Sunday, 3 November 2002

Archive: UNCUT! 18

The Sean Marsh Chess Column


Column 18

Dear Readers.....

The minutes of the most recent meeting of the Cleveland Chess Association are now up on this site for your perusal.

It was an interesting meeting with a very good turn out. This was, of course,mainly due to the amalgamation of the meeting with the presentation of prizes,due to the cancellation of the earlier presentation evening.

Here’s a few personal comments based on the topics discussed at themeeting.

The Chess Set

This subject has been running for some time and needs resolving. Opinionseemed to be split about 50/50 between those present at the meeting on thequestion of whether or not the antique set should be sold. My personal view is that it should not be sold. The set is an important part of our local history; it was around before any of us and will still be around long after we’ve all gone. Selling it just because the association is strapped for cash seems to be a knee-jerk reaction. There are plenty of other avenues to explore to cure the fragile financial situation before we should even think of selling this magnificent chess set. It should not be used as a quick fix.

Decorum in the Forum

The anonymous forum abuse has been stopped by the need to register to post messages. This should be the complete solution to the problem. The depth ofhostility unleashed was at times very surprising and equally disappointing.However, now that the problem has been solved, I hope that all who wanted a ‘clean’forum will take the time to post there and enjoy the discussions. I’d also like to propose an amnesty on all of the previous unpleasantness, and encourage ALL previous posters to register and join in. We should all be on the same side,the side of chess, whatever our views on a particular subject might be.

CCA Officials

The Association currently lacks a Secretary. Ernie Lazenby kindly stepped into take the minutes of the last meeting but has no intention of taking over theposition on a permanent basis. It is easy to sit back and be critical of the CCA but it is not so easy to actually do something and try and improve the situation. I believe that there is a need for some very frank talking on the future of the CCA. We need a way forward, a way to return a sense of pride and enthusiasm for our own Association. We are not unique in fighting apathy and falling numbers. It’s a nation-wide disease. I think we must change to survive. Gerry Walsh is often accused of running the CCA as a one-man band.Unless people are prepared to take up positions within the Association, then hehas little choice. I have started a thread in the forum about this, and I welcome your suggestions. What is the way forward for Cleveland Chess?

The BCF Grading List

The matter of the £15 copyright fee for reproduction of the grading list was resolved in a satisfactory manner. The worrying thing was that the web site and every club would have to pay this amount to use the grading list for their club walls, handbooks etc. However, the single payment of £15 covers all copies ofthe list used by all clubs in our county for the year.

In Praise of Printed Matter

There is a big danger, a few years down the line, of printed chess magazines dying out due to lack of interest. How on earth can anything compete with the Internet? Why wait for a month or so to see a few recent games from a GM tournament when you can download the whole lot, instantly, from any number ofweb sites? I don’t the answer. I still buy chess books and magazines but I think I’m in the shrinking minority.

Here’s a few recent highlights from the world of printed matter.

1) Anyone with an interest in famous tournaments and matches should pop alongto:

They are reprinting lots of classic books, including Golombek’s works onthe

‘1948 World Championship Match Tournament’, ‘World Chess Championship 1954’ and‘World Chess Championships of 1957 and 1958’. There are also very welcome reprints of Botvinnik’s ‘Championship Chess’ as well as Alekhine’s books ‘Nottingham International Chess Tournament 1936’ and ‘World Chess Championship 1937’

, and a whole load of others. (There’s also a proposed series on Bob Dylan which could well interest one of our better known chess friends!).

3) The Northumberland Chess Bulletin

As a former writer of such bulletins myself, I know well how much hard workis involved and how little feedback and apparent enthusiasm one sees in return.These bulletins must be under a greater threat than ever before, given the universal apathy currently afflicting our great game.

However, The Northumberland Chess Bulletin really is an excellent read, well worth the£5.30 annual subscription. Clive Waters, top chess coach, great player and fantastic annotator, is the current editor of the bulletin. Every issue ispacked with top quality material and games.

4) BCF Book of the Year 2002: Shortlist

Four books make up the shortlist and the winner will be announced soon.

Fischer World Champion! by Max Euwe & Jan Timman, New in Chess

Nezhmetdinov’s Best Games of Chess by Rashid Nezhmetdinov, Caissa Editions

Fundamental Chess Endings by Karsten Müller and Frank Lamprecht, Gambit

"The English Morphy"? by Owen Hindle and Bob Jones, Keverel ChessBooks

The first two books on the list are reprints, but they are appearing in English for the first time. The endgame book has received high praise, but as with most endgame books, I wonder how many people have actually read much of it? My favourite from the shortlist is without doubt "The English Morphy"? Although I must declare an interest in it (it features a few local snippets) I genuinely believe it to be the most interesting of the four books, and it is the first effort by Keverel Chess. I have a sneaky feeling that this book will pick up the title.

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