Oh, really!

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Jonathan Rogers
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Oh, really!

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:09 pm

I just saw this comment by Leonard in his Evening Standard column, introducing a game in the 4NCL in February. Given the season they had, I thought the Blackthorne players themselves would be as amused/bemused as anyone:

"Wood Green's grandmasters are the strongest club team in England, but such supremacy attracts ambitious rivals. Blackthorne are new chess sponsors, sparked by the firm's core business as specialists in dispatching cargoes to Russia. Blackthorne's challenge failed this year, partly as a result of today's puzzle, but it seems likely they will make a fresh bid for the UK team title in 2013."

David Robertson
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by David Robertson » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:32 pm

Pfft...they've yet to reckon with Spirit of Atticus

:)

Simon Ansell
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Simon Ansell » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:51 pm

I wouldn't argue with any of that piece. Wood Green are certainly the stongest team and Blackthorne Transport are new sponsors who dispatch cargoes to Russia. Our challenge did indeed fail this year, probably almost entirely due to the single position in the puzzle (which I can't seem to find online - link?). And we will indeed make a bid for the UK team title next year.

Whether the 'fresh' bid, made by our mediocre aging FMs and IMs, will fail similarly spectacularly remains to be seen :D

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:24 pm

Simon Ansell wrote:I wouldn't argue with any of that piece. Wood Green are certainly the stongest team and Blackthorne Transport are new sponsors who dispatch cargoes to Russia. Our challenge did indeed fail this year, probably almost entirely due to the single position in the puzzle (which I can't seem to find online - link?). And we will indeed make a bid for the UK team title next year.

Whether the 'fresh' bid, made by our mediocre aging FMs and IMs, will fail similarly spectacularly remains to be seen :D
The link is

http://www.standard.co.uk/staticpage/chess/

The "partly due to" and "probably almost entirely due to" the position in the puzzle do look a bit stretched, surely the title bid had already been rather adversely affected by the four consecutive match defeats beforehand? :P In fact the team was probably already mathematicaly consigned to the relegation pool by the time the position was reached!

Simon Ansell
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Simon Ansell » Thu Jun 14, 2012 9:30 pm

Thanks, I did search for 'chess' on the Standard website but it returned nothing. You could have continued the quote with " The all-grandmaster position in the diagram... " :)

Richard Bates
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Richard Bates » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:54 am

I certainly blame Andy. Always have to have a scapegoat. Heck i didn't lose any rating points (by some inexplicable miracle) so it surely can't have been me! And as Simon points out, as our only grandmaster Andy has no excuse.

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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Andrew Bak » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:59 am

I guess you'll have to do your talking over the board next season!

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Jun 15, 2012 7:46 am

Is it not possible to link to individual puzzles from Leonard's column, and is there an archive page somewhere? That page goes back to April. Maybe after that they get shunted to the printed Evening Standard chess puzzle books (I think I'm right in referring to these, though I may be confusing them with another set of chess puzzles) - are those still published, or are there electronic versions of those available?

Simon Ansell
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Simon Ansell » Fri Jun 15, 2012 11:25 am

The page doesn't seem to belong to any particular category and isn't indexed by the search engine on the Standard website (a search for 'chess' or 'Barden', as I did, doesn't return anything relevant) so I doubt they bother to keep an archive. Seems just to be an afterthought to keep those who complained about cutting the print version happy. If I couldn't find the page and was looking specifically for it I doubt it gets many readers at all.

Leonard Barden
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Leonard Barden » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:09 pm

Putting Evening Standard chess, which I guess is how most online readers would do it, into an online search engine does bring up the chess page, and a link to the online address is also provided every day at the bottom of the puzzles page in the Standard print version.

Simon still makes a good point which I'll bring to the Standard management's attention on Monday. The Standard possesses all the online puzzes dating back to summer 2010 and there are plans for a book of these puzzles later this year. How far back the current page should go is an editorial decision, and I think two months worth of fortnight's instantly available free online puzzles, which compares well with some other columns, is very reasonable indeed.

As regards Blackthorne Russia, my objective in mentioning sponsors is always to use words which encourage them to maintain or increase their involvement ,so I suggest Simon or someone else from BR's team officials takes up my implied recommendation that the company should strengthen its team further.

Jonathan may recall how some years ago he asked me to publicise the Barbican 4NCL team in my Financial Times column, which I did several times again using words which some would have reckoned subjectively optimistic but which were designed to encourage interest in his team from City firms.
Last edited by Leonard Barden on Fri Jun 15, 2012 5:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Simon Ansell
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Simon Ansell » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:23 pm

Leonard,

If you search Google for "Evening Standard chess" it's the top result, of course.

The Standard's own search engine (search box top left of http://www.standard.co.uk), which I used doesn't show your columns on at least the first two pages of results for a search for "chess" - the results are filled with numerous listings for "Colliers Wood Chess Club". There's also no obvious way to find your columns via the navigation menus on standard.co.uk.

If I couldn't easily find your columns as a web developer (I should know just to use google!) and as someone who knew exactly what I was looking for, then I doubt it gets many casual views. That's really my point - maybe speak to the Standard about this, too.

As far as the Blackthorne team goes, we are entirely a team of amateurs and have minimal sponsorship, so it's highly unlikely we'll be able to challenge next year, unfortunately. That won't stop us trying though!

Leonard Barden
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Leonard Barden » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:43 pm

Simon, as I already wrote above, I'll bring your valuable points and indeed this entire thread to the attention of Evening Standard management on Monday.

As regards Blackthorne Russia, I still think it would do no harm at all and possibly considerable good if you or someone relevant from the team contacted them, guided them to the favourable press mentions, and asked for extra funds to enable the team to become more serious 4NCL challengers.

Simon Ansell
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Simon Ansell » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:58 pm

I know for a fact that top management at Blackthorne Transport are aware of most of the press coverage and are grateful for the mentions - I do some work for them occasionally.

The core of the squad (in it's former Betsson incarnation) has been together for a long time and in fact we almost won the league several years ago; Only Wood Green effectively 'cheating' (that's maybe a bit harsh) by artificially strengthening their second team sufficiently to beat us, stopped us. We also finished 24th (forget exact figure) in the European Club Champs with essentially the same squad. We had a terrible year last year - most of us were off-form and we were missing our top board Adam Hunt for most of this season.

I'm not sure bussing in a load of Russian GMs immediately is necessarily the answer, though. You'd rather see that and consequently most of the top English amateurs such as myself and Richard having to find other teams that we don't know or get on with as well as we do our current team-mates? Nor would it necessarily be enough to win the title.

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Christopher Kreuzer
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Christopher Kreuzer » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:16 pm

Two points:

(1) The last few positions on that static page don't have solutions (numbers 9628 to 9632). It seems the page was truncated at the wrong point, omitting the solutions to the last set of positions (oh, and the position that started the discussion in this thread was position number 9664, if anyone is looking for that and failing to find it).

(2) If I was talking to an Abromovich-style benefactor who was interested in 'buying' the 4NCL title, how much do you think he (or she) would have to spend to be successful (by 'buying' I mean, of course, sponsoring a team to the tune of bussing in GMs and a few WGMs as well)? I'm talking the minimal amount here, as this Abromovich doesn't have bottomless pockets...

Jonathan Rogers
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Re: Oh, really!

Post by Jonathan Rogers » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:30 pm

Leonard Barden wrote:

Jonathan may recall how some years ago he asked me to publicise the Barbican 4NCL team in my Financial Times column, which I did several times again using words which some would have reckoned subjectively optimistic but which were designed to encourage interest in his team from City firms.
Point taken - this thread was started as innocent mischief-making. You have a good* memory Leonard, you must be going back to 1999 or so when I was hoping to attract real corporate sponsorship (and thanks for trying to help). We have long since abandoned that now and later rejected the money from betsson.com which was first offered to us in 2002, reckoning that it would cause more trouble than it was worth. It is now an article of faith that we are a purely amateur Club.

* This may be an understatement

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