Archive for July 18th, 2022

Echo Beach

What do I do when I am not at work and not online? Well, ‘I know its out of fashion and a trifle uncool’

Relax on the beach with my child and a banana shake. + ‘It’s a habit of mine to watch the sun go down’
‘On echo beach there’s not a soul around’

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Dear Ken 11

Dear Ken, the agony uncle for troubled chess players.

Tom, Cranfield, oh dear Ken do help advise me on what to do, I am so torn between staying or leaving my present club I’ve reached breaking point. We meet every Thursday, and you can bet your bottom dollar at some point in the evening there will be a massive punch up. I’m not a violent man and I don’t like to see it…please help! I want to leave my club and join another but they are all so far away and I don’t have any transport. At my club many players take advantage of the ‘J’ doube’ rule and constantly do it to annoy each other. Every single move you get it, and many players adjust their opponents pieces too, and deliberately misplace them to get their opponent fired up. It’s become such an annoyance that now we get massive punch ups with members bundling in even if it’s not their game. Tables get broken, fists go flying, chairs thrown about, chess sets smashed up, how many pints of lager sent everywhere I don’t know. One of my friends says in the Beds. league this happens at all clubs and it’s quite normal because they are all heavy drinkers, how do I change club and county?

Ken, stop being a softy and dive on in there. Everyone loves bundles, what’s the problem? To stay in that league you are going to have to harden up.

Tom, Cranfield, but Ken this is just not chess, this is warfare. I want to improve as a player and not a fighter!

Ken, chess is a game of war, think of it like that. Now get boozing, get stuck in and get us some pics and videos.

A bored at night MJM (this normally means Mark thinks he is funny. But let’s be honest, where else can you find an agony uncle in chess? Top marks for originality, especially since Ken is portrayed as…not the best.)

0156, Laksi BKK (in a darkened room)

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Read Rowson Right

‘myth buster’It’s uncommon for a Grand master to also be well educated, having a Ph.D. Rowson does though and he writes well too. He’s well worth a read but you do need to read him ‘lento’ as the content is often dense and requires reflection.

Apologies for sliding into ‘myth busting’ mode but one of the attributes given to chess players is that we have a good memory (courtesy of opening theory) but it just isn’t true. Do you know which game does require a good memory, one if fact so vastly superior to chess they are incomparable, well do you? If not then I shall tell you -it’s Scrabble!

Final ‘myth buster‘, it’s not true that all chess players are like myself, incredibly handsome with a stunning physique, tanned with a six-pack and wearing sunglasses, full of charm and charisma too…(oh Mark really!! Maybe you should go to bed! That’s not remotely funny and working out why you think it is…erm no thanks, just drop the attempts at humour before you embarrass yourself further and get to bed pronto…of all the deplorable things to come out with! Really you should be quite ashamed of yourself because you really aren’t funny -ya know!)

Rowson’s most recent publication. He rewrote it 10 times and it’s a little uneven in tone but worth a read nonetheless. Rather inspirational too it must be said.

Mark. J. M

1.35 am, a dark room somewhere…

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Rook in coming

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Some people have too much time on their hands.

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Throughout the 80s, 90s, England was a hotly-tipped nation at national events like the Olympiad. It’s not that way now for main events, unless you change the parameters. The same players who were strong 30-40 years ago are now doing very well in the over 50 and over 65 sections. Details are provided here.

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The draft save is Feb 12th 2021 and this is about as far as I got. What it doesn’t say in the don’ts’s is don’t play it against people who are much better than you! I say this because you concede a lot of space, and if that’s used well you are in a difficult situation to put it mildly. Since this draft save I have adopted the Sicilian with 2. …e6 as it is more solid and gives you more chances. I really ought to point out here that I did play the St. George’s solidly for at least 6 months at a very busy time (300-500 games) but I am by no means a professional player. The book written by Basman I found to be rather poor but he did seem to know that if the centre is closed, you have to play on the flanks or you will get squashed basically. It’s a fun/novelty opening that can really throw your opponent but I certainly wouldn’t try to build a repertoire around it as its only a matter of time before you’ll be shot down in flames. What is written below is entirely from my own experience, and it became very rare that I was troubled in the opening.

The Do’s which provide playable middlegames.

-understand you are conceding the centre therefore you must play on the flanks.

-understand you gain space on the queenside and so that is where you should play. Attacks on the kingside come later, once your opponent is stretched somewhat or at least attending to your play on the queenside.

-minor piece development order is usually queen’s bishop, king’s knight, king’s bishop, and lastly, queen’s knight.

-you have less space than white and so one or two minor pieces should be exchanged so that you have more room for manoeuvre. White will find it easy to attack if this does not happen.

-because you will develop the queen onto a dark square -most likely b6- you should wait for your opponent to commit his light-squared bishop first unless it can be challenged immediately.

-do try to exchange the c-pawn whenever the opportunity arises because it makes it easier to use the b-file, and if the position stays closed you can’t generate counter play.

-given that it is unorthodox either your opponent won’t set his pieces up correctly, will sit and do nothing or will over-extend, if your play is harmonious he will find it hard.

-try to prevent the queen from gaining access to the kingside if possible. It’s the only option has but it can be deadly. In general you are too committed to the queenside to cope with sacrifices or exchanges which open lines.

-do try to understand its an unconventional opening rarely played, which means your opponent probably won’t know what to do and will go for a passive set up.

-if an early a4 is played, push on with b4. It is played to try and gain the c4 square, which you should not allow for that is a concession which will prevent you from opening the game up.

The Don’ts’ which get you out of the opening with a playable position

-don’t think in terms of transposition to The French or The Sicilian are not quite possible and likely to weaken your position quite a bit.

-don’t allow your opponent to gain a three pawn central majority because you won’t be able to undermine it.

‘the king’s knight shouldn’t stay pinned. h6 seems to work well, Be7 is less risky than Qb6, in general the queen isn’t needed on the queenside until mid to late middlegame. Remember, if the centre closes, the King can stay there.

-don’t come out of the opening with no minor pieces exchanged. Aim for two if possible as your position is rather cramped. Almost certainly the king’s bishop and quite often the queens knight.

…push the b-pawn early as its often a useful moves that alters the set up of the white queenside…

…it could be argued that because The St.Georges Defence is passive there is a greater necessy for black to free himself up and for the opening and early middle game that involves generating counter-play on the queeside and utilizing that, often to attack the white centre.

The black queen is a piece that has to be deployed carefully, sometimes it is best to wait because it may not be needed on the queenside, and is often targetted when placed there. It’s best square is seeingly b6, transfering pressure from e4 to d4 but care must be taken so that a bishop doesn’t come to b3 and a knight doesn’t hop into d5 or c4. Queen placement is probably the move which requires the most care.

…if white play is typically playing standard developing moves its because he doesn’t know what to do.

…* the e4 square is what white can win easily with. If the knight on f6 is removed, and you haven’t castled, then wait because the bishop and queen battery on the c1-h6 diagonal is hard to meet.

…when an early c4 comes, re-route the knight to b6 after the exchange on c4. Don’t allow white to capture the knight and double the d-pawns because they are too difficult to defend and your light squared bishop becomes hemmed in.

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Click on the following link and see if you can make sense of it. I couldn’t.

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I have great respect for him and have for many years. Check out this classic from yesteryear.

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There are certain topics and subjects which are neither open for exposition nor discussion on this site, particularly those criminal in nature, and so the culprits too. To use an inoffensive example, for reasons primarily based on personal character rather than chess skill, I am much more of a Karpov fan than Kasparov (hence the reason he very rarely surfaces on this site), but more importantly, my home nation England has, in its midst, -or had rather- a certain former national champion that no one is too proud of to put it mildly! I shan’t go into the details of that here and nor will I ever. He died this April aged 75, some details of his obituary can be found posted below, so finally, finally, finally, England goes back to having no former national champions wanted by Interpol! (and no that is neither a joke nor an exaggeration). This is something I will not comment on for many reasons. You can go and find him on the if it’s an absolute must, but you won’t like what you read at all, I assure you. And if you read between the lines written, it’s about as distasteful and despicable as it gets…as some people can get away with blue murder.

Enough said!


3.56pm, July 18th 2022

Laksi, BKK

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