The Arena

Here is an idea for a virtual club night. The Arena. Everyday on Lichess there are arena tournaments that take various formats. The Arena is quite unlike a Swiss tournament. For a start there are no rounds. You play, and win or lose, you play again almost straight away, as soon as you reenter the arena and another player becomes available. There are no points for draws and winning quickly is the key to success.

We need a good pool of players for such an event. If we could match our current numbers in the First Nomads Online Tournament we would be doing really well. We could open such a tournament up to the broader Sheffield chess community.

Why not enter a few lichess arena tournaments and get a feel for this fun way of playing chess. When we do an arena tournament we need to get the format right. I think most players are not interested in anything less than five minutes per player.

My gut feeling is a two hour arena tournament with a ten minute time limit for each player. You can rest for as long as you like between games, but of course the energetic and ambitious will have an advantage.

Anyone interested in this please give a couple of arena tournaments a go, and get back to me with your suggestions.

First Nomads Online Chess Tournament

The format is 30 minutes with a 30 second increment, one game per week.

The white player should contact the black player to arrange the game.

An email with all the contact details of players has been sent to all entrants. If you have any queries please contact

Results in by 8pm Sunday at the latest please.

Round 3

Finished games can be viewed by clicking on the result link. Also you can view games live by searching either player on lichess and viewing their game as they play.

White Result Black
1 Oskar Hackner  2 1 – 0 Vasilis Pasialis  2
2 Stuart Crosthwaite  2 0 – 1 Chris Shephard  2
3 Jeremy Hamm  1 1 – 0 Jo Woolard  1
4 Duncan Chambers  1 Thurs 6pm Arjun Musuvaty 1
5 Henry Withington  1 1/2 – 1/2 Rob Nield  1
6 Lez Day  1 0 – 1 Ray King  1
7 Pete Morton  1 0 – 1 Steve Withington  1/2
8 Arkady English  1/2 1 – 0 Dave Norris 0
9 Sam Humphrey 0 0 – 1 Robert Shaw 0

Round 2

Finished games can be viewed by clicking on the result link. Also you can view games live by searching either player on lichess and viewing their game as they play.

White Result Black
1 Ray King 1 0 – 1 Oskar Hackner 1
2 Chris Shephard 1 1 – 0 Henry Withington 1
3 Vasilis Pasialis 1 1 – 0 Pete Morton 1
4 Rob Nield 1 0 – 1 Stuart Crosthwaite 1
5 Geoff Frost 1 0 – 1 Lez Day 0
6 Dave Norris 0 0 – 1 Jeremy Hamm 0
7 Steve Withington 0 1/2 – 1/2 Arkady English 0
8 Robert Shaw 0 0 – 1 Duncan Chambers 0
9 Jo Woollard 0 1 – 0 Sam Humphrey 0

Round 1

White Result Black
1 Oskar Hackner 1 – 0 Steve Withington
2 Duncan Chambers 0 – 1 Chris Shephard
3 Jeremy Hamm 0 – 1 Rob Nield
4 Lez Day 0 – 1 Vasilis Pasialis
5 Stuart Crosthwaite 1 – 0 Jo Woollard
6 Arkady English 0 – 1 Geoff Frost
7 Henry Withington 1 – 0 Dave Norris
8 Sam Humphrey 0 – 1 Ray King
9 Pete Morton 1 – 0 Robert Shaw

List of players

Player/Grade Lichess Username
Oskar Hackner  219 prawiarwac
Chris Shephard  199 Prothiersch
Jeremy Hamm  182 JeremyH
Vasilis Pasialis  181 VSheff
Stuart Crosthwaite  164 StuartCrosthwaite
Geoff Frost  161 Geofffrost
Henry Withington  158 Nietzschescat
Ray King  155 redlentils
Peter Morton  142 PeterMorton
Steve Withington  138 withington
Duncan Chambers  137 DuncanChambers
Rob Nield  132 Rdeborn
Lez Day  126 negames4me
Jo Woollard  112 joffee
Arkady English  96 arkadye
David Norris  89 djn1972
Samuel Humphrey  85 ConBlack23
Robert Shaw  - Carandol

Sign up for a lichess account

Challenging an opponent on Lichess

Oskar Hackner vs Steve Withington

I knew this game would be difficult. With my lucky monkeys sitting by the laptop I steeled myself and waited for Oskar’s challenge on lichess. At six o’clock the challenge came in. I clicked the green tick to accept and immediately the sky grew dark and the heavens opened. Thunder and lightning raged outside and my lucky monkeys looked somehow forlorn.

It wasn’t too long before Oskar had outplayed me and over run my position, and I had no alternative but to resign. At this point the electrical storm ended abruptly and the sky began to brighten.

Online chess is turning out to be a lot of fun and I am really looking forward to the next round.

Online Chess during the current crisis

Meeting up to play will not be an option for at least three weeks, and quite possibly much longer.  So it looks like online chess will provide us with opportunities to keep playing and not let our wonderful chess community become dormant.

Fortunately Oliver Brennan of Rotherham CC has been proactive and has organised an online tournament.  Full instructions on what to do can be found at

I have had a few thoughts regarding online chess recently.  How about posting more online games on the site to raise awareness of what and who is out there.  Maybe we could have a virtual club night. Same time on a Tuesday evening but with games played from the comfort of our living rooms.

All thoughts around making online chess between Sheffield players a real thing are most welcome.

Best of luck to everyone and really looking forward to the day we can get back to our normal league games and club nights.

Daniel Sullivan vs Steve Withington

How to Play Chess like a Baboon…. And Win! (Part 2)

Once again Norbury plays over a dozen consecutive pawn moves, before bothering to touch a piece. His sloppy style of play delivers the results in a decidedly imperfect game, that is instructive nonetheless.

The Turk

The Turk is supported by The Arts Council of England and is a piece of dark mystery, philosophical adventure and dramatic showmanship. Here’s a quick introduction…

The History:
In 1770 an incredible ‘thinking machine’ was presented to Empress Maria Theresa of Austria that was to influence and bamboozle the world for over 80 years.

A life-sized automaton in the fashionable garb of a ‘mysterious’ Turk gazed down onto two opposing armies of chessmen. A Key was inserted, the mechanism was wound and in a whirring of cogs The Turk came to life, raising its head and making its move.

With historical opponents from Napoleon to Beethoven, Barnum to Babbage, Benjamin Franklin to Edgar Allan Poe, The Turk’s enigmatic legacy of technology and chess paved the way for the future of computing, automation, artificial intelligence and even magic.

The Show:

1838. Interior. Ships hold. Night.
Surrounded by well-travelled packing crates and empty wine bottles, a drunken and dying Johann Nepomuk Maelzel revisits scenes from his life, losses and adventures with the amazing, chess playing automaton known as, The Turk.

Fuelled with alcohol and yellow fevered madness, Maelzel and The Turk explore the sacrifice of the showman, the promise of the engineer and the passion of the dreamer against a philosophical backdrop of life, love, cognition and existence.

…The show incorporates intrigue, mystery and dark humour along with atmospheric sound, music, song…and even robotics!!! I wondered if you might be interested in perhaps letting your adult members know as it has an obvious chess connection and really tries to open up discussion into how we process our own ideas of self, being and existence through reason and analysis alongside our ever moving relationship with the machine. There are telling connections here with computing, artificial intelligence and, of course, chess itself.