Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Jaden's success in Norfolk

12-year old Jaden Jermy lives in Thetford but plays his chess in Suffolk (Bury Knights and Bury St Edmunds).   On Saturday he travelled to Norwich to take part in the Norfolk Junior Championships, which are open only to children living in, born in, or attending school in Norfolk.

Jaden scored 5½/6 in the Under 14 section, and is now the Norfolk Under 12 and Under 14 Champion!

As reported here, Jaden is now a full member of the England Junior Chess Squad and expects to be selected to play for England some time this year.   He is hoping to raise funds to cover his travel and coaching costs.

Any contribution by local chess players will be much appreciated!

Monday, 27 February 2017

Training Day in Brentwood

Nine Suffolk Juniors attended a training day yesterday in Brentwood, organised (amongst others) by International Master Richard Pert.

The photos below show the Bury Knights' members (Milan Biju, Rowan Kent, Adam John, Amy John, Isaac Kim and Tom Roy), as well as the Woodbridge School children Rowan Kent (again!), Marina, Georgia and Theo Pommier.   Behind them in both photos is GM Matthew Sadler, England's highest-graded player at 282, who was helping to coach the children, along with Richard's twin brother GM Nick Pert.

This was the second 'Train and Play' event organised by Richard Pert and Robin Slade, Head Coach of the Chelmsford Junior Chess Club.   The next one will be held on Sunday 2 April and entries can be made here.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Game Fee to be abolished?

The English Chess Federation is proposing to abolish Game Fee.   You can read a paper on this topic here.

To summarise, Game Fee is currently payable at the rate of £2.50 per game.   This applies to all players who are not ECF members.   The ECF would like to introduce a system whereby players are allowed three competitive (graded) games free of charge, before they are required to join the ECF.   The three 'free' games would be allowed for each league than a person plays in.   So a person who plays in both the Suffolk League and the Bury Area Chess League, would be allowed three games in each league before needing to take out Bronze membership.

Game Fee as it stands at present, involves often small amounts being invoiced to clubs.   This is not considered cost-effective.

Leagues will be invoiced £25.00 for each person who exceeds the three-game limit (£15.00 for Juniors).   Leagues, in turn, will obviously invoice the relevant club.

This proposal does not affect 'Pay-to-Play' fees in congresses.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

World Blindfold Simul record broken

Most club players would struggle to play a single game, blindfold.   We tried it at the Bury St Edmunds Club several years ago, and only Alan Watkins was able to master the technique.   So imagine playing five, or ten, or.... even 48 games, simultaneously, blindfolded.

Uzbekistani, GM Timur Gareyev (2618), the self-styled 'Blindfold King', who is now based in the USA, took on 48 opponents recently at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.   A detailed report, which includes an interesting history of blindfold chess, can be seen here.

For the record Timur won 35, drew 7 and lost only 6.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Back in 1990

The photo above was taken in 1990 (or thereabouts).   It shows the Suffolk Junior Championships when they were held in the Ipswich Corn Exchange.   Entries in the '90s often exceeded 300 children.

In those days we had an effective Junior Chess organisation, as can be seen from the chart below.   What we desperately need now is for someone to take up the challenge of organising and promoting chess for children within the county.   Both Essex and Cambridgeshire, and to a lesser extent Norfolk, have strong arrangements, with coaching and other events.

It has been too long with no Junior Organiser for the county.   Apart from the Bury Knights, Woodbridge School and a few state schools, there's not a lot of chess being played by children in Suffolk.   The Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress on 5 March has so far attracted more entrants from Cambridgeshire, than from Suffolk!

If anyone - a parent perhaps - is interested in promoting junior chess within the county, please have a chat with me.   I did the job for ten years (1988 to 1997) and it was an amazing, rewarding experience.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

EACU Team Championships

The following has been received from Patrick Ribbands:

The EACU Team Championships will take place at Moreton Hall Community Centre, Bury St. Edmunds, on Sunday 9 April.

There will be four sections: Open, Team 600, Team 500 and Team 400.

Teams consist of four players from the EACU but not necessarily from the same club.   EACU players are those living in or from clubs located in or affiliated to Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk or Suffolk.   Also eligible are people born in the county, or with five years' residence in the county at any time, or currently attending a school college or university in the county.

The Team 600 section is for teams with an aggregate grade of 600 or less in the January list though for this calculation anyone with a grade under 100 will be taken as 100.

The Team 500 section is a team with an aggregate grade of 500 or less though for this calculation anyone with a grade under 75 will be taken as 75.

The Team 400 section is for teams with an aggregate grade of 400 or less though for this calculation anyone with a grade under 50 will be taken as 50.

There will be a cash prize for the team with the most game points in each section but the number and value of prizes will depend on the number of entries.

The event uses the county match format of two rounds starting at 10.00 and 14.30.   If digital clocks are available for all boards of a match, the time control will be 36 moves in 80 minutes, followed by 10 minutes to finish the game, with an increment of 15 seconds per move from move one.   Results will be submitted for grading

The exact format of the competition will depend on the number of entries.   The entry fee is £20 per team payable on the day.   Any player who is not a member of the ECF will need to pay an extra £5.   The clubs that won the top division of the six EACU county leagues (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and the Bury League) in 2015/16 are entitled to enter a team of entirely their club players at half price into the Open.

Tea and coffee will be provided free of charge.   Enquiries and entries should be made to Patrick Ribbands or to 01223 842197.   Entries by 28 March if possible please, though an early indication that you might raise a team would also be much appreciated.   Later entries will be at the organiser's discretion.

If you do not have four players for a team Patrick should be able to put you in touch with others who would like to play.


Let's see plenty of entries from Suffolk!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Alan's purple patch

Alan Merry, our home-grown International Master, is enjoying some excellent results this year.

In early January he entered the Shropshire Congress, where he scored 4½/5 to take the first prize of £1000.   His only draw was against top seed GM Mark Hebden.

Then in the 4NCL in mid-January he won both his games, whilst at the end of the month he played in the Norfolk Rapidplay, winning all six games!

February saw his first loss, when he was beaten by GM Stephen Gordon (2506) in the 4NCL, but bounced back the following day by beating GM Tamas Fodor (2511).   Finally, last weekend he won both his games in the EACU County Championship.

Here's a full list of his results:

Shropshire Congress   (6-8 Jan)T Sygnowski202Win
P Davies167Win
GM M Hebden246Draw
R Maciol202Win
IM J Cox218Win
4NCL   (14-15 Jan)J Blackburn198Win
IM R Bates231Win
Norfolk Rapidplay   (29 Jan)P Walton147Win
D Hall170Win
R Hughes185Win
D Spence203Win
A Brett197Win
M Hughes185Win
4NCL   (11-12 Feb)GM S Gordon241Lost
GM T Fodor245Win
EACU First Team   (19 Feb)FM G Kenworthy204Win
B Van der Velden208Win

That's 15 wins, one draw, and one loss.

Alan's ECF grade is 232 and his grading performance over these 17 games is 250.   Meanwhile, his Elo rating has crept up to 2411.

Stowmarket Club Championship

Twelve members of the Stowmarket Chess Club are taking part in this season's Club Championship.   To date, three rounds (out of five) have been completed.

Top seed Stephen Lewis (left) is the current leader on three points, with Daniel Yarnton close behind on 2½ points.   These two will play each other in Round 4.

Click here to view the current cross-table.

Monday, 20 February 2017

County First Team make it through

Suffolk's First Team, captained by John Peters, has made it through to the National stages of the County Championships.   Yesterday, they played Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

In the morning, Suffolk beat wooden spooners Bedfordshire comfortably by 10 points to 6, despite losing on the bottom three boards to lower-rated opponents.   At the same time, Norfolk were soundly thrashed by Cambridgeshire, losing 4½ - 11½.   Had Norfolk won, then Suffolk's result against Cambridgeshire would have been academic, as Suffolk would have qualified anyway.   So a win (or a draw) in the afternoon against a highly motivated Cambridgeshire team was now essential.   A win by Cambridgeshire would have seen them through.

Stand-in captain Ian Wallis reports, "The match started off badly for us.   Cambs won a couple of games early on and a few draws put them in control.   Looking at the remaining games it was difficult to see where our points would come from to get back in the match.   We won a game to get in touch but then lost another one to remain two down.   But the match finally swung our way in the final quarter and we managed enough wins to reach 8 points and were safely through to the national stages."

Four players won both games: Alan Merry, Graham Moore, Shaun Munson and Tim Lunn.   On 1½ points were Steve Gregory, Ted Matthewson and John Feavyour, whilst Ian Wallis and Nick Savage were unbeaten with two draws.

As can be seen from the final league table, Norfolk and Suffolk finished on equal match points.   Unfortunately, game points do not decide tie-breaks.   Rule 3b of the EACU County Championship rules state, "If two or more teams are level in match point scores they shall be placed in order of game scores in the matches between the tied teams, and if these are equal according to their total game scores except that if another team has defaulted a match against one of the tied teams then all matches against that team shall be excluded.   If these do not give a decision, board count in the match or matches between the teams concerned will decide, and failing that the Elimination Rule shall apply until the scores are unequal."

In the matches between Suffolk and Norfolk, one match was drawn and the other was narrowly won by Norfolk.   So Norfolk are the season's EACU Champions and Suffolk are runners-up.   Both counties qualify for the National stages.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Adam plays in Ireland

Woodbridge School's resident International Master Adam Hunt travelled to the West of Ireland this weekend to take part in the three-day Bunratty Masters tournament.   The event attracted a strong field of 48 players, which included six Grandmasters and five International Masters.

Top seed and eventual winner was GM Nigel Short, who continued his current rich vein of form (he beat Caruana recently at Gibraltar) by winning all six games, including a Round 3 defeat of Adam Hunt.

Adam also played GM Lalic, against whom he drew, to finish on 4½/6 and a share of fourth place.

Short's last round win, against IM Alex Lopez, rated 258 points lower than him, was an interesting double-edged affair, which can be seen (for the time being, at least) on the live games page of the Bunratty website.