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AFP Chess Tournament

In fact, no gods anywhere play chess. They prefer simple, vicious games, where you Do Not Achieve Transcendence but Go Straight to Oblivion; a key to the understanding of all religion is that a god's idea of amusement is Snakes and Ladders with greased rungs.

-- (Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters)

My current match - The Players - Current matches - The Rules - Misc stuff, announcements etc

Extra! Read all about it!

Or, in other words, Stuff That I couldn't Put Somewhere Else. Both from myself as other players.

  • One player waiting for an opponent - submit! It's fun!

  • Software Review: Chess onna Palm, by Sanity

  • Software review: Windows/linux, by elfin

    	hah! - quick review.
    	WinBoard (freeware)
    	suitable for windows and linux.
    	Also comes with gnu chess. Can save games. Suitable for playing over IRC
    	via suitable servers. Can save moves/games to a file for later playback.
    	easy to set up and use.
  • Some links about correspondence chess, for those who are getting very enthousiastic.

In the beginning...

For background info, see also: Message-ID <ao6rp8.3uugbbd.1@news.klijmij.net>

I used to play chess in a local club. I was then not a bad player at all, one of the local top players in fact. Then I was 12, I went to another school, puberty crept in and chess wasn't "cool" anymore. Well, that and the fact that my opponents were suddenly a lot better so I wasn't a top player anymore ;-).

So I didn't play chess for a few years. Then, getting older and wiser, I played the occasional match at school, usually noisy and very recreational matches. But not a lot. Then, after school, I travelled Australia and ended up in Melbourne for a while. Every sunday, somewhere in the city centre, there were tables where everyone who wanted could play chess, and one of those big boards in the pavement. I met someone of the same level as me and we played a few times, both there and later in the hostel where we were staying as well. That sort of got my interest in chess back. So now, I have proposed on a.f.p. to play chess-by-email. The response was high enough to start a little tournament, so here we are, the AFP Chess Tournament pages.

If you want to join, you can. Just send me an e-mail and I'll send you some details. There's a mailinglist and a newsgroup for discussions around the tournament for the players, and probably some websites will arise. This page is the central place, where I'll keep the information about the progress up-to-date. Currently, the group is divided into 2 leagues, the Pants League (thanks to Stainless Steel Cat) and those who Know how the little horse-shaped ones move. Everybody appears either a novice or an intermediate player, taking this opportunity to play again.

There are currently 3 official chess services running:
The AFPChess Tournament mailinglist. All players are subscribed, because this list is used for important announces and discussing the tournament itself.
The newsgroup alt.fan.pratchett.chess (only available through news.affordable-hedgehogs.co.uk with appropriate username/password)
The AFPChess Tournament Archive, for storing moves and mailinglist digests. All players can retrieve the messages in it.

Every player receives instructions for using the above features. If you haven't received them or have forgotten them, mail me and I'll send them to you.

Apart from the personal websites (see below), there's the unofficial-yet-why-not-use-it AFPChess web forum, maintained by Daubers.

The Players

On nights such as these the gods, as has already been pointed out, play games other than chess with the fates of mortals and the thrones of kings. It is important to remember that they always cheat, right up to the end...

-- (Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters)

The players, in their starting leagues, with scores and links to their personal websites about their match.

Pants League

Henry McGuinness


Phill Richards




Martin o'Reilly


James Keasley


Harsh Sukthankar


Gary Nicholass


The Stainless Steel Cat




Harry Giles


Francesco Santini



Horse League





Andrew Spray


Richard Bos


Dawn Finch




Marco Villalta


Craig Edwards


Players with an A/L-Files entry:
Marco Villalta
Sanity and Sanity
Harsh Sukthankar

The A-Files is a collection of people who have in common that they submitted themselves for the gallery. They all have some relation to alt.fan.pratchett

The L-Files is a gallery of regulars on the LSpace IRC network.


A game has commenced when you've received an e-mail with both players' e-mail addresses and the message that the game has begun. From that point, White has 4 days to make a move.

All games can also be followed through Martin's page

White Black
Henry McGuinness (Pants League)vs. Elfin (Horse League)Progress (started 24-11-2003)
Phill Richards (Pants League)vs. Sanity (Horse League)Progress (started 12-09-2003)
Andrew Spray (Horse League)vs. Marco Villalta (Horse League)Progress (started 24-11-2003)
Richard Bos (Horse League)vs. Gary Nicholass (Pants League)Progress (started 17-1-2003)
Nyra (Pants League)vs. Ssirienna (Pants League)Progress (started 12-10-2003)
Harsh Sukthankar (Pants League)vs. Martin o'Reilly (Pants League)Progress (started 11-02-2003)
Dawn Finch (Horse League)vs. PeterH (Horse League)Progress (started 22-07-2003)
The Stainless Steel Cat (Pants League)vs. Craig Edwards (Horse League)Progress (started 17-01-2003)
Harry Giles (Pants League)vs. Daubers (Pants League)Progress (started 19-10-2002)
Francesco Santini (Pants League)vs. James Keasley (Pants League)Progress (started 12-10-2003)

No opponent:

Match progress will be updated as often as possible, probably on a weekly basis. Personal websites are linked from the Players section, where more accurate progress might be available.

This round's awards:
Kegs & Elfin win the Quicky Award for being the first to mate
Henry & Francesco win the Bloody Award for the earliest RIP: at the second move, the pawns were already flying of the board
I am pondering the Strategy Changing Award to Marco because he keeps bloody doing the wrong moves...

More awards when I can be bothered.

Finished matches, round 1

Kegs vs. Elfin Black wins, Full report
Phill Richards vs. Laurabelle White wins, Full report
Peter Znamenski vs. Harsh Sukthankar Black wins, Full report
nyra vs. Martin O'Reilly White wins, Full Report
Stainless Steel Cat vs. Gary Nicholass Black wins, Full Report
Craig Edwards vs. Richard Bos Black wins, Full Report
Henry McGuinness vs. Francesco Santini White wins, Full report
Marco Villalta vs. Sanity Black wins, Full report

Finished matches, round 2 and beyond

Laurabelle vs. Kegs White wins, Full Report
Phil Richards vs. Elfin Black wins, Full report
Martin o'Reilly vs. Kegs White wins, Full Report
James Keasley vs. Ssirienna White wins, Full report
Richard Bos vs. Dawn Finch Black wins, Final report
Sanity vs. Elfin White wins, Final report
Andrew Spray vs. Phill Richards Draw, Final report
Elfin vs. Andrew Spray Black wins, Final report
Marco Villalta vs. Henry McGuinness Black wins, Final report

Martin's archives

Bishops move diagonally. That's why they often turn up where the kings don't expect them to be.

-- (Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)

Click for ChessCam

My current match

In my next match, I'm facing Invincable Elfin:

Sanity vs Elfin		Final result
Start date: 12-04-2003

 1. e2-e4    e7-e5
 2. f2-f4    d7-d6
 3. f4-f5?   Qd8-h4+
 4. Ke1-e2   Qh4xe4+
 5. Ke2-f2   Bc8xf5
 6. Bf1-d3   Qe4-d4+
 7. Kf2-e1   Bf5-g4
 8. Bd3-e2   Qd4-e4
 9. Ng1-f3   Bg4xf3
10. g2xf3    Qe4-h4+
11. Ke1-f1   Qh4-h3+
12. Kf1-g1   d6-d5
13. Bd2-f1   Qh3-h4
14. c2-c3    Nb8-c6
15. b2-b4    Ng8-h6
16. Bf1-b5   Bf8-e7
17. Qd1-e2   0-0-0
18. Bb5xc6   b7xc6
19. Qe2xe5   Rd8-e8
20. Qe5-g3   Qh4-c4
21. Nb1-a3   Qc4-d3
22. Qg3-h3+  f7-f5
23. Qh3-f1   Qd3xf1+
24. Kg1xf1   Be7-h4
25. Na3-c2   f5-f4
26. d2-d4    Rh8-f8
27. a2-a4    g7-g5
28. Rh1-g1   Nh6-f5
29. Bc1-d2   Nf5-e3+
30. Bd2xe3   f4xe3
31. Kf1-e2   h7-h6
32. b4-b5    c6xb5
33. a4xb5    Kc8-b7
34. Nc2-b4   Rf8-f5
35. Nb4-c6   Bh4-f2
36. Rg1-g2   Re8-f8
37. Ra1xa7+  Kb7-b6
38. Ra7-a6+  Kb6xb5
39. Nc6-b4   c7-c5
40. d4xc5    Kb5xc5
41. Ra6xh6   Rf5xf3
42. Rg2xg5 � Rf3-f5
43. Rh6-h5   Rf5xg5
44. Rh5xg5   Kc5-c4
45. Nb4xd5   Rf8-h8
46. Nd5-b6+  Kc4xc3
47. Rg5-g2   Rh8-g8?
48. Rg2xg8   black gives up.

After making a stupid error in move 3 already (3. f5??) Elfin was able to get a decent position. It took me until move 23 (the Queen exchange, forced by me) before the real danger was taken away. After that, I was able to rebuild my forces, get into position again and attack over the left wing. This means that the end play has started around move 33/34, and all the excitement that comes with it.

My first match was against Marco, with me plaing black. Which meant I could sit back and respond to Marco's strategies, which is a situation he didn't prefer ;-).

Marco Villalta	vs. 	Sanity	Final result 

01.  d2-d4     d7-d5
02.  e2-e3     Bc8-f5
03.  Bf1-d3    Bf5xd3    First Blood!
04.  Qd1xd3    Nb8-c6
05.  Ng1-f3    Qd8-d6
06.  Nb1-a3    a7-a6
07.  Bc1-d2    e7-e5     Dramatic Scene!
08.  e3-e4     Nc6xd4
09.  c2-c4     Nd4xf3+   More Blood!
10.  Qd3xf3    d5xe4
11.  Qf3-e3?   Qd6-d4
12.  Qe3-c3    Bf8-c5    More drama! And ass-covering [1]
13.  0-0-0     0-0-0
14.  Qc3-a5    Bc5xa3
15.  Qa5xa3    Ng8-f6
16.  Qa3-c3    Nf6-g4
17.  Bd2-e3    Qd4xc3+
18.  b2xc3     f7-f5
19.  Rd1-d2    f5-f4
20.  Be3-a7    Rd8xd2
21.  Kc1xd2    b7-b6
22.  c4-c5     Kc8-b7
23.  c5xb6     c7xb6
24.  Ba7xb6    Kb7xb6
25.  Rh1-b1+   Kb6-c5
26.  Rb1-b7    Ng4xf2
27.  Rb7xg7    e4-e3+
28.  Kd2-e2    Rh8-d8
29.  Rg7-c7+   Kc5-b6
30.  Rc7xh7    Rd8-d2+
31.  Ke2-f3    e5-e4+
32.  Kf3xe4    e3-e2
33.  g2-g4     e2-e1=Q

White gives up after a gentle prod.

[1] That one's fully due to Marco, and I take
    no responsibility whatsoever [Sanity]

After some taunting, kicking under the table and discussion about the latest in hair fashion as well as lovely old ladies, the game is suddenly going quite violent. Either that or both players are playing silly buggers. Strategies are forced to change every move, but at least, it's getting interesting.

Until move 7, only a minor schism between 2 bishops resulted in some Action Gameplay. Then, there was a Johnny Woo-like situation in the centre of the board, where all pawns are giving eachother some hard stares and things are suddenly going in slow motion. And a white dove suddenly appeared.

All tactics have now been thrown overboard. It's going wacky. The cloak-and-dagger knight had advanced fast and furious, resulting in the first check of the match. But the Queen knocked him over, causing him to fall on his own dagger and die. Which he did, singing, for half an hour or so. Pawns are getting restless, as they know that their lives will be sacrificed for the Greater Benefit Of All. Like the poor sod at e4, who is now an ex-pawn (20p!)

And because we like it, yet another scene where the threatening pieces give eachother some hard stares, without taking action...The hard stares scared Marco's queen away, so there's now a few devious attacks starting.

In an exciting end of the match, after an exchange of queens, Sanity takes a further lead while Marco gets in trouble. He's allowed to kill off a few pawns, but the situation gets desparate when the open-line advantage is played out well by Sanity.

The Rules


-- Death on symbolic last games
(Terry Pratchett, Small Gods)

The AFPChess tournament Organizer is Sanity. Me, in other words.

  1. Moves are to be sent within 4 days (4x24 hours) after the opponent's move has been sent. There is no minimum time. A sent move cannot be changed. In case of the match start, the moment that the match is announced to the players is the moment from which the White player has 4 days to make a move.

  2. When a move is not sent in time, the offending player will be Warned. The second time the player doesn't send the move in time, (s)he has officially lost the match.

    In the case of holidays or other events that prevent sending a move in time, the opponent is to be warned as soon as possible, as well as the organizer in case future matches are involved.

  3. Scoring: win: 2 points, draw: 1 point, loss: 0 points.

  4. Notation: (using (R)ook, k(N)ight, (B)ishop, (K)ing, (Q)ueen, pawn.) [first letter piece] [starting position A-H 1-8]-[new position A-H 1-8] - Long Algebraic
    Example: RA1-A2 would move the Rook (from white's POV) from the bottom left square one up.
    Pawns don't have a first letter notation-wise
    If there's no possibility for any confusion, the player can, at his/her own risk, omit the piece letter. But be reminded that the long notation leaves nothing to guess.

    For those unfamiliar with chess move notations: rows are 1-8 and columns are A-H. A1 is the bottom left cell and is black (the Queen starts on her own colour). See also: http://misc.traveller.com/chess/beginner/notation/notation.html and of course google.

  5. The person first mentioned in the match description plays White. (White vs. Black) This also goes for people with exotic chess sets that don't use white and black ;-) White is the first to move and starting on rows 1 & 2.

  6. (unless players decide differently at the *start* of the match) If a player has sent a move that is either illegal or impossible, the move has to be substituted with a new move. This new move has to be made with the piece that was moved illegaly or impossibly, unless no legal move can be made with that piece. In that case any other piece can be used to make any other, legal, move.
    This is a variation on the "touching is moving" rule.

  7. At the match end, both players are to announce the match ending to the organizer, for updating the scoresheet. Also, a full match report (ie all the moves) is to be made available to all players (on a website, posting to afp.chess or mailing to the organizer).

  8. Standard FIDE chess rules apply where appropriate and where they do not contradict the AFPChess Tournament Rules.

  9. It's going to be *fun*.

This basic set of rules should enable enjoyable gameplay. In case of dispute, the tournament mailing list and/or the newsgroup can be used.

Move's can be cc'd to the mailinglist archive (chess-archive at a-h) so they are archived and can be retrieved by other players (including myself, for match-progress).