Just in

Chess tournament at the National Liberal Club

Last night I played in a lightning chess tournament at the National Liberal Club.

In lightning chess you have approximately 10 seconds a move and the move must take place on a third buzzer.

I was initially confused and had to be prompted and accordingly lost my first game of the five rounds.

However, I picked up the strategy and realised the most important thing was to stay in the game. Under pressure your opponent will make an error.

Knights and their forks are particularly effective as they are hard to detect. In my last game I played an opponent I met across the board in a club match on Wednesday.

I did not care for his tactic then of disappearing when it was my move which meant that I had to use up my time or move in his absence.

He berated me for not moving on the buzzer but his was caused not by gamesmanship but not understanding the system.

I was pleased to beat him.

Afterwards we all had a convivial dinner.

At that dinner I sat next to an ebullient Irishman who had an appointment first thing today at Wandsworth Prison as part of his chess in the community charity project.

There was much joshing as to whether he would get time off for good behaviour but someone pointed out that Wandsworth contains foreign miscreants from the Balkans who might be very strong players.

Like many such clubs, the National Liberal Club was prestigious with a sweeping staircase containing portraits of its eminent members and well-appointed rooms. Still feeling the after effects of a cold, I left before the end.

I was impressed by the organiser who not only paired the games but had to adjudicate. He also kept it moving.

It was, above all, fun chess reflecting its social dimension.

Avatar photo
About Jakub Celakovsky

An irregular club player without pretensions to greatness, Jakub Celakovsky is a student of chess and has contributed articles to many publications on the subject over the years. He came to Britain with his parents in 1981 and runs a pub on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, where he lives with his wife and two children. More Posts