All posts by Ian Whittaker

A mass exodus took place at the weekend of club members heading for Oban’s 2019 Chess Congress  – with stunning views en route and on arrival

Snow passess traversed en route to Oban
Oban Harbour






….. with strange sights in the evening before Round 1!

A unicorn piece is introduced into the game at Oban Chess Congress

The Oban congress is one of the most popular events on the Scotland chess circuit. The event has been superbly organised for many years by Duncan Campbell and his team. The Congress was held in the Royal Hotel, Oban with four tournaments taking place, Open, Challengers (U-1900)  Major (U-1600) and Minor (U-1350) with over 120 players coming from all round Scotland and the UK.

And the winners were:

Top slots were achieved by both FM Neil Berry (the club’s president!) and Martin Brejter.

Neil came first equal in the Open and Martin first equal in the Major with Keith Aitchison winning a grading prize in the Challengers section.

Martin – Major First

In the Major Martin came out of round 4 as outright leader with 3.5/4 …..

Martin taking sole lead after round 4

….. but was held to a draw by fellow club member Ian Whittaker (on 3/4) in a tense final round game where Martin had pressure throughout but Ian finally won a pawn in the latter part of a tricky N+3Ps v B+3Ps endgame with two of Martin’s P’s on the same colour as his bishop – but a draw was finally agreed with both players down to just over a minute each in extra time …..

Also playing were Mike Ridge (who drew with IM Mark Orr in Round 2!) and Ben Ridge in the Open, Robert Kane in the Challengers, and Allan Buchan in the Major.

Many thanks for an excellent congress well organised by Duncan Campbell and his crew of arbiters and assistants.

Edinburgh and Lothians Chess League – Edinburgh 4 – Division 2 Update

We won the match 5-1 against Pentland Hills 2 – thanks to help from the 5th team.  This was after losing 4-2 in the first match of the 2019/20 league season against the 5th team!

Thanks to everyone who played.

The full board results are:

Edinburgh 4 vs Pentland Hills 2 (away)

McGillivray 1-0 Lange
Whittaker 1-0 Clark
Robertson 1-0 Cumming
Armitage 1-0 Heathwood
Buchan 1-0 Ridland
Platts 0-1 Purkins

Edinburgh 4 vs Edinburgh 5

McGillivray 0.5-0.5 Robertson
Reiland 0-1 Anderson
Brejter 1-0 Buchan
Zamvar 0.5-0.5 Platts
McLaurin 0-1 Shelley
Egan 0-1 Duffy

[Report by Calum McGillivray]

Dear club members,

On Tuesday, 22 October we are having our very first, innovative guest night.  All guests are welcome.

We are particularly keen, however, on people who are beginners but know the moves and would like to learn more.

The plan is that members will bring friends, partners, parents or children.  The intention is to play consultation chess (as was so popular in the 19th century) so the member and the guest can talk to each other about which move to choose, and equally listen to the opponents while they choose their moves.  The idea is to allow our guests to learn more about the game.

So, it will be a more social evening than usual.

It should be fun and if it works it will be good for the membership and future of the club.

Please do your best to bring a guest. We will pair up on the night depending on how many guests come.

As usual, please arrive at 7:30 PM for a 7:45 PM start.

Neil and Raj

FIDE Master Neil Berry, the club’s first team captain for many years and previous Scottish chess champion, gave a talk last night to the club entitled ‘The President’s King.’

Fischer vs Andersson (Siegen, 1970): White to play?

A thought provoking and fascinating presentation which demonstrated unusual king themes across the full game cycle – from transitioning out of the opening into the the middle game and onto the end-game.  The games were taken from both Grand Master play (e.g. Fischer vs Andersson in the picture above – no-one in the audience came up with Fischer’s next move as white!) and some of his own games.

Neil even included a losing position he had reached against GM Peter Wells – where Peter’s king moved across to the Q side leaving his pieces free to break through on the king side:

Peter Wells vs Neil Berry (89th BCF Championship, Torquay, 2002): position after 19. …Bf5

Note that post-match analysis found a missed stalemate drawing opportunity for Neil just before he was mated!?!

Peter Wells vs Neil Berry (89th BCF Championship, Torquay, 2002): position after 46. Rf8: Post-match analysis – stalemate?

Another position examined was from Neil’s win against Oswald Bindrich (father of GM Falco Bindrich) where a contra-normal king move exploited the blockaded queen side:

Bindrich Oswald vs Neil Berry: position after 12.h5

The evening included various end-games illustrating the king traversing the board – including some “Scottish country dancing” in the following position which Neil has used in training the Scottish juniors:

The talk was followed by friendly games where everyone endeavoured to put into practice some of the lessons learned.

A great night – many thanks Neil!


Andre Antunes opened our chess season with the traditional simultaneous display.  He took on 20 opponents.

Club Simul 2019

There were grandmaster draws against juniors who needed to get to bed early!  Then followed many hard fought games including long games ending in draws.  10 games had a decisive result.  Andre won 7 and lost 3.

This was very impressive given the strength of the opposition. Thanks Andre and well done.

[Report by Raj Bhopal]