Thursday, July 17, 2008

In the year 2133 . . .

"Nobody remembers their names today," wrote Czesław Miłosz about the pre-World War One Polish poets, "And yet their hands were real once,/ And their cufflinks gleamed above a table."

In chess, it's different. Whatever her short-term cruelties, for the most part Caissa turns out to be a kinder Goddess over the longer term than the Muses: many ancient games played even between patzers are preserved, played-through, remembered, loved, at least for a moment, something that cannot be said for the work of the failed and forgotten poets of yesteryear.

Take the game below. Badly played, chockablock with missed opportunities - but exciting and intriguing and vivid almost 125 years after the fact. Here the white pieces are handled by PJ Lucas of Sussex the black by South Norwood's JE Rabbeth, representing Surrey on the day:

And why am I telling you this?

It's my roundabout way of reminding you that Surrey County Chess Association is 125 years old, is celebrating the event this Sunday, and that you're invited to join in the fun.

(In fact the day will see a double-celebration. The Surrey Under 175 side, following their 2nd place in the SCCU section, progressed to the ECF County U175 Final to play Essex earlier the month, where they managed to grind out an excruciatingly-tight 8½ to 7½ victory.)

Anyway at least four Streatham & Brixton Chess Club players, including myself, will be attending on Sunday and if you'd like to join us and everybody else then you should email Mike Gunn now for full details and for an entry form.

Who knows? Maybe in 125 years, the gleaming or otherwise moves you make on the day will somewhere be remembered still, by someone . . .

PS. Thanks also to Mike Gunn for the game, who in his email to me added two historical notes. Firstly, that it appears as if Surrey and Sussex were the only two county chess associations existing in southern England at the time the match was played. Secondly, that "Rabbeth was playing one board lower than Leonard P Rees who after setting up the SCCA in 1883, went on to set up the SCCU (1892), the BCF (1904) and possibly even FIDE (he was described as a "senior FIDE official" in a report describing FIDE's attempts to get control of the arrangements of the World Championship matches in 1928)."


kingscrusher said...

Hi there

You may like to feature the following video annotated game against Streatham and Brixton Club player Robin Haldane:

It was a very interesting opening with an early Qh5 against the French defence. Watson's book on the Dangerous weapons in the French has a similar idea but with Bg5 e5 and Bxe7 first.

Best wishes

ejh said...


We know something he doesn't know.

Jonathan B said...


if you managed to face The Hack and come away with even a half point you did pretty well.

I find it hard to believe Robin would have missed Rxd4 though - perhaps the position was slightly different by then? Mind you in rapid chess almost anything can happen.