Sunday, 29 December 2013

Answers to Christmas puzzles

Well done to all those who had a go at the puzzles over the past five days.

Here are the answers:

24 December - (answered correctly by Andrew Shephard), as follows:   "Play e3 followed by c3 but leave the d-pawn on d2.   The crucial thing is that the black rook will only have one check.   The white king manoeuvres from b3-a2-b1-c2-d3-e2-f1-g2-f3 after which the black rook must capture on g3, opening up the third rank for the white rook.   Then the white king heads back from f3-e2-d1-c2-b3-a2.   After ... Ra3+ white plays Rxa3 mate."

25 December - (answered correctly - on his second attempt) - by Dave Green: "Qc5 seems to lose all sorts of stuff but if the rook takes on c5 then Nd4 is mate.   If d6xc5 then Rd5 is mate.   If the king takes the rook on f5 then Qxd5 is mate again."

26 December.   No one has provided an answer to this one, so here it is:   1. Rf3.   If (a)... h6, then 2. Bh7   h3   3. Ng6   Rxe5/f4   4. Nxe5/f4#.   If (b)...h3, then 2. Rxh3   h6   3. Bg3   Bxf4   4. Bxf4#   If 3... Bg1/f2, then 4. Bf2/xf2#

27 December.   First puzzle: 1. Kf3 (not Kf4).   Second puzzle: Qa8 (threat K moves mate).   If ... Nb6, then Qa1#

28 December.   First puzzle. What was Black's last move?   It must have been e7-e5, so 1. dxe6 e.p.   with various mates to follow next move.   Second puzzle: 1. O-O-O.   Mate follows next move with either Rd8 or Rh1.

Hope you enjoyed these puzzles.

A bit of recent tournament news - Silas Peck played in the CCF (Coulsdon) Christmas Congress (under 1950 section) 21/22 December and scored 5/5.   Congratulations!

There will be no more postings here until Monday 6 January, as I'm off to Devon and Cornwall for a week.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

Saturday's puzzles

Two more (easy) ones today.   Answers tomorrow...

White to play and mate in 2

White to play and mate in 2.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Friday's puzzles

Back to work today?   Bad luck!

Here are today's puzzles - two of them as they're not too difficult.

All the answers on Sunday...

White to play and win

White to play and mate in 2

Thursday, 26 December 2013

Boxing Day puzzle

Here's the third of the Christmas puzzles.   A bit easier, some might say....

White to play and mate in 4

After the first (key) move, there are a couple of variations for you to consider.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas Day puzzle

Here's the puzzle for Christmas Day, in the shape of a Christmas tree of course.

It's White to play and mate in 2.

Happy Christmas!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Christmas Eve Quiz

This is the first quiz of the Christmas season.   There will be one each day from now until Saturday.

White to play and win.

The answer to this, and to the other puzzles, will be given on Sunday.   You can probably find the answer to most of the puzzles online, or by asking the chess program on your computer, but give them a go yourself!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Half-season round-up Part 6

Here's the final mid-season summary, for Suffolk League Division 1.

Unfortunately, postponements have given the league table an unbalanced look.   Only three of the six teams have played all five games, and Ipswich C have played only three.

So, for what it's worth, here is the current table:

Bury St Edmunds A511
Bury St Edmunds B510
Ipswich A510
Manningtree A48
Ipswich B47
Ipswich C36

So the two Bury St Edmunds teams top the table, but it's easy to see that Ipswich C could easily jump into the lead if they win their outstanding matches.

Most matches have been closely fought, showing how little there is between the six teams.   Until 11 December, the largest win was 3 - 1.

Individually the leader is Ed Player, on 3½/4.   He is followed by Nick Savage on 4/5, Keith Woodcock (3/4) and John Peters (4/6).

There has been an excellent response to Dave Green's recent article.   If you would like to contribute to the debate, please click on the 'comment' link from that page.

From tomorrow, Christmas Eve, there will be a series of Christmas puzzles.   This will continue every day until Sunday 29 December, at which point I will be disappearing for a week's holiday!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Half-season round-up Part 5

This report focuses on Division 3 of the Suffolk Chess League

With each team having played six matches, there are just four points between leaders Ipswich E and bottom-of-the-table Bury St Edmunds D.   Pre-season favourites (and last season's relegated team from Division 2) Clacton are only a point and a half behind the leaders.   Another round of matches in January could see the table almost turning upside down.   Felixstowe have been boosted by the arrival of Phil Hopkins, who has scored more than 50% of his team's total points.

This is the current table:

Ipswich E614
Stowmarket Rooks613½
Manningtree B612
Saxmundham B610½
Bury St Edmunds D610

Clacton have so far fielded the strongest teams, averaging 129.   Next is Manningtree B, averaging 122.   The remaining teams are bunched closely between 117 and 111.

A total of 50 different players have been used to date by the seven teams, with Bury St Edmunds taking the lion's share with 11.   All credit to Ipswich E, who have fielded the same team on five occasions, only replacing their top board once; perhaps this is the reason for their success (and Bury's lack of success...)

The individual table is led by two players who have won all six games.   Unsurprisingly, Phil Hopkins, at 171 the highest graded player in the division, is one.   The other is 76-year old Roger Smith (106), on board 3 for Ipswich E.   His only losses this season have been in the Bury Congress.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Does nominating teams matter in today's SCCA leagues?

This article has been written by David Green (Stowmarket)

It appears that nominating teams using player’s names and grades no longer commits those nominated players to play a single game for the team for which they were nominated.

We are half way through the season and, according to the grading database, a total of nine players across the three Suffolk league divisions have not made an appearance for the team for which they were nominated.

I feel that this is not right.   Am I right?   I hope to show in this article that the rules are being breached but there is some doubt because the rules lack the required clarity.

Let us now look at the Rule Book for guidance.   I have added words in italics where I feel the rules need to be amended.

Rule 20.   "Each club will provide a list of nominated players with grades for each team entered in the League.   A player may be nominated for different clubs, provided these nominations are for teams that play in different divisions.   If a club plays a match without having nominated any players then for the purposes of these rules that club shall be deemed to have nominated the four players who took part in the match and in the same board order."

Rule 21a.   "Nominations for a team can be changed at any time of the season by notifying the Competitions Secretary (at least) a day before the match.   Details of nominated players will be published by the Competitions Secretary."   (timescale?)

Rule 21b.   "Nominated players should play (for the team for which they are nominated) during the season.   If this is unlikely then a different player should be nominated."

This is a very wishy washy rule; for a start the question of where in the SCCA competitions the player has to play to be compliant arises.   Specifying this as the team for which they are nominated would make this rule clearer.

1)   “Should” implies an aspiration not a compulsion.   So what happens if the rule is ignored as widely as it is at the moment?
2)   Is one appearance during each half of the season enough to meet this “should” aspiration?
3)   If more than one appearance is needed to meet the aspirations in rule 21 then who decides what number of games a nominated player “should” play to avoid the need for either renomination or the risk of being sanctioned for a breach of the rules.

The rule also expresses the aspiration that a team is expected to nominate someone else to replace a nominated player who is for any reason unable to play during the season.

How is this to be enforced or does it not matter that the rule is being ignored?
What sanctions are to be applied for failing to meet the aspiration expressed in this rule?

On these issues the rule book is silent.   So do we:

a)   Need rule 21b at all if we are going to ignore its aspirations?
b)   Accept that we need the control this rule aspires to produce and then come to an agreement as to how many games are required to meet the expectation expressed here?
c)   How is the rule to be enforced?   We need to decide, if enforcement action is required, then who does the enforcement and what sanctions need to be made available to ensure compliance with any enforcement instructions?

Rule 22.   "Players must be bona fide club members.   No player may be nominated by a club for more than one team at the same time."

This must follow from Rule 10 where substitutes must be bona fide members of the club for which they are to play and Rule 20 where nominated players must be club members.   Thus there are only two classes of player: nominated and substitute, so that means Rule 22 part 1 adds nothing to our rules that is not covered elsewhere.

Rule 22 could then include the following to make the action required by the competitions secretary and the clubs crystal clear: if a player is nominated for more than one team for the same club in the Suffolk leagues then the competitions secretary will reject this incorrect nomination and ask for a nomination that meets this rule.

Rule 10 states that substitutes in the event of “unavoidable absences” have to be bona fide (NOT F.I.D.E.)   (Just replace the Latin with "genuine or authentic") members of the club".

“Unavoidable absences”. This phrase restricts the ability of clubs to rest players or to play other members who wish to play in the league as these “absences” of the nominated players are voluntary and clearly are not “unavoidable” so here the rule is too prescriptive.

Rule 27 deals with the idea of ineligibility.   It appears logical that a contravention of the aspirations of any rule relating to nominations should be those associated with ineligibility.

However all the time that we seek to make these rules more formal and binding we must not lose sight of the need to play for and win the league title over the chess board and not in the “stewards room”.

Maybe we can discuss this all at the Suffolk AGM or at a committee meeting so that the new competitions secretary, who will have to be found to replace Mike McNaughton when he relinquishes his post at the end of this season, has a set of non-wishy washy rules we have all agreed and agree to obey.

Members of Suffolk clubs are invited to comment on any aspect(s) of this article by clicking the link below

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Xmas Tournament at Bury

With the league matches completed on Tuesday, 11 members of the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club met this evening for a five-round 15-minute tournament.

The tournament was won by Scott Taylor (far right in the photo), who scored four points out of five.   He was beaten in the final round by Richard Lamont, but won on sum of progressive scores.   Scott received a bottle of champagne for his efforts, whilst Richard won a box of Belgian chocolates.   The Junior prize was shared between Patrick Gembis and Fraser Fallows, both on three points.   The best result of the evening was in Round 2, when Dave Clark (97) beat Richard Lamont (171).

Tune in tomorrow for an interesting article by David Green (Stowmarket) about the current rules for nominating players.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Open or Shut?

When will Chess Clubs in Suffolk be open over the next two or three weeks?   With Christmas and New Year fast approaching, it would be good to get a list of clubs' planned opening dates.   There are no league or cup matches due to be played until the second week of January.

The only known one is Bury St Edmunds Chess Club; it will be open tomorrow (Thursday 19th) when a Christmas 15-minute tournament will take place (everyone welcome).   It will be closed on 26 December and 2 January, re-opening on Thursday 9 January.

Will other clubs please post here (click on 'Comments' below) and let everyone know when your club will be open or closed.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Half-season Report Part 4

The last match of the half-season in the Bury Area Chess League Division 2 was played this evening, with Linton Blacks beating Bury St Edmunds C 4 - 1 (remember, there's a bonus point for a win in the BACL).   One outstanding match, between Linton Blacks and Cambridge Oddfellows, has been postponed to 28 January.

This is how the league table looks:

Cambridge Dons622½
Cambridge Oddfellows518
Bury St Edmunds Vipers613½
Cambridge Academicals612
Linton Blacks510½
Newmarket Stallions610
Cambridge Bollards6

It's no surprise that two Cambridge teams head the table.   Last season saw one Cambridge team relegated from Division 1, the first time for many years that Cambridge were left with only two teams in the top division.   With Dons and Oddfellows well ahead of the rest of the field, it's just a matter of which team will achieve promotion.   They won't face each other until late-March.

Individually there have been some strong performances by players from Cambridge.   Unsurprisingly, their players take up the top six places in the Player of the Season table:

Thomas Sauerwald    4/4
Gorka Salgado    6/7
John Daugman    6½/8
Richard Newman    4½/6
Ole Bay-Petersen    4½/6
Kelvin Hunter    5/7

Three of the above have played for more than one Cambridge team.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Half-season Round-up Part III

This report focuses on Division 2 of the Suffolk Chess League

Not all teams have played the same number of games, as the match between Stowmarket A and Saxmundham A has been postponed.

There is very little to choose between the six teams.   Adastral Park leapt to the top of the league by whitewashing Stowmarket A recently.   But when the outstanding match has been played, there could be as little as two points between top and bottom.   So there's everything to play for in the second half of the season!

This is the current table:

Adastral Park511
Bury St Edmunds 'C'510
Ipswich D5
Stowmarket A4
Saxmundham A4

On paper, Saxmundham A has the strongest team, with Dave Brown (175), Malcolm Lightfoot (163) and John Feavyour (151).   But results have not been kind to them, including an error in their first match, when boards 2 and 3 played in the wrong order, resulting in the loss of 1½ points.   This would have been their only win of the season.

Several teams have strong players on their top boards.   As well as Saxmundham's Dave Brown, Stowmarket A have Richard Lamont (171), Sudbury Rob Sanders (171) and Bury St Edmunds John Peters (169).

The Player of the Season trophy is led by John Peters, who has won all five of his games.   He is followed closely by Ed Kirkham (Adastral Park), on 4½/5.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Results - Results - Results!

Three Suffolk players have competed in tournaments that finished today.   Silas Peck played in the London Chess Classic FIDE Open; Dagne Ciuksyte was in the Womens' Invitational event that ran alongside the London Chess Classic; and Anita Somton played in the London Junior Chess Championships.   All three performed with great distinction.

Silas (1803 Elo) entered the FIDE Open, where 23 GMs and a similar number of IMs were included amongst the 188 entrants.   Eight of his opponents were higher-rated than him, but Silas scored 3½ out of nine with a performance of 1887.

Dagne (2345) was second seed of just six entrants, who played each other twice over the five days of the event.   She was the clear winner on 7½/10, half a point clear of the runner-up.   Her five wins and five draws gave her an excellent rating performance of 2434.

Finally, Anita recorded four wins and three draws to score 5½/7 in the Under 10 Major section.   Graded 109, she was 10th seed of 103 entrants, but finished in equal third place.   As leading girl in the event, she was awarded the title of London u10 Girls Champion.   Although only nine years old, her play is extremely mature, as can be seen from this third round win with White in a Gruënfeld against Ximan Mao:

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Christmas Tournament at the Bury Knights

30 children played in an end-of-term Christmas Tournament at the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club last evening.   Everyone won a prize!   With ages ranging from 5 to 14, there was a huge range of ability, but this was evened out somewhat by a piece handicap system.   The stronger players had to give up a rook, or two pieces, or sometimes just a pawn or two.   Nevertheless, most games were won by the higher-rated player.

The winner was William Sait, who won all four games.   Second place on 3½ points was shared between Anita Somton and Alan John.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Half-season Round-up (Part 2)

The second division to complete its half-cycle is Division 3 of the Bury Area Chess League.

This is the current table:

Newmarket Thoroughbreds619½
Cambridge Gowns615½
Bury St Edmunds 'F'614½
Linton Whites614
Bury St Edmunds 'E'612½
Bury St Edmunds Saffrons67

Newmarket Thoroughbreds were apparently coasting along with five wins out of five, but came unstuck in their last match against Linton Whites.   Nevertheless, they reach the halfway point a full four points clear of their nearest rivals, Cambridge Gowns.

Players in this division are considerably lower-graded than in the other two divisions, with the highest-graded player to date being Fraser Jones (Newmarket) at 151.   The division is often considered a 'nursery' for up-and-coming juniors, and several from Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket have made a few apperances (Bury St Eds unless otherwise indicated):

Patrick Gembis    3½/5
Fraser Fallows    1/3
Anita Somton    ½/3
Sohan Gowda    2/2   (Stowmarket)
Emilia Jewell    1½/2
Alan John    1/2
Bethany Young    0/1   (Stowmarket)
Adam Illoul    0/1

The current individual leaders in this division are:

Adam Harvey (Bury St Edmunds)   4/4
Rob Scott (Newmarket)   4/6
Jeff Dahmer (Linton)   3½/4
Daniel Yarnton (Stowmarket)   3½/4

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Half-season round-up (Part 1)

Over the next week or so, as the various divisions complete their half-cycle, we'll be reporting on their progress.   There are six divisions - three in each of the Suffolk League and Bury Area League.

The first to complete is the Bury Area Chess League Division 1.

This is the league table:

Linton A624
Cambridge Examiners622½
Bury St Eds Scorpions614½
Bury St Eds Cobras613½
Cambridge Choristers610
Bury St Eds Scarabs610
Ely Beet Bishops6

Current Champions Linton A have an extremely strong team.   They usually have Paul Kemp (189) on Board 4.   And if they need a reserve, they can always call on Norman Hutchinson (175).   But as can be seen from the table above, they are not exactly running away with it.   Cambridge Examiners are close behind.   These two teams meet again early in the New Year in a match that may well decide the fate of Division 1.

Individually, the leading scorers come from these two teams.   Leading the way is 15-year old Akito Oyama (Examiners) on 5½/6, followed by David Coleman 5/6 and Kevin Clark 4/5 (both Linton), and 14-year old David Redman (Examiners) on 4½/6.   The Examiners team, captained by Master Redman, is a good example of the stream of strong juniors emanating from the Cambridge stable.   With Ashley Stewart and Chris Davison now in their early 20s, the reins have been taken up by Akito and David.   Waiting in the background are the next generation: 12-year old James Xu (157) and Austin See (111).

Click here to view further information on the BACL Division 1.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

London Chess Classic

Whilst the 'Super Sixteen' has now started, with many of the World's top players competing (including Anand, Kramnik, Caruana, Gelfand, Polgar, as well as England's Michael Adams, Luke McShane, Nigel Short and Gawain Jones), the FIDE Open has progressed to Round 5.   In accordance with the rules of the Open, the two top players after four rounds (Sutovsky and Istratescu) have moved to the 'Super Sixteen', where they have to learn to adapt quickly to Rapidplay chess.

Progress (and the games) can be seen live on the ChessBomb site.   Or click here for the main site of the London Chess Classic, with live commentary every afternoon this week, until Sunday.

Meanwhile, the FIDE Open continues, with 180+ participants remaining.   The only Suffolk player entered is 16-year old Silas Peck, from Ipswich.   A brave decision to enter such a strong event, Silas has faced higher-graded opposition in his first four games, scoring only one draw.   In Round 5, today, he has been paired against one of the few players lower-rated than him.   The result(s) will be posted soon here.   (Edit:   Silas won!)

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Under 11s to play in Chingford

Last Saturday, we reported on the new Under 11 Team Manager, Boby Sebastian.   Today we have received details of the 2014 Inter-Association Championship.

The Under 11 Zonal will be held on Saturday 15 March.   Suffolk will compete in the East Zone, alongside teams from Barnet, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Richmond.   The venue is Chingford Foundation School, E4 7LT.   It's about an hour and a half's drive from Ipswich, and an hour and a quarter from Bury St Edmunds.

As last year, Norfolk have not entered, which means we can co-opt some of their players.   We will be in contact with the junior organisers in Norwich.

Half of last year's 20-board team will be available for selection, led probably by Anita Somton (Board 4 last year) and Mario Saenz de Villaverde (Board 5 last year).   It is hoped to be able to hold a Training/Selection Day in February before half-term, either in Bury St Edmunds or Woodbridge.   More details soon!

Monday, 9 December 2013

How embarrassing!

Thanks to Michael Clapham for providing the following two gems - and for being prepared to provide examples of games he lost so swiftly!

The first is from Hastings 2002, with Michael (144) as Black against Mark Daniells (156):

The next is from a County match in 2006, when Michael (151) had the Black pieces against Norfolk's Jeff Dawson (152):

Perhaps Michael has now been persuaded to stop playing the Scandinavian...

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Suffolk Under 160s suffer two defeats

Today the Suffolk Under 160 team lost both their matches.   In the morning, against Hertfordshire, Suffolk were a player short because one player was ill.   So, starting with a 0 - 1 deficit, things went from bad to worse.   With just two games remaining, Herts led 10 - 4.   But excellent finishes by Phil Hutchings on Board 4 and John Feavyour on top board, helped to make the final 6 - 10 result a little more respectable.

This photo was taken just before the start of the second match

Hopes were high for the afternoon match, where Suffolk outgraded Norfolk by an average of five grading points per board.   But again, things went badly for Suffolk, and with just one game remaining (mine!) the scores were tied at 7½ - 7½.   Despite being a hard-earned pawn ahead, it proved too difficult to keep my king protected and I eventually succumbed to hand Norfolk the win by 8½ - 7½.

Congratulations are due to Phil Hutchings, the only Suffolk player to win both games.   On 1½ points were Andrew Shephard and Vivian Woodward.   Many thanks to Anita Somton for turning up for the afternoon match - and winning!

To see the full results on Dave Wild's website, click here.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

New Suffolk Under 11 Team Manager

I'm pleased to report that Suffolk has a new Manager for the Under 11 Team.   He is Boby Sebastian, father of 10-year old Alan John, who attends the Bury Knights Junior Club.   Boby replaces Laura Cortabarria, who did such an excellent job last year when the Under 11s travelled to Northampton for the first time in several years, to participate in the National inter-County competition, as reported here.

The Under 11 Zonals take place in 2014 on 15 March, in Essex.   That will be a much easier venue for our team to get to.

It's hoped that as many Suffolk Under 11s as possible will play in the Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress taking place three weeks beforehand, on 23 February.   That will give Boby an opportunity to spot any latecomers and to decide on board order for the 20-board team.   It's likely that at least half the team will be found from the Bury Knights, with The Abbey, Woodbridge, providing several others.   Other possible sources include primary and middle schools in Needham Market, Creeting St Mary, Debenham and East Bergholt, as well as several in Ipswich.   Teachers and/or chess organisers in these schools should contact Boby with suggestions for the squad.   We are allowed to take up to four reserves, who are able to play in a separate tournament.

Anyone wishing to contact Boby directly should email him.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Message from the President

From Colin Roberts, President, Suffolk County Chess Association:

On 29th September 2012, a new website was launched dealing with all aspects of Suffolk Chess.   The editor of this site, Bob Jones, has long been known in the East Anglian chess world for his innovative ideas that have improved the Suffolk chess scene for many years.

The Suffolk Chess website today celebrates its 300th entry and there has been something new every day since the start of the current season on 1st September.   I am honoured that Bob has asked me to mark this occasion with a few words.   Of course, keeping a site so consistently fresh on a virtually daily basis is not an easy task and I know that Bob would welcome more contributions from players of all abilities, whether it be interesting games, news from clubs or just local stories with a chess interest.   Bob first asked me to write something around the time of the 100th new entry on the website, so my response time has not been exactly spectacular, but even so, I believe that we should all try to support this site, not only by following it regularly, but also sending in contributions.

On the whole, it has to be said, chess players are not the best when it comes to putting back something into the sport that gives them so much pleasure.   Chess is a cheap game to play and I don't know of any other sport that, at the local level, offers the opportunity to win such decent prize money as chess tournaments do.   There are plenty of opportunities to play chess, in club competitions in the evenings and at County and tournament level at weekends, but none of these would exist without someone to organise them.

We are fortunate in Suffolk to have one of the finest tournaments in the country in the form of the annual Bury St Edmunds Congress, which next October will take place for the 32nd time.   Again, we have Bob Jones to thank for the high standard of playing conditions in this event.   The 2014 Bury Congress will be the sixteenth that Bob has organised and at this point, having run half of the Congresses held so far and seeing a certain symmetry in terms of 32 representing the number of pieces on the board at the start of a game and his 16 tournaments therefore, a 'full set', Bob has announced his intention to stand down and actually get the opportunity to play in this event again.

We should be grateful to Bob for taking over an already vibrant event and taking it to new heights.   Now is the time for a new team to come forward to continue the tradition of fine tournaments in Bury St Edmunds.   As I mentioned above, as a group, chess players are not the best at coming forward to help organise the game and the majority of the work always seems to be left in the hands of a small cohort of willing, and often unappreciated, volunteers.

I remember a few years ago at the Bury Club Annual Meeting, hearing in disbelief a player who was asked if he would take on the captaincy of his team for a year, answering, "Oh, no! I don't mind playing, but not captaining," as though he was actually doing the club a big favour by merely turning out to play for it!   Chess events at all levels need people to run them.   It is not exactly difficult or excessively time consuming, but it can be very rewarding.

So let me close with a request for volunteers for a new team to run the Bury Congress as well as to step into the posts of Suffolk County Chess Association Vice President, Junior Organiser, Competitions Secretary and First Team Captain.   The first two of these posts currently lie vacant and the other two will become free soon.   Without organisers there will be no chess, so please consider helping to run the sport that provides you with so much enjoyment.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Anita just misses out

Last Saturday 9-year old Anita Somton played in the English Girls Championships, held in Nottingham.   In the Under 10 section she faced 17 other hopefuls.

After winning her first two (rapidplay) games, she drew the third after running short of time.   She then won her least two games to finish on 4½/5.   In any normal five round event, such a score would be almost certain to win, or at least share first place, especially with such a small number of entrants.   But somehow, Susie Wang managed to sneak past her to score an unbeaten 5/5 to take the title of English Girls Champion.   It was especially annoying for Anita as she had beaten Susie in an Under 11 event in October.   In the last round Anita had managed to beat the current British Under 10 champion, Arushi Ramaiya.

This evening at the Bury St Edmunds Club, Anita faced former Suffolk Ladies Champion Vicky Allen in the Suffolk Ladies Championship.   This year there are only four entrants: Vicky, Anita, Emilia Jewell and Bethany Young.   Only two matches have been completed to date, with Emilia beating Bethany and, this evening, Anita and Vicky drew their match after a long struggle.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

County Correspondence Team

Last season's eight-board Suffolk correspondence team finished in mid-table after an excellent start.   Games that continued a long time tended to be lost for the Suffolk players.

This season, the following eight players form the Suffolk team:

Board 1:   Ian Wallis
Board 2:   Bob Jones
Board 3:   Silas Peck
Board 4:   Phil Revell
Board 5:   Kevin Greenacre
Board 6:   Jim Buis (captain)
Board 7:   Bob Stephens
Board 8:    Jakob Tulic

Each team member plays two games against the same opponent, as White and Black.   All games are played on the ICCF Chess Server.   Games can therefore be played quite quickly, provided both players respond promptly to the emails they receive when their opponents make a move. In days gone by, postal chess could last several years!

This year's event started on 1 November and although no Suffolk games have been completed yet, several look to be nearing completion (including mine!)

There will be an update on progress in the competition early in the New Year.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Under 160s play on Sunday

The Suffolk Under 160 team will be playing at the Turner Hall in Newmarket on Sunday.   The other teams in this EACU Championship are Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Hertfordshire.

Although there are more than 30 players graded between 140 and 159, it has proved extremely difficult to find a full team of 16 players.   Nevertheless, we hope to be able to put on a good performance and to qualify for the National quarter/semi-finals.

The other dates for the Under 160s in 2014 are Sunday 26 January and Sunday 16 March.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Chess film in Ipswich

A new film by Andrew Bujalski called “Computer Chess” is being shown at the Ipswich Film Theatre in the Corn Exchange on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week.   There's a two-minute trailer that you can watch.   The film's own website can be seen here.

The advertising spiel says, "In the early '80s a group of computer programmers gather in a hotel with the aim of winning a competition to design a programme that will beat a human at chess.   From a broadly comic beginning the film shifts imperceptibly into a genuinely profound, and surprisingly moving, philosophical musing on the relationship between man and machine.   Thoughtful, engaging, funny, this is a genuine surprise."

The film won a $20,000 award at the Sundance Film Festival, held in Utah, USA in January 2013.

Ted Matthewson says he's going to see it on Wednesday or Thursday, so we look forward to hearing about it.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Tournaments and events in the New Year

Whilst December is traditionally a quiet time, with most leagues finishing mid-month, 2014 will bring a host of events to attract Suffolk players, both adults and juniors.

Here are some important dates:

Sat-Sun 11/12 January - 4NCL Rounds 3 & 4 (Hinckley and Daventry)

Sunday 26 January - Suffolk Under 160s (Newmarket)

Sunday 2 February - Suffolk First Team (Newmarket)

Sunday 9 February - Norfolk Rapidplay (Oulton Broad)

Sat-Sun 15/16 February - 4NCL Rounds 5 & 6 (Hinckley and Daventry)

Sunday 23 February - Bury Junior Congress (Bury St Edmunds)

Sunday 2 March - Suffolk Junior Open (Woodbridge School)

Saturday 15 March - Under 11 Zonals (venue tba)

Sat-Sun 22/23 March - 4NCL Rounds 7 & 8 (Hinckley and Daventry)

For more information about any of the above, email me.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Chess and Education Conference

As part of the London Chess Classic at Olympia, a two-day conference is taking place next weekend, with a range of speakers (mainly from foreign countries) with the snappy title 'Successes and Challenges - Improving School Chess Practice, Research and Strategy'.   The conference is organised by CSC (Chess in Schools and Communities).

According to the published blurb, the first day, 7 December, will be of special interest to teachers and researchers, while the second day, 8 December, with its focus on organisational and strategic questions, is tailor-made for project leaders and chess federations.   Included amongst the speakers are representatives from the Swedish Chess Federation, the Judit Polgár Foundation and the University of Cambridge

The cost is £125 for the whole conference, or £75 if you wish to attend on one day only.

For more information and booking form, click here.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Bury Knights Champions

Following yesterday's report on the Woodbridge Junior, the four Bury Knights members who won the team prize are pictured above.   Between them, they played 24 games, winning 20, drawing three and losing only one.   Left to right: Anita Somton (u10 winner), William Sait (u14 runner-up), Mario Saenz de Villaverde (u12 winner), Aaron Saenz de Villaverde (u10 runner-up).   The only loss incurred was when Aaron lost to Anita in the Under 10s!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Woodbridge Junior results

The 13th Woodbridge Junior Open took place last Sunday; a total of 88 players entered.

The results were as follows:

Under 8: (8 participants)

1st   Michael Stone (Norwich Junior)   6/6
2nd (& Woodbridge champion)   George Na Nakhorn   4½/6

Under 10: (20)

1st   Anita Somton   (Bury Knights)   6/6
2nd   Aaron Saenz de Villaverde   (Bury Knights)   5/6
Woodbridge Champion:   Tobias Juszt   4/6

Under 12: (25)

1st   Mario Saenz de Villaverde   (Bury Knights)   5½/6
2nd   Jenny Kilcline   (Colchester)   5/6
Woodbridge Champions:   Harry Rennell and Oliver Pheland  3½/6

Under 14: (11)

1st   Moby Wells   (Norwich)   5½/6
2nd   William Sait   (Bury Knights)   5/6
Woodbridge Champion:   Hugo Kelleway   4½/6

Under 16/18: (10)

1st   Daniel Such (Woodbridge School and Under 18 champion) 5½/6
2nd   Taisei Tsuruoka (Woodbridge School)   5/6
Woodbridge Under 16 champion:   Alex Bogdanov   3/6

Open: (14)

1st=   IM Bernd Rechel (Norwich); FM Justin Tan (Woodbridge School)   5/6
3rd   IM Dagne Ciuksyte (Martlesham)   4½/6
Under 140 Grading Prize:   Mark Weidman (Martlesham)   3/6

Team Prize:   Bury Knights (Anita Somton, William Sait, Aaron Saenz de Villaverde, Mario Saenz de Villaverde)

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

London Chess Classic

The London Chess Classic takes place at Olympia between 7 and 15 December.   A range of tournaments are on offer:

FIDE Open - This is a nine-round event, with one round each day between 7 and 15 December inclusive.   Open to anyone, the entry fee ranges from £100 to £150, depending on FIDE rating.   A £25 late entry fee applies after Friday this week.

FIDE u2000 - a five round event for anyone rated under FIDE 2000.   Those with no Elo rating must have an ECF grade under 175.   One round each day between 9 and 13 December, the entry fee is £30 (or £40 after Friday).

ECF u135 - Open to anyone graded under 135, or 1730 Elo.   Entry fees as for the u2000 event.

Weekend Classic A - Five rounds in four graded sections (Open, u170, u145, u120) over the 7/8 December weekend.   Entry fee as for u2000 event.

Weekend Classic B - Five rounds in four sections (Open, u2000, u1800, u120 ECF) over the 13/15 December weekend (includes one game on Friday evening).   Entry fee as above.

English Junior Rapidplay - Six rounds on 7 December.   Open to all juniors.   Entry fee £15 (£25 after Friday)

Classic Rapidplay A - Six rounds in four graded sections (Open, u170, u145, u120) on 8 December.   Entry fee £20 (£30 after Friday)

Classic Rapidplay B - As above on 14 December

Classic Rapidplay C - Six rounds in four graded sections (Open, u165, u140, u115) on 15 December.   Entry fee as above.

For more information on any of the above events, or if you'd like an entry form posted to you, contact me (Bob Jones).

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Media coverage

There can be little doubt that the recent World Championship contest between Vishy Anand and Magnus Carlsen has generated plenty of welcome attention from the World's media.   Whether this translates into membership enquiries amongst local clubs remains to be seen.   Let's hope so!

Here are a few items of press coverage:

BBC News Magazine

BBC News India


RFI (France)

USA (New York Times)



Spain (El Pais)


Time Magazine (by Garry Kasparov)

If you know of any others, please let me know.   Also, please let me know if you sense any increase in interest in chess, either in clubs or in schools.

Monday, 25 November 2013

David's back from Malta

David Spence recently returned from Malta where he played in a strong Open tournament which featured 4 GMs, 5 IMs and 8 FMs.   David (2221) scored 6½/9, losing only to an IM.   He finished in joint 8th place, just one point behind the winner, GM Bart Heberta (2556).

Several other English players competed but David finished above all of them.   A total of 161 players entered.

The main playing area

For full details, click here.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

County First Team in action

Suffolk's first team was in action yesterday in the EACU County Championship, where they faced Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.

Against all expectations, Suffolk lost 6½ - 9½ to Cambridgeshire, but beat Bedfordshire by the convincing margin of 10½ - 5½.

The league table can be seen here and the full results for Suffolk are here.

In brief, only Martin Fogg was able to record two victories.   Those on 1½ points included Graham Moore, Steve Ruthen, Nick Savage and Leon Burnett.

The next round of matches takes place on 2 February, when Suffolk face Bedfordshire and Norfolk.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

A new World Champion

As the whole of the chess world must know by now, we have a new World Champion in the shape of 22-year old Magnus Carlsen (his 23rd birthday is next Saturday).   He beat the previous champion Vishwanathan Anand by 6½ points to 3½, an unassailable lead in their 12-match championship in Chennai.   Nicknamed the 'Justin Bieber' of chess, he will certainly bring a new impetus to chess around the world and we may find his success encourages more people to take up the game.

Even the BBC has woken up to the fact that there's a new chess champion.

Magnus' own website gives a lot more information about him.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Peter the nonagenarian

Happy 90th birthday today to Peter Keffler!

Members of Clacton Chess Club celebrated Peter's birthday at their Club Night on Tuesday.   A cake was presented to Peter which featured his queen sacrifice from a 1970 game where he played Black in a Two Knights Defence against Gerhard Niemand which lasted only 15 moves.

During the evening everyone present had a piece of Peter’s cake with their coffee/tea.

Here's the game:

The photo (right), shows Peter playing a game against John Perfect from Maldon.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Suffolk chess book authors (Part 3)

This is the final article in Michael Clapham's series.   Click here and here for the earlier articles.

Of course no record of Suffolk chess authors/editors is complete without mentioning Bob Jones who has done more to promote Suffolk Chess than anyone else with the help of his many self-published chess periodicals, booklets, newsletters and ratings lists.

Bob took over the production of the Suffolk Rating List at an early stage and, while this was primarily aimed at juniors, it provided all chess-players in Suffolk with a monthly update on local chess events.   The publication was packed full of ratings, statistics, results and news etc. and was eagerly anticipated by all players to check their progress (or otherwise).

The Suffolk Rating List ran for 8 years up to May 1996 when it was incorporated into the newly launched Suffolk Chess Journal edited by, guess who, Bob Jones, with the assistance of Colin Roberts and Steve Lawer.   The old Suffolk Chess Bulletin had run for many years but fizzled out in 1995.   The photo (right) shows the 50th anniversary issue of the rating list.

The Suffolk Chess Journal was issued six times a year and included many articles, games and items of local interest as well as the regularly updated rating list and statistics.   This continued under Bob’s co-editorship until February 1998.   Bob again took over the editorship of the SCJ in 2010 and continued until this was superseded by the excellent Suffolk Chess website.

Bob also produces the annual, indispensable, Bury Area Chess League booklet which includes all of the information necessary for BACL members including fixtures, rules, grades, maps of venues and much more.

Bob has produced several other publications over the years including:

*    Suffolk Junior Chess: List of Players (1990)
*    Around the County Newsletter for the county chess teams (1991-92)
*    Numerous Results and Cross-Tables from the many congresses that he has organised.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

4NCL position

I'm hoping to be able to reproduce a number of positions and games from the 40 or so games played by Suffolk players at the 4NCL last weekend.   The major difference between 4NCL games and the average league game is the time control.   In the 4NCL you get 100 mins for the first 40 moves, followed by a further 50 minutes for the next 20 moves.   In addition, you receive 30 seconds increment from the first move.   That makes the time control equivalent to last year's, when it was 40 in 2 hours plus 20 in 1 hour.   The great advantage of this 'Fischer' style time control is that there can never be a draw claim under the infamous '10.2' rule.   On the other hand, games can in theory go on for ever...

Saturday was a case in point in my own game, as White against Leo Tsoi (Warwickshire Select).   After my 76th move (h7) and nearly six and a half hours play, the following position was reached:

Black now played 76... Rc8??, followed by 77. Rh3 Rh8.   Leo had a clear win, which I'm sure most people will see.   Not 76... Rc2+   77. Kd1   Kxe3??, as the h-pawn will promote.   Instead, of course, 77... Rh2!, which wins quickly.

The game continued for a few more minutes, by which time it was the last to finish.   And it ended in a draw!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

International update

As most people will be aware, the World Championship has reached a crucial stage, with Magnus Carlsen leading Vishy Anand 5 - 3.   With only four games remaining, Anand needs to score three points to take the match to a tie-break.   You will find good odds on Anand retaining his title.   Tomorrow (Wednesday) is a rest day.

The European Team Championships ended on Sunday, with England finishing a little below their 5th place seeding. They ended up in =7th place (10th on tie-break).   Two players disappointed: Luke McShane managed only 3/7 on Board 2, whilst David Howell scored 2½/6 on Board 4.   Micky Adams on top board had an excellent 5/8, whilst Nigel Short scored 4½/7.   Neither Adams nor Short lost a game.   The fifth player, Gawain Jones, had 5/7 after the first seven rounds, but surprisingly lost in Round 8, whereupon he was dropped for the final round!   The Championship was won by Azerbaijan on 14 points, with France, Russia and Armenia close behind on 13 points.   England scored 11 points (3 wins, 5 draws and one loss).

In the Women's tournament, England finished 23rd, on par with their seeding.   Dagne Ciuksyte only played three games, winning just one.

Suffolk chess book authors Part II

This is Monday's posting (18 November) - a little late!

A few weeks ago, Michael Clapham published an article about Suffolk chess authors.   Here is his Part II:

I omitted to include Suffolk’s most prolific author of chess books, GM Jonathan Levitt.   Apologies to Jonathan and thanks to Kevin O’Connell for pointing this out.

Kevin (who now lives in France) has also authored or co-authored at least 30 chess books, most notably The Games of Robert J Fischer, 1972 and The Oxford Encyclopedia of Chess Games, 1981, but also games collections of Karpov and Korchnoi and many openings books. &mnsp; Kevin played a major role in Suffolk chess for many years in the 1980s and 1990s.

Kevin launched The Suffolk Rating List in 1988 and this was a very popular and highly motivational monthly publication which ran for 73 issues up to 1996.   Kevin now edits the Saturday chess column in the East Anglian Daily Times.

Back to Jonathan Levitt whose three chess books are as follows:

Bobby Fischer; The $5,000,000 Comeback.   Published by Cadogan Chess in 1992.

This book was co-authored with Nigel Davies and Malcolm Pein and covered the memorable rematch between Fischer and Spassky in Yugoslavia in 1992.

Jonathan provided the introduction to the book and analysed many of the games from this extraordinary comeback by Fischer after 20 years away from competitive chess.

Secrets of Spectacular Chess, first published by Batsford in 1995 with a new enlarged edition published by Everyman in 2008.

Co-authored with David Friedgood, this book is full of amazing chess games and positions highlighting the subtleties, surprises and beauty of chess.   The aim is to develop the reader's understanding and appreciation of spectacular chess ideas.

Genius in Chess, published by International Chess Enterprises in 1997.

This book discusses the need for raw talent (genius) to reach the top in chess and, with the use of numerous tests and multiple choice questions, aims to determine the reader’s chess potential.   Much advice is given on how to develop one’s talent for the game.

Jonathan has also contributed to other chess books and has produced a DVD on the super sharp Clarendon Court opening.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Saturday good; Sunday ... not so good

23 Suffolk players were at the 4NCL this weekend.   For the Suffolk-based teams playing in Divisions 2 and 3, results were good on Saturday, with all five teams winning.   But on Sunday things didn't go so well, with only Anglian Avengers 2 gaining a win.

Two Suffolk players were in Division 1.   Adam Hunt had a draw and a win, whilst Woodbridge School student Justin Tan enjoyed two draws, one of which was against Harriet Hunt.

In Division 2 Anglian Avengers 1 (average rating 2272) beat Poisoned Pawns (2097) by 6½ - 1½ on Saturday.   Then today they faced Bristol (2168) and surprisingly lost 3½ - 4½.

The Division 3 results were:
Anglian Avengers 2 (2158):   6 - 0 v KCJA Knights (1578); 5 - 1 v The Full Ponty (1947)
Anglian Avengers 3 (1975):   5½ - ½ v Sussex Smart Survivors 2 (1742); 1 - 5 v Kings Head 2 (2105)
Iceni 1 (1995 / 2000):   4 - 2 v Midland Monarchs (1770); 1½ - 4½ v The Rookies (2004)
Iceni 2 (1847 / 1807):   3½ - 2½ v Warwickshire Select 2 (1966); 1½ - 4½ v Surbiton (2050)

As can be seen from the substantial rating difference in some of these matches, the first weekend of the 4NCL is a random pairing.   Some teams 'got lucky' (eg Anglian Avengers 2), whilst others faced tough opposition (eg Iceni 2). In subsequent rounds, teams play others on similar match points.

These were the individual results over the weekend:

Division 2

Alan Merry    0; 1
David Spence    ½; 1
Ed Player    1; 0
Shaun Munson    1; 0
Adam Taylor    1; 1

Division 3
Steve Gregory    1; 1
Tim Lunn    1; 1
Phil Hopkins    ½; 0
Martin Fogg    1; 0
Silas Peck    1; 0
Andrew Shephard    1; ½
John Feavyour    ½; 0
Nick Savage    ½; 0
John Peters    1; 0
Steve Ruthen    ½
Malcolm Lightfoot    ½; ½
Bob Jones    ½; ½
Peter Collicott    0; 0
Colin Roberts    0

In the Junior 4NCL, Anita Somton played in three rounds, winning two and drawing one.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

4NCL this weekend

This weekend sees the first two matches in the 4NCL.   Divisions 1 and 2 are playing at Hinckley, whilst Division 3 and the Junior 4NCL are playing at Daventry.

Some 20 Suffolk players will be making the journey to the Midlands.   There are two mainly Suffolk-based teams - Anglian Avengers and Iceni.   Anglian Avengers field three teams, one in Division 2 and two in Division 3, whilst Iceni have two teams in Division 3.   Other players from Cambridgeshire, Kent, London and even further afield complete these teams.   Those playing this weekend include:

Anglian Avengers
David Spence
Shaun Munson
Adam Taylor
Ed Player
Alan Merry
Steve Gregory
Tim Lunn
Phil Hopkins
Martin Fogg
Silas Peck
Andrew Shephard
Ian Wallis (reserve)

John Feavyour
Steve Ruthen
Nick Savage
John Peters
Malcolm Lightfoot
Bob Jones
Colin Roberts
Peter Collicott

(Junior 4NCL)
Anita Somton

The results from the weekend will be published here tomorrow evening.

If any other Suffolk players are interested in playing in the 4NCL, they should contact the captains of the two teams: Ian Wallis (Anglian Avengers) and John Feavyour (Iceni).

Friday, 15 November 2013

Girls rule at the Bury Knights

The Bury Knights Junior Chess Club currently has 50 members, 14 of whom are girls.   Pictured left, from this evening's club meeting, are several of them, together with 15-year old Emilia Jewell, who helps with the coaching.

28% is as high a ratio as the Club has seen for many years.   There have been times in the past when numbers fell to almost zero; girls seem to leave when there are few others to talk to!

Of course, the success of nine-year old Anita Somton has a positive effect, and many of her friends and school-mates have joined in recent months.

The Club welcomed 12 children from Needham Market Middle School and Creeting St Mary Primary School this evening.   A friendly match was won convincingly by the Bury Knights by the score of 19½ - 4½.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

International round-up

Today is a rest day in the World Championship between Anand and Carlsen.   The first four rounds have all ended in draws.   The last game was the most interesting and can be viewed on the official website.

In the European Team Championships, England are enjoying a good run.   After six rounds they have 8 match points and lie in equal fifth position (seventh on tie-break).   Gawain Jones has played in all six matches, and is unbeaten, as is Mickey Adams, who has played in five.

Today's match was against a strong Ukraine team, the result being 2 - 2.   Tomorrow England face Georgia, who are seeded 14th and are therefore lower-rated than England.

The women are having a torrid time.   They won today, but Dagne Ciuksyte lost again.   The games can be viewed here.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Spotlight on Bury St Edmunds

The Bury St Edmunds Chess Club has, for a number of years, been the largest club in Suffolk in terms of number of members; it also has a strong claim to be the strongest in the county.   It includes amongst its full members three graded over 200 (Mike Harris 209; David Spence 206; Ed Player 205).

Unusually, its 50 members include several from other clubs.   Its location in the west of the county means that the club plays in two leagues - the Suffolk League and the Bury Area League.   With some people wanting to play more chess against different opponents, four Cambridge City members have joined so that they can play in the Suffolk League, whilst five Ipswich members have done the same in order to play in the Bury Area League.   A special 50% membership rate applies for these players.

The Club currently runs seven teams in the Bury Area League, and four in the Suffolk League.   Other teams include three in the Roger Goldsmith Cup competition, the Suffolk League Under 125 tournament and the Norfolk & Suffolk Cup.

The former Bury & West Suffolk Chess Club folded several years ago and the then Bury Cannons Chess Club, formed in 1998, renamed itself as the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club.

One excellent feature of the club is its spacious, well-lit premises at Moreton Hall Community Club.   On some match nights, as many as four matches can take place, with additional space available for friendlies.

The club's members include 12 juniors.   The highest-graded juniors are both girls - Emilia Jewell (124) and Anita Somton (109).   The annual membership subscription is £30.00, but there is an additional £1.00 to pay each time a member attends a club night.   For more information about the club, contact Bob Jones.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Europeans update

In the European Team Chess Championships in Warsaw, England are faring reasonably well in the Open section after an unexpected loss in Round 2 to Greece.   In Round 3 they drew with the top-seeded Russian team and then beat Montenegro in Round 4.   They now lie in equal 10th position (14th on tie-break), with five match points (two wins, one draw and one loss).

Star of the show so far has been Gawain Jones, with three wins and a draw.   Today they face Germany in Round 5.   You can view live games here from 14.00.

The women have had a disastrous start, losing all four matches 4 - 0.   Suffolk's Dagne Ciuksyte didn't play in the first three matches (was she late arriving?), but in Round 4, playing on Board 1, she had a commanding position (+8.51 on Houdini), but threw it all away with a succession of weak moves.   This was the position, with Dagne (Black) to play:

A piece up, with mating threats on h2, Dagne needed to play either 28... Rf8 or the subtle ... Rc4.   Both moves threaten mate.   But Dagne was concerned for her e6 knight and played ...Nf8?!.   After her opponent played the natural 29. Rc8, Dagne replied ... Qb5? instead of ... Qb6 and suddenly the evaluation is level.   Further errors led to her eventual resignation at move 37.

Monday, 11 November 2013

When our girls reigned supreme

Back in the '90s, Suffolk Girls were amongst the best in the country.   This is the roll of honour:

1990   Louisa Orton - Joint British Under 13 Girls Champion (with Harriet Hunt)
1992   Suffolk - Girls u11 County Champions
1993   Suffolk - Girls u18 County Champions
1992   Siobhan O'Neill - British Under 8 Girls Champion and joint British Under 9 Girls Champion
1995   Christobel Harrington and Emily Player - joint British Under 9 Girls Champions
1996   Kathryn Barnes - British Under 8 Girls Champion
1997   Kathryn Barnes - Joint British Under 9 Girls Champion

Nowadays, Anita Somton is looking to add her name to this list, but she is currently the only girl in Suffolk to be a likely Champion.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Suffolk League latest

The situation in all three divisions of the Suffolk League is extremely tight, with no team emerging as clear front runners.

These are the latest league tables:


Bury St Edmunds B36
Ipswich A36
Manningtree A2
Bury St Edmunds A3
Ipswich B35
Ipswich C24

If Ipswich C were to win their outstanding match against Manningtree, they would leap from the foot of the table to the top!


Ipswich D36
Stowmarket A2
Bury St Edmunds C3
Adastral Park35
Saxmundham A23

Stowmarket A appear to be best placed, with a match in hand.


Stowmarket Rooks4
Bury St Edmunds D4
Ipswich E37
Manningtree B36
Saxmundham B21

Five of the eleven matches played so far have ended in a 2-2 draw.

The following players have 100% records:

Division 1:   Leon Burnett (Manningtree); Silas Peck (Ipswich); John Feavyour (Bury St Edmunds)

Division 2:   John Peters (Bury St Edmunds); John McAllister (Adastral Park); Rob Hayhurst (Stowmarket); Alonso Paez (Ipswich)

Division 3:   Roger Smith (Ipswich); John Price (Manningtree); Phil Hopkins (Felixstowe)

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Flashback to 1964

This photo from 1964 appeared in yesterday's East Anglian Daily Times.

Does anyone have any idea who the players are?


In the first round of the World Chess Championship, played this morning, Carlsen and Anand reached a draw (by repetition) after only 16 moves.   To view the game, click here.

Friday, 8 November 2013

European Team Championships start today

Staying on the International front, the European Team Chess Championships commenced today in Warsaw.   England are fielding two teams, in the Open and the Women's sections.   The men are seeded fifth of 38 teams entered, whilst the women are 23rd out of 32 teams.

As reported a couple of weeks ago, Women's Grandmaster and International Master Dagne Ciuksyte from Martlesham is top board for the England Women's team.   She did not play in Round 1 today, against a strong French team, seeded seventh, when England lost 4 - 0.

The men fared much better, although against the local Polish third team (!).   They won 3 - 1, with Luke McShane and Nigel Short drawing on the top boards, and Gawain Jones and David Howell winning on boards 3 & 4.   Top board Michael Adams was rested for Round 1.

You can watch live games here.   In Round 2 tomorrow, England face Greece in the Open, whilst the women play Poland II.

The event continues until 18 November, so there's going to be a feast of chess over the next few weeks, with the Anand-Carlsen match starting tomorrow.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

World Chess Championship - opening ceremony today

The Opening Ceremony of the World Chess Championship took place this morning in Chennai, India.   As everyone knows, the challenger Magnus Carlsen (Norway) takes on the current champion Vishy Anand (India).

There are a number of websites available.

The Opening Ceremony and press conference can be viewed here.   The video broadcast is well worth watching, if only for the musical accompaniment and the Indian flavours.

The first match is on Saturday, when Carlsen will have the White pieces.   Live games can be viewed here on the official website.

There will be live streaming of the match on YouTube.

There will also be a live webcast on Russian TV.

If you can understand Norwegian, you could try this site too.

The playing schedule allows for two games on successive days, followed by a rest day.   This changes after Match 11, when there will be a further rest day before Match 12.   If tie-breaks are necessary, they will take place after a further rest day.

So these are the dates when matches are taking place:
Saturday 9
Sunday 10
Tuesday 12
Wednesday 13
Friday 15
Saturday 16
Monday 18
Tuesday 19
Thursday 21
Friday 22
Sunday 24
Tuesday 26

Tie-breaks and the closing ceremony will take place on Thursday 28 November.

Remember that the games start at 09.30 GMT, which is 15.00 in Chennai.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Online chess

The following article was written by Steve Lovell, Secretary of the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club, for the club's website (in March 2013):

Online chess has good points and bad points.   Let's start with the bad points.

*   It can be a terrible time sink.   Be careful of too many late (k)nights!
*   Playing on a screen rather than over the board takes some getting used to.   Have you ever played chess against your computer?   It feels much the same to begin with.
*   You can pick up bad habits.   Most online chess is blitz chess (or faster), making it difficult to play carefully.   If that makes its way to your over the board play, you won't be very popular with your team captain.
*   There are quite a few cheats around.   I'm not sure I've run into any, but there are some unscrupulous players out there who will put your moves into their chess computer and play their computer's moves against you.   You might be playing against Fritz (or another powerful chess engine) without realising!

In my view the good points outweigh the bad:
*   It can be tremendous fun.
*   Unlike playing against a computer, your opponents will make mistakes.
*   You can get lots of practice for a new opening in a short space of time.
*   If you find yourself running out of time in over the board play, online play may help you learn to play a little faster (when required).
*   Play on the right websites, and you could find yourself playing against a GM.
*   If you don't like the tight time controls, several sites allow 'non-live' play.   It works in a similar way to correspondence chess.

There are lots of places to play chess online.   One of my favourites is   You can join for free (or get paid membership for extra benefits and the removal of adverts).   The site allows both live and non-live play, and you can search for opponents based on their rating.   The site also has lots of extra learning resources including puzzles, tutorials, articles and videos.   At the time of writing has 6,819,325 members, ranging from complete beginners to Grand Masters.   They have team matches (I'm a member of two teams), tournaments, and an active online community.   They've also made most of this available via their (free) iPhone and Android apps.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Foreign words in chess

"I tried to fianchetto, but his zwischenzug put me in zugzwang until he made a fingerfehler leaving his Queen en prise."

OK, chess is an international game, played in every country.   The World Chess Federation is known by its French initials - FIDE - Fédération Internationale des Echecs.   But how many non-English terms associated with chess can you think of?   Here's a list for starters (do you know what they all mean?).   Let me know if you can think of any more.

En passantFrench
En priseFrench
Tabia (or Tabiya)Arabic

Where the language is shown in brackets, the word is related to that language, but not directly.   'Isolani' in Italian is the plural of 'isolano', yet is used in chess to denote a single isolated d-pawn.   'Patzer' probably stems from the German 'patzen', which means 'to bungle'.

I was going to add 'Desperado', but that seems to be an English word, although it looks as if it could be Italian.

There are of course plenty of openings with foreign names 'Ruy Lopez', 'Giuoco Piano' etc., but I'm only talking about chess terms, not openings or positions.   'Maroczy Bind' would therefore be excluded from the list.