Club Night in the Real World

We will be meeting at the Trades and Labour club next Tuesday, 1st September at 7.30pm for casual games of chess. Me and Lez are guaranteed to be there. Anyone who fancies coming down please do so for our first club night in months.

We will be following the rules of the Trades and Labour club regarding social distancing etc.

We all appreciate that some Nomads are shielding and will not be able to come down, and really look forward to the time when things get back to normal and everyone can come and play as usual.

Also, we can discuss playing rated games in some kind of club tournament which could be a good alternative to the league games that sadly we won’t be playing.

Beautiful Bad Chess

The beauty of flawed chess games should never be underestimated. Here is a raw blitzy adventure that illustrates how plain bad moves can sometimes deliver unlikely victories.

In this game white strays from the path of righteousness quite early on. However, there are useful themes contained in this little rough gem that could be used in more serious games.

Has anyone else got crazy blitz games they’d like to post here. I’d love to see them.

Are you a chess mummy?

I came across this amusing quote on the internet from Axel Smith’s book “Pump Up Your Rating”:
“In Lund we have an expression for a player who never improves: a mummy. It is not said in a negative sense; the mummy enjoys chess. The romanticizing of the expression has even gone so far that The Mummy (SK Mumien) is the name of a chess club! Many mummies actually see themselves as quite ambitious players. This could be a typical chess diary of a mummy:
  • Monday: Playing blitz for two hours on the internet.
  • Tuesday: Watching live games from a super-tournament for the whole evening, while checking the games with an engine.
  • Wednesday: Warming up with some blitz games, before watching a DVD.
  • Thursday: Planning to prepare for the weekend’s game by reading a chess book, but running out of time after reading chess news on the internet.
  • Friday: Reading a book about great players from the past. Looking at the diagrams, but concentrating mostly on the great stories in the text. The book is read in bed, thirty minutes before falling asleep.
  • Saturday: Losing a tight game in the league, and afterwards claiming that a single mistake decided the game. Checking the game quickly with an engine.
  • Sunday: No chess; impossible to be motivated after such an unfair loss!
Our mummy spends a lot of time on chess, but he won’t improve much. 
The key to learning a foreign language is to try to speak it. Without any doubt, it’s also good to listen, but it’s when sentences are first formulated that improvement really starts.
It is the same in chess, and active learning is my hobbyhorse as a coach. This means questioning statements in books (maybe I should have mentioned that earlier!), forming your own opinions, and using training methods that activate your brain.
With only some small changes, our mummy can come alive!”
Hmmm. I think I may be a mummy. I bought half a dozen middlegame strategy and endgame books when I joined the Nomads yet nearly 2 years later they remain largely unread. And partly that is down to work and family commitments but also it is easier to watch a DVD at the end of a day or play some blitz than study chess. But this pandemic is not going away so the “new normal” might as well include some chess study. Anyone else got that book on their shelf they always meant to study? Can we help each other to improve? Now is the  time. I turn 57 next week, can I be a better player at 60?

Norbury goes Ape, explorations of the Reverse Polish

Allergy advice: may contain cheap tactics.

In this article Ken Norbury looks at the Reverse Polish/Orang Utan.

Forking Good Game

This game is somewhat flawed and has more to do with psychology than `best move chess` From the beginning Black is intent upon drawing his opponent into a fist fight where crude and nasty tactics have a fair chance of success. Keen observers may recognise certain similarities to the obscure lines in the Greco Counter Gambit (1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 f5 3Bc4 b5) where White can get into trouble quickly, even when making natural looking moves. Once committed to this kind of counter attack there is no turning back. Black has to find new ways of applying pressure and causing chaos and confusion, whilst always looking to justify and benefit from his early seemingly recklessness play. In this Reversed Orang Utan it should come as no surprise that there are elements of provocation and devilment in which false move can cost the game for either side.
Black is technically on the back foot in the initial stages but takes advantage of some inaccuracies that allow him to regain material and threaten checkmate.

Orang Utan clambers over Stonewall

Towards the end both players overlook the possibility and consequence of White checking with his Black Bishop rather than pulling his other Bishop back to d1. Although this ruins the spectacle and delight of Blacks second Knight sacrifice on d4 in the game it should not detract from the ingenuity of the play as a similar idea would have worked with the Knight moving instead to b4 as Whites pawn structure then would prevent the check.
Black throughout has chosen to engage in direct attack as White seemed to be want to hide safely behind the Stonewall Pawn Formation, and needed to be shaken out of his comfort zone. White wrongly goes out his way to swap Queens perhaps in the belief that this would lessen the impact of Blacks attack. Once the Rooks get a foothold on the seventh Black has some psychological sway as the aggressor. Even if the second Knight had gone, White although technically up by one and a half according to the computer, might still have found difficulty in co-ordinating his pieces.
There are many lessons to be learned from encounters such as this, not least that attitude intent and ambition although not necessarily tangible can have huge determinative effect on the direction and results of games. Had White had a little more self-belief he could have mustered a better defence but needed to do something other than swap hold and stodge.
As it turns out the choice of the Reverse Polish paid dividends as it signalled the fact that Black was not content with a normal game and was willing to use imagination to surprise and defeat his opponent.