Friday, 28 March 2008

Barnet chess club players do well at Southend Open Congress at Easter

I am happy to report that Alex Ethelontis and myself did well at the Southend Open Easter congress.

I came 2nd with 5.5/7 and may be offered a qualifying place for the British Chess Championship to be held in Liverpool. Alex came 4th equal with 5/7. Paul Georghiou, also did well by most standards, but he felt he underperformed with a 185+ performance. He is rated ECF 199 though, so probably had much higher expectations than both myself and Alex, who are rated at ECF 185 and 186 respectively.

Here are some youtube videos of three of my key wins from the tournament:

Round 7 win vs FM Dave Ledger

Round 4 win vs Peter Vas

Round 2 win vs Salimbeni

All in all a great tournament to play in!

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Not relegated

I believe that winning this match secured our place in Division 1 of the Hertfordshire league, which had previously been in some doubt.

My own contribution was the rather poor win given below. White must be better after 11. ... Bxh4, but with 20. Qf3 and 21. Kb1, he gives it all away.

20. Qf3 is understandable: Opponent simply missed that I could force the exchange of queens. 21. Kb1, though, is harder to explain - it just goes into the same ending with one pawn less than he could have had. Alas, it's hardly the first time this season that one of Opponent or Blogger has played a bad move.

Opponent took the best part of half an hour to resign in the final position, clear-cut though it is. (He had barely taken that long over whole of the rest of the game). Though we got on just fine in a fun post-mortem, I couldn't quite bring myself to ask what he'd been thinking about. Lots of players do seem to be reluctant to admit that it really is all over, and no doubt this buys them the occasional half point. My habit is to resign rather quickly; I usually believe that if an Opponent can reach a definitely winning position then he can also win it, so once I'm convinced that I'm lost I'd rather stop the pain.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Still blundering

Another game, another blunder. This one is oddly similar to a previous disaster - maybe I have a blind spot for pins on the g-file.

If I was shocked when Opponent took my rook, I almost fell off my chair when he offered a draw at the same time. I'm not sure what prompted this generosity - with the match still in the balance and rating points at stake, I'm afraid that I wouldn't be giving up half points so easily. I guess some people are nicer than others, but to me this is too much. If I make a stupid move, then I should lose a stupid game; that's just how chess is.

On the other hand... well, the match was still in the balance - but actually, the result probably won't make any significant difference to final league positions, so it doesn't mean a lot. And rating points - well, they don't really matter either, do they? Next season, my grade will be a couple of points higher than it might have been (and Opponent's will be a couple of points lower), and so what? If you're playing chess for the pleasure of the game and, perhaps, to socialize a bit (and isn't that why we play?) - well, then Opponent's draw offer is a perfectly rational one.

I couldn't have made it myself, though.

Friday, 14 March 2008 presents Gavriel vs Wittmann

Barnet lost 5-1 to Wood Green last night unfortunately. Congratulations though to Wood Green chess club for winning the North Circular Chess league. This was the game on board 2 I played against a dangerous opponent named J.Wittmann ECF 183.

Thursday, 13 March 2008 presents P.Bonafont vs. T.Gavriel

This was my best game from the Barnet chess congress, in Round 2 in the top section.

Unfortunately in Round 3, just as I was looking forward to being on 3/3, after reaching a winning position, and the opponent very short of time, I received a text message on my Iphone. And the opponent claimed the game. I thought I had turned it off from before. Anyway from now on, no more chess with an Iphone in my pocket!.

However on the Saturday, at least I could take away this victory from the earlier Round 2.

Monday, 10 March 2008

A loose end

Don't get too excited, but I've just completed this adjournment. We left the game here:

Play continued 36. ... a6 37. a4 Be7 38. Ke3 Bd8 39. Ke2 Be7 draw agreed. Thrilling stuff.

The explanation lies off the board. As I mentioned last time, Barnet were one up in the match with this and one other game to complete. That other game was taking place at the same time as this one and was (to my surprise) lost in the time it took us to play these moves. Back in my game Black can still try to mix things up (getting his knight to f5 looks like the first step) but it seems as though any winning chances that he can create carry just as many losing chances. Once the match was level, Opponent clearly felt that he couldn't take any risks.

Well, this is all fair enough. Alas, it doesn't make for a very interesting Monday evening, or blog post...

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Chess publisher downtime and alternative

When posting earlier today, I noticed that none of the games were showing up on the blog. Apparently is suffering some sort of downtime. I guess this was always a risk for a blog relying on a third party to host its games.

This prompted me to start looking into alternative methods for getting chess games onto the blog. I fairly quickly found the free LT PGN viewer - and fairly quickly realised that ChessPublisher appeared to be based on that work. (I can't remember whether ChessPublisher gave appropriate credit for this or not; and can't check while the site remains down).

Then I figured out that I could use Google's servers (explicitly, Google pages) to host something more or less equivalent to ChessPublisher.

So, after some fiddling, I'm proud to present Barnet Elizabethans' Chess Club's very own PGN publisher, here. Much as in ChessPublisher, you enter your PGN and are given an HTML snippet to put into your blog.

In a sense, of course, this is no step forward. Bloggers are still relying on a third-party host to take care of displaying their games. Indeed, if you have your own server space then you probably should be using that. However, if you must go elsewhere, my guess is that (except, perhaps, when Pakistan intervenes) the Google servers should be more reliable than most.

I've edited this post to use our version of the PGN viewer, so you can see what the results looks like.

What's in a name?

When we played Barking a few weeks back, I looked the club up on the ECF's online grading database. I was surprised to see that they had Howard Staunton on their books. He didn't play against us.

Any other famous names out there?