Saturday, 30 October 2010

Reader Letter II

Sharks favourite Ms. D Fault of Sevenoaks has contacted us regarding some of the phrases that have unfortunately slipped past our censorship team:

Dear Gerry,

Cyril and I would like to remind you that the service you provide to the chess community comes at a price and you would do well to keep a civil tongue. The recent trend of boorish language amongst these pages is quite upsetting.

The episode brings to mind the untimely passing of our tortoise last July. Henry was always a placid animal and I recommend you take after his example though, naturally, at a more sprightly pace. It was all rather tragic actually; he climbed into an ice box during a garden party. As I'm sure you are aware, the only way to euthanize a tortoise is to put it in a freezer. I still think of him often whilst hoeing on the beds.

Otherwise we would like to express our continued support of your work. We are inviting Maud for dinner next week and you would be welcome to attend. I would rather you left your President badge at home this time though please. One needs to let go.


Deborah Fault

We are saddened to learn Henry is no longer with us and send our condolences. Regarding the "boorish language” however, we cannot pretend there wont be the odd use of flowery speech littered amongst these pages. We'll be providing the Faults with a vintage bottle of barley water and hope they continue to enjoy RTK.

Friday, 29 October 2010

Maud Watt Sorts Your Life Out I

Thank you for your contributions. I'll leave Maud herself to dissect them. 

My wife tells me I take chess far too seriously. I totted up the numbers and found that, over a typical week, I play one league or club match and about 10 hours online. Is this really too much for someone of around 1800 strength? 

JD, Peebles

Firstly, congratulations on having a wife. Must be fucking nice. I had a husband once but, after 23 years of gambling away our savings, he eloped with the till girl from William Hill. Apparently, a punter had placed a £200 bet at 25/1 with her that he would become a grandmaster. He fell in love with her because she'd managed to drive him down to such short odds, when 250/1 would barely have been value.

10 hours of online chess per week is a bit much. I recommend cutting back to 6 and using the other 4 to watch porn. Who knows, you might pick up some bedroom tips. That would be a double win with your wife, would it not?

Sometimes I dream about the chess match I've played that evening. Is this normal?

TLD, Dunstable

I imagine that Geoff Hurst has dreamt of his World Cup Final hatrick in 1966 on countless occasions since. However, that was a significant event. Beating someone graded 140 in the British Legion on a Wednesday isn't.

Seek help.


Do you have an urgent chess issue to resolve? Email with 'Maud Watt' in the subject line.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Crazed Wolves In Store a Bad Mistake Admits Mothercare

Waiting For The Beat To Kick In” dan le sac vs Scroobius Pip, Angles, Sunday Best Recordings, 2008

It was immediately clear when I first heard there was a London league side called Drunken Knights I'd have to involve. My first taste was the annual DK beer and blitz tournament at the Plough a few weeks back. It was a banterous evening despite, in what media sources were to call an injustice of biblical proportions, the younger Kraken beating me first round then proceeding to outscore me by ½ to finish 4th = with 18/24.

Having been informed that Athenaeum played at a dry venue we realised that under such inhumane conditions it would be an uphill struggle. The ball kicks didn't stop there, as upon arrival we were greeted by the sight of Gawain sat at board 1 and the clocks already started. Actually, this news sat surprisingly well with the Krakens, as our partner in crime Charlie “Britain's next top model” Fry was to be his opponent. My blogging colleague took great pleasure in informing him of this when he finally arrived, in a move motivated purely by a desire to inspire a top tungsten performance.

Fry failed to deliver.

Fortunately the Krakens under crisis always come up smiling. We'd made sure to top up on brain fuel prematch at the Cross Keys opposite the venue. Packley was already installed at the bar when we arrived and it was in high spirits that we eventually left for the match. About two hours later it became overwhelmingly apparent that the London League is rigged.

6½ - ½ down. You mean we've come out here in the middle of fucking nowhere without aspirins? It was certainly not shaping up to be the debut I'd imagined. We'd lost after 7 games in a 12 board match with our only man on the scoreboard at this stage being Mr Makepeace who offered the chop as the queens were about to come off after an interesting opening. Frankly Atheaeum's underhand tactic had given them the crucial psychological edge, preventing us from living up to our name with their dry venue was the deciding factor of the match.

Some of the shit did miss the fan as we rallied somewhat to finish with 3½, Dom picking up our only win and with it Nevil's man of the match award. Here's the match card:




G. Jones GM (b)


1 - 0


C. Fry


P. Thorarinsson


1 - 0


R. Black


J. Spreeuw


½ - ½


S. Tidman


M. Capuzzo


½ - ½


C. Russell


G. Anthony


½ - ½


P. Makepeace


D. Farkas


0 - 1


D. Goodwin


T. Johansson


½ - ½


N. Alldritt


J. Way


1 - 0


P. Ackley


P. Tozer


½ - ½


A. Rawlinson


C. McAleenan


1 - 0


T. Nitz


M. Gray


1 - 0


M. Ludbrook


S. Launiau


1 - 0


D. Tuddenham

8½ - 3½

Though DK2 have yet to make their mark this season with a +0 =0 -2 start and 5½ game points we have had a tough couple of fixtures. The plan is to improvise, adapt and overcome, starting as soon as we return to the Plough. We shall certainly be keeping our heads (and pints) held high.

Those of you wondering why I've included a song might do well to acquaint themselves with the literary stylings of Captain Johnny Danger, hero.

Monday, 25 October 2010

Cash For Titles Redux

This week brought the unfortunate but extremely predictable news that the ECF has lost it's government grant. However, we reckon there's an alternative way for them to trouser at least £45,000 a year.

Of the 37 grandmasters currently registered for England, at least 7 are inactive or retired. That's nearly 19%, fact fans. Forget all the energy-saving rubbish that you're inundated with - we're wasting our grandmasters to a ruinous extent. Les Savy-Fav, editor of the popular magazine And Then I Blundered Everywah, has predicted that, by 2020, a dozen more will fall by the wayside, choosing a profession that actually brings in a reasonable income and the potential of raising a family. Madness.

So how can we change this worrying trend? Well, at the recent Olympiad, we noticed just how many nations were lacking top people and sent mere IMs and FMs to represent them. Hark! Pity the child! Good gravy, even! This will not do.

We have therefore sent an envoy to the ECF Office with a demand that, in time for the 2012 Istanbul Olympiad, the grandmasters who have deserted our flag will have been sold to needy countries. The presence of sub-2500 coffee-house players at such a prestigious event is a practice that must be eradicated. I wouldn't be surprised if we see GM Kumaran of the Lebanon or GM Stean representing Nepal before too long.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Maud Watt Sorts Your Life Out

Please welcome our new guest columnist, Maud Watt. She will be here in the capacity of an Agony Aunt, addressing the darkest areas of your wretched, beige lives.

Contributions to the usual address please:

Friday, 22 October 2010

A New Venture I

This season I'm captaining Muswell Hill in Division 1 of the Middlesex League, taking over from the extremely capable Tom Peet. Insert your own cliché about pressure, or lack thereof, here. Yawn.

Not wanting to appear too keen, we were the last team to kick off the season at home to Metropolitan I last night. At the nominal start time, a scene more akin to a Sambuca Sharks 4NCL fixture swam before me, with only half of the team present. I've now figured out a legal reason why my 4NCL outfit are so successful - the four latecomers managed 3½ points between them. Obviously I've told Dan Hall to not bother showing up until the default time for the next match.

My individual game saw me paired against D. Ian Calvert, a regular Middlesex teammate. To do retreads of previous 'unknown initial' material would be reprehensible, so we won't bother. After all, my university are always on at me about how self-plagiarism kills babies and widens the ozone gap.

D. Ian Calvert (168) - (185) Philip J. Makepeace

1. b3 d5 2. Bb2 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. c4 Be7 5. g3 c5 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bg2

7... d4! would have already given me a solid edge, due to the complete lack of scope for b2 Bobby. However, Nigel was screaming to be sent on, so I listened to him instead; as he reached c6, Brian interjected, "Shotgun"...

7... Nc6 8. d4 Bf5 9. 0-0 Be4?!

...and perhaps got a little carried away. A move to mix things up, that's all really.

10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. Nc3 0-0 12. Na4

12... Be7 13. Nd4 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 Qd7

White's position lacks cohesion and the a4 knight is offside. Nevertheless, 15. Qd3 here would maintain the threat of Nf5.

15. Rc1 Ne4 16. f3 Ng5 17. g4?

A strange decision, especially considering Qh3+ wasn't much of a threat. Yes, the knight now has a potential outlet on f5, but I can ruin that plan in short order.

17... Nxd4! 18. Bxd4 Ne6 19. e3 f5!

Ronnie can now join the party.

20. Nc5 Bxc5 21. Bxc5 Rf6 22. e4?

Kamikaze Eddie's plan doesn't work and, what's more, he gets Fergal involved in an unwinnable fight.

22... fxe4 23. fxe4 Rxf1 24. Kxf1

24. Qxf1 Nxc5 leaves Gary unprotected.

24... Qf7+ 25. Kg1 dxe4 26. Qd5 Rd8 27. Qf5!

The best hope is to get rid of the queens and hope the bishop can out-muscle the knight's influence. 27. Qxe4? Nxc5 28. Rxc5 Rd1+ 29. Kg2 Qf1+ 30. Kg3 Qg1+ 31. Kh3 Qxc5 32. Qe6+ Kf8 leaves white with no checks.

27... Qxf5 28. gxf5 Nf4 29. Rc4 Rd1+ 30. Kf2 b6 31. Be3 Nd5 32. Rxe4 Ra1

33. a4?

I had assumed that 33. Ra4 a5 would be good for me, but of course 34. Bd4 shits all over my biscuits. Harry now falls, and with him, the game.

33... Ra2+ 34. Kf3 Rxh2 35. Bf4 Nxf4 36. Kxf4? Rh4+


Board 8 saw a quick chop for London Met's Tom Villiers, who I'm predicting big things for this season. His appearance means that seven universities have been represented in Muswell Hill teams in 2010. Student chess is by no means dead.

Dickson - Hall and Russell - Doye were similarly lukewarm affairs, with my co-conspirator on these pages having exhausted his inspiration the previous evening at Athenaeum, of which more to come.

Oliver and Dick appeared to make light of their grading advantages without too much trouble while Tryfon on Board 1 couldn't convert his bind. Mr. Chessworld is our very own Dennis Bergkamp - extremely talented but reluctant to play away from home. It's just as well the rest of my squad are more like John Terry.

Alecos played the best game of the night, a Karpovian grind that betrayed his relatively poor form of last season. Expect to see him pushing 200 come the summer.


Tryfon C. Gavriel (w)
½ - ½
Cengiz Hasman
Daniel J. Hall
½ -½
George Dickson
Alexandros N. Ethelontis
1 - 0
Petr Vachtfeidl
Philip J. Makepeace
1 - 0
D. Ian Calvert
Christopher Russell
½ - ½
Peter C. Doye
O.D.R. Butt
1 – 0
J.A. Moore
Richard House
1 - 0
Geoffrey L. Bishop
Thomas Villiers
½ - ½
John F. Kitchen
6 - 2
Creative Commons Licence
Release The Kraken by Philip Makepeace and Christopher Russell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.