Christmas Themed Blitz – The Black Knights’ Tango

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.

Carlsen-Caruana Redux – AlphaZero’s Take

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.

DeepMind’s AlphaZero on Carlsen-Caruana Games 1, 3, 5 & 8 (Sicilian Defence)

Games 2 & 7 (the QGD)

Games 4 & 6 (English & Petroff)

Games 10 & 12 (Sveshnikov Sicilian)

Games 11 & 9 (Petroff & English)

For contrast here are the thoughts of former world champion and reigning rapid world champion, Vishy Anand on the first 12 games given before the playoffs.

Durham Congress – 7th to 9th December

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.

Full details and entry form here.

Themed Blitz Tournaments resume after AGM

Thursday 20th September – London System

The theme is the London System. Play starts after the moves 1. d4 d5 2. Bf4 with black to move. As usual a link to an introductory video from the Ginger GM. And an alternative view from the St Louis Chess Club.

Thursday 13th September – AGM

The AGM will be on the 13th September at the New Ship Inn, South Shields.

Thursday 6th September – Bishop’s Gambit

The previous themed blitz, Bishop’s Gambit, was won by Dave Mooney with 8.5/9 with John Boyd second on 7.5/9 and Ian Maughan third on 6/9. Full details here.

UK Open Blitz Championship – Newcastle Heat

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.

Full details here.

Late Summer Themed Blitz Tournaments

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.

Full details here.

Thursday 16th August

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?

Full details here.

 

Customs House Blitz – Results

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.

Full results here

FIDE Rated Blitz at the Customs House – 8th July 2018

We are running a 9 round FIDE rated blitz on Sunday 8th July at the Customs House starting 12:30pm

Time control: All moves in 5 minutes plus 2 second increment.

The prize fund will depend on entry but will be at least £250. We plan on prizes for 1st, 2nd, 3rd plus 3 ratings prizes, a junior (U18) prize and a senior (65+) prize.

Entry fee is £5 payable on the day but we would appreciate entries in advance in order to help us with the organization and to guarantee your place. Entries are limited to 70 players.

Enter via email to Blitz@southshieldschessclub.co.uk giving name, FIDE ID (if you have one and know it). If you don’t have a FIDE ID we need your date of birth to register you with FIDE.

Breaking News! ECF membership not required

We originally said in entry forms that ECF Bronze membership was required, based on advice from the ECF. They have since got in touch to tell us this was a mistake, since the ECF do not grade blitz.

Current entries (Chess-results)

Directions to the Customs House

Player Statistics for 2017 – 2018

2018 Stats - NCA A Team

PlayerPlayedWonDrawnLostPoints
Yaroslav Kolodiy104245
Paul Bielby104245
Ian Maughan (c)103163.5
John Boyd93334.5
Brian Towers51312.5
Piotr Niedbal30120.5
Chris Sayers11001
Eddie Czestochowski10010
Simon McGuinness10100.5

2018 Stats - NCA B Team

PlayerPlayedWonDrawnLostPoints
Kevin Rowden (c)93153.5
Brian Towers93425
Chris Sayers84406
Eddie Czestochowski71332.5
Colin Campbell51312.5
Ian Maughan31111.5
Asanga Gunasekera20201
Jay Steel11001
Stan Johnson10010
Jim Riddle10010
Simon McGuinness10100.5

2018 Stats - NCA C Team

PlayerPlayedWonDrawnLostPoints
Colin Campbell (c)81523.5
Ben Wood75115.5
Asanga Gunasekera 73224.5
Dave Peardon72414
Mike Savin61232
Jim Riddle53023
Chris Sayers52112.5
Jay Steel20020
Stan Johnson11001
Alan Blackburn11001

2018 Stats - NCA D Team

PlayerPlayedWonDrawnLostPoints
Tim Wilton-Davies94325.5
Jay Steel92162.5
Gary Hunter70341.5
Stan Johnson (c)71423
Bill Hall30120.5
Eddie Czestochowski21101.5
Asanga Gunasekera10100.5
Chris Sayers10100.5

2018 Stats - DCCA Team

PlayerPlayedWonDrawnLostPoints
Yaroslav Kolodiy61413
Paul Bielby63214
Eddie Czestochowski (c)51222
Chris Sayers52032
Asanga Gunasekera52213
Brian Towers42112.5
Piotr Niedbal41121.5
Ian Maughan20201
Kevin Rowden11001
Dave Patterson10100.5
Stan Johnson10010
John Boyd10010