with no less than 3 prizes between them, including 2 titles! Four of our intrepid souls embarked on this title quest a few weeks ago, and over 12 games of rapid chess ....... remarkably, they all finished in a tie for 5th-10th place (out of 34 starters) on 7.5 points!! They won't all be equally pleased with this, though, as their rating gain/loss for the event probably reveals:-

  • Bernard R +74
  • Ben +47
  • Joshua -21
  • Solomon +220

(BTW, no-one seems exactly sure what ratings these relate to - possibly ECF rapid?! Possibly not!?)

Before the last round, Bernard was one of only two people who could have won the overall title, but he went down 2-0 to Ammar Karim of Solihull, who finished miles clear at the top with a sensational 11.5/12.

But never mind, since despite this less than glorious finish, Bernard still scooped the title of LDCL Online U-1800 Champion - which only makes his disconnection travails on in the CDCL Online League even more frustrating. But the title was only won on tie break as our lockdown newcomer Solomon (we think he's a real person, but no-one's yet met him!) ended with a 2-0 final round win over Paul Silverman to claim the runner-up spot. But, in his typically magnanimous way, I suspect Solomon was not too annoyed about that, as he got ample compensation by taking home a title of his own, as LDCL Online U-1500 Champion. Well done guys, and how nicely balanced that the titles were picked up by one of our founding fathers, and our newest recruit. One on the way out, and one on the way up! Ben finished with two draws against Julian Summerfield, while Joshua continued his late charge up the table, with a 2-0 win over Gordon Christie.

Anyway, to celebrate the achievements of the club placing all 4 players in the top 10, plus two individual titles and one runner-up place, what better than the unspeakably beautiful theme tune, Going Home, from the truly wonderful film, Local Hero? As you can't get much more local than ..... er.... Warwick, Coventry, Bishop's Tachbrook and, thankfully!, Kenilworth. Take it away Mr Knopfler!!

Or if you would prefer a live version, then enjoy this - which has the added bonus of, seemingly, having Ian Beale from EastEnders on drums, and Bill Oddie on keyboards.

And let's finish with this even better version, which should give everyone hope. If he can play the guitar like this at the age of 70, we should all be capable of the odd good game of chess at the same age. Relax and enjoy this sublime performance, while toasting our glorious winners!

Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Coventry Online League - Week 8

After last week's glorious double triumph, this time around it was back to the usual pattern of one win and one defeat for our two teams. But with the defeat being due entirely to "friendly fire", club harmony is being sorely tested!

Kenilworth B v Coventry A

After doing the decent thing and losing badly against the A team last week, Joshua and Lionel scored 3.5/4 between them against the B team. If Stalin was in charge of the club, they would already have faced a show trial and been sentenced by now. Unlike Bernard C, who has thoughtfully adopted the Hippocratic mantra of "do no harm" and absents himself from matches between his two clubs, Messrs Pink and Riou-Durand have thrown themselves whole-heartedly into the fray and appeared against us in both Kenilworth - Coventry matches, apparently adopting the Hitlerian mantra of "do as much harm as you can". Joshua outpointed Tom 1.5-0.5 on Board 1. After a wild (who'd have guessed?) Game 1, where Tom was losing, winning, losing and then drawing, Game 2 was a catastrophe for him, and he got overwhelmed by a massive kingside assault. Lionel went half a point better and beat Will 2-0 in a very tough pairing for our man. Will has clearly been winning too many games on - or else Ben and Dave have been losing too many - since he unluckily rocketed up from Board 4 to Board 2 between team selection and match time. He made an enterprising but probably unsound piece sac with Black in Game 1, but Lionel found a precise way to unravel and won with a crushing counter attack. Game 2 was more drawn out, but Lionel just kept picking up pawns as Will couldn't get his kingside attack going. Ben finally got his season into top gear (better late than never!) by scoring 2-0 against Bava Manackam on Board 3. Reverting to that infernal London System, he got nowhere in Game 1 and was under some pressure until Bava went wrong right at the end and after walking into mate, which was not played, failed to make the most of this escape by walking into a knight fork! Game 2 was another tough battle, and another dodgy opening by Ben, but he then won a pawn with a nice tactic in a very complicated position. White missed the one move win of the exchange, though, and Ben unravelled nicely before taking over the position and winning lots of material for an excellent evening's work. But those openings, Ben!?!? On Board 4, Dave went down 0.5-1.5 to Ed (who we can't really claim as one of our own, even if he is a bit!), but with any luck this could have been 2-0 to us. As Black in Game 1, Dave had done the decent thing and completely neutralised Ed's spirit-sapping London/Jobava opening, but he got into worse time-trouble than Ed (yes, I thought that was impossible, too!) and unfortunately collapsed to defeat from a better position. Another half point slipped away in Game 2, as Dave emerged from a strange opening to get a winning kingside attack, but under time pressure again, he just couldn't deliver the knock out blow, as Ed's g6 knight single handedly kept Dave's marauding queen at bay. Final score, KCC B 3 - Coventry A 5. But this will go down in the club annals as a night of infamy!

Kenilworth A - Warwick University A

This has been a strange competition for Warwick Uni, with their B team being consistently stronger than their A team - and neither being the juggernauts of recent seasons that we have become used to - and the pattern was continued here, as we romped to a massive 7.5-0.5 win. Inevitably it was me who cost us the clean sweep! Jude was in (almost) imperious form on Board 1 against Vincenz Bill. He won a pawn with a nice tactic and seemed to be cruising to victory when for one fleeting moment the analysis bar went berserk, as Jude allowed the White queen to retreat from b7 to b1, giving check to Black's king on h7 and also attacking a Back rook on a2! Thankfully, the opportunity went unnoticed and Jude wrapped up the win shortly afterwards. Game 2 saw a big kingside attack from White and Jude crashed through to deliver mate. Mighty impressive stuff. There is no doubt who deserves to be the club's online Board 1 these days, and its certainly not anyone who is old enough to drive a car! I played a very poor game with White against Jonathan Fowler on Board 2 and was quite fortunate to keep the balance and hold the draw in a knight ending. Game 2 went much better and despite my doubled e pawns I was doing all the pressing. Eventually I won a pawn and - after a bit of faffing around - a second, before White blundered a piece in big time trouble. Andy W was back from his sabbatical on Board 3 and won two very decisive games against Thomas Parmenter. In the first, he chased the White king right up the board and half way back again, where it was mated on d5, while in the second he was always in control of the tactics and won material nicely before delivering mate again, this time with the Black king having been forced to a5. Mike completed the match with a 2-0 victory over Daniel McCorley. Game 1 was quite a struggle well into the middlegame before Mike took control, while as Black in Game 2, Mike started winning pawns quite early on and was never in trouble. At least that's what I thought until he e-mailed me afterwards with the longest list of off-board issues/catastrophes I have ever read. All in all it was a miracle he played at all, let alone won two games!

Well that's it for the A team. as its our turn for the bye next week. We will definitely finish second on 12 points, with a  record of 6 wins and 2 defeats, and a board count of 40-22. Nuneaton A already have 14 points though, and may yet end up with a 100% record, which would be mighty impressive. The B team have one match to go, against Warwick Uni A, with whom they are currently in a group on 4 points in 6-9th positions. So all to play for, and lets hope we can sign off with a win.