Monday, April 27, 2015


White to play
Aagaard - Tocco, Arco 2007

I found this week’s position, just like BORP? XXXII's, in Grandmaster versus Amateur (Quality Chess, 2011). A book that doesn’t seem to have made much of an impression on public chess consciousness, but one that I really liked all the same.

Anyhoo, to finally get around to RdC’s question from last week,
Did Shaw in his notes indicate why he rejected it?
"It" being the red pill option of trading to a won pawn ending.  Answer: yes he did.
I could argue I was following John Nunn’s DAUT dictum (Don’t Analyse Unnecessary Tactics) and the rook ending in the game is a simple win. The truth is I was falling into the habit of avoiding all tactics and I never spotted that 41 Rd6+ was a legal move.

So there you go.

Anyhoo, back to Aagaard against Tocco which is mentioned in the first chapter of this rather lovely collection of essays.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nigel: the experts speak

It was educational to read and hear the various neurological experts on whom the media called for their expertise and opinions following Nigel Short's "hardwiring" and parking comments.

Radio Four, for instance, had Professor Gina Rippon.*

The Guardian had Dr Dean Burnett.

And the Spectator?

The Spectator...

...had none other than Tony Buzan.

[* roughly 18:30-22:30]
[Thanks to Michael Yeo]

[Ray Keene index]

Friday, April 24, 2015

County Counting: 8. Service, Please

This series (starting here) has been mining the archive of the Surrey County Association Match Books which go back to the first of Surrey's county matches in 1884. They record, from then on, in more or less detail, the personnel of both sides in the County's matches up to 1967. There has to be a limit to the interest that this material can sustain, and I suspect that we are getting close to it. But before we throw in the towel we may be able to wring one or two more blogs from the Books.

And here is one of them. We noted in the last two episodes (here, and here), when we were investigating the matches against "Croydon", that not all the matches recorded were against county opposition - and you could go further and say that neither were all the matches played even by a full Surrey County team. This episode will continue that theme. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Saying something II

Just a footnote to the banning of Carl Hibbard from the English Chess Federation's online forum, as per yesterday's post. This touched on the fact that Carl was accused, by the ECF's Commercial Director, Bob Kane, of being "registered from day one in one name or another"

which is to say, of having registered in a names or names other than his own.

Evidence of this assertion was requested

but at the time of writing had not been forthcoming.

Now there's a trivial but interesting point relating to this, which is that in that forum's early days, it possessed a poster called "Sue Dunham" which, as even the doziest of us eventually realised, was not a real name but...yes indeed, a pseudonym. Ho ho.

This particular sock-puppet lasted several weeks until disappearing, or rather being asked to disappear.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Saying something

Today's post is about how Bob, Chris and Phil don't like Carl. Carl, for his part, doesn't like Bob, Chris and Phil. David and Mike don't like Bob, Chris and Phil any more because Bob, Chris and Phil don't like Carl. But Bob, Chris and Phil say Carl is somebody else as well as Carl. Carl says he isn't and Alex wants to know what Bob, Chris and Phil are on about.

What am I on about? Last week Carl Hibbard was barred from the English Chess Federation's forum. Who is Carl Hibbard? Carl Hibbard runs the English Chess Forum, which is not the same as the English Chess Federation's forum.

Confused? You will be.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nigel Short's World of Science

Good Lord, Nigel's on the telly.

And in the Telegraph.

And the Independent.

And the Guardian.

And the Vile.

And Time.


And the Standard.*

Nigel does not think this is wholly fair. To some extent he's right - it's not hard to pick very large holes in any of these articles - though at the same time I'm not entirely sympathetic.

Monday, April 20, 2015


White to play
Shaw - Hamdouchi, Gibraltar 2003

After last week’s detour to St Louis (We Need to Talk About Wesley) I’m still not quite ready to go back to reviewing Benjamin’s Liquidation on the Chessboard. A review which has morphed into a rambling dissertation on all chess books (most recently: On Lessons and Chapters), if I’m honest.

I feel the need to report that I have played my first king and pawn endgame of the year. It was not a lengthy affair - it lasted precisely half a move - but it was a pawn ending nonetheless.