Sunday, 23 April 2017

Adam survives the trial / Under 160s opponents / Great Yarmouth

This will be the last article/blog until 3 or 4 May.

Bury's Adam John travelled to Liverpool this weekend for the England Under 11 Trial.   The top Under 11s in the country were present and Adam scored 4/6 (three wins and two draws), losing only to the eventual winner.   It is expected that he will now be selected for the England squad.

Lancashire today won the preliminary round of the Under 160s National County Championships, beating Sussex 10½-5½ and will play Suffolk on Sunday 14 May.   We should hear soon where the match will take place, but it will probably be close to the M1 at Junction 25.

14 Suffolk players entered the Great Yarmouth Congress this weekend, out of a total of 94 entrants.   The results have not yet been published, but should be available soon on the grading website here.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Bury Knights go to Ipswich

The recently re-formed Ipswich Junior Chess Club invited a team of three Bury Knights members to play some games today at their weekly club meeting.   The three Bury Knights were Amy John, Toby and Tia Martin.   They played a number of Ipswich members, winning 14 out of the 16 games played.

This was intended to give the Ipswich members the experience of playing some stronger opponents.   The two wins were earned by Ipswich's best players, Jenni Rochford and Cayden Judge.

The photo above shows the venue - the Lecture Room at Ipswich Library, with 15 Ipswich members present (a record!), as well as the three Bury Knights' members.   The adult in the centre is Martin Tomes, the club organiser and member of the Ipswich Chess Club.

Martin welcomes assistance from other Ipswich Chess Club members, who occasionally come along to help.   Watching these youngsters improve, and eventually mature into proficient players, can be extremely motivating.

The photo above shows the three Bury Knights members (all playing White), in their first matches against Jenni Rochford, Hamilton Lowdell and John-Paul Noble.

Friday, 21 April 2017

David's in Iceland

The annual Reyjavik Open regularly attracts a large and strong field.   There are 264 entrants at this year's 10-round event, which started on Wednesday.   32 GMs have entered, including top seed Anish Giri (2771).

Suffolk's David Spence is one of eleven English entrants, who include GM Gawain Jones, seeded seventh.

After four rounds, David is on 2½ points.   His only loss was to an Icelandic GM in Round 3.   In Round 5, David faces another GM, from India.   Five players, all GMs (including Gawain), are on maximum points.

You can follow David's progress here.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Division 2 hangs in the balance

Suffolk League Division 2 is the only division where promotion (or champions) is still to be decided.   A mouth-watering final match awaits between the top two teams - Bury St Edmunds A and Saxmundham A - due to be played next Tuesday.

Bury will go into the match two points clear of their opponents and will have home advantage.   Both teams have an identical record (W7, D2, L2), so Saxmundham need to win 3 - 1 or better to claim top spot and promotion to Division 1.   From Bury's point of view, 1½ points will secure the title for them.   If points are equal, Saxmundham will be promoted as they will have won one more match than Bury.

No doubt both teams will be fielding a strong side.   Follow the grading website to see the result of this important match, as I will be away on holiday and unable to make a report.

At the other end of the table, only 2½ points separate the bottom four teams.   Despite a valiant effort, drawing 2 - 2 against Saxmundham A in their final match, Stowmarket will be relegated to Division 3.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Junior Chess meeting

Five people attended a meeting at Junior Organiser Tim Kent's house this evening, to discuss his plans for the future of Junior Chess in Suffolk.   Pictured above are (left to right): Tim Kent, Bob Jones (Bury Knights JCC), Dagne Ciuksyte (Martlesham JCC), Jane Drummond (Ipswich JCC) and Bill Mackintosh (Creeting St Mary and Bosmere Primary schools).   Four others were unable to attend:   Adam Hunt (Woodbridge School), Martin Tomes (Ipswich JCC), Boby Sebastian (Bury Knights JCC) and Blake Gifford (Whitehouse Primary and Woodbridge Chess Club).

Discussion included setting up a new website, developing chess in schools, extra junior tournaments, Suffolk teams at various age-groups, publicity and fund-raising.

Tim set out his broad aims:

*   to encourage more children to play chess through better marketing of the existing chess clubs and the promotion of chess in Suffolk schools;
*   to hold and promote more junior tournaments;
*   to organise teams to participate in inter-county matches;
*   to create a system where children can develop their skills at a pace which is appropriate to their ability.

Tim is to be congratulated on his enthusiastic and structured approach, which should result in increased numbers of children playing chess in the county.   It is hoped that he will receive every support from clubs and individuals over the coming months.

A further meeting of 'interested parties' will be held on Wednesday 5 July.   Anyone else wishing to attend should contact Tim on 07743 457251.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Ipswich Club Championship

The following report has been provided by Ian Wallis, winner of this season's Club Championship:

After six rounds Steve Gregory and I were tied for first place, so a play-off was needed to decide the championship.   Historically this used to be a six game match played over the summer, however as the Ipswich club no longer meets during this time, it was reduced to a single game.   In the event of a draw it was agreed that there would be another night set aside for rapid games with reducing time controls until a winner emerged.   Fortunately that was not necessary as I won a very fluctuating final game against Steve.

None of my games are worthy of publication in full so here is a selection of some critical positions from some of them:

Round 1 - White v Les Jones

White is better here but Black could prolong the game with Kg8 for example.   However he played to reduce the material deficit and walked into mate with 42... Rxf3?   43. Qc8+   Kf7 44. Qe8#

Round 3 - White v Martin Fogg

Martin had encouraged me to sacrifice in order to reach this winning position which I tried to mess up by playing inaccurately.

26. Re3 (now Black can escape with 26... Rb6   27. Rxe6   Bxe6 with three pieces for the Queen).   Fortunately 26... Kf7 was played and after 27. Rxe6   Bxe6   28. Qe5   1 - 0 three moves later.   Back to the diagram:   26. Rxd7! was the correct continuation (26... Qxe2   27. f7#).

Round 5 - White v Alex Sheerin

17... Bc8 is forced to meet 18. Nf5 with Bxf5.   Alex didn't notice the threat and after 17... Rac8   18. Nf5   Qe6   19. Qg4 had to give up his Queen to prevent immediate mate.

Round 6 - Black v Michael Cook

I had obtained a comfortable position from the opening and if White had continued with something like 13. 0-0   Nc5   14. Bc4 the game would be balanced.

However knowing Michael's preference for knights I was expecting the game continuation 13. Ba6?   Bxa6   14. Qxa6   Nc5   15. Qe2   Nd3+   16. Kf1   Nxb2 and despite Mike putting up a valiant defence I won after 60 moves.

Playoff - White v Stephen Gregory

This game reminded me of games from the final rounds of the recent US championships where the pressures of winning a national title produced many errors.   I can't say we had the same excuse but there were plenty of errors in this game.   Having misplayed a favourable opening I reached this position just before the time control.

35. Rb1 was probably best taking the line of most resistance, however Steve had only seconds for his next move and feeling Black was better I decided to mix it with 36. d5?!   cxd5 was the automatic reply (36... Qb3! is probably winning)   37. c6 was the idea. ... Qb3 (keeping the advantage but no longer winning) 38. Qc3? (throwing the game away) 38... Ra2+   39. Kf1   Qa4? (returning the compliment - Rf2+   40. Ke1   Qa2 is simply winning)   40. Qc5 (now White is much better) ... Kf7 (... Rf2+ was an improvement, although 41. Ke1   Kf7 42. c7   Qa6 43. Qxf2! should decide)   41. Qb6?   (41. c7 wins as ... Rf2+ can be met by Qxf2!)   ... Qa8? (the final error ... Rf2+   42. Qxf2   Nxf2   43. c7   Nd3   44. c8=Q   Nxc1   45. Qxc1 was more challenging.)   42. Qb7+ the rest was straightforward ...Ke8   43. Qd7+   Kf8   44. Ng6   Kg8   45. Qxe6+   Kg7   46. Qf6+   Kh7   47. Qf7#.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Southend results

The seven-round FIDE-rated Southend Easter Congress finished today, with mixed results for the Suffolk contingent (see earlier report here).

Alan Merry finished joint second on 5½ points, losing only to the eventual winner, GM Timur Gareyev.   Hailing from the USA, Gareyev is the World Blindfold Champion, as reported here a few months ago.   He scored 6½ points, with his only draw being in the second round against David Spence.

Ed Player scored five points to finish joint fourth, but all his opponents were lower-rated, probably because he had lost his Round 2 match.   David Spence finished on 4½ points, whilst Alex Sheerin (who took a couple of ½-point byes on Sunday) scored 2½ points.

Alan Merry's last round win was strange.   The live feed shows Alan winning in a drawn position.   His opponent, Matthew Wadsworth (White) is to play in the following position.

With only one possible move, it would seem unlikely that Matthew lost on time, although both players were down to a minute or so.   Perhaps the game continued longer, but the live feed stopped for some reason?   The position is theoretically drawn, but of course Matthew may have blundered somewhere.   Perhaps Alan, or Ed or David will explain what happened...

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Brother and sister to play for England

Two siblings from Bury St Edmunds have been selected to represent England at the European Schools Championships, to be held in Budva, Montenegro, in June.

They are 11-year old Adam John and his 8-year old sister Amy.   To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time that a brother and sister from Suffolk have both been selected to play for their country.

Adam, currently graded 131, is having a good season in the leagues and may hit 150 in the next grading list to be published in July.   Meanwhile, sister Amy (ECF 74) has started playing regular league chess.   She is showing tremendous concentration and most of her games are lasting over two hours.

Congratulations to both on being selected!   The website for the Championships can be seen here.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Manningtree secure Division 3 title

Manningtree Chess Club may need a larger trophy cupboard.   In addition to their A team winning Division 1, Manningtree B have now won the Division 3 title.

Last Wednesday Manningtree B beat bottom team Felixstowe B to create a six-point margin ahead of their nearest rivals Saxmundham B, whom they play on Tuesday after Easter.   So, regardless of the score in that match, Manningtree A, who are unbeaten all season, winning 11 of their 13 matches, will be Division 3 Champions.

Next season, assuming Manningtree fields three teams again, the club will have a team in each of the three divisions.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Southend underway

The first two rounds of the Southend Easter Congress were completed today.   The standout performance was David Spence's draw with top seed GM Timur Gareyev, rated 441 points higher!   In fact, David accepted a draw when he might have been able to win, as he was about to go a pawn up in the endgame.   This was the final position, with David (White) to play:

After 46. Rxa5   Rxb2   (if 46...Nxa5, 47. Ra2)   47. Rxa4.

In addition to David (1½/2), three other Suffolk players are amongst the 67 entrants in the Open: Alan Merry, who has won both games, Ed Player (1/2) and Alex Sheerin (also 1/2).   Alex had a good win this afternoon against an opponent rated 1927 (279 points higher than Alex).

More news on this four-day seven-round tournament when it has finished on Easter Monday.