Spirit of Atticus


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16th February 2016: 4NCL

Spirit of Atticus A, 3rd Weekend, Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport, 13-14 Feb

Just three short weeks after rounds 3 and 4 the teams in divisions 1 and 2 of the 4NCL descended on Birmingham for rounds 5 and 6. It would have been easy to become dispirited after two big reversals of the previous rounds but inspired by the grubmeister's selected Homeric poetry we resolved to be competitive over the whole weekend. Read full report by John Carleton.


Spirit of Atticus B&C, 3rd Weekend, Cedar Court Hotel, Wakefield, 13-14 Feb

On the basis of the opposition’s grading and positions in the League Table, Weekend 3 promised to be very tough for the C Team and relatively comfortable for the B Team. However, teams had been finalised earlier than usual, and we were not this weekend bedevilled by late withdrawals due to illness, so entered the fray undaunted. Full report by B&C team Captain Andy Mort.

1st April 2015: 4NCL

4th Weekend, Holiday Inn, Birmingham, 28-29 Mar  and Daventry 21-22 March


We had finished weekend 3 in high spirits knowing that a draw in round 7 would guarantee us a place in the Championship Pool and probably only an overwhelming defeat would see us in the Demotion Pool.


Our opponents BCM Dragons were firmly ensconced in the last chance hotel knowing that the Demotion Pool option could be avoided for sure only by a victory and a draw would leave them in with some chance but precariously placed awaiting the efforts of teams below them in the league. ... [... Continue reading]

10th May 2014: 4NCL

The 4NCL Fifth and Final Weekend 2013/14 by John Carleton


Eventually the much awaited weekend was upon us and the squad arrived without a hitch at Daventry Court Hotel. The A team knew 3 wins would ensure promotion and believed 2 wins and a draw would probably suffice. The problem was that our opponents would have similar expectations so we were sure of a tough time.


The B team were playing for pride and the joy of the challenge. This team found themselves pitted against players rated between [ECF grades] 220[!] and 196 on boards 1-5 so there seemed to be greater prospects of a challenge than of joy. In the event we came close to a surprise draw with this formidable Fermented Sharks line-up ... [... Continue reading]

24th March 2014

The 4NCL Fourth Weekend 2013/14 by John Carleton


There were early signs that the usually well oiled wheels of our transport provision were not turning totally smoothly as different parts of the squad arrived at various 4NCL venues [past and present] at Staverton, Hinckley Island and indeed the scheduled venue of Daventry Court. Nonetheless all were present and correct at the scheduled start of play and we settled for what promised to be two exceedingly tough encounters.


After the draw for the Champions League quarter finals was made Manchester United manager David Moyes announced that he had found weaknesses in United's upcoming opponents, Bayern Munich. I have to say that our in-depth analyses had revealed no such frailties in the likely line-up of the A team's opponents Guildford 3 and the B team were due to face the ever dangerous Celtic Tigers 1. The B team's task was made even more difficult by the Tigers having their strongest team of the season to date ... [... Continue reading]

3rd August 2013

Dortmund Rd6: Kramnik, Adams unstoppable


The two tournament leaders continue with an inexorable pace. Adams cooly defended against Naiditsch and collected an easy point, putting him at 3004 performance. Kramnik showed incredibly class in his victory against Fridman.


In the other games, Wang Hao and Caruana miraculously saved their games while Meier and Andreikin took the day off with a quick draw.



The Dortmund GM tournament is a ten-player round robin with six international stars and four German grandmasters. Top seed is Italian GM Fabiano Caruana, rated 2796 and ranked number three in the world, while "local boy" former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, who has won this event no less than ten times (Caruana won it last year).


More about round 6 ...


Meanwhile back in the UK the British Championships, organised by the ECF, trickle along with notably the best players missing. Adams, Short and Jovanka Houska (5 time consecutive Women's Champion) have voted with their feet. Also the promised spectacular of unique events for this (100th) British failed to materialise as did the funding or sponsorship to ensure a memorable occasion.

15th May 2013

Chester 1 End-of-Season Report 2012-13 by John Carleton


At the conclusion of the half-year report we were awaiting some big games in the cup competitions, anticipating some season-defining games in the Wirral League and struggling to keep in touch with leaders Wrexham in the the Chester and District Chess League. The first trophy to be denied us was in the Chester &DCL.


The combined Chester K.O. team was almost at full strength for our semi-final against Wrexham and we entered the fray in high spirits. In the event we were edged out on board count after the match score finished 3-3. For me personally this was the most disappointing result of the season; my defeat to Richard Dineley was the second in successive years lost to the Welsh international in a cup competition and had I not collapsed from a reasonable position Wrexham may have been denied ... [... Read more]

9th May 2013

The 4NCL Fifth Weekend 2012/13 by John Carleton


Hinckley Island Hotel


All weekends are vital in the 4NCL but none more than the final matches where every single game has the potential to change the outcome of the whole season.


Our start in the demotion pool of division 2 had given encouragement in what appeared, on form, a dog fight between Barbican Youth, Rhyfelwyr Essyllwg and ourselves to avoid the last relegation slot [KJCA Kings with 2 points, e2-e4 2nd team and North-East England each with 0 points looked doomed; whilst The ADs and Poisoned Pawns with 8 and 7 points respectively looked safe]. We were playing the ADs on the Saturday in round 9 and that appeared our toughest fixture, many expecting them to finish with 100% in the relegation pool. Thereafter we were due to play North-East England on Sunday and KJCA Kings on Monday ... [... Read more].

13th April 2013

Robert Byrne dies at 84


Robert Byrne, Amsterdam 1969


The USCF reports the sad news that U.S. Champion, GM, author and long-time New York Times chess columnist Robert Byrne passed away on April 12th, 2013 at 84 years old after a long illness.


Byrne won the U.S. Championship in 1972, and was a World Chess Championship Candidate in 1974.


He represented the United States nine times in Olympiads from 1952 to 1976 and won seven medals. He was the chess columnist from 1972 to 2006 for the New York Times, which ran his final column (a recounting of his 1952 victory over David Bronstein) on November 12, 2006.


Read more | Wiki page about Byrne

12th April 2013

Kasparov to receive Human Rights Award


UN Watch has decided to grant the Morris B. Abram Human Rights Award to Garry Kasparov for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in Russia. Kasparov will receive the award on June 5 at a gala dinner in Geneva's historic Hotel des Bergues. Executive director Hillel Neuer said: 'Mr. Kasparov is not only one of the world's smartest men, he is also among its bravest.'

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Read more ...


8th April 2013




Anand to defend world title in Chennai


The World Championship 2013 will be held in Chennai between November 6 and 26. The state government will allot Rs 29 (ÂŁ3m/$4.5) crore for the event.


Chennai, which was formally known as Madras, is the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a major commercial, cultural, economic and educational center in South India �the "Cultural Capital of South India"�and was declared as the most liveable city in India by the Institute of Competitiveness on account of economic, social, security and medical conditions as parameters. The population is 4.7 million. Chennai is the home town of Viswanathan Anand. Read more ...

8th April 2013

10 Study Positions (2)



White to play and WIN


10 different studies. Level: Hard


In each position what is White's best line?


Use the control bar below the board to play through the main line for each position.


For annotations download the PGN.


















4th April 2013

10 Study Positions (1)



White to play and DRAW


10 different studies. Level: Medium-Hard


In each position what is White's best line?


Use the control bar below the board to play through the main line for each position.


For annotations download the PGN.


















2nd April 2013

London Candidates R14 - leaders lose, Carlsen qualifies


Not an April Fool’s joke!  Carlsen overpressed a messy position against Svidler and was swiftly punished. However Kramnik gambled all of his chips, and Ivanchuk simply took them all! Carlsen’s luck has not abandoned him and he is now the official challenger against Anand for the World Chess Championship, edging out the Russian’s fantastic performance by virtue of his better tiebreak.


The most spectacular tournament of recent years has come to an end. The drama of the last few rounds has been unprecedented in recent memory. The excitement brought spectators flocking to every chess site, even to the point of overloading some of them! The fans were eager to know who would challenge Anand, and here is how it all unfolded.


Grischuk’s Gruenfeld was more than sufficient to neutralize any attempts for a lastround victory by the Israeli, and the game ended in a draw after White’s king was too exposed and had to allow a perpetual.


Aronian, who after the first half seemed to be the only one with chances to stop Carlsen from playing Anand.


| Official site | All games in PGN |




Final Standings


31st March 2013

London Candidates R13 - Kramnik draws, Carlsen wins


Another heart-stopping round. Vladimir Kramnik had a very nice position and looked right on the path to victory, in his game against Boris Gelfand and in the tournament. This because Magnus Carlsen had a very drawish position on his board against Teimour Radjabov. But the latter blundered in the endgame and Carlsen drew level with Kramnik. The event goes all the way to the wire.


After the gut-wrenching events of round twelve, the question on everyone’s mind was whether Magnus Carlsen will be able to yank the win from under Vladimir Kramnik. The most probably scenario for that to happen is if the young number one were to outscore the Russian by half a point and beat him on the second tiebreak: number of wins. Still, the former World Champion could simply deny this were he to win as well.


In spite of the understandable focus on the leaders�games, the other two games were not denuded of interest.


| Official site | All games in PGN |


Round 14, April 1 at 14:00 (09.00 EST)



29th March 2013

London Candidates R12 - Kramnik wins, overtakes Carlsen


A tremendously exciting round: Vladimir Kramnik pulled off a tremendously important victory over Levon Aronian, who blundered in the endgame. Meanwhile Magnus Carlsen got into trouble against Vassily Ivanchuk, who won the rook ending in impeccable style. This left Kramnik in the lead, with two rounds to go.


There is little question that the 2013 Candidates tournament will be remembered as more than just one of the strongest events in history, it will also be remembered for memorable games, great combativity, and enough drama for a Hollywood blockbuster. Round twelve highlighted this in bright neon letters.


Boris Gelfand, who has had a powerful resurgence in the latter half of the tournament, moving up from the bottom of the field to the middle, showed he was not concerned with his loss to Magnus Carlsen the round before, and played a good game against Peter Svidler. He even had chances to play for a win around move 32, but was unable to find the exact path and eventually they dissipated to a draw.


| Official site | All games in PGN |


Round 13, March 31 at 14:00 (09.00 EST)



29th March 2013

London Candidates R11 - Kramnik wins, Aronian loses


Alexander Grischuk drew against tournament leader Magnus Carlsen with a coffeehouse move; Vladimir Kramnik beat Teimour Radjabov, who fell for a nice trick on move 28; Peter Svidler played a potentially tournament-deciding game by beating Carlsen's main rival Levon Aronian; Vassily Ivanchuck and Boris Gelfand ended an theoretical duel with a draw on move 17.


In Thursday's 11th round of the FIDE World Chess Candidates' Tournament Vladimir Kramnik moved to second place. Russia's number one beat Teimour Radjabov (Azerbaijan), while Levon Aronian (Armenia) lost to Peter Svidler (Russia). Drawing his black game with Alexander Grischuk (Russia), Magnus Carlsen (Norway) kept his half point lead in London with three rounds to go. Vassily Ivanchuk (Ukraine) and Boris Gelfand (Israel) played a very quick draw.


The encounter between Vassily Ivanchuk (above in the press conference with Anastasiya Karlovich) and Boris Gelfand was in fact the shortest game of the tournament so far.


Read more ...


| Official site | All games in PGN |



26th March 2013

The 4NCL Fourth Weekend 2012/13 by John Carleton


Hinckley Island Hotel

The message from the heavens was clear, as part of the celebrations following the recent ceremonies to confirm the bishop of Rome and the Archbishop of Canterbury [AKA Bishops of opposite colour], "The snow must go on".



The defiant 4NCL Arbiters led by Dave Welch responded trenchantly, "The show must go on". Of course nothing is simple and on Friday the emails, as did the snow, came in regular flurries. One of the more unusual aspects of life on Planet Chess is that the problems tend to grow [and grow] before any resolution is reached. Thus many issues were addressed which may not have appeared to the uninitiated to further the matter in hand ... [... Read more].

27th February 2013

The 4NCL Third Weekend 2012/13 by John Carleton


The 4NCL at Staverton Park continued the progress through the season with rounds 5 and 6 of divisions 1 and 2 and the corresponding rounds for division three North at Wychwood Park [near Crewe] and division 3 South at Daventry Court Hotel.


This extra information should be viewed in the context of public service provision and not as a result of another tough weekend in pool A of division 2 that saw the Spirit of Atticus team propelled into another second half of the season in the relegation pool of division 2.


Saturday saw us paired against an Anglian Avengers team who can rightly boast a team of experience blended with youthful talent. We, as ever, leaned heavily towards the experienced end of the market ... [... Read more].

15th Feb 2013

Chester 1 Mid-Season Report 2012-13 by John Carleton


At one of our famed planning and strategy meetings held pre-season the hope was expressed that Chester 1 would produce better chess in the forthcoming season although there was an anticipation that even with that eventuality it would be extremely unlikely that we could aspire to the success of season 2011-12.


With the completion of our match on 15th January we were half way through our league fixtures and had played a full part in the Club's progress into the semi-finals of each of the K.O. competitions. We are assured a busy second half of the season whatever happens and hope that the schedule includes the appearance of 6 teams in those cup competitions for Chester teams, 4 of which to include Chester 1 personnel [The winner of Hoylake v Chester will play against Pensby in the final of the Wirral K.O. ... [... Read more]

14th January 2013

The 4NCL Second Weekend 2012/13 by John Carleton


Staverton Park Foyer

A regular reader [there is one] of our reports has expressed a mixture of amazement and admiration at the ability of the Spirit of Atticus team to be so joyful at involvement in the 4NCL that they assume an optimism that is almost unfathomable.



And so it was, firmly in last place of our mini-league, that we arrived for rounds 3 in this season's competition convinced that we were in better shape than at the same stage last season and relishing the prospect of a tough work-out against a potentially strong Oxford team. We had already received something of a lift when rumours that Oxford's resources were stretched and this would affect their line-up percolated through ... [... Read more].

6th January 2013

They don't like it, Upham


There are signs that concern and indeed anger levels are rising in the chessworld after BCM's peremptory termination of their agreement with July issue cover-boy, journalist, Spirit of Atticus stalwart and all-round good egg Andy Smith.


The chess public are particularly concerned that the conciliatory and constructive approach of editorial board member John Upham was overturned by another member of the board. We will advise of any developments in this sensitive matter.


Update: Andy's latest contribution in the offbeat series, is not in the BCM but in the magazine section of the Bourne End Chess Club website. Members can submit articles or comments for publication. It’s aimed at Bourne End Club members, but not exclusively!

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