Happy Birthday IM Lorin D’Costa (05-ix-1984)

IM Lorin D'Costa. London Chess Classic 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Lorin D’Costa. London Chess Classic 2014, courtesy of John Upham Photography

Birthday of IM Lorin D’Costa (05-ix-1984)

Lorin Alexander P D’Costa was born on Wednesday, September 5th 1984. “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner was number one in the UK singles chart. His mother’s maiden name was Antheunis. He studied Dutch and Management at University College, London

According to Wikipedia : “Lorin is a masculine given name. The meaning of Lorin derives from a bay or laurel plant; of Laurentum (wreathed/crowned with laurel). Laurentum, in turn is from laurus (laurel), from the place of laurel trees, laurel branch, laurel wreath. Laurentum was also a city in ancient Italy.”

Lorin was born in Lambeth, London and became a FIDE Master in 2004 and an International Master in 2008.

His first ever BCF/ECF grading was 36D in July 1994 aged 10 but his grading very quickly improved :

BCF/ECF Grading Profile
BCF/ECF Grading Profile

His peak FIDE rating was 2485 in April 2009.

Lorin's FIDE Rating Profile
Lorin’s FIDE Rating Profile

Lorin has the unique distinction of gaining the title of “Strat” four times for winning the UK Chess Challenge Terafinal in 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2003. Only four other players have won the title more than once : Peter Poobalasingam, Félix José Ynojosa Aponte, Marcus Harvey and Koby Kalavannan.

Lorin plays for Hendon in the London League and 4NCL Barbican in the Four Nations Chess League.

IM Lorin D'Costa at the 2017 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament
IM Lorin D’Costa at the 2017 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament

Lorin was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 2008-09 season.

Lorin became a Director of Lorinchess Ltd in March 2020 and currently resides in Wembley, Middlesex.

With the white pieces Lorin prefers the Queen’s Gambit but does also play 1.e4, 1.c4 and 1.Nf3 so a fairly wide repertoire.

As the second player Lorin prefers the Sicilian Kan and the Nimzo-Indian Defence.

Here is a convincing win against Ian Nepomniachtchi from Budva, 2009 :

IM Lorin D'Costa at the 2013 King's Place Rapidplay, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Lorin D’Costa at the 2013 King’s Place Rapidplay, courtesy of John Upham Photography

In 2012 Lorin and Nick Murphy created Chess on Toast and published a series of introductory DVDs including :

Chess On Toast
Chess On Toast

Lorin has published several chess books including :

Who Dares Wins!, Everyman, 2010
Who Dares Wins!, Everyman, 2010
The Sicilian Scheveningen, Move by Move, Everyman, 2012
The Sicilian Scheveningen, Move by Move, Everyman, 2012
The Panov-Botvinnik Attack, Move by Move, Everyman, 2013
The Panov-Botvinnik Attack, Move by Move, Everyman, 2013
The Queen's Indian, Move by Move, Everyman, 2016
The Queen’s Indian, Move by Move, Everyman, 2016

and several Chessbase DVDs including :

The Giuoco Piano, Chessbase,  2013
The Giuoco Piano, Chessbase, 2013
Fritz Trainer : A Repertoire Against the Sicilian, 2015
Fritz Trainer : A Repertoire Against the Sicilian, 2015
IM Lorin D'Costa at GM Matthew Sadler at the 2017 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament, courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Lorin D’Costa at GM Matthew Sadler at the 2017 Michael Uriely Memorial Tournament, courtesy of John Upham Photography

In the Zone : The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History
In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

From the rear cover :

“A winning streak in chess, says Cyrus Lakdawala, is a lot more than just the sum of its games. In this book he examines what it means when everything clicks, when champions become unstoppable and demolish opponents. What does it mean to be “in the zone”? What causes these sweeps, what sparks them and what keeps them going? And why did they come to an end?

Lakdawala takes you on a trip through chess history looking at peak performances of some of the greatest players who ever lived: Morphy, Steinitz, Pillsbury, Lasker, Capablanca, Alekhine, Botvinnik, Fischer, Tal, Kasparov, Karpov, Caruana and Carlsen. They all had very different playing styles, yet at a certain point in their rich careers they all entered the zone and simply wiped out the best players in the world.

In the Zone explains the games of the greatest players during their greatest triumphs. As you study and enjoy these immortal performances you will improve your ability to overpower your opponents. You will understand how great moves originate and you will be inspired to become more productive and creative. In the Zone may bring you closer to that special place yourself: the zone.

“Cyrus Lakdawala is an International Master and a former American Open Champion. He has been teaching chess for four decades and is a prolific and widely read author. His Chess for Hawks won the Best Instructional Book Award of the Chess Journalists of America (CJA). Other much acclaimed books of his are How Ulf Beats Black, Clinch It! and Winning Ugly in Chess.”

IM Cyrus Lakdawala
IM Cyrus Lakdawala

Most of you will be aware of Cyrus Lakdawala’s style of writing. You’ll know that he polarises opinions: some love his books while others hate them. From what I’d read, I’d always thought his books weren’t for me: I’ve never bought one, although a friend gave me a copy of his recent book on the French Defence last year.

So I could write a very brief review. If you’re a Lakdawala fan, and there are many around, you’ll certainly want to read this book. If you’re not a fan you should stay well clear.

I guess you’re expecting me to say more, and there’s quite a lot to say.

This is an excellent and original idea for a book. We meet some of the greatest players from Morphy onwards and look at their peak performances. You get a broad view of chess history over the past 160 or so years, witness how chess knowledge has accumulated and how styles have changed over that time. You also get to see a lot of great chess, with some very (too?) familiar games being contextualised by their juxtaposition with less familiar games played by the same player in the same event. It might even inspire you to get ‘into the zone’ yourself in your next tournament, whenever that might be.

The chapters feature:

  1. Morphy 1st American Chess Congress 1857
  2. Steinitz match v Blackburne 1876
  3. Pillsbury Hastings 1895
  4. Lasker New York 1924
  5. Capablanca New York 1927
  6. Alekhine Bled 1931
  7. Botvinnik World Championship Tournament 1948
  8. Fischer 1963/4 US Championship
  9. Tal Riga 1979
  10. Kasparov Tilburg 1989
  11. Karpov Linares 1994
  12. Caruana Sinquefield Cup 2014
  13. Carlsen Grenke Chess Classic 2019

In total there are 120 games: some complete, some just the conclusion, almost always won by the heroes of each chapter, all annotated in Lakdawala’s trademark lively style. As a highly experienced author and teacher, he knows just how to get the balance right between words and variations, and has used a modern engine to check the analysis. You’ll find lots of Exercises (for you to solve), Principles (to help you improve) and Moments of Contemplation (to think about an interesting position).

This has always been one of the author’s favourite games, but you’ll have to buy the book to read the annotations.

Cyrus Lakdawala is clearly some sort of crazy (to use one of his favourite words) genius. I’m in awe of his productivity, his work ethic, his imagination, his general knowledge, his wide range of references. It’s well worth listening to this interview on Ben Johnson’s excellent Perpetual Chess Podcast in which he explains how and why his brain doesn’t work like anyone else’s.

But – and, for me, at any rate, it’s a very big but, he comes across as a writer who rushes to complete the book without double checking everything, and who lacks any awareness as to whether or not his light-hearted asides and fanciful analogies are helpful or appropriate. He’s also, by no means uniquely among chess authors, a lot stronger writing about contemporary players than about historical figures.

There are various mistakes which might not be important, but are unnecessary and, at least for this reader, annoying. Blackburne’s first names appear at various points as ‘Joseph Henry’, ‘Henry Joseph’ and ‘Henry’. In the heading of a game between Lasker and Marshall, Emanuel’s name becomes Edward, confusing because they both played at New York 1924. In Fischer’s Famous Game against Robert Byrne the heading is correct, but a few lines further down Robert turns into his brother Donald, who, again, was playing in the same event. These errors should really have been picked up by the editor or proofreader.

Then there’s the hyperbole. “Paulsen routinely took eight full hours to make his moves.” “Marshall’s normal temperament was that of a belching, gurgling volcano…” “Alekhine destroyed every stick of furniture in his hotel room, in a near psychotic rage.” Sentences like this would induce a near psychotic rage in several chess historians I could mention.

Most seriously, many of the more frivolous asides might be considered by some to be in poor taste. We have throwaway references to Jeffrey Epstein, Michael Jackson and, on several occasions, the British Royal Family. Then, what do you make of this? “Blunders like this one are a first-rate reason why no sane person should voluntarily take up chess as a hobby. It’s basically like marrying a spouse who beats you up on a daily basis.” Or this, after mentioning that Raymond Weinstein has been in a psychiatric hospital since 1964? “Thanks a lot, Ray! This does a lot to help eradicate the stereotype that we chess players are just a touch crazy!” You might think domestic abuse and mental illness are inappropriate subjects for levity in a book of this nature.

Now I don’t want to knock the author, any more than I’d knock Reinfeld and Chernev. I’m all in favour of people whose brains work in a different way. I’m all in favour of teachers and writers whose communication skills enable them to share their passion and enthusiasm for chess. There’s always a place within the chess world for authors who can bring our game to a wider audience, and Lakdawala’s colourful writing style, although not for chess and linguistic purists like me, offers a lot of pleasure to a lot of people.

On the other hand, he can easily go over the top, and perhaps it’s the responsibility of his publishers to be more proactive. With a pair of scissors to remove the pointless and sometimes tasteless analogies and a red pen to correct the mistakes and typos this could have been an excellent and – 50 pages shorter – addition to chess literature. Nevertheless, if you’ve enjoyed Lakdawala’s previous volumes and can live with the faults, you’ll like, and perhaps learn a lot from, this book.

Caveat Emptor.

Richard James, Twickenham ?th September 2020

Richard James
. Richard James

Book Details :

  • Paperback : 400 pages
  • Publisher: New in Chess (7 Aug. 2020)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 905691877X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9056918774
  • Product Dimensions: 17.15 x 1.91 x 23.5 cm

Official web site of New in Chess

In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History
In the Zone: The Greatest Winning Streaks in Chess History

Happy Birthday IM Sam Collins (05-ix-1982)

IM Sam Collins courtesy of Sean Dwyer Photography (2015)
IM Sam Collins courtesy of Sean Dwyer Photography (2015)

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to IM Sam Collins (05-ix-1982)

Samuel E Collins was born on Sunday, September 5th, 1982 in Dublin, Republic of Ireland.

He attended Gonzaga College, Ranelagh, Dublin (founded in 1950) famously very active at chess and then studied at University College, Dublin (UCD).

Sam spent three years in London and one year in Japan where he found time to win their national championship.

Sam became a FIDE Master in 2003 and an International Master in 2004 and holds two GM norms.

His peak FIDE rating was 2495 in August 2014 at the age of 32.

According to chessgames.com :

“Collins won the Irish Championship twice, in 2002 and 2014, and the Japanese Championship in 2009.”

According to The Tarrasch Defence, move by move :

“Sam Collins is an International Master with two Grandmaster norms, and a former Irish and Japanese Champion, He has represented Ireland at seven Olympiads, winning an individual gold medal at Bled 2002. He has a wealth of teaching and writing experience, and has produced many books, DVDs and magazine articles on chess.”

According to An Opening Repertoire for White :

“Sam Collins is a chess writer who regularly contributes to Chess, British Chess Magazine, Chess Mail and Chess Today. He is a former Irish Champion and Olympic gold medal winner.”

Crosstable for Dublin City, 2007
Crosstable for Dublin City, 2007
Crosstable from Budapest First Saturday GM Tournament 2008
Crosstable from Budapest First Saturday GM Tournament 2008
The Irish Mail on Sunday, February 8th 2015
The Irish Mail on Sunday, February 8th 2015

With the white pieces Sam essays 1.e4 and prefers a main line Ruy Lopez when possible along with open Sicilians.

As the second players Sam enjoys the black side of a main line Ruy Lopez and main line Slavs.

Firstly an aperitif :

and then the main course :

Here is his Wikipedia entry

IM Sam Collins at the fourth 4NCL weekend in 2012
IM Sam Collins at the fourth 4NCL weekend in 2012

Here is Sam talking about his Alapin Sicilian DVD from GingerGM

An attacking repertoire for White by Sam Collins, Batsford, 2005.
An attacking repertoire for White by Sam Collins, Batsford, 2005.
Chess explained: The c3 Sicilian by Sam Collins, Gambit Publications, 2007.
Chess explained: The c3 Sicilian by Sam Collins, Gambit Publications, 2007.
The French Advance
The French Advance
The King's Indian Defence, move by move
The King’s Indian Defence, move by move
Karpov, move by move
Karpov, move by move
Understanding the Chess Openings
Understanding the Chess Openings
A Simple Chess Opening Repertoire for White
A Simple Chess Opening Repertoire for White
Know the Terrain Vol. 6
Know the Terrain Vol. 6
Gambit Busters, 2002
Gambit Busters, 2002
The Greatest Ever Chess Strategies
The Greatest Ever Chess Strategies