Queens Park were delighted to host a special visit from Rob Colston of Bearsden Chess Club this week.
Rob, an experienced 1900+ level classical, rapid and blitz player, whose impressive career highlights are covered here, delivered an interactive workshop focusing on two key areas:
how to form a plan in the middlegame;
how intermediate players can improve long term.
The participatory event took place in The Bungo on Tuesday 21 March, from 7-8pm. Rob shared two games from his career, in which the Queens Park audience was invited to predict plans, moves and ideas throughout. Rob also provided a range of general tips for learning and development, designed to help intermediate players who are stuck on a ratings plateau.
Rob has kindly provided an in-depth PDF document covering his workshop notes, and notations for the two study games. They are available for download in the links below:
Rob’s key book recommendation is Chess Structures, by Chilean GM Mauricio Flores Rios. The book covers the pawn structures that appear in a wide variety of mainstream openings, from the French and the Benoni to the Caro Kann and the Hedgehog, and what plans both White and Black should look to pursue when they appear on the board.
As stated in the advance information, the event is part of a series of collaborations between Bearsden and Queens Park. Bearsden have been a valued mentor Club, supporting Queens Park to establish in 2019 and to grow and develop in the subsequent years. We are indebted to Rob for his time and expertise, and to Bearsden for their continued generosity.
The next workshop will be an ‘How to Form an Opening Repertoire’ class by Queens Park’s openings specialist, Graeme McKinnon. It will take place on Tuesday 11 April, also at 7pm in The Bungo. There is no need to register for this event in advance; those interested are invited to turn up on the night.
In 2022/23, Queens Park Members have the opportunity to compete in our five round Club Championship, supported by our season sponsor Beltrami & Co.
Each round has a ‘designated date’. This is a Tuesday evening club night at which we encourage Members to play their Beltrami Club Championship games in our usual venue.
Games are played over-the-board at the 60+0 time control, under Chess Scotland rules, involving use of a clock and notating moves. One point is awarded for a win, and half a point for a draw. Using the Swiss pairings format, the number of points Members are on will determine who they are drawn against in the next round – i.e. “winners play winners”.
The designated date for the penultimate round is Tuesday 4 April, with a 6:45pm start time in The Bungo.
If you are participating in the Club Championship, and cannot make this date, please contact Tournament Controller Alex Lane, or another Member of the Committee, by WhatsApp or email, and we will work with you and your opponent to reschedule.
There were four defaults in round three. Those who do not turn up for their game, or notify us in advance, risk inconveniencing their opponent and forfeiting the game. Repeat offenders may be removed from the tournament, as those affected have to wait around for an opponent to show up, and also miss out on the opportunity for a graded game. We appreciate all cooperation in making the tournament an enjoyable experience for everyone taking part.
Standings After R3
42 players were paired in the third round, which whittled down the leading pack from seven to four.
Tommy Lally, Rhys McCrosson, Craig Thomson and Connor Thompson, all on the maximum three points, will face each other on boards one and two in the fourth round.
One of Glasgow’s strongest players, Bearsden’s Rob Colston, pictured above, will visit Queens Park on the evening of Tuesday 21 March to share his wisdom and experience in a special interactive workshop.
The focus of the workshop will be twofold: on middlegame planning, and on how intermediate players can achieve steady improvement. With a number of Queens Park players reporting the middlegame as a particular challenge, and being stuck on a rating plateau, we hope the session will provide a valuable source of learning in two key developmental areas.
The session will begin at 7pm and feature a selection of games from Rob’s career. Rob’s FIDE ratings are 1874 classical, 1992 rapid and 1944 blitz. He is also rated 1916 classical with Chess Scotland.
Rob’s career titles include Staffordshire under-18 champion (“in 19… well a long time ago!”), five time champion of London’s Hampstead Chess Club, and three time champion of Bearsden Chess Club (one shared). Representing Hampstead in the prestigious London Chess League, Rob played alongside some incredible talents, including 10 times British Champion GM Jonathan Penrose, three times British Champion GM Jon Speelman, the former world no.4 GM Mickey Adams, and the second Grandmaster in English history, GM Raymond Keene.
Rob has beaten a number of GMs and IMs in tournaments and league games, and we are delighted he has agreed to share his knowledge and experience. Notably, Rob is not taking a fee for his time; Bearsden Chess Club is a kind and generous friend to Queens Park.
Caitlin McCulloch is the new President of Queens Park Chess Club.
Caitlin, pictured above, was elected to the Club’s most senior role by a Committee vote on 7 March.
The role was previously held by Graeme McKinnon, who stood down at the start of March as a result of new demands on his time. Graeme oversaw the rapid growth and transition of the Club, from a small entity with seven paying Members in 2021/22, to one with 46 Members and six teams competing in various leagues and cups.
Caitlin’s appointment, for a 16 month term, will help Queens Park to continue its transformation and consolidate its position as one of the largest and most active Chess Clubs in Scotland. Caitlin, a University librarian, joined the Committee in Autumn 2022, and is Team Captain of Queens Park B in the Dumbarton & District Chess League.
Harvey Dellanzo, Club Treasurer, said: “Graeme’s thoughtful approach to the development of the Club, in what has been an exciting and challenging season with tremendous growth, has been appreciated. I am delighted to announce that Caitlin will fill the vacancy. Caitlin has an extensive range of relevant skills and experience, and embodies the Club’s welcoming ethos. She was a unanimous choice for the Committee.”
Derek Rankine, Club Secretary, said: “I share Harvey’s gratitude to Graeme for his hard work this season, and his enthusiasm for Caitlin’s appointment. The 16 month term will provide additional stability over season 2023/24, and support the Club’s plans to develop a Constitution, bring in a new volunteer structure, and hold a democratic, Member-wide election at the 2023 AGM. We look forward to working with Caitlin in her new role.”
Caitlin embodies the Club’s welcoming ethos.
Caitlin, who has been playing in chess tournaments since the age of 12, is the modern Chess Club’s third President, after Graeme (2022-23) and founder Julien Papillon (2019-22). Archive records indicate Caitlin is almost certainly the first female President in the entire history of Queens Park Chess Club. A previous incarnation, founded in 1873 and active until 1936, had a tradition of male-only Presidents.
Caitlin said: “I want to thank the Committee for entrusting me with this position, and to applaud the work Graeme has done. I’m looking forward to building on the established success of Queens Park Chess Club over the next 16 months. My father was the President of Giffnock Chess Club and it’s exciting to be following in his footsteps.”
Scotland’s top active player, International Master Andrew Greet, who plays board one on the Scotland Olympiad team, welcomed the announcement. He said: “I recently had the pleasure of visiting Queens Park and playing Caitlin in a simultaneous match. I congratulate Caitlin on her appointment as President, and I am excited to see the positive impact she will have on the further development of this vibrant Chess Club.”
I’m looking forward to building on the established success of Queens Park Chess Club.
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:
Queens Park (15pts – 9 games played)
Lenzie Dementors (12pts – 10 games)
Glasgow Uni (11pts – 8 games)
Hamilton D (8pts – 9 games)
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.
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.
What is it like to be part of Glasgow’s Queens Park Chess Club?
Each month, Derek Rankine (Club Secretary) interviews Queens Park Members and asks them to share their experiences and perspectives. This month, we hear from the Chess Club’s power couple, Chris Dinwoodie and Jackie Logan.
Chris, 40 (“Jackie is convinced I’m 41”), is a magician and show producer who performs at weddings, corporate events and comedy clubs, and runs the successful Enterteasement monthly variety show. He was born in Rutherglen and now lives in Burnside. Jackie, 34, is a salon owner, nail technician, nail tech teacher and general “giver of fancy fingers”. She lives in Cambuslang.
The couple joined Queens Park at the start of the current 2022/23 season. Chris is rated 1025 with Chess Scotland and 1668 rapid on chess.com. Jackie is working towards a national over the board rating. She reached 1103 on chess.com rapid in 2022, but has since dropped to 928. Both are participating in the Beltrami Club Championship, and playing for Queens Park in the Dunbartonshire Chess League.
Derek: Can you recall your earliest chess memory?
Jackie: My Dad taught me when we were young, but only the basic rules. I never won a single game – therefore I hated it!
Chris: My Dad taught me and my older brother how to play when I was about six.
Chris – you come from a chess-playing family. What was that experience like? Lots of inter-family rivalry, or supporting each other to play and develop?
Chris: My Dad was a pretty strong player, 1910 at his peak. He’d tell us about his chess results but my brother had no interest in playing with me, so my games back then were mainly against the computer, which always won. When I started playing my friends, I could beat them most of the time, but I wanted to beat them every time.
So I joined the same Chess Club as my Dad – Cambuslang. That’s when I learned how little I knew about the game. Fortunately, my Dad taught me a few things when I joined the Club.
Jackie – outside of the Dinwoodies, do any of your family/friends play chess?
Jackie: My Dad still plays a bit. He’s a technophobe though. He only plays against the computer and is convinced if he signs up to chess.com people will steal his identity!
What is it about chess that you most enjoy?
Jackie: Winning haha! I’m very competitive. I love the thought process and the thinking it takes, but also that anyone can make a bad move at any time!
Chris: I like how fair the game is. The pieces move the same way, for novices and grandmasters, from seven year olds to 70 year olds.
Do you prefer to play chess online or in person?
Chris: I’m much better online, but I prefer playing in person. I like the feel and aesthetics of the of the pieces. I’m also a big fan of making ‘interesting’ moves. The moves where you don’t know if there’s anything in them, but it just complicates things. When you make those moves and you see your opponent’s face, it’s always fun. It’s part of the bluff, sitting there, trying to act like you’ve calculated something special. When in reality, you don’t have a clue.
Jackie: Definitely online. Over the board chess makes me nervous, mostly because it’s frowned upon to shout profanities when face to face! I also feel the board just doesn’t look right in real life. I prefer everything in 2D, haha.
How did you meet?
Chris: We met on Facebook. A mutual comedian friend posted something and we got to chatting on his thread then we became Facebook friends. A few years later, Jackie came to the show I run, and a couple of months later we had our first date on Valentine’s day.
Jackie: He forgets to mention he asked me out for coffee about once every few months and I kinda always palmed him off haha! After two years, we had our first date, and I don’t think we’ve been apart since. We recently celebrated our nine year anniversary!
Congratulations! Has chess featured much in your relationship?
Jackie: Not until Covid. I watched The Queen’s Gambit and I figured I’d give it a go. I was hooked from the start. Once I started winning I literally DREAMED about chess and would sometimes watch people walking about and imagine them as chess pieces! Weird, I know.
Chris: I wasn’t playing chess for the first few years of our relationship, and then I caught the bug again. Jackie used to be annoyed when I played Internet chess. But then Covid hit, we were bored one day, and we started playing. After that, Jackie started playing more than me.
Over the board chess makes me nervous, mostly because it’s frowned upon to shout profanities when face to face!
What led you to join Queens Park Chess Club at the start of season 2022/23?
Chris: We’d previously went along to join Cathcart Chess Club, but it was a bit formal and quiet for Jackie, especially as she was still pretty new to chess at the time. Queens Park is pretty close to us and, truth be told, the fact Govanhill Chess Club* finished bottom of the online chess league the previous season, we thought they might appreciate the players. We’d no idea what it had become.
Jackie – you went to one of our introductory sessions on over the board chess. Did you find it helpful?
Jackie: Definitely. I had no idea about writing moves or even how to. Or how the timed games worked. It was definitely a great way to start and see who also was new to the Club!
How are you both getting on in the Club Championship?
Chris: I won my first match using a combination of luck, prayers and time pressure. I was holding on by a thread and my opponent was short on time. I was too embarrassed to offer a draw because I was so far behind, but I was praying my opponent would utter the word, “draw?”. However, the illusive checkmate never came and the flag fell, and I got the guilty win.
My next match was against one of the Club’s strongest players, Craig Thompson. He was starting to get control in the middlegame so I considered sacrificing my Bishop, but on second thought I thought it would be a bad idea to sacrifice a Bishop against such a strong player… so I sacrificed the Rook instead. It was a good laugh, but when I put it through the computer, it basically said I was an idiot. I won my third match against Gemma.
Jackie: Ermm… pass!
I like how fair chess is. The pieces move the same way, for novices and grandmasters, from seven year olds to 70 year olds.
Jackie – like many Chess Clubs, Queens Park is mostly male. Do you think the Club could be doing more to encourage women to join?
Jackie: Maybe hire Magic Mike in for a game? I joke – I think maybe having a woman’s league or beginner lessons, or reaching out to some of the girls’ forums on Facebook, would help. I know for sure there are girls who play! I think they would definitely come along if they knew other women were there.
You both run successful businesses, and chess can be a time-consuming hobby. Is it a challenge to integrate it into your working lives?
Jackie: I find it hard to get along to the club at times, especially as I work late a lot. But playing online I usually always squeeze a game in during my lunch… and normally have to resign when someone turns up early for their appointment!
Chris: To be honest, sometimes it feels like it’s hard to integrate my working life around chess. Being self-employed, it’s a hard discipline, and chess and social media, are an easy escape.
Jackie – as someone who runs a nail salon, do you have any comments on general fingernail standards in the Glasgow chess scene?
Haha. Chris – I recall you said you experimented with incorporating chess into your magic act. Can you tell us more about that?
Chris: Yeah, I integrated two different things. First was a trick with a white pawn and a black pawn. The spectator had to put one in each hand and I’d be able to identify which hand the correct colour pawn was located in, no matter how many times they’d change their hand or their mind. It didn’t fit my persona, so it quickly got abandoned.
For my comedy, I used to tell a true story about when I was at the Chess Club and Members started surrounding my table and saying things like “That’s an interesting position”, “I’ve never seen that before”, “Wow! I wish that was me!”. When I looked up. they were looking at the TV above us. Which was showing a Channel 5 adult film.
Maybe someday, they will say those things about your chess. What one piece of advice would you give to those who are new to the game?
Jackie: Don’t worry about your grading. Don’t even worry about winning. Take your time, use your time wisely, and always think, “what does that move do?”, after your opponent moves, and before you make your move.
Chris: Don’t memorise openings. Learn the principles. Then focus on learning checkmates, because there’s nothing worse than missing a mate in one. Plus knowing what mates look like helps you to put your pieces in the right places. After that, ask better players what they would do, and what their thought process is. That’s how I learned how to go from a hobbyist to a Club player.
Club Members surrounded my table and said things like “That’s an interesting position”… turns out they were watching an adult film on the TV nearby.
Good advice. Do either of you have any chess-related goals?
Chris: I’d love to get to an over-the-board grading of 1500.
Jackie: I would like to get back up to 1000 on chess.com and WIN A GAME IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP!!!
Thanks both! Our interview series will continue next month. Last month’s subject was musician Wull Swales.
Queens Park Chess Club – and the game of chess – is the focus of episode 12 of Hobbysitive, a Spotify podcast series that delves into the culture and appeal of different types of hobbies.
Club Members Ash Angappan (above, centre) and Ryan McGill (right), along with Club Secretary Derek Rankine (left), were interviewed by freelance Hungarian journalist Flora Csizmadia.
The interview, which went out live via the Hospital Broadcasting Service on the evening of 27 February, is available on Spotify. It covers Ash’s, Ryan’s and Derek’s journey towards Queens Park Chess Club, the activities we provide and competitions we take part in, and the welcoming ethos of the Club. It also explores the different styles and formats of chess, discusses whether the game’s gender imbalance may be changing, and highlights the wider social and health benefits that can be accrued by regularly playing chess.
Chess joins other Hobbysitive episode topics include bodybuilding, Scottish Gaelic, pottery, birdwatching and songwriting. Our gratitude to Flora for an enjoyable interview. You can follow Hobbysitive on Instagram.
Every so often, the Chess Club receives a communication, with the following general thrust:
Why do you ABSOLUTE MORONS spell your own name wrong???!!! EVERYONE knows it’s Queen’s Park, not Queens Park!! What are they even teaching in Scottish schools these days?? *
It’s true, we purposefully leave an apostrophe out of our name, even though many deem it “incorrect” and “just plain wrong”.
You may be curious: why do we go by Queens Park Chess Club – rather than Queen’s Park Chess Club?
Buckle in. Here is the full story.
It begins on 3 August 2022, when the Covid pandemic was receding, lockdowns and restrictions were heading into the rear view mirror, and normality was returning to Scottish life.
In its Annual General Meeting in Brodies Bar, by the north corner of Queens Park – and home to our Thursday Group partners at the time – the Chess Club Committee were excitedly planning for a busy new season, one which would see the return of league chess.
A landmark decision was taken at this meeting, as shown in the following extract of the AGM minutes:
Agenda Item 5: Name of Club
There was a discussion over the potential value of changing the name from Govanhill Chess Club to Queens Park Chess Club, to develop a historical connection with a previous Club of that name, active from 1873 to the 1930s, and to help attract new members from a wider set of neighbourhoods including Shawlands, Langside and Mount Florida.
Harvey reported that he voted in 2021 to retain the existing name, but having since learned about the 1873 Club, would now like to change the name to continue a historic local tradition. Julien and Graeme highlighted the reality that most members already come from the wider Queens Park area outside Govanhill. Derek said the change of name would be helpful in avoiding a situation in which small, precarious clubs are set up in the different neighbourhoods around Queens Park. He noted some online discussions about setting up a Shawlands Chess Club, and felt it would be better for a single, active and sustainable Club to serve the area.
Alex Lane asked if there would be any bureaucratic challenges associated with the change of name, and it was noted the Club would need to notify a number of parties, and change its website domain name, official email addresses, and Facebook page name.
There was a discussion about the merits and drawbacks, and Julien called the matter to a vote. With five votes in favour of the change and two abstentions, it was agreed the Club would henceforth be known as Queens Park Chess Club.
Graeme said he strongly felt the change was for the best, as a local person who has lived in, and is passionate about, several of the local neighbourhoods. Harvey said the Club’s debt to Govanhill, and its period as Govanhill Chess Club, should be fully acknowledged. Derek said he was working on a historical webpage that would include a timeline and a prominent reference to its Govanhill roots.
What the minutes don’t record, is why the apostrophe was left out when the new Club name was adopted.
Immediately following the above vote, the question was asked: “before we do the league registrations and everything, are we spelling Queens Park with or without an apostrophe?”
Blank looks followed. “You know, I’m actually not sure.” “Is it owned by the Queen?” “Is it a reference to multiple Queens?”
Then someone said “Look!” and pointed out the bar window to Queens Park. Heads turned to follow the outstretched arm. Almost as one, the Committee said: “No apostrophe!”.
Sure enough, the official Glasgow City Council park signs, look like this:
The answer was settled (history doesn’t record why no-one simply took their phone out and Googled). We registered our apostrophe-less new name with Chess Scotland, the Glasgow Chess League, and other parties. We developed a new logo, changed our banking name, website domain, sorted out our social media channels, email signatures etc. All using Queens Park.
So when we realised the mistake, why didn’t we make the change? Well, by now we had become used to it – among other reasons to stick with it. It made us distinctive. It had become part of the modern Club’s lore. There are two Queens on a chessboard – not one. We feel the park is owned by the good people of Glasgow, not a monarch. And maybe, just maybe, over drinks in a private conversation with a trusted friend, we may reluctantly concede, if we were absolutely sure no-one else was listening, that retrofitting the apostrophe would have involved some hard (OK, mild) work.
So there you go – if you are the latest person to ask the above question – you will have received a link to this page. Still not happy? Take it up with whoever commissioned the Queens Park (sic) signs for Glasgow City Council.
Finally, if you are curious about who the mysterious Queen of Queens Park is, it’s named after Mary Queen of Scots, whose forces were defeated in the nearby Battle of Langside; and not after Queen Victoria, as commonly assumed. It was created from land donated to the City of Glasgow in 1857, designed by the influential architect and botanist Sir Joseph Paxton, and initially known as the South Side Park.
We leave the reader with a closing thought. Mary died in 1587, and could never be said to have ‘owned’ the Park. Perhaps the apostrophe has been wrongly used all along. Perhaps Queens Park Chess Club, and whoever made the Park signs, proudly stand on the grammatically correct side of history. Perhaps, if there are any ‘absolute morons’ in this story with a poor grasp of the rules and traditions of the English language, it isnae us pal – awright?
* in reality, these questions are invariably put to us very politely. Main image created by artificial intelligence using Dall-E.
The above post has generated some unexpected debate! Thank you to those who commented.
We are delighted to give the final word to Bob McCalden, Chair of the UK Apostrophe Protection Society (yes, it’s real!), who kindly took the time to review our situation and comment. Bob provided the following notes and clarifications:
The usage, or not, of an apostrophe in “Queen’s Park” is somewhat inconsistent, even by Glasgow City Council – although the “general view and established usage” for the area favours inclusion of the apostrophe.
Possessive apostrophes can also denote an association, not solely ownership.
As Queens Park Chess Club’s name is derived from the area, it may be strictly correct to use an apostrophe.
Queens Park Chess Club is, however, a brand name, and brand names can justifiably drop apostrophes – see the Waterstones example.
Consistency is key: “If you want to omit the apostrophe, make sure you do so everywhere.”
While we will remain Queens Park Chess Club, we support good apostrophe hygiene, and are happy to promote the Apostrophe Society’s simple rules on usage.
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.
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.
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.
Following a call for players on 8 January, the confirmed Queens Park participants and reserves are as follows (a-z by surname):
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp if you have any queries about the event.
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.
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.
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.