Does Playing Chess Make You Sexy?!

This question was posed by my partner Karen in the pub the other night as she watched a friend and I push wood around the board. She definitely thought NOT!!

Is this typical Anglo-Irish prejudice that is reflected by the rest of the non-playing chess community of these islands? Being good at chess in the British Isles does not confer sex appeal.

In other parts of the world chess players are judged as sports people, have endorsements, and are used as models! They are sexy.

It is a universal truth that in these islands no-one ever took up chess in the pursuit of finding their true love. I would also contend that no-one ever took up chess in these islands to improve their sex appeal.

Why?

Sadly, competence in chess at club level never translates into huge amounts of adoring fans, invitations to glamorous parties, members of the opposite sex falling at your feet, or an improvement in your physical appeal. It also does not confer wisdom in the fashion arena.

To use the Jeremy Clarkson vernacular – the image of the club chess player is popularly covered by words such as jumper, pipe smoking, socially awkward, boring, tweed jackets etc. You are definitely viewed as the Austin Allegro as opposed to the Ferrari you think you are.

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After a couple of pints and a chat with Karen, John hit the karaoke …

But the professional chess world gives us Magnus Carlsen and Alexandra Kosteniuk, amongst many others who are both smart, good looking and sexy. Great for them, but sadly it does not seem to trickle down.

With the Oscars season just passed, it is worth looking how Hollywood uses chess. It is overwhelmingly used as a prop to convey intelligence and sophistication. Only once to my knowledge has it been used as the element of seduction [answers please to our Twitter account!]. Surely those two traits are sexy?? At our level… no!

The combination of art, science and life that is chess must be sexy?? Again, at our level… no!

So do the new pursuits of chess-boxing and chess-hip-hop hit the sex appeal scorecard? Good for boxing and hip-hop, but for our chess playing level??…. no!

So sadly I conclude that I reluctantly agree with Karen, Another victory for her! Again!

But I have the final word… Damn the popular majority! Chess makes me feel good, and that alone in my mind makes me sexy!! So there!!

By John White, London League 4 Captain and Sexy Beast.

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2016 @ 12:51 pm

Training & Theory – part 3

Our next training session of 2016 approaches on Monday 14th March, held as usual at our home venue starting 7.30pm.

This session will be run by our top-rated club player, Carsten Pedersen. Currently graded at ECF 195, Carsten was the only victor in our recent Simultaneous Match against GM Chris Ward. You can read his fascinating analysis of that game here.

The training will consist of an in-depth analysis by Carsten of three other games from the Simultaneous display, specifically focusing on:

  • Openings – general considerations rather than specific variations
  • Middle Game – tactical and positional themes
  • Endgame

The three games are quite varied so there is a lot to learn – we are estimating around 40 minutes of analysis per game, including questions and interaction. Carsten has put a lot of thought into the structure of the session, so it promises to be an engaging and enjoyable evening for everyone.

The overriding theme of the evening will be to draw out the differences in how a Grandmaster thinks about the game, versus a Club player. As such we think players of any grade will be able to learn and enjoy the evening.

This will be another open session, so Non-Members are welcome to join us. We hope to see you there – just let us know by registering on our mailing list first! 😀

Last Updated: Mar 25, 2016 @ 12:51 pm

Training Day – Part Deux

A reminder – Monday 29th sees our second evening of theory training at the club. It’s another free & open session – non-members are welcome to come along and join in.

Our Chairman, Bajrush (Rated ECF 208 for rapid play!) will be taking us through the following topics:

  • Endgame revision with practical sessions
  • Middle game basics
  • Basic openings & opening theory

Promises to be another valuable session – hope to see you there!

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The Balkan Bootcamp!

We held our first training session of the year tonight – and it was a cracking evening to get us started for the year. Our Balkan wizard at the board – chairman Bajrush Kelmendi – led the session with aplomb, taking a good sized group through the following topics:

  • Basic endgame theory
  • King & pawn endings
  • Pawn on pawn formations
  • Rook and Bishop theory, including the tricky task of mating with a bishop pair

It didn’t end there – that was followed by a practical session on applying some of these themes in a couple of previous games of his.

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Bajrush was aided by our League 4 Captain John White at the demo board. We also had the benefit of a large television & computer for running through the games.

There were plenty of questions and challenges from the crowd, and a couple of moments of levity, mostly involving missing pieces from the demo board which John had managed to squirrel away in his pockets! True magnetism.

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It was a great session – hats off to Bajrush for arranging, and also to John for helping sort out on the night.

Further tips and tactics for endgames can be found here.

Looking forward to the next session – Monday 29th Feb, 7.30pm start. Save the date & do come along!!