What better way to begin thine weekend than delving into how nuanced endgames be. And for reasons pragmatic in their persuasion, I ain’t going beyond King Prawn curry King & Pawn or Rook endgames though -no roller skates necessary.

Pdf is from Dr. John Nunn
With kings on f6 and c2, who would have thought the only way white can win is to play Kb1!

It’s becoming increasingly difficult, if not downright impossible to watch videos entitled ‘Great players of the past’. I am yet to find a single video which is more about the subject and less about the presenter and the games he likes in particular. And I am most likely to give up on that very soon. Some are so blatant that almost nothing is learnt about the player being discussed but a great deal is conveyed about the person presenting…


As it stands from April to present:

Chess.com 596 games

Lichess.com 254 games

chess24 33 games

That’s 888 games.

Koshed into third

I think we can safely say that with the vast majority reverting to the internet for chess instruction it has, invariably, become something of a free for all. Youtube has many channels, and is in all probability the best place to go, but how much of what is on offer is worth watching? Not much, I can assure you.

But in recent months I have noticed that the Americans are getting some things not just right but spot on…for what it’s worth, the following two channels are thoroughly recommended.




Bridging the gap

Before chess became the obsession that took centre stage back in 1987, I loved board games of all kinds. But there was one I liked especially because its similarity to chess. This held true particularly in the early teen years, and here it is.

For the first time last night I represented England. A match against Finland was held. Of the 81 participants, around 30 were titled, of course there were Grandmasters playing. The time frame was 1h 20m, games were set at 3m, 2s increment. I won almost every game I played, held firm in joint 11th for the most part then slipped up in my final game to someone rated 2227. I finished 16th out of 81 even though those finishing both above and below me were on average 300-500 points above me. I punched well above my weight and feel proud of myself for stepping up to the mark against very strong opposition. England gave Finland a sound beating and I did my country proud by sticking in earbuds and bopping away with my favourite 80’s band (A Flock of Seagulls) as I blitzed my way up the leaderboard. All music video images in the screenshots below are of A Flock of Seagulls, the first one being from the song ‘The More you Live The More you Love’. I don’t know about you but the more I live the more I love playing chess.

The match was commentated upon. Rather amusingly it begins with comments of mine where I boast about drinking beer when I studied The Philosophy of Science in Finland as an undergrad back in Autumn 96; when I once beat a Finnish FM with 1.f4 down the pub named The Three Beers in Turun Yliopisto.

Meretricious and mangled.
Super-silly stuff.

There’s two videos from me and now two videos I will bop away to quite happily if given the chance.

Got to Number 8 in the US charts.
I cannot stop myself from singing this every time I hear it, and it’s been like that most of the year.


Love is the drug

‘Love is the drug and I need my score’ dah-da-dah, dah-da-dah, dah-dah-dah

With chess board put to one side, does the twangy title ‘Love is the drug’ conjure anything? Grace Jones and a cheesy music video or perhaps if we go back a decade more Roxy music? Mental scrimmage aside, allow yourself to stick with the latter for future reference, and trust me on that. Although I grew up in the 80s, I am aware that pop music is, for the most part, ingratiating and the product of an industry that is, primarily, profit based…I mean who would have thought even old Frankie Sinatra was being somewhat disingenuous when he sang ‘My Way’? Well he did sing it his way but that song wasn’t his, was it? Only after the yanks plundered the French for it, was it popularized in America by him.

I had hoped for the weekend off from chess and began branching out into draughts and othello.

But then I was asked to represent England for the first time and that changed things (more on that to come). And so here I sit on the first November Sunday, pondering over the following position in a tough game of Round 1 in The British Open.

And so I sit, musing, listening, and pondering… .

Moving parts…

As if that wasn’t bad enough, a Grandmaster who played and beat the very best in the world at his peak has gone and beaten me for a second time in a week. And just because he not only beat but completely took apart the greatest English chess player in history with the black pieces in a Petroff, that’s not much of a consolation. I feel forced to belt it on the bike to the chess club and start looking at my games more closely now…