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Themed Blitz 23rd September – From’s Gambit Accepted

Congratulations to Paul Bielby who won last week’s Chigorin themed blitz with 6/7. Well done to Anthony Sweeting who finished second with 5/7 and to Michael Allen in third with 4.5/7. Full details here.

Inspired by Michael Allen’s annotated game from the Northumbria Masters tournament where he played Bird’s Opening this week’s theme is what might have been – From’s Gambit Accepted (to avoid Paul playing 2. e4! as white). Play will start with white to move after 1. f4 e5 2. fxe5 d6 3. exd6 Bxd6.

Hard to find instructional videos on this opening but IM Miodrag “The Butcher” Perunovic obliges with a typical bloodthirsty video.

Northumbria Masters

Congratulations to Tim Wall for making the first post Covid other-the-board tournament to be held in the North East the biggest ever NE event with almost 200 players. A tough 9 rounds in four and a half days was ameliorated by the possibility of taking up to 3 byes.

We had three club members playing in this tournament. Paul Bielby played in the Challengers and took two byes to finish on 4.5. Dave Patterson played in the Major and finished in 6th place on 5. Michael Allen was joint winner in the Minor with an excellent 7/9. Well done!

We got Michael, Paul and Dave each gave us one of their games with their thoughts and annotations.

Themed Blitz – 16th September – Chigorin

Congratulations to Paul Bielby who won the Accelerated Dragon themed blitz with 6.5/7. Well done to Michael Allen and Bede Porter who finished joint second with 5.5/7.

Next Thursday’s theme is the Chigorin Defence. Play will start with white to move after 1. d4 d5 2. c4 Nc6. Two introductory videos from the St Louis Chess Club in the “Chess Openings Explained” series – one and two. Also a long game commentary from the GingerGM, Simon Williams, where he shares his real time thoughts as he plays a game.

Themed Blitz 2nd September – Accelerated Dragon

Congratulations to Paul Bielby who won the QGA Exchange Variation themed blitz with a clean sweep 6/6. Well done too, to Dave Patterson, 5/6, and Michael Allen, 4/6, who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively. Full details here.

All three are playing in the Northumbria Masters tournaments this weekend, so good luck to them there. Looking forward to hearing tales of their successes on Thursday!

Next Thursday’s theme is the accelerated dragon in the Sicilian Defence. Play will start with white to move after the moves 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 g6.

Here are two YouTube videos to help with your preparation. First, a very slow but thorough introduction from the excellent Yasser Seirawan on the St. Louis Chess Club channel. In complete contrast the second video covers twice the theory in half the time and obviously a fraction of the explanation from “Hanging Pawns”.

Themed Blitz 19th August – QGD Exchange Variation

Well done to Anthony Sweeting and Dave Patterson who finished equal first in last week’s ‘Grand Prix Attack’ themed blitz with 4/6. Equal third were Michael Allen and Brian Towers on 3.5/6. Full details here.

Next Thursday’s theme is the exchange variation of the Queen’s Gambit Declined. Play will begin with white to move after 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4.cxd exd.

The first video is from St Louis Chess Club’s “Chess Openings Explained” series. The second video is from “Hanging Pawns”.

Themed Blitz 12th August – Grand Prix Attack

Well done to Michael Allen who hammered the field in last week’s Leonhardt Gambit themed blitz with 5/5. Congratulations also to Dave Patterson who finished second with 4/5. Full details here.

Next Thursday’s theme is the Grand Prix Attack against the Sicilian. To give black maximum flexibility play will start with black to play after 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3.

For the first video we go back to the St Louis Chess Club and Eric Rosen. Another favourite YouTube channel, that of Miodrag “The Butcher” Perunovic has several videos on this opening. The first comes in at a reasonable 45 minutes. For those with more time on their hands he has a longer video which comes in at about 90 minutes.

South Shields teams through to Round 2 of Summer Knockout

Friday’s victory by the A team against the Forest Hall C team by a game score of 4-0 (4-2.5 after handicap) saw them join the B team in round 2. Not a surprise given that the smallest rating difference was over 250 but the handicap system means that one small accident can put the higher rated team out of the competition.

So, the major congratulations have to go to the B team who a week earlier beat the Forest Hall A team against similar odds. Although they lost 3-1 on game score this became a 3.5-3 win after handicap with Lewis Self getting the giant-killing win.

Here is Lewis’ game with his thoughts from the game:

Themed Blitz 29th July – Leonhardt Gambit

First, massive congratulations to Jay Steel for solving the 5×5 Rubik’s Cube under pressure before the last round of last week’s themed blitz – Larsen’s 1. b3. Speaking of which, well done to Kevin Rowden and Paul Bielby who finished 1st and 2nd in that tournament. Full details here.

It was also very nice to see themed blitz first-timers Lauren Rowden, Jack Rowden and Gray Pattinson. Welcome!

For this Thursday’s theme (29th July) we go for the Leonhardt Gambit against the Scandinavian Defence. Play will begin with black to play after 1. e4 d5 2. exd5 Qxd5 3. Nc3 Qa5 4. b4

Two YouTube videos to help with your preparation / enjoyment. First a video from one of this column’s favourite YouTubers, IM Miodrag “The Butcher” Perunovic. Second, Eric Rosen’s first instructional video gives an alternative way of playing the gambit.

Themed Blitz 22nd July – Larsen’s Opening: 1.b3

Last Thursday, 8th July, the Noteboom themed blitz was won by Brian Towers with 6/7. Ray Wynarczyk was second with 5.5/7 and Jay Steel and Paul Bielby were equal third with 5/7. Full details here. For the statisticians, this was a bit better for white with W15, =1, B12.

This coming Thursday, 15th July, there is a match in the summer knock-out tournament so there won’t be a themed blitz. The next one will be a week later on 22nd July. After the long variations of the last couple of weeks we are going for the shortest possible theme, Larsen’s Opening, black to move after 1. b3.

Two YouTube videos to help with your preparation. First, a long introductory video from St Louis Chess Club’s “Chess Openings Explained” series.

Second, the excellent Simon Williams commentating on a 15+10 game he played against one of his students. One way of looking at this video is of two players making it up as they go along, something I’m sure we’re all familiar with.

Another way of looking at it is to see it as an example of the rich transpositional opportunities in this opening. Black, Simon’s student isn’t sure how to respond and so plays a reversed London System. Simon replies with a reversed Leningrad Dutch. As usual the Ginger GM gives excellent explanations of his thoughts as he plays.

Themed Blitz 8th July – NoteboomVariation (Semi-Slav)

We’re back, folks!

We held a themed blitz last Thursday, 1st July, on the Marshall Gambit in the Semi-Slav. Congratulations to Jay Steel who won with 5.5 out of 6. Paul Bielby was second with 4.5 and Kevin Rowden third with 3.5. For those who suspect that it isn’t a great white gambit the statistics from Thursday would appear to back you up: 6 white wins, 11 black wins and 1 draw. Full details here.

The Marshall Gambit (4. e4) arises in the Semi-Slav when white chooses the most aggressive response to black’s triangle of pawns. If white plays more sedately with 4. Nf3 then black gets the chance to grap the c pawn and play the Noteboom.

This Thursday, 8th July, we will give you a chance to extend your knowledge of the Semi Slav with the Noteboom. Play will begin with white to play after 1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c6 4. Nf3 dxc4 5. a4 Bb4 6. e3 b5 7. Bd2 a5 8. axb5 Bxc3 9. Bxc3 cxb5 10. b3 Bb7 11. bxc4 b4 12. Bb2 Nf6

As usual two YouTube videos for your preparation. First a long video in the “Chess Openings Explained” series from St Louis Chess Club. I think this was the first video that Jonathan Schrantz did and he was very nervous, couldn’t pronounce ‘Noteboom’ and struggled with Chessbase a few times but the content is excellent and it is worth putting up with his first timer fluffs.

The second one is Alireza Firouzja’s win over Donachenko in this year’s Tata Steel tournament.