Sunday 22 April 2018

Project 30: Chess for Life Event (1)

Project 30 continued in fine style with a thoroughly enjoyable showcase event at Yarm School yesterday.

Excitement had been building since my initial announcement at the start of March and I can say straight away that even though I knew it would be a great event, it exceeded my expectations.

Grandmaster Matthew Sadler and Woman International Master Natasha Regan presented a fabulous day of events, with lectures, practical exercises, a big simultaneous display and book signings.

ECF Book of the Year, 2016
Several more reports and lots more photos will follow, but today we focus on the chess lectures.

Matthew (England International, twice British Champion, gold medalist at the 1996 Chess Olympiad - and he once beat former World Champion Anatoly Karpov in 13 moves - with Black!) started the day with an excellent interactive discussion of the famous game Paul Morphy against the Duke and Count. This immediately brought the best out of the packed audience, who were eager to add their own input to the discussion.

Natasha (England International, strong WIM and author of great renown) followed Matthew's discussion of a tactical game with a close look at some positional themes, paying particular attention to the games of Grandmaster Keith Arkell (who, incidentally, gave three simultaneous displays on Teesside back in the 2000s as part of our Chess Links Project).

Natasha, just like Matthew, really brought the subject to life and already, after the first hour or so, everyone in the room had learned some important ways in which to improve their respective ways of playing and assessing important details.

The assembled juniors, parents, teachers and club players thoroughly enjoyed both lectures 

One unexpected bonus was the presence of Tony Mowbray (current head coach of Blackburn Rovers) who was absorbed in the content of the lectures and later engaged both Natasha and myself in very interesting conversations regarding the correlations between chess strategies and the art of adopting different approaches in football matches.

What a great start to the day! But there was plenty more to come...

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