Sunday, 29 December 2013

Hastings Christmas Chess Tournament

Here is a somewhat fuzzy photo of the venue for the Hastings Christmas chess tournament,
just before the start of play on Sunday afternoon.

I was playing in the Minor section and scored 2.5/4, winning £20 prize
(£10 for joint third place, and £10 grading prize).
Should have at least drawn the last game, but was too tired at the end.
Was too tired for the New Year Morning tournament and scored only 1.5/5.
Recovered for the Weekend tournament scoring 2.5/5,
but tired at the end again.
Next year must remember not to enter the weekday event!

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Sunset Skies

Two contrasting photos from roughly the same position on the promenade in St Leonards. The first taken on 8th December the second on 25th December this year.
A few weeks ago I observed a very unusual sunset sky, but did not have my camera with me at the time. The sun appeared as a red hemisphere above dark clouds. Since then I have periodically walked down to the seafront around that time in the evening for a constitutional walk, but a similar sky has not recurred. I find the sky-scapes over the sea here endlessly fascinating and beautiful.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

A Remembrance Day Walk

Since it was a nice sunny day this morning, I took a walk around 10:30 and ended up at the war memorial in Alexandra Park where the remembrance ceremony was in progress. It was all very much under control of the church with the usual formulaic wording. At the end there was a rendition of the national anthem, but I was surprised that none of the congregation seemed to join in the singing. Maybe Hastings is a republican place! Shortly after there was a parade led by a group in highland dress playing pipes and drums, which went from the park towards Queens Road, but nothing tuneful such as It's a Long Way to Tipperary, which I always find the main attraction of such events.

The event at the Royal Albert Hall, televised on Sunday evening, also seemed to be more under the dead hand of the church than usual, with the parade of the bible to the drum-head taking centre stage. There is a campaign for more secular representation at these ceremonies, but I can't see the church loosening it's grip, just as it is gaining more control over education, despite society itself becoming more secular.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Bournemouth Chess

1-4 November, I travelled to Bournemouth for the Dorset Chess Congress. Scored 3/5 in the Minor section. My best play was as Black in the mornings, after a good night's sleep. My best game was against an ungraded player on the Sunday morning. She sacrificed a Bishop early on for an attack on my King position, but with dogged defence I managed to beat it off and in the last few moves her position collapsed remarkably quickly with my Queen mopping up all the loose pieces.

I bought a book from the bookstall: "Black is OK for ever" by Andras Adorjan, apparently it is the third in a series he wrote. It seems quite humorous. Unlike most chess books it shows all the diagrams from Black's point of view.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

A Magic Two-Giraffe Tour!

I've returned to doing some work on tours and other mathematical recreations after a break of a few months. I revisited the proofs I published in 1976 beginning in the second issue of Chessics that closed and open Giraffe tours on the 8x8 board are impossible. This led me to find two 16-move closed tours of the A1-B1 cells and two 16-move closed tours of the A2-B2 cells. In each case one tour is symmetric and the other asymmetric. There are also 16-cell open tours possible of course. Two such tours can be joined to form a 32-cell open tour. I have combined two copies of such a tour to form a Magic Two-Giraffe Tour, where the link 32-33 is a rook move:

15 46 11 42 23 54 19 50
24 53 20 49 16 45 12 41
01 36 05 40 25 60 29 64
26 59 30 63 02 36 06 39
47 14 43 10 55 22 51 18
56 21 52 17 48 13 44 09
33 04 37 08 57 28 61 32
58 27 62 31 34 03 38 07

I composed this tour just this morning (Wednesday 9 October), using the two symmetric quarter tours. Must now check whether any others are possible.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Catching Up Again

I found the heat during the summer rather exhausting, and lack of progress on much of my work has been depressing. This has also been made worse by the plastering and painting work being done on the outside and in the hallway of the building where I live which has made it difficult to get out or to concentrate on anything. Of course the place will look much better when it's all finished. One of the improvements has been the removal of a broken down old car that has been standing in the parking space alongside the house for a long while. I have a photo of its removal that I was going to post here, but am having difficulty finding it, since the 'My Pictures' to which the blog connection gives access for some reason doesn't show the file containing the photograph. This is puzzling. I may have to move the photo and come back to post it. - I seem to have managed that, but the photo appears in the top middle instead of the top left corner as it used to, and there was no longer a choice of arrangements offered.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Catching up on the Diary

An account of some recent activities to catch up on the diary.

Saturday 8th June: I went to Conway Hall for a discussion featuring Prof Peter Atkins from 11 am to 2:30 pm. The first speaker was a theologian and the third a philosopher. This was quite enjoyable knockabout mainly on Scientism. He maintains Theology obfuscates, Philosophy equivocates, Science elucidates, and with this I'm inclined to agree.

Thursday 13 June: was our Hastings Humanists meeting in the form of a Question Time. On the panel was Simon Clare of the SE Skeptics Society, with which we may become more involved. The most lively part of the discussion as I recall it was on Europe and UKIP.

Friday 21 June: I took the train to London and from there to Woolwich to enquire with the Council about possible sheltered accommodation in that area which is where I was born, but it seems you have to reside there for five years to go on the list. Walked from there to my childhood home in Plumstead. Looked in at the Library there. Externally it is much as it used to be, but the old interior has been gutted. Last time I visited the same old books were on the same old shelves. Now it's been modernised, and the book-space much reduced, the old heavy book-cases gone. Disappointing.

In the evening I looked in at a GALHA meeting for the first time. Authors were reading short stories from a recent compilation, but the first three were quite horrible, full of grotesque violence, though some of the audience seemed to think them hilarious. The last one was more subtle science fiction. Very little humanism. Don't think I'll go again.

Saturday 29 June: A sunny day at last! In the morning I took a walk up to Asda at Silverhill to buy coffee, uncut bread and biscuits. Then walked through Alexandra Park. There was a cormorant standing on a branch just above the water with its wings spread out to dry, just like a heraldic standard. Walked all the way down to the town centre and back along the seafront. Felt a lot better for the exercise.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Resurrection Day for Old Websites

Two more of my websites on free dial-up servers disappeared into the ether some time around the beginning of May. I've been spending a lot of time since then on reconstructing them on sections of the Mayhematics site. This is in addition to rearranging the Knight's Tour Notes material. There I have been putting the images into separate folders which makes it easier to understand, rather than have everything jumbled up together.

The Games and Puzzles Journal is now here: but there are 13 more pages to do, which is about half the total. It's a while since I looked at these pages in any detail, and I found they made interesting reading. As usual a number of links had disappeared though I was able to relocate some of them on new sites.

The British Chess Variants Society website is now here: and is as complete as I can make it. I still had a few pages of my own articles on my computer, but the rest was preserved by Sue Beasley who maintained the site for several years up to 2010 when the Society closed down. At present the policy is to keep the pages as an archive and not to update them. In effect this treats them like any printed publication. There are items there that I had almost forgotten too.

Many old sites can also be found on the way back machine here: at least in part if you have the old web address.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Another Game From St Albans

The full results from the St Albans Chess Congress are now available:
This shows that Jessica Wen, whom I beat in the first round of the Intermediate, went on to win all four of her subsequent games and ended in joint third position (among five players on 4 points).

Here is the game: 1.Nf3 Nc6 2.d4 e6 3.Bf4 f5 (I hadn't encountered this Dutch Defence used against the London system before, but it looks to me like a dangerous weakening of the Black King position) 4.e3 Nf6 5.h3 b6 6.c3 Bb7 7.Nbd2 Ne7 8.Bd3 Ng6 9.Bg5 Be7 10.0-0 0-0 11.h4 (aiming for h5) Ng4 12.BxBe7 QxBe7 13.g3 h5? (weakening the Black King position further) 14.Ng5 e5? (a good move to aim for but premature here) 15.Qb3+ d5 (now the Black Bb7 is shut out of the attack) 16.e4! (using the pin on the Pd5) fxe4 17.Be4 Nf6? (overlooking that the attack is on the Ng6 not on d5) 18.BxNg6 Kh8 19.Rae1 e4 20.Ndf3 (using another pin) Ba6! (I missed that one) 21.c4? (expecting dxc4) Bxc4 22.Qd1 BxRf1 23.KxBf1 Nd7 24.Ne5 Nf6 25.Bxh5! (if NxBh5 Qxh5+ and mate) Kg8 26.Ng6 Qe8 27.Qe2 c5 28.Rd1 e3 29.Kg2 exf2? 30.Ne7+ QxNe7 31.QxQe7 NxBh5 32.Qe3 Rae8 33.Qc3 cxd4 34.Qd3 (threatening mate at h7) Nf6 35.Rf1 Ne4 36.Nf3 Rf6 37.Nd2 Kh8 38.Qxd4 a5 39.NxNe4 dxNe4 40.Rxf2 (the dangerous pawn falls at last!) Rfe6 41.Rf7 (threat of Qxg7 mate) Rg6 42.Qe3 Kg8 43.Rb7 Rd6 44.Qc3 Rg6 45.Qb3+ Kh8 46.Qf7! Ree6 47.h5 (at this point Black's flag fell at the end of the extra 15 minutes play, but the position is lost anyway). 1-0

An exciting game to play through again.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Chess in St Albans

I played in the Chess Congress at St Albans over the last weekend (13-14 April) and scored a respectable 2.5/5. This year I put my name down for the Intermediate section rather than the Minor, in the hope of avoiding having to play any five-year-olds as I had to last year. This meant that I had the lowest grade in the section (97) while my opponents were all graded around the 125 mark. Evenso I still found myself having to play two juniors (a girl of 13 and a boy of 10), in fact those were my two wins.

Here is my win in the last round as White against F. Rocco: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.d4 e6 3.Bf4 c5 4.c3 Nc6 5.e3 d5 6.Bd3 c4 7.Bc2 b5 8.Nbd2 a5 (so far this is all familiar London System territory for me, although I'm starting to get a bit worried about his Queenside pawn advance) 9.a3 Bd7 10.0-0 Be7 11.Ne5 0-0 12.h3 Qb6 13.g4 NxNe5 14.BxNe5 Ne8 15.Nf3 f6 16.Bg3 Bd6 17.Bxd6 Nxd6 18.g5 Qd8 (here I'm worrying that I may have weakened my King position too much, and wondering how I can manoeuvre my pieces for an attack down the g and h files) 19.Qb1 f5 20.h4 Qe8 21.Kg2 Qh5 22.Qd1 Qg4+ 23.Kh2 Rfd8 24.Rg1 h5 25.Kh3 Be8 26.Qe2 Ne4 27.Bd1 Rdb8 28.Qc2 Qf7 (essential as otherwise Ne5 traps the Black Q) 29.Ne5 Qc7 30.f3 Nd6 31.Qg2 g6 32.f4 Nf7 33.Nf3 Nd6 34.h5 Kg7 35.hxg6 hxg6 36.Qh2 Bd7 (this is where we put the clocks back for the extra 15 minutes - I am getting short on time compared with my opponent) 37.Nh4 Rh8 38.Bf3 Ne4 39.Bxe4 fxe4 40.Kg2 Qb8 41.Rh1 b4 (there are now dangers of Black R or Q coming down to a2 or b2 skewering K and Q - I had to spend a lot of time thinking over the next moves - and complained to the controllers about people coming to stand behind me looking over my shoulder at the board, which I found distracting - at one point there were four people about) 42.Kg3 Rh5 43.Kg4?! e5+ 44.f5 Qd8? 45.Qxe5+ Kh7 46.Qf4 Qb6 47.axb4 gcf5+! (the White King cannot capture the Rh5 since Be8+ and mate follows) 48.Nxf5 Rxh1 49.Rxh1+ Kg8 50.Qe5 Rf8? 51.Qg7 mate. This sudden end caught me by surprise. I was expecting more play, and my clock was close to the flag, but it does seem a won position now.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Chess in Portsmouth

Over the weekend 22 - 24 February I took part in the Minor section of the Portsmouth Chess Congress which was held at the Royal Beach Hotel, Southsea.

Not the best time of year to go for a beach holiday. There was a cold East wind all the time and little shelter along the coast there. In contrast the heating in the hotel was oppressive, but fortunately not in the room where the chess was played.

I scored 2.5 out of 6. One win, three draws and two losses. My loss in the first round was to the player, Patrick Reid, who went on to win with a score of 5/6. I seem to play better in these sort of tournaments than in matches for the Hastings club, where I have lost my last two games.

I've set up a slow-play Ladder tournament for internal play in the club, but it remains to see if any members take it up.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

An Early Spring Clean

I've spent most of my 73rd birthday, and the weekend following, doing an early spring-clean of my flat and moving everything round. However everything mostly ended up roughly where it was before, or where it has been in the past.

It does look much neater now, and there will be more room once I've managed to dispose of an old TV, Radio and Computer, and six boxes of books. That's assuming I can find anyone to take them.

At least I should be a bit fitter now after moving two bookcases and numerous boxes of books around. I must get back to taking more exercise this year, since I've let my swimming and cycling lapse over the last few months, and also haven't done as much walking as I used to. At least I have the excuse of the weather. Hope it warms up soon.

Monday, 28 January 2013

My Chess Play Improves!

I played in the Hastings Christmas and New Year Morning Tournaments this year (rather than playing in all four as I did last year), but I only managed to score 1.5 in each, i.e. one win and one draw. The gradings which came out yesterday at least show that I have made a recovery, from 79 to 98. Now I need to keep up a good standard and hopefully pass the 100 mark rather than falling back again. My win in the NY AM tournament against Mason Woodhams, another member of the Hastings club, was probably my best game so far. He went on to win a section in the Weekend Tournament, which I hadn't entered. I've recorded this game on a page of my website where it can be played through on-screen: