Wednesday, July 30, 2014

History Boy

Well done Paul McKeown (of Athenaeum CC here in London) for his erudite talk on Monday evening at the City Lit on the de la Bourdonnais-McDonnell match of 1834.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cleaner than handshakes

Important news before British Championship competitors shake hands today:
Scientists at Aberystwyth University in Wales have shown that a shake transfers more bacteria than other forms of hand-on-hand action.

They are calling for the widespread adoption of the fist bump instead.
Public Health England whimsically suggested a Victorian-age bow or curtsey would be even safer.
In the light of the news, championship organisers have asked competitors who expect to begin games with a handshake to arrive at their boards ten minutes earlier than normal in order to allow time to wash their hands afterwards.

Now wash your hands

[Image: © Mark Crowther]

Monday, July 28, 2014

Aberystwyth ISEs

Black to play
Howell - Williams, British Championship (4) 2014

Normally we’d be half way through at this point. This year we’re already approaching the closing stretch. Better get the ISEs in quick while I’ve still got a chance.

S&BCB’s own Justin Horton was paired against Yang-Fan Zhou in the first round. A tough welcome back to chess for EJH that. It’s a measure of Zhou's strength that you can consider his +4 =2 -1 and  current share of 4th place as under-performing. I’d actually thought he was a decent outside bet to win the Championship this year and if that’s not going to happen, well, I’d still back him to become England’s next Grandmaster.

Anyhoo, on move 21,

Black to play
Horton - Zhou, British Championship (1) 2014

Black played ... Nxb6 allowing White to win the exchange. I can’t say that I expected it, but after 22 Bxb6 Rxb6, 23 axb6 Qxb6, 24 Na2 e4, 25 fxe4 Nxe4, 26 Qf4 f5 Black’s bishop, queen and centralised knight looked rather impressive to me.

White to play

Howell - Williams was a rather different kettle of ISEs. A total mess from start to finish.

A great win for the Ginger GM, but Howell won his next three on the bounce. If he beats Hawkins today he might even be back in the lead - if only jointly - by the time you read this.

2014 ISE Count: 50
TISE Index

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The bubonic plagiarist

Private Eye, issue 1371, 27 July 2014, page 7.


[Thanks to Richard James and Pablo Byrne]

[Ray Keene plagiarism index]
[Ray Keene index]

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.