Monday, 26 September 2016

Suffolk teams

Suffolk usually runs three teams in the EACU Championships: First Team, Under 160 and Under 120.

The dates have been advised for the first round of matches for the Under 160s (Sunday 9 October) and the First Team (Sunday 16 October).   We are still seeking a First Team captain for the current season.

The Under 120s will face Norfolk and possibly Cambridgeshire in fixtures to be agreed in early 2017.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Cambridgeshire Rapidplay

The Cambridgeshire Rapidplay took place today at Whittlesford Village Hall with a record entry of 108 players in four sections.

Entrants included 18 from Suffolk (six adults and 12 juniors).   Section winners were (names in bold are from Suffolk):

Open   -   Alan Merry   5/5
Major   -   Russell Goodfellow   5/5
Challengers   -   Ryan Chan and Mark Johnson   4½/5
Juniors   -   Aaron Saenz de Villaverde   4½/5

Other Suffolk prizewinners included Roger Smith (Challengers =3rd) and Amy John (Juniors =2nd).

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Suffolk League is underway

The first matches of the season were played in Divisions 1 and 3 of the Suffolk League this week.   Next week it's the turn of Division 2.

All the results can be found on Dave Wild's website here.

It would be good to see some games and positions published on this website, so please don't be shy: send me your games!

In the meantime, here is the final position from my own game (as White) against Alex Sheerin, played on Tuesday.   I checked him on c6 and offered a draw, which he promptly accepted.   Should I have offered a draw, or should he have accepted?

See if you can work it out for yourself, without using a computer.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Isle of Man International

Three Suffolk players (and one former Suffolk player) will be travelling to the Isle of Man in a week's time for the annual International tournament, sponsored this year by   An incredibly strong line-up includes 47 Grandmasters, headed by three American players: Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So.

Alan Merry, Adam Taylor and Ed Player will be joined by David Whitehead, amongst the 137 entrants in the Masters section.

There is a £50,000 prize fund in the nine-round event, with a £12,000 first prize.   Two of last year's winners (GMs Sargissian and Fressinet) have entered, although they are well down the seedings, at #14 and #17.   Top English entrants are Michael Adams (#5) and David Howell (#16).

Alan Merry is still 18 rating points shy of the 2400 needed for his IM title.   With so many strong players (Alan is seeded #69) this must be a great opportunity for him to gain these necessary points.

The tournament website will provide round-by-round results as well as a link to live games, which start daily at 13.30 from 1 October.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Bury St Edmunds Congress latest

The 34th Bury St Edmunds Congress is exactly one month away.   It takes place at the Apex on 22/23 October.

Entries have been coming in steadily, and Congress Secretary Steve Lovell received a further four entries this evening at the Bury Club.   This brings the total number of entries to exactly 50.   This is roughly in line with entries in previous years; most players seem to leave things to the last minute before sending in their entry.

Remember, you can enter and pay online.   Just click here and follow the instructions!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Peter Keffler's books

As many of you will know, when Peter Keffler died last December he left a huge quantity of chess books, more than 3,000 of them and over 1,000 different titles.

I took over his stock and have been selling them on Amazon.   The net proceeds are being shared between Peter's estate and myself.

Since I started selling in April, I have sold more than 900 books.   They are all very reasonably priced, because we just want the books to be sold.   I have recently started selling in Europe as well as the UK, which has meant a considerable increase in sales.

To view the available books, go to the Amazon page here.   You will need to scroll through a lot of pages though!

Amazingly, I have not yet sold a single book on Amazon to a Suffolk player....

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Full house at Ipswich

It was a full house at Ipswich this evening for the first League matches of the season.   Three Ipswich teams (A, E and F) were in action, as well as a match between teams from Saxmundham and Bury St Edmunds, who were using Ipswich as a 'halfway' venue.

It was good to see several juniors in action, including a whole team of youngsters from the Bury club.   These included possibly the youngest-ever player in local League chess, Rowan Kent (pictured right), who is not yet 7½ years old.   Although he lost, his game lasted two hours and 53 moves.   Rowan gets around: he lives in Ipswich, attends Woodbridge School and is a member of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club.   In July he played in two age-group sections of the British Championships, in Bournemouth.

For the record, Ipswich A beat Bury St Edmunds B 2½ - 1½; Ipswich E lost ½ - 3½ to Manningtree C; and Ipswich F beat Felixstowe 3 - 1.   The other match between Saxmundham B and Bury St Edmunds E was drawn.   In that match 10-year old Adam John (129) beat Dominic Carter (139).

Monday, 19 September 2016

The future of the UK Chess Challenge

As many chess players will be aware, the organiser of the UK Chess Challenge, Mike Basman (right), has been declared bankrupt on account of his debt of £300K to HMRC for unpaid VAT.

The UKCC has been operating for 20 years and has never charged VAT on entry fees, despite the turnover exceeding the VAT threshold.

The chess world seems split over their reaction to Mike's predicament.   Clearly, he has been errant in not checking if VAT was chargeable and did not employ an accountant (who would, almost certainly, have advised him that it was).   There is some sympathy for Mike who has introduced chess to thousands of children over the years.   Whether the UKCC can continue is in doubt.   It may need to be re-badged and almost certainly Mike Basman will not be taking a leading role.

A petition has been organised to try and get chess (or junior chess at least) exempted from VAT.   All physical sports are exempt, but 'mind sports' are not.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Dagne at the Olympiad

Suffolk's Dagne Ciuksyte (left) had a good Olympiad in Baku, which finished on 13 September.   Playing mainly on Board 2 for England, Dagne scored an unbeaten 6½ out of 9 (+4, =5, -0).   She won both games when she played on Board 1.

The best performance for the England Women team was by 15-year old Akshaya Kalaiyalahan (graded 214 ECF), who scored 7½/10 and gained 29 rating points from the event.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Bury Knights Open Evening

The Bury Knights Junior Chess Club held an Open Evening yesterday.   It was full house at Horringer Court Middle School, with 25 current members supplemented by 22 newcomers.   That's the largest number of children there has been at the Club for several years.

Some 20 parents were given a talk about the background to the Club, which is celebrating its 25th year of continuous operations this season.

Ed Player coached the top group of club members (photo right), whilst former members Alba and Mario Saenz helped some of the newcomers who hadn't played chess before.

Some of the club members joined in with the coaching groups.   In the photo below Amy John and Tia Martin (in Club polo shirts) are helping Adam Leigh (kneeling left).

Remember, you can click on any of the photos to enlarge them.