I’ve agreed to play in my first on-line tournament, now all the rage as pandemic sweeps the globe.

I became an on-line member of my home town chess club and that’s the organizational body.

It’s an unprincipled decision because the digital revolution we are currently undergoing is pernicious. You can’t compare on-line tournaments to those in the real world, to do so is ludicrous and unworthy of consideration.

But with a blind love of chess pushing the agenda, I shall participate, and try to be at my best.

Wish me luck. Being rusty I will most likely need it… .

I’ve been conned, duped into applying for a position where I write about chess, and in return, receive financial rewards with regularity. I don’t quite know how it’s happened. Could it be from a bump on the head I wonder?

I write because I love to write and not because I want to be read. I fell for it hook, line and sinker before being sold up the river. ‘We want people to read what you write and we’ll pay you money’, they said surreptitiously. I said yes. Now I think of Socrates and the importance of self-knowledge. I will transgress their boundaries and do it deliberately so: that’s me to a tee!

The river they sold me up.

I did manage to read Rowson’s book The Moves that Matter, carefully enough. It took longer than it should but he does appear to have remained remarkably adept at giving you food for thought and time for digestion. He did come under some criticism as there are factual errors, and some points made are rather contentious. His account of chess in Georgia and the gap in strength between men and women remaining unchanged was disappointing to read given that the policy introduced to invoke change has already done so, hence the reason that the majority of Georgian world champions are female. The latter third of the book has a shift in style which indicates fatigue. Some parts are below par for him, and feel rushed or without the reflection we come to expect from Rowson. Still, it’s a great book and well worth a read. Perhaps a little too ambitious but at worst only very slightly falls short of what it should have been. Anyway, that is nothing more than my own uncontested opinion.

Score 9 out of 10

38351 + 1

Phew! so that’s the most engaging writing project of my entire life done, all that remains is what to do with all 38351 words of it. It’s most likely publishable but that’s not something I consider to be an achievement, so I will have to ponder further over that. Alternatively I may just include excerpts from that 1 weight lifted off my shoulders.

I’m sad to say my focus therefore ability went through the roof, which makes it much harder to read and watch anything as I can dismantle it in an instance, and usually offer improvements without much, if any, thought. Even the book that inspired me to undertake it, which is exceptionally high-brow for chess, almost certainly as high-brow as it gets. I can see where the narrative needs improvement and how continuity could be improved in places.

I was thinking about writing posts about the joys of writing about chess but perhaps I’ll change to the woes of focusing on something your good at instead. Beginning with ‘The woe of increasing your wordpower and the amount of investment in time and resources that will remain in play for good.’

Nothing chess-related to be added other than a rumination. If the author’s insertion of a quote does indeed apply to chess at its highest level as the author suggests, there is either a very strong argument to give it all up or as I narrative in my own piece, find something far better to do than play chess (which by the way is unsurprisingly easy) ‘The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win’.


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As I am learning, the Anglo-American cable matches which began at the end of the 19th century and lasted for fifteen years or so are much more of a challenge to research than I first thought. Cable matches were well in place by the time they started, and the original idea begun with developed significantly by parties on both sides of the Altantic and remained a source of constant revision throughout. It’s a thesis in itself and I’m sorry to say but I can’t dedicate myself to something of that size. What I can do is post some of the preliminary findings, which should give a sense of how news of it was handled in its day. Although I’ve established how the cables were laid and consisted of, that’s a separate topic altogether so I won’t be going into that. I thought it best to go to the source and establish how it began in the first place. It would appear there was a benefactor in place from the outset and that he was a distinguished and larger than life character, his name was Sir George Newnes. Although information can be found about him on wikipedia, it is inadvisable to refer to that for it is inaccurate and erroneous on a number of important points. It is safer to read the article on him in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography if you can.

To begin with, the reportage below is from The Morning Post March 14th 1896.


In our modern high-tech society it has become possible to lose games in a manner previously unheard of. It involves a procedure developed technologically, one which is antithetical to the concept of chess itself and the manner in which it is played. If used even a world class player runs the risk of losing to a complete beginner. Are you wondering what on earth I am talking about? I am talking about ‘pre-move’. In bullet chess, the most absurd form of competitive chess ever created, you have the option of ‘pre-move’. In other words, making your next move before your opponent has made his based on what you assume he will do next. But if you get that wrong it can cost you the game instantly, as can be seen in the video below. I always thought that chess was a game where players thought deeply over their opponent’s last move and then via a complex decision making process made a move once a decision of their own making had been reached. More or less that’s how we play. To decide on your next move before you know what your opponent is going to play is not progress. It’s a dumbed-down version of chess that masters from the past would find demeaning and want no part of. GM Danny King calls the video below comedic. I’d call it tragic for this is an example of regression not progression. To call it chess is undignifying. To call it pointless, mindless entertainment for a mass media driven society is more to the point. The competitors will think of the money involved, the public will wonder what is wrong with the modern game and I will stop writing.

All my life I have wondered what the title of the first book I ever read on chess was. So little is remembered that I can’t even be sure how old I was when I read it. I thought I was only 7 but perhaps not. It may just be possible that the book below, printed in 1982, making me 9 or 10 years old at the time, was that first book. It’s a possibility.

To me: my sincere apologies for allowing windows platforms to proclaim uninspiring updates and persuade me to click on them.

My own update is of a similar nature: I am reading hard and writing hard, uncoupled from seeing things in stages, as was alluded to in the video posted about a month ago. I love the post I am writing so much, it’s with me all the time and its reached the point where I can sublimate complex philosophical issues into the narrative using the vernacular and also pull the narrative sideways with more formal language, giving it a well-rounded feel, showing signs of just how much effort has gone into it. It has reached the stage where I can safely say I can have it published for the writing is strong, much more above anything you find on this site. You shan’t find it on this site but I shall insert excerpts, tasters if you like.

Once again, as is stated in the video, its not done for profit. I never care if I am read. I won’t intend on making money from a publication because that is demeaning to me. But for those who like to read, it will have plenty of content for something with a tight narrative based upon a topic of little inspiration to most and no inspiration to better chess players than I for they see things only in terms of knowledge and ability and shy away from the art of communication -unlike myself.

What an update this is. Okay a lockdown question: when’s it going to be published then Mark? Answer will be in a certain teenspeak (as the text proves, I am still the street-kid I grew up as on a rough council road) ‘ao, Im supposed ta know I ain’t doin it, ere let’s ave a knock about init’


If it were the case that the world’s superpowers are using the media to blow out of proportion the latest pandemic and in doing so are metaphorically speaking, playing a game of chess whilst using the general public as mere pawns, which pawn would you be?

More seriously is this really one big game going to fizzle out into a draw, whilst pawns are left unmoved? What pawn are you? I choose the f-pawn for myself for there is an f-word that I say a lot more whilst under curfew.

When-o-when will everything return to normal? If a game is being played it will cause many in the west to question the life they lead and how ensnared they are. Anyone going to castle long and leave the west because of it I wonder?

We may end up with a larger online community of chess players if anything else. A small consolation I know…