Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Gibraltar Congress gets under way

The 15th edition of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Congress got under way today, with the first round of the Masters event.   This 254-player Open, probably the strongest open tournament in the World, features no fewer than 72 Grandmasters, of whom 12 are rated over 2700.

There are no local entrants, but three of England's top GMs are playing.   Both Michael Adams and David Howell enjoyed comfortable wins, but Nigel Short was extremely fortunate to escape with a draw against his 2314-rated Dutch FM opponent.   In the position below, Short (Black) has just played 43... Qe8.

White now played 44. Rb4??, to which Short replied ... Qe1, threatening both rook and the h4 pawn.   White was virtually forced to play 45. Qd4 and after the exchange of rooks and 46...Qxd6, it was relatively easy for Short to draw the game.   Instead, White could have played 44. Rb1 (covering e1) or c5, with a huge and winning advantage.

To view results and live games, go to the Congress website.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Date set for Bury Junior Congress

The Bury St Edmunds Junior Chess Congress will take place on Sunday 5 March at the usual venue, Moreton Hall Community Centre.

There will be four sections: Under 18, Under 11, Under 9 and 'My First Tournament'.   This latter section is designed to attract youngsters aged under 11 to enter an organised chess tournament for the first time.

The highest-placed qualifying entrant in the Under 18 section will be the EACU Junior Champion and will hold the trophy for one year.   To qualify, a player must either live in, or attend school, in Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Befordshire or Hertfordshire.

Due to space restrictions, the total number of entrants will be limited to 100.

Anyone requiring an entry form should email me.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Junior 4NCL results

Eight Bury Knights members travelled to Solihull this weekend to take part in the five-round Junior 4NCL event.   This tournament features some of the top juniors in the country.

Bury Knights were able to field two teams of four players ('Lions' and 'Tigers').   In order that all eight players could compete, the two teams were composed of roughly equal strength, ensuring that the average grade was below the required level to enter Division 2.   An alternative approach would have been to select the top four players to form a Division 1 team, but this would have left the Division 2 team rather weak.

After a flying start, when both teams recorded 4 - 0 wins in the first round, the teams did not fare quite so well.   By the end of the event, 'Lions' were on five points (two wins and a draw), whilst 'Tigers' were on four points (two wins).

Individual scores were as follows:


Adam John   3/4 (unbeaten - 2 wins and 2 draws)
Tom Roy   3/4
Ralph Martin   1½/4
Amy John   1/4
Tia Martin   1/4


Jaden Jermy   3½/5
Rowan Kent   3½/5
Toby Martin   1/4
(two other non-Bury Knights members also played for this team)

Rowan's performance (see photo right) was exceptional.   Still aged only 7, he had a grading performance of 120.   He is now one of the strongest players for his age in the country.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Ed annotates a game from Hastings

White:   Ed Player (2239)
Black:   Miklos Galyas (2473)

Friday, 20 January 2017

Suffolk First Team

Following the article a week ago about the First Team's results, captain John Peters has provided the following brief report:

"Norfolk sit atop the EACU league table after combining to harvest wins against Hertfordshire and Suffolk.   However Suffolk overcame Cambridgeshire in the morning fixture and look to be favourites to take the second qualification place for the knockout stages.

Steve Gregory was the only Suffolk player to score 2/2 whilst Edmund Player, Graham Moore, Silas Peck and Alan Watkins all contributed 1½/2.

On paper this wasn't Suffolk's strongest team but we fought with resolve and the win against Cambridgeshire could prove crucial to the final standings.

The final matches are to take place on Sunday 19 February when Suffolk will face Bedfordshire in the morning and Cambridgeshire in the afternoon.   Should we beat Bedfordshire then Cambridgeshire will require at least a draw against Norfolk to set up a final match showdown in the afternoon.   I'll be sure to bring a calculator with me.

Thanks to everyone who played!"

Thursday, 19 January 2017

40 years ago

In 1976, the captain of the County First Team was (a much younger) Jim Buis.   In his report to the AGM, he advised that Suffolk were now playing in the Amboyne League, which was the equivalent of Division 3 of the Southern Counties Championship.

Suffolk played seven matches during the season, over 20 boards.   They beat Essex III, Surrey IV, Middlesex III, Kent III and Sussex III.   They lost to Surrey III in the last match of the season, and finished second in the table.   Suffolk also played Norfolk in a 21 board friendly, which ended all square.

Amongst the 44 players who represented Suffolk in one or more matches, included were Ian Wallis (scoring 5/8), Steve Gregory, Jim Buis, Roger Holt and Una Bartlett.   Still around in 2017, but not currently playing, were Chris Chambers, Chris Green and Sandy Peters (4½/6).

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A Merry mate

Playing in the 4NCL Division 1 on Sunday, Alan Merry was easily beating fellow IM Richard Bates when the following position was reached (Richard had just played ...e4, attacking the rook.)

Alan played the obvious Rd6+ and Richard replied Ke5??

Alan's next move is very obvious too, but it's a pleasing checkmate anyway.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Norfolk & Suffolk Cup

For the first time in many, many years, there are more than two clubs competing in this season's Norfolk & Suffolk Cup (Suffolk section).   Manningtree have joined in the fray, and will play both Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

To date, only one match has been played, when Bury St Edmunds and Manningtree drew 3 - 3, with the former club winning on board count.

Ipswich entertain Manningtree next week, on 24 January, whilst Bury St Edmunds will play Ipswich at home on 16 February.

Bury St Edmunds have won the Suffolk section for the past three years and have faced Norfolk Champions Broadland each time.   Bury won in 2014 and 2016, whilst Broadland triumphed in 2015.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Division 1 update

Last week's match between Manningtree A and Bury St Edmunds B completed the first half of the season in Division 1, with all teams having played six matches.

Manningtree are the clear league leaders, with a four-point margin over second-placed Ipswich C.   The current league table can be viewed here.

Phil Hutchings, Manningtree's Board 4, is leading the individual statistics, with 5½ points from his six games.   Shaun Munson (Ipswich A) is close behind on five points.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

4NCL results

A total of 23 Suffolk players travelled to Northampton (Divisions 1 & 2) and Reading (Divisions 3 & 4) over the weekend to take part in Rounds 3 and 4 of this season's Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

Four players won both their games:

Alan Merry (Division 1) - playing for Barbican 1
Silas Peck (Division 3)
John Feavyour (Division 3)
Adam John (Division 4)

Suffolk-based team scores were as follows:

Anglian Avengers 1 (Division 1):   1½-6½ and 2½-5½
Anglian Avengers 2 (Division 3):   3½-2½ and 4 - 2
Iceni 1 (Division 3):   2½-3½ and 2 - 4
Anglian Avengers 3 (Division 4)   2½-2½ and 2 - 4
Iceni 2 (Division 4)   4 - 2 and ½-5½

Other individual scores (out of two):

Division 1
Andy Lewis   ½
Ed Player   ½
Adam Taylor   0
Shaun Munson   1

Division 2
Dagne Ciuksyte   ½ (1 game) - playing for Guildford 3

Division 3
Graham Moore   ½
Ian Wallis   1½
Steve Gregory   1
Leon Burnett   1½
Paul Botham   0
Steve Lovell   ½ (1 game)
Laurie Pott   ½ (1 game)

Division 4
Bob Jones   ½
Laurie Pott   1 (1 game)
Steve Lovell   0 (1 game)
Mike Usher   0
Dominic Carter   1
Tim Lunn   1½
Alex Sheerin   0
Keith Woodcock   1
Amy John   0 (1 game)

Team scores (out of a possible eight points from four rounds):

Anglian Avengers 1 (Division 1)   -   0
Anglian Avengers 2 (Division 3)   -   8 (2nd place)
Iceni 1 (Division 3)   -   0
Iceni 2 (Division 4)   -   4
Anglian Avengers 3 (Division 4)   -   3