Sunday, July 27, 2014

Glen Eira Chess Club

The success of any new venture depends on the commitment of the individuals involved. When I talked to my friend and colleague, David Cordover, about starting a chess club in our area, he basically just put in a massive effort and made it happen. Things like getting a venue, applying for grants, telling people about the club have been done by David without hesitation. He just sees what needs to be done, and then does it. I've taken more of a hands on role, ensuring the club is open each week, and informing members of what's going on. Actually, this last thing has been a bit sporadic, and it is something that I would like to improve upon. I personally think that every chess club should have a weekly newsletter, whether it be delivered by email/paper to members, or published on a website. It doesn't need amazing chess content every week, but it should reflect upon the members of the club.

Once you have a couple of committed leaders driving a project, you just need to develop a core group of people who will become involved on a regular basis, and this is now happening at Glen Eira Chess Club. We have run a set of 7 round swiss events with no entry fees and no prizes, though they do qualify for an end of year club championship which will have prizes. This format has worked really well for our club as other clubs in Melbourne are somewhat more serious. We open our doors at 6 pm and have an hour of junior/casual play and then our tournament games start at 7.15 pm. The games are 60 + 10 which means we don't have a particularly late finish is another consideration for lots of players.

So we wanted a social environment, where players could compete seriously if they wanted to, and where a chess community could flourish and develop. This we seemed to have achieved with a regular turn out of between 12 and 25 players, and more like 50 players having tried the club out through it's first year. Besides the regular players, we have had some very distinguished Australian chess guests drop in to the club. IM James Morris played in our first 7 round swiss event this year, while FM Domogoj Dragicevic is playing in the current event.

The current tournament is the last chance to qualify for the end of year championship. We decided on holding qualifying events so that the regular members get an even chance to play in the club championship as averse to strong players who come to the club just to play that event. If a strong player wants to play our club championship, they have to qualify, the same as anyone else. So far, that's worked pretty well with a combination of strong players and regulars making it through. At the same time as our club championship, there will be a reserves championship for anyone who doesn't qualify for the championship. Next year, there will be a slightly different criteria for qualifying, but more on that later.

This week, I had to play against a local player originally from Russia. As Glen Eira has quite a high proportion of immigrants from Europe, it is not surprising that we are getting chess players from these countries. I'm an European immigrant! In fact, our tournament this time has players representing England, Holland and Iceland so Europe is doing quite well. My opponent plays a pretty decent game for a part timer, but he played a bad opening and never really recovered.

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4?!
This was the opening moves of the famous 'Opera House Game' between Morphy and Count Isouard and the Duke of Brunswick. As I've shown this game to numerous chess classes through the years, I followed in Morphy's footsteps for a few moves before my opponent deviated from the famous game. It didn't really make things better for black who suffers from a bad king position and poor piece development. I managed to win the game, but my opponent created some difficulties for me, and although not a regular chess club player, he must be at least 1500 strength, and perhaps was stronger earlier in his life.

For those of you that haven't seen the great game, here is Morphy's amazing win analysed by Steinitz. Enjoy :)

No comments:

Post a Comment