Saturday 29 August 2020

International Chess Challenge: The Queen and the Knight Resume Their Dance

Today we present more moves from our International Chess Challenge.

This was the position when we last saw the game.

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

Hutt now brought their knight back to defend the king with 22 Nd2.

The Links temporarily ignored the attack on their queen and moved their own knight in to check the white king with 22 ...Nc2+

This forced the white king to run away with 23 Ke2 and The Links replied with 23 ...Qd5, which brings us fully up to date with the moves so far.


The Links hold an advantage in material (three extra pawns) and Hutt's king is in trouble.

Yet we all know a game of chess can turn around very quickly, so neither side can afford to relax their efforts.

Stay tuned for further developments!

Monday 24 August 2020

New Chess Event: The 56th Northumberland Chess Congress

Following on from the announcement from Mick Riding on the North vs. South chess match comes news of an actual over-the-board chess event - the 56th Northumberland Chess Congress.

The Congress will be on the weekend of Friday 25 September - Sunday 27 September 2020 at:

The Parks
Leisure Centre
Howdon Road
Royal Quays
North Shields
North Tyneside
NE29 6TL

Mick and his team have worked very hard to ensure the tournament is as secure as possible regarding the Covid-19 situation.

Head here to see the entry form and also to read about the Covid-19 measure that will be in place.

Well done, Mick!

New Chess Event: North vs. South


My friend Mick Riding is working very hard to create new chess events.

This message is from the man himself...


On September 5 (match starts half 6) we have the opportunity to take part in a historic rematch between North and South, the first since 1894.

To join just click on

For the background stuff go to

The occasion is about participating. Of course it's nice if you're a 200+ ECF player, but us lesser mortals need not worry. The match will look to pair people up as closely as possible to their playing strength - so there's room for all.

On the back of our stand out efforts in the County, Pool and U100 matches this would be a big fat cherry on the cake. And The North has never won this challenge. Time to put that right yes? 🙂

The only prerequisite is ECF membership. Be aware most expire end August. So if you haven't renewed please do - or at least sign up as a Supporter (£10) which can later be upgraded to membership - and your £10 will counts towards membership.

Monday 17 August 2020

New Reunion for the London Crew

The CSC Teesside superstars who participated in the 2019 London Chess Classic reunited again yesterday (although illness prevented one of the crew from attending).

For me it was an opportunity to unwind immediately after delivering the sixth and final training day of the current series.

The original plan involved a rematch of the big game we had last we time we met (at the start of July).

Unfortunately, August in England brings unpredictable weather and it was rather too wet to play the game on this particular occasion.

However, we still managed to have an excellent picnic and a fine walk (armed with umbrellas, of course).

In order to ensure we were observing the correct social distancing and other safety measures, we also had masks and a chessboard.

Whenever we saw strangers approaching we simply unrolled the chessboard and it scared them all off.

The photographs are further proof that paying chess is as easy as falling off a log.

Among our other discoveries there was an intelligent frog who wanted to play chess. It stayed on the green squares for as long as possible for automatic camouflage. We had to be very quick to capture it on a white square.

That concludes the story of CSC Teesside's latest leap.


Another reunion is coming soon!

CSC Online Training Days

As all of the tour dates on my CSC Training Day Tour had to be cancelled after February's Newcastle leg, a new method of delivery had to be found.

We have spent the last three weekends delivering online training to over 50 CSC tutors, with the aim of having an online task force ready for action from September onwards.

This is to ensure CSC can continue delivering top-quality chess tuition to our schools, regardless of whether or not we can we can physically return to the classrooms in the immediate future.

I am just one part of the very experienced CSC Digital Training and Evaluation Team.

We - together with the CSC tutors - are embracing the challenge of delivering chess lessons despite the extraordinary circumstances of the current emergency.

The following screenshots were taken by Sean Cassidy, Dan Staples, Andrew Varney, Richard Harding and Ferris Lindsay and they give an indication as to the number of people involved and the intensity of the training days.

One tutor joined us from Switzerland and another connected 'from halfway up a mountain in Greece'!

Thank you, everyone!



Tuesday 11 August 2020

English Chess Federation Book of the Year 2020 Short List

English Chess Federation

BOOK of the Year 2020

Short List

The Short List this year features remarkably different books on two of the greatest World Champions; the first is an inside story of the coaching that helped make and then kept Kasparov as world champion, the second covers Emanuel Lasker before and after he lost his title but also looks at his numerous other activities. In contrast, two well written books by professional academics; one covering his short but lively chess career, the other is a delight to read whilst obtaining serious instruction.

Coaching Kasparov Volumes 1&2 Alexander Nikitin Elk and Ruby Publishing House paperback pp463 £18.85(1 VOL)

These two volumes written by Kasparov’s coach from his early junior days to the Karpov matches, give detailed insight into the problems of coaching an outstanding talent (vol 1) and then the
different issues arising from working with a world champion (vol 2). 

Essential reading for any coach, but also much to interest the general reader. Both volumes include previously unpublished Kasparov games as well as some known ones, annotated from the coach’s point of view.

Emanuel Lasker second volume Forster, Negele, Tischbierek editors Exzelsior Verlag hardback pp 452 £54.95

The second volume of a trilogy, looks not only at chess issues but also at Lasker’s personality and wider life away from chess. All world chess champions concentrated on chess. Not so Lasker whose
wide ranging mind was always exploring subjects that interested him: games (Go, Bridge), mathematics, writing books on diverse subjects as well as chess, plus various business interests.

Despite all these distractions, Lasker remained a mighty chess player, heading Capablanca in all three tournaments they played together, and demonstrated by a fine selection of games.

The Best I Saw in Chess Stuart Rachels New in Chess paperback pp416 £26.95

Rachels was a talented junior playing chess at all levels. His biggest achievement was winning the 1989 USA championship at the age of 20, retiring from chess playing three years later. 

This lively and fresh book is the story of experiences during his short career and covers a wide range of subjects some deep and profound, others humorous and entertaining. Rachels gives a vivid picture of the chess world before computers. An engaging book to dip into and enjoy its varied content.

The Complete Chess Swindler David Smerdon New in Chess paperback pp 359 £21.95

The title might suggest that Smerdon’s book is just a collection of mishaps and disasters, but the underlying theme is more serious: how players may give themselves chances in the most difficult positions. 

He covers various chess ideas, but also the importance of understanding the opponent’s state of mind to obtain the appropriate conditions for setting a snare. Smerdon writes exceedingly well, but best of all there are many delicious positions to savour. What entertainment!

Ray Edwards Sean Marsh 12 August 2020

International Chess Challenge: Hungry Queen

Last time we visisted our International Chess Challenge we saw the black queen starting to attack the white king.

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

Hutt now played 20 Kd2, to avoid 20 ...Qxc2 checkmate.

The Links replied with 20 ...Qxc2+ and then we had 21 Ke1 (21 Ke3 would have allowed 21 ...Nd5 checkmate) Qxb3, bringing us to this position.


The black queen is clearly hungry.

Can Hutt fight back? Will The Links know how to keep the pressure on the white king?

Find out next time.

Saturday 1 August 2020

CSC Online Training Day

The emergency has taken away the prospect of my annual CSC training day tour.

However, we are now up and running with  series of online training days.

Today's debut went very well and we have five more to go in this particular series.

Thank you, everyone, for such a wonderful day.