Wednesday, 31 August 2022

English Chess Federation BOOK of the YEAR 2022 Short List

English Chess Federation

BOOK of the YEAR 2022

Short List


Many of the high quality books received this year concentrated on chess training. Perhaps reflecting current anxieties the emphasis was not only on chess positions, but also on how the chess mind
works in actual play. Three have been selected. The exception was the final volume in a trilogy on one of the greatest players who ever lived.


Analyzing the Chess Mind Gulko and Sneed Quality Chess pp 224 £26.99

Gulko is an extremely strong grandmaster who uniquely has won both the Soviet and US championships, while Sneed is a Professor of Psychology. Together they are very well placed to consider chess mind issues in a well – chosen selection of games and positions. Two sample subjects: Losing winning positions and Problems in self- confidence. This book is both instructive and very readable.

Emanuel Lasker Volume Three 
Forster, Negele, Tischbierek editors Exzelsior Verlag pp 468 £54.95


Subtitled, Labours and Legacy Chess, Philosophy and Psychology this third volume which covers Lasker’s life from 1914 to his death in New York in 1942. Lasker was a complex man with a myriad of interests and occupations outside chess. It has needed three large volumes to adequately cover all aspects of Lasker’s life. This volume, with the two previous volumes, (both of which featured in earlier Short Lists), are the work of many experts over more than a decade. They and the books do full justice to a world champion of 27 years. An outstanding trilogy in every way.

Improve Your Chess Calculation 
Ramesh New in Chess pp332 £26.95

This is the book for anyone who wishes to improve their calculation abilities and work their way through this substantial volume. But it is much more than that as many other aspects of chess improvement are touched upon throughout the text. Ramesh is a very gifted coach and writer. He was coach to the Indian “B” team consisting of young players, most of whom are his pupils, to a bronze medal at the recent Olympiad, ahead of the Indian “A” team. No wonder that this book is already a best seller.

Think Like a Super-GM 
Adams and Hurtado Quality Chess pp464 £29.50

Adams, a super-GM himself, and Hurtado who has an engineering scientific, statistical background, have teamed up to produce a most interesting book which works on several levels. Players of varying abilities from amateur to GM were asked to examine 40 selected positions, find the best and follow up moves, whilst their time taken and thoughts were recorded, which were then analysed and compared. Readers can test themselves and calculate their performance. Adams provides analysis and after each puzzle “Adams Insight”. Both authors provide interesting essays on aspects of what makes (or does not) a super-GM. Quality Chess deserve credit for investing in the work behind the book and it is produced to their usual high standards.

Ray Edwards Jovanka Houska Sean Marsh 31 August 2022

Tuesday, 30 August 2022

On the Brink of Year 35

I am ready to start my 35th consecutive year of teaching chess in schools.

Every year, I have the same thoughts and questions, including:

'Can I still teach as well as I did last year?'

'What new obstacles will I find in my way this time?'

'How much can I achieve with all of my schools and pupils?'

'Will this year be the last?'


Over the course of the first 34 years, there has been much I have enjoyed. Many people have done their best to help me and some have remained extraordinarily loyal for a very long time. One day, I will write all about my favourite people.

There has also been much I have had to endure, with some people trying their hardest to stand in the way of progress. I try not to suffer fools at all, let alone gladly; something I have been working on in recent times - and very successfully, too.

Also, what passes for normal behaviour in the classroom has changed dramatically and alarmingly for the worse. One day, I will reveal all of the extremes, but most of it will be unbelievable to anyone who does not work in schools.

I don't need to prove anything about the benefits of chess. They should be too obvious. The important detail is that the skills we encourage to develop are definitely transferable.


Strong chess players can make very poor tutors. Great teachers can be novice chess players. Which is the better combination of the two? The one with the great teacher - every time. Great teachers can teach virtually anything. Strong chess players can really struggle to find the most suitable level to be able teach chess successfully.


What does teaching chess in schools entail? A plethora of skills one wouldn't normally suspect were required. Lifting and rearranging furniture - and making sure it is all back in the correct place afterwards. Making sure children are collected by their parents at the end of an after-school session. Not really the chess tutor's job, but who else is going to do it?

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Taking the register if the teacher is late into class. Maintaining classroom discipline. Not upsetting teachers from neighbouring classrooms with the unmistakable sounds of children having fun. Finding another room to make way for someone else. In the distant past I fell for the 'one where we use the school hall and get booted out shortly after starting because it's nearly lunchtime.' 

One learns to avoid the more obvious traps, over time.


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Working in schools is a proven way to build up resilience and moral fibre.

The largest class I've ever had? Over 65 - in a Secondary School. They had messed up the internal timings and sent three groups at once (send three groups at once in 2022 and the number of children could well exceed 100).

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The most members of staff I have had talking loudly in classroom during a chess session? Six, ten years ago. 

The smallest room I've ever been expected to use? A broom cupboard - and I still had to share with the brooms and buckets.

The journey continues. The remarkably good people still outnumber the remarkably bad ones; an important yardstick. Although the winds of change continue to blow. David Hardy and Richard Harding, two of my closest friends, retired from frontline chess teaching this year and my own world will be a poorer place now that I will no longer be able to work alongside them.


Will this year be the last? All manner of futures are possible, from this moment on.

In recent times, there has been an unexpected pandemic through which to navigate. It could have destroyed most of what it took so many years to build up and maintain, yet by retraining to accommodate the option of online delivery enough continuity was retained to keep on going and to pick up the fragments afterwards.

We continue to lurch from crisis to crisis. Will schools still be able to fund 'luxury items' now that their power bills are quadrupling? Indeed - will any of us manage to keep on going and still be able to pay the bills? Serious consequences will have to be endured as we are forced to pick up the tab for the extreme profiteering of others.


It would be good to complete at least four full decades but, having started in 1988, I do have a foothold in five different ones.

Yes; let's keep the journey going for a while longer. I still have new plans and projects in mind and it will be interesting to see how much more can be achieved.

Project 30 Results Update: Both Tournaments Have Now Concluded

KO Championship

Semi-finals


Dave Baillie 0-1 Sean Marsh

Matt Jackman 1-0 Richard Harris


Final

Sean Marsh 1-0 Matt Jackman 

Rapidplay Championship


Sean Marsh 3-1 John Garnett (1,1,1,0)
Matt Jackman 3-1 Dave​ Baillie​ (1,0,1,1)


Final

Matt Jackman 2-4 Sean Marsh (1,0,0,0,0,1)



Earlier Results

KO Championship

Round One


Sean Cassidy 0-1 Richard Harris

Kevin Waterman 0-1 Stephen Ollis​


Round Two


Sean Marsh 1-0 John Garnett (the first game was a draw and we required a replay)

Dave Baillie 1-0 Peter Harker

Matt Jackman 1-0 Royce Parker

Richard Harris 1-0 Stephen Ollis


Confirmed semi-finalists

Sean Marsh

Dave Baillie

Matt Jackman

Richard Harris

The draw will be made soon.


Rapidplay Championship


The top two players from each group will advance to the semi-finals (winner of group A vs. runner-up of group B and vice versa.)

The semi-finals will be four Rapidplay games and the final will be six games.


Group A

Sean Marsh

Matt Jackman

Richard Harris

Kevin Waterman

Sean Cassidy


Matt Jackman 2-0 Richard Harris

Matt Jackman 2-0 Sean Cassidy

Matt Jackman 0-2 Sean Marsh

Matt Jackman 1-1 Kevin Waterman

Sean Cassidy 0-2 Sean Marsh

Kevin Waterman 0-2 Sean Marsh

Kevin Waterman 0-2 Sean Cassidy

Kevin Waterman 1-1 Richard Harris

Richard Harris 0-2 Sean Marsh

Richard Harris 1.5-0.5 Sean Cassidy


Final Group Standings


Sean Marsh 8/8

Matt Jackman 5/8

Sean Cassidy 2.5/8

Richard Harris 2.5/8

Kevin Waterman 2/8


Group B



Dave Baillie

John Garnett

Royce Parker

Peter Harker

Stephen Ollis


Da​ve Baillie 1.5-0.5 John Gar​nett

Dave Baillie 1.5-0.5 Stephen Ollis

Dave Baillie 1-1 Royce Parker

Dave Baillie 2-0 Peter Harker

John Garnett 2-0 Stephen Ollis

John Garnett 2-0 Peter Harker

John Garnett 1-1 Royce Parker

Peter Harker 2-0 Stephen Ollis

Peter Harker 0-2 Royce Parker

Royce Parker 1.5-0.5 Stephen Ollis


Final Group Standings



Dave Baillie 6/8

John Garnett 5.5/8

Royce Parker 5.5/8

Peter Harker 2/8

Stephen Ollis 1/8


Play-off:

John Garnett 1.5-0.5 Royce Parker

Confirmed Semi-finalists



Sean Marsh - John Garnett
Matt Jackman - Dave Baillie

Monday, 14 February 2022

Project 30 Results Update: Semi-finals Now Completed

KO Championship

Semi-finals


Dave Baillie 0-1 Sean Marsh

Matt Jackman 1-0 Richard Harris


Final

Matt Jackman vs. Sean Marsh


Rapidplay Championship


Sean Marsh 3-1 John Garnett (1,1,1,0)
Matt Jackman 3-1 Dave​ Baillie​ (1,0,1,1)


Final

Matt Jackman vs. Sean Marsh


The two finals have a provisional deadline of the end of April 2022.



Earlier Results

KO Championship

Round One


Sean Cassidy 0-1 Richard Harris

Kevin Waterman 0-1 Stephen Ollis​


Round Two


Sean Marsh 1-0 John Garnett (the first game was a draw and we required a replay)

Dave Baillie 1-0 Peter Harker

Matt Jackman 1-0 Royce Parker

Richard Harris 1-0 Stephen Ollis


Confirmed semi-finalists

Sean Marsh

Dave Baillie

Matt Jackman

Richard Harris

The draw will be made soon.


Rapidplay Championship


The top two players from each group will advance to the semi-finals (winner of group A vs. runner-up of group B and vice versa.)

The semi-finals will be four Rapidplay games and the final will be six games.


Group A

Sean Marsh

Matt Jackman

Richard Harris

Kevin Waterman

Sean Cassidy


Matt Jackman 2-0 Richard Harris

Matt Jackman 2-0 Sean Cassidy

Matt Jackman 0-2 Sean Marsh

Matt Jackman 1-1 Kevin Waterman

Sean Cassidy 0-2 Sean Marsh

Kevin Waterman 0-2 Sean Marsh

Kevin Waterman 0-2 Sean Cassidy

Kevin Waterman 1-1 Richard Harris

Richard Harris 0-2 Sean Marsh

Richard Harris 1.5-0.5 Sean Cassidy


Final Group Standings


Sean Marsh 8/8

Matt Jackman 5/8

Sean Cassidy 2.5/8

Richard Harris 2.5/8

Kevin Waterman 2/8


Group B



Dave Baillie

John Garnett

Royce Parker

Peter Harker

Stephen Ollis


Da​ve Baillie 1.5-0.5 John Gar​nett

Dave Baillie 1.5-0.5 Stephen Ollis

Dave Baillie 1-1 Royce Parker

Dave Baillie 2-0 Peter Harker

John Garnett 2-0 Stephen Ollis

John Garnett 2-0 Peter Harker

John Garnett 1-1 Royce Parker

Peter Harker 2-0 Stephen Ollis

Peter Harker 0-2 Royce Parker

Royce Parker 1.5-0.5 Stephen Ollis


Final Group Standings



Dave Baillie 6/8

John Garnett 5.5/8

Royce Parker 5.5/8

Peter Harker 2/8

Stephen Ollis 1/8


Play-off:

John Garnett 1.5-0.5 Royce Parker

Confirmed Semi-finalists



Sean Marsh - John Garnett
Matt Jackman - Dave Baillie

Wednesday, 26 January 2022

The Ali Ghiassi Memorial Junior Chess Tournament

The Ali Ghiassi Memorial Junior Chess Tournament 

Sponsored by Marguerita Evans in memory of her son Ali Ghiassi 

Date: Saturday 19 February 2022 

Time: 10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. 

Venue: Sports Hall, John Leggott College, West Common Lane, Scunthorpe, DN17 1DS 

Tournament Format: Five-round Swiss

Ali Ghiassi
'Ali started playing at a chess club in London at six years old but it wasn't until he moved to Scunthorpe that he started playing competitively. Ali continued to play chess throughout his life and he would have been so pleased to think that through this tournament young players are being encouraged to participate playing chess into the future. '

General Information

Entry Fee: £2.00 per player (cheques payable to ‘Joanne Hutchinson’). Closing date for entries: Wednesday 16 February 2022

Prizes include trophies, medals and certificates. Sections may be combined, depending on the number of entries.

We cannot offer full supervision outside of the playing hall and children must be accompanied by an adult throughout the day. Basic refreshments will be available on the day but please bring a packed lunch.

ECF Arbiter Jo Hutchinson is the tournament organizer and controller. The controller's decision, in all matters regarding the tournament, is final. All enquiries to: johutchinsonchess@gmail.com

Tuesday, 25 January 2022

Project 30 Results Update

Project 30 results update.


KO Championship

Round One


Sean Cassidy 0-1 Richard Harris

Kevin Waterman 0-1 Stephen Ollis​

Round Two

Sean Marsh 1-0 John Garnett (the first game was a draw and we required a replay)

Dave Baillie 1-0 Peter Harker

Matt Jackman 1-0 Royce Parker

Richard Harris 1-0 Stephen Ollis


Confirmed semi-finalists

Sean Marsh

Dave Baillie

Matt Jackman

Richard Harris


Rapidplay Championship


The top two players from each group will advance to the semi-finals (winner of group A vs. runner-up of group B and vice versa.) The semi-finals will be four Rapidplay games and the final will be six games.


Group A


Sean Marsh

Matt Jackman

Richard Harris

Kevin Waterman

Sean Cassidy


Matt Jackman 2-0 Richard Harris
Matt Jackman 2-0 Sean Cassidy
Matt Jackman 0-2 Sean Marsh
Matt Jackman 1-1 Kevin Waterman
Sean Cassidy 0-2 Sean Marsh
Kevin Waterman 0-2 Sean Marsh
Kevin Waterman 0-2 Sean Cassidy
Kevin Waterman 1-1 Richard Harris
Richard Harris 0-2 Sean Marsh
Richard Harris 1.5-0.5 Sean Cassidy


Final Group Standings

Sean Marsh 8/8

Matt Jackman 5/8

Sean Cassidy 2.5/8

Richard Harris 2.5/8

Kevin Waterman 2/8


Group B


Dave Baillie

John Garnett

Royce Parker

Peter Harker

Stephen Ollis


Da​ve Baillie 1.5-0.5John Gar​nett
Dave Baillie 1.5-0.5 Stephen Ollis
Dave Baillie 1-1 Royce Parker
Dave Baillie 2-0 Peter Harker
John Garnett 2-0 Stephen Ollis
John Garnett 2-0 Peter Harker
John Garnett 1-1 Royce Parker
Peter Harker 2-0 Stephen Ollis
Peter Harker 0-2 Royce Parker
Royce Parker 1.5-0.5 Stephen Ollis


Final Group Standings


Dave Baillie 6/8

John Garnett 5.5/8

Royce Parker 5.5/8

Peter Harker 2/8

Stephen Ollis 1/8


Play-off

John Garnett 1.5-0.5 Royce Parker



Confirmed Semi-finalists


Sean Marsh - John Garnett

Matt Jackman - Dave Baillie

Thursday, 30 December 2021

Best of the Year: 2021

 It has been another year of greatly reduced gigs, for very obvious reasons.

Nevertheless, amid the cancellations some gigs still went ahead, including a number of live, online transmissions.

The online gigs (T-Rextasy, The Skids, Big Country, Gary Numan and Midge Ure) were very good, but nothing can match the real live experience.

Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that a lot of people had forgotten how to behave in public after the lockdowns and several gigs were tainted by sheer doltery.

Some venues need to rapidly tighten up their policies on vaping, serving virtually endless amounts of drinks during the gigs and morons talking loudly and repeatedly over the shows.

The worst offenders this time could be found at the gigs featuring The Bluejays, The Wandering Hearts, Amy Macdonald and, worst of all, Paul Weller.

An extraordinary about of people appear to be exempt from wearing masks too. I don't believe it - but that's another story.

Here is a quick spin through the gigs I saw during 2021.

Calling Planet Earth
The Wandering Hearts
Amy Macdonald
Bootleg Blondie
The Bluejays
Bowie Experience
Holy Moly and the Crackers
Nine Below Zero
The Skids
Emma Stevens
Totally Tina
Jane Weaver
Paul Weller

The gig of the year was undoubtedly Soft Cell, who were fabulous from start to finish - and the audience was perfectly behaved too.

Soft Cell

What will 2022 bring, I wonder? I have tickets for shows which have been repeatedly pushed back for years now but hopefully they will eventually go ahead.