Archive for November, 2016

Who said that the current generation of players are ‘the computer generation’? Like as if it is they and only they? Was it those who were once described as a bunch of sycophant charlatans, educational hoodwinkers who conjured such a deplorable use of ‘the’, that being the definite article? Weren’t we all -way back whenever- at it wiv’ em? I know I certainly was before the bonce got bashed up… . Here’s the proof that helped the most become my school chess champion… .

I’m tempted to ask ‘Do you remember Sargon II?’ but I think the more correct question is ‘How could you possibly forget Sargon II?’

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It’s so wonderful to return to the fold, to be back in the heart of the thing I miss the most, to put to one side a return to health, to become so adrenalized, to go into overdrive, to tear my opponent apart, to win us the match yet again and once more for my long-lost team mates, to make my team both proud and happy, to come back and conquer, to make myself both happy and content and so, to come ‘From out of nowhere’, to watch the first 23 seconds of the video below, you will see what I modeled my behaviour on when I checkmated my opponent and became so ecstatic- I kid you not… .

The day and how it unfolded…

Being so out of practice of course I was worried. This is about honour but the brain damage I have makes me go from hyperactive to a polarized alternative without warning. I never know when nor have the means to control it. I began telling myself just take it to him if you can. I said ‘You are from Luton (letter ‘t’ not pronounced), you know what that means. Stick it to him. And honour your team and its town. Then as the time of departure drew near I dressed with this on.


He he, nothing to see here. Not a reference to where I am from but more so where I should be.

The black snow boots bought in Baku were the ones I wore in Bakuriani, Georgia, and on the way back to Tiblisi where I stopped off and took a pee in scumbag despicable Stalin’s home town (yes, yes, yes claim to fame!). Georgia is below.

Me and me baby. Some cold wind was blowing up that mountain.

Me and me baby in Tblisi. Some cold wind was blowing up that mountain.


Bakuriani. Me and me baby. Isn’t she lovely? Look at the transportation in use!

I wore black fleece trousers also. I wear black because musicwise I was a metalhead once. My jacket is orange because I am from Luton. Prior to play I was not confident because I felt tired and not myself but the conversation en route was cracking. I saw what Milton Keynes is like en route. Then, I saw the University and there I began to change. Was it that I had slotted back in? Perhaps yes perhaps no.

The Karpov-like accumulation of small advantages…


French Tarrasch with me being white.


14. Nd4 was played. The purpose is to place the queen on the f1-a6 diagonal because the black queen is misplaced. When the white queen goes to b5 with tempo after an exchange on e2, then Rad1 is played, white has the easier game… .


Black allows both 15. Bxd4 and 16 Qb5! He thinks a kingside attack is worthwhile. I already know I will win… .


All endgames are won but two rook endgames require much precision so I played 24. Qxb7. He can activate his rook and does with 27. … Rb8 but look at his back rank weakness, it’s easy… .


Ahem. I just played 31. Qd6 and then he played 31. … h5. Hahahahahaha. Any thoughts on how I delivered checkmate with the next move?

You know, I left the playing hall both overjoyed but full of sorrow. Enjoy the vids below.

I appear @ 2.47, 6.20, 9.43.

In this one I am Sir, ‘Not appearing in this clip’.

I appear @ 2.42, 4.31 (my point was soon proven in the game), 5.58 (confirmation that I was correct).

I appear @ 5.21.

I appear @ 0.43.

In this one I am Sir, ‘Not appearing in this clip’.

And so I left the building and entered the night at 11 pm or just there after. Whether it was now cold went unnoticed. Leaving behind that which made me what I am mattered more. The walk to the car was where conversation was most convivial. The team captain and I were so overjoyed…oh how I so much missed every single aspect of what I was walking away from. My heart sank so very far. I walked. I walked on. We were triumphant. We left… .

…on our way home we drove along the motorway and I talked about who played the best. Did it really matter that I won? Yes it did but what mattered more was to feel loved by those who, being English can’t express their feelings so easily, only to then act in accordance with what they don’t feel. When an exception occurs, you know there is a reason for it is now that we are top of the league! And who put us there? It was me :-).


Thank you for reading and watching.


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As a student of adversity, I’ve been stuck over the years how some people with major challenges seem to draw strength from them and I’ve heard the popular wisdom that that has to do with finding meaning and for a long time I thought the meaning was out there, some great truth waiting to be found but over time I’ve come to think that the truth is irrelevant. We call it finding meaning but we might better call it forging meaning…

Andrew Solomon

Taken from one of Manhattan’s greatest ever writers…if not the greatest, that being Andrew Solomon. The thing that distinguishes him is not just that he is so often at seminal moments in his texts and speeches unwittingly Aristotelian but rather that he is so modern, methodical and meticulous. Being an established journalist in the US and A’s top newspaper, he knows what his readers anticipate, having been drawn, collectively or otherwise, towards his literature for reasons which are both rationally informed and researched well in our modern age…I was tempted to say well-researched there but I’m neither a fan of compound adjectives nor metaphors to be honest… he is not just a man who is triumphant in the face of adversity, but surprisingly or not, also someone who has liked a complimentary tweet or two made about him by yours truly :-).

In returning to what was so long ago once ‘home’ -that being where I learnt to play chess- understanding what it once meant to be here and exactly what it means now is not easy. No longer can I consider it as home since home can no longer be ascertained geographically. If we rely upon the cliché that ‘home is where the heart is’ then home is wherever my daughter is so that I can be by her side, protect, love and educate her as every father should, then of course ascribing a location to home is thus otiose. However, life itself is perhaps more complex than chess given it is broader than our beautiful game and much more so the chess community you grew up in and have missed so dearly in more recent years, should you be overtly quixotic. Those thus tainted by the tragedy of its demise from that town you walked almost every road thereof. How do you practice when where you live is bereft of the club you spent so many evenings improving in or not improving in? It is no longer possible to find meaning within its walls, instead meaning must be forged… .

‘I am not an Athenian or a Greek. I am a citizen of the world.’

Spoken by Socrates in Plutarch’s ‘Of Banishment’.

Regarding the walls of thee old chess club I once knew so well, whilst drifting towards a draw in a league game long since significant, me and the team mate next to me had our opponents wander off together. Quietly and somewhat surreptitiously my team mate asked ‘Mark, what do you think to my position?’. I then said ‘It’s out of this world, its covered in bone, it’s out of this world, it’s covered in bone, out of this world, it’s covered in bone, out of this world, covered in bone, OUT OF THIS WWWOOORRRLLLDDDD, COVERED IN BONE AAARRGGGHHHH’. Boy did my team mate look confused, then get this, the chairman of the club came over and said ‘Oy! McCready what ya playin’ at?’ That was back when I used to listen to music during the trek across town. (Erm Mark, please don’t employ the word trek yeah. The last two of the three fatalities you somehow outplayed involve the word trek yes? Bicycle manufacturer and activity in Nepal yes?) I wonder what song such words come from?

 ‘Forging meaning and building identity does not make what was wrong right. It only makes what was wrong precious’

Andrew Solomon

God isn’t he gorgeous…oops, erm, irrespective of how badly you played or how instantly forgettable your opening repertoire once was, what you have learnt from is precious… .

‘We don’t seek the painful experiences that hue our identities but we seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences. We cannot bear a pointless torment but we can endure great pain if we believe its purposeful’ 

Andrew Solomon

It is tomorrow that I must go to Milton Keynes and it is there I must play chess to win for Luton once more…once upon a time this I once wrote about a journey across Bedfordshire.

My team mate sat next to me had not moved since we’d left Luton. We mirrored each other’s posture and sat still as he took an interest in the serenity outside. Beyond the square windows of the car, an arbitrary county line went by. Further in the distance, the shining windows of a farmhouse blazed by a creek that wove among the fields in the hills, beyond valleys sloping into an expanse of time, where day and wild orchids blew across the B-road ahead.

Me, me, me, me, me, erm ages ago… .

What a day what a day it will be. How so exciting the manner in which darkness descends will be. As chess players we gain from our game how essential it is to think ahead, so I say, the experience will outlive the result or the manner in which I win. There is supposed to be a world championship match on but for now there is no world championship match, there is only the road ahead and that which lies beyond it.

Its game on tomorrow…ghettos exist we do not profit from them…just thinking of Milton Keynes now…see below.

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You pretend to what you say you feel
You pretend that you’re something special
All your lies that you hide behind
I see right through you
See right through you

The Perfect Life – Steve Wilson

In the final day, which had two rounds of the Bedfordshire County Championship in May 2010, tragedy struck. In the break between the morning and afternoon game I sat by myself as quiet and deep in thought as always. A close friend called to say that our mutual friend and Irish man Tom O’Grady had suddenly died. His hospital told him his cancer returned and he had five days to live only… . They were correct, he died five days later. Leaving his two teenager sons behind. They lost the father they loved, his family lost a member so beloved, his many friends he was so close to lost a great companion…upon the cricket pitch I had wandered into, there I stood remembering how charming his banter was, the intellectual American lady I knew was much pleasured by his gentlemanly, jovial and captivating tête-à-têtes always within earshot of anyone nearby wherever he was… .

She said “The water has no memory.”
For a few months everything about our lives was perfect.
It was only us, we were inseparable.
But gradually, she passed into another distant part of my memory,
until I could no longer remember her face, her voice, even her name.

The Perfect Life – Steve Wilson

So hurt I remained on the pitch since I was more isolated there, standing towards where the horizon broadened with that which withered and that which did not. Of all people to be taken away…why…why him? I stopped so very hurt knowing he had suffered so greatly for so long…his child autistic and in need of such great care, then of course, the two stabbings in London…was he really the same thereafter? Poor, poor Tom.

We have got, we have got a perfect life – The Perfect Life – Steve Wilson

I could not go home on that day at that time so play on I did. It was my worst game ever. In shock, I never wanted to be there, never spoke to anyone, never concentrated, and stood at the window to stare into the fields beyond so that no one would see when tears flowed from my eyes. I could not try in my game and lose I did. It mattered not. You must never play chess under such tragic circumstances for its outcome can never matter…life itself matters more…R. I. P Tom O’Grady. Good bye my good friend.

Take your pride, take your vanity. Can’t you see that your ego’s empty. The Perfect Life – Steve Wilson

The writer of that below is so talented and clever. You won’t guess what it is about because that’s his style.

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Bedfordshire 1987






























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The printer is confirmed as down and out for the remainder of the year. So once again, images are captured by phone.






























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From unicycle bicycle to fire-engine ambulance to grave hospital bed to hearse taxi to glider Boeing 777-300 to grim reaper ferrying me across the river styx a friend driving me from LHR to a decaying homeland the place where I grew up.


Consciousness has been fundamentally altered by a subversive restructuring which is both oblivious and impervious to time, its motion, and how the present stands in relation to the past and the future given the antagonisms first indigenous then endogenous manifest until they dissipate, no longer contrary, concurring their co-existence is harmonious given that regrowth is both instinctual and inexorable…are you thinking what I am thinking; namely, WFT???


However, I noticed earlier today that in two weeks’ time I must swoop down upon the chess scene I flew from and snatch victory from he who resigned when last met over the board. Exactly when was that I wonder and can I remember how well I played?


Thoughts and internal dialogue… .


Tell me all you remember. Okay, the game commenced in the evening under a darkened sky so that would have been when? Hmm…difficult to be sure (Note to self: check how many times in history the sky has darkened during evening in England…erm given how swollen, mashed, smashed up, almost pulverized me precious bonce still is have that double checked)…oh yeah and we played in a building somewhere. It had some walls and maybe a floor and a ceiling too.


What was I wearing? I was wearing clothes.


I know you were wearing clothes, what clothes were you wearing? Blue jeans, yellow shirt, yellow jumper. 


So not beyond 92 then? Nah, the singer from Faith No More never wore yellow so there… .


Oh you mean the one you were so impressed by you eventually got the hots for?  Er…given the disbelief that went down at home last month, it might be best that I don’t answer that.


You were a bit obsessional back then I take it? A bit? If only that were true. In the ensemble of obsessions youth became enslaved by, it was the first thus foremost a rock when two tragedies tore all else apart. When I played my opponent to come, I was so depressed it never mattered if I won, drew or lost because nothing mattered. However I won that night because he got into time trouble and blundered.


Did you take your opponent’s inside leg measurement as he got into time trouble in order to break his concentration? Huh?????


Would having thee bonce sliced open then tinkered with once more help bring back every move of the 496 rated games you played before leaving chess to concentrate upon your education? Won’t that help you seeing that the present is disengaged? You what???? Are you pissed???? I suspect a refocusing upon that present, however oblique it has become to that both before and to follow carries greater significance than any moves made a quarter of a century ago given that it is my present ability that will determine the outcome…you should have learnt that before. And anyway, I already told you I won. And I won my last two games anyway?


Yes but being brain damaged I no longer know what the present is. Won’t that affect matters?

In time you’ll intuit the past and in retrospect you’ll conclude that however gaunt the face which embodied your demise and almost destroyed body and brain is, with its presupposed transcendence vanquished for now and forever more it is indeed what a day when you can look it in the face and hold your vomit. Remember ‘Don’t you touch it’ just look it in the face and hold your vomit. Now swoop down upon your prey and make yourself proud once more.


Lastly, you are back in what used to be your home, having been left for dead on a pavement, bleeding profusely both internally and externally you are probably quite sad, especially when those closest to you were in tears after the neurosurgeon told them you were about to die and could not be saved…so how will you feel when you play next in Bedford? Hopefully all will be fine but its strange you ask because for many years I missed the comfort in being sad, even when I was content and in complete control. Until I am myself again, I’ll probably pretend I have no commitments, revert back to how I used to be and enjoy the comfort of being sad for a few hours -just for fun!


Aha, so that’s why your blog has changed so much of late. Okay that’s all, thanks. Glad to hear it. I still have multiple injuries and, as is usually the case, am in pain. Must attend to it. Bye.


A finishing up, I am indeed in much pain as progress isn’t as cumulative as is hoped for. I must now close my eyes as all is going black. One day I will be free from pain, only then can I look it in the face and hold my vomit. Before then the emancipation from agony is unachievable; therefore, I dare not look it in the face nor roll over and die. I will play on, expecting my options to both disperse but broaden simultaneously, hoping the sickness unto death does not emerge… .

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Bedfordshire 1984

Still no access to the printer but some further improvement has been made.


























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What can we say about GM Lev Aronian, well we can state the obvious by repeating how well-liked, creative and brilliant he is. And his partner WIM Ariane Caoili, what can we say? She has it all, well-spoken, a pleasant personality, polite, a love of academia, and is obviously the most beautiful woman ever seen at a chess board. When I embarked upon an MA and saw her playing in London, not knowing who she was at the time I frowned, unable to believe could be a chess player because she’s too pretty and so I went over to her game to look at her position. She got out of her chair and we engaged in eye contact briefly before she returned to the board to concentrate, perhaps curious what I was in turn curious about. When I left the hall I walked out so slowly thinking “Is it really possible for a female chess player to be that attractive? Surely it can’t be.” And what does that mean you ask? Well, if you see her dressed up in her own attire she is fashionable and puts supermodels to shame with ease. When I first saw her I was glancing round the hall and wondered why she is sitting at a board as she couldn’t possibly be a chess player looking that great -I thought she was probably a model who just wanted to sit down for a minute, not realizing that the seat was already taken.

I never had the chance to go to Armenia whilst stationed in Baku but believed it to be culturally more interesting. You can see traditional dress below if you can draw your attention away from Ariane, which is not easy. What a fun day they are having on camera. A wonderful pair for sure.

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