Hamilton Russell 11th Annual Dinner

On Tuesday over 50 of us enjoyed the terrific hospitality of The Hurlingham Club for our 11th annual dinner.

After a welcoming glass of champagne in the marvelous Terrace Room, we enjoyed an exceptionally tasty meal in The Quadrangle rounded off with coffee and brandy/port/whisky.

As is customary at these dinners, the Hamilton Russell Trophy was presented to the last season’s winners, and the photo below shows Henry Mutkin of the RAC presenting the trophy to Peter Rust of the MCC.

It was the MCC’s fourth consecutive win.


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).


MCC win the Hamilton Russell Cup!

Congratulations to the MCC, who have won this season’s Hamilton Russell Cup.

There were two important results this week. The RAC dropped a point drawing to The Reform, but it made no difference as the MCC beat Chelsea Arts to achieve an unassailable lead.

The RAC at home to The Reform drew 4-4.

  1. Roger Emerson ½   v  ½          Richard Hall
  1. Lee Green        ½   v   ½          Nicholas Cron
  1. Fred Edge        ½   v   ½          Peter Evans
  1. Robert Feather 0  v   1           Richard Saunders
  1. Henry Mutkin    0  v    1           Danny Rosenbaum
  1. Rob Matthews 1  v    0           Konstantin Yelin
  1. Paul Weston 1   v     0           Ken Tweedie
  1. Francis Kershaw ½   v   ½   Paul Hendrick


The MCC away from home beat Chelsea Arts 2-4

Richard Black v Tom Eckersley-Waites 0-1

Izzie Thomas v Adam Eckersley-Waites 0-1

David Cohen v Ian Reynolds 1-0

Matt Flowers v Ed Goodall 0-1

Mike Radcliffe v Nick Collacott 0-1

Joe Coles v David Bates 1-0


Here is the final table (click on it to expand)

MCC Go Top with Win Over RAC

With just two matches left to play in the Cup, the MCC have overtaken their rivals and currently sit top of the Hamilton Russell table. They beat the RAC away from home 3-5. The friendly boards ended 1.5-1.5.

Match card for the Cup match (RAC player listed first in board border)

Roger Emerson ½  v   ½       Tom Eckersley-Waites

Nigel Povah      ½    v    ½      Adam Eckersley-Waites

Henry Strausser 1    v    0      Dominic Lawson

Natasha Regan   0   v    1       Gary Senior

Stephen Meyler  ½    v   ½      Ian Reynolds

Lee Green         0      v    1      Ed Goodall

Trevor Dunmore    0    v  1   Nick Collacott

Wayne Clark       ½    v    ½  Chris Waites



RAC beat Chelsea Arts

The RAC ended up playing this ‘away’ fixture at home and won 5-1 in the Cup. The Chelsea Arts won the two friendly boards. Match card (in board order with RAC player first):

Natasha Regan 1  v   0    Richard Black

Stephen Meyler ½   v   ½   Izzie Thomas

Lee Green  ½    v    ½       David Cohen

Trevor Dunmore 1   v   0    Matt Flowers

Wayne Clark  1   v     0    Mike Radcliffe

Rob Matthews 1   v   0  Lino Mannocci


Godfrey Jillings 0   v   1 Marc Wolff

Ian Takats  0   v   1    John Leighton

The RAC Defeat The Athenaeum

The RAC defeated The Athenaeum 3.5-2.5 at home in the Cup. The friendly boards were tied 1-1.

  1. Roger Emerson 0    v        1      Peter Lee
  1. Natasha Regan 1    v        0      Stephen Lowe
  1. Stephen Meyler ½    v      ½      Russell Campbell
  1. Lee Green        0      v       1       Felix Oyens
  1. Fred Edge       1      v       0       David Shanklands

6. Wayne Clark    1      v       0       David Tayor