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Questions and (hopefully) Answers ...

Although most people interested in chess might themselves fully understand the "who ?, what ?,why ?" of the many various occurrences that might happen throughout the game, there may well be many others who are totally mystified by the same circumstances due to never having had them fully explained.


Therefore this page is for our youngsters at 3Cs - that's both young in spirit as well as young in age - to ask any chess-related questions so they can further understand the game both on and off the board.


Please put your question to any of the 3Cs' officials when at the club and one of our experts (???!!!) will attempt to give an answer on here, thus allowing everyone else to be similarly informed.

Some 3Cs' players have been playing in the British Championships.  How do you enter it ?


The British Championships take place towards the end of July each year at various locations around the country and include events to accomodate players of all levels from the main tournament involving many Grandmasters to junior competitions starting at under-8s. Entrants for the actual British Championship must either be of a certain standard or to have won one of the qualifying events that take place during the season.


The other competitions, including the junior events, are open to anyone wishing to enter and while some can last the full week, others are completed in just one day.


Details can be found on the "British Championship" link shown on the "Chess Links" page of this website.

Website sponsored by ...

Miners Arts and Music Community Centre, Moston, Manchester.

Details via "Sponsors" section of drop-down box on "Welcome" page

What are the shortest and longest possible games in chess ?


The shortest possible game - known as "Fool's Mate" - is just 4 moves (ie 2 moves each) and results in a win for Black as follows ...

1 .. f3,  e6

2 .. g4, Q-h4 checkmate


There is no actual limit for the longest possible game as players could just continue moving pieces without reaching a conclusive win for either side.


However, in tournament play there is a rule in which a draw can be claimed if either no pieces have been taken for 50 moves or the same position has been reached on a third occasion - hence that usually brings the game to an end. If applying such rules then it has been calculated that the longest possible game would be of 5,898 moves.


The longest recorded game in a tournament was of one of 269 moves.

Chess pieces are named after certain people - King, Queen, Bishop, Knight - so what is a Rook ?


When the game of chess began in India about 1500 years ago one of the pieces was supposed to represent a soldier's chariot (which could move at speed - hence the piece being able to go from one side of the board to the other very quickly). This chariot was known as a "Ratha".


However, when the game spead to Europe, Ratha was mistaken for the Italian word "Rocca" which means "Tower" and therefore the tower of a castle replaced the chariot as a piece on the chess board.  Rocca then became "Rook" in English.


Further to the above, the term "Pawn" evolved from "paon" which was a Medieval Latin term meaning "foot soldier".

Who has been the youngest ever Grandmaster ?


We have had to renew our answer (as of 1 July 2021) as 12 year old Abhimanyu Mistry of the USA has replaced Sergey Karjakin of Russia for that  honour. Sergey had qualified for the title in 2002 aged 12 years, 7 months (Abhimanyu is 66 days younger) while in 2004 the current World Champion Magnus Carlsen of Norway now being the third youngest ever at 13 years, 3 months.


3Cs' own Grandmaster Stephen Gordon (featured on the front page of this website) achieved the honour in 2009 when aged 22 years, 11 months.

Some chess organisations are known more commonly by their initials, so here are the actual names of a few of them ...


FIDE     -   Fédération Internationale des Échecs

                  (ie  - "World Chess Federation")        

ECF       -    English Chess Federation

MCF      -   Manchester Chess Federation

4NCL    -   4 Nations Chess League

CSC       -   Chess in Schools and Communities

EPSCA  -   English Primary Schools' Chess Association

I often hear about 4NCL - what is it ?


"4NCL" stands for "4 Nations Chess League" (ie: England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales) and is a national competition for teams throughout Britain and in which the very best players in the country take part including many Grandmasters.


3Cs have often entered teams in the 4NCL, during which their performances have twice seen them qualify to play in the chess European Club Cup against the best teams on the continent


Even more remarkable is that whilst 3Cs' are mainly comprised of players who have come through the club's junior set-up, they often face "manufactured" opposition who have enticed some of the country's top players to represent them yet still use the name of the local chess club.

How do I get a rating ?


A rating is an indication of a player's current playing strength and is reviewed every month once a player has started competing in either individual events or in league matches for their club.


A player will receive points after each game  and with the amount dependent upon their opponent's rating at that time. 


However,  ratings are really of no significance when you are playing a game. It is often far better not to know your opponent's rating until afterwards so it won't either make you over-confident (if their rating is low) or put fear into you (if high).  Just play the board - not the player !

I saw a story in a newspaper which mentioned International Chess Day ... what is that ? 


International Chess Day is a celebration of the game which takes place every year on 20 July - the date on which FIDE, the governing body of world chess, was formed in 1924 - and is now recognised as such by the United Nations.


More details via this link ...

I play in league games but what is a "chess congress" and how do you get to play in one ?


A chess congress is a tournament for individual players (ie: not as a team) which usually takes place over a weekend with generally one game on a Friday evening, two games on Saturday and two on Sunday although a one round bye is often allowed for those who are unable to play all five.  The events usually have different sections for players of varying ability from Grandmasters to novices - therefore you would generally play others of a similar standard to yourself.


To play in a congress - of which many take place all over the country - you just send in an entry form for the competition along with the appropriate fee.  Prizemoney is awarded to the winners of the event although grading prizes are also usually provided to other players of various levels who have performed well throughout the weekend.


Details of local congresses can be found on the "Future Events" page of this website.

Int Chess Day 20 July

Is the 3Cs' club just for junior players from the Oldham area ?




Although 3Cs originally began as a means to provide chess opportunities for school children in Oldham - and which is stil the main ethos of the club - it is always willing to welcome anyone irrespective of age or location.


Yes, club nights are mainly focussed on improving the chess ability of our young players but we are always delighted to see any attendance from those with more experience ... either in ability or in age !


All we ask is that any adults themselves become in some way involved in assiting the younger players while we simply expect anyone taking advantage of the club's facilities, irrespective of how far away they are based, to represent 3Cs when playing in any competitions.


As our younger players mature there are opportunites for them to maintain their interest, not only in chess but in the 3Cs' club itself, by virtue of our teams playing in the Manchester League and the national 4NCL competition

From "The Management" !!!


Some people have asked what the new 3Cs' logo represents - so here goes ...


The chess piece shown at the rear is an obvious inclusion - and the King, of course, is the most important !


The owl is the symbol for the town of Oldham while the letter C surrounds it in three various ways.


So there it is ... 3Cs chess club, Oldham


The simple ideas are often the best ..... as in chess 

Rebecca recently won a "Norm" - what is that ?


A "Norm" (or a "Half Norm") is an award given to a player who achieves a certain score in national competitions and where the opponents are generally of a high standard for the level at which the event is being organised. Achieving a required number of Norms at adult level could result in the player gaining a title (ie International Master or Grandmaster), whilst junior level Norms could see the player being chosen to represent their country in International tournaments.


Rebecca was taking part in the under-11s' event at the British Rapidplay Championships and scored 3/5 thus gaining  her a junior Half Norm, which means she now needs another junior Half Norm in order to have a chance of possible future honours.

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