Thursday, 15 June 2017

European Schools Championships

Siblings Adam and Amy John from Bury St Edmunds are currently representing England in the European Schools Championships, taking place in Budva, Montenegro.

Today is a rest day, but after five rounds (out of nine), Adam is well-placed (and unbeaten) on 3½ points.   Tomorrow he faces the second seed which will be a tough test.   Sister Amy (pictured below) is on 2 points.

The results of all twelve England juniors can be followed here.

The website for the event can be seen here.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Suffolk through to Minor Counties Final

On Saturday, Suffolk's First Team faced Leicestershire in the Semi-Final of the Minor Counties competition (where the average grade of the team must not exceed 180).   The result was 9 -7 in favour of Suffolk, who will now face Lincolnshire in the Final, due to be played on 1 July.   Lincolnshire beat Norfolk on board count after drawing 8 - 8, so the possible final between Suffolk and Norfolk has been avoided.

The Suffolk team included two juniors - Alex Sheerin and Jaden Jermy, who both won.   In fact, Suffolk were unbeaten on the bottom seven boards, despite being outgraded on every one of those boards.   Jaden's win on board 16 was crucial; had he lost, the team would have lost the match on board count.

Other Suffolk winners were Alan Merry (Board 1), Ian Wallis (4), Ted Matthewson (10), Steve Ruthen (12) and Phil Hutchings (13).

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

EACU Congress

The annual EACU Congress took place at the weekend at the Turner Hall in Newmarket.   Entries were up from last year - 83 compared to 72 in 2016.

The Open section was predictably won by top seed IM Alan Merry, who scored 4½/5.   He drew with FM Terry Chapman in Round 4 and needed to win his final game to ensure the title.   This he achieved, with a win against Ipswich's Graham Moore.

There were five players on 3½ points sharing first place in the u170 section.   These included Tim Lunn (Ipswich) and Phil Hutchings (Manningtree).   Also sharing first place was 11-year old Julia Volovich, from Cambridge.

The Under 130 section was won on 4½ points by 12-year old Jaden Jermy, of the Bury St Edmunds and Bury Knights clubs.   He quickly drew his final game against the section's top seed to guarantee the title.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Norfolk and Suffolk Cup Final

IAN WALLIS has kindly provided the following report on the Final of the Norfolk and Suffolk Cup, when Suffolk winners Ipswich faced Norfolk's Broadland Chess Club, on 28 May, in Ipswich.

"It was a very close match, despite Broadland turning up with a stronger than expected team.   Grading-wise the teams were evenly matched, however I thought with the given board orders Broadland were favourites.   Ipswich won the toss and had White on odds.

Mine was the first game to finish.   I played an inferior line in the opening and gave my opponent an advantage which he duly converted.   Nick was next, taking a draw in a balanced position but one that could have gone wrong if playing too hard to win.

Shaun obtained a winning position with a neat combination that forced a win of the queen for two minor pieces.   The result was never in doubt although his opponent stubbornly played on to the end, no doubt not wanting to resign for the sake of the team.   I'm sure he would have resigned earlier in an individual game.

This left the match evenly poised 1½ - 1½ with three games to go.

Silas on top board was being outplayed despite putting up valiant resistance.   Steve was gradually improving his position and had a slight edge but with plenty for both sides to play for.   Graham's game was still unclear.

Steve finally obtained a better position and went on to checkmate.   We were ahead for the first time.

Silas resistance ran out and he resigned.   So. with the match all square again the result hinged on the final game.   A win, or a draw, would give victory to Ipswich as the first tie-break rule for this competition is, rather unusually, board elimination rather than board count.   Had it been board count a draw would have favoured Broadland.

Both players were down to a couple of minutes.   Graham had sacrificed his last minor piece for some pawns and was playing R + 4/5 against R + N + P.   And then catastrophe; with at least a draw in sight he stumbled into a mate in the middle of the board.   Thus Broadland won the match 3½-2½."

Silas Peck1860 - 1Richard Polaczek216
Graham Moore1930 - 1Ken McEwan199
Shaun Munson1931 - 0Roy Hughes190
Nick Savage186½ - ½Gerald Moore185
Steve Gregory1861 - 0Daniel Frean175
Ian Wallis1880 - 1Ieysaa bin-Suhayl176

Friday, 19 May 2017

Summer programmes

Which Suffolk chess clubs will be open over the summer?   Please add a comment below if your club plans to open.

The Bury St Edmunds club will open on alternate Thursdays, with its AGM planned for 1 June.   Yesterday, the Club held a four-round 15-minute tournament, with three adults and nine juniors (!) present.

1st   Bob Jones   4/4
2nd=   Steve Lovell, Adam John, Tom Roy   3/4

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Born on this day...

... 181 years ago.   (Sorry, nothing to do with Suffolk Chess.   Just thought it may be of interest!)

For the remainder of the summer, postings here will be less frequent.   Important events, such as the progress of the County First Team in the Minor Counties Championship, and the Suffolk County Chess Association AGM, will of course be reported on.

If anyone has had any interesting games, or positions, during the season, please send them to me.

To save checking if there has been a new article, why not 'Follow by EMail'?   All you need to do is enter your email address in the box at bottom right and you will receive notification whenever a new article is posted.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

A nice finish from Jaden

Four Suffolk players featured in both County matches (First Team and Under 160s) at the weekend: Phil Hutchings, Alex Sheerin, Andrew Shephard and Jaden Jermy.   It will not have escaped most people's notice that 12-year old Jaden (graded 123) won both his games, against opponents graded 148 and 144.

In the Under 160s he faced Lancashire captain Bill O'Rourke.   After a see-saw game, the following position was reached, with Jaden (White) to play.   Although a pawn down, Jaden is clearly winning.   But what move did he play (probably the best move in this position)?   Answer below.

43.   Bb7!   If ... Rxb7, the pawn promotes.

The game continued 43... Nxb4   44.   cxb4   Kf8   45.   d7   Rd8   46.   Bc6   Ke7   47.   Bxb5   c3, to reach the position below.   Now can you reason Jaden's next move, again an excellent one?

48.   Re1+

This moves forces the Black king to move and therefore no longer protecting the promotion square.   The game concluded:   48... Kd6   49.   Rc1   Rb8   50.   Rxc3!   Ra8   51.   Rc8   1 - 0

Monday, 15 May 2017


The Annual Meeting of the Suffolk County Chess Association will be held at the Ipswich Chess Club on Tuesday 30 May.   This meeting is open to all chess-players, not just club secretaries and committee members.   And if you turn up, you get a vote!

The Agenda contains a number of proposals for amending the competition rules.   Amongst these are a couple which may require some discussion:

*   Nominations.   It is proposed that following publication of the mid-season grading list, re-nominations will only be permitted for a three-week period.   Thereafter no further re-nominations will be allowed.

*   Fischer timing.   It is proposed that the use of incremental timings should become the default in Division 1.   If both players are in agreement, the standard time control can be used.

Other proposals should be non-contentious.   The Agenda has been circulated to all club secretaries.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Suffolk Under 160s fall at the quarter-final hurdle

Suffolk's Under 160 team travelled to the outskirts of Nottingham today to play Lancashire in the National Quarter-Finals, but failed to repeat the First Team's victory yesterday, losing narrowly by nine points to seven.

The result was close throughout; at one stage it stood at 5½ points each.   With just two boards remaining and the score 7½-6½ to Lancashire, Suffolk needed to win both to go through to the semis.   This was because an 8 - 8 tie would have been insufficient, with Suffolk losing on board count.   However we only achieved half a point from these two games.

The Suffolk team was outgraded by an average of seven points per board, but surprisingly it was on the lower boards, where the grading differences were greater, that Suffolk fared well.   Bury juniors Adam John (Board 13) and Jaden Jermy (14) both won, as did Keith Woodcock on 12 (this was Keith's fifth successive win this season for the u160s).   Other Suffolk winners were Ed Kirkham (6) and Bob Stephens (7).

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Suffolk First Team through to the semis

Suffolk's First Team travelled to Milton Keynes today to play Worcestershire in the National Quarter-Final of the Minor Counties competition.

Suffolk were weakened by a late withdrawal, with Phil Hutchings standing in.   In this competition, each team's average grade must not exceed 180.   Suffolk were outgraded by Worcestershire by an average of four points per board.   Nevertheless, Suffolk won through by the clear margin of 10½ - 5½, with wins for David Spence, John Peters (capt), Tim Lunn, John Feavyour, Andrew Shephard and Jaden Jermy.   Grandmaster Keith Arkell was on top board for Worcestershire, but Alan Merry was able to draw with him.   Others to draw were Ian Wallis, Steve Gregory, Nick Savage, Mark Le-Vine, Leon Burnett, Jon Collins, Phil Hutchings and Alex Sheerin.   The only player to lose was Silas Peck on Board 5.

Suffolk will now play either Cornwall or Leicestershire in the Semi-Final on 10 June.

Tomorrow (Sunday) sees the Under 160s playing their Quarter-Final against Lancashire.