Author Archives: Ivan Urwin

About Ivan Urwin

Ivan Urwin is the author of the chess engine Sidonia, best harmonica player in Denton Chess Club, and maybe the best chess player at the pub's open microphone nights.

Long time no see

Hi all,

Not written anything here for a long time.
Now, with the corona virus upon us, and no club to go to, I have a moment to write here.
I have a little free time so I thought I would test whether the website is useable.

It looks like it is, after a fashion, though all the fixture information will be out of date.


My game from tonight

My game from tonight


The BLOG is back! And Halloween gambit too.

The blog software “WordPress” asked me if I wanted to update it years ago and I replied YES.

It downloaded so much software that the server thought I was spamming it, stopped half way through and locked me out.
So not only was the site broken, but I was not able to step in and fix it.

Then someone changed the password on the site. That’s just an excuse. I got custody of my daughter, and got a partner too. Despite numerous attempts to fix things, I never managed until today. I am celebrating by posting another Halloween gambit game my chess engine (Sidonia) won.

I regularly get the engine to play the Halloween gambit at Halloween. I figure it could be a nasty shock for the losers. It’s only once a year and its becoming a little ritual of mine.

Halloween again

It has been Halloween again, and like last year I tried setting up my chess program to play the Halloween gambit.
All in all it played 5 games and won all 5. In two of the games the opponent abandoned, probably due to a mixture of losing and knowing that they were playing a computer. That makes the games just seem incomplete. In another game, the opponent took Sidonia (my program) out of book quite early and the game became a long grind.

These are the two remaining games of the 5. My program rips the opponents apart.

Interestingly, FICS has marked these opponents as being programs too; I have only just noticed that. It’s something to look into. FICS is the free internet chess server: the web site where these games took place.


Update for Pablo

Hi all, Ivan here.

I had a message from Pablo recently where Pablo said: “Hi Ivan how have you been?”
This is my reply to Pablo, made public to update everyone at once.

Unlike Tim, I don’t think it interests everyone to have a photo
of every beer I drink posted on facebook. But I might make an
exception today and post a picture of my recent pint of Guiness. I am becoming an expert in Guiness. Ask me if you want to know how a black beer can have a white head on it, or how
the bubbles in a pint of Guiness can sink.

A lot has been happening recently that I have kept fairly quite about.
One of the things is my little girl Sophie is currently in the hands of social
services. Another is my ex-girlfriend wants us to sell our house and
I don’t have the money to buy out her share.

As a result, I have a habit of saying I am free to play in a chess match for Denton
in a week or two, which is true. And then come the day of the match, I forget.
Maybe I am getting old and demented. I rather hope its more a case of
having my mind on other things: possible legal cases in France from Christine
and the aftermath of one over here. The judge ordered that I be DNA tested.
(No, that’s not DNA as in National Dyslexic’s Association!)

I am supposedly not allowed to tell you the results as I could end up
in prison, but I can tell you that it’s quite sexy having a dishy young
lady lean across your lap in her car after putting on her tight
sky blue latex gloves and putting them in your mouth.
Well, it’s sexy afterwards actually, when you remember her and think about it.
At the time I didn’t have the presence of mind to ask her if she’d prefer
a pint to another half hour in the Stockport road works traffic jam.
Knowing my luck, I probably saved myself from the disappointment of
knowing she prefers the traffic jam.

To get my little girl back from social services I need to show that I
am a fit father. That means lots of things … a tidy house, that I am not
a child beater, etc.

I am very fortunate that I have a friend Amal, who came around
and helped me tidy the house. I am sure Merlin will not mention
the clout on the ear I gave him when the National Society for the Prevention
of Cruely to Children (NSPCC) came up to us in Manchester with their
collection tin. So I have my fingers crossed getting my little one back.

We are coming up to Halloween. I might dig out my chess program again.
On Halloween last year, I set it up to play the Halloween Gambit, if possible.
Of course it takes two to Tango, and most opponents played different openings.
Only two people allowed my program to play the Halloween Gambit.
I was delighted that they both lost. I hope I can repeat that again this year.

What else is new?

Fixtures. I went to the fixtures meeting for the Stockport
League and arranged matches for Denton Chess Club. They are on the blog,
but I need to mix them with the Manchester League Fixtures and present
them in a way that makes them simple to view. I am feeling tired and lazy though.

I have a bit of a crush on a supermarket checkout girl.
She’s the prettiest there, or at least that’s my opinion,
but if she wasn’t so pleasant, I’d go to another till to avoid waiting.
But she’s such an angel that I feel something is missing if she’s off sick
and I get served by someone else.

And how’s my chess? Slowly getting better I hope.

I am going to set myself a challenge. To play a game online tonight,
win against a higher rated player, and then post the game, with (hopefully)
something clever in it, even if its full of mistakes.

And … almost forgot to mention it. I act as the walk leader at times
on Saturdays for “Walking for Health”, leading walkers from the Droylsden
Leisure Centre (depart 10:30 Saturdays), walking to the cafe at Daisy Nook
(arriving about 12:00 or 12:15, and after a coffee there, returning
back along the disused canal. Anyone is welcome to come and join in.

Stockport League Fixtures Meeting

League: Stock League
Division: Limit League
Teams: 4
Players: 4
Matches: Play each opponent 3 times

19/10/2016 Denton LL East Cheshire LL
01/11/2016 Denton LL Macclesfield LL
16/11/2016 Denton LL Stockport LL
29/11/2016 Stockport LL Denton LL
01/02/2017 Denton LL Stockport LL
15/03/2017 Denton LL Macclesfield LL
22/03/2017 Denton LL East Cheshire LL
27/03/2017 Macclesfield LL Denton LL
05/04/2017 Denton LL East Cheshire LL

League: Stock League
Division: 2
Teams: 7
Players: 6
Matches: Play each opponent 2 times

25/10/2016 Chorlton B Denton A
31/10/2016 Macclesfield B Denton A
25/01/2017 East Cheshire B Denton A
30/01/2017 Macclesfield C Denton A
08/02/2017 Denton A East Cheshire B
02/03/2017 Marple B Denton A
14/03/2017 Altrincham A Denton A
05/04/2017 Denton A Macclesfield B
19/04/2017 Denton A Chorlton B
26/04/2017 Denton A Macclesfield C
03/05/2017 Denton A Marple B
10/05/2017 Denton A Altrincham A

A change from chess

I decided this weekend – for one reason or another – to tidy up at home.

I started a bit on the garden today, where the flagstones at the front had stuff growing out from the gaps between them.

It still looks a mess but it is significantly better. The stuff I pulled out of the gaps was enough to fill a wheelie bin. I wonder how much I will manage to get done before I run out of steam. Gardening is far from being my favourite pastime.

I did once have a special tool for clearing out the gaps. It was a wire brush where the wires lined up front to back like this |. I couldn’t find it so I went to B&Q and they only had one where the wires line up side to side like this -. I did my bit of gardening with the new one. And then, as soon as I had finished, I went to put the tool away, and I found the one I had been looking for. Life’s like that eh?


Fixtures database – SELSL matches

The south east Lancashire summer league (SELSL) fixtures have been added to a database of fixtures and are now searchable via the link below.

The web page is not very user friendly in my opinion and turned out to be far less useful than the old simple fixture list that I once had. The fixtures don’t include the cup matches. That’s another complaint I have.

On the plus side, it does contain the 15 matches for each of three divisions, so the details are there for other clubs too if anyone is interested.
I need to find a better way to view the data. To see summer league fixtures, put 2016 in the date part of the search boxes.
The image shows an example search: when are Denton 1 at home?