Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Glen Eira Chess Club

As a Junior in the southern English town of Basingstoke, the first chess club I went to was not far from where I lived. At Westside chess club, I was able to develop my game against players of various strengths, juniors, seniors, beginners, and international competitors. I learned much chess wisdom there as well as etiquette and  chess culture. Unfortunately, Westside chess club ceased to exist, though chess clubs carried on. I moved from Westside to Brighton Hill Chess Club, where a new group of players broadened my horizons, and I followed to a number of other clubs.

I envisage Glen Eira Chess Club providing the same opportunity to players here in the South East suburbs of Melbourne. A very nice core group of players have now developed at the club and there is a great vibe on a Friday night when we meet. I originally started the club partly to meet the needs of a group of juniors who were getting too good for school chess and needed a different environment to develop their game. A number of these have become loyal members of the club along with some adult players.

We meet at 6.30 pm on a Friday evening at Carnegie Library and start tournament games about 7.15 pm. The games are rated on the ACF rating list and are played at a rate of 60 minutes + 10 seconds per move. We are currently coming to the end of our first 7 round event of the year. There have had 18 players competitors and full standings can be seen on the tornelo site. The first 3 players will qualify for our end of year championship and I'm currently playing very well and leading the event with 4.5/5. Half a point behind on 4/5 is FM Domagoj Dragicevic who was last year's Championship runner-up. Jerzy Krysiak is currently in third place on 3.5 but a large group of players are just behind, and with 2 rounds left to play, more than half the field could still qualify.

There will be 2 further 7 round swiss qualifiers throughout the year before the Championship final which starts in October. I'm sure the juniors in this event are getting invaluable experience and learning important lessons.

A position not unlike this was reached in a game between 2 of our junior players last week. It is one that all players should know how to defend, but easier to understand once you have played it and lost, just like the young player with black did!

The points to understand are that black's rook is cutting off the advance of white's king, but white's king can advance under cover of his pawn. However, when white advances his pawn black has another method to attack white's king. Black's king is cut off on the back rank, but it is positioned in front of white's pawn.

1.c6 Ra1! Black's rook takes 'checking distance' from behind white's king. This is the technique that must be remembered. 2.Kd6 Rd1 and white cannot escape checks while simultaneously defending his pawn.

Losing a position like that above, and then learning the proper technique so that it sticks in one's mind, is a great lesson for a young player and one that will regularly occur at a chess club.

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