Wednesday, 26 October 2016

UK Chess Challenge

You may recall reading here about Mike Basman's bankrupty woes and the possible demise of the UK Chess Challenge.   Well, today, Sarah Longson (née Hegarty) - see photo right - has announced the following:

"Over the summer I was saddened to hear that the future of the UK Schools Chess Challenge, the world's largest chess competition, was in doubt.   The UK Schools Chess Challenge is very close to my heart.   Indeed, way back in 1996 it was the first major tournament that I won.   This opened some incredible doors, playing chess on Blue Peter and meeting the world champion, Garry Kasparov.   I subsequently went on to win the UK Schools chess challenge eight times.   My early involvement in schools chess was certainly the catalyst to going on and winning the British Ladies title 2013 and representing the English ladies team at the world chess Olympiads.   Today I am a lawyer.   However, since last year I have been 'full time' on chess teaching and playing in various competitions home and abroad.

I am delighted that my bid to take over the UK Schools Chess Challenge has been accepted.   I am supported by my husband Alex Longson, a strong chess player and also a chartered accountant.   We hope our professional backgrounds will add credence as the competition enters a new phase.   I hope the UK Schools Chess Challenge continues to inspire and opens up new horizons.   I also hope it continues to vaunt the belief that 'mental challenge and competition' is the 'equal of the sports field'.   We met with Mike Basman and Pat Armstrong last weekend to discuss plans and they are happy to work with us to make this tournament a success."

It's certainly good news that the event will be continuing, and it seems that Mike Basman will still be involved, although probably in the 'back room'.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Kids' chess film

I recently received a link to a short YouTube film about children playing chess.   Shots of the children are interspersed with other sports, presumably in an attempt to show that playing chess is a 'normal' activity.

Not sure if it really works, but I guess it's better than nothing.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Bury Congress results

The 34th Bury St Edmunds Congress ended this evening, with prizes to the value of £2,280 being paid out to 27 winners.  The entry of 151 players enjoyed some excellent chess in the splendid surroundings of the Apex.

Congress Secretary Steve Lovell is to be congratulated on the smooth running of the event; an enormous amount of preparation is needed to ensure that all goes well on the day.   Steve was ably assisted by John Wickham, Congress Director for the event, who made all the announcements and acted as chief arbiter.   Others involved included Paul Kemp, League Treasurer, as well as several members of the local chess club, who arrived early on Saturday morning to set up the auditorium.

The full results, as well as the prizes paid out, can be viewed on the Congress website.   The results were posted on the website at the end of each round, as well as the pairings for the following rounds.

The only person to score a maximum 5/5 was top seed in the Open, GM Matthew Sadler, pictured right receiving his winner's cheque for £350.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Bury Congress Day 1 report

After three rounds of the Bury St Edmunds Congress, there is just one person in each section on maximum three points.   They are:

In the Open, top seed GM Matthew Sadler
Major - Simon Morris (Hertford)
Intermediate - Gert de Block (Cambridge)
Minor - Scott Shelley (Chelmsford)

The photo above shows Adam Taylor (Manningtree) on top board against Matthew Sadler in Round 3.

The Open is extremely strong, with 12 players graded 200 or higher.   There are eight players on 2½ points, including Suffolk players Alan Merry, Dagne Ciuksyte, Graham Moore and Ed Player.

Sunday's Round 4 sees the two top seeds in the Open playing each other, with second seed and former Suffolk junior IM Richard Pert having the black pieces.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Junior chess in Bury is thriving!

In the five weeks since holding an Open Evening in mid-September, the weekly attendance at the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club has averaged 40.   A new Division 4 has been formed from the more promising youngsters who joined the Club recently, and after half-term, a new Division 5 will be created.

A lot of effort has been put in to helping the 'novices' to learn the basics, so that they are able to play a proper game of chess.   In addition to regular adult helpers Ed Player and Adam Leigh, former club members Daniel Garcia-Leon, Alba Saenz de Villaverde and her brother Mario, have all assisted.

With four classrooms in use, it's a busy (and at times noisy) environment.   But the children, who age from 4 to 13, all seem to be enjoying themselves.

All of the top group (Division 1) are playing regularly in the adult leagues, and scoring well.   10-year old Adam John managed a draw against Adam Harvey on Thursday, whilst 11-year old Jaden Jermy recently drew with Kevin Greenacre.

Any Suffolk chess player is welcome to come along on a Friday evening to join in with the fun, and perhaps share their expertise with the more promising juniors.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

ECF Congress of the Year

Congratulations to the St Albans Congress, which has been awarded ECF Congress of the Year.   This weekend congress attracts about 220 players each year.   The venue is pleasant and in a good location.   It is very friendly and has an excellent bookstall and analysis room.

The next Congress is over the weekend of 1/2 April 2017.

See here for the other annual ECF awards.

The next 'local' tournament, after the Bury St Edmunds Congress this coming weekend, is the Herts Annual Congress, 12-13 November at the County Hall, Hertford.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Bury Congress latest

With just three days to go, entries for the 34th Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress have reached 140.   Another ten entries are required to ensure that the quoted prize fund will be paid in full.

If you are still thinking about entering, there's still time.   No late entry fee applies, unless you enter on the day, when it's an extra £5.00.

Go to entry form to enter online.

The list of entrants includes:

*   8 titled players
*   10 graded over 200
*   4 graded over 230

This tournament will be the strongest ever held in Suffolk, and the strongest in East Anglia since the British Championships took place in Great Yarmouth in 2007.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

County First Team in action

First Team Captain John Peters reports:

Suffolk made a strong start to the season last Sunday with a win and a draw.   At one point in the morning session we were up 8 - 5 against a strong Norfolk side, a fixture that I would like to be called 'Farmergeddon' in the future.   But they closed out the final three games to snatch an 8 - 8 draw.

In the afternoon we managed to beat Bedfordshire 9 - 7 in a closely fought match, mostly owing to a strong performance among the lower boards.

Suffolk's most recent IM, Alan Merry, anchored the side from Board 1 with wins against Mike Harris and Evgeny Tukpetov.   Another performance of note was Silas Peck's two wins, the latter of which came when he moved up to Board 7 from Board 9 and smoothly pressed his opening advantage into a fine attack and converted into a winning endgame.

Weighing in with 1½/2 were Graham Moore, Ted Mattewson, Mike Cook and Leon Burnett.

Thanks to everyone for turning out and getting us off to such a good start.   As a reminder, the remaining two match dates are Sunday January 8th and Sunday February 19th.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Cup and Plate Quarter-Finals

Cup and Plate Organiser Rob Sanders has made the draw for the Quarter-Finals:   The dates shown are his suggested match dates:

Cup – 22/11/16
Ipswich B v Ipswich C
Ipswich D v Sudbury
Saxmundham A v Bury A
Manningtree A – Bye

Plate – 29/11/16
Felixstowe B v Manningtree B
Ipswich F v Bury E
Bury D – Bye
Felixstowe A – Bye

If any club wishes to change these proposed dates, they should contact both Rob Sanders and David Green.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

One week to go

The Bury St Edmunds Congress is just one week away!   Current entries stand at 115 and Congress Secretary Steve Lovell is hoping that the final total will reach 150.

If you are planning to enter, please do it now.   Don't leave it to the last minute.

Click here to see the list of current entrants; or here to enter the event.