Tuesday, 30 October 2012

A visit to Clare

I've just spent a very pleasant evening at the Cock Inn, Clare, visiting the Clare Chess Group, an informal gathering of chess-players of varying standards, who enjoy a chat and a pint with their game.

Organiser Derek Wootley (standing, watching the games) doesn't feel that the members are ready for league chess. But they would welcome any visiting chess-player who happens to be in the area, or is prepared to make the journey out to Clare. It's only 30 minutes from Bury and a lot less from Sudbury. They meet every Tuesday evening, from 19.30 to 23.00.

The Club (sorry, 'Chess Group') has been invited to apply for affiliation to the Suffolk County Chess Association.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Mike gets out of his pram

This, from Competitions Secretary, Mike McNaughton:

At a recent Committee meeting, Bob made the suggestion that digital clocks should be made compulsory. He said they are always used in the British Championship.

Well, that's as may be, but I can recall a fiasco at a British Championship which was held in Southport some time between 1983 and 1986. The organisers, bless their little cotton socks, had decided that digital was the future. All the clocks for the Championship proper were to be digital. Ta-ra! The beginning of a new era! You remember, Harold Wilson, the white heat of technology, or words to that effect.

What happened was that competitors, to a man, refused to use these digital dervishes after the first few rounds, and they had to revert to analogue.

That wouldn't happen now, of course. But I remain worried about them. It's not the cost; there is little difference between an analogue clock and a simple digital model (although I suppose that 4 x £25 at a time of austerity is something that most clubs would not welcome). I suppose it's just that I've used analogue ever since I was in nappies. Just one look at an analogue clock will tell me at once what I need to know, whereas with a digital I have to think about it. Only for a few seconds, of course.

But I suppose the juggernaut of technology will steamroller on, flattening everything in its path. There will come a time (I won't see it, thank goodness) when people of my age will solemnly tell the younger generation, "In my day we used to use analogue clocks" and be rewarded with a disdainful stare from the young whizz kids. As a matter of interest, Norfolk has now introduced a rule change about the use of digital clocks; in effect it means that if the home team provides a digital clock the away team has no right to object (eat what is set before you, so to speak).

So I suppose, when I start pushing up the daisies, that digital will become the norm. But please please please, the Suffolk League is not the World Championship, and even for a time trouble freak like me, nanoseconds aren't all that important. Can we, at the very least, ban fancy time limits like Fischer, time delay, Bronstein and Lord knows what else (except by prior agreement between the players). We don't want or need clocks which flash, light up, and sing Nessun Dorma when the time control is reached.

Perhaps the way forward (assuming the clubs want a way forward) is to agree a protocol for the use of digital clocks so that clubs can replace their analogues over a period of time, and pay £25 or so for a new digitral clock (more or less what you'd pay for a basic analogue) as their old clocks wear out. Players will gradually get used to digital, and eventually an analogue chess clock will make its appearance in the British Museum in the section, 'Stone Age timing devices'.

Thankfully I won't be around then.

Ed - Thanks Mike for this article, which was written a few months ago and was destined originally for the Suffolk Chess Journal. Let's see some responses from you the readers!

All Suffolk players will wish to send Mike our deepest sympathies for the recent loss of his wife, who died in the USA after a long illness.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

If you gotta go, you gotta go...

By way of light relief, this recent article from Chessvibes is worth a read. Of course, there's a serious side to this: why cheat? You're only cheating yourself. Hopefully nothing like this would happen in sleepy Suffolk.

Of course, technology continues to advance apace, and perhaps some time soon we can expect a chess professional to experiment with a brain implant. This Chessbase article, from nearly ten years ago, explains one such idea.

Another article, from 'The Week' says (at the end):

"Maybe one day, the chip will help improve the thinking abilities of "healthy humans," ....meaning "prosthetically enabled intelligence augmentation" could become a reality.


Saturday, 27 October 2012

New affiliations to the SCCA

Two clubs, who don't compete in the Suffolk League, have agreed to affiliate to the Suffolk County Chess Association. They are King's Gambit (Brandon) and Newmarket. The former club does not play in any league, whilst Newmarket are in Division 2 of the Bury Area League.

Affiliation will give these clubs a voice at the AGM and their members will be able to stand for SCCA officer posts.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Joining the ECF

The vast majority of Suffolk chess players have now joined the ECF; only a few are still to join. If you click on the links below, you can see who has still to join. The figure in brackets is the number of non-members from that club. Remember, if you do not join, you will be charged (through your club) £2.00 for every graded game you play. ECF membership costs £13 (or £12 online), or £9 for Juniors (£8 online). Click here to join online.

Adastral Park (2)
Felixstowe (5)
Ipswich (4)
Manningtree (1)
Saxmundham (1)
Stowmarket (1)

If your club is not listed, then all members who have played to date in Suffolk competitions have already joined the ECF.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Rob's reflecting on victory

Sudbury's Rob Sanders travelled down to Paignton in September for their annual congress. He competed in the five-round Boniface Morning event and finished equal first on 4 points!

(Photo courtesy of Brendan O'Gorman)

Here's an interesting win by Rob from Round 2:
Rob's 18... cxd4 was an error; ... Qc6 was necessary. After 19. Rxg2! Rxg2 20. Qe4!, White has the advantage. White's fatal error was 21. Kd2 instead of Nxg1.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Junior Organiser needed

International Master Adam Hunt has held the post of Suffolk Junior Organiser for the past few years but has now decided to hand over the reins to someone else. His work at Woodbridge School is very demanding and he feels he cannot offer the level of attention that the role demands.

It's vital that this post is filled. Without juniors, the chess scene in Suffolk will undoubtedly suffer. We only have to remember the 1990s, when Nick and Richard Pert, along with the likes of David Spence, Ed Player, David Whitehead and many others, were a major force on the national junior scene. Many of these are still playing at a high level, with both David and Ed still living in the county. Nick is a Grandmaster and Richard an IM. Other bright young stars have emerged in recent years, including 15-year old Alan Merry, now the county's highest-graded player, and Emilia Jewell, aged 14 and the highest-graded girl in Suffolk.

Apart from Woodbridge School, the only junior club that has been able to continue without a break has been the Bury Knights; others including Stowmarket, Newmarket and Great Cornard have fallen by the wayside. Even the Ipswich Junior Chess Club has had its difficulties and has not been able to resume this term.

What is needed is an enthusiastic person, ideally a parent, who can commit time and energy to this role. He or she will of course have the full support of the Suffolk Executive. There are plenty of opportunities for innovative ideas and plans.

If you are interested in taking on this post, and would like to discuss it further, please contact me.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

EACU Team Championships

This annual event takes place on Saturday 10 November at Whittlesford Memorial Hall, Whittlesford, CB22 4NE. There are three sections: Open, Team 600 and Team 500. The event is organised by Patrick Ribbands. Teams consist of four players from the EACU but not necessarily from the same club.

The Open is for teams with any total grade.

Team 600 is for teams with an aggregate grade not exceeding 600. For the purposes of calculation, anyone with a grade under 100 will be taken as 100.

Team 500 is for teams with an aggregate grade not exceeding 500. For the purposes of calculation, anyone with a grade under 75 will be taken as 75.

There will be an inscribed digital clock or a cash prize for the team with most game points in each category but the number and value of prizes will depend on the number of entries. If ten entries have been received by 27 October the EACU will undertake to provide a trophy.

The event uses the county match format of two rounds but starting at 09.45 and 14.00. The time limit is 36 moves in 90 minutes with 20 minutes to finish the game. 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 needs to pay an extra £4. The clubs that won the top division of the six EACU county leagues (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Bury League) in the last season 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. There is a pub or two in the village as well as a village shop.

Enquiries and entries should be made to Patrick Ribbands or to 01223 842197. Entries by 28th October please.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Suffolk win both matches in opening EACU fixtures

Yesterday (21 October) saw two excellent wins for the Suffolk First Team, against Norfolk (9 - 7) and Cambridgeshire (10½ - 5½).

There were two wins each for Ted Matthewson (Ipswich) and Rob Sanders (Sudbury), whilst Alan Merry, Ed Player, Ben Purton, Graham Moore, Steve Gregory. Richard Lamont and Laurie Pott all managed a win and a draw.

See here for full results. An excellent start to the season!

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Adam gets his England call

13-year old Adam Taylor, who has recently joined the Manningtree club, has been selected to play for England in the World Youth Chess Championships, to be held in Maribor, Slovenia, between 7 and 19 November.
Graded 181, Adam has already achieved solid draws against Tim Lunn and Ed Player in the Suffolk League this season. His rise has been meteoric; just three years ago his grade was 73.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Adrian Thorpe

This sad news has just reached Suffolk... Many players will remember with fondness Adrian Thorpe, formerly of the Bury & West Suffolk Chess Club. He died suddenly at his home in Herefordshire, back in April. Along with Roy Adams and Gordon Chapman, Adrian was a mainstay of that club. Now, all three have passed away. Adrian moved from his Suffolk home at Preston St Mary, about ten years ago. The photo above was taken when he attended Gordon Chapman's funeral in January 2011.

Adrian's 'magnum opus' was his 'History of the Bury & West Suffolk Chess Club', which he published in a lavish red imitation leather cover, in 1997. Copies of the book, which reflected on the 130 year history of the club, are still available at £7.50 (half-price).

Friday, 19 October 2012

Alan sits alongside the greats

Last weekend, whilst the Bury Congress was in progress, Alan Merry was in Dortmund, representing England in a match organised and sponsored by the German Railway Company (Deutsche Bahn)- the Trans-Europe Chess Express. See their excellent website. The event carried the by-line, "Logic meets Logistics".

Alan played on Board 2 in an 8-board team headed by Nigel Short, which included three 'railwaymen'. Quite an honour to be playing on the next board to Anatoly Karpov and Nigel Short.

Alan scored 3 out of 8. His opponents outgraded Alan by an average of 100 points.

After the main event, Alan played in a 13-round Rapidplay, scoring 8½ points, finishing equal 7th out of 76.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Chess is front page news!

In the final round of the Bury St Edmunds Congress last weekend, the oldest competitor, 88-year old John Dawson, from Linton, was paired against the youngest, 5-year old Jeff Tomy from Watford. The press were there to capture the moment and their photo appeared on the front page of the following day's East Anglian Daily Times, together with a fuller report on Page 4. See here. Oh, by the way, age prevailed.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Bury St Edmunds Congress results

134 players competed in this year's Congress, held at the 'Apex' in the town centre, 13/14 October. Of these, 48 were from clubs who compete in the Suffolk League. Section winners were:

Open - IM Harriet Hunt (Cambridge)
Major - Ed Kernohan (Cambridge City)
Intermediate - Warren Kingston (Lowestoft)
Minor - Jelena Tjurina (Wisbech)

Notable performances by Suffolk players included:

Ed Player (Bury St Edmunds) - on top board in final round against Harriet Hunt. He and Shaun Munson both finished on 3½ points.

Philip Hutchings (Manningtree) was runner-up in the Major section, on 4 points.

Another Manningtree player, Rob Kelly, was joint second in the Intermediate, along with Scott Taylor (Bury St Edmunds) and four others.

In the Minor section, Roger Smith (Ipswich) came equal second.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Cup draws

Mike McNaughton has published the fixtures and dates for the various Cup competitions. They are:

Under 125 Cup

Clacton v Felixstowe - 20 November
Stowmarket v Ipswich - 27 November
Final to be played on 23 April 2013

Under 145 Cup

(Preliminary round)
Felixstowe v Ipswich - 13 November
Clacton v Adastral Park - 27 November

Manningtree v Clacton or Adastral Park - 27 February 2013
Felixstowe or Ipswich v Saxmundham - tba

League Cup

Adastral Park v Ipswich A - 23 October
Manningtree v Saxmundham - 24 October
Ipswich A v Sudbury - 6 November
Saxmundham v Ipswich B - 6 November
Sudbury v Adastral Park - 27 November
Ipswich B v Manningtree - 27 November

Norfolk & Suffolk Cup

Ipswich v Bury St Edmunds - 23 April 2013

Any queries? Contact Mike at mike181040 (at) hotmail.com