“All of man’s unhappiness comes from his inability to stay peacefully alone in his room.” – Blaise Pascal

The Sicilian Defence is great but it does have its flaws, the main one being that the King can become stuck in the centre of the board if black is not careful enough; with some players moving every queenside pawn they have before castling becomes an option, problems may arise.

It’s 1973. Spassky just lost his title as world champion and had the Soviet government take almost all of his prize money off him also but neither misfortune stopped him from becoming the Soviet champion that year. Here he shows how in a main line, where black plays natural developing moves, king safety or lack thereof, can cost him the game in the opening.  His victim that day was a certain Nukhim Rashkovsky, a man still very active in the Russian chess scene.


The Sicilian: flank play in favour of centralised piece development. The position after 7….Qc7. Since its 1973, white now plays 8. Bd3.


Black has just played 11. …Bb7. His position looks quite normal but is as so often the case with the Sicilian, white attempts to open the centre and plays 12. e5.


Play went 12. e5 dxe5 13. fxe5 Nd5 14. Bxe7 Nxc3. It’s best to stop and think what white plays next. The move itself is very sharp indeed.


The final position after 21. Qf4.


The man himself.


Home entertainment.

Enjoy the game itself.


During what became a rather bumpy flight for both myself and my -soon to become slightly damaged- bicycle, I reverted to one of my favourite books, that being The Soviet Championships by Bernard Cafferty and Mark Taimanov.

In the late 1940’s Alexander Tolush won several brilliancy prizes in his quests to become the Soviet Champion. Whether he was, as so often described ‘cavalier’ or ‘gung ho’, it is difficult to be sure without a formative study of his career. But one thing we can be sure of is that he did not mess about over the board…oh and in case you didn’t know, he went on to be Spassky’s trainer and played a decisive role in him becoming world champion.

So, 1947 it is. Tolush plays with white, his victim on this occasion was Vladimir Alatortsev, the result being another brilliancy prize for what was a brutal kingside attack. I won’t show the whole game, just a few diagramatic motives with the linked game to follow…oh and before I forget, Tolush finished a mere fifth that year with a ‘rehabilitated’ Keres back in the fold and finishing first.


Looks like a fairly standard slav from the 1940’s to me. Tolush just played 8. Qc2 which is followed by 8. … dxc4



Both players have placed their better bishop on its best diagonal but as ridiculous as it may seem, where the queen’s knights are placed respectively, makes a more crucial difference in the position. Black has just played 10. …Qe7, and here white now plays 11. Ne2!? Anticipating black’s e-pawn break, the knight wants to go to f5 via g3. To stop that black must make a concession which will cost him dearly.


Both players pushed their e-pawns but black had to play g6 too, to stop that knight hoping into f5. White plays 15. Rae1!, threating to push his e-pawn on again, black replies with 15. …Ne5.


After 15. …Ne5, 16. Nxe5 Bxe5, 17. f4 was played with 17. …Bc7 to follow. I will stop here and suggest you play through the game linked below. Rest assured, Tolush won the brilliancy prize for a reason (his next four moves are all pawn-moves!).



As I was to soon learn, my wheels won’t look quite like that once they got off that plane.  😦



For humour look at TrollChess on facebook and www.9gag.com. I last visited both about one year ago and have thus found a few things since, the first two are from TrollChess, the second two are from 9gag.


The updated…

“Admiration, by eroding our substance, depresses and ultimately demoralizes us; hence we turn against the admired — anyone guilty of having inflicted upon us the task of raising ourselves to his level.”

Emile Cioran

Luton Chess Club will now play every Thursday -not Monday– @ Wardown Bowling Club, Wardown Park, Luton not Bedford.


New home of Luton Chess Club

Concerns over the lack of a fixed schedule along with uncertainty whether anyone will actually turn up caused doubts amongst the members of the bowling club. Given that their own club night is Thursday, whilst finishing off my seventh pint of cider at the bar just before I staggered into the toilets, I decided that Luton Chess Club should meet on that night too, I then told Mick Josephs who, believing ‘it shouldn’t be a problem’ agreed. This ensures that club matches can go ahead without teams arriving from afar Mondays, finding that the clubhouse is locked and remains locked because no one has the keys. The principle corollary of this I hope to be that all Luton players, now assured of an abode, will quickly storm towards the Division 1 title…here’s what to expect at the club now.


Inside the new club.

There is a caveat: the dominoes being played may cause noise pollution raise the decibel level at times…I suppose when you blunder, at least you have a ready made excuse! Also, don’t puke up in the bogs and fall asleep in them for days like I did.  

Predictions for next season on a postcard [please see below for my address]

Name: Mark sub-standard county chess player quality chess player’ McCready

Address: Planet Earth, Inner Solar System, The Milky Way, The Universe


“Progress is the injustice each generation commits with regard to its predecessors.” 

Emile Cioran

It’s arguable that chess is on the up in England. Those of us who understand club and county chess exceptionally well can tell you that both of the aforementioned pale in comparison to what they were in more recent decades…

So I visited The London Chess and Bridge centre in Middlesex yesterday. It’s based in a place called London…or something like that. On ‘Baker street’ apparently…

I thought it would be at best dingy and disheveled, full of depressed, lost souls that are far too British in their demeanour, however, that was not the case. It was, in fact, quite the opposite, and in becoming excited by that -just look at what I went and bought!

F. Dickens who co-authored the only book ever written about chess in Bedfordshire is always described as a Schoolmaster from Kensworth. I cycled through there last weekend and took a picture of the only school it has, and what was his place of work during the 1930’s.



I am white here. I play 13. Rh1 to free the knight from the pin, and more importantly, to place the rook on the file I want to open, rightly or wrongly…it’s not so often you play Rh1 in the opening huh?