Friday, July 25, 2014

Miss Easy Tactics! with Justin XVIII

[Our pedagogical series in which we look at a portion of a game I played recently in which some obvious tactic was overlooked. Readers are invited to practice their skill by seeing if they can spot what was missed.]

Fathallah-Horton, British Championhip (Aberystwyth) 2014. Round six. Position after 29. Nd3xc5.

Play now continued 29...dxc5 30. Bxc5 Rd8 31. Qc1 Bxc5+ 32. Rxc5 and eventually Black held on for a draw at move 45.

But in the above sequence, what did both players miss?

[Miss Easy Tactics! index]

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Harman In My Head

Slate's Ben Rothenberg reports:

What's this about?
The gift shop at Wimbledon, which rests above the subterranean Wimbledon museum, sells towels, polo shirts, and even strawberry-shaped earrings. The shop also sells a yearbook, known as the Official Wimbledon Annual. The 2013 annual, a compendium of photos and writings from that year's tournament, featured a cover shot of Andy Murray kissing the championship trophy.
We need to know this why?
By the end of this year's tournament, which was contested from June 23 to July 6, the 2013 annual had been removed from the Wimbledon bookshelves. It has also been removed from Wimbledon’s online shop. The book should have disappeared from circulation long before that. Months earlier, as first reported today in the UK magazine Private Eye (the article is not currently available online), Wimbledon employees had learned that the author, Neil Harman, had plagiarized large swaths of the 2013 book.
And who is Mr Harman?
Harman, a correspondent for the Times of London, is a pre-eminent figure in the tennis press.
A correspondent for the Times of London.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DG XI: 'Doctor' Gillian McKeith

If you want to know how bad things are, you have to take a look at "Doctor’* Gillian McKeith. More precisely, you have to take a look at Doctor Ben Goldacre taking a look at 'Doctor'* Gillian McKeith.

... the form of McKeith’s pseudo-academic work is superficially correct ... but the substance is lacking.
Ben Goldacre, Bad Science, Harper Perennial (2009)

And this is the problem: when chessers write about chess and dementia it isn’t even that good.

A couple of weeks ago - DG IX: Guioco Piano - I mentioned that I’d recently stumbled across the existence of FIDE’s Social Action Chess Commission and a SACC report which included a section on chess and dementia. While the involvement of Doctor Robert Friedland, a bona fide researcher in the field, was welcome news, much less a cause for celebration was the way FIDE chose to report  the good Doctor’s work. 

The tragedy of FIDE’s Social Action Committee report is not so much that it plumbs the depths of standards reached by a pretend 'Doctor' off the tellybox. It’s that the report actually represents a step forward by the usual standards of our 'community'.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jarmany In My Head

Horton-Jarmany, round 3, British Championship (Aberystwyth) 2014
Position after 27...Rf8-h8. White to play and to be disturbed.

I'm on nought out of three. I'm not happy. I messed up a super game: I'm not at all happy. But in fact I'm much unhappier than that.

White is winning, in the above position. (You might like to check that, because it's pertinent. It's not the whole point of the story, but it's pertinent.) He's winning, but he has just four to five minutes, plus thirty-second increments, to play the next fifteen moves. He has lost the thread a little - hence the time shortage - and has already missed at least one of the clear wins which he has used his time up looking for. But he is still winning.

But while he is thinking, his opponent suddenly addresses him: "you still have to keep score even if there's less than five minutes". This is, as most readers will know, completely against the rules, since it is forbidden to talk to an opponent. [Edit: but see comments.]

It is, moreover, particularly wrong to talk to an opponent when it is his move. And more than particularly wrong to talk to him while he is in time trouble.

Monday, July 21, 2014

They’re Already Off

Black to play
Wade - Keene, British Championships 1971

And here we go. Or rather, there we went.

It was four years ago that I started writing about the format of the British Chess Championship [Bigger and Better?Wagging the Dog]. A year later [Mummy’s Little Prince and the Sheffield Rest Day] I wrote of the schedule - 11 round swiss, Monday to Saturday in week 1, Sunday rest day, Monday to Friday in week two - and how it had remained unchanged for several decades.

Well for this year, at least, things are different. OK, they’re different only so that there won’t be a clash with the Olympiad, but they’re different nonetheless. We can but hope that the enforced change  might open a few minds with regard to what might be possible hereafter.

Anyhoo, when I think about ISEs from past British Championships one by You Know Who from Blackpool immediately springs to mind. We’ve had it on the blog before, but that was four years ago, - RCP VII being published a few days after my thoughts on the poor state of the contemporary championship tournament - and defensive sacrifices have been few and far between so far in this series.

If nothing else, I’m sure Ray would appreciate the recycling of old material.

2014 ISE Count: 48
TISE Index

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Brixton Byways: 8. Uncommon People

This Brixton Byways series continues, but with the focus shifted three miles away from Brixton to Streatham as we are now researching the origins of the Streatham half of Streatham and Brixton Chess Club - we have gone, temporarily, Streatham Sideways.

As we saw in the last episode, in 1886 the British Chess Magazine reported a body setting up as Streatham CC; but judging from the Streatham News in October 1893 another outfit was the one that really had lift off and could claim the name, and it had been launched in all likelihood in 1891. The News looked back on this club's successful season just gone of sixteen matches, and an internal club tournament of 120 games.

Who were the principal officers of this dynamic outfit? The standout, and uncommon, name is that of the Club President, Edward John Vavasour Earle, and we are going to have a good look at him next, even though it make this post more of a study of social types than chess games. We will also give William Morris Esq., Hon Sec., a brief once-over (no, not that William Morris, unfortunately). If we may say so, and if our readers will entertain the expression, Mr. Morris of the Streatham Chess Club had a rather chequered career.   

Friday, July 18, 2014

The last time

Black to play and kiss goodbye to two hundred nicker

Three hours after this piece publishes I should be boarding a train in Sheffield, to take me to Birmingham, where I'll change trains for for Aberystwyth and the 2014 British Chess Championship.