Tuesday 28 August 2018

English Chess Federation Book of the Year Shortlist 2018

Ray Edwards, Julian Farrand and I have been discussing the best chess books of 2018 for some time and we have produced the following shortlist.
The ECF Book of the Year panel, back in 2016
Left to right: Julian, Ray and me
'The large number of varied and interesting books this year made the selection particularly difficult, but the choice came down to books by two new chess publishers and two excellent instruction manuals (beautifully printed by Quality Chess) which the judges had great difficulty in separating, so included both!

Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets Chess, War and Revolution
Sergei Tkachenko, Ruby Publishing, paperback, pp213, £19.99

The cover alone indicates this is not a conventional chess book. It vividly covers the chess community in Odessa, how it and they coped with the rapidly changing governments 1916 to1919. Alekhine was a frequent visitor to Odessa. When the Bolsheviks captured the town in 1919, they shot an estimated 1,200 “traitors”. Alekhine was arrested, imprisoned and was on the list to be executed. Why he was released remains a mystery. Amongst the narrative drama are the chess games he played in Odessa which show his outstanding chess imagination.

Carlsen vs Kajarkan World Chess Championship 2016
Lev Albert and Jon Crumiller, Chess Information and Research Centre, paperback, pp336, £22.50
World championship matches are the summit of the chess world. Whilst there is extensive short-term media coverage during the match, there are surprisingly few books published after the event giving a considered view. This book is one, with the usual photos, atmospheric background and computer analysis all well done. What lifts the book to an exceptional level is ‘Vlad’s Viewpoint’ which occurs throughout the book. The former world champion Vladimir Kramnik is able, from his unique experience, to give a wider and deeper insight into the play and players. Essential reading for Caruana!

Small Steps to Giant Improvement
Sam Shankland, Quality Chess, hardback, pp 331, £23.99

Shankland had a setback in his chess playing activities so had some free time. He decided to study and write about pawn play which he identified as one of his weaknesses. Written in a refreshing and open style he gives pointed examples of various issues eg advanced pawns can be strong, but they can also be weak. There is much to learn in this book as Shankland himself showed: he won his next three tournaments including the USA championship and raised his grading over 2700!

Under the Surface
Jan Marcos, Quality Chess, hardback, pp276, £23.99

Marcos has not written a standard text book, rather an exploration of the other factors that affect chess play. A sample of the chapter headings give an impression of his unusual approach – ‘Anatoly’s billiard balls’, ‘What Rybka couldn’t tell’, ‘Understanding the Beast’ and so on. Marcos writes in an original way bringing in applicable concepts from the none chess world. There are four fascinating chapters on computer chess. All in all players of every level will find something original or instructive in this book.

— Ray Edwards, Julian Farrand, Sean Marsh – 20th August 2018'

Another One-Off Library Session

Another one-off library session to finish off the Summer of chess.

Stay tuned for news of another weekly chess library which will start in September!

From the library:

'Calling all Chess enthusiasts! Learn to play or perfect your moves. Join us at Ingleby Barwick Library. on Wednesday 29 August from 2 - 4pm and learn to play or perfect your moves. Suitable for ages 8+. Free drop-in session, no booking required. 

If you require more information call 01642 528528 or email: inglebybarwick.library@stockton.gov.uk. With CSC Teesside.'

Saturday 25 August 2018

London Chess Classic 2018

Details of the 2018 London Chess Classic have now been announced and entries are invited for a whole range of tournaments and other events.

Here are essential details.

'Book your place at the 2018 London Chess Classic: Enter online today!

Join us at the epicentre of world chess – for a very special 10th London Chess Classic from December 9-16, 2018.

With London hosting what promises to be an epic Magnus Carlsen-Fabiano Caruana World Championship match in November, just days later chess aficionados are in for a double treat with the exciting finale of the Grand Chess Tour being fought out at the London Chess Classic, in a knockout format for the first time and with $300,000 at stake.

The semi-final battles, which will feature the four top players from the Grand Chess Tour qualifying events in Paris, Leuven and St. Louis, will be hosted by the pioneering artificial intelligence company, DeepMind, at Google’s London headquarters. Then the action moves to the London Chess Classic’s traditional venue, Kensington Olympia, for the final.

Daily and Season Tickets for spectators at all the London Chess Classic games will be on sale very soon at londonchessclassic.com

From today, you can enter online for all the events held at Olympia. There’s a total of £24,000 in prizes.

FIDE Open (December 9-16), offering GM and IM norm opportunities.

5-Day Classic events.

Weekend Classic events.

There will also be the traditional simultaneous displays, chess teacher training courses and much, much more. So, whether you’re a Grandmaster, an enthusiast or a future World Champion, you’re welcome!

And remember: Enter by October 22 for the best Early Bird discounts!

For more information about the London Chess Classic, contact our team at: info@londonchessclassic.com

Visit our website.

Follow us on Twitter: @london_chess'

Friday 24 August 2018

Studies and Problems

Project 30's FIDE Master Steve Giddins event was a great success and a full report can be found here.

When Steve gave his illuminating and entertaining talk about chess studies and problems (positions that were composed, not reached during real games) he presented the following positions for consideration by the audience.

Take a look and try and solve them.

Both are White to play. The second position is checkmate in two moves.

The answers will follow in due course.

Composed by G. Kasparjan, 1935
Composed by G. Heathcote, 195

Saturday 18 August 2018

Project 30: FIDE Master Steve Giddins Event

Yesterday saw the start of the second season of Project 30, with a very special event featuring FIDE Master Steve Giddins.

A report on the day can be found here.

Thursday 16 August 2018

Tuesday 14 August 2018

2018-9 CSC Training Day Tour: First Date Announced

The first date of the 2018-9 CSC Training Day Tour has just been announced.

The last few dates on the 2017-8 tour sold out quickly so book your places as soon as possible if you would like to attend.

Head here for further details.

Monday 13 August 2018

Project 30: FIDE Master Steve Giddins in Action

The first event of Project 30: Year 2 is coming up very soon and excitement is building as we prepare to welcome another titled player to Teesside.

Steve will be giving a talk followed by a simultaneous display.

Anyone facing Steve may be interested to see the finish to one of his finest games, in which he defeated a strong Grandmaster who has, in his time, been a winner of the Soviet Championship and twice Candidate for the World Chess Championship, in addition to representing the Soviet Union and Armenia in numerous Olympiads.

Vaganian - Giddins
Antwerp, 1996
Steve is an expert on the Hedgehog system against the English Opening and he soon gets to play the two standard freeing moves.

23 ...b5!

This break often involves the sacrifice of a pawn. In return, Black will enjoy active pieces and the opportunity to exploit the overextended nature of White's position.  

24. cxb5 axb5 25. Rbc1 Nb6  26. Nxb5 d5! 27. e5 Nc4 28. Rxc4  dxc4 29. Nd6

Time to light the blue touchpaper...

29 ...Nxe5! 30. Bxa8 c3  31. Qc2?

A mistake. It turns out the queen needed to keep protecting the bishop with either 31 Qc1 or Qe2. Vaganian must have realised the game was slipping away at this point as he offered a draw. This was a further mistake, giving Steve confidence to continue. Steve's masterstroke was to decline the draw in fluent Russian!

31 ...Rxd6 32. Rxd6 Nc4!

The tempo gained on the undefended bishop is important. If 33 Rd4, then 33 ...Nxe3 34 Rxe3 Bd4! is painful for White. The pin would not have worked if the queen had been able to capture the knight on e3.

33. Ra6 Nxe3 34. Qe4 

Black is winning now and Steve brings home the point in style.

34 ...c2!

With the brilliant point that 35 Qxe3 loses to 35 ...Bd4! Vaganian continues to flail but Steve does not let things slip.

35. Ne2 Qb5 36. Qxe3 Qxa6 37.Bf3 Rd8 38. Kg2 Bb2 0-1

A fabulous victory!

Incidentally, I know how it feels to be rolled over by Steve's Hedgehog System. 

Marsh - Giddins, Cleveland Open 1991  
I had sacrificed a pawn and was hoping to win it back with 23 Na4. The plan backfired badly after 23 ...Rxd1+ 24 Rxd1 Qe4!

A terrific move, winning material. My queen cannot continue to defend my rook and 25 Qxe4 is met by 25 ...Rxd1+ and then 26 ...Nxe4. I had to resign just a couple of moves later.

Good examples of what Friday's participants could be up against!

Friday 10 August 2018

New Junior Event

News from Tim Wall, regarding his forthcoming tournament:

'We have added a children's chess tournament (for Under 14s on August 1, 2018) at the Chester-le-Street Chess Congress.'

Full details can be found here.

Thursday 9 August 2018

Chess at Norton Library


If you are anywhere near Norton then do drop in to sample the chess session.

Sunday 5 August 2018


It was great to meet up with Sue and Ray Edwards tonight.

Ray and I make up two thirds of the English Chess Federation Book of the Year panel but we discussed lots of subjects rather than just chess tonight.

Friday 3 August 2018

CSC Teesside Chess Libraries: One Year On

Tomorrow's CSC Teesside chess library sessions will mark one full year of this very special series.

It feels like it was yesterday when we started the new sessions at both the Stockton Central and Middlesbrough Central libraries but it was indeed one year ago.

Since then, regular sessions have been added to the libraries of Thornaby Central and The Globe Community Library, Stokesley.

The sessions are free, open to all and there is no need to register.

Here is a reminder of the times and venues. As always, it is a good idea to check with the respective libraries to ensure the sessions are definitely on if you are thinking of attending.

The Stokesley sessions are on every third Tuesday and the next one will be on 14 August. The session leader is Michael Hardman.

Session leader: Sean Cassidy.

Session Leader: Brian Whitaker

Session leader: David Smith.

August will see a tour of new libraries by Sean Cassidy. He will be offering taster sessions here:

Billingham (Wednesday 22nd, 2.00 - 4.00 p.m.), Ingleby Barwick (Wednesday 2.00 - 4.00 p.m.), Norton (Thursday 9th, 2.00 - 4.00 p.m.), and Yarm (Friday 17th, 10.00 am - 12 noon).

Get to your local library! Play chess! Read books!

Thursday 2 August 2018

Project 30: FIDE Master Steve Giddins Event Update

Following on from the initial announcement regarding the forthcoming talk and simultaneous display by FIDE Master and renowned chess author Steve Giddins, I can now confirm the finer details.

Date: Friday 17 August

Venue: The Buffs Social Club (which we used earlier this for the Celebratory Tournament). The address and a map can be found here.

Timings: 2.00 p.m. start; 5.00 p.m. finish (approximately).

Initially, the limited places will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis to the adults and junior who supported last year's Project 30 events. There will be a small entry fee for this event.

Any additional places will then be made available on general release.

Having another titled player on Teesside will make an excellent start for the second year of Project 30 and will, I am sure, be one of the highlights of 2018-9.

Wednesday 1 August 2018

New Chess Events in Glasgow

Our CSC expansion for plans are going to take a very exciting new turn during the new school and further details will be announced in due course.

Meanwhile, the great Colin Paterson has a number of chess events coming up in Glasgow in August and I am sure he would greatly welcome the support of anyone who is able to attend.

Here are Colin's plans...

'I am giving a powerpoint presentation to relaunch North Glasgow Chess on 10th August. Venue: Saracen House, 139 Saracen Street, Glasgow G22 5AZ Time 1000-1200

I will be hosting a Chess stall at the following Gala Days:

Possilpark Gala Day, Saturday 11th August, 1200-1600 Venue: Possilpoint Community Centre, 130 Denmark Street, Glasgow G22 5LQ

Yorkhill and Finnieston Gala Day, Sunday 12th August, 1100-1600 Venue: Overnewton Square Glasgow G3 8RX

Queens Cross Housing Association Gala Day, Saturday 18th August, 1200-1600 Venue: Firhill Sports Complex, Hopehill Road, Glasgow G20 2HH'