Sunday, 16 September 2018

Norfolk & Suffolk Cup Final

Last weekend Bury St Edmunds Chess Club travelled to Norwich to play against Broadland Chess Club (recently voted ECF club of the year) for the Norfolk & Suffolk Cup; an annual event that sees the best team from Suffolk play a six board match against the best team in Norfolk. This year, to make the journey easier for the away team, the final was held in the Virgin Money Lounge in Norwich city centre; a very nice venue indeed. The playing room was pretty fancy, but also quiet, and conveniently adjacent to an airport-style lounge area that provided unlimited tea, coffee (from a decent machine) and a selection of biscuits and fruit.

The home team won the toss for colours and decided to have White on the odd numbered boards. After about twenty minutes into the match, Broadland defaulted on board 2, so Bury went one-nil up with only around a dozen moves played on each of the five remaining games. Despite Bury being handed a big advantage, Broadland eventually went onto win the trophy by half a point:

Broadland 3½-2½ Bury St Edmunds
1) Richard Polazek, IM (216) 1-0 Edmund Player (206)
2) Default 0-1 John Peters (195)
3) Ken McEwan (185) ½-½ Mark Le Vine (187)
4) Roy Hughes (190) 1-0 Stephen Ruthen (173)
5) Gerald Moore (190) 1-0 Jonathan Collins (165)
6) Steve Pullinger (169) 0-1 Jaden Jermy (165)

Bury's only winner was Jaden Jermy, one of Suffolk's promising juniors, who has annotated his game (below). Both players managed to get through the opening unscathed after which the game became fairly tactical. Eventually the players reached a knight v bishop endgame. Jaden managed to control the endgame very well by placing his remaining pawns on opposite-coloured squares to his opponent's bishop, which allowed his knight to jump around the board with joy, pestering his opponent's remaining King, bishop and pawns.

The Bury St Edmunds team (from left to right):
Stephen Ruthen, John Peters, Mark Le Vine, Jon Collins, Edmund Player and Jaden Jermy.

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Results from Riga

This year's Riga Technical University Chess Festival recently took place from the 6th - 12th August. A total of 588 competitors from over 40 different countries travelled to the Kipsala exhibition centre (pictured below) in Latvia's capital to take part in one of five tournaments (A, B, C, D and E).

Kipsala Exhibition Centre - Riga Open

Latvia has produced some of the world's finest players, including former world chess champion, Mikhail Tal, and more recently former world number 2, Alexei Shirov - both players renowned for their attacking flair. Latvia's current number 1, Igor Kovalenko (GM) - FIDE 2644, was top seed in Tournament A, which consisted of 260 players including 13 year old Indian prodigy, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (GM), who is breaking all sorts of records:
  • Youngest International Master of all time (breaking Judit Polgár's 25 year old record).
  • Second youngest Grandmaster of all time (behind Sergey Karjakin).
This year two Suffolk players took part in the open Tournament A:
  • Alan Merry (IM)
  • Edmund Player (myself!)
By his own standards these days, Alan didn't have one of his best tournaments, but he still managed to put in a very solid performance scoring 6 points from 9 rounds, which earned him a share of 21st place and a grand total of 16 euros! Alan played a nice game in round 7, where he ended up in the position below. Can you spot how he finished the game?

From a personal point of view my own tournament went pretty well, especially at the beginning where in the first two rounds I managed back-to-back draws against Kaido Külaots (GM and Estonian number 1) and Iila Smirin (GM) - see game below. During the latter part of the tournament things faded away a little for me - my 7th round opponent unfortunately couldn't play  and I only managed to score ½/2 in my final two games - however, overall I was pleased with my play and final result.
For those considering a summer tournament next year, Riga is an excellent option for players of all ages and standards. This year the organisers also held two FIDE rated blitz tournaments as well as a cultural programme, offering chess players a visit to the local chocolate factory and a chance to play in a table tennis tournament.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Andrew Lewis is British Senior Champion!

This year's British Chess Championships was held in Kingston upon Hull from 27th July to 5th August.

Andy Lewis (FM), who plays for the Manningtree Chess Club in the Suffolk League, managed to win the British Senior (50+) Championships by a clear point and unbeaten, scoring 6/7. Congratulations Andy!

Other Suffolk players competed in various events:

Graham Moore, who plays for Ipswich Chess Club, performed very well throughout the majority of the main tournament, which was much stronger than in previous years due to stricter qualification regulations. Graham picked up some excellent results including a win against Scottish IM, Andrew Muir, and a draw against John Emms (GM), and although things slipped away a little in the final two rounds, he still managed to gain 5.8 rating points. However, the pick of the bunch was Jon Collins, who performed 160 points above is current international rating, gaining him 29.2 rating points!

Also, former Suffolk players, Justin Tan (GM elect) and Nicholas Pert (GM) competed in the main championship. Nick finished 5th= in the main event which was won by England's highest rated player of all time, Michael Adams (GM), who beat Luke McShane (GM) 3-1 in a rapidplay playoff, after both players ended up tied on 7/9.

McShane beat David Howell (GM) in the final round which gave him the opportunity to play Adams for the prestigious title. Can you spot McShane's nice finish?

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Norfolk & Suffolk Cup

The Suffolk Final of the Norfolk & Suffolk Cup took place on 28 June.   Bury St Edmunds had narrowly beaten Ipswich in one semi-final, whilst Manningtree had triumphed over Saxmundham in the other semi-final, despite having only five players in their team.

Neither team were at full strength, although Bury St Edmunds were missing only their Board 2, Ed Player.   Manningtree, on the other hand, did not have Adam Taylor, Leon Burnett or Jim Buis available.

Two of Manningtree's reserves, Carl Phillips on Board 5 and Dave Welsh on Board 6, both pulled off excellent draws against Jon Collins and Jaden Jermy respectively.   However, the top four boards all went Bury's way, with top board Mike Harris securing an excellent win against FM Andy Lewis.   Their game can be played through below.

[Event "Norfolk and Suffolk Cup – Suffolk Final"]
[White "Lewis, Andy"]
[Black "Harris, Mike"]
[Site "Bury St Edmunds"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Date "2018.06.28"]
[WhiteElo "215"]
[BlackElo "218"]

1. c4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 e6 4. Bg2 d5 5. 0-0 c6 6. d4 Bd6 7. Nc3 0-0 8. Rb1 Nbd7 9. b4 Ne4 10. Qc2 Ndf6 11. b5 Bd7 12. Ne5 Nxc3 13. Qxc3 cxb5 14. cxd5 Nxd5 15. Qb3 Bxe5 16. dxe5 Bc6 17. Ba3 Re8 18. Bd6 Qa5 19. e4 fxe4 20. Bxe4 Nc3 21. Bd3 Nxb1 22. Qxb1 h6 23. Bh7+ Kh8 24. Bg6 Qc3 25. f3 Qe3+ 26. Kg2 a6 27. Rf2 Bd5 28. h4 Rec8 29. Qb4 Rc4 30. Qa5 Rac8 31. Bb4 Bxf3+ 32. Rxf3 Rc2+ 33. Bxc2 Rxc2+ 34. Kh3 Qxf3
Broadland Chess Club have qualified as Norfolk winners, for the fifth successive year.   The Final will be played in Norwich on Sunday 9 September.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Suffolk Cup and Plate results

Starting the summary of the past season, the first item is the Cup & Plate competition.

14 of the possible 24 teams entered.   After the initial (seeded) round, the seven winning teams progressed to the Cup, with the losing teams playing in the Plate.

The Cup teams were:
Sudbury, Manningtree A, Bury St Edmunds C, Saxmundham A, Bury St Edmunds A, Ipswich F and Ipswich D.

Ipswich D were given a bye and, unfortunately, all the other three matches were won by default.   In the semi-finals, Bury St Edmunds C beat Sudbury, whilst Manningtree A beat Ipswich D.

The Final was held in Bury on 20 June.   The only decisive game was on top board, when Bury St Edmunds' Ed Player beat Manningtree's Adam Taylor to give Bury C the Cup.

Meanwhile, in the Plate competition, Woodbridge received the bye.   Felixstowe, Bury St Edmunds B and D all progressed to the semi-finals.   Felixstowe and Bury St Edmunds B won their respective semis.

The Final was held in Felixstowe on 15 May, with Felixstowe convincingly beating Bury St Edmunds B 3½ - ½.

All Clubs are asked to submit their entries for the new season's competition.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

First glance at the new grades

The new ECF grades were published this afternoon.   Here is a quick look at some of the 'movers'.

Alex Sheerin retains his place as Suffolk's top junior, with a 13-point improvement to 177.   Second-placed junior is Jaden Jermy, who moves from 158 to 164.   Another substantial improvement was recorded by Amy John, with a 16-point increase to 98.

Among the adults, Manningtree's Adam Taylor improves dramatically from 209 to 225, whilst Bury's John Peters moves from 187 to 194.

Whilst Jon Collins (165) and Jaden Jermy will be lost to the Under 160s next season, Phil Hutchings (158) and Andrew Shephard (155) drop back in.

Amongst the top English players, Alan Merry (242) is in 20th place, with Adam Hunt (226) in 54th, Adam Taylor 56th, Mike Harris (220) 73rd, and Dagne Ciuksyte (216) 88th.

More stats later!

Monday, 23 July 2018

Not long now!

It's nearly time for the British Championships (they start on Friday), which means that the new grades will be published soon.   In fact, the Director of Grading is predicting they will be ready tomorrow (Tuesday).

Over the next few days there will be a number of posts that will enable readers to catch up on events over the summer.   These include an end-of-season round-up, decisions from the AGM, the Norfolk & Suffolk Cup result (Suffolk section), and Cup & Plate winners.

We are also trying to encourage more players to act as coaches for the promising juniors.

So, first, it should be the new grades.   These will assist club secretaries, who need to let the Competitions Secretary know by the end of the month (preferably earlier) of their team entries for the coming season.

If you haven't done so already, make sure you see every new posting on this website by adding your email address and clicking 'submit' (at bottom right of the page).

Saturday, 19 May 2018

Megafinal results

The Suffolk Megafinal took place at Woodbridge School last Sunday.   This event is the second of four levels where children try to reach the final of the UK Chess Challenge - the Terafinal.

A total of 62 children entered, mainly from schools and clubs around the county (a few Essex and Cambridgeshire children entered too).   Only those who performed well at the first stage of the competition qualified for the Megafinal.

13 of these qualifiers were from the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club, whilst other qualifiers came from the Ipswich Junior Chess Club, Martlesham Heath Junior Chess Club, Woodbridge School, the Royal Hospital School (Holbrook), Orwell Park School, St Albans High (Ipswich) and several other chess-playing primary schools, at Bosmere (Needham Market), Handford Hall (Ipswich), East Bergholt, Bealings and Birchwood (Martlesham)..

Perhaps the outstanding individual result was the maximum six points out of six, scored by six-year old Indula Dedigama (Bury Knights).   Indula has only recently had his sixth birthday and was competing in a section for Under 7s and Under 8s, so some of his opponents were two years older than him.   Two other players scored maximum points - Rowan Kent (Woodbridge School and Bury Knights) in the Under 9s and Adam John (Bury Knights) in the Under 12s.

The full results will be posted soon on the UK Chess Challenge website (scroll down to 'Suffolk').

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Mixed results for County teams

Suffolk's County teams (First team and Under 160s) played their National quarter-final matches over the weekend.   The First team beat Warwickshire 8½ - 7½ (but see below), however the Under 160s crashed out to Essex by 6 points to 10.

The First team played their match at a 'halfway' venue, in Bedford.   In the Minor Counties section each team is required to have an average grade not exceeding 180 and Suffolk managed to compensate top board Alan Merry (240) by playing James Pack (132) on Board 16.   Ironically, Alan lost, whilst James won!   Warwickshire fielded an ungraded player for whom permission had not been given by the Controller.   This entailed a default grade of 180 to be allocated for that player, which pushed Warwickshire over the 180 average limit (181.25).   Two penalty points were therefore deducted from the Warwickshire total, making the final result 8½ - 5½.

Other Suffolk wins were recorded by Graham Moore, Ed Player. Ted Matthewson and John Feavyour.

The Under 160s played their match against Essex in Ipswich, at the Labour Club in Silent Street.   Although the room was a little cramped, it was free of charge, a gesture from the Club which was greatly appreciated.   With ten games completed the match was level at 5 - 5.   But the remaining six boards could only muster two draws between them.   Steve Lovell on Board 7 managed a great win in just 14 moves, but the only other Suffolk winner was Board 2 Jaden Jermy.

My (Bob Jones) own game finished in a draw, but I should have won.   What would you have played as White in the following position?

The correct move is axb5, but I played cxb5, wanting to get my pawns further away from my opponent's king.   Wrong idea!   After axb5, the c-pawn is a passed pawn and the Black king must remain in attendance.   White can then mop up Black's remaining king-side pawns.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Adam is now a coach

Manningtree's Adam Taylor has spent much of the past week in Durres, Albania, with the ECF Junior Squad.   They were competing in the World Schools Chess Championships and Adam is one of three ECF coaches, the others being GM Glenn Flear and GM Jonathan Hawkins.

Adam has now both played for England Juniors and acted as a coach to them!

The composite photo below shows (left) Adam as an England player and (right) as a coach, with one of the English players.