Archive for the ‘Bedfordshire Chess’ Category

In the following link, you can find Bedfordshire’s champions since 1980.

Of all that I played, I’ve beaten 2, drawn with 2 but lost to 3 although one of them conceded I had completely outplayed him, which I did. I don’t recall how I lost the game, it may have been on time. Of the two I beat, one was titled and rated around 217 and the other was over 200 also but only just, 203 I think but may well be wrong there. He played an obscure line against my French defence with an early b3, possibly 2. b3, which as anyone will tell you, doesn’t do very much at all. It was an easy win. I mated him within 30 moves. Perhaps its so had I not given up chess and put a solid 10 year shift in I may have became on me of them but would it be worth it? The moments of love and joy chess brings are ephemeral, is there really a pay off for being a bit better or a lot better for all those minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years invested -I don’t think so.

I’m prepared to admit, in the many qualifying rounds played in a Winter’s eve, I got more than one sound beating from the very strongest in the county, and infrequently, walked away from the board with a hard fought victory and a wry smile on my face.

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I did play for my county. It was on-line. As anticipated I was very tired and played poorly. I started with some verve but finally lost on time around 3am, by which time being two pawns down the position was close to lost, if not already lost with correct technique.

There is such a marked difference between playing on-line and playing over the board. Irrespective of whether you are playing for a team in a match or not, play on-line is the play of a lone-gun. It is not the play of a team member. You don’t feel the pecking order in play, the hierarchical nature of conversation, and neither team order nor importance of match result. It’s just you alone in your room and the screen you stare at. I couldn’t really differentiate between a casual game on-line and a formal county match because they are both depersonalized experiences which involve no human interaction.

The human element of chess is missing with play on-line and although it felt like an honour to represent my county once more, that per se was a pyrrhic victory of sorts, my pride somehow unquantifiable.

If on-line chess is a drug, I admit I’m an addict for it never is ‘just one fix’, as that ministerial number goes. But as another, perhaps more pertinent, goes ‘the drugs don’t work, they just make you worse but I know I’ll see your face again’, and so I expect yet more poor on-line adventures or should I say more on-line misadventures from a woeful McCready… .


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Conventional opinion about chess has it down as an intellectual pursuit where mental faculties are put to the test. And though of course there is some truth in both above, we need to say more, much more. Shortly after my main accident nearly four years ago, my ability went through the roof because willpower made me almost unbeatable within the circle of playing partners I put my wits against. Mood and will are not classified as cognitive features of the brain but they both play essential roles in chess. If you are really up for it and I the right frame of mind, your play increases no end. I think pride will win me my county match tomorrow. I will be fired up and on form for sure. I shall commentate the game periodically and post the vids once it’s all done. As far from home as I am, and at times hopelessly lost because I don’t know which way to turn, the pride and honour of county chess never left me and it never will either. Hoping for a return to the fold to be proud of.

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Take a bow why don’t I for it has always been an honour to represent my county, which I began doing in 1989. But with social distancing reigning supreme and me being thousands of miles away, you would think the chances of me representing my county this weekend would be rather slim. Think again.

Despite the depersonalizing effects that communication on-line has; the two main points being the vast majority of our communication is non-verbal, and you communicate to a server and not the person you aren’t incommunicado with but are unable to communicate directly to, despite all this it pervades all hours we are awake and some where we are half-asleep…and I suppose it’s better than nothing.

Courtesy of, county matches in East Anglia have been taking place on-line after Covid infected our little universe then strangled governments and politicians the world over, throwing their hands up in the air they were, with fear in their faces and few if any cogs moving between ears, then thy pandemic mangled the public who were left to dangle, or in some countries hung out to dry. But as mentioned already, its better than bugger all else being on the agenda. On a personal level its almost ideal, the only awkward point being me 6 hours ahead, meaning that the match this weekend against Norfolk will kick off at past midnight where I am. I don’t recall playing classical chess at that time before. Such matches usually start about 10 hours before midnight and not thirty minutes after it. Not sure I’ll go the distance, so I’ll have to go and buy some drugs, legal or otherwise, to help keep me awake…legal being the better option there…I mean the cheaper one…anyway… .

So erm moving swiftly on, best memory of playing Norfolk; the time when we used to play in the King Edward hall, that being 92-93. And this open-top bus with DJ and dancing girls had music full blast live on the radio, then took the piss out of us. ‘Ha ha, look there’s some people playing chess there’, and up the volume went. I thought it was funny but I think I was the only one playing who did.

Worst memory: that fucking time I went off to the bakery during the opening phase of the game but seriously misjudged the distance and time it would take. Result: I lost the game on time as by the time I returned I was already in time trouble and we were still in the opening! I thought it was only a few minutes walk when in fact it was more like 30-35, and then it took time to be served. I told my opponent after I lost ‘I knew I shouldn’t have gone to get that pasty’ and I was right of course. I remember how he nodded in agreement as if to tell me I most certainly shouldn’t have.

I do feel honoured to represent my county once more but the honour I feel is tinged with sadness. (note to self: I might have to do drugs to cope with it all as I will be tired and feel sadness) For in spending 19 months to write a piece 38500 words long it became apparent that as I child I learnt more from peer correction than anything else. Now how’s that meant to be achieved on-line? Although technology often represents progress, putting matches on-line isn’t the right way forward. It’s nothing more than the only option left if we want to play chess. So beguile my opponent before play begins I won’t be able to but nod off and not be shaken into…hmmm drugs binge it looks like otherwise how else can I play competitive chess up until 4 am and perhaps beyond (Note to self: Mark steer the writing away from this subject, don’t give the game away, I don’t want anyone finding out that I’m high and playing strange moves because of it. Just tell them any old rubbish). Really excited about playing chess up until 4-5am because I am bound to be at my best. Prediction: I will outplay my opponent but blunder and lose the game as I am out of practice and rubbish also.

Olcmarcus shall be making his debut for the county on-line whilst sat in a hotel room by the seaside, a trip taken on behalf of my undying wish to see my daughter happy and have some fun. He will be listening to all sorts of music as well; metal, rock, 80’s pop, trance, y4k being the main ones. Concentration levels will be low, I will be prone to error yet able to stare out of the window beyond the gloom, into the sea. I will stare down into its deep dark water, procrastinating over the catalogue of errors beyond the board itself, floating freely throughout the past. The multitude of them alone, will cost me the game, probably shortly after I ask myself the question ‘How the fuck did I end up in the position I am in?’ And probably directly after I leave the question alone conceding its insoluble in terms of play on and off the board.

Wish me luck, remind me that it’s not, primarily, the task of a historian to make predictions, tell me that truth is contingent and not easily seen always, convince me my own pride will power me through with ease…


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If you were to gaze into your run of the mill abyss, you’ll become snagged on it gazing back into you I promise.

Before it became too perplexing, the purpose of your average politician was to improve the quality of life for Joe Public. Now of course they try to preserve it instead, or alternatively, elongate its longevity; both being by far an easier option than enrichment overall: they once protected us against the odd terrorist popping up every once in a while here and there but now its germs they save our souls from…well, personally I prefer to come under fire from terrorists than germs but that’s just me being me!


Although there is little if anything to fear, along comes drastic social remeasurement coinciding with the daylight robbery of numerous civil liberties, all aimed towards the war on softer targets germs; namely, Covid-19 (19, pronounced na-na-na-na-na-na-na nineteen: representing the average age of a US soldier in the Vietnam war). With your freedom and income taken away too, the fabricated, emplotted pandemic enemy looks set for certain defeat not to mention Joe Public of course. The only incoming hammer blow being that you can’t play chess in public anymore, forcing chess players to play on-line more than usual.

To make matters worse, even I got swindled into it all after becoming bored by just having my computer to play against. I wanted different opponents. Then disaster struck. And strike hard and firm it most certainly did. I rejoined my hometown team on-line and played old friends, playing partners from a bygone era over ye olde fibre optics. Then things got messy. Real messy. The ever curious on-line extraordinaire and former Nigel Mansell-esque speedster on county match days H.Mirza only went and crafted an on-line tournament in my name, honouring my undying love of my hometown chess scene.

Named after myself, naturally it had disaster written all over it. The concept was complimentary: myself bashful beyond words. Then there was this time zone thing which came into play, what with me being six hours ahead and cream-crackered at the best of times. On medication that can literally blow your head off, enter I did and play on did I. I daren’t tell you that I have to take Solian for life otherwise you’ll instantly guess what the result of a diagnosis in February was, and how the virtuoso hyper mania had to suddenly take to the back seat, along with everything else bicycle accident related.

Yeah I do drugs, I have to. So what of it?
It ain’t nofin’ like mine init. Mine bigger and busted up by bike bezerkery. It got koshed twice but ain’t got no kibosh coming anytime soon. Just remember you never saw nofin’, you never read nofin’.

Rusty and rightly suspicious of on-line chess assuming it always pales into comparison to the real mccoy, and cream-crackered too, on I did play prone to error and mostly pathetic I was. My play woeful by my own low standards so say I. Too tired to concentrate before it began, buggered I was. Twas midnight which drew oh-so-near when it was all over and sighs of relief bellowed across my empty room. A friend who was only rated 203 when last playing in Bedfordshire -and yes that’s 203 not 103-joined, provoking a mild euphoria underpinned by a more prolonged pride. Just like the old days it simultaneously was and wasn’t. I did win one game, missed wins in another along with countless perpetual checks, then fell to pieces in yet another game whilst floored by fatigue, the ability to calculate intermittent at best.

I felt both honoured and embarrassed but above all else cream-crackered. I slumped into a heavy sleep where a strange dream appeared; in which I spent my entire life studying chess, and then upon realizing it was a waste of a life, I turned towards fruit machines, then blew myself up with dynamite when that failed to assuage guilt and support my pension for if anything it only drained what little life was left in me. A colourless and kaleidoscopic life of chess flitted through my sleeping brain before the bright bang of dynamite which naturally followed my misspent adulthood.

The future?

On I limp, knowing myself to be shit at chess because I was always shit and am destined to remain shit, and there that be thy moral of this fine tale. Only written because I feel lonely and have no one to talk to.

To conclude, I will assume you, unlike I, weren’t blown away by the dynamite gag, but like I, wonder what you are doing reading this rubbish. I end as I begun: ashamed of my low-hung head, bad behaviour on-line and mysterious manoeuvres which transgressed the off-line life I seldom lead auspiciously but always inconspicuously… .

Drat and double drat!

A bored Mark signs off… .

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Most likely not, unless of course, the current world champion has had a litre of Vodka for breakfast and our Bedfordshire man is stone cold sober. Okay, so has a man from Bedfordshire ever outplayed our current world champion? The answer to that depends upon how you define what ‘a man from Bedfordshire‘ is. If you mean someone born in Bedfordshire, then no. If you mean someone who grew up in Bedfordshire, then yes. But -and yes it is okay to start a sentence with a conjunction, don’t go buying into Prescriptivism now -was the current world champion entitled so at the time? Sadly not. Was it a blitz game? Yes it was.

I shall now show you six diagrams and add some comments.

The Bedfordshire man plays with the white pieces, here. 3. …h6 has just been played.
Magnus Carlsen, a future world champion in 2006, has just played 10. …Nc6 and seems in sound shape as the middle game begins.
The Bedfordshire man has only just played 18. f3. As you know, every chess player’s favourite move is always moving your f-pawn one square only. Is the position equal, well I’m not an expert but notice that central pawn majority white has?
Ooh la la, sacre bleu, what is going on ‘ere? Zee future world champion has just played 26. ….Qxd6. Did he not see 27. c5 and the double-attack it unleashes?
This man from Bedfordshire is the exchange up and attacks the queen with 33. d6, surely the game is already won?
What trouble the future world champion is in here.? Or is he in any real trouble I should say? What is the result likely to be after black plays 37. … Qg5?

Some of us are proud of our county. I always have been. I am still. I will be always. Who was it that played our current world champion? The answer lies below.

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In the only publication in existence on Bedfordshire chess, there are more games from foreign masters in it than local players.

I’ve found in a Sussex Newspaper a game attributed to Bedfordshire Chess below some thoughts by H. E. Bird. None of this appeared in the text above.

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Is there anything better to do than grabbing journalists and giving them a kick up the backside? Probably not…well probably there is. Seek out Primary Source material perhaps?

According to folklore and legend my hometown had it’s own league in the 70’s. Thankfully, we postmodernists do realize that history is per se discourse thus develops. Okay. Let’s look at things before the…before thee…thee so called Fischer-fiasco as our comrades once put it.

So a wintery 1952 it is. Here’s a snapshot of the Beds league. Even then Luton already has almost an entire league of its own, some 19 years before the famous Fischer – Spassky match and the ensuing ‘chess-explosion’ England underwent thereafter.

As some of you may know Dennis.V. Mardle went on to be given a C.B.E for his work on Polio, from which he suffered. He was an exceptionally strong player and many of his games can be found of this site.

Together the pgns above shows us that chess clubs flourished across Luton not long after the war had ended… .

More on Mardle can be found here:


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The number of visitors which have mostly visited this site over the years went into the tens of thousands a long time ago. Mostly they find it amusing and informative but the last request made was very different to all others preceding -simply put I was stumped. I thought about calling the old bill for advice even ,anfd perhaps I should. An team captain e-mailed me asking if they could join next season, they call themselves the ‘Clophill Killers’ Some feedback required here, as agreeing to their wishes may not be for the best. Have a look and decide yourself.

The ‘Clophill Killers’ club captain was arrested and detained during a match against Leighton Buzzard for banging the clocks off the table during matches, and letting tires down in the car park after he lost his game.
Studied the Catalan extensively, throws a solid right-hook.
A Caro-Kann King. Will put his head on you in the corridor before the game. if he gets the chance
Will play the St. Georges defense, will try to break into your car when its your turn to move.
Nasty fucker in time-trouble, likes to turn tables over in the end-game.
Usually plays the English Opening. Rating below 100. Never does much during matches. Often looks edgy.
Looks like a young Peter Svidler. Strong tactically, works out at the gym a lot.
No real interest in chess. Rating less than 70. Doesn’t usually make it out of the opening. Good to chat to.
Likes the Benko Gambit. Always gets hammered during play. Always in court.
The team reserve drafted in away to Northampton. Opened with The Grob and got a dart in the head for it on move two by the team captain: the match had to be cancelled, then there was a right rumpus.
Aftermath of the abandoned match. A Northampton player had his jaw broken as a result.

They want to enter Division two next season and call themselves ‘The Clophill Killers’ as mentioned. I smell danger here: they look like a right roudy bunch to me. But as they say, the more the merrier. A new club with more members may improve the league no end. Their inclusion may give them a psychological edge over other clubs in the league so strong they will take Div 1 by storm even though I do know they are all steaming before 9pm….perhaps many opposing teams will default,

I should add for the last 18 months I have been fully engaged with two writing projects, one of which is well over the 30,000 word mark. The reading list accompanying both is far more voluminous than when I wrote my dissertation on early 19th century German Philosopy. It’s broad and makes me read content for characterization I am unfamiliar with. A day without 6 hours of research and writing is a blessing…sometimes something lighthearted like this helps alleviate the tension. I doubt whether the aforementioned posts will remain as posts only. The proof reader is pushing towards publication but vanity aside, saying ‘I’m an author means fuck all, for myself, vanity refers only to appearance: humble brags over how I wrote this and that mean fuck all much because I write for myself and myself only. I prefer not to be read: if I am read so be it, if not so be it, comment so be it, don;t comment so be it…I just don;t care. I am an artist I write only for myself and no one else.


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In more recent years, Luton Chess Club has been in turmoil; with no fixed abode and a diminishing list of members you could write the names on the back of a stamp, it even moved to Bedford and played there for a while.

A sorry state of affairs arose, making the club the least popular in the league. But all that’s changed. We now have a playing venue that is modern and spacious. It’s location has re-titled Luton Chess Club as The University of Bedfordshire.

The University of Bedfordshire. (not your average looking chess club).

Beginner or expert, improve your chess and thinking skills by playing over the board with students, staff, and established club members. In the Library, we offer nights for friendly games,  league matches in the Bedfordshire Chess League, and simuls by established local players also. It’s a great way to meet fellow students and town folk with a shared love of our beautiful game -so what have you got to lose? All welcome: no one unwelcome. A typical evening might look something like this.

Recently, Andrew Perkins, a fine gentleman and Luton’s strongest player performed a simul at the club.

For those of us who have been around a while, can confirm Andrew is well known as a former county champion.

                                                               Sept.12th 1968

Beginner or expert, improve your chess and thinking skills by playing over the board with students and staff. We offer nights for friendly games, simuls by established local players and league matches in the Bedfordshire Chess League. It’s a great way to meet fellow students and town folk too -so what have you got to lose? All welcome: no one unwelcome.

This season’s fixture list stands as follows if you fancy some league chess.


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