Archive for the ‘On-line journal’ Category


The answer is less obvious than you think. It’s not necessarily 2 since in binary it would be 10. So what did more practice + a change in approach = ? It equalled this:

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Rust removal no longer required. Directness creates pressure, pressure causes collapse…

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After years without one, I changed tack and put a signature at the end of my posts on the forum I’m always on. I thought it was funny at first but then perhaps a bit silly, so came up with one more to the point, and closer to the mark.




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A still tongue makes a happy life. A still cock makes an unhappy wife. Is it not plain to see: questions are a burden to others, answers a prison for oneself…cult following or no cult following sheepishly, as well as, an intrepid blogger who endured sub-zero temperatures on a photoshoot or no intrepid blogger who endured sub-zero temperatures on a photoshoot once upon a time and whilst holding his camera never asked himself whether he could grate cheese off his scrotum because it was that f**king cold because he believed in the above.

My Elo rating: I’m a number, not a free man…

The above applies, to lifelong fans of The Prisoner to questions posed by yourself to yourself also apply, as I found out today.

Eleven years ago, I posted the following on fb on this day.

Okay ladies and mentalmen, should black play e3 or Qb2 here? Hint, decide what you think white’s primary defensive resource is first.

A still tongue makes a happy life of that there is no doubt. Why imprison myself with answers when I can open up Stockfish and put that bastard-bitch to work instead? All it took was ten seconds or thereabouts: me less than one to be sure Qb2 was the stronger by far. But do you know why I saw the solution much faster than Stockfish? Dare you guess why? It’s because unlike Stockfish or any chess program or platform: I am bone all over. Bone is, of course, stronger than plastic and silicon, much stronger in fact. In being bone all over, I’m just too strong… .

“GIVE IT TO ME AGAIN. GIVE ME THE REST” I hear you echo f**king obscure characters who catch eye, ear, and brain of f**king obscure viewers. Digging deeper, from a perspective with a physiological lean “them bones gotta walk around”, furthermore anthropologically, “and a hipbone, and a thighbone, shinbone, kneebone, backbone, all yours dad” ...and if by now you are thinking ‘what’s all this oscure shit Mark’s coming out with this time? What’s he on now?’ Believe me, it’s all early 90’s identity conferring content…in my youth I even modeled myself on Alexis Kanner’s tv roles, hoping for his panache and suave befuddlement. Let us conclude by remembering what has already been stated.

I sign off proud and unpuzzled. Perhaps it’s clearer, I really do write for myself only.

A still tongue makes a happy life. Offload analysis onto whatever app you’ve lumbered yourself with. No need to open your gob then.


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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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“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” ― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Through submission to and admission of how the entrails of normality have been garroted in the months gone by, owing to a pandemic that Chomsky describes as ‘a colossal market failure’, a slow subterranean maneuver has been made.

I’ve followed suit and forgot about chess over the board because it just isn’t happening. Well it is. I mean should I saunter off to Bangkok Chess Club, I can play in a blitz tournament each Friday evening. But at the end of a working week, a tournament with a time control of 3m 2s, just isn’t worth it. I don’t consider that time control as conducive to ability and love of the game but rather a game of he who moves fastest wins. That’s just silly to me, invariably I lose on time and if I win it is at best a pyrrhic victory…it’s not worth the effort frankly. Blitz, to me, is a rather childish way to play chess, I don’t see what there is to be gained from it…

So I transgressed from OTB to on-line via whichever server is up and running. In having abandoned chess theory altogether and relying solely in what I learn from my own games, I would appear to be on the up. And then all of a sudden I realized I love playing on-line, despite it being a depersonalized alternative to what I am used to. I’ve begun to take it seriously and play some very good chess at times.

I went and joined my home town club, which is now established on-line. I went and played for my county and rejoined The English Chess Federation. They’ve invited me to represent ‘the south’ of England in a match against ‘the north. I admit I played for my town, my county and my region as a promising junior but never the part of the country I am from. That’s a first for sure.

I’m told it’s a resumption of a match that was last played 126 years ago (details to follow). In those days you only played OTB, by cable or by correspondence, an example of the latter can be seen below.

Things have moved on from 1908 but on this sceptred isle an undying love of chess beats with the hearts and minds of men who play on, and on. One of whom is myself. And the consequence of which is? I had better continue getting my act together because pride and honour are at stake. Details of the invite can be found here:

To give a sense of where I am at, here’s two games. I make mistakes in both but are not beaten in either.

A draw by repetition through fear of a back rank weakness in an endgame with a position I thought was unclear.

After being outplayed in the middlegame, shoring up my defences allowed me to exploit my opponent’s uncertainty and win quickly.


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Under starters orders as white it’s 1. e4 hoping for 2. Nc3 and a pawn structure as such:

With black:

Against 1. e4 it’s 1. …a6

Against 1. d4 it’s 1. …b5 (intending to transpose to the above)

Against 1. c4 it’s 1. …e6 (possibly going for a Queen’s gambit declined Tartakower or aiming for a Dutch defence with a similar pawn structure as above.)

It’s more than enough to be getting on with. Theory is of no interest. I learn from myself only.

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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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Okay hands up, I admit it.

I’ve only gone and allowed by life on-line to overtake my life off-line haven’t I? Of course it’s all your fault. Nothing to do with me, honest guv.

Not only was there an on-line tournament in my name, I’ve rejoined my old clubs and now look likely to join the county scene once more also. In addition, I am playing 10-20 games on-line a day and making light work of practically everyone, unless of course, I go and make some whopping blunder, which happens much more often than it should.

With white I play 1. f4

With black 1. … a6 if 1. e4 is played

and if 1. d4 then 1. ….b5

All rather obscure but then so am I. It therefore follows that facets of my game replicate the predilections of he who chose them. It’s not that I am unorthodox, if anything my style is quite classical. And although you may frown upon such opening moves, your own experience should tell you if you don’t quite know what to do in the opening, you shouldn’t expect to enter the middle game with a better position.

Moving swiftly on, I thought long and hard whether to publish my most recent writing project. I’ve had published authors confirm the quality is sufficient but I won’t be publishing it anytime soon, if ever. But this leads on to my next point, the next writing project. I have a synopsis of it already and even wrote the opening paragraph. It’s most likely to be between 40-60,000 words and will be published. I’ve hit upon the characterization, plot (pretty much), and content. I won’t start writing until I have everthing firmly in place. I have to factor in I have a style of writing which leans towards gothic, and the plot is complex in the way gothic novels often are/were. I shall provide plenty of updates as I go. All I can say at this moment is the main character is a chess addict but the depiction of the chess world and how chess is played will be far from complimentary if not downright disparaging.

On-line updates. I find the English Chess Forum to be rather predictable and always on the verge of an outbreak of squabbles, so when I post things its either to wind people up or cause members to think about things very differently. Some of my content has been removed, some find it too obscure to respond to, some find it hilarious. Admittedly I am a little too mischievous at times, and here’s two examples of my naughtiness. I usually write in the Chess History section because, at heart, I am an academic. There is a thread called Chess History Trivia, in which various questions about chess are asked. But I’ve turned the tables round and started asking questions about history which encompass chess. What are the chances of me getting an answer to either of the following two -absolutely zero I would say, nonetheless I find it amusing. You may care to try and answer if you so wish:

A playful if transgressional question here. Name a world champion who has had a book written about his past exploits BUT in that historical publication we saw no discourse whatsoever and there were no presuppositionless interpretations of the past – or if you like ‘axiomatic fictions’- as G.Steiner once put it- given that interpretations of the past are constructed in the present, this linked up to a lack of evidence in the writing that the author did not see ‘history’ and ‘the past’ as being categorically distinct, – a travesty of justice yes I know- and what’s worse he embodied the laziness that most titled players -especially GMs- enact effortlessly towards the rigours of research and academia, shying away because it’s too much like good hard slog, and instead confined himself to dogmatic statements which, at times, gave you the impression he was both a gobshite and a right little shithead, unable to grasp Croce’s dictum that ‘all history is contemporary history’, which of course, points towards the ontological paradox of the past tense. Care to answer or is the murky underworld of post-modernism rendering the question it itself rhetorical or too drab to ponder over?

Hint, try finding a world champion that only hardened postmodern historians have ever written about or alternatively just f***ing forget it.

The next as yet unanswered question,

Can you name any chess player who has been written about and bizarrely described by the author as a language animal in which word and world are somehow one and the same, meaning that the language he used not only referred to the world but constructed it also. No effort was made to explain the things he wanted and what needs he had, just the raw data of his results. What the player written about had in mind throughout his career was never touched upon once. The writing itself being a light-hearted romp which exuded incompetance and was not at all antithetical to Collingwood’s account of what history is but instead the typical drivel that very poorly educated titled chess players churn out, always writing away with a face you want to punch not greet, having been duped into the belief that his title actually has some worth outside of the chess world. Because they live with their mum still, whenever they are allowed out, to keep themselves just above the poverty line, they wander off into the countryside, find the nearest farm and shovel s**t all day long.

Hint: err, should be loads init.

As you may have noticed, I am rather proud of my working class background and fully aware that most reading are middle, upper-middle or upper-class. Whether they find me coarse or not is an irrelevancy. As Butler once said, ‘everything is what it is and isn’t anything else’. I am me and happy to explore, research and create whilst remaining myself at all times. As Aristotle once said ‘if you don’t like my style then fuck you’…oh wait a minute that was Ice-T wasn’t it…er, well it was one of the two anyway, hard to tell them apart… .

Lastly, I will begin adding some of my games that I’ve commentated on. I was rather tired in the first so there’s less commentary here than what is most likely to follow. From watching the elite on line so much, air have learnt that sacrificing the exchange is nothing too much to worry about, providing you have some compensation. That I did, and a few small errors aside which led to much deterioration, I checkmated my opponent in swift fashion after he completely cocked it up. In the second I am very much myself. Naturally I make a mess of things but manage to solve everything at the death.

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