Apr 052020

In these times of ‘social distancing’ chess players are having to become creative in order to pursue their favorite pass time! Thanks to Andrew Clarkson for sending me this amusing image!

With the Corona virus causing chaos and unprecedented disruption around the world, Hebden Bridge Chess Club and the local chess leagues have all been forced to adapt in order to continue their activities. All ‘over-the-board’ chess has been suspended until we are once again allowed to sit down across from each other to play the game we love. In the meantime, Hebden Bridge Chess Club has moved online. We’re still getting together on Monday evenings but now we’re doing it via Chess.com and Microsoft Teams.

Last Monday we hosted our first try at holding a Microsoft Teams video call so that we could look at some puzzles and a game together. More than 10 us managed to spend an hour and a half together analyzing. It was great fun, if a little ad hoc. I’ll be thinking about the best way for us to run these sessions in future so that we can get the most out of them. In the meantime though, for those that missed it, below are the three puzzle positions taken from the excellent ‘Invisible Chess Moves’ by Emmanuel Neiman and Yochan Afek.

I’ve set the board to display in puzzle mode. See if you can find the next move and do enough analysis to support your choice. Once you advance the game the solution will be displayed along with the required variations. Remember that you need to click on the bar above the board with the three dots in it to reveal and select the games in the viewer. At the end there is also a fairly wild game that we analysed at together.

Online activities for week commencing 6th April

This week we’ll continue with our online activities with another Microsoft Teams call on Monday the 6th followed by an online tournament on Chess.com. I’m also going to try out running some activities at other times and see how we get on. Here’s the schedule for this week.

  • Monday 6th of April at 19:30 – Puzzles and Game Analysis
    Microsoft Teams video call with three more puzzles and a game prepared and presented to us by Pete Leonard. Follow this Microsoft Teams link to join the video call. You can choose either to download the Microsoft Teams software to your computer, or join via your web browser.
  • Monday 6th of April at 21:00-22:00 – Online Blitz Tournament
    We’ll play an online blitz tournament on Chess.com. 5 minutes each for all moves. This will be another ‘Arena’ tournament where you play as many games as you can in 1 hour and get re-paired as soon as a new opponent is available. You get awarded extra points for ‘streaks’ of wins. If you aren’t already a member of Chess.com then it’s easy and free to create an account. Once you’ve done that follow this link to find our online chess club and click on the orange ‘Join’ button. Once you’ve joined the club you can follow this link to register for the tournament – online registration opens at 20:00 – so you won’t be able to join the tournament before then.
  • Wednesday 8th of April at 16:00 – Online Rapidplay Tournament
    Online rapidplay tournament on Chess.com. Follow this link to join. This will be a 10 mins each. This will be a 6-rounded Swiss format and should be finished by about 18:00. Online registration is from 15:00.
  • Good Friday 10th of April at 19:00 – How good is your chess?
    This will be another Microsoft Teams video conference but this time a slightly different format. We’ll go through a Grand Master game and you’ll be asked to predict the next move and score points based on how well your answers correspond to the best moves in the game. At the end we’ll see who’s scored the most points and rate your performance. Follow this link to join us.

Hopefully there should be something here for everyone and we’ll be able to keep you out of mischief!

I just have one final notification:

  • Online Classical Chess Tournament
    I’m sure that lots of you, like me, are missing your slower time limit chess. So, I’m proposing to run a tournament at a classical time limit on Chess.com. The number of rounds and format will have to be determined by the number of entrants but I’d ideally like it to be at least 6 rounds and run the format as 90 minutes for all moves! (i.e. like the evening league but without the winding back of clocks after 36 moves). Obviously this tournament would take place over a number of weeks…
    If you would like to take part in this competition then please email me to tell me you’re interested at hebdenbridgechessclub@gmail.com
Jun 282012

Hebden Bridge ‘A’ are the current holders of the Calderdale Summer Team Knock Out Competition having beaten Halifax ‘A’ in last year’s final. On Monday night they got their title defence underway by playing… Halifax ’A’. The venue for this year’s contest was different, as the match took place at the Lee Mount Club in Halifax, but the result was the same; a win for Hebden Bridge.

Aldridge vs. Priest. White has just played 8.Nxe5. What would you do next? Answer in the game viewer at the end of this post.

The personnel involved had changed a little too. Seven of last year’s ten finalists remained. Halifax deployed one of their new recruits, Tony Ibbitson, on board 3 (in the place of Ray Cully who played on board 4 last seasons) whilst Hebden drafted in Matthew Wedge Roberts (who had returned home after his first year at Cambridge University) and Steve Priest to replace the missing Pete Leonard and Alastair Wright.

In the summer knockout competition the games are handicapped by using the difference in rating between each pair of combatants to give the lower rated player a time advantage on the clocks. With Hebden Bridge being a weaker side than last season and Halifax a little stronger this meant that the time differential between the two sides was somewhat reduced. Never-the-less, Hebden Bridge gave away time to their opponents on all boards except board 1.

In fact board 1 was the first of the evening to yield a result. Hebden’s Matthew Parsons had correctly divined the opening variation that his opponent, Darwin Ursal, would play against his King’s Indian set up and was quickly able to secure a comfortable game where he sacrificed a pawn for the bishop pair and some active piece play. He also had a dangerous looking passed pawn on d3 and eventually Darwin was forced to concede that had no way of playing for a win without taking great risks. A draw was agreed and the two rivals de-camped to the end of the room to play blitz whilst their team mates sweated out the result.

The remaining boards were all closely contested and took some time to resolve. When the results did come, they came in a flurry. First of all Steve Priest extracted full value from the pawn he won with a nice tactic he spotted in the opening. John Aldridge tried to wriggle but when he lost a knight in the end game Steven just had to be careful not to fall into any traps. He didn’t and the game was won.

On board 4 Nick Sykes had White against Adrian Dawson and deployed his latest secret weapon, the English Opening. Nick was up against the greatest time handicap of the evening and was forced to play fairly swiftly. Even still he built up a considerable positional advantage from the opening and, despite missing a few tactical shots, he also converted the full point in an end game with a few minutes left on his clock.

Hebden Captain Dave Shapland was the next to finish on board 3. He gave away 30 minutes on his clock against his Leeds Chess Club colleague Tony. The first surprise was Tony’s selection of the Scotch Opening beginning with 1.e4. Up until the end of last season he has been faithful to his Larsen’s Opening of 1.b3. The line selected by Tony led to an early exchange of queens and Dave was soon able to equalise. However, he then tried to squeeze for an advantage and overlooked a tactic which allowed Tony to win a pawn and secure a positional advantage as well. Stubborn as ever, Dave dug in to try and hold the game. Tony’s technique proved equal to the task as he steadily increased the pressure but then, just as victory seemed certain, he lost his concentration and put his rook en prise to Dave’s bishop. Another lucky win for Dave against a Halifax player.

The result was now secure but Matthew Wedge Roberts was still playing against Carlos Velosa. This game also saw an early exchange of queens but in this case it was beneficial for Matthew whos play was a model for the “accumulation of small advantages” technique. By exchange queens early he displaced his opponent’s king. He developed his pieces quickly and was then able to gain the bishop pair in an open position and when Carlos put his knight offside on h5 Matthew grabbed the open d-file and was able to win a pawn. He then created a distant passed pawn and the rest was simplicity itself the result never in doubt. You can view Matthew’s game and three of the other games from the match in the game viewer below.

The final scorecard for the match was: 

Halifax ‘A’ vs. Hebden Bridge ‘A’
(w) D.Ursal ½ — ½ M.Parsons
C.Velosa 0 — 1 M.Wedge Roberts (w)
(w) T.Ibbitson 0 — 1 D.Shapland
A.Dawson 0 — 1 N.Sykes (w)
J.Aldridge 0 — 1 S.Priest
½  — 4½

Hebden will now face Todmorden ‘A’ in the second semi-final. The first semi-final between Hebden Bridge ‘B’ and Hebden Bridge Juniors also took place on Monday night and the result will appear here soon.

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Jun 162012


Shapland vs. Bagley. White has just played 29.Rh3 attacking the Black queen. What is Black’s best response?

At the Trades Club on Monday night Hebden Bridge ‘A’ team Captain, Dave Shapland, hosted the first of several analysis evenings being held as part of HBCC’s summer programme. He chose to analyse a game he played in the Leeds League earlier this season against Rose Forgrove’s Andy Bagley.

The game was played in an opening variation of the French Defence that Dave has had quite a bit of experience of contesting and he endeavoured to explain some of the strategic ideas behind it before the game took a rather chaotic turn. Neither side managed to castle and both players left pieces en prise when they were attacked on several occasions as the struggle for the initiative became the critical to the result.

All those participating in the session enjoyed spending quite some time delving into the complicated forcing variations that could have been selected by either player at various stages. In the end Black overlooked a startling defensive (in the diagram position shown) resource that was very hard to find and was on the receiving end of a king hunt that ended in checkmate.

For any of you who missed it Dave has provided the game and some (very!) extensive commentary for the game viewer below. But before you look at the game see if you can find Black’s best move in the position given at the beginning of this post. It’s a tough one!

Next week (the 18th) Matthew Parsons will be hosting an endgame workshop using an illustrative game of his own. Please be at the Trades Club by 8pm if you would like to take part in this session.

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