RAC Annual Chess Dinner

All the Clubs that took part in the Hamilton Russell Cup this year were present by the kind inviatation of the RAC to see Peter Rust pick up the trophy on behalf of the MCC.

It was a splendid event and many thanks should go to the RAC for their excellent hospitality.

After dinner a simul was held with Grandmasters Julian Hodgson and Timur Gareyev (the Blindfold King) working in tandem.

There were several interesting games, but thanks go to Peter Lee for annotating his game, which you can find by clicking here.

Strangers In The Night

On the night of Wednesday 12 April 2017, anybody passing by the Strangers Room in the Reform, who had innocently popped their head around the door, would have been treated to a somewhat surreal site of a young man sitting on a chair cycling on a desk bike, blindfolded, munching at bananas, endeavouring to drink water without spillage and calling out ab-struse remarks like “c7c5”.

It might not require Sherlock Holmes to deduce that this gifted chap Grandmaster Timur Gareyev was conducting a simultaneous blindfold chess exhibition. After all, around him in a circle of desks arranged rather like a series of cowboy wagons under siege by native Americans were 10 suited gentlemen pondering hard with chess boards in front of them.

GM Gareyev is the Guinness world champion at blindfold chess, having taken on an extraordinary 48 players simultaneously on December 4, 2016.

It was back in 2013, that the head of the Reform Club chess circle Teddy Bourne and myself first discussed the idea of having a blindfold simultaneous exhibition at The Reform. We had a couple of false starts, when it looked all set for a match to take place only for some bureaucratic snag to raise its ugly head to scupper our plans.

Fortunately, we persevered, and rather like a chess player who initially had seen a mate in sight only to be thwarted by a devilish resource from his opponent, we all regrouped to get the job done.

It didn’t just require our own persistence. Mr Gareyev himself relentlessly pursued the idea, and we should not forget the patience of The Reform banqueting department who having had the inconvenience of a couple of cancellations were kind enough to bear with us and in the end their patience bore fruit.

We should be grateful also to Mr Nevil Chan, who stepped in at the last minute to be the grandmaster’s ‘eyes and ears’. As Mr Gareyev could not, of course, see any of the boards it was Nevil’s job, which he conducted expertly, to call out each player’s moves and play the GM’s on the board. Meanwhile in an added element of spice he also had to be very aware of the respective clock times and prioritise accordingly.

I should explain. Most simultaneous chess exhibitions are, of course, played sighted, but they are also usually based on the grandmaster playing his move and then expecting an instantaneous response from his opponents when he next reaches the board. This makes it much harder for his opponents, particularly when several of the games have finished and the GM comes around pretty quickly.

In a particularly sporting gesture Timur Gareyev insisted that we played with clocks and this, of course, allowed his opponents much more flexibility to take time over their moves.

Additionally, he played alternately as black and white, whereas most GMs insist on having the advantage of playing white throughout.

No doubt if you have read thus far, you are probably itching to know the match score! After all, if the GM lost all the games it makes his achievement a tad less impressive.

The upshot in this case was, however, that he won 9 games, drew just one and had no losses!

On top of all this, Mr Gareyev proved to be a thoroughly friendly chap, who took time before and after his feat to chat convivially with all those there, spectators included.

An inspirational character indeed.

For those wanting to know more about the event, I would direct them to a short video of the event posted on YouTube: https://youtu.be/BdL6fsTAAHk

As well as these links to his drawn game with Peter Evans and his victory over Richard Saldanha.

http://chessmicrobase.com/g/9y93n6br (notes by Peter Evans)

http://chessmicrobase.com/g/5vfgy10s  (notes by Prof Martin Hazelton)

For the record his opponents were: Konstantin Yelin, Peter Evans, Richard Saunders, Mark Glover, Danny Rosenbaum (all Reform), Adam Lux (applying to The Reform); Sheldon Marshall and Henry McWatters (both RAC); David Openshaw (Roehampton); and Richard Saldanha (Oxford & Cambridge).

 

Keith Richardson has Passed Away

Keith Richardson passed away on 10 April and the Hamilton Russell website received a message from his son Ian:

Hello all,

You may have heard already that Keith (my dad) passed away on 10th April after suffering a stroke and seizures. His passing was peaceful and pain free.

For anyone who would like to say hello and pay respects the funeral and wake 3pm at Aldershot Crematorium [on 3 May] and then on to Camberley Heath Golf club.

Anyone who might like to contact directly my email is inr100@hotmail.com.

Thanks,

Ian Richardson

I would like to add some notes about Keith. One of the delights of running the Hamilton Russell Cup is the wonderful people you meet, and I can honestly say that Keith was at the pinnacle of the community.

He was one of our friendliest, most helpful and most sporting, as well as strongest players.

A joy to deal with and a joy to play against – even though I lost all of our encounters!

I was not alone in being beaten by Keith. In the 2014/15 Hamilton Russell season, for example, he scored 7.5/8 on boards 2 and 3 for the MCC.

This Barclays web page has some background on Keith’s achievements, including becoming Britain’s first correspondence chess grandmaster.

To finish up with, here is a link to a beautiful game Keith played against the former British champion Peter Lee in the Knights’ Tour, where the time control was 30 minutes a side.

Danny Rosenbaum

Changes at the Oxford & Cambridge

This week saw the last Hamilton Russell game by Oxford & Cambridge’s top board Terry Chapman. He will be a great loss to the community. Many of of his fine games are in our games database.

Terry himself has kindly annotated his last game: Terry Chapman v Adam Eckersley Waites – it’s well worth a look, particularly Terry’s last comment!

Meanwhile there is a changing of the guard at the O&C with Nigel White taking over from Peter Webster as Cup Captain. Peter has been a great servant to chess at the O&C and we look forward to his continued involvement as a player.

And yet more news from the O&C. Congratulations to Tam Freestone Bayes, who two weeks ago became a father to Athena! Congratulations to Tam!

Notice of The Athenaeum’s Chess Dinner

On 29th November the Athenaeum hold their annual Chess Dinner followed by a simultaneous display given by 1965 British Champion Peter Lee.

The evening starts at 6pm with drinks, with the meal starting around 6.30 pm to allow enough time for the chess afterwards.

Anyone who is interested in attending the evening, with or without a partner, should get in touch with Peter on PeterLee@pnlee.co.uk.

There may also be limited places for those who just wish to come to the simul.

Report of the 10th Annual Hamilton Russell Dinner

On Tuesday the MCC hosted the 2016 Hamilton Russell Dinner at Lord’s.

It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, which kicked off with champagne at the Museum, which houses the historic Ashes.

We were then treated to a tour of the Pavilion, including the England dressing room and the Long Room.

There followed a delicious dinner of cured sea trout, magret of duck and confit leg, and blueberry and ginger cheesecake accompanied by the MCC White Burgundy and Rioja.

After coffee and petit fours, Peter Rust welcomed everyone on behalf of the MCC, Danny Rosenbaum toasted the Hamilton Russell Cup, and Henry Mutkin presented the trophy to Chris Waites of the MCC.

Roger Knight, President of the MCC, then gave a thoroughly entertaining speech and the evening was rounded off with a glass or two of Port.

Thanks must go to all those at the MCC who made the evening such a success and also to David Longrigg, for saying Grace; and Colin Ferguson, who made the loyal toast.

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