Sunday, 31 October 2010

Game of the Month: November

The Mike Closs Memorial site has just been updated with another great game of Mike's, featuring terrific annotations by the inimitable Peter Lalic.

To view the game, pop along to the Game of the Month page.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Junior News

Kevin Wilson preparing chess lessons (image © Kevin Wilson)

Kevin Wilson, of the Darlington Chess Club, has started a junior section at his club. He has also created an excellent blog which is already building into into an important resource centre for improving players. The blog shows every indication of growing into something special, so pop along and take a look.

It's always good to do a job you love

Meanwhile, the Chess in Schools and Communities scheme has enjoyed a very good first half-term of action and a large number of new chess players has already been created.

There's lots more to come. Follow the progress over at the official CISC website.

In particular, juniors, teachers, coaches and schools should note these special events, which will be part of the London Chess Classic in December:

Coaching sessions:

Tournament and Simultaneous display:

My own reports for the CISC can be found on this page. There are further mentions in numerous places, including the CISC blog and Mongoose Times.

Norman Stephenson (left, in play against
Julian Allinson) works alongside me for the CISC

Friday, 29 October 2010

Doctor Who Live

Doctor Who Live

The Manchester Evening New stadium played host to Doctor Who Live last weekend.

Be warned - this report contains big spoilers for the show, so if you'd rather not know, look away now.

The live orchestra was present on the stage throughout the show.

The mysterious Ood were the first monsters to be seen. They heralded the arrival of The Magnificent Vorgenson (played by Nigel Planer).

Vorgenson is the son of Vorg, who ran 'The Carnival of Monsters' before it was shut down by the Third Doctor. New technology allows Vorgenson to pluck monsters from the Doctor's adventures and use them in his show.

Scarecrows emerged to scare the audience.

An impressive solo spot.

The Silurians came from beneath the ground (or from under the stage).

Winston Churchill (Nick Briggs) appeared and asked for a telephone to summon the Doctor. On finding he was in the future, he asked who won the war but the knowledge was forbidden.

The Doctor answers the call!

...but he is not too pleased to see what Vorgenson is up to.

The Judoon are dispatched to track down the Time Lord. Perhaps he is hiding in the audience...?

Meanwhile, the house lights go on and some police enter the arena to investigate. Unfortunately, one by one, they fall victim to the sinister Weeping Angels.

The Doctor finds himself trapped in Vorgenson's machine!

Vorgenson continues to show off his pet monsters. Here he is with the Vampires of Venice.

The extraordinary Clockwork Monsters.

More weird aliens ran amok, terrifying the audience...

...but were eventually hunted down.

Lots of snippets from the Doctor's adventures were displayed on the big screen.

Things got a whole lot more monstrous when the Cybermen appeared in force.

The silver giants did unspeakable things to a member of the public.

The Doctor (appearing via prerecorded snippets) looked on in horror as the masterminds behind the whole plan eventually revealed themselves...

The Doctor's past lives appeared briefly on the screen...

The 10th Doctor got the biggest cheer of the afternoon.

The Daleks! Their new design looked good on the stage. Vorgenson's life was in great danger.

Hands up who wants a full set of these for Christmas?

Just when it looks like the Daleks have won the day, help comes from an unexpected source - the Cybermen! A shoot-out swiftly followed...

Foes defeated, it looked like the Doctor had won the day against the odds. There was one final surprise though...a flying white Dalek!

With the help of the audience's synchronised shout of 'Geronimo!', the Dalek is destroyed.

Vorgenson, shown the error of his ways, survived and the monsters are all released from the machine. It's time for the TARDIS to head off for adventures new...

The plot is very thin, acting mostly as bridging material between showing off the monsters and it's aimed squarely at the family audience but it was all great fun and well worth seeing.

Rumour has it another show is on the pipeline for 2011...

Thursday, 28 October 2010

A Day In Manchester

Here's a few photos of some bits and pieces in Manchester.

Piccadilly Gardens features some interesting statues, including one of the Duke of Wellington.

...and one of Queen Victoria.

Two pigeons used the Queen's statue to shelter from the rain.

Sir Robert Peel. This statue was the first ever outdoor statue to be raised in Manchester by public subscription.

The outdoor market held many wonders.

Manchester Arndale currently hosts the 15 foot Giant Freddie.

Some big shops and a towering cinema.

The Manchester Wheel became the third such structure I've been on inside a year (see here for earlier turns:

Some views of Manchester from above.

But wait! I haven't yet told you why I was in Manchester. Follow this sign and I'll tell you all about it in the next post...

Hmm...but which one of these fine places was my destination...?