Wednesday 18 December 2019

International Chess Challenge: Is The King Safe?

Our International Chess Challenge took a break while we were working at the London Chess Classic but yesterday brought some new moves.

The moves so far:

1 e4 e5
2 Qh5 Nc6
3 d3 Nf6
4 Qh4 g6
5 Bg5 Bg7

Hutt now played 6 Bh6, offering a swap of bishops. The Links players discussed several options to prevent going behind in material and these were: 6 ...Bxh6, 6 ...0-0, 6 ...Rg8, 6 ...Nh5 and 6 ...Kf8, all of which defended the bishop on g7.

Eventually The Links opted for 6 ...0-0, which gives us this position.

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

Will the black king be safe or will White's attacking pieces be able to cause significant problems?

There will be a pause in the action as we head into the Christmas break but we will resume the game early in January 2020.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

Classic Conclusion (Part Two)

This gallery brings the coverage of my personal London Chess Classic experiences to a close with a kaleidoscopic plethora of images, memories and characters from over the course of the magnificent festival of chess.

A dapper Stefan introducing the chess film, Fahim
The London Chess Conference in full swing

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a picture with Aga

Jonathan Rowson
Malcolm speaks; Jesper listens

With Tanya Jones, a friend of many decades
Lucas playing many juniors at once

The mighty Mark Rivlin 
Big stage, big game
Chris at the CSC Tutor Conference
IM Lawrence Trent in full flow
GM Chris Ward, entertaining the masses

Games Changer; Game Changers.
Jo meeting Natasha, Danny and Matthew...
...and Michael Adams
CSC Teesside enjoying a chess lesson
Nevil 'Mr Fix It' Chan 
Testing the equipment
Accidentally colour-coordinated with Aga

I am proud of my work on the Junior Programme
Index to my 2019 London Chess Classic reports

LCC Training Days

ECF Book of the Year Presentation

Ravens: Spassky vs. Fischer Review

Classic Conclusion (Part One)

Classic Conclusion (Part Two)

Classic Conclusion (Part One)

Photograph copyright © John Saunders
The London Classic experience started and ended in similar circumstances: with weekend conferences.

I was the co-director of the 7th London Chess Conference, which had the theme of Chess and Female Empowerment. The venue was one of our favourites - the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith.

I enjoyed being the official link between CSC and conference director John Foley’s ChessPlus organisation and chairing lots of sessions too.

The sessions were, generally speaking, highly positive and productive.

It was a real eye-opener to hear stories of the struggles some women have faced to find their way into the chess world. On the other hand, there were also stories of a much smoother passage, with little sign of discrimination. Jo Hutchinson’s very interesting and thoughtful presentation certainly showed a much more positive side to the story than most. We shall return to Jo's presentation in the near future.

Elsewhere, there were excellent bonus presentations from Matthew Sadler and Natasha Reagan, promoting their award-winning Game Changer book, plus Jonathan Rowson on his new book The Moves That Matter.

Judit Polgar arrived on the Sunday afternoon and her presence proved to be extremely popular. I had a short stint as her discreet minder when the queue for attention, autographs and photographs produced a potentially overwhelming groundswell of activity.

Many connections were made over the course of the weekend. The important thing now is for people to take ideas from the sessions and run with them. What can be achieved, if more people can work together?

Incidentally, material is being added all of the time to the official conference website so keep an eye out for updates.

It was back to The Irish Cultural Centre at the end of the week, for my final action of this year’s Classic. This time I was Chairperson for the annual CSC Tutor Conference.

The first of the two days focused heavily on safeguarding and classroom management skills. Neither are easy subjects but it is easy to understand why CSC places such a large emphasis on the two.

The second day brought a diverse range of other subjects, with one highlight being further developments with the chess in prisons project.

It was very to see so many friends and colleagues over the course of the weekend and so far the feedback has all been very positive.

Business concluded, it was time to head off to King’s Cross once again as another Classic drew to a close.

We conclude with a gallery from my own experiences at the education conference with a sprinkling of moments from other parts of the Classic, featuring images from top photographers Lennart Ootes and John Saunders (both of whom gave permission to use their images).

In full flow at the London Chess Classic
Photograph copyright © Lennart Ootes
Photograph copyright © Lennart Ootes
Thoroughly enjoying charing sessions at the 7th London Chess Conference.
Photograph copyright © John Saunders
Photograph copyright © John Saunders
Photograph copyright © John Saunders
Photograph copyright © John Saunders
Photograph copyright © John Saunders
Photograph copyright © John Saunders
Photograph copyright © John Saunders
Conference Director John Foley
Photograph copyright © John Saunders
With Jo, my hard-working friend
Photograph copyright © John Saunders
CSC Teesside in action!
Photograph copyright © Lennart Ootes
Photograph copyright © Lennart Ootes
Making the opening move for the eventual champion Ding Liren
Photograph copyright © Lennart Ootes
Photograph copyright © Lennart Ootes
CSC Teesside following the live games, just behind CSC chief Malcolm Pein
Photograph copyright © Lennart Ootes
Judit Polgar was happy to visit the junior tournament.
Organiser Aga worked very hard all week, as usual
Photograph copyright © Lennart Ootes
The fabulous Game Changer presentation
Photograph copyright © Lennart Ootes
Presenting the ECF Book of the Year award to Natasha and Matthew
Photograph copyright © Lennart Ootes
Chris Fegan getting a book signed; Tao happy to make another sale
Photograph copyright © Lennart Ootes
Hundreds more photographs can be found over at the official website of the 11th London Chess Classic.

A concluding gallery will follow in the next blog post.