Tuesday 28 August 2018

English Chess Federation Book of the Year Shortlist 2018

Ray Edwards, Julian Farrand and I have been discussing the best chess books of 2018 for some time and we have produced the following shortlist.

The Book of the Year panel, back in 2016
Left to right: Julian, Ray and me
'The large number of varied and interesting books this year made the selection particularly difficult, but the choice came down to books by two new chess publishers and two excellent instruction manuals (beautifully printed by Quality Chess) which the judges had great difficulty in separating, so included both!

Alekhine’s Odessa Secrets Chess, War and Revolution
Sergei Tkachenko, Ruby Publishing, paperback, pp213, £19.99

The cover alone indicates this is not a conventional chess book. It vividly covers the chess community in Odessa, how it and they coped with the rapidly changing governments 1916 to1919. Alekhine was a frequent visitor to Odessa. When the Bolsheviks captured the town in 1919, they shot an estimated 1,200 “traitors”. Alekhine was arrested, imprisoned and was on the list to be executed. Why he was released remains a mystery. Amongst the narrative drama are the chess games he played in Odessa which show his outstanding chess imagination.

Carlsen vs Kajarkan World Chess Championship 2016
Lev Albert and Jon Crumiller, Chess Information and Research Centre, paperback, pp336, £22.50
World championship matches are the summit of the chess world. Whilst there is extensive short-term media coverage during the match, there are surprisingly few books published after the event giving a considered view. This book is one, with the usual photos, atmospheric background and computer analysis all well done. What lifts the book to an exceptional level is ‘Vlad’s Viewpoint’ which occurs throughout the book. The former world champion Vladimir Kramnik is able, from his unique experience, to give a wider and deeper insight into the play and players. Essential reading for Caruana!

Small Steps to Giant Improvement
Sam Shankland, Quality Chess, hardback, pp 331, £23.99

Shankland had a setback in his chess playing activities so had some free time. He decided to study and write about pawn play which he identified as one of his weaknesses. Written in a refreshing and open style he gives pointed examples of various issues eg advanced pawns can be strong, but they can also be weak. There is much to learn in this book as Shankland himself showed: he won his next three tournaments including the USA championship and raised his grading over 2700!

Under the Surface
Jan Marcos, Quality Chess, hardback, pp276, £23.99

Marcos has not written a standard text book, rather an exploration of the other factors that affect chess play. A sample of the chapter headings give an impression of his unusual approach – ‘Anatoly’s billiard balls’, ‘What Rybka couldn’t tell’, ‘Understanding the Beast’ and so on. Marcos writes in an original way bringing in applicable concepts from the none chess world. There are four fascinating chapters on computer chess. All in all players of every level will find something original or instructive in this book.

— Ray Edwards, Julian Farrand, Sean Marsh – 20th August 2018'

Saturday 25 August 2018

London Chess Classic 2018

Details of the 2018 London Chess Classic have now been announced and entries are invited for a whole range of tournaments and other events.

Here are essential details.

'Book your place at the 2018 London Chess Classic: Enter online today!

Join us at the epicentre of world chess – for a very special 10th London Chess Classic from December 9-16, 2018.

With London hosting what promises to be an epic Magnus Carlsen-Fabiano Caruana World Championship match in November, just days later chess aficionados are in for a double treat with the exciting finale of the Grand Chess Tour being fought out at the London Chess Classic, in a knockout format for the first time and with $300,000 at stake.

The semi-final battles, which will feature the four top players from the Grand Chess Tour qualifying events in Paris, Leuven and St. Louis, will be hosted by the pioneering artificial intelligence company, DeepMind, at Google’s London headquarters. Then the action moves to the London Chess Classic’s traditional venue, Kensington Olympia, for the final.

Daily and Season Tickets for spectators at all the London Chess Classic games will be on sale very soon at londonchessclassic.com

From today, you can enter online for all the events held at Olympia. There’s a total of £24,000 in prizes.

FIDE Open (December 9-16), offering GM and IM norm opportunities.

5-Day Classic events.

Weekend Classic events.

There will also be the traditional simultaneous displays, chess teacher training courses and much, much more. So, whether you’re a Grandmaster, an enthusiast or a future World Champion, you’re welcome!

And remember: Enter by October 22 for the best Early Bird discounts!

For more information about the London Chess Classic, contact our team at: info@londonchessclassic.com

Visit our website.

Follow us on Twitter: @london_chess'

Friday 24 August 2018

Day In Day Out

Stockton's Georgian Theatre is one of my favourite music venues and last weekend they put together an extended afternoon and evening offering a 'celebration of music with synthetic elements.'

Furthermore, the music was spread across three venues: The Georgian Theatre, the Green Room and The Bar.

This enabled me to see plenty of new (to me) acts, including those named and depicted below.

Every act brought something unusual to the occasion and originality was the order of the day.

Sticky Pearls were my favourites on this occasion.

A second Day In Day Out event will be held on Saturday 9 March and details will follow on the Georgian Theatre website.

Day In Day Out
Emile's Telegraphic Transmission Device


Sticky Pearls

There There

Ceiling Demons

Monday 20 August 2018

Project 30: FIDE Master Steve Giddins Event: Games

Today we conclude our coverage of the first event of Project 30's second season by taking a look at some of the games played in the simultaneous display performed by FIDE Master Steve Giddins.

Steve Giddins vs. Paul Weightman

Steve consistently built up pressure on Paul's position and finished off with a fine mating attack. Paul resigned just before Steve could uncork his intended queen sacrifice.

1. d4 g6 2. c4 Bg7 3. e4 d6 4. Nc3 e5 5. dxe5 Bxe5 6. Nf3 Bg7 7. Be2 Nc6 8. O-O Nge7 9. Be3 O-O 10. Qd2 Bg4 11. Rad1 Ne5 12. Nd4 Bxe2 13. Qxe2 N5c6 14. f4 Nxd4 15. Bxd4 Bxd4+ 16. Rxd4 c5 17. Rd2 Qb6 18. f5 Rad8 19. f6 Nc6 20. Qe3 Kh8 21.Qh6 Rg8 22. Rf3 1-0

The threat is 23 Qxh7+ and 24 Rh3 checkmate

Steve Giddins vs. Royce Parker

Royce tried to keep our guest star at bay with a tough Benoni structure, but powered his way through with a series of consistently strong moves.

1. d4 c5 2. d5 g6 3. c4 d6 4. e4 e5 5. Nc3 Bg7 6. Nf3 Ne7 7. h4 h5 8. Be2 Na6 9. a3 Bg4 10. Ng5 Qd7 11. f3 f6 12. fxg4 fxg5 13. Bxg5 Bh6 14. Bf6 O-O 15. O-O Be3+ 16. Kh1 Bf4 17. g5 Nc7

Steve now sacrifices his bishop to smash the king's defence
18. Bxh5 Rxf6 19. gxf6 Nexd5 20. Nxd5 Nxd5 21. Qxd5+ Qf7 22. Bxg6 Qxd5 23. cxd5 Rf8 24. f7+ 1-0

Steve Giddins vs. Derek Simpson

Derek's Modern Benoni fell under lots of pressure in the early middlegame. A flurry of tactics later on looked like they were going to help Derek block Steve's passed d-pawn but a devastating final blow ended all resistance.

1. d4 e6 2. c4 Nf6 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 h6 7. e4 Nbd7 8. Be2 a6 9. a4 g6 10. O-O Bg7 11. Nd2 Nb6 12. a5 Nbd7 13. Nc4 Qe7 14. Bf4 Ne5 15.Bxe5 dxe5 16. d6 Qe6 17. Qd2 Bd7 18. Rad1 O-O 19. f4 exf4 20. e5 Nh7 21. Qxf4 Rae8 22. Bf3 Bb5 23. Bd5 Qf5 24. Qxf5 gxf5 25. Rxf5 Bxc4 26. Bxc4 Bxe5 27. d7 Bd4+ 28. Rxd4 Re1+ 29. Kf2 cxd4 30. Kxe1 dxc3

How to finish off Black's resourceful defence?
31. Rxf7 Ng5 32. Rxf8+ Kxf8 1-0

Steve Giddins vs. Alan Stockley

Alan played very well for a long time but Steve jumped at the chance to play a classic Greek Gift sacrifice, after which the game was effectively over.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. h3 d6 9. c3 Nb8 10. d4 Nbd7 11. Nbd2 Bb7 12. Bc2 Re8 13. b4 Bf8 14. a4 c6 15. Bd3 d5 16. dxe5 Nxe5 17. Nxe5 Rxe5 18. Nf3 Re8 19. e5 Nd7
All ready for the Greek Gift sacrifice!
 20. Bxh7+ Kh8 21. Ng5 Re7 22. Qh5 Qe8 23. Bg6+ 1-0

Steve Giddins vs. Matthew Jackman

This was the only game Steve did not win. Matt took full advantage of a couple of inaccurate moves to launch a speedy and decisive attack on the white king.

1. Nf3 c6 2. c4 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nc3 e6 5. d4 Nbd7 6. Bd3 Bd6 7. e4 dxe4 8. Nxe4 Nxe4 9. Bxe4 Nf6 10. Bc2 h6 11. O-O O-O 12. Re1 Qc7 13. Qd3 c5 14. d5 Bf4 15.Bxf4 Qxf4 16. Ne5 exd5 17. cxd5 Rd8 18. Bb3 Bf5 19. Qb5

Black now conjures up a three-piece attack on the king
 19 ...Be4 20. Nc4 Ng4 0-1

Well played, everyone!

For a report on the day, head here.

For the gallery, head here.

Project 30: FIDE Master Steve Giddins Event: Gallery

Following on from our report on the hugely enjoyable FIDE Master Steve Giddins event, we now present a gallery from the day.

Tomorrow we will present some interesting positions from the games played in the simultaneous display.
All is ready!
Stockton chess supremo Sean Cassidy ready for the opening move 

Alice lasted as long as anyone

Matt on his way to success


Can Royce's Benoni hold out?
Kevin lost quickly and here he is trying
to pick up some tips from the juniors

Aishani concentrating well under pressure
Qxh7+ is coming!
Another devastating Giddins attack
Lecture time

Project 30 offers opportunities for all ages and abilities!