Archive for the ‘Chess’ Category

The horror of progress

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.

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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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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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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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