Monthly Archives: April 2014



A long standing and well respected member of Denton Chess Club died recently: Hughie.

He was 95 years old and was in good health as far as I know for all but the last year or so.
He could tell numerous good stories about various events during his life. I believe he was captured and escaped about 3 times during the second world war for example, though Alan could probably tell us more about that.

One of his tales I can only half remember. Someone mentioned the name of a famous British grandmaster of the past, and Hughie remarked “He used to play board two for our club”. (That was long before Hughie joined Denton Chess Club of course.) When I asked who played board one, a little smile came to Hughie’s face and he replied “I did!”

At first it seems a little hard to believe, but the explanation lies in Hughie’s age. At the time the grandmaster was young and kept getting better. Hughie was a bit older and didn’t.

A few years ago the club had sponsors and at the end of the club’s year, the sponsors organized a party with a few prizes for best player, most improved player etc. We must have had about 30 members at the time, and I am sure that about 30 prizes were awarded. We had a Polish member at the time: Chrizystof Lewdinsky or some similar name that I found difficult to remember so I used to think to myself “Christmas Lewinsky”. (I wonder what Monica Lewinsky is up to these days?) Chrizystof picked up about 3 of the thirty prizes. That meant that some people – just one or two – had to go without a prize. That somebody was of course me!

I remember Hughie’s prize. He was in his early nineties at the time, and he was given life membership of the club. By the time Hughie was 94 we used to joke to him that it was a decision the club had come to regret. 😉 He would reply to the tongue in cheek remark with a serious offer to pay his annual subscription, but of course no one would have entertained the thought, let alone taken the money!

Hughie’s funeral may well have been on Friday. I don’t know. I wanted to post details on here, but I have not been informed. There has been a little bit of a communication breakdown.

In the last few years, Hughie’s hand to eye coordination was not what it had been. We wanted visiting teams to excuse Hughie from writing down his games. Sometimes, we’d try to have someone write his game down for him. He still had it upstairs, and would give anybody a good game, and since his main opponent was Alan, Hughie probably won more than he lost. (No disrespect meant to Alan, and he can correct me if I am wrong!) When Alan beat Hughie, that would be an event worth talking about.

Hughie was kind hearted, and the chess set that he owned and used for games against Alan has been left to him.

If I can find a game of Hughie’s, I will post it later.

Jenn again

You’d think that as you get older, you’ve seen it all before and it’d be harder to go out and enjoy yourself as much as you used to. But yesterday I played against Jenny Fire again and the game was another 3 hour game, both of us needing to use nearly all of our hour and half to try to out-think the other.

I won’t say Jennifer and I are evenly matched players, as she’s winning 2-1 after this game, and she had by far the best of it in the first game too, only making a mistake near the end and letting me get a look-in. From there, I was not sure what to play, but the moves I had picked under the pressure of onlookers, turned out to be okay under computer analysis later.

But we do seem to be evenly enough matched that we both spend our time thinking, and as Eric said or implied, her delicate touch of the pieces do rather make you think you have been tickled to death rather than strangled, when you finally end up losing.

In this game people asked why I resigned. We had about a minute on the clock each and I was losing a piece. Well that is why I resigned. It is about who played the better chess on the day, and in that sense Jenny Fire did. I don’t want a time scramble for a minute with us hitting the clocks and moving pieces in a frenzy like feeding piranha fish and then claiming I am the better player if her flag drops first.

Right, I need to get the game onto the site, as Alan was curious to see it.
Maybe I will comment on the moves in another post. And maybe I’ll get a computer to analyze it. In the last game the computer was more critical of Jen’s moves than mine – but she still won!


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!