Archive for the ‘Tournament Chess’ Category

For the first time last night I represented England. A match against Finland was held. Of the 81 participants, around 30 were titled, of course there were Grandmasters playing. The time frame was 1h 20m, games were set at 3m, 2s increment. I won almost every game I played, held firm in joint 11th for the most part then slipped up in my final game to someone rated 2227. I finished 16th out of 81 even though those finishing both above and below me were on average 300-500 points above me. I punched well above my weight and feel proud of myself for stepping up to the mark against very strong opposition. England gave Finland a sound beating and I did my country proud by sticking in earbuds and bopping away with my favourite 80’s band (A Flock of Seagulls) as I blitzed my way up the leaderboard. All music video images in the screenshots below are of A Flock of Seagulls, the first one being from the song ‘The More you Live The More you Love’. I don’t know about you but the more I live the more I love playing chess.

The match was commentated upon. Rather amusingly it begins with comments of mine where I boast about drinking beer when I studied The Philosophy of Science in Finland as an undergrad back in Autumn 96; when I once beat a Finnish FM with 1.f4 down the pub named The Three Beers in Turun Yliopisto.

Meretricious and mangled.
Super-silly stuff.

There’s two videos from me and now two videos I will bop away to quite happily if given the chance.

Got to Number 8 in the US charts.
I cannot stop myself from singing this every time I hear it, and it’s been like that most of the year.


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With seven hours to go only, I am quite excited about representing the South of England as we compete against the North of England, a match which last occured 126 years ago. Given the current climate, the match has to be held on-line, and once again I am six hours ahead, meaning I will most likely be playing at gone 3am again.

Details of the match can be found in both below:

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With 107 boards that means 214 English men will compete against each other. The North of England is the slightly stronger team, with an overall average rating of 139, given that the South of England has an overall average rating of 132. There’s a noticeable difference between the two teams on the top ten boards but it evens out the further down you go. My opponent’s rating being exactly the same as mine on board 51. Seven points is not a big difference but perhaps the strength at the top is what will bring home victory for the North of England.

There are four players from Bedfordshire competing, I have the black pieces and am sincerely hoping for 1. e4, in which case my opponent is in for quite a shock! It’s a very passive opening I play but being played by a southern softy it’s not. I know it very well and know what to target, how to transpose and when, if necessary. There is, in fact, very little left to learn regarding that opening, so in all probability I will come out of the opening with a slightly better position or one relatively equal but leading to a type of middlegame I have much more experience with than him.

Whether he remains a happy mathematician should he see this played against him remains to be seen!


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As a reader of this post or as a frequent visitor to this site you can with safety, or assuredly if you prefer, assume I both love to write and love chess. The principle difference between them being, and this will indeed sound odd I only write for myself. In chess of course we have an opponent, team mates, tournament participants and so on. Even when we read alone, chess theory or history or whatever chess you are reading has been written by another individual.

This site is all my own. It is the lifeblood of an injured soul, if you like. I do not care whether I am read and the two requests I received last year to write for whatever those publications were, were politely declined…you could, if you like, call this whole thing a personalized prolonging of my love of chess, which in itself is a form of convalescence. Still it is the case that I am engrossed in a writing project already over 30,000 words and with much work ahead still.

Counting the countries I’ve visited has become tiresome. I think its 37. 34 at least. The number of chess clubs around the world I have played in is also numerous, with some being far easier to play chess in than others. The one club which I have now been a part of longer than any other is Bangkok Chess Club. I’ve photographed main events, met world champions and many things on top, I’ve even played some strong chess there too but never organized a tournament.

Last Friday we had around 19 players, of which 16 were up for the weekly blitz tournaments that occur each Friday at Herrity’s Sports Bar on Sukhumvit Soi 33/1.

So I rolled back those years to when I was the tournament organizer for the Kents/Luton Chess Club for 3/4 seasons and got involved. We used a Swiss system of course but it was daunting to organize one section all by myself when it was not I who wrote the names of the players, making me mispronounce them all the time. I did it effectively but found it hard to focus on my chess. Given I am rusty anyway, my results should have been better. Still it was fun, and being thanked for volunteering meant a little something… .

I always write in orange.

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Here’s a few extra pics from the tournament my daughter entered. My favoured portrait lens is broken, hence shot style is different to usual.


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