Monday 12 October 2020

Create or Destroy

I try to refrain from political comment but sometimes I have to relent.

The picture of the ballerina, released today as part of an ill-advised campaign to enforce retraining, is an absolute disgrace.

Blame the dancer; the artiste; the artist; the singer; the actor; the writer.

Blame the creative people.

In fact, why not crush creativity altogether.

Who needs theatres? Who needs cinemas? Who needs books? Who need music? Who needs opera? Who needs ballet? Who needs chess?

I have spent 33 years working with young people. I have talked to them and listened to them.

I have spent a considerable amount of time encouraging people to follow their dreams and not to feel constrained by the thoughts and opinions of others; to think for themselves and to make up their own minds.

Many years ago, I chose a creative - yet highly controversial - path for myself. I didn't care then what other people thought of my plans and I certainly don't care now.

Nor should anybody else. 

I lost count of the number of people who told me I ‘should go back to college’ and all of the other pieces of unsolicited ‘advice’ I ignored.

Making a living as a writer, actor, musician or dancer is not easy. It takes many years of determination, perseverance, sweat and tears. There will be numerous setbacks. Nobody is going to make it easy for you.

The arts are being systematically destroyed. I have numerous friends who have had no paid work since March of this year.

Everything is closing down and very few things will ever return to how they were before the emergency occurred.

Now is not the time to rely on childish memes or a cascade of bad language.

Now is the time to give people a lesson in resilience and resolve.

If creative people out there would like to be interviewed for my blog then just let me know.

We can talk about the positive aspects of your life and work. We can get your message across.

This offer is small fry, in the grand scheme of things - but nevertheless it is a positive action.

If we give in to the negativity ‘from above’ it will muddy the waters and bring everyone down to the same level.

In life, it is always the same: some people create; others destroy.

Choose your corner.

Thursday 8 October 2020

Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge: New Activity Booklets

It is always good to hear from Sarah and Alex Longson of the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge.

Sarah and Alex had to change all of their plans for the 2020 Chess Challenge due to the current emergency and they did very well to create so many online events and to get them up and running in plenty of time for children all across the United Kingdom to able to join in the fun.

This week, they contacted me to let me know of another exciting new development: the launch of the brand new Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge Activity Booklet.

I have seen the first booklet and I enjoyed solving all of the different puzzles and problems.

The content is arranged in order of difficulty, which will give children (and their parents) a sense of achievement as they move through the levels.


I have carefully selected sample pages which do not reveal any of the puzzles as I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of this excellent new resource.

All you have to do is click here to sign up and you will receive a weekly set of puzzles and problems.

You can also find out more about Sarah's Tournament Ready Chessable course, which is mentioned in the activity book, by clicking here.

Tuesday 6 October 2020

Project 30 Team Tournament Update

Our Project 30 Team Match, which is the follow-up to the initial trial matches, is going well and we are on schedule to complete the fixtures by the end of November.

John Garnett - winning lots of games, as usual

Remaining Fixtures

John Garnett - Kevin Waterman
John Garnett - Royce Parker
John Garnett - Graham Edwards

David Baillie - Peter Harker
David Baillie - Graham Edwards

Richard Harris - Sean Marsh
Richard Harris - Graham Edwards
Richard Harris - Kevin Waterman

Paul Weightman - Royce Parker
Paul Weightman - Peter Harker
Paul Weightman - Kevin Waterman

Sean Cassidy - Kevin Waterman
Sean Cassidy - Peter Harker
Sean Cassidy - Graham Edwards


Mike Pointon 1-1 Matt Jackman
Mike Pointon 1-1 Sean Marsh
Mike Pointon 0-2 Peter Harker
Mike Pointon 2-0 Graham Edwards

Mike Pointon 1-1 Royce Parker
Mike Pointon 1-1 Kevin Waterman

John Garnett 0.5-1.5 Matt Jackman
John Garnett 0-2 Sean Marsh
John Garnett 2-0 Peter Harker

David Baillie 0.5-1.5 Matt Jackman
David Baillie 1-1 Sean Marsh
David Baillie 1.5-0.5 Royce Parker
David Baillie 2-0 Kevin Waterman

Richard Harris 0-2 Matt Jackman
Richard Harris 2-0 Peter Harker
Richard Harris 1-1 Royce Parker

Paul Weightman 0.5-1.5 Matt Jackman
Paul Weightman 2-0 Graham Edwards
Paul Weightman 0-2 Sean Marsh

Sean Cassidy 0-2 Sean Marsh
Sean Cassidy 0-2 Matt Jackman
Sean Cassidy 0-2 Royce Parker

Team One 19, Team Two 25

Players who have completed their fixtures are given with their final scores.

Team One
John Garnett
David Baillie
Richard Harris
Sean Cassidy
Mike Pointon 6/12
Paul Weightman

Team Two
Sean Marsh
Matt Jackman 9.5/12
Peter Harker
Kevin Waterman
Royce Parker
Graham Edwards

Monday 5 October 2020

The Return of the Project 30 Zoom Quiz

The first Project 30 Zoom Quiz was a great success and it has now become a new series of events.

The second quiz brought several new faces and a new champion - Jovanka Houska.

It was a very enjoyable evening and it was especially good to see everyone relaxing and having fun.

We will have another Project 30 Zoom Quiz in November and we are hoping to see the first champion, David Hardy, back in action too.