May 082012

This image was sourced from Martyn @ Negaro's Flickr photostream

Today I offer readers something a little different. A poll! The subject, “How many points should a match win score in a chess league?” I was prompted to put this up when I saw a recent article in the Halifax Courier by our friend and colleague Adrian Dawson of Halifax Chess Club who said this:

There may be a motion going forward to the forthcoming AGM that, instead of receiving 2 points for a win, a team may be awarded 3 points (like in football), which may be an interesting concept, as it may discourage the draw aspect of the game. If it had been in place this season Todmorden ‘A’ would be sitting at the top of Division one at this stage of the season. (In fact they would have won the championship had this rule been in place — Ed.) It often happens that the top boards tend to draw and the decision of the match hangs on the result of the bottom boards.”

Adrian goes on to encourage any and all players who are interested in this idea to attend the AGM and have their say in the debate.

Well, I certainly wouldn’t want to discourage anyone from attending the AGM which is an important event in our local chess calendar. However, I know that there will be plenty of folks (not just at Hebden Bridge Chess Club) who have a view on this but won’t be able to attend the AGM. That’s why I’m running the poll below. The question is a simple one and I’d be interested in getting the views of all our readers and visitors whether they are from Calderdale or not. I’ve taken the liberty of adding in a third answer option as well the one Adrian has proposed. This highlights an alternate approach (used in Calderdale’s annual Team Lightning tournament) which would be to place teams based on their board results and not their match results. This rule change would certainly discourage draws on individual boards in league matches. If this third option had been in place this season then Huddersfield ‘A’ would have won the League 1 title by half a board point!

Please take part and register your opinion on this topic. If you’d like to leave a comment against this post as well to expand on your point of view then that would all be useful grist to the mill for the AGM to consider. If you aren’t a Calderdale player then maybe tell us how it works in your local league and whether or not you think your scoring system is fair.
[polldaddy poll=6207387]

Oct 072011
One of the 40 or so chess boards on each
 Grand Central train

On the way back from London to Halifax aboard a Grand Central train last Sunday night I was pleased to see that all the table tops had chess boards printed on them. “A great idea,” I thought, “to help bored travellers while away the interminable delays: a nice game of chess”. Then I looked more closely and laughed out loud. The boards were printed the wrong way round thus rendering them completely useless — unless you like playing at a 90° angle. Hilarious!

It wasn’t all that long ago that John Kerrane told me he’d had a similar problem with boards printed on table tops at a school he teaches chess at. It’s ironic isn’t it that when an organisation spends a little money on creating facilities for our great game they fail so miserably with the practicalities of getting the board the right way round.

Over at the “Chess Curiosities” website this was a favourite subject of Tim Krabbé who collected many instances of the work of a group he conspiratorially called the “dark-right-hand-corner-square-mafia”. See “Open Chess Diary” entries 259, 83, 51 and 30 for many more tragic-comic tales of chess boards displayed incorrectly. Perhaps we should revert back to the board that was used for “Shatranj”, the precursor to our modern game, in the Middle-East, which had no coloured squares on it at all.