October 2022

I’ve volunteered to edit a newsletter for the club, and here it is. This is your club, even if you’ve just joined, so this is also your newsletter. I can fill a few pages with results, chess, what I’ve been up to and some silly inane comments, but I’d rather be including your submissions.

I personally think a newsletter could be a good thing for the club, and also show new members there is a little more to us than hunching over a chess board (I said a little). Also included will be some contenton improving your level. Whatever your chess ambitions, playing a little better and avoiding a few more of those clangers (blunders, not the little moon creatures) is enjoyable. Helping you getting you there is what the club and newsletter is also about as well as a jolly good excuse for a pint.

So what can you do for this letter and in turn your club? If you’re a captain, why not give us a rundown of how it’s going as well as just the results. If you’ve studied or seen something interesting, why not write a small article about it. Got an opinion on something in the chess world or the league, we’d like to hear it (but only printed if it’s pragmatic, tactful, won’t get us sued, and keeps the vibe friendly – don’t worry you can tell us exactly what you think at the club if someone is ‘guilty’ of serious muppetry).
What do you do other than push wood (plastic?) - let us know (as long as it’s legal and certificate PG13). Did you or your opponent make the most stupid blunder? – submit it for the ‘Fail Wall’. Played an interesting game? - annotate it and submit it. Played in a tournament? - write it up! You get the idea.

The letter is so much better (and easier for me too!) if everyone contributes. Just send it in some text format I can open and cut/paste from. Of course I do reserve the right to edit it a bit, but that’s why I’m the editor (edit meaning to change, -or meaning someone who does :). So every couple of months, this will be available on the website, email and in paper form if you prefer to be picked up at club night let me know (but we’re about saving trees so that will normally be there for new members). Next one will
be your Christmas (or other holiday you celebrate) issue, so get thinking and writing deadline first week of December)!

David Flynn
Ps. We need a logo for the newsletter – I was thinking a pirate ship with a pawn making the enemy king walk the plank – anyone got a better idea or if you have artistic talent feel free to submit something (if it’s not yours I’ll need proof it’s in the public domain or you have permission).

Chess Improvement

Knowing, practising, playing, analysis, introspection is how we improve. Books and courses by Grandmasters are often written at a level where much of the information is only good for 2300+ players and makes studying it hard for everyone else. Don’t try to go too deep or know too much, particularly below 1800, if not 2000. Learn good concepts and ideas rather than verbatim lines and positions unless they are must-know and come up regularly. Try to find out what you really need to know rather than spending lots of time remember that which you’ll never have to know or could figure out over the board.

I was going to write about R+P endings here, but then I remembered a great YouTube tutorial by an IM and thought there was no point in trying to repeat it. Rook endings are hard, but there are a few key positions to know which are hard to figure out over the board, so better to know them in advance (they also act as guides what to aim for or avoid). This video details all you need to remember about these endings up to 2200. The only other tip is that in rook endings active pieces can be worth a pawn, so
don’t play passively.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLl9uuRYQ-6MDzm-bs8kbyHdYEmRGUauot (search chess endgames bartholomew on YouTube)

One of the best endgame resources out there is 100 Endings you must know on Chessable where you get to know all the basics (the last chapter for the more advanced isn’t that great) and probably everything a club player needs to know about theoretical endgame positions.

Upcoming Events

Want to take it a bit more seriously, how about a tournament? Tournament experience is a great way to improve as well as meeting more chess enthusiasts including masters. Those new to tournaments are suggested to try a rapidplay first as the games are quicker and it’s all over in a day.

28-30th October – Scarborough
30th October – Birmingham Rapidplay
19-20th November – Birmingham Open
28th December - 8th January – Hastings International
Hastings is a great tournament (probably the second most important in the calendar and world renowned for its past glory days) if you’re stuck for something to do over the New Year, and there are several different tournaments depending on your level and commitment.
More events can be found by searching for the ECF calendar

Online Resources

Normally this would be hidden in the links section of the website, but here are some recommended sites
*C = a one-off or repeating charge for most content
Chess federations, associations and results:
ECF - https://www.englishchess.org.uk/
FIDE - https://www.fide.com/
Notts chess - https://www.nottinghamshirechess.org/
League fixtures and results - https://ecflms.org.uk/lms/node/32133/home
4NCL: tournaments, 4NCL leagues - https://www.4ncl.co.uk/


chess.com – mostly free – best for bullet, blitz, puzzle rush and correspondence
lichess.org – free – best for rapidplay, classical, opening theme tournaments, arenas
chessmood.com *C – Grandmaster video and live video instruction & repertoire, for all chess aspects approx (1200-FM) – subscription fee
chessable.com *C – Video/’e-book’/movetrainer courses for all levels – pay per course (a few free community courses)
chessdojo.shop *C – Master led training site (training plans and content) for all levels – subscription fee

Notable YouTube content (non-entertainment)

https://www.youtube.com/c/GingerGM – speed runs ratings 800 and up with comments on mistakes
players make at that level
https://www.youtube.com/c/ChessCoachAndras – a lot of good instructional content here

Sign Off

So that’s it for this month. Remember get thinking and submitting. Here’s to a new season, meeting up with old friends and crushing them mercilessly at the chessboard. Cheers!
David Flynn,