To help fill the winterval chess gap, made worse by the cancellation of the Durham Congress, we’re having a themed blitz tournament on the Thursday 20th December at the New Ship Inn. As usual, no entry fee, no prizes, no rating just lots of chess fun.
The theme is the Black Knights’ Tango. No, I hadn’t heard of it either until I saw John Boyd playing it in a league match a couple of weeks ago. Books (plural) have been written on this opening and John probably has them all. For the rest of us here is a video from the St Louis Chess Club explaining the opening.
Play will start after the moves 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 Nc6 with white to play.
12 games at normal time controls, 12 draws. A lot of people just looked at the result and said “Boring!“. For those of us (layabouts) who actually watched the games live, online there was a lot of exciting chess. It’s just that at key moments the players either rushed their moves and missed their opportunity (giving hope that they are, at least in that respect, just like us patzers) or they thought long and hard and then chickened out (again, something we can all can identify with). Then there was that winning move that Sesse identified which none of the experts could understand until they had sat in a darkened room for several hours studying the computer analysis.
Somebody who particularly enjoyed the games was GM Matthew Sadler. He and WIM Natasha Regan have been given access to AlphaZero to write a book about it which is coming out next year. Sadler, meanwhile, was allowed to maintain access to his new toy for the World Championships and followed the games with the benefit of analysis of AlphaZero. He has produced a number of videos examining AlphaZero’s analysis of the 12 games, themed according to the openings.
This will be held at Houghton Miners Welfare Hall, Brinkburn Crescent, Houghton-le-Spring.
There are four tournaments, a FIDE rated open, and 3 ECF graded restricted tournaments. The Major is U165, the Minor U135 and the Foundation U100.
Time controls for the Open, Major and Minor are all moves in 1 hour 50 minutes with a 10 second increment from move 1 and the Foundation is all moves in 50 minutes with a 10 second increment from move 1. So, while there are 5 rounds in the Open, Major and Minor, there are 10 rounds in the Foundation. Moves must be written until the first time your time goes below 5 minutes. If you make a few quick moves and your time goes above 5 minutes again you don’t have to start writing the moves again.
There is a £3 early bird discount for entries before 26th October.
Qualifying tournaments were held around the country today for the UK Open Blitz Championships with one of the qualifying heats held at RGS in Newcastle. Time control was game in 3 minutes with a 2 second increment and there were 15 rounds with the top 2 players qualifying for the finals. This was FIDE rated.
GM Danny Gormally of Alnwick and IM James Adair, who is at York University, finished in 1st and 2nd with 15/15 and 13.5/15 respectively.
Well done to South Shields players Dave Mooney who finished in 6th place with 8.5 points and Paul Bielby who finished in 17th with 6.5.
As we have been getting quite a few club members (and visitors!) turning up on club nights the last few weeks I’ve started running themed blitz tournaments. We aim to start between 7:15 and 7:30pm. Every week there is a “theme” which basically means everyone playing the same opening.
There is no entry fee, no prizes and no rating. This is just a bit of fun to get club members playing something other than the London System (only joking, one member who never plays it has asked to have it one night so he can practice). Time limit is 5 minutes plus 2 second increment with at least 7 rounds. Last night we played 8 rounds and could possibly have squeezed in a 9th. If only a few players turn up we will have a round robin (if very few then double round robin), otherwise a Swiss as we did last night.
Last night’s theme was the Ruy Lopez. Play started after the moves 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 with black to move. Congratulations to John Boyd who won. Full tournament details here. Apologies to anybody who’s name I got wrong.
Suggested future themes for future Thursday blitzes – Trompowski, Benko Gambit, King’s Gambit, French and London System.
Thursday 6th September
The theme is the Bishop’s Gambit. Play starts after the moves 1. e4 e5 2. f4 ef 3. Bc4 with black to move. For those who want to brush up on the excitement of their youth the ginger GM, Simon Williams, has done a 20 minute video on this opening here.
Thursday 23rd August
The theme is the Benko Gambit. Play starts after the moves 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 b5 4. cb a6 with white to move. St Louis Chess club have done an excellent series of opening videos. For those who want to do a bit of revision the one on the Benko Gambit is here.
More players this week with Dave Mooney coming along to share the honours with John Boyd. Piotr and Brian were busy for the first half of the tournament playing their club championship match so Jay Steel stood in as Deputy Arbiter for the first half and Piotr joined in for the second half.
The theme is the Trompowski. Play starts after the moves 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 with black to move.
This turned out to be a very strong tournament with Piotr back from Poland and Tim Wall, who will be playing for our Durham County Chess Association team next year, also coming along. As he said, the Trompowski is his favourite opening. How could he resist?
This was an exciting, closely fought competition with lots of upsets. Eventually Tomas Eggleston and Daniel Abrahams came out on top, sharing first prize with 7.5 from 9.
Third was junior Max Turner who had to beat Dave Walker in the last round to reach a very combative 7.
Fourth was James Moreby on 6.5 who won the junior prize.
South Shields’ Kevin Rowden, playing in his first ever FIDE blitz won the U1700 grading prize with 5.5
Jay Steel, also playing his first FIDE blitz shared the U1500 grading prize with Ryan Duff on 4 out of 9.
Paul Bielby and Ian Maughan shared the senior prize with Mike Smith and Gary Hewitt, all on 5 out of 9.
Finally, a very special “Well done!” to Michael Landon, comfortably the youngest player in the field at just 8 years old. He beat the tournament organizer (sorry Eddie!) and two players in their 70’s to finish on 3 out of 9.