Fritz & Chesster

The Chessbase package ‘Fritz & Chesster’ is now free for all http://fritzandchesster.chessbase.com/ . Those who have used it can tell you how effective it is. An absolute must for any teacher or parent who wants to teach their pupil/child chess, I haven’t found anything that can come close to it. Just bear in mind that you will still need a board to put the content into practice. As great as the program is, it can’t do all the work for you I’m afraid. If you like the software and plan to use it extensively, it might be better to purchase it anyway to avoid dependency on secure internet connections.



1. Surveillance Chess -arty and quite interesting.

2. Checkmate -great animation about an unusual game of chess.

3. Nar mobile ad -chess in Azerbaijan.

4. Burger King Chess -a talented chicken plays chess.

5. Street Stories, Saravuth Inn – A well-shot story about a chess hustler in Union Square, NY.

6. How chess pieces are made.

7. Village Chess Shop -an old chess store in NY.

8. The Chess Pavilion -chess in Lincoln Park Chicago.

9.Players -nice time lapse.

10. Playing with senses -chess in its rawest form.

After failing to return the grand total of 160 pounds, which is a lifetime of chess earnings for the average amateur player, an English chess player has found himself in court.


More on F.Dickens

In case you thought that Dickens’s victory was something of a fluke, I have found a game where he draws with Jacques Mieses, a leading player of his day.



Here’s the final position.


The position after 20…Kg8. Note that it is Mieses going for the draw. If you play through the game you will see that white Mieses a clear win with 16 Nb5. Better would have been Nxe6 Qxe6 with Qf3, after which the double threat of the pin on the queen and the rook en prise cannot be met (see below).


What white should have played. Black is lost.

Courtesy of The British Newspaper Archive (Beds Advertiser and Luton Times Feb 21st 1908), I have unearthed evidence that the former world champion Dr. Emanuel Lasker performed a simul in my home town, his record being W13 DL1.

It’s an entertaining little read. Even though the world champion arrived late after being directed to Leighton Buzzard en route, he nonetheless gave a good account of himself against reasonable opposition. A piece well worth reading, I have given the author F.Dickens’s win below the excerpt.


E.Lasker V F. Dickens final position


17. …Bxh5. The queen is captured.


Where Lasker played. The old town hall before Luton’s fiesty, and decidedly immigrant population burnt it down. I wonder what he thought of Luton? He must have stayed the night at least.

The Town Hall smouldering [Z1306-75]

Evidence of the above.

What the Dickens!

He who climbs upon the highest mountains laughs at all tragedies, real or imaginary. Nietzsche TSZ

By now you’ve probably noticed that the best site on the net is Edward Winter’s Chess Notes and the worst is my own…right? If not then shame on you. Owing to the former ambitions of the Proletarian Tourist Excursions Society not too far from Stalin’s home town and a near simultaneous fireworks display held past midnight at -10, some late night surfing on top of a snow-capped mountain range has come to fruition.

A book about chess in my home county was written in 1933, Chess in Bedfordshire by F. Dickens and G.L. White (Leeds, 1933). According to Mr.Winter my home town had its fair share of pre-WW2 talent, with an adopted Lutonian disposing of former world champion Lasker in a simul with the Falkbeer Counter-gambit of all things, and a possible relative of Dickens beating Tartakower, also in a simul. Admittedly, the play from our Maestros leaves a lot to be desired, and had Tartakower played 13…g5 against me (see below), there is no doubt I would have beaten him too. I will endeavour to find out what brought him to Luton and report any findings.

Before its catastrophic modernization, which began in the 1950’s and finished the year I was born, Luton was once a quaint picturesque town where everyone knew each other -quite unlike what it has become. If you don’t know anything about Luton, it was once voted as the worst town in England, although in truth it’s best described as a northern town down south. In recent years it has become an immigration dumping ground for the government, causing the rise of the far-right movement the EDL, which was formed by a group of individuals who lived at the top of my road, and went to the same school I did. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/3692154.stm

In chess terms it is famous for the shortest game ever played between Stewart Reuben and Tony Miles in 1975, the game was:

1. Draw.

I am indebted to Edward Winter for the content below:

Courtesy of ChessNotes 7224. http://www.chesshistory.com/winter/winter85.html

An adopted Lutonian, J.E.D Moysey, owner of the once infamous Midland Hotel beats Lasker!


What the Dickens! Tartakower loses in Luton!

S.W. Dickens – Savielly Tartakower
Luton, January 1928
Queen’s Gambit Declined

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 Be7 5 e3 Nbd7 6 Nf3 O-O 7 Rc1 c6 8 a3 Ne4 9 Bxe7 Qxe7 10 Bd3 f5 11 O-O Rf6 12 Ne2 Rh6 13 Ng3


13…g5 (‘Fierce, but premature attack.’) 14 cxd5 (‘Initial move of a combination threatening to win two pawns and the exchange.’) 14…g4 15 dxe6 gxf3 16 Nxf5 Qxe6 17 Nxh6+ (‘17 Bc4, pinning the queen, would shorten the road to victory.’) 17…Qxh6 18 Bxe4 fxg2 19 Bxg2 Nf6 20 Qf3 Kh8 21 Rc5 Bg4 22 Qf4 Qxf4 23 exf4 Rd8 24 h3 Bh5 25 Rf5 Kg7 26 Re1 Rxd4 27 Re7+ Kg6 28 Rg5+ Kh6 29 Rxb7 Rxf4 30 Rc5 Bg6 31 Rxa7 Rd4 32 Rxc6 Nh5 33 Rac7 Rd1+ 34 Kh2 Rd2 35 Be4 (‘A good manoeuvre to gain freedom.’) 35…Rxf2+ 36 Kg1 Rxb2 37 Bxg6 hxg6 38 a4 Nf4 39 a5 Ra2 40 a6 Kh5 41 a7 Kh4 42 Rc4 g5 43 Rh7+ Kg3 44 Rc3+ Resigns.

Source: pages 19 and 68-69 of Chess in Bedfordshire by F. Dickens and G.L. White (Leeds, 1933).

An excerpt from the Beds Advertiser and Luton Times Nov 11th 1910 shows F.Dickens in action for Luton (source cf: The British Newspaper Archive)


Legal Disclaimer by the author:

This post contains disturbing, graphic imagery that is far too shocking for chess players. Discretionary viewing is advised.

Our Lifeless Past

The danger of staring too long at this still is that you may become a feature of our lifeless past for generations. Imagine having to wait over 100 years before anyone could upload and emancipate you into the net.


The horror of it all. The Midland Hotel, a typically rough Luton drinking establishment and its chess-playing owner who’indulged in animated and dogmatic estimates of London players he had met’ during heavy drinking sessions. ‘-his favourite derogatory phrase, delivered in his strong public school accent, was “He’s a mere CAFFYHOUSE player!” So often did he bring this out that it became a sort of shibboleth or “Hi, de, Hi!” in Luton chess circles.’


The Midland Hotel is to the right. It was demolished as was much of Luton town centre for the sake of ‘progress’. The substance of that progress was concrete, unpainted concrete and lots of it, rendering the town centre a light-grey colour in the sun and dark-grey in the rain, sleet and snow. An American style mall became the focal point of the town and ripped the heart out of it. Apart from its grotesque, functionalist design, the most obvious criticism, which still stands today, is that a shopping centre cannot function as the heart of the town, given that it closes at 5pm the town centre is dead thereafter. Culture gave way to commerce, which in turn was based on the whims of a few empowered and disenchanted individuals.


The swinging sixties: when you look at this image you can’t help but relive those psychedelic grooves can you? The street you see (Williamson St.) no longer exists and in the name of progress, the building to the right was ripped down and rebuilt to look the same some years later. This is why so many leave small towns in England, they have nothing to offer except urban misery.


The 70’s revealed in what is the most graphic, disturbing image ever to be posted on a chess website.  Luton Arndale centre: a timeless void you must never gaze into.

The Price of Art in Luton

On the bridge approaching the railway,

the man was begging.

I said draw me a dog

and I’ll give you a quid.

So I gave him some paper

and he did.

And I said, there you go, mate,

you can make money out of art!

Will you sign it?

As I handed him the one pound thirty-odd

I had in my pocket,

he informed me that the signed ones were a fiver.

John Hegley (Luton poet and comedian)

A music video by The Doves, which illustrates the effects of the drab and dreary nature of urban life in 70’s Britain can be found below. After being brutalized by a bland supermarket, a gentleman breaks down mentally and abandons all around him. In his need to escape he undertakes a journey full of functionalist architecture, panic, exotica and psychedelia. All that aside its a very catchy tune.

Following a link from chess24, I found an intriguing critique of chess from the July 2nd edition of Scientific American, 1859, which was written to address the enthusiasm for chess Morphy’s success had generated across their young nation. It’s quite an amusing little read with a few sound points but much dubious argumentation between them.

CHESS-PLAYING EXCITEMENT. The achievements of our young countryman, Paul Morphy, in vanquishing the most distinguished chess players of Europe, have excited in our people a very pardonable degree of national pride; hence they have exhibited a strong exultant feeling in welcoming him back to his native land as the Chess Champion of the World. He has been received with high demonstrations in several cities, and public testimonials of great value have been presented to him; while at the same time poets have sung, and sages have delivered orations in his praise. At some of these exhibitions there was a considerable display of “Buncombe,” especially at the one held in Boston, where some of our scientific friends rather overdid the thing by their adulations; yet all this might be overlooked if such influences extended no further than the time and place when and where these effusions were uttered. But we regret to state that this is not the case, for a pernicious excitement to learn and play chess has spread all over the country, and numerous clubs for practicing this game have been formed in cities and villages. Why should we regret this? it may be asked. We answer, chess is a mere amusement of a very inferior character, which robs the mind of valuable time that might be devoted to nobler acquirements, while at the same time it affords no benefit whatever to the body.

Chess has acquired a high reputation as being a means to discipline the mind, because it requires a strong memory and peculiar powers of combination. It is also generally believed that skill in playing it affords evidence of a superior intellect. These opinions, we believe, are exceedingly erroneous.  Napoleon the Great, who had a great passion for playing chess, was often beaten by a rough grocer in St. Helena. Neither Shakespeare, Milton, Newton, nor any of the great ones of the earth, acquired proficiency in chess-playing. Those who have become the most renowned players seem to have been endowed with a peculiar intuitive faculty for making the right moves, while at the same time they seem to have possessed very ordinary faculties for other purposes.

The game of chess does not add a single new fact to the mind; it does not excite a single beautiful thought; nor does it serve a single purpose for polishing and improving the nobler faculties.

Persons engaged in sedentary occupations should never practice this cheerless game; they require out-door exercises for recreation—not this sort of mental gladiatorship. Those who are engaged in mental pursuits should avoid a chess-board as they would an adder’s nest, because chess misdirects and exhausts their intellectual energies. Rather let them dance, sing, play ball, perform gymnastics, roam in the woods or by the seashore, than play chess. It is a game which no man who depends on his trade, business or profession can afford to waste time in practicing; it is an amusement—and a very unprofitable one—which the independently wealthy alone can afford time to lose in its pursuit. As there can be no great proficiency in this intricate game without long-continued practice, which demands a great deal of time, no young man who designs to be useful in the world can prosecute it without danger to his best interests. A young gentleman of our acquaintance, who had become a somewhat skillful player, recently pushed the chess-board from him at the end of a game, declaring, “I have wasted too much time upon it already; I cannot afford to do this any longer; this is my last game.’ We recommend his resolution to all those who have been foolishly led away by the present chess-excitement, as skill in this game is neither a useful nor graceful accomplishment.