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Editor: Dr Tim Harding
  Dr. Tim Harding   J. H. Blackburne     Paul Morphy   Correspondence Chess history book   Captain W. D. Evans

What's New Here

 

4 July: The Candidates tournament ended today in Madrid. Please read our final report.

4 July: Seniors news and calendar updated. Play in the European Senior Individual Championships starts tomorrow.

4 July: Update on the Irish Championship after three of the nine rounds.

1 July (previously 30 June): Ian Nepomniachtchi now needs only a draw to win the Candidates tournament but second place is up for grabs.

30 (previously 28 & 29) June: The World Senior Team Championships ended yesterday and our final report shows that England won both tournaments and are also 50+ women's champions.

27 (previously 26 June): Candidates tournament drama again. Caruana failed to beat Nepo' to equalise their scores but bthere were first wins of the event for Ding Liren, Firouzja and Radjabov.

27 (previously 22, 23, 25 & 26) June: Seniors news updated once more - and we now have a separate page for the ongoing World Senior Team Championships. Also updated our Seniors introduction page. The invitation document for the World Senior individual championships can be downloaded from our and calendar.

26 (previously 23 & 25) June: Irish news page extensively rewritten. The Irish Women's Championship was played this weekend while time is running out to enter the main championship and supporting events which begin next Friday, 1 July.

23 (previously 22) June: Candidates 2022 page updated for the second time today, with results from round 6 and Saturday's round seven pairings. The leaders increased their gap on the field today.

20 June (previously 2, 6 & 18 June): Updates to Seniors news and Seniors calendar.

19 (previously 16th & 17 & 18)June: Candidates 2022 page updated after the third round. Today is a rest day.

9 & 11 June: Updates to our main page about Steinitz in London, reviews page, the errata page and research notes.

16 June (previously 9 June): Irish news updated again. We have separated the Irish arbiter list to a new page for officials. Tim's personal arbiter news page was also updated.

3 June: Updates to our the reviews page for Steinitz in London.

3 June: Update to our Candidates 2022 page.

3 June: Our arbiter page now includes a download link for the 2022 FIDE Arbiter Manual.

3 June: Irish news updated: details of upcoming tournaments.

22 May (previously 20 & 16 May): Candidates 2022 page rewritten: we preview all eight Candidates and assess their prospects. Play will begin in Madrid on the 17th of June.

20 May (previously 16 May): Irish news updated: our teams for the Chennai Olympiad have been announced. Kevin O'Connell has retired as Irish delegate to FIDE.

20 May (previously 16 May): Seniors calendar updated: Saxon Seniors added.

20 May (previously 16 & 8 May): Seniors news reports on the winners of the English Senior Championships and the early team lists for the World Senior Team Championships next month.

7 May: Candidates 2022 news updated: Karjakin appeal to FIDE rejected and Ding Liren will now probably take his place.

7 May: Frankenstein and Dracula at the chessboard: once more we revive this old legend.

7 May (previously 1 May, and before that 16, 24 and 30 April): Updated Irish news: Ukrainian players have won all three sections at the Sligo congress.

7 May (previously 1 May, 24 and 30 April) April: Updated Seniors calendar (some 2023 dates added) and Seniors news.

30 April: Candidates 2022 news: Karjakin appeals his ban; if he fails, Ding Liren will play.

16 April: Updated Seniors introduction, Seniors news and Seniors calendar pages. New tournaments have been added, especially the European Senior Individual Championships which will be held in Lublin, Poland, in early July.

4 April: Candidates 2022 page updated at the close of the Berlin Grand Prix final in which Wesley So defeated Hikaru Nakamura in the rapid tiebreaks.

4 April: Updated Seniors calendar; but no new tournaments.

4 April (previously 25 & 27 March, and 2 April): Updated Irish news: we have a new IM.

2 April: Steinitz book reviews page updated with some extracts from the latest notice in Quarterly for Chess History 23.

29 March (following daily reports on previous days): The pools in the second Berlin Grand Prix are complete bar play-offs in two cases. Our Candidates 2022 page explains why, due to a combination of results today, the two Candidates qualifiers from the Grand Prix are already decided, irrespective of what happens in the semnifinals and final. However there is still some uncertainty over who will replace Sergey Karjakin who has been banned for six months by the FIDE Ethics Commission.

25 (previously 17th and 23rd) March: Seniors calendar updated again, adding a 50+ tourmament at Olomouc in August. We also updated Seniors news to raise the question of whether teams from Russia or Belarus which are not national squads might be permitted to enter the World or European Team Championships. We can foresee this leading to boycotts if, for example, a team from St Petersburg (which has in the past often been one of the strongest 65+ teams) were allowed to compete.

21 March: Added a new item to our Steinitz research notes page, concerning the Vienna 1882 tournament.

14 (previously 6, 7 & 10) March: Updated our page about the 2022 Candidates qualifying race. The second Grand Prix in Belgrade was won by Richard Rapport who is now front-runner to take one of the two remaining places.

14 March: Seniors calendar and Seniors news updated with two more German tournaments, one for 50+ and one for 65+ players. Also, the full details of the European Senior Team Championships (Dresden, 26 October-4 November) can now be downloaded from our calendar.

14 March: More Irish news.

6 & 7 March: Seniors news and calendar updated. Dates have been announced for the European Senior Team Championships.

1 March: Updated all pages about our UltraCorr2022 database of correspondence games from numerous sources. It is not only the largest CC database; at 55 Euro it is more than 100 Euro cheaper than ChessBase's rival offering.

1 March (previously 8, 17 & 27 February): Much updated Irish news; we have dropped the old reports now.

28 February: Updated our pages about the 2022 Candidates qualifying race. Play in the Belgrade GP starts tomorrow while Karjakin faces FIDE sanctions and possibly a visa ban.

27 February: Several more German tournaments have been added to the Seniors calendar page which has had a major overhaul. Our Seniors introduction and Seniors news were also both updated.

25 February: John Elburg's review of our UltraCorr2022 database is now online.

24-25 February: Russia launches an unprovoked criminal invasion of Ukraine. Chess24 was first to report that FIDE has decided to seek a new host nation for the 2022 Chess Olympiad which was due to be played in Moscow. Another report says some have called for FIDE President, Arkady Dvorkovich (currently in Uganda), to resign.

Personal boycotts of any individual players who appear to support the invasion (notably GM Karjakin) should definitely be considered. This could be made effective by suspending their FIDE ratings, although that would perhaps set a bad precedent.

Economic sanctions are likely to mean FIDE will lose major sponsorship from some Russian corporations, but they should repudiate those connections anyway.

Because of the importance of the game of chess in Russian culture, it is particularly important that chess players elsewhere in the world stand up and be counted.

We personally find we have one ongoing correspondence tournament game against a Russian opponent. Since he has not made any comment with his latest move, we shall not continue the game (currently still in "book") although it means we thereby lose any chance of qualifying for the semi-final of the event. Nor will we resign but instead we shall just let our time run out. Our silence may tell him something.

23 February (previously 9th, 15th, 16th & 18 February:) Revised our Steinitz errata page.

Several points which are not strictly speaking errors in the text can be found in a new page of research notes which we may develop in future. (Four new items were added to that page this week.) We show, for example, that chessgames.com purports to have the missing game Winawer-Steinitz, Baden-Baden 1870 but they are wrong and should delete it from their database.

17th (previously 9th, 15th and 16th) February: Updated our Candidates 2022 page again, as the first of the Grand Priz qualifying tournaments in Berlin ended in victory for Hikaru Nakamura who won the rapid play-off 2-0 against Levon Aronian.

1 February: Released version 2 of our UltraCorr2022 database with over 7,000 more new games and other improvements.

1 February: Seniors news page updated.

26 January: Irish news and Seniors calendar updated.

21 January: Our UltraCorr2022 database is launched. Please download and buy!

14 & 15 January (previously 7 Jan): First major updates of the new year for our calendar and news pages.

Not only Tata Steel but also the Marienbad festival starts today. The ECF plans 7-round English senior championships for early May; details expected to follow soon.

14 January: Irish news and advance information about our CC database, UltraCorr2022, which should be ready for release on or around 20-22 January.

30 (previously 19) December: Irish news page: added details of ICU's planned tournaments for 2-6 January and prospects for the months up to Easter.

12 December: Updated Seniors introduction, calendar and news pages. This is probably the last update of our seniors pages in 2021.

10 December: World Championship match ends in a crushing win for Magnus Carlsen. We have now finalised that page and updated our page about qualifiers for the 2022 Candidates.

Also today, FIDE announced that the World Rapid and Blitz Championships will be played in the Polish capital city, Warsaw, starting on 26 December. Full details will be made available shortly.

8 December (previously 5 & 7 December): Updated page about World Championship match after Games 8, 9 and 10.

7 December: Obituary of Jonathan Penrose including Tim Harding's complete interview from 2000 with him about his postal chess career (PDF format).

4 December: Updated Irish news with several reports of recent events.

4 December: The death was announced of double grandmaster Jonathan Penrose.

1 & 4 December (previously 26, 27, 28 & 30 November): Regularly updated our page about the Carlsen-Nepo match.

24 (previously 22) November: Added the playing schedule to our page about the World Chess Championship match which begins in Dubai later this week.

22 November: Obituary of Grigory Sanakoev, the 12th correspondence chess world champion.

22 November: Advance news of preparations for the 2022 edition of our UltraCorr CC database, which should be the biggest and best ever, and tremendous value for money.

22 (previously 17) November: Berlin Senior Open added to our Seniors calendar. Details of ACO senior team tournamnet now available to download.

7 November: Our Candidates tournament page is updated for the second time today, with the names of the two qualifiers from the Grand Swiss just concluded in Riga.

3, 5 & 6 November (previously 11, 24 & 28 October): Updated Seniors introduction, calendar and news pages, including the latest information on recent and upcoming tournaments for players aged 50 and older. The dates of the 2022 British Senior Championships have now been announced, and several more tournamnets were added to our calendar in the past few days.

3 November: Our Candidates tournament page has been rewritten to focus on the qualifying process for the 2022 event in the next world championship cycle. Later this month we shall start a page about the upcoming 2021 world championship match between Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi.

30 October: Added two further Steinitz errata items (relating to pages 237 and 249). Thanks to Jason Radley for spotting these.

30 October (previously 11, 24 & 28 October): Updated Irish news with several reports of recent events.

28 October (previously 24 October): Updated arbiter page.

8 October: News of the British Seniors tournaments, then in progress. Included link to photographs posted by one of the competitors.

8 October: Photograph of the elderly J. H. Blackburne and his third wife posted on our new Blackburne family page.

5 October: Start of a reorganisation of this site, with the beginnings of a page about Captain W. D. Evans. We are also beginning a large project to detail the complicated family of Joseph Henry Blackburne. There is only a skeleton page so far.

5 October: Report on the recent European Seniors Championships now on a separate page, including comments by one of the competitors, kindly contributed specially.

4 October (previously 22, 24 & 27 September): Irish news page is completely updated with the latest information about recent and upcoming events including the Women's and Senior championships.

4 (previously 2) October: Seniors introduction, Seniors calendar and seniors news again updated. Includes results of the European Seniors which finished today.

27 (previously 14 & 15 & 22) September: Seniors calendar and seniors news are all further updated with new tournament information for early 2022.

27 September: Tim's personal home page updated; this was long overdue.

15 September: Updated our pages about Steinitz in London including the reviews page and the errata page. New and updated pages about Blackburne are in preparation.

14 September (previously 9 September, 30 & 26 August): Our Irish news page is updated with news and reports of some recent successes.

9 September (previously 30, 26 and 21 August): Our Seniors introduction page, Seniors calendar and seniors news were all further updated.

30 August: Obituary page for the late GM Evgeny Sveshnikov.

26 August: Further update of our page about notices of Steinitz in London. The latest glowing review appeared in American Chess Magazine.

26 August: Our links page updated for the first time in 11 months. Probably needs more work; please advise us of errors and broken links.

12 August (following several updates during June and July): Our Seniors introduction page, Seniors calendar and seniors news are all thoroughly updated. We have been able to add some recently announced tournaments in Germany and Austria to the calendar. The European Senior Championships are coming up soon but there will be no FIDE World Seniors events until the team championship in May 2022.

12 August (previously 1 August): Irish news updated again. The 100th Irish Championship was completed successfully last week with 36 competitors and congratulations to IM Mark Heidenfeld who was the winner.

12 August: Updated our page about notices of Steinitz in London. Somehow we had overlooked a 4-star review by GM Matthew Sadler which was published earlier this year in New In Chess magazine.

1 August: Our UltraCorr 2021 database is now withdrawn from sale, as previously announced. We do this every year around this time. All being well, the 2022 edition will be released next year, probably mid-January.

1 August: Deleted many old entries from this page.

5 June: Irish news update: Entries opened for the Irish Seniors Championship in late September.

27 May (previously 21 May): We updated our pages about Steinitz in London including substantial additions to the reviews and errata pages.

27 May: Seniors calendar and seniors news updated: Regulations for the rearranged Bad Neuenahr tournaments and the Busum (Schleswig Holstein) event are now available.

27 May: Irish news updated. Entries for the Irish Championship have closed at 48 players (end July/August) but a waiting list is open in case of withdrawals or a larger entry being permitted.

13 May: Seniors news page and Seniors calendar updated again. Bad Neuenahr is postponed to October but the Brandenburg tournament (Poland in June) will be going ahead after all.

6 May : Updated our Senior introduction page, Seniors news page and Seniors calendar today. A positive development is that the English Chess Federation plans both online and limited OTB championships (including 50+ and 65+ seniors) later this year.

26 & 27 April: The Candidates tournament was effectively decided in the penultimate round on Monday 26 April. Magnus Carlsen's next world championship challenger will be Jan Nepomniachtchi. The final update to this page was made this evening after the last round on 27 April.

24 April (previously 20, 21 & 23 April): Report updated after each day's play in the Candidates tournament.

24 April (previously 19, 12 April etc.): Further updates for the Seniors news page and Seniors calendar. The Brandenburg Seniors (scheduled for June in Poland) is now cancelled.

23 April: Added a new page about notices of Steinitz in London. Including a translation of glowing review in Polish magazine Mat.

19 April (previously 15 & 18 April): The FIDE Candidates tournament resumed today, Monday 19 April, at 12 noon (British/Irish time).

16 April (previously 23 March): Steinitz book main page updated. Polish chess magazine Mat says "This book is a milestone in the literature of chess history."

15 April: Updated pages about our correspondence game database UltraCorr2021. A new version with some minor corrections has been uploaded, protected by a new password which customers will be sent when they pay.

31 March: The new edition of FIDE's Arbiter Manual was published on 17 March and can be downloaded from here.

23 March: Irish news updated.

15 March: Fixed broken link from the introduction page about database issues to our second Steinitz article and added more examples to that article (and the associated PGN file), so please look again.

9 March: Further updates for the Seniors introduction, Seniors news page and Seniors calendar. Bad Wörishofen is definitely cancelled. The 2021 British Seniors and other championships will now be held online rather than in Torquay this summer.

3 March: Complete rewrite of our Irish chess news page. The I.C.U. announces plans for events this summer, Covid pandemic permitting, and the Galway Chess Congress will be played online from 19-21 March. Arbiters page also updated.

1 March (previously 20 and 28 February): Updates for the Seniors news page and Seniors calendar. At last some firmer news about FIDE's intentions.

28 February: A very slightly different version of UltraCorr2021 has been uploaded. People who already bought the database can see minor corrections listed here.

12 February: FIDE announcements about resumption of the Candidates tournament and a new imminent registration process for FIDE arbiters, organisers and trainers.

12 February: Another new article about problems with later Steinitz games in databases.

A third article about historical database issues is in preparation and may be ready the first weekend in March.

10 February: Bad Wörishofen organisers cancel their festival scheduled for March; it possibly may be rescheduled for May.

7 February: Start of a new series about errors in historic databases. Lasker v Steinitz match games go under the microscope. We also updated our research index and work in progress pages.

4 & 7 February (previously 26 January): Seniors news and calendar updated: ACO announces its unofficial World Seniors festivals for May and October but most events scheduled up to the middle of 2021 look increasingly in doubt.

4 February: We have updated our Steinitz errata page, also mentioning a letter which provides more information about Viennese chess a few years before Steinitz.

3 & 4 February: News page about the FIDE Candidates tournament and world championship also updated.

26 January : John Elburg reviews UltraCorr2021.

22 January: UltraCorr2021 was released.

17 and 20 January 2021: Seniors home page, Seniors news and Senior tournament calendar updated.

30 December 2020: New Year message.

22 December: Added Christmas greeting and updated our Seniors news and Seniors calendar pages (links below).

28 November (previously 27 and 18 November): Seniors news, and seniors calendar updated. We have added details of the British Online Seniors Championships which are now ongoing up to 3 January.

18 November: The Errata page for Tim Harding's Steinitz book has been updated. Tim's article about Steinitz has been published in New In Chess magazine.

29 October: The 7-part Netflix television drama The Queen's Gambit, based on the novel by Walter Tevis about a female chess prodigy in the 1960s, is beautifully made and we highly recommend it.

29 October (following several previous rewrites this month): Major updates to our Seniors news and Seniors calendar pages. Keep your fingers crossed for a vaccine and some OTB play in 2021.

24 October: Posted quotes from Richard James's review of Steinitz in London.

21 October: Added the result of the just-completed Saxon Seniors tournament and 54 games from it to download.

16 October: FIDE postpones the second half of the Candidates tournament to 2021.

10 October: Tim's personal home page, his bibliography and Work-in-progress page are all rewritten.

10 October: Thanks to some sharp-eyed readers, we have added an errata page for our new Steinitz book. We hope there are not too many mistakes!

14, 15 and 16 September (previously 24 August): Seniors news and Seniors calendar updated again. The European Seniors Championships are now definitely postponed to 2021 but a few events are still scheduled in Germany.

14 and 15 September: We have completely overhauled our links page and killed many dead links, a long-overdue exercise. Information on several sites has been added or updated. We note in particular, for correspondence players seeking a free alternative to ICCF for some of their games, that FICGS has many strong players, though looking outdated, while LSS has had a major makeover.

For chess authors and publishers, we used to recommend the widely-used chess Linares, Hastings and Zurich truetype fonts from Alpine Electronics but cannot find out whether they are still available; does anyone know? The creator Steve Smith is apparently no longer with us.

14 September: New information added to our page about Steinitz in London. Our author copies arrived last week.

9 September: FIDE announces its intention to restart the Candidates tournament on 1 November.

1 September: As we warned you, UltraCorr2020 has now been withdrawn from sale. Watch out for announcements about the next edition early in January 2021.

31 August: Publishers McFarland announce that Steinitz in London is in stock at last. They are despatching advance orders and review copies. Review copies and advance sale copies have been despatched. North American retailers including Amazon should have copies soon; European and worldwide distribution will be going ahead too.

16 August: Last chance sale of UltraCorr 2020 began. It has since closed.

16 August: Seniors news and Seniors calendar updated. The only Seniors chess action is in Germany where their national enior championship is currently being played. They just updated their own Senior calendar, which is a sign of hope.

10 August (previously 6 August): Irish news updated. The Irish Championship was won by 17-year-old FM Tom O'Gorman. This page also includes a list of the currently licensed Irish chess arbiters.

6 August: Seniors news, our Seniors introduction page, and Seniors calendar updated. The World Senior Championships will not be held this year.

6 August: A little-known story about Steinitz.

18 July: Tim Harding's new book Steinitz in London is now with the printer; copies should be available in a few weeks. ALSO various updates including Irish news.

4 July: Seniors news updated with photographs showing the social distancing measures employed at the recent Senior tournament in Germany. Each player had his own chess set.

4 July: Tim Harding officially notified that his application for the title of FIDE Arbiter is approved. Tim's homepage is also updated.

3 July (previously 26 June): FIDE has decided to approve an online Seniors event but as yet there are no details of when or how it will be organised.

19 June: Update on books by the late Mark Dvoretsky. A fifth, posthumous, edition of his Endgame Manual has just been published.

17 June: Tim Harding's homepage and publications page updated.

1 and 2 June: Irish news, Seniors news, and Seniors calendar updated.

1 June: Arbiter page updated along with uploading a PDF copy of FIDE's 2020 Arbiters Manual.

25 May: Major update of Seniors introduction, Seniors news and Seniors calendar pages. If you really want to play chess over the board again, there is a tournament for you in Bavaria starting 26 June!

5 May (new article): How Sir Theodore Tylor, the blind chess master, was portrayed in a novel.

28 April: Seniors calendar updated, showing more cancellations and one postponement to 2021.

25 & 28 April (previously 14 & 19 April): Seniors introduction, Seniors news and World Senior Team Championship report updated.

22 April: Normal service restored after our hosting company took the website down while migrating to new servers.

19 April: Arbiter page and Seniors calendar updated.

7 April: Irish news update: the Irish Chess Championships have been postponed from July to 1-9 August.

2 & 4 April: Irish news update: the young player who was detained in Murmansk, Russia, last month suspicion of having the Covid-19 virus is now home. It turns out that he was not actually infected!

30 March: Irish news, Seniors news and calendar pages updated.

30 March: Early Blackburne game with H. E. Atkins turns up. More Blackburne game corrections sent in by readers. We also posted on that page today PDF copies of the birth and death certificates of John Blackburn (who died in infancy), a brother of the chess master whose existence was unknown to us when we wrote our biography.

30 March: Books Received. We gratefully acknowledge receipt of two chess novels sent to us by their authors but as yet we have had no opportunity to read them. They are Chess Fever by Mark Ozanne and (just arrived) The Greenbecker Gambit by Ben Graff, both from the Conrad Press in the UK.

Also received recently, from Russell Enterprises: Understanding Rook v. Minor Piece Endgames by Karsten Müller and Yakov Konoval, which is a slimmer companion to their earlier titles Understanding Minor Piece Endgames and Understanding Rook Endgames. These three books are all based on working with seven-man tablebases, several examples of which were posted here by us in 2016 when these tools were still fairly new.

We may be able to review chess books, including these, here eventually but the senders should note that The Kibitzer column has not been running for a long time. We may consider reviving it if the lockdown continues beyond April and somebody will pay us to write it.

26 March: FIDE halts the Candidates tournament, postponing the second half to some future date.

Since there is now no live chess to report, updates of this website will be only occasional. However, we may post research articles from time to time and we shall of course keep an eye on the Seniors news and calendar. Also we continue to play our correspondence games on ICCF and FICGS.

23 March: The ICCF Congress (due to be held in Glasgow in August) is cancelled because the Scottish health service needs the hotel building where it was due to be held. ICCF online tournaments are continuing as normal. The organisation has stopped the clock in all its postal tournaments but players who still have a postal service and wish to continue their games may do so.

27 January 2018: The death occurred of Max Zavanelli, a leading figure in ICCF and American correspondence chess for decades, and a major supporter of Chess Mail in the years when we published our printed magazine. Max had been battling cancer for a long time. The ICCF website has an obituary. Along with George Pyrich and Carlos Flores Gutierrez (see below), who both died just before Christmas, Max was a major figure in guiding the transition of ICCF from the postal to the internet era.

13 January 2018: Made numerous minor corrections to our pages about 7-man endgames. There is a wealth of chess here for anyone who has not yet studied these endings.

24 December 2017: Sad news of the death of an old friend, CC-IM George Pyrich (1951-2017), the Financial Director of ICCF (pictured right). We met George at numerous ICCF Congresses between 1994 and 2015 and always enjoyed his company. Latterly he lived in Spain but he was a native of Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland. His death is a sad loss to the correspondence chess community worldwide. The ICCF website carries an obituary by Scottish CC Association President, Iain Mackintosh, and also an obituary by Alan Borwell of Carlos Flores Gutierrez, another old friend and major figure of his generation in CC. See also our Hans Berliner obituary.

24 October 2017: Updated Blackburne book information, with the recently rediscovered finish to the game Blackburne-Jacobs from the 1904 British Championship. (Thanks to John Saunders.) Also Blackburne's last published game, from his final visit to Glasgow.

 

Many older articles are now in the process of being removed pending the reorganisation of this site.