If anything positive can be gained from the situation in which we find ourselves at the moment, the fact that we are told chess has become increasingly popular with housebound families must be one of them. While face to face – or mask to mask – competition still seems to be on some distant horizon, online chess is booming. The initiative shown by Magnus Carlsen and the world’s other leading grandmasters in setting up lucrative online competitions has attracted great interest and many clubs have moved online to host virtual club nights with rapidplay competitions. At Broadstairs we were quick to exploit this and it has proved extremely popular. We looked at two possible sites, LiChess and Chess.com and after a little experimentation decided the former was easier for everyone. We meet on Monday evenings, our usual club night, from 8.00 and a good time is had by all.
While 10-minute games need to be taken with a pinch of salt, there can be some excellent games played. The following example may not be one of them but as the loser I would say that. Recently, David has been trying out 1.h4 when playing White in order to show what a bad opening it is. Unfortunately, he is too good for most of us mere mortals and has yet to lose by playing it. Here is an example of one of his wins. Have a look and see what fun two players – or possibly one – can have playing rapid chess for twenty minutes. And if you haven’t yet joined us on Monday evenings, you will be very welcome.
White: David Faldon Black: Robert Page
LiChess 10-minute rapid game
Another bonus to keep our chess brains ticking over during lockdown has been the weekly puzzle fest that Trefor has been sending us. I hope people have been trying to solve them. I think we owe it to Trefor to have a go as he has gone to the trouble of sending them out. I want to know where he gets them all from – six puzzles a week – and how to add them to an email. The following one from this week’s batch is listed as ‘a fairly simple example’! Well, I’m fairly simple and I have failed with three attempts. If you find the answer, tell Trefor. Good luck!
White to move and mate in 2