All posts by Ian Whittaker

As part of its drive to support the take up of chess by women and girls, the club was pleased to host another She Plays To Win (SPTW) event in conjunction with International Master Lorin D’Costa during the February half-term. The event was made up of two 5 round Swiss-paired tournaments: one for FIDE rated players and one for Chess Scotland (CS) rated players. David Deary was Chief Arbiter and general support was provided by Jenny Wilson and Ian Whittaker.

Support was also provided by Chess Scotland.

Jenny kindly provided this event report:

Going into the fifth and final round of the FIDE rated She Plays to Win Invitational tournament at Edinburgh Chess Club on Wednesday, four of the eight players were on 2.5 out of five, making for an interesting pairing. The young women playing were all of a very similar rating and there had been many draws in the earlier rounds.

The computer decided that none of the joint leaders would be paired with each other, so there were many result combinations that could lead to a tie for first place. In the end Florence was the only one of the four to win her game and so was clear in the top spot. There was a tie for second place between Angharad and the unbeaten Elyzabeta, but Angharad had a better tiebreak so received the second place trophy.


In the CS graded section Shirya took first place with half a point lead over Maggie, and Melinda was a point behind her in third place.

Not only did the players have the opportunity to go through their own games with IM Lorin D’Costa, they could sit in on his analysis of the other games too. Despite the intense rivalry across the board the atmosphere of the tournament was friendly and supportive. There were players from primary and secondary school, University and beyond, and several different countries represented.

All the games from both sections are available to download

She Plays To Win is a UK Girls Chess Project to try and encourage more girls to participate and learn chess in a fun environment. SPTW is run by the current England International Women’s Chess Coach Lorin D’Costa who has successfully been coaching girls’ chess nationally and internationally for over 11 years.

[Pictures by Jenny Wilson and Ian Whittaker]


A highly entertaining talk by IM Lorin D’Costa was given to club members and visitors on Tuesday night – for over 2 hours! – illustrated with some fantastic attacking games by GMs Magnus Carlsen and Judit Polgar!

The games were used to present various themes:

  1. Carlsen, Magnus vs Blomqvist, Eric (2001: C79) illustrated how a very youthful Magnus pounced on an early Ruy Lopez opening deviation by a young Erik (who was himself later to become a Swedish Grand Master) opening up the position and attacking before black castled;
  2. Carlsen, Magnus vs Domatov, Sergey (2004: A04) where Magnus again energetically responded to an early weak opening move by his opponent, a Russian Grand Master and former World Junior Chess Champion;
  3. Pantsulaia, Levan vs Polgar, Judit (2011: A13) where, after a premature queen move by her opponent in the opening, Judit sacrificed a rook establishing an immensly powerful central bishop preventing white from castling and enabling her to then launch a crushing attack;
  4.  Hracek, Zbynek vs Polgar, Judit (2000: B48) after optimistic play by the Czech GM, Judit energetically countered with sharp play fisrt with a pawn sacrifice opening up one long diagonal then opening up another long diagonal for an overwhelming attack on white’s king!

Lorin interspersed his analysis of the games with some entertaining war stories and with generlous amounts of advice, such as to remember LPDO (Loose Pieces Drop Off – accredited by Lorin in the talk to Paul Motwani – whereas in a recent blog Paul credits it to John Nunn – but who cares!?).

After extensive replies to many questions from the audience an appreciative vote of thanks was given by President Raj Bhopal:


International Master Lorin D’Costa: England Women’s Chess Coach, Presenter & Author

We are delighted that Lorin has agreed give a talk to the club on the topic “From She Plays To Win to Magnus Carlsen”.  Please register your attendance here so we can ensure enough chairs are set out!

Lorin giving a simul at the club in 2023

Lorin is a professional chess coach helping children of all chess strengths to enjoy and play the game of chess. He also runs She Plays to Win (SPTW) a UK girls’ chess project to try and encourage more girls to learn, play and benefit from chess (further details of SPTW can be found here).

All members can attend for free however there is a £5 charge (£2.50 for concessions) for non members payable online.

(Note that the club is hosting a five round SPTW International Invitational event from Monday 12th to Wednesday 14th February where a dozen international juniors are paticipating.  There are still some free spaces available so any girls or women with a FIDE rating are welcome to contact Lorin asap @ if they are interested in playing.)

The European Chess Union reports (again!) on last year’s She Plays To Win (SPTW) IM Norm event ….

A further report on the IM Norm event that the club hosted last year as part of our bicentenary celebrations appeared in the recent issue of the ECU’s E-Magazine:

ECU E-Magazine December 2023, Pg16
ECU E-Magazine December 2023, Pg17

Coincidentally this was issued just as we’re about to host another SPTW Scottish Invitational event at the club for girls and women in February 2024.

We currently have 10 players signed up and, with a maximum capacity of 20 players, there is space for more entrants.  If you have a FIDE rating please do get in touch with IM Lorin D’Costa (sheplaystowinuk @

There is no entry fee, but players are liable of course for costs of travel and accommodation etc.


A message received from club member Bob Kane who recently purchased “The Later Years of Paul Keres”, translated/edited by Harry Golombek which we had in duplicate in the club’s library.  This is the third and final volume in a series of three autobiographical books written by GM Paul Keres.  Bob wrote to say:

“My new purchase contained a few interesting margin notes so out of curiosity I googled previous owner Eric Dott.  It transpires he was a conscientious objector in WW1, a local Doctor, who lived to 100.  He has an interesting bio!

Anyone in the club with memories of Eric Dott (1898-1999)?

PS Estonian GM Paul Keres visited Scotland in 1955 playing matches in Glasgow as part of a UK tour sponsored by the Society for Cultural Relations with the USSR.  Amongst his simul opponents was a certain Erwin Knopfler [Ernö Knöpfler] – father to Mark and David Knopfler who formed the band ‘Dire Straits‘.