Monthly Archives: October 2014

Not A Miniature

Anand Karpov

I have posted a few miniatures and some open King’s Gambit games so I thought it would be good, as we approach the World Championship, to post a long positional game between Viswanathan Anand and Anatoly Karpov.

and a great game that Anand won

Beginners, Experts and A World of Ratings

Ratings graph

Why is there a world of chess commentators that call anyone around 1200 a beginner!!! I googled ‘chess ratings’ and got this “1200 – 1300 (2-3 years of experience) Player begins to understand that chess is a two player game” or this “1200-1399 = ‘D’ player – usually a beginner” or “1200 USCF means you know more about chess than a potted plant.”

This is all deppressing so I give you a much better definition:

300 – 600 Beginner

600 – 1000 Casual player

1000 – 1200 Good player

1200 – 1400 Very good player

1400 – 1600 Amazing player

1600 – 1800 Genius

1800 – 2000 Mega Genius

2000 – 2200 One of the chosen few

2200 – 2500 Near God

2500 + Valkyrie

More King’s Gambiteering


I was away on holiday with my family so my son and I have been away from chess for about a month. On our return my son had to play in a competition so I thought it would be good to watch a couple of chess videos before the tournament. One chess video was an analysis of a King’s Gambit game played by club level players. The analysis was by an IM called Danny Rensch who is no fan of the King’s gambit. He kept saying that the King’s Gambit was refuted by the move d5. This is in line with my earlier post that suggests the black defense of 1.ea e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 c6. Regardless of this supposed refutation I chose to play the King’s Gambit in my second game on my return to my Tuesday club. I chose to do this because my first game was very rusty; full of errors, badly recorded and with time pressure – I felt out of sorts and I wanted to sharpen things up a bit. Two good tips I had heard about for the King’s Gambit were ‘be aggressive’ and ‘aim for the f7 pawn’. I followed these principles without too much other information and it’s amazing to see how dangerous the King’s Gambit can be. Here is the game.

Following on from this I decided to google ‘King’s Gambit’ and discovered this great computer match won by white.

And an explanantion of this game here.


While we’re on the King’s Gambit I thought I’d add this line because it is named after a player called David Flude at my Sunday club. The Flude Line.

A Coffeehouse Win


I’m playing my second ICCF webserver engine-less tournament and so far I have 2 wins and a draw from six games – so I’m pleased. I played a very uncautious ‘coffeehouse type’ game but ended up sneaking a tactical win with my sly 15. Nh4 move.

The Grass Arena


I posted some video clips earlier about a chess player called John Healy. One clip was of a film made in 1992 which was called ‘The Grass Arena’ after his autobiography of the same name. The other clip was of a trailer of a documentary about his life called ‘Barbaric Genius’. This weekend I watched the documentary and read his book.

The book starts with his childhood in London. His parents were Irish immigrants and his dad was a cruel, loveless man. At 15 John started to drink and soon became an alcoholic who ended up living on the streets of London for 10 years. Because of vagrancy laws and a lack of any social services his life was hard, violent and dangerous – his time was spent either drunk or in prison. Whilst he was in prison he discovered chess and chess took over the part of him that drink had held. He became addicted to chess and good at it. It is a great read, the books beauty lies in the authenticity of the writing and the lack of self pity or moral questioning. It is available as a penguin classic.

The documentary followed the same course as the book and reviewed his life history but it was great to also get a glimpse of who John Healy is now. He is aware that a darkness was created in his childhood and the rest of his life has been a quest to overcome that broken begining and it is moving to see him do this through bravery, curiosity and tenacity. The documentary is available vis iTunes.

On top of all this it is great to see that he was able to start chess at 30 and get good enough to win tournaments and draw to the likes of Bent Larsen.

Here are some violent miniatures of his that come from a chess book he wrote (which I haven’t read yet) called Coffee House Chess Tactics.

Chess Recorder Album and Bookbinding

chess recorder album 001

I currently have 4 ICCF webserver games going and 15 postal games going. I won’t take on any more new webserver games and instead I’ll focus on maintaining between 10 to 18 postal games. This translates to a couple of postcards a week which is perfect for me.

I’m still learning how best to keep track of all my postal correspondence games, my filing system is working quite well but I do like the historical ‘Postal Chess Recorder Album’ approach too. As I mentioned in an earlier post I did buy some albums from Skakhuset but they’re a bit ordinary and don’t have algebraic notation which would be useful for me. So I have decided to make my own recorder album – see image above.

I googled how to bind a book and found this which was fairly easy to understand. I then made an image file which included lines indicating printing, scoring and cutting. I sent this off to a laser cutting place and received 12 ‘pages’ which had the board, with slots, on the right hand side and slots on the left hand side into which a scoresheet could be fitted. I have since glued them onto a backing strip and I’m ready for step 8 on the tutorial. I’ll add to this soon.

Correspondence chess booklet

I have now finished the booklet. I bought an old thin leather jacket from a charity shop and made the cover and glued the innards (the folio) into place. I’ve inserted my 12 ICCF postal games into the board slots along with the move record sheet. It’s pretty good – a bit rough and I think I can make some improvements but on the whole I’m pretty happy with it.