Saturday, 3 September 2011

Darlington new chess column

Darlington chess club have managed to secure some space in our local paper.  A number of local players intend to publish various articles each week bringing chess to the masses of Darlington.  Below is an example article from a North East chess great Norman Stephenson.

 Chess is a fun game to play and it requires the minimum of equipment … you can buy a decent
board and set for not much more than a tenner and annual fees for local clubs aren’t much more.

Playing skills and knowledge are acquirable from the usual sources - books/CDs/DVDs/internet
(as well as talking to other players) - and, like many other pastimes, the game can be enjoyed at
any level. For those who might wonder about getting to be a really strong player, the good news
is that chess talent is scattered pretty randomly throughout the population; the best ever British
player (who reached World No 4 ten years ago) came from out-of-the-way Truro, while the 2nd strongest ever (who was World No 3 twenty years ago and played for the World Title in 1993) was brought up in Atherton, Lancs. In neither case is there any evidence of any chess-playing strength
in their families.

Perhaps the first really great player in the world by modern standards was Paul Morphy, born in
New Orleans, who learned the game as a 4 year-old just by watching his father and uncle playing.
Paul lived in the mid-1800s and toured the US and Europe, beating all the best players of the age
and laying down the standard for how to play the game.

White to play and give checkmate on his second
move … this is the only chess problem that Paul
Morphy was known to have composed. It was
published in The New York Clipper in June 1856.

White begins 1 Rh6 when either 1 – gxh6 2 g7
or 1 – B anywhere 2 Rxh7 are both checkmate
Morphy was indeed a genius, and I couldn't resist using this opportunity to share his famous opera box game.

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