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St Lukes

Kingston makes solid entry into its first Southern Counties Team RapidPlay

Played at St Luke’s Church, Kidderpore Avenue, London NW3 7SU, 22 June 2024

by Jameel Jameel with contributions from the team

This was Kingston’s first time competing in the SCCU/London Clubs RapidPlay Championship, and I was elated when Kingston president John Foley kindly offered me the captaincy. The Southern Counties Chess Union, which represents the counties around London, set up a team championship two years ago which has filled the gap left by the demise of the National Club Championships. There were three sections: Minor, Intermediate and Major. We dipped our toe into the water by entering the Minor, where the average team rating cannot exceed 1600.

My team-mates were David Shalom, Edward Mospan and Robin Kerremans. I would like to express my gratitude to them for committing their Saturday at such short notice. We were notified a few days ahead of the event that a place had become available due to another club having dropped out.  

Team tournaments are great fun but you only get out of them what you put in. The SCCU Rapidplay tournament was enjoyable on all levels. One must have a positive attitude and keep that attitude throughout the day. Team camaraderie was high and an important factor in our experience. Even though this was Kingston’s first time in this SCCU event, we were among familiar faces and could put faces to familiar names. The event was as social as it was competitive, and we enjoyed the off-board chats. 

Playing in the Minor section was the right choice: not too much pressure but enough of a challenge to make every game enjoyable. This was my first tournament and, I must say, I underestimated the psychological aspect involved in remaining dogged. There were six rounds with a time control of 25min+5sec.


Edward Mospan: I was resolved not to be pressured into playing hastily just because my opponent does. I have experienced more than once the mutually bad move theme when in an equal or winning position. In the words of Svetozar Gligorić, I play against pieces and not the opponent. Here is my second-round win against a player rated 1680. After this, I was on a high.

Robin Kerremans: In one of my games I got to try out a variation of the Caro-Kann that John Foley showed me [Tartakower Variation – JF], where you trade off knights on f6 and double a pawn. I got my opponent to lose his rook early on. My most memorable game was in round 2 against Gero Tona (Beckenham and Bromley) when I played the English against a King’s Indian-like set-up. At some point, my opponent thought that his time in minutes on the clock was actually in seconds, and he started playing more erratically. But up to that point, I was already pressing an advantage – here is the position.

Jameel Jameel: I have been accused of being a somewhat obstinate individual when faced with matters requiring objectivity, and chess is certainly one of those matters. However, chess is dynamic and can be very volatile – one second you’re winning and the next you blunder the position entirely. Certainly, in my final game, a combination of over-confidence (being a rook up against three passed pawns) and mental fatigue (feeling relieved I was going to end the tournament with an easy win) led to my demise.

I found myself in a position whereby a rook and advanced passed pawn, versus a knight defending the queening square, was seemingly a sure win. At face value, the heuristic I had in mind was to queen, let him capture, and simply be up a rook against three pawns. Had I exerted even the slightest cognitive effort, I would have realised that I could have pinned his knight to his king and been up a queen. Unfortunately, that didn’t occur to me, and in only a few moves I found myself having to trade off my rook for one of his passed pawns and ultimately losing a game I had no business losing (after a barrage of mindless checks).

I felt that I took out the heavyweights (1900s) effectively, but got overconfident in winning positions against lower-rated players and ultimately lost those games. I was happy to have won against Paul Jeffrey and Marcus Gosling – the top and third highest-rated players respectively in our division. I was not acquainted with Marcus, the President of the Epsom Chess Club, although Ed recognised him. I managed to chase his king until checkmate was unstoppable:

Whilst the tournament could have (and frankly, in my case, should have) gone better, it was a great effort individually and collectively. I recall side-eyeing the adjacent boards thinking “We’ve got this in the bag” only to return being told that we lost the round. We came tenth and trounced the team that came fourth. Considering our team was formed at less than 24 hours’ notice, I think we should consider that a success.

Robin and I achieved 4/6. Ed and David looked in their elements – both guiding us in the right direction when we didn’t know where to go. Teams from south-west London did well: Epsom won the Minor and Richmond won the Major. Congratulations to them. Here are their prizewinners.

Epsom won the Minor
Richmond won the Major

Tariq Oozeerally (South Norwood) v Peter Lalić (Kingston)

South Norwood v Kingston, Lauder Trophy, West Thornton Community Centre, 5 October 2023

This was a tremendous game played in the Lauder Trophy first-round match between Kingston and South Norwood. It was later described by a veteran Kingstonian as “one of the most amazing games I’ve ever seen”, and features three occasions when queens are trapped in the corner of the board. Peter Lalić’s win was enough to secure a 3-3 draw in the match, and to help Kingston through to the next round on board count. Since this was the board 1 match-up, winning here was crucial in securing the tie-break by 12-9.

Call for decision-making test participants

How well do chess players with different ratings solve different types of tactical chess positions? And how long does it take them to do so? The Chessable science team invites chess players to take part in an online test. This test is part of research on decision-making in chess. The test consists of 10 positions which should be solved in a maximum of five minutes each. Before the test begins, there are two sample puzzles. After solving the positions, participants may answer some questions via a link.

Chess players of all levels can participate. The only condition is to have a Fide Elo rating. To participate, click on to fill in a short questionnaire (Elo rating, name, etc.). After a few weeks, you will get a link to the online test. The questionnaire closes on October 15, 2023. The names of participants will be kept confidential. The research results will lead to a paper and a blog on the Chessable site.

Via the questionnaire, participants can opt for a one-month free Chessable PRO Account. To get the Chessable PRO account, list your existing Chessable account or create a Chessable account for free at After November 21 you will see the PRO status when you open your account.

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