The New Southampton Chess League Season starts this month! Chandler’s Ford B have their first match on Tuesday 18th January 2022. In this article we look back at the Southampton Chess League EGM which discussed the format for the forthcoming semi-season – and look forward as the League Fixtures are announced.
The Southampton Chess League met for its Extraordinary General Meeting at our Club’s venue in Chandler’s Ford on Wednesday 13th October 2021.
Fixtures Secretary Malcolm Clarke Awarded for long service by League and Chess Club
Chandler’s Ford’s Malcolm Clarke received recognition for his long service to the Southampton Chess League as its Fixtures Secretary and as Club Secretary of Chandler’s Ford (previously Eastleigh). He has served 31 years as a principal member of the Southampton League. Malcolm Clarke was awarded a special Trophy and engraved Tankard from the League and Chandler’s Ford Chess Club. The video and pictures below capture Malcolm’s delight at the Awards.
Click on any of the photos in the gallery below for full picture, and scroll from there.
New Season 2021-22
Following the EGM the League consulted with the chess clubs as to what form the 2021-22 season would take, given the effects of Covid. Three format options were proposed:
Option 1 – League format with 3 divisions of 6 teams, 5 matches playing each team once only
Option 2 – League format with 5 divisions of 4 teams, 6 matches playing each team home and away
Option 3 – Team Swiss format with 5 or 6 rounds, each match to be played within a 3-week period. Either all teams together in one Swiss or, to avoid mismatches, there could be a Swiss A and a Swiss B
In all cases, teams have 4 players only as agreed at the EGM.
The consultation process has now crystallised into the League format of Option 2. The League has a 5-Division structure.
Club Fixtures 2022
We now have the dates for the Chandler’s Ford fixtures. See the fixture table below.
Southampton Chess League Fixtures for Chandler’s Ford Chess Club
Happy New Year everyone! Much like a year ago, Covid dominates the news. But 2021 still saw a fair amount of chess at Club and beyond. We take a brief look back at the year.
Chandler’s Ford Chess Club Review of 2021
All the club tournaments Chandler’s Ford Chess Club players normally enjoy did run this year – even if games had to be played online for much of the year.
The Knock-out Tournament. Steve Dunleavy organised this again, and this year the tournament attracted 20 players. Peter Przybycin won the Knock-out, and Steve Dunleavy presented him with its weighty Trophy at the Autumn Curry.
Peter Przybycin organises the newest of the club tournaments, the Book Prize. 12 players participated in the first all-play-all 11 Round event, 2020-21. Mike Henbury won the Book Prize – Bronstein Move By Move by Steve Giddins. The new 2021-22 Book Prize is divided into Major and Minor Sections so that an all-play-all format can be retained for the increased number of players in this popular event (20 players in all).
The Summer Tournament, organised by our Club Secretary Malcolm Clarke, had 19 players this year. The 2021 winner is Keith Gregory.
Nobby George originally set up the The Ladder Tournament. When the Coronavirus led to lockdown, Nobby ran an online version of the Ladder on lichess.org. Sam Murphy was the winner of the 2021 Ladder. Sam has set up and got the the 2021-22 Ladder started, whilst Rob Sims will run the Tournament going forward.
Online Tournaments. During lockdown we kept in touch as a club by playing chess online, in the standard long-play games of the established club tournaments, plus the ‘virtual club-nights’ of our regular weekly rapid-play online tournaments. Our online games are played on lichess.org.
Junior Chess Club
The Chandler’s Ford Junior Chess Club is organised by Maha Chandar, and this year has seen some major tournaments, both online and over the board. The coronavirus has limited the numbers that could safely attend the over-the-board tournaments – but these were successful and popular events. See photo below.
A rising star of the Junior Club is Iwan Cave: in October he played in the Major Section of the Castle Chess Fareham Congress against players of all ages – and won the Major Section Grading Prize!
Club Secretary Honoured at League EGM
Malcolm Clarke, Club Secretary of Chandler’s Ford Chess Club and Southampton Chess League Fixture Secretary, was honoured for his long service to the local chess scene by both League and Club, receiving trophies on behalf of both at the Southampton Chess League Extraordinary General Meeting on 13th October from League President Gillian Moore.
Malcolm Clarke presided over the Club’s own AGM on Tuesday 26th October, attended by 15 of the club’s members. It was quite a jolly meeting, everyone just so glad to meet in person after the long lockdown.
The Autumn Curry
The next evening, Wednesday 27th October saw the chess club’s Autumn Curry, organised by David Culliford. This was a great social gathering – and as it turned out – the main social event of the year. One of our former players, John Zastapilo, who has lived in Belgium for many years now, has renewed his link with the club by participating in our online weekly tournaments. John Z was visiting the UK at the time, seeing family and friends – and he came to the Autumn Curry at the Sunrise Balti & Tandoori Restaurant in Chandler’s Ford. It was great to see him after such a long time.
Chandler’s Ford Chess Club players have taken part in Over The Board County matches when these resumed in the Autumn, including the home match against Kent, and the away match against Oxford. Click on the pictures below to see more information.
Vishy Anand wishes Steve season’s greetings
2021 ended with Festive wishes and some good advice from former World ChampionViswanathan Anand to our own club’s Steve Dunleavy. Read our recent Post here.
What Christmas gift to get a keen chess player who wants to improve? A chess book? A DVD tutorial? Or arrange for a former Chess WorldChampion to give a personal message of greetings and advice? Steve Dunleavy’s family did just that! One of the world’s top chess players, Grandmaster Viswanathan Anand gives Chandler’s Ford’s Steve Dunleavy some advice! Vishy’s advice to Steve is on Cameo.com.
Viswanathan – ‘Vishy’ – Anand is an Indian Chess Grandmaster and former World Champion. He has won the World Chess Championship five times. He is currently (December 2021) ranked 16th in the world by FIDE.
Vishy’s Advice to Steve
One of the best Christmas presents ever for a chess player has to be Suzan and Hanna Dunleavy’s to Steve: ‘Cameo.com‘ greetings given by a Grandmaster. The video message contains season’s greetings from former World Chess Champion Viswanathan Anand on behalf of Suzan and Hanna.
In the video the Grandmaster says that Suzan and Hanna have told him that Steve is an avid and passionate chess player, but has hit a ‘rough patch’ in his game recently. Vishy Anand sympathises, having had a ‘rough patch in Baku’, Azerbaijan, himself… (See Viswanathan Anand finishes last in Gashimov Memorial chess : The Tribune India). He continues with some good advice for Steve. And it’s really useful for all chess players of whatever ability. And that advice? Follow the link below and hear the wise words yourself.
Viswanathan concludes with wishing Steve a wonderful Christmas and all the best.
The previous Chandler’s Ford Chess Club Ladders were run by Nobby George, and he adapted to the pandemic by setting up an online version of the tournament, where the games were played on lichess.org. The games in the new 2021-22 Ladder tournament, organised by Sam Murphy, will mainly be played over the board.
Sam Murphy has been very successful as a player in the previous Ladders, and he was the first to win the Ladder Trophy.
Players may challenge up to 4 places above their own step: if the challenger wins, they swap places, otherwise they stay where they are. The time control for the games is 90 minutes for each player. The challenger has the white pieces. For the full Rules, see the Ladder Tournament 2021-22 Page.
See the table on the Ladder Tournament 2021-22 Page for the latest positions. There will be regular updates to show on the table as the tournament progresses.
In the Minor section John Kooner beat Lee Mundy, Steve Saunders beat Ian Parker, and Maha Chandar beat Rose Saunders.
In the Major section Dick Meredith was unlucky to end up with a draw against me (Peter), after having much the better of it for most of our game.
As in round 1, the Minor section looks likely to finish this round early. The last remaining game is Rob Strachan v Nobby George , which is understandable as Rob is currently recovering from injury and unable to attend at club. The Major section has three more games to play.
Update: all Round 2 games now complete, including Rob Strachan’s against Nobby George.
Pairings for Book Prize Tournament Round 3 are as follows:
Kev Byard is a former member of our chess club who emigrated to New Zealand. He keeps in touch with current club members and participates in our club online tournaments. Kev Byard’s article, also published on the HCA website, relates to an old gem (a 1927 publication of an 1895 title!) that Kev purchased. It wasn’t only the book itself that fascinated him, but what he found within…
An Old Chess Book that I Bought
By Kev Byard
Who was the first person to be a British citizen and to have played in the final of the World Chess Championship? No, it was not our Nigel. However, our question is answered later.
First, though, let’s talk about me. I emigrated to New Zealand in 2004, after which I immediately gave up chess for reasons that are totally to do with the appalling state of chess clubs in Auckland and nothing to do with any waning interest in the game on my part. As a result I gave up the game. So, because I had been living in the chess wilderness for such a long time, the decision of Chandlers Ford Chess Club to move online was therefore a Godsend to me. And, following my first foray into competitive chess for seventeen years via the weekly online CFCC Arena and Swiss tournaments (I’m still shaking after my baptism of fire in my first ever game against Kev Lamb, whose style clashes completely with mine!), my interest has been thoroughly rekindled. [See previous Post about Kev Byard’s first Chandler’s Ford Online Tournament].
Indeed, immediately following my first such tournament on 19 November 2020, where I achieved a very proud third place and a much-treasured bronze cup, I ventured into the cold, dark, damp basement under my house to find my collection of chess books that had lain undisturbed for seventeen years in a large plastic box, in which also lies a signed non-chess autobiography by Brian Clough. I successfully retrieved all but one of my endgame books (the other is titled, ‘Tactical Chess Endings’ – the word ‘Tactical’ put me off!) and nothing else. However, after an online discussion about openings (Philidor’s Defence in particular) with djc202, john_zed, WillHeSac and KevLamb, I decided to have a further rummage and I found a few other books on the openings. It was during the retrieval of my four books on the Philidor Defence and my seven books on the Scandinavian Defence (which I didn’t open) that I stumbled on an absolute gem of a volume that I had long, long neglected. Now, I know most of us are guilty of not having read every book in our collections (my own copy of Staunton’s Chess Player’s Handbook remains virtually unopened) but I really should have made much more of an effort to delve into this particular 1927 publication.
An old Chess Book
Let’s look at my copy of Gunsberg’s book. Bearing in mind that the book is titled ‘The Chess Openings’ its 1927 content is fascinating. Each chapter provides a brief description (typically one page) of an opening, followed by columns of analysis, MCO-fashion. Each opening is afforded a number of such columns. The breakdown of the numbers of columns for each of the openings, and in order of appearance in the book, is as follows:
Number of columns
Sicilian Defence (N.B. 1. e4 c5 2. Nc3 – that’s all, no other 2nd moves for White!)
4 (only 4 columns– unbelievable when one considers the statistics below)
What’s most interesting, I think, about this list is the complete dominance of lines that include an f4 gambit by White over almost anything else, in particular the King’s Gambit. Indeed, there are 68 columns that include the f4 move (52 being directly the KGA or KGD) out of only 209 columns in total (33% of all columns). Also the entirety of the Queen Pawn openings is dealt with in only 16 columns (8%). The French and Sicilian are relegated to mere sidelines in Gunsberg’s push for a White f4 and these openings are given the same space (5 columns) as the Muzio Gambit on its own, would you believe?
The French Defence, admittedly being the first opening addressed in Gunsberg’s book, is described disparagingly in its first paragraph thus: “It seems almost superfluous to explain that the French Defence is resorted to by players who do not care to face the attack which may result from Black’s reply of P-K4.” I hope, Graham, you are hanging your head in shame! That said, those who wish to play 1.d4 are also not let off the hook by Gunsberg who says,”…[players playing 1.d4] of even mediocre talent are often enabled to make a display of strength against better players than themselves.” Now that IS disparagement!
However, while the book itself is an absolute treasure, the real gems were to be found in the extras that were between the pages of the book upon my opening it when I arrived home. Between the leaves of this volume I found two newspaper cuttings and, far more importantly, a recorded game from a previous owner of the book (did I mention that when I bought the book it was second-hand?) who failed to retrieve his (her?) score sheet. Absolute gold!
The first cutting is a game played between a Max Green and a Martin Green, maybe two brothers, and won by Martin as Black. A note scribbled on the cutting it is a date: 18/10/40, more likely the date of the game than the actual date of the cutting, which appears to be from the 50’s or 60’s. The game itself is an Alekhine’s defence, as indicated by the title, which was a win for Black (take note john_zed). According to Stockfish, White’s decisive error was 20.Rc2. Stockfish gives 20.Rfd1 as equal (0.0). After Black’s error of 20.Rc2 a6 Stockfish recommends 21.a4 (-5.0) since 22.Nd4 loses to 22…Rfd8. Pity the players didn’t have access to Stockfish in those days – or is it? Are we really better off these days having access to the correct move at our fingertips without the satisfaction of having to have worked for it? I tried to find out the date of this cutting so I looked at the reverse to find a list of football fixtures from the South Regional and North Regional leagues. This seems to predate the football league but a Google search of the games themselves (e.g. Arsenal v Northampton) didn’t uncover the date of the cutting, which makes me doubt the veracity of Google searches. Therefore there seem to be no clues as to the real date or origin/paper the cutting came from but this adds to its fascination. That said, if there are any football geeks out there, I’d like to see evidence of the date – note that Southampton played away to Watford.
An End-game study
The second cutting is an endgame study, again probably from the same era as the first cutting of the game between the Greens. This is a pawn ending with White to play and win. It’s really complicated so put it into Stockfish and don’t let anyone tell you that pawn endings are easy! The reverse of this is just a few adverts so no clue as to its date, although if anyone has an Austin, a Fiat, a Ford, a Hillman, an MG, a Morris, or a Riley then go to 336 New Cross Road, London S.E.14 and you can get cash for it, otherwise there are no other clues. Again, any information as to the date of this piece would be gratefully received.
The third extra piece that I found is by far the best and is the stuff of chess dreams. It is a ‘Hollings Chess’ score-sheet from a game played on 20th February 1956 which was a Monday. The reverse of the score-sheet states that Hollings Chess was run by a Frank Hollings, Great Q. Street, Kingsway, London. I’ve never heard of Hollings. Has anyone else? Also, the reverse of the sheet advertises a number of books that can be purchased from Hollings, including ‘How to Play Chess Endings’ by Znosko-Borovsy. I actually have this book and would heartily recommend it, so if you are able to save up 12s 6d, the price listed for this book on the reverse of the score sheet, and send your postal order to 68 Great Queen St., Kingsway, London W.C.2 then you’ll be handsomely rewarded. Alternatively, telephone Holborn 8104. The game on the Hollings score-sheet itself is between a (Mr?) JWG and someone called Brown, which is a win for Brown as Black. After an Albin Counter Gambit, Black gradually builds up a slightly better position (Stockfish says -2.6 after 12… Rh3 but then White blunders with 13.Nd2 after which 13…Nxf3+ wins the white queen for a rook and knight and, soon after that the game, although Stockfish says that 13…Qd7 is just as good.
Yes, I know all these extras in a book, and their analyses, are irrelevant, superfluous and inconsequential, but to find such gems inside an already fascinating volume and be able to use modern technology to study them is highly interesting and great fun.
Has this ever happened when you buy a chess book? It has happened to me on other occasions and I’d be interested to hear of your experiences.
Book Prize 2021 Tournament organiser Peter Przybycin reports on Round 1, and announces the Round 2 player pairings. Plus: tournament results update so far.
Round 1 Report:
We now have a full complement of ten players in each section, thanks to Ian Parker stepping in. This gave Rose an opponent in round 1 of the Minor section. Unfortunately for Rose, Ian won the game!
I extend a warm tournament welcome to two new members; Lee Mundy and Eric Jones.
Lee had what appeared to be a mouse malfunction in his minor section game against Geoff Parish, losing his queen and therefore the game. Unfortunately this is one of the hazards of playing online chess. It’s happened before to other players, myself included, and is akin to inadvertently touching the wrong piece in over-the-board games.
Eric impressed by beating Sam Murphy in the major section. Well done.
All the other games went in favour of the higher graded player.
All games in round 1 are now completed.
In the past few days, Manoj Chandar drew with Dick Meredith, and Keith Gregory beat Rob Sims. Both games were played online.
Here are the pairings for round two of the second Book Prize Tournament:
Lee Mundy v John Kooner
Steve Saunders v Ian Parker
Rob Strachan v Nobby George
Maha Chandar v Rose Saunders
Steve Dunleavy v Geoff Parish
Dick Meredith v Peter Przybycin
Keven Lamb v Keith Gregory
Mike Henbury v Graham Stuart
Sam Murphy v Rob Sims
Eric Jones v Manoj Chandar
All games in round 2 to be completed by 20th November.
I have added an extra week to allow for the fact that there won’t be an opportunity to play on the day of the Club AGM.
There is also an early result in round 2 of the Minor section: Geoff Parish beat Steve Dunleavy.
I was surprised to see that this was also played online, as there is plenty of time left before 20th November to play games over the board at our comfortable chess club. Don’t forget, online games will not be sent for grading.
Tournament latest – 7th November.
In the Minor section John Kooner beat Lee Mundy, Steve Saunders beat Ian Parker, and Maha Chandar beat Rose Saunders.
In the Major section Dick Meredith was unlucky to end up with a draw against me, after having much the better of it for most of our game.
As in round 1, the Minor section looks likely to finish this round early. The last remaining game is Nobby George v Rob Strachan, which is understandable as Rob is currently recovering from injury and unable to attend at club.