Wednesday, 14 February 2018

EACU Club Championships

This season's EACU Club Championships will take place at the Bury St Edmunds club venue on Sunday 25 February.   Each team plays two matches, starting at 10.00 and 14.30, using County match timings (Fischer).

It's not too late to enter a team (or teams).   The organiser is Patrick Ribbands.

There are four sections: Open, Team 600, Team 500 and Team 400.   For each of the graded sections, the total current grade of the team must not exceed the figure.

It costs £20 to enter a team, so that's a fiver each.

So far, Ipswich have said they intend to enter at least one team, and Bury St Edmunds are also expecting to enter a team or two.   Any Suffolk League or Bury Area League club can enter a team.


Sunday, 11 February 2018

4NCL results

A total of 17 Suffolk players travelled to Northampton and Reading for the third weekend of the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

Five Suffolk-based teams are involved, with Anglian Avengers playing in Divisions 2 and 3, whilst Iceni have three teams in Division 4.

Anglian Avengers 1, in Division 2, lost their first match 3 - 5, but won today with a convincing 5½-2½ scoreline.   Ed Player was top Suffolk scorer on 1½ points, with Ian Wallis on 1/2 and Andy Lewis winning his only game today.   Other scores were Graham Moore ½/1, Silas Peck ½/2 and Steve Gregory 0/2.

Anglian Avengers 2, in Division 3, crashed 0 - 6 to league leaders Barnet Knights 1 on Saturday, but managed a respectable 3 - 3 draw today.   David Brown and Alex Sheerin both achieved one draw from their two games, but Keith Woodcock returned home empty-handed.

Iceni are desperate to achieve promotion for one of their teams and went into this weekend with Iceni 1 on maximum points.   Another win on Saturday saw them temporarily assume top spot, but they fell to a narrow defeat today to finish on 10 points out of a possible 12.   All three Suffolk players in their team were undefeated over the weekend, with John Feavyour and Paul Botham both on 1½ points, and Steve Ruthen on one point (two draws).

Iceni 2 had the best results for the weekend, winning both their matches.   They now have the same number of points as their first team, and are equal on game points.   A fixture clash between the two teams seems likely for Round 7.   For their team, Malcolm Lightfoot scored 1½ points and Jaden Jermy ½ point.

Iceni's third team had two convincing results, one in favout and one against.   Rory Goldsmith scored 1/2, and Dominic Carter lost both games.

Rounds 7 and 8 for Divsion 2 take place in Reading on 17/18 March for Division 2, and on 24/25 March, also in Reading for Divisions 3 and 4.


Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Under 160s close in on trophy retention

Suffolk, last year's winners of the EACU Under 160 Counties Championship, are within a whisker of retaining the trophy they won in 2017.   This would be the first time for several years that any county has retained the trophy.   Suffolk was the last county to achieve this, by winning in 2010 and 2011.

On Sunday, Suffolk won both their matches, beating Norfolk in the morning by a convincing 11½ points to 4½, whilst in the afternoon Hertfordshire were beaten 9½ - 6½.   Suffolk now heads the table on eight points, with Cambridgeshire the only challenger on four points.   Suffolk has a substantial margin of game points in hand, so to lose the title Suffolk would not only need to lose both matches on 18 March (and Cambridgeshire win both), but also lose badly!

Here is the current league table:
Suffolk - 8 points / 41½ game points
Cambridgeshire - 4 points / 33 game points
Hertfordshire - 3 points
Norfolk - 1 point

The final matches for Suffolk are against Cambridgeshire (AM) and Hertfordshire (PM).   So by lunchtime on 18 March, Suffolk should know for certain if they are EACU u160 Champions.

Four players won both their games on Sunday: Ed Kirkham (Board 6), Mike Usher (Board 11); John McAllister (Board 15) and Cameron Little (Board 16).   Scoring 1½ points were Martin Fogg (3), Jaden Jermy (4), Bob Stephens (8) and James Pack (14).

Full results for Suffolk can be viewed here.   A strong squad is anticipated for the final matches.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Gibraltar Masters results

The 10-round Gibraltar Masters tournament ended yesterday with seven (!) players sharing first place on 7½ points.   Unfortunately for England's Michael Adams, he was one of three players eliminated from the play-offs, due to lower tournament performance ratings.

The top four entered a play-off, which lasted well into the night.   Armenia's Lev Aronian eventually emerged as the winner, picking up a cheque for £25,000.

Suffolk's David Spence had a creditable tournament, gaining 24 rating points despite scoring only four points.   He had some tough opponents, with only one having a lower rating than him.   Hopefully David will let us have one of his games, perhaps one of his two wins against titled opponents.


Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Suffolk First team off to a good start

The Suffolk First Team, captained this season by Steve Ruthen, got off to a promising start on 21 January with two wins against Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.   Suffolk won both matches by the narrowest of margins - 8½-7½.

The team was weakened by the absence of several strong players, including Alan Merry and Shaun Munson.   Nevertheless, their lower-graded replacements did not disappoint, with Alex Sheerin winning both games on Board 15 and Ed Kirkham drawing his only game on Board 16 (he benefited from a default win in the other match).

Suffolk's leading scorers were:

Graham Moore (Board 1) - 2/2
Silas Peck (Board 3) - 2/2
Alex Sheerin (Board 15) - 2/2
Andrew Shephard (Board 12) - 1½/2

The next First Team matches are on 18 February.   This coming Sunday (4 February) sees the Under 160s in action against Hertfordshire and Norfolk.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Gibraltar Masters latest

After four rounds of the Gibraltar Masters, Suffolk's David Spence is on 1½ points.   He had two tough pairings in Rounds 1 and 2, and has scored all his points in the last two rounds.   Tomorrow he faces an English IM, Gary Quillan.

The tournament is led by Hikaru Nakamura, the only player on 4 points.

You can follow the live games on chess24.com, or on chessbomb.com.

Saxmundham's David Brown finished the five-round Challengers A section on 2 points, including a fine win in the final round against a higher-rated opponent.


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

January grades

The January ECF grades have been published today.   At first glance there doesn't appear to be much change, with most people moving up or down by just a few points.

Unsurprisingly, the top three 'movers' are all Juniors:

Adam John (Bury St Edmunds) +14 to 152
Jaden Jermy (Bury St Edmunds) +12 to 158
Alex Sheerin (Ipswich) +11 to 164

Amongst the adults, the largest increase is by Ed Kirkham, Felixstowe (+8 to 154), followed by Tim Lunn, Ipswich (+7 to 178) and Rene Martinez, Bury St Edmunds (+7 to 136).

The top active Suffolk League player is Mike Harris (Bury St Edmunds) 218, who now ranks #87 in England.   Mike is followed by Andy Lewis (Manningtree) 215 and Graham Moore (Ipswich) 210.

A list of Suffolk players can be viewed here.   However, there are several omissions from this list.   To access your club's members, enter the club's name in the search box and click on 'Find Clubs'.


Monday, 22 January 2018

Gibraltar Festival starts tomorrow

The Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival commences tomorrow, Tuesday 23 January.   Promoted as 'the best open chess tournament in the world', the Masters section has attracted 275 players.   These include an amazing 89 Grandmasters, led by Lev Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura.   12 players are rated 2700 and above.

Suffolk's only entrant in the Masters is David Spence, seeded 217.   In Round 1 he faces a Georgian IM, rated 377 points higher.

Saxmundham's David Brown is playing in the Challengers A section.


Thursday, 18 January 2018

John Dawson RIP

It's sad to report that John Dawson, doyen of Linton Chess Club and a frequent participant in the Bury Congress, passed away on 5 January.

Born on 11 April 1924, John had been for many years the oldest player in the Bury Area Chess League.

John last played in the Bury Congress in 2014, when his failing eyesight required additional lighting to be provided.

There was always a twinkle in John's eye and he had a ready wit.   He would joke and tease at every opportunity.

He had hoped to play some league chess this season, but had not had an opportunity to do so.

Back in 2012, John (then aged 88) hit the headlines in the East Anglian Daily Times for his match at the Bury Congress against five-year old Jeff Tomy.   John won - just!

John died peacefully at home, aged 93.   He was a much loved father and grandfather who will be greatly missed by all.

John's funeral will be held at 2.00 pm on Wednesday 31 January at the Cam Valley Crematorium, Field Farm Drive, Great Chesterford, CB10 1SD.   Mourners are invited to the Red Lion at Whittlesford afterwards.


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Suffolk Junior Chess

Most news about Juniors in the county is now included on the new Suffolk Junior Chess website.   In the past, there has been some criticism that juniors featured too often in the daily 'blogs' on this website.   So now, that won't happen.   But if you are interested in the progress of our talented juniors, please do follow the website, which is being run by Tim Kent, the Suffolk Junior Chess Organiser.

This coming weekend, a team will be playing in the Junior 4NCL and later, on 25 February, a 12-board team will be competing in the ECF Under 18 County Championships.