Thursday, 16 April 2015


This is a picture I took of mine and Charley's board yesterday mid-game (to save us writing down the positions since lunch was over). You can see the standard school chess boards, plus standard chair and dodgy carpet. The wonders of the internet, allowing a girl to digress so much that she describes her school carpets...

I don't actually think I've dedicated a post to chess yet, which is strange. So here one is.

I very occasionally dabbled in chess when I was a kid. I remember the day I was told that stalemate existed and I'd just done it instead of beating my sister like I thought (I was outraged). Later on, I'd play against my brother and sister but I was such a bad player, I spent dozens of moves just setting up neat little pawn positions as if this were a Sylvanian house rather than a chess board. 

I joined chess very briefly in first year with my friend Kate. We never finished the game that day we went up, but she was up by one pawn and she still holds that over me. 

I kept saying I'd join chess in school, year after year, but only properly got around to it this year and am now a full-fledged member with a club rating and all (which you get after playing ten games). 

That's not to say I'm good at it.

I'm pretty awful at chess, to be honest. It's fair enough because I'm a beginner, but being challenged by playing first years while I'm in my penultimate year of secondary school is pretty embarrassing. You'd think the extra intelligence/knowledge/maturity would come in handy somewhere, but not really. So yeah: if your school has a chess club, join as soon as possible.

My younger sister (who's now in third year) has been playing in the club since first year and is very good (though my friend John Joe beat her). See, there's less than a year and eight months between us, so I'm pretty sure she went into school trying to differentiate herself from me (taking up Business, chess and sports where I had Music, science and writing). So she's been plugging away at the chess and I'm proud of how far she's gotten. She also made a lot of friends in the chess club, and now that I'm in it I enjoy the community.

I've played Moya (my sister) a few times, but never beaten her. It stings since she's younger, but she's definitely worked at chess and I quite like that there aren't high expectations placed on me here, because there are in other areas. 

I'm unimaginative with openings, pretty good at taking pieces and slowly slowly developing planning skills, but I'm terrible with spotting checkmates. I get caught up with all the other pieces that I tend to forget about the King, which is unhelpful. 

I've also picked up some first years to mentor through chess (shoutout to Caitlin and Sharon Charley), and it's very handy in Physics (the Physics teacher teaches Chess) to be able to get insider info from the teacher because of chess. 

I also practise chess at home using Chess Titans, though it's probably not very effective because I'm usually lazy and play at Level 1. Anyway, here are some screenshots of games I've played and found interesting for some reason or another.

This was from November and probably one of my first experiences having three queens. It's a great feeling. Moya would give out to me for having three queens and somehow not one of them has the king in check. She'd have a point, in fairness, because I ended up getting stalemate with three queens.

Here are some other nice things from my early attempts. (she says as if she's improved)

The satisfaction of getting a checkmate when the other side still has their queen.

I liked this one because it's using all my pieces. There's a nice sense of completeness to it, I guess.

Right, so I know no one is interesting in these individual screenshots. But there you go. I'm pretty bad at chess still, but I enjoy the challenge and the camaraderie in school. And being allowed to use the lift. That's definitely a plus. 

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