Saturday, 3 December 2016

London Chess Classic

As reported here, the London Chess Classic commences next Friday, 9 December.   It continues until Sunday 18 December.

Local interest includes Ed Player (2239) and Adam Taylor (2212) in the FIDE Open, where 37 Grandmasters are included among the 250 entrants.   They play nine rounds between 9 and 16 December.

The Super Rapidplay, with 10 rounds over the second weekend, 17/18 December, features 40 GMs and 363 entrants, so far.   Entries are still being accepted for this event, which is free to enter if done by 16 December.

Of course, the main event is the fourth and final round of the Grand Chess Tour, which features eight of the World's strongest players (plus two other invitees, including England's Michael Adams).   This event is currently led by GM Wesley So, who looks to have an unassailable lead in the battle for the $120,000 first prize.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Adam takes on the Bury Knights

FM Adam Taylor came to Bury St Edmunds this evening to give a Simul against ten of the best Bury Knights members. His opponents' grades ranged from 129 down to 16.   They were no match for Adam, who swept them all aside within an hour and a quarter.

He then proceeded to run through one of the games (against Jaden Jermy), which proved very instructive.

Before the event started, Adam pointed out that his ECF grade, now over 200, was below 100 seven years ago, when he was 11 years old.   Several of his opponents today are younger than that, so they were able to see that anything is possible.

In the photo above, the ten opponents are (clockwise around the boards): Adam John, Jaden Jermy, Alan John, Ralph Martin, Aaron Saenz, Mario Saenz, Amy John, Tia Martin, Tom Roy and Toby Martin.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Norfolk & Suffolk Cup result

Entering this annual competition for the first time, Manningtree Chess Club last evening achieved a notable draw against current Norfolk & Suffolk Cup Champions Bury St Edmunds.   Fielding a slightly weakened team, Bury lost on the bottom two boards, but won on Boards 3 and 4.   The top two boards finished in draws.

The full results can be seen here.

Whilst the match was in progress, several players could be seen sneaking off to check on the progress of the final day of the World Chess Championship, taking place in New York.   As most readers will be aware, Magnus Carlsen succeeded in retaining his title by beating Sergey Karjakin 3 - 1 in the Rapidplay tie-breaks.   Carlsen won the final game in style.   From the position below, when Karjakin (Black) had three ways of checkmating White in one move, Carlsen played Qh6+!, forcing mate on his next move.   Karjakin resigned on the spot.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Happy Birthday Magnus?

Will today be a happy day for Magnus Carlsen, who is celebrating his 26th birthday?   This evening (starting at 7 pm UK time) he will take on Sergey Karjakin in a series of rapidplay games, followed if necessary by Blitz games and a final 'Armageddon' game, to determine who shall be the next World Chess Champion.

This would appear to be compulsive viewing for chess players across the World.   But there will be at least 12 local players who will miss out on the action.   Teams from Manningtree and Bury St Edmunds will be fighting it out in the Norfolk & Suffolk Cup.   This is the first time that Manningtree have entered this competition.   There will be a full report tomorrow on this match, as well of course on the result of the World Championship.

For those watching the World Championship games this evening, here are the rules:
*   They start with a four-game rapidplay match, at 25 minutes each plus 10 seconds increment per move.   There will be a ten minute break between each game.   The players don't need to record the moves.
*   If the score is tied after these four games, they will play a two-game Blitz match, with five minutes on the clock and a three second increment per move.   If necessary, there will be up to four more two-game Blitz matches.
*   If the scores are still tied after these 14 games, they will play one 'Armageddon' game.   The players draw lots and the winner chooses White or Black.   The player with the White pieces has five minutes whilst the player with the Black pieces has four minutes.   But if it's a draw the player with Black wins the match.

Exciting stuff.   I bet you'll all be watching....

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Ipswich Club Championship

A total of 19 players are competing in this season's Ipswich Club Championship, where members utilise their 'off' weeks to organise matches against their chosen opponents.   Already, two rounds (out of six) have been completed.

Five players lead on maximum points: Ted Matthewson, Steve Gregory, Silas Peck, John Wright and Roger Holt.

The biggest surprise of Round 2 was Ted's win against Ian Wallis, who is graded 18 points higher.   Ted is pictured right.

You can see the latest results and cross-table here.

Monday, 28 November 2016

World Championship goes to tie-breaks

This evening's final round (of 12) ended in a draw after just 30 moves.   It was perhaps surprising that Carlsen, who had the White pieces, seemed content to swap off and head for a rather tame draw.

Carlsen may be confident of his abilities at Rapidplay and Blitz, to which they are heading on Wednesday after another rest day on Tuesday.

Today's game can be viewed here.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

4NCL report

4NCL's Division 3 (South) and Division 4 played this weekend at Wokefield Park, near Reading.   Four Suffolk-based teams were competing, with two in each division.   These teams included 16 Suffolk players.

The best results were by Anglian Avengers 2, who won both their matches (4½-1½ and 3½-2½) and now head Pool B in Division 3 (S) with four match points and eight game points.   Individually, Steve Gregory won both games, Ian Wallis scored 1½, whilst both Graham Moore and Shaun Munson scored 1 point.

The other local team in Div 3, Iceni 1, suffered two defeats (2½-3½ and 2 - 4), with Paul Botham the best scorer on 1½ points.   John Feavyour won one game, but both John Peters and Steve Ruthen failed to register a point.

In Division 4, Anglian Avengers 3 won one match (4½-1½) and narrowly lost one (2½-3½).   Keith Woodcock scored 1½, whilst Silas Peck, Alex Sheerin and Alan John each won one game.   Adam John had one draw.

Iceni 2 had an easy win on Saturday against Barnet Knights 3, but crashed 1 - 5 to top-rated team Oxford 2 today.   Saxmundham's Rory Goldsmith scored 1½ points, which included an excellent draw against a 166 graded opponent.   Mike Usher scored 1 and Bob Jones had one draw.

Division 4 featured teams with substantial rating differences.   Oxford 2 were relegated from Division 3 last season but have reinforced their squad for a team average rating of 2080.   Only five of the 16 teams in Division 3 have higher team averages.   At the other end of the scale Barnet Knights 3 and 4 averaged 1311 and 1263 respectively.   Perhaps there should be a ceiling of, say, 1900 as the maximum average grade per team?   There were four players in Division 4 with grades in excess of 200.   Oxford 2's top boards were graded 213 and 211.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

4NCL Divisions 3 and 4

This weekend sees four Suffolk-based teams playing in Divisions 3 and 4 of the 4NCL, at Wokefield Park, near Reading.

Anglian Avengers have two teams ('2' and '3'), one in each division, whilst Iceni 1 and Iceni 2 also play with one team in each division.

Fortunately, there are no matches scheduled between these teams this weekend, although the new pool system in Division 3 will mean that AA2 and Iceni 1 will have to play each other later in the season, as they are both in Pool B.

A full report on these matches will feature here tomorrow evening.

Friday, 25 November 2016

World Championship latest

As most readers will know, current champion Magnus Carlsen won the 10th game yesterday to level the score (5 - 5) against his challenger, Sergey Karjakin.

With today as a rest day, play resumes tomorrow Saturday in the crucial Round 11, when Karjakin will have the White pieces.   There then follows another rest day on Sunday, with the final round being played on Monday.

If the score is tied after 12 rounds, there will be a series of tie-break games on Wednesday.   Four games will be played with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds per move.   If the score is still tied, there will then be a series of two-game blitz matches played at the rate of five minutes plus five seconds increment.   These will continue for up to five 'matches', eg ten games, until there is a winner.

In the unlikely event of the scores still being tied, a final sudden-death 'Armageddon' game will be played.   The player who wins the drawing of lots chooses the colour.   The player with the White pieces receives five minutes, whilst the player with the Black pieces has four minutes.   A three-second increment per move is applied if the game continues beyond 60 moves.   In the event of the game being drawn, the player with the Black pieces is declared the winner.

Wednesday could be a fun day.   So cancel all other arrangements!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

First 4NCL weekend

Last weekend saw the first matches for the 4NCL teams in Divisions 1 and 2, at Wokefield Park near Reading.

Anglian Avengers 1 achieved promotion at the end of last season to Division 1 and faced tough opponents in Grantham Sharks and Guildford 1.   Predictably they lost both matches, by 3 - 5 and 2 - 6.   Guildford 1 are probably favourites to win the title and won their first match 7½-½, with only their Board 8 Suffolk's Dagne Ciuksyte gaining the draw.   In the Avengers' match against Guildford 1, top boards Andy Lewis and Adam Taylor lost respectively to GM powerhouses Matthew Sadler and Gawain Jones.   But Ed Player managed a draw against former Suffolk player GM Nick Pert.

There are no Suffolk-based teams in Division 2, but next weekend Iceni 1 and 2, as well as Anglian Avengers 2 and 3, play in Divisions 3 and 4 at the same venue.