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  • Writer's pictureJames Neal

Bringing London to the Pasco Chess Club

This morning, I awoke with exceptional mental clarity and an overwhelming urge to engage with a local chess club. As today foreshadows the beginning of my final week of preparation, my eyes are set on the upcoming Labor Day weekend. I plan to venture to Portland, Oregon, to compete in their most prestigious chess tournament. If I arrive in peak condition, the likelihood of me sweeping the competition is very high.

Tactics take top priority in my daily routine, especially as I gear up for the upcoming event. Here's a puzzle I recently tackled with black to move. I'm sure you're impressed with this compact chess set—I picked it up at the mall just last week. Its size is perfect for my travel bag, allowing me the convenience of quickly setting it up right on my laptop keyboard for study sessions. Quite the efficient setup, right?

After some training with one of my students, I'm heading to the local chess club, not in search of a challenge, but rather to inspire. Given my level of experience, I don't anticipate opposition from the local talent; I hope this is not the case indefinitely. Chess clubs serve as motivators for emerging masters, and I aim to fuel their ambition with my passion and power.

Towards the end of my visit, I played a simul against two of the club's best players, while also utilizing my London System to gauge their abilities. Both players seemed to perform around 1000 in ability and played decent with aside from the expected tactical oversights. The final game took an interesting turn when the librarian announced a 5-minute warning before closing. At that point, I was up a pawn in an endgame, facing my opponent’s bishop and rook against my knight and rook. The final position gave him good drawing opportunities but we had to adjourn the game for the sake of time.

In time these kids will get strong or maybe they will be the catalyst for other kids to flex their intellectual muscles. Only time will tell…


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