Wednesday 27 November 2019

International Chess Challenge: Queen and Bishop

 This week's moves in our international chess challenge are:

1 e4 e5
2 Qh5 Nc6
3 d3 Nf6
4 Qh4 g6

5 Bg5

The bishop now pins the black knight on f6. If the knight moves then White will capture the black queen.

Hutt International Boys' School (New Zealand) v The Links (England)
The Links looked at both 5 ...Be7 (to break the pin) and 5 ...Bg7 (to develop the bishop on the other diagonal). Both moves also prepare to castle the king into safety. 5 ...Bg7 proved to be the more popular choice of the two.

5 ...Bg7

Hutt International Boys' School (New Zealand) v The Links (England)

Developing a bishop along the long diagonal (g7 and b7 for Black; g2 and b2 for White) is called a  fianchetto.

Can White continue to attack the black position?

Will the black king find safety?

Stay tuned...

Tuesday 26 November 2019

A Message from the ECF Women's Recruitment Officer

Incoming message from Tim Wall, the English Chess Federation Women's Recruitment Officer...

Dear ECF member

I am writing to you (in the capacity of the ECF Women’s Recruitment Officer) to encourage you in your efforts to involve more women and girls in your chess club, whether you are playing in a league, at school or university, or simply enjoying some sociable games in a library or café.

Sometimes we think it’s an uphill battle to recruit new members, female or male, but there are some not-too-difficult things we can do.

1) Make your chess club a welcoming place for everyone. Is it held in a place where all players would feel safe and comfortable? Having a pleasant, family-friendly venue, well served by public transport, can make a difference.

2) As part of your club’s activities, hold regular social chess gatherings in public places, such as a library or café, at convenient times and days of the week that are fully accessible to female and male players alike.

3) Advertise your chess club to the whole community, via notices in your local media, library, community centre, cafes, schools and universities, and through your club website and social media. ‘Chess for All’ notices can specifically say: ‘Our chess club is open to everyone – regardless of gender, age and ethnicity. No experience is necessary – we are happy to help you learn the game.’

How we can improve the gender balance in chess, and make our chess clubs more welcoming to women and girls, are key issues on the agenda at the upcoming London Chess Conference this weekend (30 November-1 December), which is being held at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith on the theme ‘Chess and Female Empowerment’.

Female members of the ECF are eligible for free entry to the conference. Simply send an email in advance to with your ECF membership number (ME******).

Please do get in touch if I can assist you in recruiting more women and girls into your club and organisation – whether it’s helping you access the resources you need, speaking at your club or event, or simply offering confidential advice. If I do not have the complete answer to your query, I will help you find it.

Together, I am sure we can make a difference.

Yours sincerely,
Tim Wall
ECF Women’s Recruitment Officer

Thursday 21 November 2019

London Chess Classic 2019

The 11th London Chess Classic (29 November - 8 December) will see World Champion Magnus Carlsen back in action as he will be competing in the finale of the 2019 Grand Chess Tour.

The names of the other three players will only be known at the end of the penultimate leg of the tour, which will start today in Kolkata, India.

As usual, the London Chess Classic will be a huge festival of chess, with something for everyone. Ticket can be purchased to watch the big games in action and there is a plethora of opportunities to play in the large number of other events at Olympia.

Juniors will be in action too; these popular and special days already sold out a couple of weeks ago.

There are too many events to list here, so anyone interested in finding out more should head for the official website of the London Chess Classic.

The first weekend of the Classic will also see the conference devoted to Chess and Female Empowerment. 

The extensive programme can be seen here. Judit Polgar will be making an appearance on the Sunday of the conference.

Further details, including how to enrol, can be found here.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

International Chess Challenge: Active Queen

We have new moves in our international chess challenge between
Hutt International Boys' School (New Zealand) and The Links (England).

Last time we saw The Links attack Hutt's queen with their knight.

The queen dropped back one square with 4 Qh4 - keeping the queen in an active position - and The Links played 4 ...g6. They also considered 4 ...Bb4+ and 4 ...d6 before deciding on the move of the g-pawn.

The moves so far:

1 e4 e5
2 Qh5 Nc6
3 d3 Nf6
4 Qh4 g6

The current position:

Hutt International Boys' School (New Zealand) v The Links (England)
Will the queen prove to be in a good position to attack the black king, or will she be a target for black's pieces?

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Yarm Preparatory School Teams at the 2019 HMC Chess Championships

Today we travelled to the 2019 HMC Championships at the Queen Elizabeth Grammar School ('QEGS') in Wakefield with three excited teams of chess players.

We always enjoy this annual tournament regardless of the final placings. QEGS always put on a good show and we like to support the event.

We settled into our room and prepared for our matches in serious fashion. Err...well, as seriously as we could...

We had two teams in the Under-11 section and one team in the Under-9 section.

Our players battled away all day long and managed to win many games. The Under-9s won three and lost three of their matches.

The Under-11 B team won four and lost two and the Under-11 A team won four matches, drew one and lost one. This enabled them to secure a fine third place - just half a point away from sharing the second place.

Congratulations to RGS (Newcastle) on winning both sections.

QEGS certainly know how to look after their guests and they always provide an excellent early tea after the tournament.

Thank you, everyone. We had a very enjoyable day and the children gained more valuable experience.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

International Chess Challenge: The Queen Attacks!

We now have more moves in our International Chess Challenge.

Hutt International Boys' School (New Zealand) v The Links (England)
We had already seen the moves 1 e4 e5 and Hutt now played 2 Qh5, with an early attack on the e-pawn. It is easy for Black to go very wrong here with 2 ...g6, attacking the queen, which would lose material to 3 Qxe5+ and 4 Qxh8, which would give White a decisive advantage.

The Links spotted the threat and defended the pawn with 2 ...Nc6 and Hutt replied with 3 d3, to protect the centre and free up the bishop on c1 for development.

The Links had three moves in mind and chose 3 ...Nf6 ahead of 3 ...Bb4+ and 3 ...g6, which now gives us this position.

Hutt International Boys' School (New Zealand) v The Links (England)

1 e4 e5
2 Qh5 Nc6
3 d3 Nf6

Hutt International Boys' School (New Zealand) v The Links (England)

What will Hutt play now? Tune in next week to find out!

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Next Training Day

The next stop on the CSC Training Day Tour will be Manchester.

Could all interested parties please enrol as soon as possible via this link:

Monday 11 November 2019

Govanhill Baths Chess Tournament

Chess continues to flourish in Scotland. Regular readers will know of Project Scotland and the interest it has generated.

My hard-working friend Colin Paterson has sent me a message with the details of a new tournament.

'John McIntyre and I with help from John McCartan have arranged the above one day Allegro Chess tournament for Govanhill Baths on Sunday 24th November.'

This looks excellent and I hope the event will enjoy the support it deserves.

Monday 4 November 2019

Secret Preparation

CSC Teesside always likes to prepare properly for chess events and significant portions of the last two days have been spent doing exactly that, despite how it may seem.

First, we went to Oz, but we didn't have to follow the yellow brick road on this particular occasion, as it was just down the road at the Yarm Princess Alexandra Auditorium - the very same venue and stage we use for our annual UK Chess Challenge Megafinal!

The next part of preparation involved bowling and pizzas.

I just happened to bump into two of my favourite people...

Things became serious once the bowling started. The children had to try and beat our total score. It took them a while to work out they only had four people to our five, but be fair - they were using bumpers and ramps.

Suddenly the names of the competitors started to change...

The juniors were editing the names faster than we could change them back again.

Final score: Adults: 389, Juniors: 366.

Naturally, our stars were given the V.I.P. treatment.

Such sporty exertions had made everyone hungry, so it was time for the final part of our preparation.

Whose hand is reaching for the ice cream...?

Our preparations are now almost complete and soon we will be on our very special mission...

Friday 1 November 2019

The Return of the Home Education Group

Half-term provided an excellent opportunity to reconnect with my Home Education chess group.

We were able to build on the success of the previous sessions by introducing more challenging chess work.

There seems to be an ever-increasing amount of puns and jokes flying around our sessions these days. I can't think why.

The venue was the Game On gaming cafe on Stockton High Street, which made us all feel very welcome.

Thank you Fiona and everyone else who supported this very enjoyable and highly productive day.