Saturday, 28 December 2013

A Mockery Of All That's Holy

Good evening and welcome to our first ever book review. This column will be taking a look at Jerry Humphreys' Secrets of Pawnless Openings, which our foreign correspondent picked up at an impromptu book signing at a local Aldi. Enticed by the author's winning smile she gladly parted with 25.99.

Reviews on the rear cover were not encouraging:

"A senseless waste of human life"
Jerry Humphreys

"Clearly the work of a lunatic"
Charles Manson

"I wish he'd died of bird flu"
Joseph Stewart (deceased)

"I've read packets of cereal that were more enlightening than Humphreys' farce"
Alabaster Turnpike

"In this book, I was particularly disappointed when Dumbledore was killed by Snape"
Clarence McMacIntosh

One should never judge a book by its cover.

Humphreys opens with extensive analysis of what he (wrongly) terms the Lucena position.

Humphreys' hapless attempts at evaluation conclude with his advice 'You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. Unclear.'

Secrets of Pawnless Openings is not without inaccuracy. Humphreys provides 90 pages of dense variations on the below position, curiously omitting the possibility of 1 Rxh8#.

Our favourite section of the book is the latter half, which consists entirely of a collection of bewildering essays on the disestablishment of Apartheid as a metaphor for squandering a winning position. This was marginally less upsetting than his turgid analysis and, frankly, provided some light relief.

Regrettably, Humphreys has announced he is currently working on his magnum opus, Secrets of Pawnless Middlegames. One cannot understate the torment that awaits the reader.

In review, we decided to put Secrets of Pawnless Openings in the bin.

Monday, 25 November 2013

BREAKING: British chess player not on brink of death

Anthropologists in Glasgow have moulded a young, articulate and good looking chess player. After twelve months of social integration, including toilet training and basic dietary nous, they decided to show him off on BBC News. The results were incredible.

Wonky tie

Joseff Thomas, estranged brother of 400m runner Iwan, was raised by feral draughts players in Monmouthshire before escaping on horseback to the Gorbals at age 22. It was here that he learned chess, in a public convenience near West Street subway station. A few months later a disagreement over an incorrect scoresheet led Joseff to be banished from the clan, whereupon he was discovered by Garth Sanchez-Reed of Strathclyde University.

Dr. Sanchez-Reed exclusively told RTK, "It's the biggest breakthrough of my career. I only wish it were possible to tutor every other British chess player in the ways of righteousness."

The reaction in the chess world was one of horror and shock. Dafydd Cygnet of Machynlleth posted on the ECF Forum, "He didn't look jaundiced at all. I don't like it." And Henrietta Rh'barb tweeted, "His jumper had been ironed. Balls to anthropology and human advancement."

Mr. Thomas will now be going on tour as a motivational speaker, supporting Kriss Akabusi on his whirlwind circuit of English market towns. He starts in Holbeach on 3 December.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Everyone Else Advised To Give Up

In a remarkable display of triumphal elitism, even for Chessbase, Frederic Friedel has declared that the British Championship will end this evening after 9 rounds of play instead of the allotted 11. He has also apparently eradicated the rules governing play-offs for the title.

Stupendous research

So, well done David Howell. The 2013 British Champion. Must be nice to be you.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Everything Is All Right

We now interrupt our normal schedule with a special broadcast.

The furore surrounding the eligibility, or otherwise, of Mr. Scholes is obviously a non-issue. Rules are rules and of course the result of Kent - Middlesex should be overturned because, hey, why have common sense when you can have bureaucracy? 

And rightly so

We hope that Middlesex will contest the final against Surrey and that the main drama of the day will be the nervous checking of the membership list. Because, as every urchin knows, what happens on the board is merely a sideshow.

Release the Kraken would like it to be known that it thinks all ECF officials are wonderful people and that the decisions they make are entirely wise and just. In addition, any dissenters should, at best, consider ending themselves. Hail Allah.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Cash Register

The 4NCL appears to have turned into Premier League transfer deadline day. Naturally, Wood Green are among the main protagonists. However, what isn't as widely known is the other teams' plans. Luckily, RTK can exclusively reveal that there have been a number of other big name signings leading into the May Bank Holiday weekend. 

Bristol are set to take Division 2 by storm in an attempt to gain an unlikely promotion. Garry Kasparov, Anatoly Karpov, Bobby Fischer and José Raúl Capablanca are set to spearhead the charge. A spokesman for the West Country outfit was overheard to say "If Max Euwe objects to playing for Bristol 2, he can shove it." 

"Hinckley Island's got a beach, right?"

As to why Wood Green haven't registered world number one Magnus Carlsen, it is rumoured that he will be playing board 2 for Guildford behind Deep Blue. And Sambuca Sharks have signed Rory McIlroy on the off chance that Caroline Wozniacki will turn up.

Fun for all the family!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

An Open Letter to Steve Giddins

The following is not a response to the article Make War, Not Peace that Mr. Giddins published on his blog on Friday February 22. While I have no idea why Mr. Giddins felt compelled to respond in such a derogatory manner, he said nothing of particular note. In fact, to a certain extent, I found it amusing that he'd even bothered. I wish him the best of luck getting a free lunch off Mr. Paulson.

Instead, this post concerns the text in this image. It hasn't responded well to being blown up so I will provide a transcription.

'There is an interesting PS to this. I was contacted yesterday evening by someone who met Makepeace at a 4NCL weekend. He describes him as "a detestable, arrogant fucker", who was "vulgar, loud, sexist and alcohol-fuelled". Of course, one should be careful of judging someone on the basis of an "impromptu meeting"...'

That appeared on Mr. Giddins' Facebook wall at around 10am on the same Friday. Mr. Giddins' Facebook wall is public, which is how I was able to view it. So, in effect, he placed these defamatory comments about me in the public domain.

I contacted Mr. Giddins that evening, asking him to name his source. He refused but nevertheless removed the comments from his Facebook wall. That was one positive step but, in the same message, he declared his allegiance with the comments as written. The next Tuesday, I repeated my request for him to name his source, giving him the option to instead publish an apology on his blog. He again refused.

So, here we are. 

Mr. Giddins,

It didn't have to come to this. I have repeatedly requested that you qualify the comments you published on your Facebook wall on Friday February 22. Or, alternatively, simply apologise for publishing them in the first place.

We have never met. I therefore find it puzzling that you would not entertain the prospect of your source having provided inaccurate information. I understand why you refuse to name your source, unless of course they don't exist, in which case you've just been shooting for adjectives in a barrel of your own lies.

I am not parading myself as a paragon of virtue. Just so we're clear, I am particularly unhappy about the terms sexist and alcohol-fuelled, considering I am a feminist campaigner who barely drinks.

Now, of course, this is not the first time our paths have crossed like this. In 2011, Release The Kraken published two fairly scathing articles about what I perceived to be a lack of journalistic integrity on your part. I regret some of what I said, particularly suggesting you might have had a nervous breakdown. I now realise that it was insensitive to say that about someone without a brain.

I once again call on you to do the following things:

1. Name your source.
2. Publish a retraction and apology.

If you think that this is over, then you're wrong.

Phil Makepeace

London W12

Friday, 6 July 2012

Crime is Confusing

There's been an addition to the ranks of ECF officials. With the recent furore, we'll forgive you for having missed it. This particular official's unlikely to waste money though, primarily because his budget will be paltry, if he gets one at all.

From his rotting cell at HMP Pentonville, Charlie Fry will be coordinating all things chess for jailbirds everywhere, having been put away in May for crimes against hair. 


Initially it was rumoured that he'd killed Vidal Sassoon, but it was recently revealed that he bludgeoned a particularly hirsute Ipswich Town supporter to death with a side of beef. To be fair, there aren't many of those in Camden. Ipswich supporters, that is; Camden is crawling with butchers.

So if you're planning to go inside any time soon, your favourite game is in good hands. Skilled, murderous hands.

Friday, 2 March 2012


Last weekend's BUCA championship was subject to heavy disruption following an outbreak of cholera in High Wycombe. Every player took offence at the exasperated attempts of organiser Alex Holowczak to point them towards the toilet so, as a result, they turned the playing hall into a giant carpeted nappy. A hastily made banner which read "John Snow died in 1858. Get over it." did little to help.


Despite everyone being a student, it seems that the conditions were a shock to many; only universities situated in cesspits graced the top half of the final standings. It's no surprise that the London institutions could only manage 13th or worse.


Our man in the Chilterns, Wendell Thomas, said that the playing environment resembled "Ypres with more French Defence". One unnamed source went further, describing the scene as "like an abattoir in a powercut". 

Matters became so desperate that Edinburgh were presented with the trophy before Round 5, lest one or more of them succumbed to their symptoms during the final game. I'm happy to report that they have all made a full recovery, albeit with an improved opinion of English chess conditions.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Life Outside The Diamond

It's come to our attention that the Armenian government have gone big. Not content with their 4th place finish at the European Team Championships in Greece last month and that off the back of winning the Worlds in July, they are trying to set the bar even higher.

Promoting junior chess is a topic close to our hearts here at RTK so we've decided to weigh in with some thought nuggets. Firstly, the successful 'A Copy of the 400th Anniversary King James Bible Complete with Gove Introduction for Schools' movement should provide our framework. By making a case for the impact of chess on the culture of Britain as a “thing of beauty” we can push for it to become policy. I suspect this approach would have aided the rival faction 'Why Not a Copy of On The Origin of Species Instead?' who showed how common sense tactics just don't cut the mustard.

As Mr Cain will attest it's never wise to mow in without a backup plan and projects like Chess In Schools and the Chess Rocks initiative are doing fantastic work. That's not to mention the many heros who give up their time and put in heaps of effort to help run independent junior clubs. Even though money may prove too great an obstacle to set about emulating the Armenians, we hope grass roots chess wont be disappearing any time soon.

Just in case the situation changes, I've taken the liberty of coming up with a few chants for the picket lines:

What do we want?

Chess lessons in schools across the country

When do we want them?

Once all of the necessary paperwork and red tape has been completed to a satisfactory level

Give me a “C”, Give me an “Hess for schools”, What do you get? “A Generation of children better prepared for jobs in the tertiary sector!”

Who's with us?

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Release The Kraken by Philip Makepeace and Christopher Russell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.