Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Labour Politician 'has principles' shock

Labour politician Nigel Griffiths resigned from the government earlier this week , in protest against the policy to renew Trident.

My eye was caught by a profile which described him as "a proficient chess player". It seems he's played Kasparov at some stage, although what exactly he meant by, "I barely survived one round with the world chess champion", I'm not entirely sure. Gazza played a simul against MPs a while back. I wonder if he's referring to that.

Now, individual members of the government are not universally regarded as being completely unwilling to sacrifice long held principles for short term political gain - so I'm pondering whether chess players are simply all-round better eggs than non-chess players ... or whether perhaps we shouldn't be too harsh on Labouristas after all.

UPDATE
Tom found this game via google (played at Simpsons in 1997)...



There's some problem with chess publisher today. The actual game finished ...

33. d5+ Kxd5
34. Rd7+ Kc6
0-1

11 comments:

ejh said...

Well, he's not on the rating list, so he's probably not all that proficient.

You know in Fever Pitch, where Hornby says he's always being told "mean such-and-such, he's a mad football fan" and it turns out to mean he once went to a game years ago or something? I suspect it's the same syndrome.

Of course it's possible to be interested in the game and even to follow it a bit without actually playing regularly - this would be the case with Evan Harris MP, who's the Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon.

Jonathan B said...

Jim Callaghan might have come into a similar category. I met him once at the Universities Team Championship. He came across as a decent old bloke and very interested in chess. I've no idea whether or not he played though.

ejh said...

Alan Reid MP

Jonathan B said...

RE: proficiency or otherwise...

see the game Tom found, recently added to the bottom of the blog entry.

Tom Chivers said...

Interesting how Nick is paranoid about bishops (..a6, ..g6) yet got rid of his own as quickly as possible (..Bg4xf3, ..Bb4xc3).

I think he can accurately be called 'proficient', on the basis of that game. In the opening he developed, castled, kept a presence in the centre. He never hung a piece or anything terrifically blunderous in the middlegame, it was just his attack should have been slower. When his opponent faltered, he took his chance.

Of course, he'd have no chance against any of us :)

Tom Chivers said...

Alan Reid quite evidently knows exactly what he's doing. He must be close to IM strength I would think.

Although Justin, my favourite part of that link is this quote:

Tam Dalyell, when defeated by Kasparov in 1989, commented: "I have never played anybody who moved into my backyard with such effect and then pinned me for the rest of the match. It was a great lesson."

It's like listening to Americans describe football. Wait, I mean soccerball.

ejh said...

I should observe (as I did in a piece in When Saturday Comes in about 1989) that the term soccer is actually English in origin and that it possessed, over here, overtones of class snobbery which it never has done there...

ejh said...

By the way, what was Griffiths going to do if Kilbracken had played 26.Qxf8 +?

Tom Chivers said...

Also 22.Rxh7! Justin. Clicky click.

Btw Jonathan - we have him named twice, once as Nick once as Nigel! I believe Nigel is correct.

ejh said...

Unusual for a Keene colum to feature a major piece sacrifice on h7.

Jonathan B said...

Tom:
you're right. Not sure how that slipped in - perhaps via the edit. Anyhoo, I've changed it to Nigel now.