Archive for July 10th, 2022

Technically, I am on my summer vacation break, which means I sit around doing nothing a lot. Well too much actually because now I am going to bed bored and not tired at all, and so for the 5th time in about 10 days, I have lost a night’s sleep.

It’s 06.29am. I just played three or four games against players around the 2000 mark on Lichess and won at least one of them. How do I do it? Shouldn’t I be sleeping? Well yes but it seems as though my sleep pattern has shifted to one more irregular. I shall stop here and play another game. Not time for bed yet. When that time will come -that I don’t know so on we go… .

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12 year stretch

Between 1997 and 2009 I gave up chess altogether. Never thought about it, never played it, never followed it. I don’t recall what brought chess back into my life exactly, perhaps a part of me missed it. The funny thing looking back is that for a solid 6 years and more, chess has become so fundamental to my whole being, there really is no chance of me stopping again. Could you imagine a life without chess? Ghastly!

We have to learn to think ahead in chess, clearly so. In life can we calculate the why? Why chess is so important? Why we play? What we get from following major events? Can we question what we do so easily? Usually we can’t, and I can’t. If anything it is a passion, one fundamental to me. I am not a professional player by any stretch of the imagination, I’m not a journalist either, I am just a lover of chess but the depth of my love almost renders me a professional, as chess is forefront at all times almost. I have a healthy relationship with chess and I am conscious of the nature of it…perhaps enthusiast is a fitting term or keen amateur maybe. Defining who you are or what you do is commonly seen as a first world problem but to put it philosophically, knowing what you are passionate about is essential.

Should we feel pity for those who don’t play chess? Well it’s their choice but I do pity those who don’t or those who gave it up and can’t really get back into it. There is a lot wrong with chess, and on many levels. It’s too theory-dependent, its literary culture is almost criminal, and those at the top have almost nothing to offer beyond their own experiences. I could go on but won’t. Chess is also in good shape and being a spectator is great fun these days, another reason why we should pity those who don’t play.

It is 2am. Once more I sit in darkness, listening to the whir of the A/C, the room haunted by loneliness. My daughter is sleeping beside me, no one is awake, just me. Sometimes I write because I want to connect, even though I have little to say. Did I tell you I mull over a short story about chess. I might just start it. If you’ve read this far then well done. I have little to say except in one way or another, it’s all good.

Mark. J. McCready

02.53 am Monday July 11th.

Tung Song Hong, Laksi


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Dear Ken 8

Ken -the online agony uncle for troubled chess players.

Gary, Cranfield Hello Ken and please offer advice over the following issue. Two week’s ago we had a match in Luton and some things happened that could have been avoided. To start, a younger member, say 18, brought his electric guitar down and started blasting out 70s heavy metal when people were actually playing and trying to concentrate. This did not go down with one member and so him and the guitar player went out into the snow and had a fight. After rolling around for a bit and exchanging a few blows, they came back in and things were much quieter but the mood in the club was very low and I thought the fight would start up again. Luton is so working class and I imagine the same sort of thing goes on everywhere there but we weren’t expecting it at the chess club. What should we do to prepare for matches away to Luton with its bad live music in the club?

Ken: oh Luton eh? Rough place. Now listen, most likely they will have a few nutters at their chess club, if this is Luton we are talking about. How disturbed they are I don’t know but probably quite a lot. I suggest you wear sunglasses inside and put earplugs in. You’re not in the most gentlemanly part of Bedfordshire I can tell you.

Gary: yes but why must we tolerate such behaviour?

Ken: put simply, it’s Luton -get used to it. They need to fight in that town so let them get on with it. In time you will come to see much worse. You may want to bring your own instruments down and have a jamming session -take some boxing gloves if you do!

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The Tartakower variation appears in which opening?

ANSWER A Queen’s gambit accepted

ANSWER B Nimzo-Indian defence

ANSWER C Queen’s gambit declined

ANSWER D Queen’s Indian defence

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The 2010 Olympiad was won by which country?


ANSWER B Armenia

ANSWER D Ukraine

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The 1981 World Championship Match between Karpov and Korchnoi was held in which city?


ANSWER B Florence



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Which weapon is associated with the former world champion Alekhine?

Answer A Sword

Answer B Gun

Answer C Dagger

Answer D Truncheon

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Dear Ken 7

Dear Ken, the agony uncle for chess players in need of advice.

Adrian, Milton Keynes Hello there Ken and thank you for granting me the choice to air my concerns. We have one concerning a player from another club. Thankfully it only ever happens around bonfire night but frankly -that’s more than enough. Our A,B, C & D teams are in the same division as the teams from Luton. When we go there, something keeps happening which is rather irksome to say the least. They’ve got this McCready fellow. He seems like a nice enough bloke but he’s not very good at chess tbh. Well on match night’s he likes to get up out of his seat and leave the playing hall with his bag in the middle of the match. Then about two minutes later we get all these fireworks going off behind us, especially Air bombs. What he is doing is letting fireworks off to put us off our game, and he does it all the time whilst they are on sale in the shops around bonfire night. How should we proceed here. He’s the captain of his team, so we are hampered regarding what we can achieve here.

KEN: Now this McCready fellow, let me tell you, he thinks he’s some sort of comedian but he’s not, he’s a bloody annoying little shit most of the time but he will say that’s rubbish and that he is funny and good at making people laugh. I’m afraid you’ll just have to put up with it until he stops thinking what he is doing is funny…whenever that will be. Unfortunately he does have a rather warped sense of humour, mostly from reading that Viz for years on end.

Adrian, Milton Keynes, well we could try to get him to own up I suppose?

KEN: I wouldn’t bother. He will say it isn’t him and carry on until he thinks its not funny anymore, that’s him and I should know. Or failing that when he runs out of money. He’s a lazy bastard and doesn’t work, so shouldn’t be too long. You could try telling him to grow up but it won’t work, trust me. All you can do is wait for him to wake up but I wouldn’t hold your breathe there.

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Earthly GMs

Earthly GMs, what’s this all about? Put simply, you have a month to click on the link below and play the game I created. Admittedly, I won’t be too happy if you score 20 out of 20. Should you wish to play it after the expiration date, just drop me a mail or a message and I will reconfigure the settings on your behalf.

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“Chess is the struggle against the error.” was said by which famous chess player?

ANSWER A Johannes Zukertort

ANSWER B Emmanuel Lasker

ANSWER C Saviely Tartakower

ANSWER D Mikail Chigorin

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