Ramblings about stuff

Witney Online Rapidplay Chess 2020

Game on lichess

The pandemic has pretty much shutdown all over-the-board chess. Especially large events like congresses: the idea of 200 chessplayers crammed into a village hall playing chess for hours at a time in close proximity sets my nerves on edge even thinking about it. I strongly expect my favourite Kidlington Chess Congress not to take place… (read more)

Kidlington Chess Congress 2020

Once again chess enthusiasts from across the country gathered on the first weekend in February for the Kidlington Chess Congress: we had (almost) a full house with 180 players in attendance. Round One: I kicked off as Black against a slightly lower-rated opponent and gradually got into difficulties. My position deteriorated and, in addition, I… (read more)

Kidlington Chess Congress 2019

Kidlington Chess Congress 2019: last year I had a lot of very long games, which I found rather tiring but enjoyable. Still, I wasn’t going to complain this year if some of the games were a little shorter. Round One: I started off with Black against a higher-rated opponent. He played slightly inaccurately in the… (read more)

Kidlington Chess Congress 2018

This was the tenth occasion I’ve played the Kidlington Chess Congress: I had a good year last year and was hoping for a repeat performance. As it turned out, not quite as good as last time, but not as bad as That Year We Don’t Talk About (2016). I played some incredibly long games and… (read more)

Kidlington Chess Congress 2017

After last year’s disappointing results, things could only get better. Or at least I hoped so. I’ve really had trouble in years past getting good positions out of the opening and so I made a concerted effort to fix this: given limited time, I decided to learn the London System which is not overly-ambitious for… (read more)

United Kingdom leaving the European Union

I awoke to the news yesterday morning with shock and upset. I voted Remain and genuinely thought Remain would win, that we’d all breathe a sigh of relief and move on. Instead, rather than this being the end of the campaign circus, it is instead the beginning of something more serious. Younger voters voted overwhelmingly… (read more)

Kidlington Chess Congress 2016

The annual gathering of chess aficionados in Kidlington was rather more traumatic than on previous years, due largely to my own poor play. It is also the first time I’ve ever seriously considered dropping out of such a tournament before the end. On balance, I’m glad that I didn’t do so, but the fact that… (read more)

Terry Pratchett, 1948-2015

Sir Terry Pratchett died today. Ever since I was given a copy of ‘Mort’ by a University housemate in 1992, I was hooked on the Discworld books. I now own every single one. I’ve read all of them at least once, most of them twice and some of them several times. Terry Pratchett produced the… (read more)

Why I want the outcome of the General Election to be Stupid and Messy

It’s no secret that I’m a proponent of electoral reform, in particular I’d like to see the ridiculous FPTP voting system replaced with a more proportional system, such as STV. However, we’re stuck with FPTP for now and it occurred to me that the best way to show that we need a change is to… (read more)