Chess - Who Plays?

Discussion in 'Taylor's Tittle-Tattle - General Banter' started by Clive_ofthe_Kremlin, Dec 5, 2020.

  1. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    Anyone here like chess? What a great but frustrating game! You can sit down and play with anyone anywhere in the world without even needing language.

    It seems to be less popular now. You don't find so many people who can play, in England at least.

    In Cuba it is very different and people play all the time sat outside in the street. You can have a game any time you like.

    I wouldn't say I was any good at it, but I try. I played for the BR Euston team back in the day, against the cops at Scotland Yard and the Gas Board and stuff. In the computer chess, where it goes up to level 10, I can usually win against level 8 and sometimes can beat a level 9 maybe. But I'm the Scott Loach of chess - full of mistakes and blunders and air kicks.

    For chess related stories, I can only think of drinking in the Met Police bar at Scotland Yard after the match above (most of the cops didn't seem very nice, especially when drinking). It was not long after the miner's strike and although I offered no clue about my own thoughts on the subject, they bragged loudly about "shagging miners' wives" and such like. Seemed like just boasting bullship of the normal pub braggart and loudmouth really, only a bit more so. I didn't stay for long.

    Then there was a time when I came back from Amsterdam on the train and ferry with some comrades and we had a chess set with us which had really heavy metal pieces (gold and black interestingly) with which to pass the time on the train. In fact, it had been pretty good because some of the morning commuters who got on at one of the Belgian stations got really involved in the game and formed into two separate teams of huddled whispering advisers for me and my mate. The problem only came when we went through the customs at Dover and got pulled over. After finding out we'd been to "The Dam" the unsmiling customs goon asked whether we had smoked and Marijuana. My stupid mate replied "Yeah, aint against the law is it?"

    Well what interested them most of all was the chess set, with the pieces being so heavy. I think it saved us from even more rigorous cavity searches while they ripped the felt off the bottom of the chess pieces looking (I suppose) for drill holes or whatever.

    Filbert, SkylaRose and Smudger like this.
  2. zztop

    zztop Eurovision Winner 2015

    Well I don't believe your accusation for a minute. Partly because very few police at Scotland Yard would have gone anywhere near the striking miners, partly because those that did would have been working until 11.30pm, sleeping in dormitories or tents with other colleagues, and then back on duty at 5am in the morning, and partly because you have a tendency to grossly exaggerate when it comes to these things.

    But mostly because I worked in Scotland Yard in the mid eighties, and I wasn't even aware that there was a Met Police Bar (although that doesn't mean 100% that there wasn't one, as it was a big building).

    But, I do play chess, and really enjoy it.
  3. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    Yet my son's chess tutor (in lieu of a 'normal' club due to lockdown - he started beating me fairly regularly) says that membership enquires haver gone through the roof since this started.


    Every Lithuanian vaiku darželis (nursery school - from 3 YO up to entry to formal school at age 7) has chess in the curriculum - it becomes a 'voluntary' subject when the kids go to 'proper' school.

    The vast majority of the Dutch/Flemish visitors who stopped me in the street in Vilnius asked for directions to this place (we lived around the corner from it) to buy one of these (please note the price tag).
  4. Have you watched Queen's Gambit?
    Moose likes this.
  5. Moose

    Moose First Team Captain

    TV prog of the year?

    I have spells of playing, but it’s not easy to find the time, though you can eke out a game against a chess computer for ages.
  6. Keighley

    Keighley Squad Player

  7. Maths geeks mainly.
  8. BigRossLittleRoss

    BigRossLittleRoss Squad Player

    I play online frequently online on

    Nice thing to have ticking along in the background whilst working .

    it feels nice to connect with people all around the world through a non verbal language . Although recently I got beaten by a kid who started sledging me mid game which was mildly humiliating.
  9. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    I tried playing online a few times, but got absolutely hammered every time. I supposed my opponents were asking the computer for their best next move. Doesn't that put you off playing online?
  10. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Play time limited games. That would prevent these cheats from inflating their egos. Reached BCF 180 which is master level but stopped playing in tournaments a long time ago. Still dabble and keep in touch with what is happening in the denksport. Great to keep the mind active. And for refining thinking.

    Chess Shredder is a great program for those wanting to learn by it's Chess Tutor. Deep Shredder is for very strong players. Daily puzzles as well:

    Some immensely strong free programs as well.

    Need a reasonably powerful computer. All of these are available for tablet and android phones as well. Russia is still preeminent in terms of players in the top hundred in men, women and juniors.
    SkylaRose likes this.
  11. SkylaRose

    SkylaRose Reservist

    Yes. I've won a few tournaments as well. Hertfordshire U20's Chess Champion (a crappy little tournament based at a youth club). Years later I won an online tournament and then was runner up in a few others.

    I love the game, the complexity of the narrative down to the psychological part of prediction of your opponent's moves. Knowing how and when to "Castle", controlling the centre of the board and the rules around "Stalemate" can advance any game.
    Smudger and Clive_ofthe_Kremlin like this.
  12. reids

    reids Squad Player

    I like the idea of it. However I truly suck at it.
  13. wfcmoog

    wfcmoog Tinpot

    I'm utterly **** at it. Completely walk into obvious checkmate or put myself into trouble.

    I prefer backgammon
    domthehornet and hornmeister like this.
  14. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    You misspelt "BUCKAROO".
  15. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Try Chess Tutor reids. Step by step it will help you build your gameplay, understanding of tactics, the need to control key squares, when to exchange, sacrifices and how to force a successful endgame.
    reids likes this.
  16. Cthulhu

    Cthulhu Keyboard Warrior Staff Member

    Oh you two. You finally have some common ground.
    Why not have a game of postal chess in a thread and we can finally settle who is better
    Filbert likes this.
  17. zztop

    zztop Eurovision Winner 2015

    Haha, I don't profess to be any good. Clive sounds too good for me, particlarly when considering he represented the mighty BR Euston Chess Team, no less.
    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin likes this.
  18. hornmeister

    hornmeister Administrator Staff Member

    There's a good game and plenty of decent on-line apps as well.

    I don't have the attention span for chess although I can play.
  19. The Voice of Reason

    The Voice of Reason First Team Captain

    I don't know ZZ?

    I would imagine that anyone who worked for BR would be a pretty good chess player, with all the spare time those guys had on their hands, as they did not do much actual work :D
    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin and zztop like this.
  20. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    Yeah, I played board 6 (the bottom one for the weakest player) when they were absolutely desperate!

    I think I was the only one from the 'operations' side of the railway who ever played for them. They were all suits from the headquarters and the offices and such.
  21. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

  22. cyaninternetdog

    cyaninternetdog Forum Hippie

    Why are you so obsessed with Cuba Clive? I dont think I have seen the reasons behind it anywhere on here.
  23. Diamond

    Diamond Squad Player

    Exactly the same here. I think it's to do with being too aggressive all the bl**dy time. Works well with backgammon though.
  24. wfcmoog

    wfcmoog Tinpot

    You tried to get me to play your version of that but I'm not debasing myself that way.
  25. Cassetti's Beard

    Cassetti's Beard First Team

    I love chess, but I hate losing.

    wfcforums tournament incoming?
  26. Clive_ofthe_Kremlin

    Clive_ofthe_Kremlin Squad Player

    The Kremlins are an Anglo-Cubano family. Some Cubans amongst us. We lived in Havana previously and I worked for the national newspaper, Granma, as a translator and interpreter...
    Smudger likes this.
  27. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    We would need interested parties to make themselves known, all register at something like and agree a format for match games and when they are to be played. And probably use a system where everyone plays everyone else with the traditional one point for a win, half for a draw.

    If anyone is interested and there are sufficient numbers perhaps it is something to be considered for 2021.
    Cassetti's Beard likes this.
  28. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    Chess became a prominent part of the Cold War struggle. The Spassky-Fischer match in Reykjavik being prominent. Fischer is an unsympathetic character being an anti-Semite and more than a little peculiar. Emigres were championed by the West like Vikctor Korchnoi and since 1990 numerous players have left the former Soviet Union to play for other nations. England is somewhat middling still. Up there but not quite good enough to get past the old powers. China and India have become dominant while the traditional powers like Russia, Hungary, Armenia still do very well.

    Womens chess has also come on leaps and bounds. The same nations that are dominant in the mens game are also dominant in the womens. Hungary would be undoubted champions but the Polgar sisters notably Judit competed in mens tournaments and Olympiads after having propelled the Hungarian team to several golds. Judit retired several years ago. The cup in the womens Olympiad is named after Vera Menchik. Half Czech half English and born in Russia she was the first woman world champion a title she held for 17 years. However she struggled badly against the top male players of the day like Alekhine and Capablanca. She died rather young in a V2 attack on London in 1944.

    Chess is often used as a vehicle in films to delineate philosophies and characters internal motivations. From The Luzhin Defence right to Computer Chess. The Queens Gambit has been a hit apparently on Netflix though I have some issues with it's premise of a young female player on drugs becoming a world champion by beating the male champion a Russian at that time in the fifties. Women were excluded from such events . and the Soviet Union Chess Palaces were as welcoming to young girls as they were to boys. As Judit and her sisters have said it was the level of training from their father day in and out from an early age that made them so strong . Does practice make perfect ? Is skill innate or acquired ? It is a combination of the two. In chess pattern recognition is vital.

    Experienced players can even if a game is some 15 moves in identify the opening used by a quick look at the pawn structures.
  29. Bwood_Horn

    Bwood_Horn Squad Player

    I *think* it was dependent on the satellite state or the Soviet Republic you were in (aka how 'Russsified' it was: they were uncomfortable with anything that could be viewed as not pro-Soviet or promoted any other nationality) hence lots of the Baltic States' players weren't 'prominent' but Russians were. Most of Vilnius's Soviet era 'Technical Schools' (think FE colleges geared to university entrance) had chess on the curriculum as did all high schools.

    My son and I have been having a lot of fun looking at the King's Gambit...
    Smudger likes this.
  30. Smudger

    Smudger Messi's Mad Coach Staff Member

    That is true regarding candidates like Paul Keres, Great monograph on the endgame. This channel is a firm favourite. Always stimulating and the odd novelty. Moves that is. Here Robert Oppenheimer slandered post war as a secret Communist sympathizer but a most unassuming but brilliant man played Einstein. Or did he ? If he indeed did Robert falls down rather quickly with the blundering f6?? following the Ruy Lopez Morphy Variation.

    Young Andrei Osipenko beat the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen with a series of brilliant moves at the TATA Open.


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