Category Archives: Chess


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.


Ivan Urwin’s game from last night

Well, according to the computer we both played well last night, up until I miscalculated how the endgame would progress. Mistakes show as steep slopes on the evaluation graph as someone makes a mistake, and the graph hovers around zero until half way through the endgame, where I miscalculate, leading to a lost position.

Today’s U160 match …and future options

Hi Mick, all…
Firstly, well done to all involved in getting yesterdays National Quarter Finals matches organised and completed..
And well done to Tim for looking after the County U160 team this past two years…not an easy task.

On another day, I suspect things could have been different. But the result isn`t everything….although `success breads success`, and silverware can definately add shine.

I think we need to convey the full message of the County chess offering to our local players and clubs…
Its about the day out, the camaraderie, the chess/social banter…and the travel, plus the actual match itself.
Key to the whole thing is an enjoyable day out…escape from the daily drudge..etc. You also get to play at a more relaxed rate than normal league chess.

There is nothing quite like the match atmosphere at these 16 board matches..and it should be noted that this competition(s) provides some very good chess playing opportunities for players of all standards in this area.. Important for player development at all levels, and important in fulfilling Manchester’s role in providing good chessing for our local chess community.
Yesterday, Alan Beresford was telling me that Manchester used to play 100 board matches at times… during a journey that was greatly enriched by various unscheduled scenic detours through the Cheshire countryside. Not to mention getting foxed by the Birmingham road jungle. Fortunately, I had Peter King on board to take charge of navigation, decoding my cryptic instructions, spotting key clues on signposts, so we arrived safely in good time. We were also slowed by the Birmingham M6 congestion, on the way to Spaghetti Junction.
Those fortunate enough to go by David Keirmans express high speed service arrived more quickly, I believe.

As to Micks question….below, about possible additional county teams……

I`d agree, but I definitely think we/Manchester should go for an U120 team….and not a U140 team.
I say this, because our other teams need the space to take on a wide range of players e.g., the U160 team yesterday had players graded down to circa ECF 110, and the First team had some players who were U160.
So, this overlap is very useful..

Its not easy to actually raise teams, and county captains really have to battle to complete team lists..specially at the National Counties stages at this time of year, when player availability is more difficult…the summer weather, the FA Cup Final, Juniors on exam duty, players who are getting tired after a long seasons league chess, and other family/social commitments, can prove a challenging obstacle. Having two county matches on the same day adds to the problems for team captains…

So, its vital that Manchester gets plenty of support from across our clubs. These events are all about providing good chess playing opportunities for local players in this area…roughly within a 25 mile radius of Manchester…
I hope our captains continue to get good support from our local players and clubs. Our main neutral venue at Newcastle_U_Lyme Bridge club provides a very good central location to play our matches against other Midlands Counties in the early season, and provides decent refreshments and playing conditions.
I hope players enjoy the summer break, and any of the many congress events going on in the meantime…including the Bolton team Jamboree chess event, later this month .

In the meantime..I`ll just add two points….volunteers are vital to our chess bodies/clubs, and AGM season is fast approaching, so I`d urge support from all players.
Help is always available, so a willing pair of hands is key.
Secondly, a message to local clubs…organise club competitions for novice/beginner players, and advertize these on websites and local press. Clubs really do need an influx of new blood, and really need to encourage new membership at the grass roots..

Good chessing to all..
Dave P Ad hoc publicity


Why’s he done that?

A couple of moves before the position shown, two chess engines were playing a game and white advanced the pawn. I thought the position was going from a drawn position to a loss for white as the pawn was extended too far, with black’s king much closer to it than white’s.

I decided white should bring his king to help stop black’s advanced pawns. I played a couple of moves against the computer and arrived at the position shown.


My reasoning was to have the rook protecting g2 so that I could bring my king closer to the black pawn on a3. It is a blunder. The lesson to learn is look at WHY the opponent played the move he did. After my move Ra2, Black just calmly picked up my pawn with Bxc5.

The knight cannot recapture because of Rb2+ Rxb2 axb2 and neither the knight nor the king can stop the black pawn from queening. So that’s the lesson really, look at WHY the opponent played his move. The game might be drawn, but my Ra2 almost certainly loses!

Weird (and I mean weird) Checkmate.

I found this a very strange checkmate.

White sacrifices his rook. Black refuses the rook and counter sacrifices his bishop. White refuses the bishop and resacrifices his rook on a neighbouring square.

It takes a little bit of analysis to make sense of the moves.

Ivan Urwin versus P. Edhouse

This is my game from Tuesday. I know there are mistakes I made, but it was a hard fought game, and at times my brain was hurting from thinking at work and then thinking during the game so much. Maybe I should have a 5 minute rest during the game – go off and get a beer or something!

Anyway, I enjoyed it, which is the main thing. I enjoyed it tremendously. My opponent was a gentleman too. We were losing 4-0 and he could possibly have made it a 5-0 whitewash. We had 5 minutes each left on the clock and agreed a draw. I made some mistakes noting down the game. Some of the mistakes were writing Nf3 for blacks Nf6. Some were forgetting to say which knight or rook moved somewhere, when there were two possibilities. They are signs of tiredness, but worse than that was missing a knight fork: king and rook; and also missing that what I thought was a free pawn was just diverting a defender. Chess is odd in the way that you can try to analyse variations to great depth, and miss the simplest moves as a result.

Chigorin at it’s best…

This is a game stolen from a facebook posting by Joao. I’ve put it here so I can visualise it.

See no evil

Hear no evil, see no evil

Time to use up a bit more of the Blog roll. The picture is from tonight’s home match against Stockport.

Here is today’s game of mine from the club championship. Alan gave me a much harder game than I expected. I made mistakes and so did Alan, so a draw was a fair result, but towards the end I was fighting to draw what had earlier looked like a clear win.

My biggest mistake was when I forked his king and queen. I had intended to regain the knight I was losing, but missed that his queen could interpose and protect the knight. My brain hadn’t allowed for the pawn’s new position after capturing my knight.

It is late and I have work tomorrow, so I’ll not write much more.

Counter Threat

Another arrow for your quiver

Or another weapon for your arsenal. I didn’t know what to call this entry in the blog.

The post is not about “what is the best move here?” My program Sidonia played a type of move I have seen her play before and one that does not naturally occur in my mind. So I have something to learn here and I thought I would share it. She played 20. … Qe5.
If the bishop goes, then she gets a queen. That’s good. And if the queens get swapped, then the bishop saves itself in the process of recapturing. That is the clever bit really.

I am used to counter threats to parry an attack, however a counter threat from a piece of greater or equal value will usually just result in a swap and then loss of the threatened piece. That is the reason I would fail to consider it.

But here it is okay.

Just A Good Move

Happy New Year everyone

Nothing special to write, just happy new year.

I see a team of climate scientists trying to prove that Antarctica has a bit of global warming every summer has been trapped in the ice since around the 23rd. They kept it quiet till Christmas, then said there is absolutely no problem as the ice was 1m thick, they were by the ice edge and a Chinese ice breaker was on its way to free them.

The Chinese ice breaker got stuck, but no problem as the ice was only 3m thick, they were only 10 miles from the water’s edge and there was an Australian ice breaker coming too. The Australian ice breaker made it 10 miles through the ice before turning back.

Still, the clever global warming scientists have assured us that there is no problem, as the ice is only 5m thick, they are only 20 miles from the waters edge, and a French ice breaker is coming.

The lead scientist has appeared in a youtube video wearing a T-shirt saying ‘it’s really rather warm’.