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A brilliant culture night with Chess at the Caffe Nero

A cup of delicious coffee, a vibrant atmosphere, a lovely venue at the Caffe Nero, new aquiantances and the game of chess - what more could you ask for!

September 16th and Belfast Culture Night. As always I drove into Belfast excited at the prospect. With a large box containing sets and clocks and 2 bags carrying the large set I parked the car and lifted the equipment with the sudden realisation that it was heavy and I was a 15min walk from Caffe Nero... I carried it about 100 meters and rested (muttering to myself that this could have been bettter planned and I had only myself to blame!) when out of nowhere an angel appeared, he was a volunteer marshall for the Culture Night and immediately offered to help carry the box. Not only did this enable the  equipment to get to the cafe but we had an brilliant conversation about lifes ups and downs and most importantly its appreciation - A big thankyou to that wonderful man.

Arriving at the Cafe at about 4:00pm we setup the sets and started playing. People sat and played. The large set drew audiences that applauded at the end of the games. Fascinated faces looked on and studied the positions. We handed out a set of brilliant problems with a choice of 3 answers for each problem. It was wonderful to watch people enjoying the game of chess. We had live music from up the street varying from what sounded like Heavy Metal to Reggae. Parents sat and explained the rules of chess to their children. Visitors from around the World stopped and played.  I chatted to a visitor from the US who it turned out was rated 2000 and was checking chess out in each country it was visiting - he joined the group of 6 players inside the cafe playing blitz chess.

We had 7 chess sets outside with a large set on the corner of the street, all in use and 3 sets inside in the warmth.

The story of the night in photos

inside1 inside2
largeset1 largeset2

The problem sheets - answers at end of page:



Ulster Chess players came and went during the evening. We had the current Ulster Champion, Stephen Rush who played top player Calum Leitch on the large set. Up and coming youngster Daniil Zelenchuk, top player from Spain Sergio Sanchez. A previous Ulster Champion Ray Devenney having a chat of past players and the brilliant atmosphere of the evening. The Ulster Chess Union Chairman Damien Cunningham. C J Murphy, Michael Morris, Mikhail Pavlov, Mary McCabe (The Chess Duchess), Pat McKillen, James Fairley, Dennis Wilkinson, Ian Woodfield, Robert Lavery, .... played all comers. Thanks to everyone for making the evening a celebration of chess and people. Thanks to everyone who stopped chatted and played a game.

We had team chess on the large board. Discussions on the chess puzzles. Discussions about the games.

Thanks to the organiser of the Culture Night. I always come away from this evening with such a positive belief in the wonderful nature of people. People are wonderful. Belfast is wonderful!

Thanks to Caffe Nero and their excellent staff.

Looking forward to seeing you all next year for another coffee, chat and game of chess.

and as to taking all that equipment back to the car I had the excellent help of Gavin Fong and friends from Queens University - many thanks.

More photos..

culture5 culture6
team1 team2
thethinker largeset3


Tartakower-Asztalos 1926

Black to play choices are

  1. Qe3
  2. Bxg2
  3. Rc3

Answer 2.

1. ... Bxg2 if 2. Rxg2 Qxe3+ and then the threat of Rc1

pinning the Queen against the King and winning the Queen

Stephenson-Penrose 1968

White to play choices are

  1. Rxc8
  2. Qb5
  3. Ra7

Answer 3.

1. Ra7 Qxa7

2. Rxc8+ followed by Bxa7 winning the Queen

Andersson-Browne 1981

White to play choices are

  1. Rc8
  2. Bf3
  3. bRc1

Answer 1.

1. Rxc8 Rxc8

2. Bf3 Qf5

3. Bg4

Andersson-Mestel 1982

Black to play choices are

  1. Rd5
  2. Rd2
  3. Rg8

Answer 2.

1. ... Rd2 threatening Qxg2 mate

and if 2. Rxd2 Qxe1+ 3. Kh2 Be5+

4. g3 Qxd2+

Almus-Herman 1957

White to play choices are

  1. Ra8+
  2. Bh7+
  3. Qf4

Answer 1.

1. Ra8+ Bxa8 2. Qxa8+ Qf1

3. Bh7+ Kxh7 4. Qxf1 winning the Queen





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