Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nice Turnout on Another Beautiful Summer Night

Sixteen players made it to the LCCC chess boards this night.

We welcome two new players; veterans of the Genessee County Chess Club in Flint, Harry C and Jewell M. Welcome gents! Add being LCCC’ers to your chess resume.

We also welcomed back Dave S and Tom H. Great to see you guys again.

The Ladder action continued strong. Scott M. took over the top rung! Congratulations to Scott.

Elliot K. rejected a challenge to retain the second spot.

Ken L won his ladder game, rejecting the threat to take his spot on the ladder.

Don J. moved up four rungs with a victory!

Four new players joined the ladder also! Going for new heights are Jewell M, Harry C, Dave S, and Andrew K.

That gives us a 21 – rung ladder! I think I am getting afraid of heights! If you are not yet on the ladder - get there! Simply put your name at the bottom and start climbing. Its the fun tournament that never ends!

In other news, Terry G was nominated for president and was added to the list of candidates. See an earlier posting for the nominees already named. If you have a nominee, send an email, post a comment or simply announce it to Ken L, Mike N or Vince V and they will make sure it gets noted.

Also, Terry G has offered a proposal to start a monthly league at LCCC. Possibly invite other players from other clubs to meet once a month at LCCC to play in the league. Your thoughts and comments are welcome on this. I will be posting the proposal soon. Stay tuned!

Friday, July 27, 2012

LCCC Club Officer Nominees - Open for Nomination!

Feel free to nominate anyone in the club. Use the comment section of this posting. Be sure to include your name and last inititial with your nominee when posting.

A meeting to do the voting will be held on a Wednesday in August (8th, 15th, 22) to be determined.

Here are the nominees so far. In the event of more than two for an office, we will require a run-off election if more than two persons get votes, and the number for the 3rd place person could change the result.

Mike N
Ken T
Terry G

VP –
Ken L
Mike N
Ken T

Ken L
Vince V

Vince V

Appointed / Volunteer Positions -

Webmaster – Mike K
Assistant – ?

Blogmaster – Mike N
Assistant – ?

Ladder Tournament Director – Mike N
Assistant – Mike K

Tournament Director - ?

* As you can see, it takes alot of people to run a successful club. Please consider getting involved somehow. The LCCC needs you! Nominate, take a nomination, volunteer or show up to vote. All actions help our club. Thank you!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Proposed LCCC Bylaws - Only a Draft!

For our member's review. Feel free to comment in with ideas. With the growth of the club and the stepping down of our fearless leader, Ken L., it's probably time to get a little more structured. Please review.

Livingston County Chess Club Bylaws

Article I (Name)

The name of the Club shall be the Livingston County Chess Club.

Article II (Purpose)

The club exists to provide regular chess playing opportunities for chess players living in and around the Livingston County, Michigan area.

Article III (Membership)

Membership is open to all interested chess players, subject to any qualifications (such as dues) required by the officers.

Article IV (Duties of Members)

All members have the duty and/or privilege:
To elect officials of the club at the annual meeting
To support and uphold the decisions of the officers
To participate in club events
To obtain and review financial reports of the club
To run for an elected office at the annual meeting
To represent, support and promote the club in a positive manner at all times

Article V (Organization)

Elected officers shall govern the club. Officers are elected by a majority vote of the membership present at the annual meeting, serving for a term of one (1) year. The annual meeting will be convened in August, no later than the 24th of August. The precise date each year will be decided by the elected officers and communicated to all registered members before the 4th of July. The elected officers of the club are listed in Article VI.

Article VI (Duties of Officers)

All officers have the duty:
To provide that the purpose of the club is fulfilled
Meet at least quarterly to conduct the business of the club
Decide, by simple majority, the governance of the club, including but not limited to: The location, date, and time of all club events, the dispersion of club funds, and any necessary disciplinary action against club members
To conduct an annual meeting where a fair election is held for the next year’s officers

The duties of the President are:
To preside over all meetings
To appoint committees and chairpersons as is necessary
To represent the club in matters of public relations and publicity
To lead in the promotion of membership in the club
To organize all events conducted by the club
To ensure all events conducted by the club are properly directed by qualified people

The duties of the Vice President are:
To perform the duties of the President in the absence of the President
To complete the term of the president should the president vacate the position for any reason
To assist the president in all his duties

The duties of the Secretary are:
To record the minutes of all meetings
To receive and answer all club correspondence
To notify all members of upcoming meetings
To maintain a roster of members

The duties of the Treasurer are:
To collect all dues and fees
To ensure all funds are disbursed as decided by the officers of the club
To provide a report of the club’s finances to any member upon request
To perform the duties of the President or Vice President in the absence of either or both.

Article VII (duties of the Volunteer positions)

The duties of the Webmaster and the Assistant Webmaster are:
To maintain and update the LCCC website in a professional and timely manner

The duties of the Blogmaster and the Assistant Blogmaster are:
To maintain and update the LCCC blog site in a professional and timely manner

Article VIII (Ratification & Amendments)

These bylaws were ratified with a two-thirds majority of the membership on [fill in date]. They may also be changed, with changes approved at the annual meeting or a special meeting by a two-thirds majority of the membership.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Seventeen Players This Monday

That is TWO full players above our average attendance. Thank you all for being here.

A great turnout considering we are competing with hot weather and the even hotter Detroit Tigers! Bless you, boys AND girls! I mean the chess player - and the Tigers.

We welcomed back Jake A, Scott A and Trent D who had been away a few weeks. Scott even got his first ladder game in. Good job.

The ladder action was fast and furious. Mike N moved ahead of Ken L with a victory, only to see Ken L. move back in front of Mike N with a victory over Scott A! Then Dale K kept Mike N at bay with a come from behind victory.

Oh the ways of the Ladder are mysterious.

But this is the fun! Practicing Ladderology is a sport in itself. The Ladder is posted officially on the website and the blog as a quick reference.

Challenges can also be made during the week. Simply post your challenge in the comment section of a blog post. Trust me, the Ladder TD will see it and get it placed on the Ladder Challenge List.

Club News: Ken L has requested to step down as Club Manager. He needs a break after leading us to unprecedented growth.

Terry G. and Mike K. found our great location and we cannot thank them enough.
But Ken L. tirelessly worked the emails, the phones and the door of both Barnes and Noble (when we were there) and the Hartland Senior Center with the friendly voice, words, deeds and face needed to make a chess club work.

A post is coming soon with nominations for Club Officers already turned in. More can be added by email or by posting them on the blog. A date for elections is being decided.

Stay tuned sports (and chess) fans!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Case of 90 Degrees – Part VI - Conclusion

Greeting us at the door with a surprised look was Prof. Roquer; a balding man in his late 50’s clad in a smoking jacket and slippers.
“What brings you to Cambridge?” he asked after introductions.
“We have come to make the acquaintance of the preeminent expert on the writings of Lord Alfred Tennyson,” Holmes said. “Someone who well knows the value of his every work: you Professor.”
“I know the value of many things,” Roquer said clearing his throat. “Including fine tobacco. Please, each of you be my guest,” he said as he proffered his humidor.
Holmes caught Lasker by the arm as the German reached for a cigar. “That Herr Lasker is what I believe you would call a fingerfehler, and a fatal one at that.”
“What do you mean?” asked Roquer with his eyes agape.
“It means this case began to be solved when Inspector Lastrade told me nothing had been removed from Tennyson’s club room except some papers. But something else should have been there; the cigar Tennyson was smoking at the time of his death. It was taken away for one reason only – because it was the murder weapon. A cigar laced with atropine.”
Roquer stammered, “But the police already have the murderer, thanks to some chess puzzle.”
“No, they have the right position, but the wrong board. The pieces were on the board as the Inspector initially told us, but the board had been turned 90 degrees by no doubt some non-chess playing policeman. Herr Lasker can show you on his pocket set.
“In this position the pawn cannot promote. But there is one legal way of mating in one move from here. White castles.”
“Or,” offered Lasker, “as the French would say it….....roquer.”
I must say I blinked at this and didn’t even see the professor’s right hand pull the derringer from his desk drawer. Nor did I catch more than a glimpse of Lasker’s own right hand and the flash of the shot from his pistol. The German hit Roquer in the arm, instantly disarming and capturing our murderer.
“I’m afraid, Watson,” Holmes was saying several days later at Baker Street, “this is one adventure you must not write about until all of us are in our graves. The police have suppressed all the information. Also, I received word that Inspector Lestrade has emptied Roquer’s safe and found all of Tennyson’s missing papers. The Death of Oenone will now be printed posthumously.”
“A great loss,” I said. “But his memory will live on.
You know Holmes, I am sure that a century from now people will remember Tennyson. They may even still be talking about you then. Who knows, they may even remember the names of Emanuel Lasker and Winston Churchill.”
Holmes paused, and then said, “I wonder, my dear Watson. I wonder.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Case of 90 Degrees – Part V

Along the brisk ride to Scotland Yard, Holmes explained the chess clue. When we arrived, we were allowed to see the Inspector.

“Ah, Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson, good timing. I was about to make an arrest of a certain well-known member of Parliament. A man who…..”

“Let’s not be hasty, Lestrade,” Holmes interjected. “Have your laboratory people determined yet the source of the poison?

“No,” Lestrade answered, examining the forensics report. “The murderer had spilled his brandy and it stained one of the ivory squares. But the liquid is non-toxic.”

“Which square?” questioned Holmes.

Lestrade reviewed the report intently and found the information. “On White’s QR1 (a1).”

“That changes everything!” exclaimed Holmes. “There is an excellent chance you are about to arrest the wrong person.”

Holmes turned to young Churchill and said, “Now, young man. Go to the Leicester Hotel and tell a guest there named Emanuel Lasker to meet us at the Liverpool Street Station. Tell him to bring his pocket chess set and to be prepared. He will know what that means.”

Soon Holmes, young Churchill, Emanuel Lasker and I were on our way to the Pepysian Library of Magdalene College and the office of Professor Algernon Roquer.

Part VI – The Final Chapter next.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fifteen Players on a Hot July Monday

And the chess action was even hotter inside the air conditioned comfort of LCCC’s primo playing facility.

We tied our average number of players every week, helped by the arrival of three new members!

Welcome Anton B., Julius B., and John. It is a pleasure meeting you and it looks like our chess teacher, mentor and coach Terry, got them all started on the road to chess mastery this evening.

In other news, the LCCC Ladder Tournament continues to shake out. A few more weeks and the Ladder should have only players interested in playing in it posted. The “Ladder” started with the active members at the time of the kick-off. But as players opt out or don’t play any ladder challenges – or don’t make any – then they drop off the ladder. The ‘real’ ladder should emerge in a couple more weeks.

Not to worry however. Anybody can re-join the ladder at any time! Simply place your name at the bottom of the Ladder, challenge one of the four players above you and start your climb. It is that simple.

If you are not currently on the Ladder and want to join the friendly competition, simply sign up on the Ladder sheet posted every week.

Two ladder matches were played this night and two exciting games were the result!

Both Ken T. and Mike N. held on to their rungs in very tough victories for both of them - fighting off the challenges from below – barely! There will be plenty more Ladder excitement next week.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Case of 90 Degrees – Part IV

“It’s the simplest of chess problems. A mate in one move. White advances his pawn and promotes to a knight. Such an under-promotion is so rare that Tennyson’s meaning is clear: He is pointing us towards someone who has been knighted for is otherwise a member of nobility. Of his three visitors yesterday I’m afraid this can only mean Churchill.”

This possibility that perhaps our next Prime Minister had killed our greatest modern poet, depressed us both. Before we had time to drink it all in, Mrs. Hudson brought us a new visitor. He was a sandy-haired youth, well dressed and all of about 18 years old. Having seen him accompany his father many an evening to the St. George’s Chess Club, I immediately recognized him.

“This, Holmes, is Lord Randolph’s boy, Winston,’ I explained. “He carries on the family tradition of plain speaking.”

Young Winston said, “I’m afraid I come on a moment of some urgency. My father is being questioned at Scotland Yard about some murder. The police are not giving any details, not even the victim’s name, but they said you knew all about it. I’ve come to plead your help Mr. Holmes. You probably don’t know this, but my father is not of strong health and he simply could not have committed this crime.”

“That unfortunately, will not satisfy Inspector Lestarde,” Holmes replied. “The police will eventually discover the value of the victim’s missing property, some poems that were taken from the murder scene. They will then conclude that the murderer meant to claim those poems to be his own work. I must be discreet but I can tell you that there are many people would love to claim fine writing…. as their own.”

Later - Part V

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Case of 90 Degrees – Part III

“Two matters puzzle me, Watson,” he said on the way. “First, by what means did the poison enter Tennyson? There was no sign he had anything to eat or drink except brandy. That brings me to the second question – how good of a chess player is Churchill?”

“He is one of the principle patrons of the game and an avid fan,” I explained. “He took several lessons from Wilhelm Steinitz in the 80’s before the world champion retired. But as a player, even the waiters at Simpson’s could give Lord Randolph a rook.”

“Well then, it doesn’t look good for our friend Lasker then does it, Watson?” Holmes stated firmly. “Why?” I inquired.

“Because we know two things about Tennyson, and his final chess game. First he kept the white men on his side of the table indicating he was playing the black pieces. Second, we may assume he was losing since there are far more white pieces on that slip of paper Lestrade gave me than black ones. That leaves us two possibilities.”

“I see Holmes. The first is that Tennyson’s opponent was a superior player, such as Herr Lasker, and not Churchill. But what is the other possibility?”

Holmes said, “Obviously the position is a clue.”

“A clue?” I repeated many minutes later as I set up the board in my room.

“Yes, Watson. Put yourself in Lord Tennyson’s place. He is in a closed room playing chess when he suddenly realizes he has been poisoned almost certainly by his opponent. He cannot cry out. Therefore, he decides to leave a clue. But it must be something that the murderer will not recognize as a clue, such as a chess position. And since you are the chess player in the house, I am leaving the chess part of the puzzle to you.” And with that, Holmes took his leave.

I quickly saw that there was no mystery as to who was winning. Clearly, Tennyson meant us to see something else, as this game should have been resigned long ago. I soon found it with some regret as I explained to Holmes over coffee and eggs the next morning.

Part VI later

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sixteen Players on a Perfect Summer Night!

It was a great turnout on a perfect summer evening. That is a great sign of things to come!

We welcomed two new players tonight, Eric S. and his son Brandon. Welcome guys.

The Ladder Action is heating up too. At least five ladder challenges were played and more challenges were made.

A shake up in the Ladder is coming soon. Players not showing up to accept challenges will start to tumble down. Rules say no games played, you start losing rungs.

The new ladder standings will be posted on the website soon, along with the new challenges listed. Check it out!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Case of 90 Degrees – Part II

We soon arrived at Waterloo Place and managed to get past the police lines and into the leading literary club of the English-speaking world.

Upstairs we found detectives huddled in a large oak paneled room. Inside were placed two chairs on opposite sides of a green-baize table. The center of the table was empty but on one side was a brandy snifter and several onyx chessmen.

On the other side lay white chessmen, a half-filled ash tray, an over-turned snifter – and the very tall body of the poet laureate of England, Alfred Lord Tennyson. His gray bearded head was slumped over the table’s edge.

Holmes was already examining the deceased’s lips when in the background we heard the familiar voice of Inspector Lestrade.

“Have you determined the source of the atropine?” Holmes asked without introduction. Holmes expertise in symptoms of various fatal poisons was unfailingly accurate.

“Uh, no, Holmes,” Lestrade replied. “In fact, we have not yet determined the death was poison. The man was 83, after all. Nevertheless, we haven’t found anything remotely toxic in the snifters.”

“I assume,” Holmes followed quickly, “that you have removed the chessboard that must have lain between Lord Tennyson and his apparent murderer. Has anything else been disturbed?”

Lestrade, wearing the look of someone whose patience has been tested for the hundredth time, paused before replying. “Only the chessmen that were on the board and some note paper with reference to something or someone named Oenone.”

“A someone?” Holmes interjected. “That someone was the wife Paris left ….for Helen of Troy.”

Lestrade glared and continued, “If it means anything to you, I’ve written down the position of the chess pieces. Oh, and according to his appointment book, his final visitors were a Prof. Algernon Roquer of Magdalene College, a German named Lasker, and,” he added lowering his voice, “Lord Randolph Churchill.”

I admit I appeared startled by the name of Lord Randolph, for many years now the great hope of the Conservative Party. Holmes recovered for me, took the slip of paper with the chess position and in a few minutes we were headed home.

Part III later

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Twelve Players on a Hot Monday Night before the 4th of July

A very nice turn out for a hot Monday night right before a holiday. We had twelve that made it.

I'd like to take this opportunity to post the ladder standings. I think The Ladder is great fun and gives our friendly games a little motivation. Not much, but a little.

All you have to do is read the Ladder Rules posted on the website, or get a copy at the club. Then...challenge some opponents! That is all there is to it.

PS: If you really don't want to participate in the Ladder, let Mike, Ken or Vince know and we can remove you from the ladder. Don't worry, you can re-join at any time. It's no problem. Non-ladder games are fun too.

PS: Anyone like the mystery story so far?

Without further adieu, here is our current ladder standings:

Americo M
Elliot K
Ken T
Scott A
Dale K
Scott M
Tom H
Ken L
Luigi M
Lamila M
Grant W
Aaron J
Dean Y
Tom H Jr.
Jim G
Mike N
Luca M
John R
Mike K
Vince V
Jake A
Don J
Trent D
Marcello M
Arnold H
Andrew S
Andrew K

Only three challenges are posted. Practice Ladderology and plot your strategy for moving up!

Ask not what you can do for the Ladder, ask, "What can the Ladder do for me?"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Case of 90 Degrees – Part I

It was an overcast October afternoon in 1892 and we were having tea at 221-B Baker Street. I was attempting to interest Mr. Sherlock Holmes in the latest newspaper reports about the investigation of the alleged US axe-murderess Lizzie Borden. But Mr. Holmes was not interested since he would have to be at the scene to actually solve the case.

The knock on the door broke our conversation. When I answered it, before me stood an academic looking gentleman from Berlin no less.

The young man wore a drooped mustache, a rumpled suit and inquisitive eyes that even his thick glasses could not hide.

After I led him to the study, he began, “Thank you for seeing me in Dr. Watson, and meeting with me Mr. Holmes. My name is Emanuel Lasker. I have spent two years in England studying mathematics and philosophy. I also play chess.”

Holmes shot me an inquiring glance and I nodded that I had heard of him. He was an up and coming player who had beaten some of England’s best.

“The reason I am here is I fear I may have come into trouble with the police,” the German said. “Your reputation Mr. Holmes for helping the innocent and for remarkable powers of observation and detective guess work is known even by me.”

“You may have come to the right place for justice,” Holmes quickly replied, “but I never guess. I simply deduce matters of observations, such as….that you sir are absent minded, an excellent pistol shot and hate shaving.”

Lasker just smiled keenly aware that he could not deny any of that, and said, “My problem concerns one of my heroes, your poet Alfred Tennyson. I have long been thinking of composing a play, something along the lines of Tennyson’s ‘Becket’ or ‘Queen Mary’, and I wanted to discuss chess scenes in those remarkable dramas with him. And since I knew Tennyson to be a former president of the British Chess association, I arranged thru a mutual friend to meet with him today at his club, the Athenaeum.

When I arrived at the appointed hour I found the police surrounding the building and questioning everyone in sight. I heard my own name mentioned, suspected the worst and left immediately. I feared something criminal had happened, and as a foreigner, suspicion might fall on me. And so I am here.”

Holmes considered the German’s face for several seconds before speaking. “Your fears may be unjustified. But just to be on the safe side, Dr. Watson and I will make an inquiry.”

With that the German bowed out of the room and Holmes and I headed for Waterloo Place.

Part II later