Chess in the shade

Played out in the shade on a warm, sunny day, 3 shocking games of chess against computer bot ‘Laura’ were followed by a well deserved win. Note, I always play black.
This was a rather embarrassing check-mate on the 5th move.
Once I’d focused on being sensible, I was rather proud of how I played to win this tense game on move 25. (also see below)
Well that was an excellent game!

Chess v bot Elani (games 2 & 3)

My 2nd and 3rd games against chess bot Elani went much like the first game. Elani made some weird moves, reflecting its beginner ranking. I guess it’s easier for a chess programmer to code silly moves into a game than it is to play weak moves.

In this game Elani (white) had lost most of its pieces. The checkmate position uses a queen and knight.

In this 3rd game, Elani (white again) was checkmated using two rooks and a bishop.

It’s time to move up a rung, so next game I’ll try playing chess bot Aron. It’s got a beginner rating of 700, compared to Elani’s beginner rating of 400.

I’ll see how it goes.

Chess v bot Elani (game 1)

I’ve gone back to playing a chess bot rated as ‘beginner’. Bot “Elani” certainly played some rather questionable moves, but overall it was a fun game and I came out with a relatively easy win.

It’s nice to play against an opponent where I have a chance of winning. I’ll give “Elani” at least one more game, but if ‘she’ doesn’t give a good game I may have to return to playing an intermediate level bot.

And the winning position is…..

A new chess board

Our dad gave us a chess set when we were kids. Somehow my brother got the board and I got the pieces. Several decades later I’ve belatedly treated myself to a new board to replace the crappy, cardboardy thing I got from who-knows-where. The new board even has the letters and numbers to assist me when I’m following the games of the grandmasters – cool!

Son, next time you’re over from Berlin, we must have a rematch!

[Note to self: Next time I take a picture of a chess board, ensure the pieces are lined up properly in their squares…]

Christmas fun

Christmas is a great opportunity to play games with the family.

In the one game of chess I was able to play with my son, who had played hardly any chess, he played well to get a draw after 5 hours of play. We had just the two kings at the end – which is not a winnable position – I think I blew the ending, but the result was probably the right one overall.

Other games we played were mini table tennis (my son usually wins, though in close contests), carrom (my son always wins); Ticket To Ride, a great game we haven’t played enough of (my son won); Chinese Checkers and Labyrinth (with the little ones)

What a fabulous match!

Well the weather was too grim for a guy of my age to be attending a live football match (Sutton 1 – 0 Barrow, as it turned out) but somehow I managed to hit on a link to the beginning of the live, second match of the World Chess Championship. What an enthralling chess match it was and and how interesting it was to try to get onboard with the live analysis by a couple of chess experts. Great stuff, and there’s 12 more matches to watch – see schedule below – live at 12:30 UK time at

My chess opponent is called Noam

I’ve begun playing chess again. I learnt as a child and then played friendly games against a work colleague in my twenties and early thirties, but nothing since. I know the rules, some basic principles, but I’ve always been lazy when it comes to studying openings and beyond. But I’m not stupid and I don’t mind losing, two necessary qualities to enjoying playing chess or in fact any game.

I don’t know anyone who is interested in playing chess so I’ve searched the web and found a website, It allows me to play humans or a computer, and my instinct is to play against a computer. On you can chose the level you want to play at, and after trying a fairly low level computer opponent (it made deliberate, silly mistakes – no thanks!) I’ve jumped into the deep end and gone for a computer opponent far beyond my chess skills. That way I’ll hopefully learn more and quicker. So far I’ve slipped up really early in the games and chosen to resign the games rather than waste my time in hopeless positions. I don’t play a continuous game but instead play a move when I feel like it and after due consideration.

My opponent on is called Noam and is described as “a veteran player who can tell you stories about his clashes with stars of the past. In the present, he plays very solidly, so be prepared for a long fight.” I have zero expectation of ever beating “Noam”, but I’m hoping to learn a lot, fast.

So far I’ve tried playing on my mobile phone but I think the small screen has made it too easy to make silly mistakes so I’m going to try using the phone app in combination with my old chess set. See the screenshots below for the current game – I’m already in trouble…..