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 ten 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.
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 www.chessable.com. After November 21 you will see the PRO status when you open your account.
An impressive performance against a strong field gives Peter Lalić victory in the third Kingston Summer Blitz tournament
The final blitz tournament of the Kingston Summer Blitz Series was won by Peter Lalić. He scored 5.5/6 to hold off a strong field which included two titled players, some very talented juniors and a few new faces. Peter defeated Staines’ Ye Kyaw in the final round to clinch first place. Kyaw (4/6), who had a very impressive tournament, took the U2000 grading prize.
There was a titanic battle in round 4, with FM Vladimir Li taking on IM Graeme Buckley. A minor piece and pawns endgame went on for well over 100 moves, with both managing to promote. A tense finish, with Buckley playing on the increment, eventually ended in a draw, with the engrossed crowd (and tournament organisers fearing a very late night) breathing a sigh of relief.
However, stealing the show as ever was the seven-strong junior contingent, playing with confidence and poise. Youngsters William Lin (2.5/6) and Ethan Bogerd (3/6) picked up some impressive results and look like promising prospects, while Jaden Mistry again mopped up the giantkiller prize with another two victories against 2000-rated opponents. Jaden continues to go from strength to strength.
Special mention to Ben Hambridge, who popped his head into the club before heading back to university and picked up the U1600 grading prize with a solid 4/6. And thanks to Julian Way for acting as tournament organiser, allowing me to play this time. We will be back in the winter with the next edition.
1st – Peter Lalić (5.5/6) 2nd – IM Graeme Buckley (5/6) 3rd – FM Vladimir Li (4.5/6) U2000 grading prize – Ye Kyaw (4/6) U1600 grading prize – Ben Hambridge (4/6) Giantkiller prize – Jaden Mistry
Report by Gregor Smith, Kingston Summer Blitz organiser
On the same day that 10 Downing Street announced that the government was going to be funding public chess tables around the country as part of a welcome £500,000 boost to chess, Kingston Chess Club was contacted by the Royal Borough of Kingston to inform us that they were going to install public chess tables in a park in the centre of Kingston. Some might put this down to Kingston being the most efficient council in the country reacting immediately to government incentive schemes. Others may put it down to coincidence. The reality is that this project has been in the works for some time. It is the brainchild of councillor Nicola Nardelli, Kingston’s deputy mayor. Her ward is central Kingston where the Fairfield is located.
The Fairfield in Kingston is a historic open space in which fairs are often held. Nowadays it is primarily a recreation ground with football and cricket pitches. There will now also be a Chess Corner located at Fairfield Recreation Ground, Fairfield Road, Kingston KT1 2PT. It is near the sports changing room and opposite the children’s playground. Conveniently it is also near the Albion pub. The Chess Corner comprises three concrete chess tables with integrated seats. The chess tables have an integrated chess playing surface. The idea is that this will become a hub for regular chess sessions by members of the public. The venue, close to the centre of Kingston and to several primary and secondary schools, lends itself to community chess events.
The opening event will take place on 28th September from 4pm – 6pm. It will be attended by councillors and council officials as well as the local library and the local police officers. The event is co-hosted by Kingston Council and Kingston Chess Club. After the ribbon-cutting, members of the public will be able to play games against experts from Kingston Chess Club. All are welcome.
There are a few important practical matters to sort out such as how to ensure that there are pieces which can be conveniently borrowed and a registration system to control the release of the chess sets. Discussions are underway with Kingston Library which is nearby as well as with the local hostelry, the Albion.
If this project goes well, we hope to expand the number of chess installations to include other parts of Kingston such as in Canbury along the river Thames. We would love to have a chess table in the medieval Market Square but it is not easy to secure a space in such a busy place.
Silverio Abasolo scores 5.5/6 against a powerful field to win the second blitz tournament of the summer at the Willoughby Arms
The Kingston Blitz series continued with 21 players from Kingston, Surbiton and Richmond chess clubs congregating on Monday 17 July for six rounds of 7+3 blitz. A strong field was assembled, with seven players rated above 2000, plus a few dangerous juniors lurking for scalps.
It was one of those juniors – Kingston’s fast-improving Jaden Mistry – who set the early pace, with impressive victories over 2000+ rated players Will Taylor and Julian Way. An impressive feat, all but wrapping up the giantkiller prize with four rounds to spare.
Round 3 saw the first clash of the titans, as Peter Lalić and Silverio Abasolo faced off in fierce fashion. With both down to their final three seconds, Silverio played at lightning pace, building his time back up to 30 seconds before managing to force his pawns to promotion to clinch the game.
Meanwhile, Mike Healey and David Maycock had successfully navigated the first three rounds with perfect scores and met on top board in round 4. Mike opened up his kingside, putting pressure on David’s defences with rooks on a1 and b1 threatening from range, and eventually smashed through to pick up the exchange. Mike then began to force home his material advantage, grabbing pawns, but David, who never gives up, battled on and managed to fork Mike’s rook and king, turning the tables and securing victory. “You always manage a swindle, David,” chirped Peter Lalić.
David (4/4) would now face Silverio (3.5/4) in what looked to be a fifth-round title decider, and it was Silverio, playing with the black pieces, who prevailed. In the final round, Silverio was up against Joseph Morrison, a talented Surbiton junior who put up another excellent Kingston Blitz performance, gaining his third consecutive U2000 grading prize. Something tells me he won’t be eligible for this category for much longer. However, it was the impressive Abasolo who came out on top, winning the tournament with an unbeaten 5.5/6.
The event was held at Monty’s Nepalese Restaurant in Kingston on 29 June 2023
One week after our AGM, 21 members gathered for the annual club dinner, this time at a Nepalese restaurant in a central location in Kingston, to celebrate the best season in our history. To facilitate conversation, there was a seating plan which placed members alongside others of a similar age and rating. This technique seems to have worked because a memorable evening was enjoyed by all.
The highlight of the proceedings was the prize-giving. This year we dispensed with our former categories, such as the player who achieved the best performance. Instead we focused on one captain and one player who made the crucial difference. David Rowson received the prize for Captain of the Year for having steered our first-team players to win both Surrey League Division 1 and Thames Valley League Division 1. The prize for Player of the Year went to Silverio Abasolo. His results during the season were admirable, but the crucial one was his game against IM Chris Baker which he managed to win from a rather dubious position to enable Kingston to retain the Alexander Cup – the premier knockout cup for the Surrey League.
This season Kingston also won the knockout cup for the Thames Valley League, as well as Division X in the Thames Valley League under the stewardship of Stephen Daines. To add icing to the cake, our 4NCL team, having started the season in Division 4, won promotion to Division 2 (a third-division team having pulled out, allowing accelerated promotion).
The prizes were handed out by club president John Foley. Unfortunately the new secretary had forgotten to bring the glittering baubles, so a bar of chocolate was handed over as an exchangeable token instead. The president made an engaging and witty speech setting out the facts above. When he finally sat down after 15 minutes, there was relief amongst those assembled who had been warned by the secretary to expect a speech lasting at least an hour.
Vladimir Li scores 5.5/6 to see off a strong field in the first of a series of blitzes at the Willoughby Arms planned for the summer
After a successful pilot in April, competitive blitz returned to the Willoughby Arms on Monday 19 June as Kingston Chess Club hosted the first of a series of summer blitz tournaments. It was a six-round Swiss with the “long” (for blitz!) time control of seven minutes plus a three-second increment per move. Twenty-two Kingstonians welcomed four players from neighbouring Surbiton Chess Club – we are keen to open these events to other local clubs whenever possible – in a 26-player field.
Round one went to form, with the more experienced players successfully fending off the recent influx of Kingston juniors, who enthusiastically battled away all evening. The highlight of the second round was a delightful (except for his opponent) smothered mate by Josh Lea, whose forced queen sac on g1 was followed by Nf2++, leaving Jimmy Kerr’s king helplessly stranded in the corner. “Just like you do in the puzzles!”, Josh remarked wittily. Philidor, after whom this mating pattern is named, would no doubt share Josh’s pleasure. Henceforth, we will call this Lea’s Legacy.
The first upset came in round 3 as club president John Foley got the better of reigning Kingston blitz champion Peter Lalić. John has annotated this interesting game. A less interesting game played out on board 3, where Alan Scrimgour’s queen and king fork on move five saw an early resignation and wry smile from Surbiton’s Graham Alcock. A distinctly unneighbourly gesture from the Kingston chair.
In round 4, Foley claimed another scalp, this time of Kingston star David Maycock, who flagged in time trouble. That put Foley, who claims to be only a moderate blitz player, on the perfect score of 4/4, sharing the lead with Vladimir Li, whose victory against Alan Scrimgour also took him to 4/4.
At the same time, the action was hotting up on the lower boards – in every sense, as it was a very warm evening – with the usual blitz madness of spectacular blunders, swindles and flagging in winning positions. Nick Grey was unfortunate to lose on time against Stephen Moss as he was about to deliver the coup de grâce, in a game Nick had completely dominated. What a cruel form of chess blitz is.
Foley and Li faced off in round 5, in what looked to be the tournament decider. And it was Li who prevailed, putting the Kingston president in an unbreakable bind to go a full point ahead of the chasing pack. Li went on to draw with Peter Lalić in an entertaining and richly tactical final-round game to claim outright first prize with an unbeaten 5.5/6. All in all, another successful running of the Kingston Blitz, which was played in great spirit. We will be back on Monday 17 July for the next edition.
1st Vladimir Li (5.5/6) (prize = £50) 2nd= John Foley (4.5/6) 2nd= Alan Scrimgour (4.5/6) 2nd= David Maycock (4.5/6) U2000 prize – Jojo Morrison (4/6) U1600 prize – Jaden Mistry/Josh Lea (3/6) Giantkiller prize – John Foley
Report by Gregor Smith, Kingston Summer Blitz organiser
Surrey League division 2 match played at the Willoughby Arms, Kingston on 29 May 2023
Well that, frankly, was bizarre. This was a crunch relegation match between Kingston 2 and South Norwood 1. Lose it and we would go down to division 3. If South Norwood 1, who on their day can field a strong side, were to lose by more than 5-2, they would be relegated. We expected them to come with a strong team. As it was, only four South Norwood players showed up.
The three defaults gave us an instant 3-0 lead. We were almost safe without having to push a pawn – thank you South Norwood! Alan Scrimgour then agreed an early-ish draw with Paul Dupré on board 2 to ensure a drawn match – enough for us to leapfrog Surbiton 1 and survive in the division. Soon after, Nick Grey agreed a draw with South Norwood captain Simon Lea on board 5 to win the match and ensure we finished the division clear of the relegation zone. That left two extremely hard-fought games: Peter Andrews against the 2220-rated Marcus Osborne on board 1 and David Shalom against Ibrahim Abouchakra on board 6.
Peter played excellently, pressing throughout and having the better of the game, but Marcus is nothing if not resourceful. He kept posing counter-threats and setting traps, and in time trouble Peter blundered and allowed a mate. Peter was, naturally, not best pleased, but the consolation is that he has had a tremendous season and contributed hugely both to the first team’s triumphs and to keeping both B teams in the second divisions of the Surrey and Thames Valley leagues.
David Shalom was also on top in his game, winning the exchange, but Ibrahim used his bishop well against David’s rook to control a pawn advance, eventually queening and forcing mate. Again, disappointment for David, but his return to competitive chess this season has been a great success, and he played a key role in the vital second-team victory away to Surbiton 1 which helped make survival in this tough division possible.
The four players from South Norwood had done well, limiting Kingston’s victory to 4-3, which means they, too, will survive in division 2, sending Surbiton 1 down. Truly, a bizarre conclusion to a very strange evening. The moral of this tale may be “Don’t play league chess matches on bank holidays.”
Stephen Moss, Kingston 2 acting captain in Surrey League
Thames Valley Knockout final v Harrow played at the Willoughby Arms, Kingston on 22 May 2023
Kingston had a considerable rating edge over Harrow in the Thames Valley Knockout final, but we knew they had some strong players, including the fast-improving Bodhana Sivanandan, who last year represented England at the Fide World Cadet Championships in the under-eight girls age group, coming second.
I welcomed Harrow in my capacity as chair of Kingston and, with Harrow’s permission, spoke of my personal game history with Harrow’s sadly deceased and much-missed IM Colin Crouch. I lost to him four times: three times in Scotland, where Colin was a regular visitor, and finally in a league match in which Colin showed his legendary attacking prowess by forcing mate with a rook sacrifice followed by a queen sacrifice.
On board 1 David Maycock unusually found himself well ahead on the clock as his opponent arrived late. The critical moment in the game came when David accepted an unsound bishop sacrifice for a bunch of pawns. He carefully defended, exchanged material and was clearly winning when his opponent lost on time.
Peter Lalić started with his trademark Nc3 and h4 opening. He developed quickly and broke through on f7 when his opponent failed to stop him adding a knight on e5 to the other one already on g5 (see position below).
With Black’s king on the run, an attempt to find counterplay backfired when Peter added the b-file to his attacking lines. After an exchange sac on c7 he had unstoppable threats of mating in either two or four moves. A tremendous game by Peter, making it 2-0 to the Deadly Duo.
Next to finish was board 3, where a draw resulted after Vladimir Li repelled Steven Coles’ kingside pressure to leave a broadly equal position. It was now down to the bottom three boards, where Silverio Abasolo seemed to be building a dangerous kingside attack, Will Taylor – down on the clock – had given up a pawn for counterplay, and David Rowson was pressing in the middlegame, with his hanging pawns producing this dynamic and double-edged position:
Against Will on board 5, Bodhana was playing calmly to incrementally increase her advantage, though Will did have a golden chance to equalise on move 36:
Here 36…Qxc4 leads to a probable draw. Will chose the plausible 36. Ra2 instead. Bodhana blocked with Rd2 and, instead of exchanging rooks, Will then played 37…Ra3, freeing up White’s c-pawn to create mayhem as it advanced. This was the final position:
This was Will’s third game against Bodhana and his first loss, as he described ruefully (but with great good humour and humility) afterwards. “I’ve had the privilege of playing this remarkable young lady three times now,” he said. “In our first game, nine months ago, she weighed in at a mere 1290 Fide rating points (though grossly underrated, of course). But she is now up to 2000 ECF and close to 1800 Fide, and still improving rapidly. After our last game, I told her ‘You’ll get me next time!’, which unfortunately for me turned out to be correct. This time it’s my turn to proclaim: ‘I’ll be back!’ I look forward to our next game, albeit with some trepidation, and to following Bodhana’s chess career as it develops.” Has the Willoughby Arms hosted a potential women’s world champion?
Bodhana’s win made it Kingston 2.5-Harrow 1.5, and it was all to play for. Silverio’s game had turned in Harrow captain Nevil Chan’s favour. He had castled queenside and broken through there with queen and rook. Things were looking decidedly dicey, and Kingston’s chances seemed to lie with David on board 6. He had exchanged his hanging pawns for a passed pawn, and was pressing on the a4-e8 diagonal.
There were inaccuracies on both sides as the time grew short, but David eventually transposed to a winning queen ending courtesy of his advanced c-pawn.
David’s win meant the title was Kingston’s, but by what margin? Back on board 4, Silverio had barely survived the counterattack from Black and was now a piece down, with queen against queen and knight. However, Nevil’s exposed king gave the Kingston player some chances, and in the end Silverio found a perpetual check to draw.
Silverio’s valiant escape made the final score 4-2 to Kingston, in a close match where Harrow did well given the rating disparity. Kingston thus added the Thames Valley Knockout crown to the Surrey League’s Alexander Cup and our two first division wins in the Surrey and Thames Valley leagues. We believe this “Quadruple” has never been achieved before. Congratulations to all the captains, players and supporters who made this historic achievement for the club possible.
Alan Scrimgour, Kingston chair and captain of the Thames Valley Knockout team
Thames Valley League division 2 match played at the Royal British Legion, Hounslow on 22 May 2023
Well, this was a turn-up for the books. Having successfully retained our place in division 2 of the Thames Valley League, there was zero pressure on us for this trip to play Hounslow A, who outrated the Kingston B side by more than 70 points a board. Perhaps that was the secret to our surprise victory – we could play with freedom and without fear.
Julian Way and Mateusz Dydak were well matched on board 1 and, with neither making obvious progress, agreed a shortish draw. Boards 5 and 6 were also evenly matched in rating terms, and though Charlie Cooke went the exchange up in his game, his opponent forced a perpetual. So far, as expected. However, what happened on boards 2, 3 and 4, where Hounslow held a substantial ratings advantage, was much less predictable.
On board 2 I played my usual unduly passive Scandinavian, but managed to hold my own in the opening without undue difficulty. We reached this position on move 29, with White to play:
Here White should just exchange queens and offer a draw, which, given the 300-point rating disparity, I would have taken, but my opponent was keen to maintain pressure along the g-file and played Qg3. This is, if not immediately losing, extremely bad for White: 29… Rd1 30. Kf1 Qd2 and the loss of at least a pawn is inevitable. I managed to get to a king and pawn endgame that was completely winning, but then made valiant attempts not to win. My opponent may even have had a theoretical draw, but happily for me (and despite my wretched endgame play) eventually lost on time.
Kingston captain Gregor Smith put up a tenacious fight against the canny Leon Fincham on board 3, but eventually succumbed in time trouble. That left Nick Grey up against Hounslow captain David White on board 4, and, in a closed Sicilian, Nick played superbly to win the game with Black and secure a memorable victory for the Bs by 3.5-2.5. A tremendous end to the season after all the travails earlier in the year.
Thames Valley League division 2 match played at the Willoughby Arms, Kingston on 15 May 2023
Finally safe from relegation after last week’s draw at Maidenhead, it was pressure off as we welcomed Ealing B to the Willoughby Arms for the final Thames Valley division 2 home match of the season. We rang the changes and gave opportunities to two rising stars from the third team, Hayden Holden and Jaden Mistry, and they did not disappoint.
Hayden gained his first full point for the second team with an impressive victory on board 4. He launched a scary-looking kingside attack and the pressure told as his opponent poorly assessed a recapture. That gave Hayden the initiative and he expertly converted.
Jaden and Gabriele Palmer jostled for a positional edge in a closed middlegame after an advanced Caro-Kann on board 5. Jaden, playing with the black pieces, was the first to break through, winning the exchange. However, White had counterplay, pushing pawns on the queenside, and Jaden settled for a draw. A mature, calculated performance – and great to see Jaden opening his account for the second team.
On top board, Julian Way won impressively against Ealing captain Leslie Pringle. Julian managed to trap his opponent’s bishop to go a piece up early on, and Pringle duly resigned when he was about to lose the exchange for good measure.
There were draws on boards 2 and 3 from Nick Grey and Byron Eslava, the latter gaining his first points for Kingston after joining the club earlier in the year and playing only a handful of league matches. We hope to see a lot more of Byron next season. With Ealing defaulting board 6, that left the final score at 4.5-1.5 to Kingston. Our final game awaits at Hounslow next week. It will be a tough match against their first team, but it’s nice to go there with our relegation worries well and truly behind us.
Gregor Smith, Kingston B captain in the Thames Valley League