Monday, 28 December 2009

If it's December, it must be Hastings

For all its faults, I do actually like the British public transport network. Which is not to say I like everything about it. Yesterday's journey, in which I made my way from Bideford to Coulsdon and then from Coulsdon to Hastings, is a case in point. It had all the normal joys of a post-Christmas journey, coupled with Sunday scheduling. Thus:

Bus from Bideford to Barnstaple.
Train from Barnstaple to Exeter - fortunately, they had decided to run four carriages instead of two; they needed them.
Get to Exeter St Davids. Can take a packed Paddington train or wait an hour for a slow train to Clapham Junction. Choose Paddington train, do not get a seat until Reading.
Go through the London Underground system to Victoria via Oxford Circus, hauling huge suitcase in my wake. Hauling huge suitcases through the Underground is always spectacularly fun for everyone.
Get fast train from Victoria to Purley, and then one from Purley to Coulsdon South.

Complete stuff that needs to be done at Coulsdon pretty quickly, with time to kill before the next train.
Go from Coulsdon to Gatwick Airport station. Just miss connection with Hastings train. Wait an hour at Gatwick Airport for another train. Note that there is nothing to do at Gatwick Airport station unless I go into the airport itself, which is confusing and likely to cause me to find myself lost in short order.
Get on Eastbourne and Ore train. Find out as I'm approaching Eastbourne that I'm in the wrong half of the train; hastily move through Southern train with narrow aisles with the aforementioned huge suitcase. More spectacular fun for everyone.
Eventually end up in Hastings.

It's a good job I like this tournament so much. Today, I'm taking on GM Romain Edouard of France, and you should be able to follow my progress here.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Miss Easy Tactics!

Regular readers of the Streatham and Brixton blog will be familiar with their Miss Easy Tactics! series. Today I managed a worthy contribution to this genre. Here we go with Frank Kane v Jack Rudd from the CCF Challengers International:

From the diagram position, with black to play, the game concluded 15...Nd4 16.Bxd4 Qxc1 17.Rxc1 Rxc1+ 18.Kg2 exd4 19.Qd2 Rfc8 20.Nc3 dxc3 21.Qxc1 Nxd5 22.exd5 c2 0-1.

But in that sequence, what did both players miss?

Saturday, 5 December 2009

How Good Is Your Chess Judgement - answer

My last post was about this position, asking the reader to evaluate 7...Bxc3+ by black here.

Two people attempted to answer this, and both came up with what I believe is the right answer for the right reasons. I don't think the move is good, because:

1) Even if it were the right idea in this position,why play it immediately? The knight is pinned and not going anywhere. I suppose white can guarantee capturing on c3 with a piece rather than a pawn should black let him get Qb3 in, but...

2) The idea is the wrong one, anyway. In a stroke, the move makes things much easier for white. The dark-squared bishop gets a lovely diagonal to power down unopposed, the potentially weak d4-pawn gets a pawn on c3 to support it (the c3 pawn is not nearly as weak as the d4 pawn, because it's much harder to get black pieces to defend it) and perhaps worst, black is left with a load of minor pieces with nothing to do.

My opponent decided to play 7...Bxc3+ in the hope of getting a good knight versus bad bishop position. Somehow, I don't think the relative quality of the minor pieces went quite the way he'd thought: