Tuesday 27 August 2019

Summer's End for the Home Education Group

Today brought the third and final Summer session for the Home Education Group.

We had a change of venue and enjoyed the welcome and hospitality of the Game On gaming cafe in Stockton.

We worked on checkmates problems, discussed pawn promotion, examine various tactics including pins, forks and skewers, practiced finishing off opponents when they were down to just their king and finished with some games.

I had a great day and it was wonderful to see everyone concentration so hard. 

There is no doubt at all that everyone in the group (adults as well as juniors) has improved their chess skills and understanding over the course of the Summer sessions.

Thank you, everyone - and especially to Fiona who once again organised everything so well.

I think the gallery will now speak for itself to say how much fun we had today.

All photographs above are © Fiona Tierney.

All photographs below are © me.

This would make a good pin!

Max has seen it all before.
 'It's checkmate in two moves, mate.'

Can I really move the pieces with this?
When games collide...

Friday 16 August 2019

Govanhill Chess Update

My excellent friends Julien and Colin are continuing to create more chess opportunities at the Govanhill Chess Club, hosted by Govanhill Baths.

In a recent messages, Julien told me that the numbers are still growing and now they have entered tow teams in local leagues. Regular training sessions are in the pipeline too.

A lot has happened since we first stated chess there, as part of Project Scotland, last October.

Julien and Colin are in regular contact with me and I am delighted to see how much they are achieving, including lots of community activities.

Two members of the club have now created a fabulous stop motion animation video, which can be seen by clicking here.

I recommend that you follow the club on Facebook to keep up to date with all of their activities, which should give ideas for what you can try at your own chess clubs.

Wednesday 14 August 2019

2019 Northumbria Masters - August Update

Last month I posted a message from Tim Wall about the forthcoming Northumbria Masters chess tournament.

Here is Tim's latest message regarding the event.

Dear chess friends, 

First of all I would like to thank the local and national chess community for all its support for the 2019 Northumbria Masters. This has been quite a journey and it would not have been possible without your efforts.

We are almost ready to start the tournaments on Friday 23rd August, but before we do I would ask that you ask around one more time to ensure that we have a fantastic entry for this event. Maybe there are friends, clubmates and colleagues of yours that you could tell or remind about the event - which will give a fantastic opportunity to play top-class FIDE-rated chess over five days in a beautiful part of the world, North East England. 

There is still time to enter, but time pressure is upon us.

So far, as of Friday 9th August, we have a total of 84 entries in the three main events (Masters, Challengers U2050, and Major U1825). This includes six Grandmasters and seven International Masters, and a total of 26 England players in the Masters. We also have plenty of room for more entries in the one-day Junior Rapidplay (Under 11 & Under 14).

Thanks to the support of the John Robinson Youth Chess Trust in providing free junior entries, we are likely to have more than 20 Under 18 players from England. 

If we can have a final push and get over 100 players in the Northumbria Masters Congress, the event will have more than doubled in size since last year. 

Whether or not you can play, we would also welcome offers from a few more local players to put up a titled player in their home during the tournament. If this is something you could consider, please do drop me a line via the tournament website and I will let you know what is involved. (I can assure you that those local players who acted as hosts last year enjoyed the experience, and in several cases strong friendships were formed between Tyneside players the visiting GMs and IMs.) 

I know that you will wish me well with the Northumbria Masters, which is aimed at providing international title opportunities and top-class tournament experience for English players, particularly aspiring juniors and players from the North of England.

Please do share this message and encourage your friends and colleagues to consider joining us the Novotel Newcastle Airport for what promises to be one of most exciting International Open events in the UK this year.

With very best regards,
Tim Wall
Tournament Director

Thursday 8 August 2019

Home Education Group: Gallery

Here is gallery from today's chess sessions with the Home Education Group.

All photographs in this gallery are © Fiona Tierney.

More Chess for the Home Education Group

My morning may have involved a trip to the dentist, but I didn't stay down in the mouth for very long at all.

This is because it was soon time for my latest sessions with the Home Education Group, which followed hard on the heels of the sessions we all enjoyed at the end of July.

Our numbers had grown since the previous session, which is excellent.

I have already seen a big improvement in all of our students - and this was just our third time together.

Today we worked on chess problems for the first time (and the scores were universally high), plus checkmates and various challenge games including The Ultimate King Hunt and The Maharajah Queen. We concluded with some full games of chess and this time we ensured everyone played new opponents rather than just their friends and family.

Thank you to all of the students (of all ages!), parents and organisers who helped to make the day such a great success and special thanks to Fiona for making it all happen.

I am having an excellent time working with the group and I am certainly looking forward to the next sessions.

Take a look at our gallery and decide for yourself whether or not the students are enjoying the sessions too.

English Women’s Championships 2019 and Girls' Coaching

Hull continues to make a big impression in the world of chess.

This time last week we were enjoying the Summer School of Chess and there isn't very long to wait until the next major event in Hull.

The 2019 English Women’s Championships will take place from 30 August - 1 September at The Royal Hotel.

Entries are open now and the full details can be found here.

Coaching for girls is available too and the details are as under.

I am very keen to play a part in the development of chess in Hull and the fine people there deserve the support of as many players as possible.

As noted in my earlier blogs, there is a LOT to see in this magnificent city so why not consider an expedition to combine chess and culture?

Monday 5 August 2019

Hull Summer School of Chess: History and Chess

There was a sliver of time between the chess activities to explore more of the historical side of Hull and, as one who enjoys exalted company, I set off with the former Mayoress of Bottesford for a bimble (word © Jo Hutchinson) around various parts of the city.

Hull Minster was on my list of places to visit. It was called the Holy Trinity Church until 2017 and dates back to the 1300s. William Wilberforce was one of many people to be baptised here.

I am not now and never have been religious but do enjoy exploring churches and learning about their history. There was certainly plenty to see in this one.

A change of career could be on the cards.

Further childhood memories were evoked by the sight of Carver's. A meal at Carver's was mandatory during my earlier visits to Hull. Back then the shop's venue was a famous tent and they also had a stall at the annual Hull Fair. I remember the homemade mint sauce. The business dates back to 1888 and there have been several Bob Carvers since the original.

It was closed at the time, but one day I must sample their fish and chips to see if standards have been maintained.

Meanwhile, the former Mayoress of Bottesford had remembered about a cafe called The Brain Jar which had chess equipment and a chess library, so we bimbled over there for a game of chess and a mint hot chocolate.

Quite possibly the best cafe around for chess books.

Tough game!

Jo attracted a fan and once he found out she was one of the top players around he went to the counter to ask for a pen and paper...

...and asked for Jo's autograph. 'Can you please sign it to King Ralphy?' he asked, and Jo duly obliged. Meanwhile, King Ralphy's friend had fallen asleep at the table next to ours, with his dog doing the same on his lap. I found The Brain Jar had potential for an excellent situation-comedy.

One more piece of history presented itself on the way back.

This site contains the remains of Beverley Gate. This marks the spot where Sir John Hotham, former Governor of Hull, refused permission for King Charles I to enter the city and to seize the munitions in anticipation of the impending war.

This incredible act - another indication of the fiercely-independent aspect of Hull - has since been noted as the spark which started the First English Civil War.

This brought to an end my cultural mission in Hull, but I need to return soon for further explorations.

Incidentally, anyone in Hull or the surrounding areas may like to know about this friendly chess event which is coming up very soon.

Hull Summer School of Chess Index

Secret Plans

To Hull and Back

Summer School


History and Chess