Blazing the Trail


While the global pandemic has poleaxed normal chess activity, it has proved an unexpected boon for chess education. A new website has been set up, offering chess books, written and recommended by chess teacher Michael Basman, and also providing specialised training and long distance tournaments. Unlike the current internet platforms, players are encouraged to play slower games with longer time limits or no clocks at all. This allows them to think more carefully about their moves and contrasts with the Blitz and Rapid-play events offered predominantly by internet websites. Fast play may be acceptable for grandmasters who already have the skills embedded, but they are lethal for beginners, juniors and improving players.

Small, long distance or Telex Tournaments are organised on the new website with players of similar strengths matched together. The events are pre-paired and encounters can be arranged by players at times suitable to themselves. Players are expected and encouraged to record their games and use real chess sets to make their moves on, rather than computer screens. Of course, computers can be used to verify recording and, furthermore, any communication medium is acceptable: telephone, mobile, skype, zoon, email, etc. There are trophies and medals for successful players. We will celebrate winners on the website and keep a running total of tournaments in progress so players can check up on the results of their rivals.

After the games are completed, they can be carefully analysed by parents, friends, coaches or the players themselves to ensure progress.

You can apply to take part in these events through the website: there is currently no entry fee.

The chess lessons are offered at a competitive price, to show solidarity with current victims of the lock-down, (virtually the whole world), who may well be suffering from straitened finances.

By taking part in these tournaments, purchasing the books on sale (Mike Basman’s chess books are generally reckoned by aficionados as the most effective and finest books in the world), and taking advantage of the chess lessons, improvement in our wonderful game is bound to follow!

Mike Basman, July 2020