Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Somerset East Chess - November round-up

It appears that we are without a blog entry for November, so here's a summary of the Somerset (East) chess played so far this season. As ever, please refer to the Somerset County Chess Association for any official updates.

Somerset Knock-Out
Congratulations and good luck to the first round winners.

Wed17 NovemberYeovil2-6Taunton
Thu18 NovemberTrowbridge2½-5½Norton Radstock
Thu18 NovemberSedgemoor4½-3½Frome
14-18 FebruaryGlastonburyvsSedgemoor
14-18 FebruaryTauntonvsNorton Radstock

Somerset Division 2 East
Both Trowbridge and Bath are on 100% but have yet to play each other. A key match (Frome vs Trowbridge) will take place on the 14th December. This is usually hotly contested!

Tue12 OctoberFrome3½-2½Norton Radstock
Wed13 October
Bath (Postponed)
Wed10 NovemberBath3½-2½Frome
Thu11 NovemberTrowbridge5½-½Norton Radstock

Somerset Division 3 East
Trowbridge are the clear leaders at this stage with 2 wins out of 2 matches.

Tue19 OctoberFrome1-3Trowbridge
Thu21 OctoberNorton Radstock1-3Bath
Tue16 NovemberFrome2½-1½Norton Radstock
Thu25 NovemberTrowbridge2½-1½Bath

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Somerset Division 3 East: Frome vs Trowbridge

Somerset Division 3 (East) got rolling tonight (19th October 2010) as Frome welcomed an experienced Trowbridge squad propped up by relative newcomer Louis Burton on board 4, who was paired against youngster Rhys White.

White, Mikeung

Ludlow, Roy
Jones, Nick94

Davis, Adrian
Nicholls, John92

Crucefix, Nigel
White, Rhys


Burton, A Louis

Board 4 had all the action, starting with a well-played Closed Sicilian opening. Louis set up a Dragon formation, but White responded by (also) fianchettoing kingside. After this solid opening set-up the game quickly became tactical with White winning the exchange and a pawn with a knight fork. However Louis fought back and his opponent committed a mistake in return dropping a bishop. In the resultant endgame Black was very comfortable and won with nearly an hour to spare.

Roy Ludlow won a pawn in the middlegame. After some exchanges more of Black's pawns disappeared to leave White with an overwhelming advantage in a King and pawn ending.

Frome 1 - 3 Trowbridge

1Ludlow, Roy1-0White, Mike
2Jones, Nick½-½Davis, Adrian
3Crucefix, Nigel½-½Nicholls, John
4White, Rhys0-1Burton, A Louis

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Somerset Division 2 East: Frome vs Norton/Radstock

The opening Division 2 match was contested last night (12th October 2010) as Frome played host to an under-strength Norton Radstock team. On paper Frome were clear favourites to win on the top 4 boards.

FromeGradeGradeNorton Radstock
Purry, Chris169147Humphreys, Paul
Jepps, Gerry162123Cooper, Graham
Leonard, Mark152119Cook, Stephen G
Paine, Kevin139106Horne, Peter
Fisher, John11895Parish, Graham
White, Mikeung82Cooper, Catherine

On the night, however, it was a different story. Although Gerry Jepps won quickly, both Paul Humphreys and Peter Horne punched above their weight to turn the tables. Stephen Cook put up stiff resistance but eventually succumbed to lose a king and pawn ending. So the fixture was decided on boards 5 and 6:

Frome 3½ - 2½ Norton/Radstock

1Humphreys, Paul1-0Purry, Chris
2Jepps, Gerry1-0Cooper, Graham
3Cook, Stephen G0-1Leonard, Mark
4Paine, Kevin0-1Horne, Peter
5Parish, Graham½-½Fisher, John
6White, Mike1-0Cooper, Catherine

Monday, October 11, 2010

Wiltshire League Fixtures 2010-11

Wiltshire 4-a-side

Thu21 OctoberTrowbridge3-1Swindon
Thu25 NovemberNationwideTrowbridge
Thu9 DecemberTrowbridgeBrown Jack
Thu20 January 2011SwindonTrowbridge
Thu10 February 2011TrowbridgeNationwide
Mon28 March 2011Brown JackTrowbridge

Wiltshire Minor
In this league no player graded over 148 is eligible. Swindon have entered two teams.

Tue12 OctoberWestinghouse2.5 - 1.5Trowbridge
Mon25 OctoberBrown Jack 1.5 - 2.5Trowbridge
Thu4 NovemberTrowbridgeSwindon A
Thu2 DecemberTrowbridgeSwindon B
Thu27 January 2011TrowbridgeBrown Jack
Thu3 February 2011Swindon ATrowbridge
Thu24 February 2011TrowbridgeWestinghouse
Thu24 March 2011Swindon BTrowbridge

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mark Leonard vs Roy Ludlow (2010.09.30)

Spot the tactic #0. White to play and win.

Move 28 will be played and you have 5 minutes left to reach the first time control (move 35). I had missed a number of ways to win up until this point, but I am very pleased to have found a nice continuation here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Just another ordinary day......

When we look at our chess opponents we obviously can't ever know what history lurks behind the frowns and smiles that emanate from our opponent throughout the course of a game. Last week I played in the 5 minute 'all play all' championships at the Brown Jack pub in Wroughton. The eventual winner was Peter Richmond with an excellent score of 12 wins, 2 draws and 0 losses. Most of Wiltshire's chess loving fraternity know how strong Peter is, so it came as no surprise, albeit one of his draws came against his wife Jane, talk about keeping it in the family!

In second place with 11 wins and 3 draws was a polite elderly gentleman by the name of Jim. In my game against Jim I blundered a pawn in a Reti opening, then another, before finally resigning in a bad position with over a 30 seconds left on my clock. Nothing remarkable here, but having spent several hours refreshing my knowledge of the 'ins' and 'outs' of this opening during the previous week I was disappointed that I couldn't seem to pose any valid threat or gain any 'momentum' throughout the game. I felt that he was particularly strong and was curious to know a bit more about him, and hence asked Peter who he was, - the answer came 'well if I told you he once played against Fischer and is featured in my 60 memorable games '.......Amazingly enough the previous evening with absolutely nothing else to do I had by chance picked up a book I had purchased from the stall at a local chess congress some years ago but never really studied in depth, - Learn from Bobby Fischer's Greatest Games by Eric Schiller, and instantly I thought maybe Jim = James? A story had stuck in my mind of a 'James Sherwin' who had played against Fischer over 50 years ago (February 1957 to be more accurate), and on a certain move the young James (albeit slightly older than his opponent) had moved a Rook with his little finger ('pinky') as if to 'emphasize the mystery of the move', as Fischer subsequently wrote. Sadly in that match the move proved to be a waste of a tempo, but the anecdote and Fischer's narrative were firmly etched in my mind. Fortunately, at the moment computers simply are not able to exercise such 'psychological tactics' otherwise we might be beaten by them even quicker!

Anyway on completion of my research sure enough the elderly, but mentally very agile gentleman I played against was indeed James Sherwin who moved from the USA some time ago and now resides near Bath, or so I am reliably informed. Obviously if I'd known this at the time of my match I wouldn't have been able to resist moving a piece with my small toe or left ear, but sadly I think I can safely say the result would have remained the same.

Fortunately as we are not obliged to write down all our moves in 5 minute encounters, and as I do not possess the mental faculties to recall all 14 games, I deemed it appropriate to include Sherwin's attempt to beat the up and coming World Champion - well 15 years later anyway.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Somerset League Fixtures 2010-11

A sneak peek at the new season's fixtures (subject to change). Please refer to the Somerset County Chess Association for any official updates.

Somerset Knock-Out
First off, we have the 8 board Somerset Knock-Out Cup,  where holders Glastonbury receive a bye directly into the semi-final. Trowbridge have a favourable home draw and will be confident of making it safely through the first round.

Wed17 NovemberYeovilTaunton
Thu18 NovemberTrowbridgeNorton Radstock
Thu18 NovemberSedgemoorFrome
Semi14-18 February 2011
Final14-18 March 2011

Somerset Division 2 East
Trowbridge are hopeful of retaining the Charles Marsh (East) trophy. For this 6 board league there is a grading limit: only one player in the team may have a grade exceeding 165. Frome will push hard this year, as Gerry Jepps' grade has dropped to 162 for this season.

Wed13 October (Postponed)
Thu11 NovemberTrowbridgeNorton Radstock
Tue14 DecemberFromeTrowbridge
Thu13 January 2011TrowbridgeBath
Thu24 February 2011Norton RadstockTrowbridge
Thu24 March 2011TrowbridgeFrome

Somerset Division 3 East
In division 3 no player graded over 145 is eligible and the sum total for the team must not exceed 500. Players graded under 95 are deemed to be 95. Ungraded players are considered to be graded 110.
Bath were the winners last season, but Trowbridge are in with a shout. 2 matches have been played thus far.

Tue19 OctoberFrome1-3Trowbridge
Thu25 NovemberTrowbridgeBath
Thu9 DecemberNorton RadstockTrowbridge
Thu20 January 2011TrowbridgeFrome
Wed16 February 2011BathTrowbridge
Thu17 March 2011TrowbridgeNorton Radstock

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Wiltshire 5 Minute Championship

Monday 6th September 2010

£3.00 per adult / £1.50 juniors
Cash entries will be accepted on the night only (no cheques).

This will be an Open tournament with prizes comprising 100% of the entry fees received.
7 rounds will be played (time permitting).

Please arrive between 19:15 and 19:30 to allow for a prompt start.

The Brown Jack Pub
1 Priors Hill

A chilli con carne is being provided free of charge by the public house management.

Contact: chesssalsa AT aol DOT com

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chess and other things....

When I was young, in between dreaming of playing for Liverpool FC (or more reasonably elevating myself to first sub for the school football team), becoming a Rock-star,  or simply drooling over the girls in the upper sixth, life seemed to be so simple. I had been interested in chess for a few years and when a certain Mr. R Fischer started his fun and games at Reykjavic, that was it I was hooked.

At the time I remember one of the big questions posed to me - Is Chess an art or a Science or both?  Even then armed only with the arrogance of youth and an ill fitting uniform I thought this was absurd, surely it is about logic? - You may have an infinite amount of moves, but because all white or black responses are not reasonable then it is infinity minus a few. Of course that leads to more confusion and I confess here and now that I do not understand infinity, and certainly cannot comprehend any old monkey writing the complete works of Shakespeare. In my mind he always gets the very last letter wrong, and on the next attempt the second to last is incorrect, ad nauseam, until he starts all over again and simply never finishes it. If he does complete it does that not mean it is the end of the definition of infinity making it finite? A true paradox indeed.

Okay aplologies to all supporters of Morphy, Alekhine, Tal, Capablanca and many other notable chess characters who without doubt were artists in their own way and provided great entertainment, (I wonder if they ever drooled over the upper sixth girls?) but come on guys is it not pure logic?  Below I think is what a Super Computer will say in 2019 after we have moved away from Silicon and start to harness atomic power. This unit has 1,000 gig of RAM with 50.000 gig hard-drive in a mini pc the size of an ipod.

                                    White to Move, unavoidable mate in 57 moves

This always reminds me of another amusing quote -

If God was playing God at chess, white would probably win.

You guessed it I am rambling now, but let's go back to 1972 game one Spassky v Fischer and witness one of the classic 'miscalculations'  of all time from the man himself, Mr Fischer. Was it a blunder or just pure shock tactics, - or both? The only person who can answer that is now dead, but interestingly even now (prior to atomic computers), the same black move is made by Fritz and Rybka at deep levels Bxh2? Fischer hated draws and would rather lose? The ''artistic' temperament of the chess genius.

Why not even try it on your computer? - There are definitely drawing chances!

                                     Science or Art, who really cares?... just enjoy.

Okay that's all for now,  take care and see you soon.

en prise

Let me first point out that this is a purely personal rant and does not necessarily express the views/opinions of Trowbridge Chess Club (or its other members).

For those unaware, the phrase en prise is used by chess players to describe an unprotected piece (or pawn). It derives from the French verb prendre (to take) and can be translated as 'within grasp' or 'able to be taken'. Now those of you with a passing knowledge of French will recognise prise as having a feminine form. This is because it agrees with the generic word for a piece (une pièce in French), which is feminine.

The excellent Edward Winter in his Chess Notes (#4463 and also updated here) observes that en prise is often incorrectly pronounced "on pree", particularly in the United States. I am not especially surprised or alarmed by this. American language does tend to diverge from the original source and from International standards. One might even say it is à la mode.

What does bother me is (British) English speakers who not only fail to pronounce the s in en prise but also have the temerity to castigate others (who aren't so ill-educated) for their perceived inadequacy. Witness one well-known British player advising a fluent French speaker to "learn sone (sic) French pronounciation (sic)". When I politely enquired about his usage I received the following response from another user: "it's french. You don't pronounce the 's'."

In spoken language one might be excused as mistaking the phrase to be en pris or en prix. But when the words are correctly spelled this behaviour simply cannot be condoned. Perhaps (some) people are dimly aware of the rule that (in French) s as a final consonant is usually silent. However, to extend this rule to the ise suffix is a monstrous hypercorrection.

Is it really that troublesome to consult a dictionary? (Or dictionaries, if you prefer.) I'm tempted to offer a bottle of Moët et Chandon (it's not Mo-ay) if you find a genuine dictionary supporting the pree variant. Not that this would prove anything in particular.

Au Revoir!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Warminster Chess Club

Several intrepid chaps are looking to start a new chess club at the Bell and Crown pub in Warminster. The intention is that the club will initially meet on a casual basis each Monday from 7:30 pm.

Depending upon numbers and level of interest the club may seek to enter teams into the local Wiltshire and Somerset Leagues, though this is unlikely to happen until the 2011/12 season.

Contact details will be provided as soon as I have them

For directions to the Bell and Crown please follow this link

Friday, August 6, 2010

Trowbridge Squad 2010-11

Player ECF (latest) 2009 ECF League Results (2009-10)
Girdlestone, Paul 204 194 +2 =0 -1
Cooper, Andrew 174 172 +1 =2 -0
Rothwell, Derek 154 161 +2 =1 -5
Leonard, Mark 152 145 +7 =4 -3
Weston, David 150 142 +5 =0 -1
Woodward, Tim 148 140 +3 =2 -0
Hatvany, Paul 144 150 +0 =4 -2
Cooper, Thomas 144 +0 =0 -0
Williams, R Gareth 134 138 +4 =3 -1
Marshall, Dave 131 138 +2 =2 -0
Ludlow, Roy 126 124 +9 =3 -3
Davis, Adrian 116 114 +2 =1 -0
Crucefix, Nigel 84 85 +0 =4 -6
Ransom, Tony 79 80 +3 =1 -4
Burton, Louis 70 +0 =0 -4

Marshall Attacks - Season Preview 2010-2011

A new chess season dawns and once again Trowbridge will be striving for victory against the finest that Somerset and Wiltshire can muster. Club Captain Tony Ransom can call upon a squad mostly unchanged since last season. Roy Ludlow (player-manager and chief scout for the minor league team) will be looking to repeat last year’s success and unearth another promising new target to rival Louis Burton.

One noticeable absence will be Paul Hatvany who has completed his high profile switch to bridge. Also unavailable for most of last season and unlikely to return are Andy Cooper and Paul Girdlestone. Paul’s loss will be felt all the more with his grade soaring back above 200. All of which will leave Trowbridge looking somewhat light on the upper boards. The ever reliable Derek Rothwell will once again be called upon to lead the line alongside Mark Leonard who comes fresh from a strong 2009/10 season that has raised his grade above 150.

If this year is to be a success then Trowbridge will probably be heavily reliant upon the middle boards, fortunately Tim Woodward is preparing to join Roy and Tony on the professional circuit. The mercurial talents of Dave Weston (chess maverick!) will no doubt come in useful and keep the fans entertained. With Gareth Williams providing witty banter and psychoanalysis in equal measure the spine of the team looks strong.

Whilst Tony Ransom may have only limited choice with his selection Roy Ludlow can continue to call upon an all star line up across the lower boards and minor leagues. Nigel Crucifix was solid throughout last season and Louis Burton is many pundits tip for the player to watch this year. With super-sub Adrian Davies lurking in the wings with his menagerie of animal based openings it is no surprise to find that Trowbridge are the bookies early favourites in both minor divisions. After a transitional season under the new grades Tony will surely be targeting league glory and an extended cup run to keep the fans happy.

Trowbridge’s pre-season warm up was badly affected with high profile tours to Russia and China both falling victim to the Icelandic volcano. A series of friendlies against the combined forces of Westinghouse and Swindon were scheduled instead. The first found a confident Trowbridge on inspired form sweeping all before them with a show of aggressive free flowing play. Was this the first fruit from Paul Girdlestone’s new Dutch football inspired ‘Total-Chess’ coaching system? We may never know.

One thing the fans will enjoy this year is the introduction of electronic clocks on multiple boards in Trowbridge home matches. After several contentious clock based results during the last few seasons, this technological step forward should help silence some of the critics. Reports of slo-mo video replays being made available to the match referee are as yet unconfirmed.

So once again there is plenty to look forward to as we enter the 2010/11 season. Your faithful reporter will endeavour rather more than he managed last season. Best of luck to all our competitors.
Come on the Bridge!!


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