Friday, 30 November 2012

Forthcoming events

The list of forthcoming events has recently been updated.   There are plenty of tournaments taking place in East Anglia in the coming months, to suit all tastes and ages.

The Leys School Junior Chess Tournament - Cambridge, Sunday 20 January 2013.   Three age-group sections for Under 10s, Under 12s and Under 14s.   Organiser is Matt Taylor of the Leys School; Controller is Bob Jones.

Hertfordshire Chess Association Congress, Hertford, Sat/Sun 2/3 February 2013.   Four graded sections: Open, u175, u150 and u120.

Peterborough Rapidplay and Junior Rapidplay, Saturday 9 February 2013.   Four section Rapidplay - Open, u170, u130 and a Junior section for u16s graded under 85.

Norfolk Rapidplay, Thorpe School, Norwich, Sunday 10 February 2013.   More details later.

Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress - Moreton Hall Community Centre, Sunday 24 February 2013.   Five age-group sections: u8, u10, u12, u14 and u18.   Also a free-to-enter section for Parents!

Norfolk Open Championships - Hippodrome, Gt Yarmouth, Sat/Sun 27/28 April 2013.   Part of the EACU Grand Prix.   More details later.

EACU Championships - Newmarket, Sat/Sun 1/2 June 2013.   Also part of the EACU Grand Prix.

And finally, a reminder that the 31st Bury St Edmunds Congress will take place at the Apex on 5/6 October 2013.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Players of the Year

With about one-third of the season already gone, it's time to check out the leading candidates for 'Player of the Year'.   At the end of the season there's a trophy for each division winner.

DIVISION 1 (Minimum 3 games played)

Shaun Munson (Ipswich) 4/4 (100%)
Ed Player (Bury St Edmunds) 2½/3
Steve Ruthen (Bury St Edmunds) 2½/3
Kevin Greenacre (Ipswich) 2½/3

DIVISION 2 (Minimum 3 games played)

Malcolm Lightfoot (Saxmundham) 2½/3
Andrew Paige (Saxmundham) 2½/3
Pete Smyth (Adastral Park) 2½/3

DIVISION 3 (Minimum 4 games played)

Peter Chadwick (Saxmundham) 4/5
David Green (Stowmarket) 3/4
Phil Mortonson (Ipswich) 3/4
Gary Hemsworth (Felixstowe) 3½/5

Other players with a 100% score (2 wins) to date are:

(Div 2):
Mark Le-Vine (Bury St Edmunds)
Don Picton (Saxmundham)

(Div 3):
Rory Goldsmith (Woodbridge School)
Daniel Such (Woodbridge School)
Dave Welsh (Clacton)

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Lest we forget ...

Browsing through some old grading lists from the early 1990s, it's sad to see that a number of Suffolk chess-players have since passed away.

I've tried to make a list of those that I know are no longer with us; the following is by no means complete, I'm sure, but at least is a start.  Would readers please let me know of any names that I have omitted?

Roy Adams (Bury St Edmunds)
Mike Ashman (Stowmarket)
Gordon Chapman (Bury St Edmunds) + photo
Les Collins (Felixstowe)
Bill Davies (Sudbury)
Alan Donkin (Bury St Edmunds)
Tony Fuller (Ipswich)
John Galloway (Ipswich) + photo
Sidney Gill (Bury St Edmunds)
Dennis Heron (Hadleigh)
Ken Horley (Hadleigh)
Dennis Horn (Felixstowe)
Peter Lamont (Bury St Edmunds)
Frank Lloyd (Bury Hospital)
Jim Page (Stowmarket) + photo
Julian Popescu (Eye)
Jack Revell (Saxmundham)
Cyril Smith (Bury Hospital)
Adrian Thorpe (Bury St Edmunds) + photo
Don Ward (Bury St Edmunds) + photo
John Watson (Saxmundham)
Eddie Webb (Newmarket)

I would like to write a short article on each, adding a photo where available.  The list shows where I already have a photo; if you have photos of any others, please let me know.  I'd also appreciate any memories you have.


This should have been posted last evening, but didn't manage it as too late back from a chess match!

Part 3 of Mike McNaughton's treatise on the Trompovsky

Black plays 2… d5

As a personal opinion, I did not particularly care for this move but am I being, perhaps, just a teeny weeny bit irrational?  Well, that wouldn’t be new for me!  The fact is, I would not care for the idea of Black playing the immediate 3. Bxf6.  I can’t think why, because results have tended to go in favour of Black. Anyway, I have given three games here.

The first involves a player some of you may know, David Ledger from Bedford (I like to draw local examples when I can!).  He started off badly, then clawed his way back into the game, and just as things started looking good, they went south and Nigel Povah, his opponent, finished off with some considerable panache.

Another game in this section will be from Anatoly Karpov, and this game is a gem, or at least I think so.  There are no pyrotechnics, just superb technique from a master of his craft.

And finally, Magnus Carlsen, no less, and we will be happy to let him be our guide.

White: Nigel Povah     Black: David Ledger
It says a lot for Dave that he managed to work up an attack from a very unpromising position.  I thought his mistake was trying to avoid a Q exchange; but heck, I’m a weaker player than Dave; I’ve no right to tell him what he should or shouldn’t do.

And now for Karpov.  I’m still kicking myself after 40 odd years for letting the opportunity pass me by for having him for a simul at what was then my club (Knotty Ash) and yes, there is indeed such a place, though you won’t find any gravy wells or jam butty mines there.  At the time Korchnoi looked the better bet.

Just enjoy this game.  His opponent, by the way, is no fool by any means, and a Trompovsky specialist.  Interestingly, he plays 3. e3 rather than Bxf6. Not that it did him any good!  And obviously we can assume that 3. Bxf6 held no fears for Karpov.

White: Sinisa Drazic     Black: Anatoly Karpov.
Our next game involves the prodigy Magnus Carlsen.  I don’t propose to give you the whole game; my general intention was to give you an idea of how he handles the opening.  And again, it’s a coherent plan which you can use in your own games.  Well, with Carlsen, it would be coherent, wouldn’t it?

White: Rune Djurhuus     Black: Magnus Carlsen

Black plays 2… c5

The Benoni type move … c5 is a challenging, combative reply to the Trompovsky and if White is not careful he can lose quickly.  White has, more or less, two main replies.  The first is what most players would play almost automatically after … c5; namely d5.

So let’s look at what happened in the game Rodriguez – Hort, Las Palmas, 1975. 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 c5 3. d5 Ne4 4. Bf4 Qb6 5. Qc1 g5 6. Bg3 Bg7 7. c3 Qh6 (threatening … Nxg3 when White is forced to re-take with the f pawn) 8. Bxb8 Rxb8 (what else for White? The rook recapture prepares the ground for a Q side attack). 9. Nxd2 Nxd2 10. Qd2 b5 11. Nf3 b4 12. Nxg5 bxc3 13. Qa6?? 14. Rc1 Qa3 15. e4 Rb1!! and Black won in another ten moves.

What would have been better for White? Oddly enough, retreating the Bishop to c1. Well, it does look ignominious but the loss of time is compensated by forcing the Black N to move again by f3.  Here is a short draw between two GMs; one is our old friend Julian Hodgson and the other Guyala Sax.

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 Ne4 3. Bf4 c5 4. d5 Qb6 5. Bc1 d6 6. f3 Nf6 7. e4 e6 8. c4 exd5 9. cxd5 g6 10. Ne2 Bg7 11. Na3 O-O 12. Nc4 Qc7 13. Nc3 a6 14. e4 Nbd7 15. Be2 Nb6 16. Na3 Bd7 17. O-O Nxa4 18. Nxa5 b5 19. Nc3 b4 20. Bd2 bxa3 21. Rxa3 Rab8. Draw agreed.

I chose the following little miniature involving a player I came across a few years ago in the National Club Championship in Aberystwyth.  Rudy van Kemenade plied most of his chess trade in Yorkshire but on this occasion I played his charming wife Julie, no mean player either.

White: Richard Freeman Black: Rudy van Kemenade.
1. d4 Nf5 2. Bg5 c5 3. Bxf6 gxf6 4. d5 Qb6 5. Qc1 f5 6. e3 Bg7 7. c3 Qg6 (e6 is the book move) 8. Nh3 e5 9. dxe6 fxe6 10. Nf4 Qf7 11. Be2 O-O 12. c4 Nc6 13. Nc3 Kh8 14. Qc2 a6 15. Na4 b5 16. cxb5 axb5 17. Nc5 Qe7 18. Nb3 Qb4 19. Qxb4 Nxb4 20. O-O Bxb2 21. Rab1 Rxa2 22. Bxb5. Draw agreed.

The final part of the ACE OF TROMPS will appear in a few days' time.

Monday, 26 November 2012

A new school chess club

Old Buckenham Hall School, in Brettenham (between Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds), has started up a chess club for its Year 7 pupils.  It's being held every Monday afternoon, in curriculum time!  The photo below shows some of the pupils at today's second meeting of the club.

It's particularly noteworthy that the whole of the year group attends (it's compulsory) and that it's being held during the school day.  Full marks to the school for making such a commitment.

Judging by the enthusiasm shown by the pupils, they certainly seem to enjoy playing chess (I guess it's better than another history lesson).  The best players have been put into 'Division 1', where they will play each other over the next few weeks.  The remainder have been spilt into two groups, one of about 16 pupils who can play chess (though not very well yet) and a 'Novices' group of 5 or 6 pupils, who receive instruction on some chess basics.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Woodbridge Junior results

The 12th Woodbridge Junior Chess Open Tournament took place today.

Sadly, entries were down on previous years.   A total of 63 people entered, which included nine adults in the Open section.   The Under 14 and Under 16 sections had to be combined.

The Playing Hall:

Of the 54 juniors who played, 21 were from Woodbridge School and the Abbey Prep, and 11 were from the Bury Knights JCC.

The section winners were:

Under 8 - Aaron Saenz de Villaverde (Bury Knights) - 6/6
Under 10 - William Bradley (Wymondham, Norfolk) - 6/6
Under 12 - Anita Somton (Bury Knights) - 5½/6
Under 14 - Wiliam Sait (Bury Knights) - 5/6
Under 16 - Silas Peck (Ipswich CC) - 5/6
Open (incl. adults) - Steve Gregory (Ipswich CC) - 6/6

All the Junior winners and runners-up:

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Trophies - where are they all?

In my rôle as Secretary of the SCCA, I would like to attempt to locate as many of the county's trophies as possible.

If you (or your club) possess any Suffolk trophy, would you please let me know?

It may be a current trophy, such as a Division Champion or Player of the Year, but it could also be a trophy from long ago that is no longer awarded. If you happen to have one of these lying in your loft, don't be embarrassed, just let me know so that it can be brought back into the County's ownership and, possibly, re-awarded next year.

This includes junior trophies, such as the various age-group cups and shields, and inter-schools competitions.

Back in 1993 we had a valuation done, which listed 16 trophies. Some of these have since 'gone missing'. Also, we know that there are more trophies than the 16 that were valued, as some have been re-discovered in the meantime. The value of the 16 trophies (in 1993) was over £2,000.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Where have all the Junior Clubs gone?

Fifteen years ago, there were junior clubs in many locations in the county.  The first to open, back in 1988, was Stowmarket, closely followed by Ipswich.  Others followed in subsequent years in Gt Cornard, Leiston, Debenham, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket.  By 1997 junior chess in the county was incredibly strong, with many schools supplementing the above clubs.

Now, in 2012, only the Bury Knights continues to thrive.  The average attendance this term has been 30, with more than 40 members on the books.  These include 17 girls.

The Ipswich Junior Club has not re-commenced this term, due mainly to the business commitments of the organiser, Paul Febvre.  He is hoping that the club will open again in the Spring Term, but emphasises that if he is unable to do so (he currently works in Oxford) he will need to hand over the club's assets to the adult club.

Perhaps some members of the Ipswich Chess Club will step forward now and help Paul to get the club back on its feet.  If Bury St Edmunds, with about one quarter of the population of Ipswich, can thrive, then surely it must be possible to maintain a junior club there.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Peter Keffler is 89 today!

Something of a chess legend in Suffolk and North Essex circles, Peter Keffler reaches the grand age of 89 today!

The photo below shows Peter's birthday celebration at the Clacton Chess Club last year, when he was presented with a cake that showed a position from his game against Tim Lunn, played in December 2003.  An amazing sequence of sacrifices culminated in a shock mate.  Well worth playing through!

Also in the photo are John Lambert, Dennis Brown and Dave Pearce.

Peter has suffered a number of ailments in recent years.  He has had to have operations on his knees and his eyesight is slowly failing him.  His famous bookstall is no longer, but he still owns a large number of books which he keeps at his house. Any offers?!

Here's the game:

White: Peter Keffler; Black: Tim Lunn; Suffolk League, 15.12.2003

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The other league

Three Suffolk clubs play in the Bury Area Chess League - Newmarket (Div 3), Stowmarket (Div 3) and Bury St Edmunds (all three divisions).

Newmarket have had a great start and look favourites to win Division 3.  Boosted by the arrival of two established players (Colin Gardiner ex Falmouth and Fraser Jones ex Ely) they have started the season with four straight wins and 17½ points.

Not such good news for Stowmarket, who have had difficulty fielding their strongest players.  They currently lie in joint last place on 6 points.

Bury St Edmunds field seven teams in the League - two in Division 1, two in Division 2, and three in Division 3.  Four Ipswich members form part of the squad for the Scorpions, one of the Division 1 teams (Shaun Munson, Ian Wallis, Sam Brennan and Andrew Shephard).  This gives these players an opportunity to play different opponents from usual, from Cambridge, Ely and Linton.

Most of the Bury teams are mid-table.  Cambridge and Linton tend to dominate Division 1, with some extremely strong members.  In one recent match between Bury Scarabs and Linton A, the top two boards all featured players graded over 200.   David Spence (207) beat David Coleman (215) and Ed Player (208) beat Kevin Clark (202).  There can't have been many occasions, in either league, when this has occurred before.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012


Mike McNaughton's magnum opus continues ...

Black replies 2… Ne4

I said I did not care much for this move, and the reason, shortly stated, is this.  In real warfare, a soldier who left his army’s lines and ventured close to the enemy ranks would get shot at.  Black is open, as we saw in the last issue, to f3, when the Knight has to move again.

What is more, White doesn’t have to answer 2… Ne4 with 3 Bh4.  Bf4 is a much stronger move in my humble opinion.  White has all sorts of dangerous attacking lines and to illustrate one of them, I have selected one from Julian Hodgson in the Bundesliga against an opponent with the quaint name of Arkadius Kalka.

White: Julian Hodgson; Black: Arkadius Kalka
I have selected below a game which is anything but perfect, but perhaps it only goes to confirm what I said in the introduction; namely that the Tromp can sometimes give rise to wild positions.  I put this game on Fritz’s Blundercheck mode and it started whirring away happily.  It’s not the Evergreen Game exactly, but in a way it’s a bit of fun.  Personally, I think White had a few rushes of blood to the head; with a little more preparation Black would have been squashed.  Even White’s resignation was premature.

White: Eduardo Rossel; Black: Tabare Bustelo
It is only fair to say that Black has a better move after 3. Bf4, that being the immediate c5.  If White now continues 4. f3 (which he normally does) then Black plays Qa5+ and the presence of the Knight, even though it must eventually retreat, restricts White’s options in blocking the check.  So 5. c3 and the Knight has to go back to f6. White’s next move is 6. Nd2, probably not where he wanted to put it, but it’s bound for b3 to chase away the Black Q.  So 6… cxd4 7. Nb3 Qb6 (not much choice) 8. Qxd4 Nc6 9. Qxb6 axb6 10. e4 (well, I don’t know about you, but this is a position for Black I would not like).  Black is under-developed and I don’t think the doubled pawn on the b-file is very clever either.

I guess that, before finally leaving the move 2 Ne4, I should mention the wacky 3 h4?! which certainly will make your opponent sit up, but I wouldn’t lose too much sleep about it.

Black plays 2. e6

This line can quite easily transpose into lines which are more reminiscent of the kind of position you get from more normal d-pawn openings.  One such system is a close relative of the Colle called the Torre Attack.   I’m going to give you a short game between its ‘inventor‘ Eugenio Torre, and the Russian GM Andrei Sokolov. It’s very short, but the similarities with the Colle are obvious.
It certainly can’t be said that the Torre Attack is a bad line for White and if you choose to answer 2. Bg5 with e6, you need to be prepared to defend against it.  I wouldn’t frankly expect a White player to try and steer the opening into conventional d-pawn lines, if only because if he wanted that kind of position, he wouldn’t play the Tromp. I will be suggesting a line which was played successfully by the Russian GM Vladimir Epishin, which seemed to me to give Black a very reasonable position with little risk, and is a good choice if all you want is a decent line against the Tromp that gives you a reasonable position without too much book study . White was a player I hadn’t heard of called Soel Katrsev.  Epishin – well you have probably heard of him.  He uses a move order not unlike a system I suggested against the Colle.

White can respond to 2… e6 with the immediate 3. e4, which of course forces 3… h6 4. Bxf6 Qxf6 5. e5 Qd8 and the resulting position will have a familiar ring about it to all players of the French Defence.

So there we have it; this concludes Part 2.  In the next, I will be looking at the reply d5 and giving you three high quality games.


Monday, 19 November 2012

Junior powerhouse

Back in 1990 we had some mighty strong juniors. Pictured below is Suffolk's Under 11 team that travelled all the way to Newton Abbot in Devon. They finished runners-up in the National Inter-County Finals, just half a point behind the eventual winners.

On top boards were the Pert twins, just nine years old at the time, but graded 160 (Richard) and 142 (Nick).

Can't recall all the names, but here goes:

(left to right:
Back row:   Alison Holt, Peter Templeton, ??, Mark O'Connell, David Surry, Andrew Longfield, ??, Leif Dixon

Middle row:   ??, Joshua Hewing, Nick Porter, Matthew Fletcher, Richard Pert, Nick Pert, Jay Achar, ??, Owen Barnett

Front row:   John Peters, Julie Nicholas, Joseph Orton, David Whitehead, James Ham

Both David Whitehead (BCF 141) and Owen Barnett (118) represented England Under 11s that year.

Can anyone fill in any of the gaps?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Suffolk League update #2

With most teams having played three or four matches, the three divisions in the Suffolk League are starting to take shape.

Division 1
The three Ipswich teams hold a clear lead. Ipswich A are unbeaten with 11 points from their four matches. Ipswich C are second on 8 points from four matches, whilst Ipswich B, who have a match in hand over the other two Ipswich teams, are on 7½ points.

At the other end of the table, Sudbury A have lost all four matches to date. But with a total of ten matches during the season, it's still all to play for.

Division 2
Saxmundham A are the clear leaders on 7 points from two games. There are three teams in joint second place with 5½ points, but all have played an extra match: Bury St Edmunds C, Adastral Park, and Stowmarket A. Propping up the division are Clacton A, with four points from three losses.

Division 3
It's good to see Felixstowe at the top, with 9½ points from their four matches. They are closely followed by Ipswich E on 9 points, and Ipswich D and Saxmundham B on 8 points.

There are only 2½ points between top and bottom in this division.

Saturday, 17 November 2012


(with many thanks to Mike McNaughton for this, the first of four articles on the Trompowsky).

When I first started to play chess, if I had played a move like 2 Bg5 I would have had my bumps felt (“Move your knights first, boy, and then your Bishops“). For some time it would have been classified under ‘Irregular and Unusual Openings’. And then a certain Julian Hodgson came along and scored a series of decisive wins with it. And inevitably it became fashionable and everybody had to play it.

Nowadays I suspect the frenzy has subsided a little but the opening does still have its devotees, and it is something which you are likely to encounter every now and then.

From the point of view of the White player, the Trompovsky has its pros and cons.

Firstly, it does carry an element of surprise. On the face of it, White is ‘threatening‘ to play the immediate 3 Bxf6, doubling Black’s pawns. At some stage in our development, we were probably told that doubled pawns are a Very Bad Thing – as indeed they sometimes can be, but not always – otherwise White could never allow the Nimzo. And what research I have done has persuaded me, for one, that Black’s position after Bxf6 is not always all that bad.

Secondly, it neatly by-passes the Indian Defences.

Thirdly, Black has a number of perfectly decent replies. Leaving aside variations which are clearly inferior, I counted six: Ne4, e6, d5, d6, g6 and c5. And the White player needs to know how to meet all of them, or the surprise may be on the other foot.

Fourthly, the Tromp, like the Italian Opening, can produce positions which are comparatively dull and uninteresting; but it can also produce wild, unbalanced positions where normally the stronger player wins. If you don’t like playing that kind of position, and your opponent chooses to reply, say, c5, then you take the risk of getting into a position where you are going to feel uncomfortable. From the point of view of Black, you only need to know one of the six replies and know it reasonably well. You have the ability to steer the game into channels which suit you – and if you know your opponent is bookish and unadventurous, you can easily throw him off stroke immediately.

It became apparent to me that dealing with the Tromp was too big a subject to cover in one article. For the time being I am going to content myself with some general remarks. I will try and produce four articles in total, of which this is the first. The other three will take a more detailed look at the possible replies for Black. The choice of reply is, to some extent, a matter of style. For example, e6 might appeal to French players; d6 can transpose into the Pirc. But there is one fundamental question you need to consider. On the face of it White is ‘threatening‘ to play Bxf6, doubling Black’s pawns. The question is, are you going to let him do it?

I imagine most of you would say 'no', why accept a pawn weakness? But I’m not convinced that Black has too much to worry about. After 2 …g6, White could of course play 3 Bxf6, but in fact the most common move at master level is 3 Nf3. So why is that – unless the general opinion is that Bxf6 is not all that great?

The kind of pawn structure that typically results (after Black moves his doubled f pawn to f5) is shown in the following diagram:
Let’s have a look at it. We all know that in the Nimzo Black tends to exchange his KB on c3, saddling White with doubled pawns, but with the risk that the White Bishops can, if not dealt with, become a fearsome attacking weapon. But I defy you to say that the above pawn structure is weak – particularly as White’s Queen’s Bishop has gone, and the B on g7 has a free run on the dark squares. The pawn on f5 discourages e4 for White; Black can follow up by c5 followed by Qb6, move his Knight to f6 via d7, and suddenly Bxf6 doesn’t look quite so good after all.

I may add, by the way, that it’s probably just as reasonable for Black to deploy the bishop on d6, as one of our illustrative games will show.

So at this stage I want to make a few general remarks about each of the Black options, starting with Ne4 – according to Fritz, the most popular option.

I have to say, I did not like this move. Well, it’s a free country. I can dislike it if I wish! Later on, and to conclude this article, I will give you a game played by the man himself, Octavio Trompovsky, which shows that the opening, if not handled correctly, can become a formidable attacking weapon. I will also give you another dangerous line played by Julian Hodgson, and a more positional treatment by our own Richard Pert, against the more popular 3 …c5.

Well, it’s up to you, but all things considered, I don’t think much of the line, unless perhaps you want a bit of excitement. As some of you will have worked out by now, I prefer stodgy draws to exciting losses!

The 2 …e6 line I regard as one of the safest replies to the Trompovsky. The immediate 3 e4, though not bad, is perhaps too committal but there are a number of possibilities available for the player of the white pieces, which I will look at later. And Black avoids the doubled pawns.

I will be suggesting a line for Black which was played successfully by the Russian GM Vladimir Epishin, which seemed to me to give Black a very reasonable position with little risk, and is a good choice if all you want is a decent line against the Tromp that gives you a satisfactory position without too much book study.

The third alternative is the immediate 3 …d5. I have given three illustrative games; one of them involves a player some readers may know, David Ledger from Bedford. He started off badly, then clawed his way back into the game, and just as things started looking good, his position went south and Nigel Povah, his opponent, finished off with some considerable panache.

The second game I really liked, and I’m sure you will enjoy playing through it. It was played by the incomparable Anatoly Karpov and his opponent was one Sinisa Drazic, no fool by any means, and a Trompovsky specialist. There are no pyrotechnics, just a great player showing impeccable technique. And finally, we have a masterclass from Magnus Carlsen.

The next line for Black is the Benoni-like c5. The word ‘Ben-Oni‘ so I am told, means ‘Son of Sadness‘ and I once remarked in the Norfolk magazine En Passant that sadness is the emotion often experienced by those who play it. But against the Tromp, it has its points.

White can play the immediate Bxf6, and Black counters this by putting the KB on g7, advancing the K side pawns to free the Bishop, and then playing Qb6 to put the White Q side under pressure. The other possibility is 4 d5 and many players would play this automatically and then the fireworks commence.

Well, let’s have a look at the next position, which arises from the 4 d5 line. White is a pawn up, but in a serious mess. And the player of Black was Vlastimil Hort. Taken together, that means big trouble. If you can work the winning move out, you’re doing well. If not – you’ll just have to wait!

And finally, there is the move g6. I’ve already made some remarks about this and will give some games which I hope will demonstrate that Black has good chances after 3 Bxf6, and that the line is a reasonably safe response. And in accordance with the ‘policy‘ of using games by local players where possible, we will have as our tutor a player known to us all, Adam Hunt.

To show you that the Tromp is no pussycat, (tame it’s not!) and to satisfy your schadenfreude, here is a short game where Black got well and truly discomknockerated. Mind you, he had only himself to blame. Mr Cantero probably didn’t feel much like singing after this debacle.

White: O Trompovsky; Black: R Cantero, Montevideo, 1924
Part 2 will follow in a few days' time.

Friday, 16 November 2012

15 years ago

Here's another 'blast from the past'. In 1997 Suffolk were winners of the Girls Minor Counties Final:

Can you recognise any of these young ladies?

They are (left to right): Joanna Rees; Emma Fletcher; Sophie Payne; Rachel West; Karen Maton; Christobel Harrington.

Despite being the youngest member of the team, Christobel was on Board 1.

Where are they all now? Jo is a psychologist at UEA in Norwich. Sophie emigrated to Australia (edit) with her parents in about 1999. Rachel was in Cambridge a couple of years ago and played for Cambridge City Chess Club. Anyone know about the others?

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Draw for Suffolk Ladies' Championship

(see last Saturday's posting)

Organiser Vicky Allen has made the following draw. Each entrant will play six games:

Round 1

Emilia v. Liya
Vicky v. Anita
Adele v. Alba
(Bethany = bye)

Round 2
Bethany v. Emilia
Liya v. Alba
Adele v. Vicky
(Anita = bye)

Round 3
Anita v. Bethany
Liya v. Adele
Vicky v. Alba
(Emilia = bye)

Round 4
Emilia v. Adele
Bethany v. Vicky
Alba v. Anita
(Liya = bye)

Round 5
Anita v. Emilia
Vicky v. Liya
Bethany v. Adele
(Alba = bye)

Round 6
Emilia v. Vicky
Alba v. Bethany
Anita v. Liya
(Adele = bye)

Round 7
Alba v. Emilia
Adele v. Anita
Liya v. Bethany
(Vicky = bye)

Round 1 to be completed by 20 December
Round 2 to be completed by 20 January
Round 3 to be completed by 15 February
Round 4 to be completed by 10 March
Round 5 to be completed by 7 April
Round 6 to be completed by 1 May
Round 7 to be completed by 31 May

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Under 18 winners in 1990

Pictured below is the team that won the National Under 18 Minor Counties Championship in April 1990. There are one or two that can't be identified. Can anyone recognise them? You probably won't be able to guess one at the back right, as he's almost completely hidden (but it might be Darren Porter!). Click on the photo to enlarge it.

(left to right): (Vicky Allen); Steve Jones. Alan Watkins, Jonathan Green, Jonathan Wright, Paula Allen, Simon McDougall, Simon Lunn, Emily Porter, Darren Boone, Rob Harden, Haran Jogeesvaran, Jogeesvaran Kris, Terry Arnold, ???, Nick Kirby, Julie Nicholas, ???, Frances Hardinge, Louisa Orton.

Seven years later, in 1997, with the likes of Nick and Richard Pert, Ed Player and David Spence in the team, Suffolk Under 18s won the main Counties Championship. Those were the days!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

The Suffolk Chess Journal - R.I.P.

This may upset a few people, but having consulted with SCCA President Colin Roberts, I've decided not to continue with the Suffolk Chess Journal. In fact, it hasn't been produced for well over a year, and has been superseded by more modern technology in the form of this website.

The problem with anything in written form, is that it will always be out-of-date by the time it is published. Results of events, tournaments, leagues etc may be a few months old; information about clubs will already have been circulated by email. Nowadays it's possible to publish games by Suffolk players almost as soon as they have been played!

So, I'm sorry to disappoint the few, but I hope that most readers will agree that this daily news update is a much better way of keeping everyone aware of what's happening in Suffolk Chess. There will also be occasional flashbacks to times gone by, especially when current news is lacking, and articles written by others will appear (Mike McNaughton wrote a splendid article for the Journal which was never published; it will appear here soon).

Of course, if anyone else feels inspired to produce the SCJ, then Colin Roberts will be delighted to hear from you...

Monday, 12 November 2012

Woodbridge Junior

The 12th Woodbridge Junior Chess Open Tournament takes place in just under two weeks' time, on Sunday 25th November. This is a Rapidplay event over six rounds.

Organiser Adam Hunt would like entries to be received by next Tuesday, 20 November.

As well as sections for Juniors at u8, u10, u12, u14, u16 and u18 levels, there is also an Open section in which adults can play. Additionally, a free to enter Parents section is available.

To download an entry form, click here.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Suffolk makes waves in Brighton (and Basingstoke)

Bury St Edmunds' Ed Player travelled to Brighton for the e2e4 Brighton Open this weekend. He finished in equal fourth place on 3½/5, behind the joint winners, GM Peter Wells and GM Keith Arkell, who both scored 4½ points. Ed's only loss was to Arkell. His 2304 rating performance will earn him 12 Elo points.

At the end of October both Ed and Alan Merry played in the five-day, nine-round Basingstoke Masters, also part of the e2e4 circuit. Both did remarkably well, against strong opposition. The winner was IM Ameet Ghasi on 6½ points, whilst Ed was the only untitled person (2 GMs, 4 IMs, 1 FM) in joint second place on 5½ points. This included a win over IM Jack Rudd and a draw with GM Bogdan Lalic. Ed's rating performance was 2348, which will see him gain a further 32 rating points.

Alan won his first round against a GM from Uzbekistan (see below), then drew in Round 2 with GM Bogdan Lalic. From this tough but promising start, results did not all go to plan, but he still finished with a rating performance of 2349, which included a win over IM James Cobb. This will mean an improvement of 29 points.

See the full results from both Basingstoke and Brighton.

Here's Alan Merry's win over a GM. Black's poor 32nd move allowed a strong attack:

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Suffolk Ladies' Championship 2012-13

In recent years the level of support for the Suffolk Ladies' Championship has been poor. There were four entrants in 2010-11 but last season the event did not take place. The current champion (from 2011) is Vicky Allen, who is also the organiser of the Championship.

This season there has been an excellent response and there will be seven entrants, five of whom are juniors. This augurs well for the future of Women's Chess in Suffolk.

The Championship will be an All-plays-All, with each entrant playing six matches over the next six months. Those entering (in grading order) are:

Emilia Jewell - 133 (age 14) - Bury St Edmunds
Vicky Allen - 122 - Stowmarket
Adèle Lunn - 100 - Ipswich
Alba Saenz de Villaverde - 70R (age 13) - Bury St Edmunds
Anita Somton - e60 (age 8) - Bury St Edmunds
Liya Baby - e30 (age 9) - Bury Knights JCC
Bethany Young - e25 (age 10) - Stowmarket

The last four named above are all regular attendees of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club.

Good luck to all entrants!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Another school chess club

Many times Suffolk Ladies' Champion Vicky Allen and her daughter Paula have been running a successful chess club at the Meadows Montessori School, in North Ipswich. Pictured below today, just before a 13-board simul was about to begin, the club is divided into two age-groups. The younger ones (7 - 8 year olds) meet for 45 minutes at lunchtime on Fridays, followed by an hour (during curriculum time) for the older children (9 - 10 year olds).

Vicky and Paula are to be congratulated for this initiative, which has introduced chess to more than 25 youngsters. Many other schools, in both the public and private sectors, are crying out for similar support. If you have the time, the rewards are fantastic. Not financial of course, but it's sufficient just to see the pleasure that these children get out of playing the game. We all know that feeling, of course, so let's pass some of it on to the next generation!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Volunteers needed

Those two words strike fear and dread into most people. But volunteering, as discovered by the Gamesmakers at the Olympics and Paralympics, can be incredibly satisfying and rewarding. But unless you try, you'll never experience the 'kick'.

Back in September, at the Suffolk AGM, two posts were unfilled. And so they remain today. Both are important, in different ways.

The Vice-President supports the President and stands in for him at meetings if he is unable to attend. Colin Roberts has just taken over as President and all things being equal, will serve three years in this post. In September 2015 a new President needs to be elected; the incumbent Vice-President is usually the one. That gives the best part of three years to 'learn the ropes'. Ideally, the Vice-President needs to have reasonable organisational abilities, as well as knowing how to run a meeting.

The other vacancy is for Junior Organiser. It can't be stressed how important this role is, because without youngsters coming into the game, the county will decline in strength in years to come. Somne support is probably needed for one junior club that is struggling to survive, and good communication needs to be established with primary and secondary schools in the county. Many of Suffolk's juniors have gone on to become strong adult players, at county and in some cases, national and international levels. This can be an incredibly satisfying role, but the commitment needed shouldn't be under-estimated.

Canddates for either post should contact either me (Bob Jones) or the President (Colin Roberts). See Contacts page for details.

If you have read this, and can think of someone else who could potentially fill either of these posts, please talk to them about it.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Suffolk League update

With a full month of league chess behind us, perhaps it's time to review the state of affairs. Can we start making any predictions yet?

In Division 1, Ipswich B head the table with 7½ points. But they lost to second-placed Ipswich A, who have 7 points. Both Ipswich C and Bury St Edmunds A have a game in hand and 4 points in the bag. Manningtree split these teams with 5½ points. Only Sudbury have lost all three games, but have still scored 4 points.

So really, just like Obama-Romney, it's too close to call. A big win by Sudbury next week over Ipswich A could turn the table on its head. And tonight sees Bury St Edmunds A facing Ipswich C.

In Division 2, Saxmundham A have established a clear early lead. They have won both matches convincingly (4-0 and 3-1) and hold a 1½ point advantage over Bury St Edmunds C and Stowmarket A, who have both played an extra match.

Division 3 is incredibly close. Just 1½ points separate the top four teams, with Woodbridge School a further point behind but with a match in hand.

Predictions? Too difficult at such an early stage of the season. So let's leave that until the New Year!

Monday, 5 November 2012

No news is ... bad news!

After regular daily updates, this column has suddenly gone quiet for the best part of a week. Sorry, but I've been laid low with what I would normally call 'flu, had I not received the annual jab a few weeks ago.

Last weekend saw the first two rounds of the flagship 4NCL team competition. This event started from modest beginnings in 1993 with the participation of only six teams. It has grown from strength to strength, and now boasts three divisions in which no fewer than 79 teams compete.

The league's format has changed on a number of occasions, but for the last few years seems to have settled down to a stable format. The top two divisions comprise 16 teams of eight players, divided into two pools of eight teams of roughly equal strength for the first seven rounds; after seven rounds the top four teams in each pool combine to fight it out for the top places, while the bottom four teams in each pool do likewise - but this time to battle against relegation! The third division, played with six players per team according to a Swiss tournament format and currently comprising 47 teams in total, is split regionally between north and south for the first six rounds; all the teams then join together for the final five rounds in the quest for promotion to the second division.

The first two rounds were played last weekend and featured many Suffolk players. The indivdual outstanding results were Alan Merry's win over IM Colin Crouch, for Anglian Avengers 1, and Martin Fogg's win for Anglian Avengers 3 over a 2165-rated opponent (223 points highjer than Martin). Other Suffolk players competing included (scores out of two in brackets) David Spence (1), Shaun Munson (½), Mark Gray (1), Steve Gregory (1½), Richard Lamont (½), Ian Wallis (1). Mike Cook (1½), Tim Lunn (1½), Martin Fogg (1), Luke Hill (½), Keith Woodcock (1), John Feavyour (1) and Laurie Pott (0). Alan Merry scored 1½ and Martin Fogg 1. Several other Suffolk players are registered for the four Suffolk-based teams, and will doubtless get their opportunity to play in subsequent rounds.

Anglian Avengers 1 lost both matches by the narrowest of margins, whilst Anglian Avengers 2 won both theirs by similar margins. Both Anglian Avengers 3 and Iceni lost both their matches.

See the teams' individual results:

Anglian Avengers 1 (Div 2)
Anglian Avengers 2 (Div 3s)
Anglian Avengers 3 (Div 3s)
Iceni (Div 3s)