When chess clocks fail

Digital chess clocks are roundly disliked by a lot of players who are never sure how much time they have left to complete a game and are equally unsure that clocks have been set properly.

Lichfield’s Birmingham Division 6 fixture at Kynoch  ended in a dispute when the home team decided there was too much time left on the clock of Lichfield skipper Brian Jones in his match with Heilbrunn. Brian’s clock was showing 40 minutes left when his opponent claimed the game on the basis that Brian must be out of time.

Heilbrunn was a piece up but Brian had a strong position and was confident of a win.  Commonsense prevailed, a draw was agreed and the match was tied 2-2.

There was a similar instance in a Birmingham League match last season in which a draw was agreed.

Rules Committee chairman Mike Biddle’s view feels that there is no need to introduce a new rule for such instances and that clubs should take a pragmatic view, agree a draw or perhaps agree a revised time to complete the game.








Epic Victory

Lichfield retained the Staffordshire Jackson Cup with an epic victory in a four player final against Meir.

Needing a draw to clinch victory for Lichfield, Mike Hoare’s position looked hopelessly lost, in time trouble and with knight and three pawns against knight and five pawns. Not only that but Mike’s knight was apparently stranded on the H file whilst his opponent had a central pawn with a clear run for a queen and backed up by an advancing king.

B file pawns were swapped off and Mike’s king retreated to E1 to block the pawn on E2. With time running out for both players Mike forked king and  pawn and somehow got his Knight back into the action just as his king was forced away from the crowning square. A succession of checks followed and tournament controller stepped in to announce that Mike opponent’s flag had fallen. No one else seemed to have noticed.

Earlier in the match the two Davids, Fone and Short had secured draws and the club’s 1917 ‘Superhero’ Fred Biles notched his 25th win of a season which he had started with a grade of 95. Despite these efforts a defeat for Mike Hoare would have given Meir victory on Board count.

Fred Biles was not the only Lichfield player to have an outstanding season, particularly in the Wolverhampton League in which John Fryer was one of the most successful players with the black pieces.

Lichfield have now won the Jackson Cup 12 times since 1991.





Grandmaster Keith Arkell must be beginning to think that Lichfield is his bogey team after another unexpected result.

On his last two visits to Lichfield, Keith lost to former leading player Paul Wallace who has now returned to his native Ireland. This season, playing at home for Halesowen, Keith was held to a draw by Lichfield newcomer. David Hulme.

Considering that David, a former vicar, has a grading of 151 compared with Keith’s 237, it was an outstanding result.

David is one of  seven newcomers to the club this season. Secretary David Short said it was a very encouraging situation, particularly as some Midlands club have been gradually losing members.