Categories
Events

The Autumn Blitz

Why Blitz?

Last December, the Committee conducted a Survey on its membership to better understand what members wanted from the Club. One of the many insights that were revealed was that a majority of members preferred faster time controls compared to the much longer, standard time controls that can go on for hours. This revelation was further discussed between the Committee and the membership at the recent August AGM, with a majority wishing for a second Club tournament with shorter time controls as compared with the beloved Club Championship. The Committee listened and decided to take action.

Following from the AGM, the Committee announced the Queens Park Autumn Blitz for the final club night of September. Leagues & Competitions Manager, Jordan McNaught, was in charge of organising the event with support from the Committee. Participants appeared to thoroughly enjoy the event, marking the first success of many for Jordan as he settles into his new role. The tournament marked a special occasion, being the first blitz tournament of its kind hosted by the Club. It was only open to members of the Club, with the aim being to provide members with a mild taster of competitive play and what to expect from the rest of the season as the first league matches draw ever-nearer in October, as well as round one of the Club Championship as it fast approaches in November. Everything was to play for – with the Autumn Blitz trophy up for the taking.

The 2023 Queens Park Autumn Blitz Trophy

Tournament info

The tournament was 7 rounds long and the time control in use was 3 minutes per player with a 2 second increment per move. Games were all unrated as Chess Scotland only grades Allegro and Standard time controls. In the event of tiebreaks at the end, all relevant players would have to play a play-off. A sizable 24 members decided to participate in the tournament, proving that there is indeed a clear interest for faster time time-controls.


Who won?

The race for first place started to tighten from the beginning with some unexpected triumphs. By the 5th round, it was clear that only a handful of players still had a chance of claiming the glory of winning first place, with Thomas Fowley, Moray Lennox and Jonny Livingston looking like top contenders. By the end of round 7, we had our winner… Jonny Livingston won the tournament! Jonny, a new member of the Club, had only recently gotten back into chess and competitive play, making his win that much more impressive. He was awarded with the Queens Park Autumn Blitz trophy after his stellar performance of winning 6/7 games. Thomas Fowley, Moray Lennox and Alistair Ahmed were close runners up, with all 3 players achieving an impressive score of 5/7 wins.

Competitions and Leagues Manager Jordan McNaught (left) & Autumn Blitz winner Jonny Livingston (right)

Results

Final PositionNameWinDrawLossScore
1Jonny Livingstone6016
2Thomas Fowley5115.5
3Alistair Ahmed5025
4Moray Lennox5025
5Connor Thompson4124.5
6Paul Cumming4124.5
7Rhys McCrosson4034
8Marc Sheridan3224
9Hunter Mackay4034
10Craig Thomson4034
11Alex Lane4034
12Iain Shields3133.5
13Harvey Dellanzo3133.5
14Ciaran Melvin3133.5
15Andrew Speirs3043
16Angus Gillies2233
17Douglas Veitch3043
18Gregory Forrest3043
19Jack Spillane2142.5
20Ryan McGill2142.5
21Andy Chisholm2052
22Kris Barr2052
23Thomas Robertson2052
24Tom Cox0070
Queens Park Autumn Blitz results

This tournament marked the first of its kind for the Club, but as its name suggests, it may or may not be the only Queens Park blitz tournament this season…

Categories
Events

Cathcart’s 70th Anniversary Allegro

Cathcart Chess Club, our friends (and rivals!) over the board, have just reached their 70th year since their club’s formation. To celebrate their club’s platinum jubilee anniversary, they decided to host a 6-round Open Swiss Allegro tournament with a time format of 15+10.

The Cathcart Allegro marked the first official open chess tournament hosted in Glasgow since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. It was also a good chance to get back into the swing of things prior to the start of the new season.

Players from approximately 23 clubs were in attendance, with friend of the the Club, IM Andrew Greet, also competing. Queens Park Chess Club had the largest contingent of players, with an incredible 9 of our members competing as one other spectated. For many players, it was their first experience of an open tournament, rather than a tournament where players are split by grading strength – a baptism of fire indeed!

Queens Park had an impressive showing, with all of our competing members scoring between 2-4 points over the 6 rounds. Two of our members also won grading prizes for their strong performances.

Despite this tournament only being the third allegro that Ryan McGill had played, he scored an impressive 3/6 which earned him a grading prize in the under-1000 rating bracket.

Ryan McGill accepting his grading prize.

Rhys McCrosson also won a grading prize in the 1000-1400 rating bracket. He scored a strong 4/6 against fierce competition, including a wild time scramble in a tough endgame as a large crowd gathered to spectate.

Rhys McCrosson accepting his grading prize.

When the dust had settled, IM Andrew Greet reigned victorious. IM Greet, from Bearsden Chess Club, scored 5.5/6 which led to an eye-watering performance rating of 2480. Not far behind in second place was another friend of Queens Park Chess Club from Bearsden Chess Club – Rob Colston.

We’d like to thank Cathcart Chess Club and its secretary, Alistair Maxwell, for a well-run tournament that was fun for all involved. You can find the results from the tournament on the Chess Scotland website.

Categories
Events

Set for Promotion?

Queens Park has generated a significant lead in Division 3b of the historically significant Glasgow Chess League.

The Glasgow team, one of six league and cup teams Queens Park is operating this season, has outperformed expectations, and developed a strong chance of winning promotion to Division 2 for the 2023/24 season.

The top of the league table is currently as follows:

  1. Queens Park (15pts – 9 games played)
  2. Lenzie Dementors (12pts – 10 games)
  3. Glasgow Uni (11pts – 8 games)
  4. Hamilton D (8pts – 9 games)
  5. Hamilton C (7pts – 8 games)

Queens Park sit top by three points, with three fixtures remaining. Glasgow University are four points behind, with one game in hand, while Lenzie Dementors have played an extra game, and are three points off the pace.

A busy league schedule in March & April will see Queens Park try to pick up maximum points in an effort to maintain the lead over the higher rated Glasgow University team, which got one win and one draw from its two fixtures vs Queens Park, and the talented Lenzie Dementors junior team.

Connor Thompson (left), Jordan McNaught (second from left) & Graeme McKinnon (second from right) have scored points in Division 3b

With Division 2 operating six-board teams, compared to four-board teams in Division 3, Queens Park will be able to operate a larger team in the new season if the campaign to win the league and achieve the promotion spot is successful.

Despite being formed in January 2019, 2022/23 is the first opportunity Queens Park has had to complete a league season, owing to the impacts and disruptions of the Covid pandemic. A league win on the first time of asking will be a notable achievement for the Club.

Team Captain Rhys McCrosson, pictured top, said: “I believe the team is almost guaranteed promotion.”

Here are two games from the team’s latest fixture, a 4-0 win at home to Hamilton C on Thursday 9 March (the ‘home’ game was in fact played in Hamilton, as a result of junior players in the visiting team and licensing restrictions in The Bungo).

In the first game, Connor Thompson won an impressive 13 move (!) miniature, while in the second, Rhys set up a Queen sacrifice to deliver mate. Click on the links for access to the full games.

Connor Thompson (White) vs Hamilton C. White to move – what did Connor play to lead his opponent to resign? Click for full game.
Hamiton C vs Rhys McCrosson (Black). Black to move and mate in two. Click for full game.
Categories
Events

IM Simul, 28 Feb

International Master Andrew Greet, pictured above (left) with Club Secretary Derek Rankine, will visit Queens Park at the end of February for a special simultaneous exhibition match, or simul.

The simul event provides a valuable opportunity for Members to play a 2400+ FIDE rated player – one of the best in Scotland – at the same time. Further information on follows.

This event is taking place on Tuesday 28 February, following postponement from the original intended date in January.

What is a Simul?

In a simultaneous match, a highly rated player plays multiple opponents at the same time. The expert plays one move against one opponent, then moves on to the next board, and so on, until all games are played to completion. Viewers of The Queen’s Gambit may remember the protagonist’s simul event in a key early scene

For this event, IM Greet has challenged himself by kindly agreeing to play as many as 22 Queens Park Members at once. This presents a unique chance to face a Master level player over the board in a distinctive format that gives Club Members a serious advantage in time available to analyse the position. With so many games to deal with, it is not uncommon for the expert player to make mistakes in simuls that intermediate level opponents can potentially capitalise on, despite the massive gulf in ability.

Queens Park played simuls last season with GM Jacob Aagaard and AGM Nicolas Skettos, under our previous name of Govanhill Chess Club. Members reported both events as being highly enjoyable and rewarding, and one win and some draws were achieved by our Members. 

World No. 1 Magnus Carlsen giving a simul in Tatev Monastery, Armenia, in 2014

About IM Greet

IM Greet was born in Cornwall in 1979. In the 1990s, he was one of the most talented junior players in the UK. He twice won the British Under-18 Championship, in 1996 as a 16-year old, and again in 1998.

Andrew became a FIDE Master in 2004 and an International Master in 2005. Also in 2005, he scored a record breaking 11/11 in the Four Nations Chess League. In 2008, he moved to Glasgow and changed his FIDE registration from England to Scotland. In 2010, he became Scottish Champion

In 2014, Andrew achieved his peak FIDE Classical rating to date, of 2456. He has won many tournaments across the UK, and also competes in international events. Notably, in 2016 in Azerbaijan, in 2018 in Georgia, and in 2022 in India, IM Greet was Scotland’s Board One player at the Chess Olympiad – the equivalent of an Olympic Games for chess. He was also Board Two for Scotland in the Norway Olympiad in 2014.

IM Greet currently has international FIDE ratings of 2404 Classical, 2434 Rapid, and 2431 Blitz. A selection of his Classical over-the-board games can be viewed here.

Since 2009, IM Greet has worked for Quality Chess, the internationally esteemed Glasgow-based publisher of chess books, as editor and head of marketing. Outside of chess, he has a Degree in Psychology from the University of Kent, and has a Purple Belt in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu martial art.

IM Greet has already helped the Club this season by donating five chess boards, to help us deal with rapid growth at the start of the season, when we suffered shortages. He is currently attached to Bearsden Chess Club, which is a regular collaborator with Queens Park, and supporter of our early development. We look forward to his visit later this month.

A massive simul in Odessa, Ukraine, in 2009

Participants

Following a call for players on 8 January, the confirmed Queens Park participants and reserves are as follows (a-z by surname):

  1. Alistair Ahmed
  2. Ash Angappan
  3. Philip Blaber
  4. Giuseppe Bosco
  5. Rhys Brown
  6. Gary Collins
  7. Paul Cumming
  8. Gemma Dickson
  9. Greg Forrest
  10. Tommy Lally
  11. Jonny Linney
  12. Michael Mathieson
  13. Rhys McCrosson
  14. Caitlin McCulloch
  15. Ryan McGill
  16. Riccardo Olivier
  17. Iain Shields
  18. Ethan Small
  19. Andrew Speirs
  20. Wull Swales
  21. Connor Thompson
  22. Douglas Veitch
  • 1st Reserve: Moray Lennox
  • 2nd Reserve: Jordan McNaught

Starting from the top, those on the reserve list will be provided with a place in the event of any advance cancellations, or no-shows/latecomers on the night (those more than 10 minutes late, risk losing their place).  

GM Susan Polgar giving a simul in Central Park, New York, in 2018

Simul Process & Tips

The simul will start at 6:45pm on Tuesday 28 February in our new venue, The Bungo.

Those with a confirmed place, should sit down at an available board on the night. At the IM’s request, we will not be ordering players by rating. All Queens Park Members will play with the Black pieces.

The simul will be played without clocks. Queens Park players are to make their move immediately once IM Greet arrives at their board. IM Greet will then play his move before moving to the next board. From there, the simul games will proceed in the same way as a regular chess game. Players can offer or accept draws, or resign, at any point.

IM Greet has agreed to give Queens Park Members three pass requests. Say “pass” to IM Greet when he reaches your board if you wish to have more time to think. IM Greet will then make another circuit of all remaining players before a move is to be played.

Players may wish to write down their moves to keep a record of the game for future analysis, but notation is entirely optional. For those who wish to notate and share their games, we will be happy to publish a selection on our website.

The nature of simuls is, some games are likely to end quickly, while others may go on to 9pm. When games conclude, players are welcome to play casual games in another section of the Bungo-Lo. We ask that noise is kept to a minimum to let the IM and remaining participants concentrate.

Some general tips for simuls are: players should take full advantage of all available time to consider multiple candidate moves and ideas; it can be helpful to avoid exchanges and keep pieces on the board to push for a middlegame advantage, as an IM should have little problem winning an equal endgame against an intermediate player; it may also be worth playing more aggressively than normal, continually attacking, making threats and considering sacrificing material, while the IM lacks time to plan defences and counter-attacks. 

That said, players should be aware that IMs can spot advanced tactical ideas instantly, and have vastly superior knowledge of all aspects of the game, from openings to endgames. The reality of the ability difference is, it is likely that the IM will comfortably win a significant majority of the games, despite the high number of opponents. 

Regardless of the outcome, we hope all Members who take part, enjoy the experience. Please contact Derek via secretary@queensparkchessclub.com or on WhatsApp if you have any queries about the event.

Image credits:

Chess grandmasters Magnus Carlsen and Levon Aronian play simul on 10 boards with monks and residents of Tatev by Pan-Armenian Photo used under license CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Odessa-215 Simul by Mikhail Golubev used under license CC BY-SA 2.0

Susan Polgar CP18 by 4paul! used under license CC BY-SA 2.0

Categories
Events

A (Silly) Spens Cup Report

Stairs, to Nowhere Climb: Queens Park in the Spens Cup

Official Selection: Un Certain Regard, Festival de Cannes, 2023


1. EXT. BUSY STREET – DAY.

Stirring violin music plays. In black and white times, a group of well-dressed men confidently push their way through crowds of supporters to enter a grand municipal building.

NARRATOR (Ewan McGregor): The year: 1936. The city: Perth. 14 of the country’s strongest chess masters, with thick beards and steely glares, have gathered to fight for ultimate glory, in the final of the Spens Cup. 


2. INT. PLAYING HALL – DAY.

The men are locked in battle over chess boards. One man tips his King over, the heavy wooden ‘clack’ resounding with an echo. He offers his hand to his opponent. The opponent removes his pipe and nods deeply. The game is over. They firmly shake hands.

NARRATOR: Queens Park Chess Club fight valiantly but are ultimately overwhelmed. Dundee lift the trophy amid wild celebrations. 

Cut to: A close-up of a Scotsman newspaper clipping, dated 24 March 1936. The main headline reads: Glorious, Glorious Dundee. Further down the page: Misery, Failure – The Queens Park Curse Continues. A small article at the bottom is headed: Unrest, Instability in Europe.

NARRATOR: It is Queens Park’s third consecutive loss in the final. The pain, the toll, the heartbreak. It is all too much. 

The newspaper fades out, ghost-like, and vanishes altogether with an understated ‘pop’.

NARRATOR: The Club disappears, and is never heard from again.


3. EXT. QUEENS PARK BOATING POND – DAY.

A pre-war black and white scene in Queens Park. Slowly, a subtle hint of green creeps in to the grass at the edge of the frame. Blue flecks in the boating pond follow.

NARRATOR: Decades pass. 

The scene gradually transforms into full technicolour. 

NARRATOR: 87 long years. 

Through the winter mist, we can just make out, the grey silhouettes of several men. 

NARRATOR: In the 21st century, five brave warriors have emerged. The rumours are true. Queens Park Chess Club is back. And once again, they will compete in the Spens Cup. 

The men strut closer into the frame, their features snapping into sharp focus. One man, younger and shorter than the others, oozes confidence. He parts his hair and looks intensely into the camera through his John Lennon glasses.

NARRATOR: One question forms on the nation’s lips: are these the men to restore their ancestors’ pride? 


4. EXT. QUIET STREET – DAY.

We hear the violin music from scene one, which segues into a royalty-free song with more than a passing resemblance to ‘Little Green Bag’ by George Baker. In slow motion, close-ups-on-faces, five men walk towards a Georgian Townhouse, Reservoir Dogs style. Several take their glasses out of cases and put them on. Ready for business. 

NARRATOR: The year: 2023. The city: Edinburgh. Bank of Scotland Chess Club host Queens Park in the Preliminary Round of the Spens Cup. It is the first edition of the tournament since the global pandemic.

The music fades out. We cut to a wide street view. There are no crowds, no attention, apart from that of a lone seagull staring down from a lamppost. The seagull watches the men enter the building. It squawks once, and flies off over the New Town cityscape.

“Are these the men??” l-r: Craig, Paul, Graeme, Rhys, Derek

5. INT. EDINBURGH UKRAINIAN CLUB – DAY.

The chess match is underway. The men lack the impressive beards of their forebears, but match them in focus and intensity. The camera lingers on our protagonists in turn.

NARRATOR: On board five for Queens Park, is Team Captain Derek Rankine. Demonstrating the leadership skills of a wailing toddler lost in a supermarket, he walks his Queen straight into a trap. Game over.

We move up to the next Queens Park player, frowning in contemplation.

NARRATOR: On board four, Club President Graeme McKinnon has made a strong start. But the game has taken a sour turn, and the only thing he is presiding over today, is his own defeat. Check. Mate.

The camera pans on, the next player removing his cap to scratch his head, looking puzzled.

NARRATOR: On board three, poker expert Paul Cumming goes all in with a reckless gamble. The house wins. 

We pass by as Paul offers his resignation.

NARRATOR: On board two, young Rhys McCrosson is bucking the trend. Sporting his trademark cheshire cat grin, his creative fires have burned brightly today. He is rewarded with a fine draw against an opponent ranked almost 500 points higher.

Moving up to the final player.

NARRATOR: And on the top board, grizzled veteran Craig Thomson. After a horrible start, Craig has been in wounded bear mode, swinging his claws around furiously, lunging desperately, and inflicting some damage. He has put up a magnificent fight. But it’s simply not enough.

With stoic reluctance, Craig turns his King sideways. The camera moves for a final time, coming to rest on a thick, wooden table with an official Chess Scotland scoreslip. Bank of Scotland’s captain scribbles down the final result and briskly walks out of frame.

NARRATOR. As you may have guessed by now, this isn’t the story of a plucky underdog overcoming wild odds. No. This is the real, gritty world of Scottish chess. The strongest teams don’t take a moment’s hesitation to brutally crush the hopes and dreams of the small, the weak, and the low rated.

We zoom in closer and closer to the score slip, and rotate until the entire screen is filled with two scrawled numbers.

NARRATOR: Bank of Scotland have won with four and a half points, to Queens Park’s half a point. The Spens Cup has barely started, and Queens Park have already been sent packing. 

The scene closes with the Queens Park team in the foreground, heads in their hands, while at the far wall the Bank of Scotland players engage in a group hug. 

NARRATOR: Bank of Scotland progress into the quarter finals. Cumming and co. are going home. 

A single tear rolls down Paul’s cheek.

We zoom into the score slip… Bank of Scot 4.5 – 0.5 Queens Park

6. INT. CRAIG THOMSON’S CAR – NIGHT.   

Our dejected heroes sit in silence on the journey back to Glasgow. The passengers gaze miserably out of the windows either side of the M8. Darkness has fallen. Rain pounds on the car.

NARRATOR: On the way home, the atmosphere was equal parts despondency, exhaustion and shame. The call of history had rung out, but they had failed to answer. 

A horn sounds in the distance. The rain continues to lash down. 

NARRATOR: And yet, unbeknownst to the others, each man was looking deep inside his heavy heart, and was astonished to find there, a quietly burning ember of hope. 

A close-up of each player’s face in turn. 

NARRATOR: All were independently dwelling upon the very same, very powerful idea. 

If we pay very close attention, we can just about see their eyes narrowing ever-so-slightly, their brows furrowing faintly. 

NARRATOR: What, they asked of themselves, if this wasn’t the end of Queens Park’s Spens Cup journey? 

We settle on Craig, peering thoughtfully at the road ahead from behind the wheel. He reaches into the glovebox and puts a cassette into the car stereo, returning his attention to the road. The camera turns to follow his gaze through the windscreen wipers. We fade to black looking out upon the bleak, wet, dark motorway. 

The noise of the rain grows louder and louder, as the screen goes completely black. Then – abrupt silence. And a long pause. 

NARRATOR: What if it was only just the beginning?

Huge, sharp white text cuts aggressively through the blackness: “Fin”. 

We hear the satisfying click of the car stereo’s play button, followed by deafening Finnish death metal. 

The credits roll.


Based Upon Real Events (a little). Exclusive distribution rights are available for sale: the Club will accept two budget chess clocks, or nearest offer. Good luck to our opponents in the quarter finals. Top image created with artificial intelligence using DALL-E.

Categories
Club Meetings Events

Leaderboard, Leagues & More

November 2022 was another packed month for the Club. Business continued for our three teams in the Glasgow and Dunbartonshire Chess Leagues, the Beltrami Club Championship got underway, and we initiated a Club Leaderboard. We were represented at national tournaments in Oban and Livingston, and we hosted a group of visitors from the admirable Freedom From Torture charity.

We reached an impressive milestone of 40 members, making Queens Park one of the bigger chess clubs in Scotland. That is all the more impressive given it doesn’t include non-members who: join us in Wellcroft Bowling Club for casual chess on Tuesdays; play in the Thursday Chess Group; and/or join our meetups on Sunday mornings. Full details follow.

Beltrami Championship

32 players competed in the first round of our Club Championship, sponsored by law firm Beltrami & Co. The tournament provides an opportunity for members of all abilities to test their classical skills, gain or improve upon a national rating, and compete for the prestigious trophy.

Round one winners included the Club’s highest rated players Tommy Lally (1616) and Craig Thomson (1606), and defending champion Rhys McCrosson (1477). On the lower boards, unrated newcomers Connor Thompson, Andrew Speirs, Ash Angappan and Paul Stewart also picked up full points. Full results here.

Round two, which has the designated date of Tuesday 10 January, will see six new Members join the tournament. Players unavailable on this date may arrange for their game to take place later in January. The round two draw will be made by Tournament Controller Alex Lane in early December, and will pair winners against winners using the Swiss format.

All round one games concluded in November

Club Leaderboard

This month saw the launch of Queens Park’s own elo system in a special Club Leaderboard administered by Club President Graeme McKinnon. “Queens Park elo” does not contribute to Chess Scotland or FIDE ratings – but it does provide all-important bragging rights.

The Leaderboard is open to members and non-members alike, and simply involves playing a timed over-the-board rapid game (10+0, 15+0 or 30+0) with another player during a Club night, and recording the outcome in a score slip.

All players start at 1200. At the end of November, Rhys McCrosson leads and is the first player to cross the 1300 threshold, out of more than 30 players that have played at least one Leaderboard game to date. Click here to see the standings and rules.

Driven: Rhys leads in no. games and rating

Oban Congress

Congratulations to Queens Park’s Jordan McNaught, a surprise joint winner of the Major section of the 2022 Oban Congress. Jordan, ungraded, was one of three players to share the prize money with 3.5/5.

Just behind on 3/5 were Alex Lane and Alex Radevic, while Derek Rankine scored 2.5/5. With Queens Park supplying the three lowest seeds of 14 players, it was an impressive outcome for the Club.

Oban: (l-r) Alex R, Zizheng, Alex L, Derek, Iain & Jordan

Queens Park was also represented in the Minor section by Iain Shields, who got 2.5/5, while Strathclyde Uni’s Liu Zizheng, who regularly visits Queens Park, achieved 2/5 in the Challengers section.

The five round classical tournament (75 mins per player for the first 30 moves, then an additional 30 mins per player) was held in Oban’s Royal Hotel on the weekend of 18-20 November.

International Master Andrew Greet, who will be visiting Queens Park on 31 January 2023 for a special 22 board simultaneous exhibition, won the tournament’s Open section with 4.5/5. An invitation to the simul will be shared with Members in early January.

Jordan collecting his well-earned Oban prize money

Livingston Allegro

A Queens Park delegation was in attendance at a Scottish Chess Tour rapid tournament in Livingston’s Mercure Hotel on 8 November. In a tough Major section, Graeme McKinnon scored 2/5 and Jordan McNaught got 1/5.

In the internationally rated Minor section, Connor Thompson achieved three consecutive wins to finish on 3/5, while Jonny Linney got 2/5 and Ryan McGill got 1/5. The time control for the five round Swiss pairings event was 20+10.

Livingston: (l-r) Connor, Jordan, Ryan, Graeme & Jonny

Freedom From Torture

The international charity Freedom From Torture, which provides therapy and support for people who are recovering from torture, visited Queens Park this month. The charity’s Scottish branch runs a chess group for some of its service users. On 23 November, the group joined us for some casual games and advice on learning and development.

Our Members greatly enjoyed meeting the group and sharing some tips around opening principles and middlegame strategy. The group have an open invitation to join us again anytime in future.

Freedom From Torture’s chess group visited Queens Park

Monthly Interview

Our interview series continued with Ryan McGill as our November subject. Ryan is an enthusiastic new Member who arrived at Queens Park Chess Club via our local partner, Thursday Chess Group.

In his interview, Ryan tells us about how his interest in the game developed, picks out several highlights from his first few months in the Club, and shares some useful advice to newer players.

Meanwhile, the Thursday Chess Group is also growing in size. This month they set up home in a new location, the Corona Bar in Shawlands. Thanks to a successful joint bid to the Thriving Govanhill Fund, players no longer have to bring their own chess sets, and can turn up for a game anytime from 6pm on Thursday.

Our Thursday Group partners in their new venue, Corona Bar

Endgame Class

Our internal Club training sessions continued with Alex Radevic hosting one on practical endgames on 29 November. Alex used our new demonstration board (purchased with Thriving Govanhill funding) to set up and work through a series of positions with a group of eight.

Next month, Graeme McKinnon will take a class on developing an opening repertoire. The session will be particularly valuable to those at intermediate level who are less clear about how to build up an appropriate depth of knowledge in their favoured openings. A session invitation will be shared via the Club Member WhatsApp group next month.

League Update

Queens Park’s impressive start in the Glasgow Chess League continued with a 2-2 draw away to the Glasgow University A team on 16 November. The result, achieved from wins by Tommy Lally and Paul Cumming on boards two and four respectively, keeps Queens Park’s promotion chances in good health at the top of Division 3b.

In the Dumbarton & District Chess League, Queens Park’s A team in Division 1 lost 0.5-3.5 at home to Stepps A. Craig Thomson achieved Queens Park’s half point by drawing an opponent rated more than 400 points higher, and ungraded Connor Thomson put up a tremendous fight against 2000+ rated Stepps opponent John Henderson.

Queens Park’s B team had mixed fortunes in Division 2 of the Dunbartonshire League. Caitlin McCulloch captained the team to an impressive 3.5-0.5 win away to a Giffnock side featuring her father, Andy, on 7 November. The following week, on 15 November, the team suffered a 4-0 defeat at home to an impressive Strathclyde University side. The second game saw league debuts for new and ungraded Queens Park Members Sachin Vats, Greg Forrest and Sagar Kukreja.

Queens Park lead Division 3b of the Glasgow Chess League

The Dunbartonshire teams are frequently rotated with a view to giving newer players experience alongside some of our higher rated Members. Those wishing to join a future team are encouraged to respond to calls for league players issued by captains in the Members WhatsApp group.

As some Members have reported difficulty finding the latest league tables, this website will feature a regularly updated set of tables on a dedicated new League Info page. In addition, our website calendar also provides detail on all league fixtures across the 2022/23 season, as well as special events.

National Ambition

In early 2023, Queens Park will be going national. We have registered teams in two Scotland-wide Cup competitions – the Spens and the Richardson.

The ‘first’ Queens Park Chess Club, which was active from the 1870s to the 1930s, won the prestigious Spens Cup on several occasions. While it is unlikely we will match their success on our first try, we will look forward to following in their footsteps and testing ourselves against other Clubs across the country in the five board Cup.

Queens Park may be entering the Scottish National Chess League too. The Committee are considering an invitation to join Division Five for the current season, with fixtures beginning in January.

The historic Queens Park Club first won the Spens Cup in 1903

Public Posters

The posters highlight the three busy chess meetups

Finally, those in Govanhill and Shawlands may have spotted our above poster, highlighting the three regular and free-to-attend chess meetups around Queens Park. The posters are currently on display in community noticeboards and selected venues.

As always, current and prospective Members and regulars are encouraged to contact Graeme (President) or Derek (Secretary) with any queries on recent and forthcoming activity.

Categories
Events

League Restart, Dundee, New Investment

October was a busy and productive month for Queens Park Chess Club. Our three league teams had two matches each, we had good representation in the Major and Minor section of the Dundee Congress, and we met Grandmaster Daniel King

Away from the chess board, we confirmed Beltrami law practice as our 2022/23 season sponsor, and achieved a share of a community grant voted on by residents of Govanhill. The new investments will help the Chess Club to manage its recent growth. 

One immediate use of the grant will be to purchase additional chess sets for the Club and for our local partner, the Thursday Chess Group, to address recent shortages and enable even more people around the Queens Park area to join us for casual and competitive chess.

Read on to learn how our players fared in six league matches and a national tournament.

Glasgow Chess League

It has been almost 90 years since a Queens Park Chess Club team competed in the historically significant Glasgow Chess League.

Our Division 3b Team, captained by Rhys McCrosson, got off to a winning start away to the talented juniors of Hamilton C, scoring 3.5 to 0.5. This included a win on board one for J Craig T Thomson, formerly of East Kilbride, in his first game for Queens Park – and his first league game in decades!

The second match was at home to Lenzie Dementors, another extremely strong junior side. The score was 3-1, with wins for Rhys McCrosson, Paul Cumming and Jordan McNaught. The two wins put Queens Park top of the league at the end of October. 

There are many fixtures to come, and next month will see the team visit Glasgow University A, who are also likely to be pushing for promotion to Division 2. Results and standings are available on the Glasgow Chess League website. 

Rhys is captain of Queens Park’s Glasgow team

Dumbarton Chess League

Queens Park A, captained by Jass McNeill, face tough opposition in Division 1 of the Dumbarton & District Chess League this season.

The first game resulted in a loss away to Renfrewshire. Jordan McNaught won for Queens Park on board two. Tommy Lally, formerly of Airdrie and Shettleston Chess Clubs, and currently Queens Park’s strongest player by grading, was winning his game on board one and almost saved a draw, but a mistake in time pressure led to a 3-1 loss.

The A team drew its second game, home to Phones A on 24 October. The away side had the impressive Pavlos Bozinakis, rated 2177 FIDE, on board one. Pavlos had to work hard to beat 1481 rated Alex Radevic. A win from Graeme McKinnon, and draws by Harvey Dellanzo and Derek Rankine achieved the team’s first league point of the season. See Division 1 results and standings

Caitlin McCulloch – who this month joined the Club Committee – captains Queens Park B in the Dumbarton league Division 2. The first game featured four unrated players against Bearsden B. Harry Thomson picked up his first win for the Club on board four in a 3-1 home defeat on 11 October.

In the second match, away to Stepps B on 27 October, the team secured a 2.5-1.5 victory, with wins from Chris Dinwoodie and Jonny Linney, and Tommy Lally got a draw on board one. See Dumbarton Division 2 results and standings.

The Dumbarton league fixtures provided valuable experience for many players new to competitive, classical over-the-board chess. Next up for Queens Park B is away to Giffnock on 7 November (Caitlin’s father, Andrew, plays for Giffnock, raising prospects for an inter-family clash!). The A team host Stepps A the following evening.    

Click on the board to see Graeme McKinnon’s win vs Phones A

Dundee Congress

A contingent from Queens Park attended the Dundee Chess Congress (pictured above) on the weekend of 14-16 October. Held in the University of Dundee’s Chaplaincy Centre, the five round classical event (time control: 90+15) featured three sections – Premier, Major and Minor.

The Premier section was tied by IM Andrew Greet of Bearsden and FM Keith Ruxton of Sandy Bells Chess Club. IM Greet kindly donated several chess sets to Queens Park at the start of the 2022/23 season, and has agreed in principle to give a simultaneous match against our Members in early 2023. We intend to arrange a date and issue a call for players later in the Autumn.

Three Queens Park Members competed in the Major section – Alex Lane, Rhys McCrosson, and Jordan McNaught. They were joined by Liu Zizheng of Strathclyde University, a regular visitor to Queens Park, who finished on an impressive 2.5 points out of 5. 

Alex Lane (right) achieved a Chess Scotland grading of 1316

In round two, Rhys achieved a superb victory with the Black pieces against top seed Donald Heron, rated 1797. Rhys finished on 2 points. Alex scored three draws to get 1.5/5, and achieved a national rating of 1316 in the process, while Jordan finished on the same score with one win and one draw.

Iain Shields and Chess in the Park & Thursday Chess Group regular Ronnie Martin played in the Minor section. Both finished on 2 points, Ronnie scoring two wins and three losses, Iain achieving a win and two draws.

Next up on the national stage is November’s Livingston Allegro and the Oban Congress. Several Queens Park Members will be participating in both.

Pictures from the Dundee Chess Congress on Flickr

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Events

Meeting GM Daniel King

Five Queens Park Members had the pleasure of meeting the acclaimed English Grandmaster Daniel King on his visit to Glasgow this week.

In addition to being among the UK’s strongest players, GM King is notable as an author of 17 books, a commentator of key events including World Chess Championships since the 1980s, and content producer for his instructive PowerPlayChess YouTube channel.

GM King was the key guest at a special University of Glasgow Games and Gaming Lab seminar on Chess in Focus, which took place in the University’s Advanced Research Centre on 27 October. The purpose of the event was to explore the evolving relationship between chess and mental health, climate change, language and literature.

The event featured presentations, a Q&A with GM King, breakout discussion groups, and a special blitz match. During the Q&A, Queens Park Secretary Derek Rankine asked GM King for his views on the value of casual, over-the-board chess for improving mental health, citing positive stories Derek heard from some of those attending popular chess meetups around Queens Park.

GM King agreed chess has tremendous value for mental wellbeing, and said it was a source of regret that professional chess players had to become “assassins” when facing rivals over the chess board, and lose some of the opportunity to connect with others and form friendships that develop more easily at beginner and intermediate level in less competitive environments.

The blitz match saw two teams of five – alumni of Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities – face off in a 5+2 blitz match. Under the watchful eye of GM King – no pressure! – Derek Rankine and Jonny Linney won their games for the Glasgow Uni team, while Paul Cumming got a point for the Strathclyde Uni team. The Strathclyde Uni team, which also featured Sagar Kukreja of Queens Park and Nicolas Skettos of Phones Chess Club – a friend of Queens Park – won 3-2.

Also attending the event were Giuseppe Bosco of Queens Park and Colin Paterson of Phones; Colin is also a co-founder of Queens Park in its earlier incarnation as Govanhill Chess Club. The event was part of a series entitled ‘Forms in Focus’, which look at the relationship different types of games have with modern society. The series is hosted by Francis Butterworth-Parr and Dr Timothy Peacock of the Games and Gaming Lab.

Pictured above, left to right, are Nicolas, Sagar, Giuseppe, Paul, Derek, Dr Peacock, GM King, Jonny, Francis, and Colin.

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Events

Vote Chess – QPCC vs CSRA

Queens Park Chess Club’s first organised activity on chess.com will be a transatlantic ‘vote chess’ challenge match against the Central Savannah Riversite Area (CSRA). CSRA is a US club with players from the city of Augusta, Georgia and the neighbouring towns of Aiken and Edgefield in South Carolina.

What is vote chess? 

Vote chess is a format in which two teams play a single game of correspondence (aka ‘daily’) chess against each other. In this game, Queens Park is playing with the Black pieces, and each team has three days to discuss and vote on every move. Both teams have access to a private message board for discussion on suggested moves. 

The normal rules of correspondence chess apply – the chess.com opening explorer and books on opening theory can be used for reference, and the pieces can be moved around on the board, but chess engines and endgame tablebases must never be used. 

How do I join? 

On chess.com, click / tap on vote chess in the Queens Park Chess Club menu, or click here.

Then select the QPCC-CSRA game and choose ‘join game’.

Those who do not already have a chess.com profile can register and play for free.

QPCC will play with the black pieces

How do I play? 

To start with, introduce yourself on the message board under the vote chess game. Then let us know what you would like Queens Park’s first move with Black to be. 

When it’s our move, we have three days to decide what to play. In the first two days, club members of all abilities are encouraged to suggest and discuss potential moves in the position. When we have around 24 hours to go, a vote will be called for the consensus move (or a choice between two or more moves if no consensus has been reached). ‘Voting’ is a case of playing a move on the board, and clicking a tick box to confirm. 

It is possible for players to vote at any time on any move they wish, but participating in discussion on candidate moves first, and voting on an agreed move, helps to make this more of a team game, in which we can learn from each other, and play higher quality moves.

Lower-rated players are encouraged to suggest their preferred moves, and higher rated players are asked to respond courteously to any potential mistakes or inaccuracies. Lower-rated players are welcome to ask higher-rated players questions about their proposed moves, to improve their understanding of the ideas behind them.

What happens after we vote on our move? 

The opposing team, CSRA, will have three days to pick their move, then it’s back to our turn. The game will continue to a conclusion. At any point, it is possible for teams to vote in favour of offering or accepting a draw, or to resign the game. The outcome of the game will be rated on the chess.com vote chess leaderboard. If there is appetite for more, Queens Park can set up a new game, or even several at once.

Any questions?  

Drop Derek a message on chess.com or ask away in the vote chess chat. Thanks to all for taking part and let’s see how our first match goes! 

Top image created with artificial intelligence using DALL-E

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Events

University or College?

Queens Park vs University Select

In a pre-season friendly, Queens Park hosted a team of nine players from both Glasgow and Strathclyde Universities. The 60+0 graded match took place on Tuesday 27 September in Wellcroft Bowling Club.

The purpose was to provide the three teams with some match experience ahead of the resuming of league chess in October 2022. Queens Park and the two Universities are playing in Division 3 of the Glasgow Chess League, while Queens Park and Strathclyde have additional teams in the Dumbarton and District League too.

On the night, the away team won 6-3, a respectable outcome for Queens Park who were outrated by 500 points on the top two boards.

Ryan McGill (second from left) won a full point for Queens Park

All Queens Park’s points were achieved by new members in their first games for the club. Alistair Ahmed and Ryan McGill achieved victories on boards seven and eight respectively. Paul Cumming scored a draw on board three, while Iain Shields also got a half point on board five.

The results have been published by Chess Scotland. Our thanks to Jeson and Ashleigh at Strathclyde University Chess Society for coordinating.

Edinburgh Dean Allegro

Three Queens Park members participated in the Scottish Chess Tour Edinburgh Dean Allegro, held in Stewart’s Melville College – pictured above – on Saturday 1 October.

The five round rapid tournament featured two Chess Scotland and FIDE rated sections: an Open and an under-1600 Intermediate. The format was Swiss pairings and the time control was 20+10.

Jordan (left), Graeme (centre) and Rhys (right) represented Queens Park

In the Open section, Rhys McCrosson scored 1.5 / 5, the win coming against 1616 rated Ian Whittaker of Edinburgh Chess Club. Jordan McNaught, who also plays for Strathclyde University (he represented the away side in the above friendly), got 1 point.

Jordan and Rhys were heavy underdogs, respectively seeded 47th and 49th out of 50. Calum McQueen of Edinburgh Chess Club won the section with 4.5 points, while 11 year old prodigy Freddie Gordon of Edinburgh Chess Academy was among six runners up on four points.

In the intermediate section, Queens Park President Graeme McKinnon scored 3 / 5, with wins against players from Edinburgh, Lenzie and Sciennes. He finished in 12th position of 39.

Graeme lost in the first round to 10 year old Alagu Karthick, who is a regular visitor to Chess in the Park. Alagu, who won a grading prize at the recent Hamilton Scarecrow Allegro, finished on 2.5 points.

Full results from the Open Section and Intermediate Section are available on the Chess Results website.

Jordan and Graeme prepare for the Edinburgh Allegro with a warm-up

Glasgow and Dumbarton Leagues

Queens Park’s attention now turns to league business, with six games taking place in October.

A full schedule of games for our three league teams over the 2022/23 season is available in our calendar.

Those who have paid their membership fee will have received a call for players from our team captains. If you have not yet registered as a member, and would like to be considered for league selection, please complete the form here.