Wednesday 28 December 2016

London Classic Index

Here is a handy index for all of the reports on the many activities centered on the 2016 London Chess Classic.

Click the caption to find the full story for each episode.

Secret Preparation
London Chess Conference
ECF Book of the Year
CSC Teesside in London (Part 1)
CSC Teesside in London (Part 2)

CSC Teesside in London (Part 3)

Classic People 

Classic People

Being at the London Chess Classic allowed me to catch up with some of my remarkable friends and colleagues.

With Julian Farrand and Ray Edwards
CSC stalwarts Chris Fegan and Nevil Chan
Tereza Pribanova
A private lesson with Caitlin in the V.I.P. Room
Maharajah Mate!

CSC Teesside in London (Part 3)

This is the video stream from Round 7 of the 2016 London Chess Classic.

Scroll forward to around 15 minutes and 50 seconds to see CSC Teesside enjoying the action from the second row.

Then skip to the 25 minute mark to see Zoe making the opening move for (eventual) tournament winner Wesley So.

Monday 19 December 2016

CSC London Chess Classic Training Courses

There were two CSC Training Courses at the London Chess Classic. Sarah Kett delivered an excellent day on the Friday (I was able to call in a couple of times between the chess activities with my juniors).

I took over room 305 on the Saturday. 

Festive cups!
Training courses always bring in a fascinating variety of delegates and this one was no exception, as it featured very strong chess players and teachers unfamiliar with the finer points of the rules.

Some of the delegates were London-based, but others were from further afield. Ed travelled the furthest - he flew in from Belfast for the day! 

This was the first time we had run a training day on the final Saturday of the Classic but the attendance was very healthy (12 people) and the delegates worked very hard all day.

As usual, we started with some introductions and ice breakers before getting stuck in to the series business of the day, including mini-gamnes, chess variants, classroom management, a brief history of the CSC, the benefits of promoting thinking skills via chess and a whole range of other subjects fuelled by open sessions based on questions from the delegates.

Paul, moving around the room like a Rook

Nivedita, in full Queen mode

Mini-games in action

Maharajah mate!

I thoroughly enjoyed working with my group and I hope to see them all at future events.

Anyone interesting in attending a CSC Training Course should keep an eye on this page.

CSC Teesside in London (Part 2)

Following our exciting day and night in the city, it was time to head off to the junior section of the London Chess Classic. The first problem we encountered was the unfortunate lack of trains from Earl's Court to Olympia, which are now confined to weekends. This was compounded by the lack of the promised shuttle bus, which promoted a change of plan. We commandeered a bus, whose driver promised his route took him 'quite close to the Olympia mate; two or three minutes' walk mate.'

Having arrived at Olympia, the children and parents were whisked straight into a coaching session. 

This was followed by a spell in the main auditorium, featuring coaching from Grandmasters Chris Ward and Daniel King. Zoe even managed to play an exhibition game on the main stage - and won.

Following a short lunch break, the children were ready for their games. I had prepared them as best I could for some tough battles over the board. They looked a little nervous as they listened to the instructions before the start of the first round. Meanwhile, the parents put the big chess set to good use!

As they started play, I went to check on Zoe, who was about to start a private lesson in the VIP room with Maria.

When I returned to the tournament room a short time later, I found they had made a great start and the wins were flowing!

Eventually, after five very impressive rounds, Lawrence scored 3/5, Oliver and Farrell 3.5/5 each and Lily 4/5! These scores exceeded my expectations. I watched the end of Lily's final game and I was very impressed by the way she sent her rook behind her opponent's passed pawns so she could pick them off as soon as they made their way forward to attempt pawn promotion. This proved to be the winning plan as it left Lily was a considerable material advantage when the games were adjudicated.

How well they had all played! This brought CSC Teesside a silver medal, two bronze medals and one very near miss!

The presentation of prizes brought lots of smiles and excitement from all of the children. But we still hadn't finished and there were one or two surprises still in store.

While we were in the midst of taking as many photos as possible, Grandmaster Maurice Ashley appeared with his video crew to interview our children.

We had one more surprise, as I asked Zoe if she was willing to make the ceremonial move on the main stage, before the entire auditorium audience and the worldwide Internet viewers. Zoe agreed and thus we enjoyed another iconic moment in the history of  Teesside chess.

We watched the start of the Grandmaster games but eventually it was time to start the journey back to Teesside.

As we made our emotional goodbyes, the parents and children set off back to King's Cross while I stayed behind in London for another night, prior to the CSC Training Course the following day...

The CSC Teesside London expedition was made possible thanks to generous support from Chess in Schools and Communities, Whale Hill Primary School and CSC Tutor Dave Edmunds.