Over the Board

"Chess Notes" from County Down Spectator, 20 Nov 2003

On Thursday night, we welcomed Julian Hughes to the club. Julian has a rating of over 2200 but surprisingly has never played serious chess "Over the Board". Damien found him playing chess on one of the many Internet Chess Servers and invited him down to Groomsport for a real game of chess.

Julian plays blitz or speed chess on the Internet and says sometimes he makes 5 moves per second. His opponents come from all over the world and he often watches Grand Masters playing live games.  GMs have never offered him a game though and they can be quite rude if they think opponents    are not up to their standard. Regular players can be rude too and will even disappear in a virtual huff if beaten badly.

Julian had never played with wooden pieces on a large board before and found the experience quite daunting. His greatest difficulty was reaching the same intensity of concentration. Internet chess is so focused with its small computer screen board, no distractions, no clock to worry about and no opponent staring at him across the board. He was particularly impressed then with the levels of concentration evident during the two league matches in progress.

He says, very modestly, he will need lots of practice to be able to compete "Over the Board". What fascinates him most is having a real person across the board and all the subtleties and psychological pressure that brings to a game. In the games he played with club members, the speed, depth of analysis and accuracy of his play was startling. Despite his modesty, it will not be long before Julian is making his mark in competition chess, Over the Board, that is.

Watch this Space

Steve Scannell tells us that he and Ulster Chess Union chairman, David McAlister have been asked to help create a "Chess Tutor" on the Internet. Funded by the National Education Association and TV's Channel 4, Steve and David will create short, chess-teaching films to be broadcast on the Internet. The short films are aimed at children just learning chess. Recording begins this weekend. Steve will keep us informed on progress.

Carnegie relinquish "Premier" Title

Last Thursday, Carnegie Team were forced to retract their claim to be Bangor's premier team. "We were well beaten by a better team" conceded captain Mark Newman. Groomsport won the match 3.5 to 1.5. Groomsport captain, Richard Proctor, was elated. "I think Carnegie may need to reconsider their status in the Club" said Richard, trying hard not to show his delight. Groomsport wisely did not claim the now, vacant title as Bangor's Best. They know there is serious competition to come before either team can claim any title. But Mark Newman was unrepentant, "We'll be back!" he promised.

Eddie Whiteside opened on board 1 for Carnegie against Groomsport's Steve Scannell. Even losing advantage with Black and a rating difference of almost 400, Eddie was not intimidated. On reflection though, a weak 7th move allowed Steve to dominate the game and claim victory. Their analysis afterwards found a more aggressive pawn move that would have strengthened Eddie's position; one for the notebook.

Mark Newman faced Damien Lavery on board 2. Although Mark began strongly, a speculative pawn sacrifice allowed Damien to open up his position and thwart white's strategy. The lost pawn returned to haunt Mark in the resulting King's pawn end-game. With both players short on time, Mark's flag fell first as he vainly struggled to defend a lost position.

James O'Fee scored Carnegie's only win against Albert McCarter on board 3. After enticing Albert's Queen with an easy capture, James had caught Albert en prise claiming a Bishop for no exchange. Albert gallantly resigned, accepting his position as untenable.

Alan McConnell agreed a board 3 draw with Ron Henderson. Through to the middle-game, the balance of play alternated frequently between black and white with loose play on both sides. Alan and Ron were happy to agree a draw before a nervous error cost one of them the game.

Mark Seidman met Richard Proctor on board 5. A sharp King's gambit led to mistakes from both players. Eventually a draw was agreed in a static end-game with no advantage for either player.

Winston lose to Bombardier

Winston opened their league campaign entertaining Bombardier at home. On board 1 Evan Bell valiantly forced a draw in a fierce Sicilian. Despite Ken Browne's stout defence, black's Queen whittled away at his position until he was forced to resign. In contrast, Richard Morrow aggressively pummelled his opposition into submission to claim the team's first victory. David Symmington battled courageously but after losing a Rook-Bishop exchange and with his other Bishop disabled, he was also forced to accept defeat. Owen Wilson was disappointed with his play; moving too fast, the cumulative effect of weak moves cost him the game. Despite the 3.5-1.5 defeat, captain Richard Morrow was not disappointed, praising his teams' performance against very strong opposition, and opening their account with two good results from Evan and himself.

This Week's Fixtures

Carnegie travelled to Civil Service on Wednesday. On Thursday's Club night, Groomsport entertain RVH Hawks and are very confident of a convincing win. Templar take on Winston in a Division 2 derby. After contrasting results from both teams' first matches, Templar may think they are favourites; Winston disagree.

Weekend Ulster Championships

The North Belfast Chess Club is the new venue for the Ulster Junior and Intermediate Championships. Competition starts early on Saturday 22nd and finishes on Sunday evening. The Junior championship is important for selection to the Irish Junior Teams for this year; young players should try and attend.

Next Week's Fixtures

Carnegie travel to Belfast on Tuesday to take on RVH Hawks and hopefully will benefit from Groomsport's experience this week. Groomsport themselves entertain Fisherwick who are looking very strong having picked up a new board 1 from the defunct QUB team. On Wednesday, Templar travel to CIYMS with Martin Rogers stepping in to cover board 1. Winston have a free week.

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