Harrow B v Richmond C 07-02-19

Richmond C travelled to Harrow and, although without their regular top board, being outgraded on every board and being a player short (I guess the clash with a D team match didn’t help) came away with a highly creditable 3-3 draw.

It was great to welcome back Richard Sleep after a 20 year absence. Richard has been involved with the club, on and off, for many years. I’d met him at a string quartet recital last summer where he told me he was interested in starting to play again. Congratulations to him on returning with a win, and also to Barry, with another great win against a higher graded opponent. Well done also Dan and George for sharing the point in their games.

Harrow B Richmond C
1 David Stott 123 ½:½ Dan Donohoe 103
2 Patrick Sartain 118 0:1 Barry Sutton 100
3 David Wray 116 1:0 Laurie Catling 100
4 Phil Humphry 101 0:1 Richard Sleep –
5 Jennifer Goldsmith 96 ½:½ George Dokic 90
6 David Walker 87 1:0 Default

In other TVC news, the unfinished game from their previous match against Surbiton C resulted in a draw, leaving Surbiton C the winners by 4 points to 2.


Chess Puzzle of the Week (19)

Last week we offered you the chance to solve a mate in two composed by Surbiton Grandmaster John Rice (solution below).

The January 2019 British Chess Magazine also published a simple helpmate by the same composer.


If you’ve never solved a helpmate before, now’s your chance. This is a helpmate in 4 moves.

In a helpmate, Black plays the first move (unless there’s a half-move stipulation) and both sides cooperate to reach a position where White delivers checkmate.

So here you’re looking for a sequence which goes BWBWBWBW, with White’s fourth move being checkmate. What are you waiting for?

Here’s last week’s solution:


The only way for White to force mate in 2 moves is to play 1. Qf5!, meeting 1… b5/c4/d5/Kb5 with 2. Ra6#/Rxc4#/Qd7#/Qd7#. There are several ‘tries’: 1. Ra3?! d5!, 1. Rh4?! b5!, 1. Rb4?! d5!, 1. Qh7?! c4!


Surbiton C v Richmond D 30-01-19

Some excellent news from Richmond D, who maintained their position at the top of Division 4 of the Thames Valley League with an emphatic victory at Surbiton.

What’s particularly gratifying is that we had three new members taking part in the match. Adam and Rob were playing their first games for us, and Max his third. Adam managed to win his game with 12 seconds remaining on the clock: perfect timing! All were attracted to the club in the first instance by the promise of social chess, were impressed by the friendly atmosphere on our social evenings, and have now graduated to competitive chess.

Congratulations to all of them, and also to Eamon, continuing his strong run for the D team, and Colin, showing that he’s coming back into form by beating a much higher graded opponent.

Thanks also to Julian for giving some of our new members the opportunity to take part in this team.

This is the future: promote social chess in a welcoming environment, promote it via a website and social media, and people will turn up.

Congratulations to Adam for winning on his debut, Rob, who stands better in his unfinished game against a talented young opponent, and Max, who is now on 2½/4 in between his A Level studies. Yes, we’re attracting teenagers as well as adults of all ages by the promise of social chess.

Surbiton C Richmond D
1 Robert Faint 134 0:1 Eamon Rashid-Farokhi 143
2 David Cole 120 0:1 Adam Naglik –
3 Oleksiy Podolyan 120 0:1 Colin Dailley 103
4 Radha Ratnesan 123 Adj Rob Hunter –
5 Augustas Jonikas 96 0:1 Max Brindley –
6 Paul McCauley 87 1:0 Julian Bedale 60

Richmond D played white on the odd-numbered boards.

Richmond v Drunken Knights 1 28-01-19

Again, sadly, nothing much to report other than that our opponents forfeited the match. Very sad, as the Drunken Knights have been one of the strongest teams in London for some years, famed for their hospitality as well as their chess.

I note that their 2nd and 3rd teams have both conceded matches in the last couple of weeks, so it seems like they’re having some administrative or logistic problems.

I’m sure someone reading this will know more than me, and be able to explain what’s happening. Otherwise, I’ll catch up with Gavin next time we speak to find out more. I have no idea at the moment how much notice we were given.

We’ve now won two matches by default in the past 5 days, both against first teams: not a great advertisement for league chess in London. You can understand why the club’s lowest team might, on occasion, have to concede a match but it shouldn’t really happen with first teams from reasonably sized clubs.

Kramnik Retires

This morning Vladimir Kramnik announced the end of his career as a professional chess player, at the age of 43. Kramnik was classical World Champion (all rational people consider this to have been the real world championship) between 2000 and 2006, and undisputed World Champion from 2006 to 2007.


At the start of his career he was noted for his tactical wizardry, as evidenced by this game (Brodsky-Kramnik USSR U26 Championship 1991):

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5 f5 11. Bd3 Be6 12. Qh5 Rg8 13. O-O-O Rxg2 14. f4 Nd4 15. Ne3 Rf2 16. exf5 Bxa2 17. fxe5 dxe5 18. Nxb5 Bh6 19. Rhe1 axb5 20. Bxb5+ Ke7 21. Qh4+ f6 22. Qxf2 Bf7 23. Bd3 Qb6 24. Be4 Ra2 25. c4 Bxc4 26. Kb1 Qa5 27. Nd5+ Bxd5 28. Qxd4 Ra1+ 29. Kc2 Rxd1 30. Qxd1 Qa4+ 31. Kc3 0-1

You can play it through here.

As Kramnik matured, he became famous for his tough positional play, in particular his use of the notorious Berlin Wall which helped him beat Garry Kasparov in their 2000 Classical World Championship match held in London.

In this game from the same match, Big Vlad, as he is popularly known, demolished Kasparov in only 25 moves.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 c5 7. O-O cxd4 8. exd4 dxc4 9. Bxc4 b6 10. Bg5 Bb7 11. Re1 Nbd7 12. Rc1 Rc8 13. Qb3 Be7 14. Bxf6 Nxf6 15. Bxe6 fxe6 16. Qxe6+ Kh8 17. Qxe7 Bxf3 18. gxf3 Qxd4 19. Nb5 Qxb2 20. Rxc8 Rxc8 21. Nd6 Rb8 22. Nf7+ Kg8 23. Qe6 Rf8 24. Nd8+ Kh8 25. Qe7 1-0

Again, you can play it through here.

Vladimir Kramnik has been one of the most popular figures in international chess for the past 25 years. It’s always hard for a sportsperson to know when to retire: just ask Andy Murray. Do you quit while you’re still at the top, or carry on even though your powers are declining? Not an easy choice.

Although we’ll all miss his name at the top table in top international tournaments, he will by no means be lost to chess. He said he might still make appearances in rapid and blitz tournaments, and give simuls. More importantly, he will be involved in various chess education projects. This is excellent news: Vlad will be a fine role model for the next generation of players.

(Photograph: Wikipedia)


Ealing C v Richmond C 28-01-19

Some excellent news: Richmond C visited Ealing C and came away with a victory, winning four games and losing two.

Congratulations to Alex, Dan, Barry and George on winning their games.

Ealing C Richmond C
1 David Websdale 102 0:1 Alex Shard 138
2 Alex Lushpa 113 0:1 Dan Donohoe 103
3 Neville Rowden 84 0:1 Barry Sutton 100
4 Amardeep Sachdev 89 1:0 Laurie Catling 100
5 Michael Smith 76 0:1 George Dokic 90
6 Sami Goussous – 1:0 Ken Broadley 51

I’m now using the new (January 2019) grades: the league websites still use the July 2018 grades so you’ll see some differences.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (18)

I’m thinking of an internationally famous and well respected grandmaster, also an author of several books, born in 1937, and a long time resident of Surbiton. You don’t know his name? Shame on you! His name is John Rice, and, for 60 years, he’s been one of the leading figures in the world of chess composition. Amongst many other things, he’s a former president of FIDE’s Permanent Commission Chess Compositions. In 2015 he was awarded the title of International Grandmaster for chess composition, only the fourth composer in the UK to have been awarded this title. (His son Stephen is equally distinguished in a very different field, that of mediaeval vocal music. There are some of us who care about early music as well as chess problems.)

The January 2019 issue of the British Chess Magazine publishes two original problems by John Rice, both suitable as entry level puzzles for those as yet unfamiliar with the art of chess problems.


This is a two-mover: White to play and mate in 2 moves. There are a lot of near misses, but only one way to force checkmate next move. Even if you’ve never solved a chess problem of this nature before, have a go: it’s not all that difficult.

Last week I left you with a puzzle submitted by Eamon Rashid-Farokhi, who was Black in this position from an online game.


Eamon won by playing 1… Qxa3 2. Bxa3 Bxa3+ 3. Kb1 Nc3+ followed by Nxb5, leaving him with a winning material advantage.