Archive for December 11th, 2015


I grow warm, I begin to feel happy. There is nothing extraordinary in this, it is a small happiness of Nausea: it spreads at the bottom of the viscous puddle, at the bottom of out time – the time of purple suspenders, and broken chair seats; it is made of white, soft instants, spreading at the edge, like an oil stain. No sooner than born, it is already old, it seems as though I have known it for twenty years.

Jean Paul Satre, Nausea

Kents Athletic Club, Luton’s sole surviving chess hub is to close after nearly 40 years. It’s a typical story in modern day England; with a back drop of cultural decline, rising costs and dwindling numbers make the venue no longer financially viable. It is to be bulldozed, then someone will plonk a block of apartments on it most probably. This means that Luton, a town of over 200,000, will no longer have a chess club when the new year begins. Thankfully yours truly, though thousands of miles away, is not going to allow that.

The critical state of the chess club itself -almost bankrupt and without enough members to make ONE team, if you can believe that – has meant that the club and its demoralized members are struggling to find a new venue. Chess teaches us that risks should always be taken from a position of strength and not weakness, and so uprooting in such a desperate position could spell the end. But there are times when it is necessary to act quickly and confidently; it took me just three hours to find a solution and a new home for the club, much to the delight of the club secretary. The second phase is to readvertise and start promoting chess locally to attract members lost due to the poor playing conditions of recent years -that’s the easy part. We once had access to the ballroom at Kents, then we were pushed into the lounge, then into a tiny room at the back of an extension, much to the disgust of every visiting team. It is they more than anyone who will welcome the change of venue.

I might even fly in for the handover as the logistics of moving to a new venue are frightfully complicated, as the predicted conversation below suggests.

J =John (former friend)

M = Me

M ‘Easy geezer.’

J ‘Alright Mark, you alright?’

M ‘Yeah, alright mate yeah…er ya got those keys for that room then?’

J ‘Nah, never lock it mate, just go in yeah.’

M ‘Ah cheers.’

J ‘No worries mate…oh, er what dya’ wannit for again?’

M ‘Just some chess innit, we won’t wreck the joint, don’t worry.’

J ‘Ya better not, just off for a quick slash yeah, let us know if ya need anyfink.’

M ‘Yeah cheers.’

Let us hope that the new year brings revival for Luton Chess Club, it certainly needs it.

Where shall I keep mine? You don’t put your past in your pocket; you have to have a house. I have only my body: a man entirely alone, with his lonely body, cannot indulge in memories; they pass through him. I shouldn’t complain: all I wanted was to be free.

Jean Paul Satre, Nausea



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From page 57 of Hendricks Move First, Think Later, Chapter 6 Pattern-like Knowledge. The following position is a good example of how we look for patterns in chess and fail to see solutions that do not fit into those. See if you can find the draw for white here, I know I certainly couldn’t. It’s white to play and save the game.


Hopefully you’ve made a genuine attempt to find the draw but here’s the solution anyway.


I think what’s tricky about that is that it looks like checkmate is in the air prima facie rather than stalemate.

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