Thursday, 28 February 2013

Two Avengers nightmare scuffle

This is a true story....

  Keith Woodcock

Keith's version:
On Saturday 23rd February, after returning to the Daventry Court Hotel from a superb curry and a few glasses of wine at the Asia restaurant in Daventry where all three Anglian Avengers teams met up for a catch up between rounds, Martin Fogg and I had a drink at the hotel bar then retired into the labyrinth of corridors and rooms to find our twin room 246.   Once the curtains are closed in these rooms they are particularly dark which is great for a good night’s sleep.   On the very comfortable bed I soon fell asleep.

It was around 4 a.m. when I suddenly awoke to the sound of someone moving around to the left hand side of me. In my room it was so dark I could barely make out a distant shadow (I believed at this point I was in my own bed at home where I live alone; this of course was incorrect!).   After briefly analysing the situation and reluctant to move so as not to alert an intruder that I was awake, I decided that someone had definitely broken into my home, got in my bedroom and was emptying the wardrobe of all its totally useless contents, which in fact should have been done years ago!   So I jumped up onto Martin’s bed and started punching and scratching and shouting at him “get out of my flat”!   Poor ole Martin, who didn’t deserve this in any way, startled and confused, very quickly punched me and shouted “JUST STOP”!   Immediately i recognised Martin’s voice and stopped, then went into an uncontrollable shake and a feeling of unjust remorse for my confused outburst.   Martin is a great guy with the patience of a saint!   He then sat up in bed and effectively counselled me for half an hour while I calmed down.

Marty I hope you’re not too bruised.   I do have a bit of a ‘shiner’ round me eye but I’m sure it’ll clear up in a day or so.   Ooo and if you want to press charges I’ll plead guilty as long as they’ll allow a couple of chess books and Fritz in the asylum!   lol

  Martin Fogg

Martin's version:
Me and Keith both stayed at the hotel bar for a couple of drinks after our indian meal that night.  We spectated some blitz and then left for our room around midnight in high spirits because both of us had crushed our opponents in round 5 of the 4NCL.

I slept soundly for 4 hours until Keith decided that clearly wasn't acceptable behaviour!  Still gripped in the hold of a nightmare that his home had been burgled, Keith was convinced that I had sneaked inside his apartment.

My comatose state of mind and inert body must have posed a considerable threat to him once he came to this realisation, because he then proceeded to scratch, punch and slap every piece of me that he could reach in an attempt to evict me from our hotel room.  I hollered and yelled at him to come to his senses (whilst somehow trying to defend myself only seconds after being awoken by the most extreme alarm clock I will probably ever encounter) for what seemed like an eternity before it was all over.

To say that I was paranoid for the next few hours until breakfast was rather an understatement...   Lol

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

League Cup semi-finals

This is the draw for the League Cup semi-finals:

Sudbury v Manningtree

Saxmundham v Ipswich A

The second semi-final above is a repeat of last year's final, which was won by Ipswich A by 5 points to 3.

The competition has had its problems this season, with one match in Group B not being played.  Competitions Secretary Mike McNaughton was called upon to decide which team should qualify.

The League Cup is a Rapidplay competition, with each team member playing two games as White and Black, with 30 minutes for each player.

These matches should be played by the end of March.

EDIT.    Sudbury played Manningtree yesterday.   The score was 4 - 4.   The winners are Manningtree as their aggregate grade (540) was lower than Sudbury (580) - see Rule 37  ("In the event of a tie in the knockout stages the team with the lower aggregate grade in the tied match shall win")

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

4NCL Round-up

A total of 28 Suffolk players have been involved so far in 4NCL matches this season.   Last weekend the League held its third weekend (out of five) and things are looking good for one of the local teams, Anglian Avengers 2.   They are the only team in Division 3 (South) to have won all six matches to date.   But there are still five matches to be played, so no chickens can be counted quite yet.

If you want to look up the performances to date of your favourite team, you can do so on the 4NCL website.   As the site is a little difficult to navigate, here are some quick links:

Click here for Anglian Avengers 1 (Division 2)

Click here for Anglian Avengers 2 (Division 3 South)

Click here for Anglian Avengers 3 (Division 3 South)

Click here for Iceni (Division 3 South)

You can then view individual results by clicking on any of the scores.

The 4NCL deals solely in FIDE ratings, but the results are still graded by the ECF.   These are the individual grading records of the 28 Suffolk players who have participated so far this season.   In some cases estimated grades have had to be used, so these figures may not be totally accurate.   These data do not feature on Dave Wild's grading site, so if calculating your new grade, you will need to add these grading points to your total:

NameGradeTeamDivisionScoreGrading pointsAverage
Dagne Ciuksyte227Guildford 211/2452226
Adam Hunt226Blackthorne Russia1½/2404202
Anna York-Andersen155Sambuca Sharks10/2285143
Alan Merry214Anglian Avengers 121½/4797199
Ed Player214Anglian Avengers 123/4934234
Shaun Munson206Anglian Avengers 122/61007168
David Spence206Anglian Avengers 121/2394197
Mark Gray189Anglian Avengers 123½/61091182
Adam Taylor187Anglian Avengers 123½/4913228
Steve Gregory174Anglian Avengers 1 & 22 & 35/61226204
Mike Cook190Anglian Avengers 233½/61051175
Nick Savage178Iceni31/1228228
Phil Hopkins177Anglian Avengers 232½/4730183
Tim Lunn176Anglian Avengers 232½/4726182
Ian Wallis174Anglian Avengers 2 & 334½/61211202
Richard Lamont171Anglian Avengers 2 & 334½/61102184
Steve Ruthen169Iceni32½/3619206
John Feavyour168Iceni33/6985164
Luke Hill166Anglian Avengers 33½/2293147
Martin Fogg164Anglian Avengers 333½/61025171
Paul Botham158Iceni31½/2326163
Laurie Pott157Iceni3½/4503126
Silas Peck154Anglian Avengers 332/4619155
Bob Jones153Iceni31½/2328164
Colin Roberts141Iceni32½/4587147
Keith Woodcock137Anglian Avengers 332½/5722144
Steve Pecke110Anglian Avengers 330/19696
Isaac Pecke90Anglian Avengers 330/16767

Monday, 25 February 2013

Suffolk players at the 4NCL

A large contingent of Suffolk players was at the Daventry Court Hotel on Saturday and Sunday for the third weekend of the 4NCL.

There will be a detailed report of the results affecting the Suffolk-based teams (Anglian Avengers and Iceni) tomorrow, but in the meantime, here are the scores (out of 2 unless otherwise shown) of the Suffolk players.

In Division 1 the only Suffolk player was Dagne Ciuksyte.   In the first match she beat a Bulgarian GM, rated 164 points above her.  But she came a cropper against an English FM in the second match.

In Division 2 the results were:

Alan Merry   0
Ed Player   2
Shaun Munson   0
Adam Taylor   2
Mark Gray   1

And in Division 3:

Ian Wallis   2
Steve Gregory   1½
Mike Cook   0
Nick Savage   1 (out of 1)
Steve Ruthen   1 (out of 1)
John Feavyour   0
Laurie Pott   ½
Colin Roberts   1
Phil Hopkins   1
Richard Lamont   2
Silas Peck   1
Martin Fogg   1
Keith Woodcock   2 (including one default win)

If anyone else is interested in playing in the 4NCL, the team captains would certainly be interested in hearing from you.   They are Ian Wallis and John Feavyour.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress held today

A total of 84 youngsters and twelve parents played in the Congress today, held at Moreton Hall Community Centre. The children played in five age-group sections: Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, Under 14 and Under 18 (ages as at 1 September 2012).

Whilst there were a number of outstanding performances at all age levels, it was sad to note that although 20 members of the Bury Knights Junior Club had entered, there were only two others from Suffolk, both from the Abbey Prep at Woodbridge School.   By far the largest contingent was from Cambridgeshire, with over half the total (43 entrants).   Others came from Essex, Hertfordshire, and one from Surrey.

The main prizewinners were:

Under 18: 1st= Akito Oyama (Cambridge); Ieysaa bin-Suhayl (Wisbech)

Under 14: 1st Austin See (Waterbeach)

Under 12: 1st= Karthik Saravanan (Gt Yarmouth); Niall Ali (Brentwood)

Under 10: 1st Anita Somton (Bury St Edmunds)

Under 8: 1st Tristian See (Waterbeach)

This photo shows the section winners, as well as 5-year old Maryam bint-Suhayl, the youngest member of the winning team (and the youngest entrant).
Several other excellent performances were recorded by Suffolk players, including Patrick Gembis (2nd in the Under 14s); Alex Sheerin and William Sait (joint 3rd in the Under 14s); and Mario Saenz de Villaverde (joint 4th in the Under 10s).

The two See brothers, as well as Anita, scored a maximum six points out of six in their respective sections.   A total of £520 was paid in prize money.

Twelve parents played in their own free-to-enter section, with Philip Bartram scoring 5/6 to win the trophy (there were no cash prizes for parents!)

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Comings and goings

Chess clubs come and go – and some stay for ever….

Looking back at the archives, it’s interesting to see how the number of chess clubs in the county changes over time. Here’s the data for 1938, 1963, 1988 and 2013.

The numbers indicate the number of teams in the Suffolk League for that year (where known).   How fortunes change!

(Click on the table above for a clearer view)

*   Club teams in 1938 consisted of 12 players (later changed to 8, then 6 and subsequently 4).

Other clubs have come and gone, but don’t show in the above table.   These include Willis Faber & Dumas, Aldeburgh, Bentwaters, Black Knights, Guardian, Orwell High School, Ipswich Juniors, Felixstowe Deben, Stowmarket Juniors, Ipswich YMCA, Framlingham and Cornhill.   There are probably many others (do tell me if you know of any).

It’s interesting to note that 25 years ago there were twice as many teams playing in the league as there are nowadays.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Back to the Archives - when ladies were first recognised

The Minutes of the Suffolk County AGM in 1934 made two significant mentions of the Ladies' Championship:
“Funds for a cup have been collected … for a lady player, Miss Lincoln of Bury St Edmunds, a player who had greatly helped the Bury Club.”

Later in the same minutes, it is recorded that,

“...the Chairman handed over the Ladies’ Championship cup to Miss Lincoln of Bury St Edmunds.   He did not know many counties, especially minor counties, who had a ladies’ cup.   This marked a real step forward, for if they could only get ladies interested in chess it means a great help to the movement.   Miss Lincoln replying said that she regarded it as a great honour to be the first winner of the cup.   If she did lose it, she hoped it would be to an Ipswich lady”

How generous!   In fact, the cup went to a lady from Framlingham in the following season, although Miss Lincoln was to win the Championship on two further occasions in 1938/39.   No ‘Ipswich lady’ was to win the cup until 1947.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Why Battle?

The headquarters of English (British?) chess has for many years been in Battle, near Hastings in Sussex.   But it could have been Bury St Edmunds!

According to the old Minute Book, in 1937 Mr S D (Don) Ward (of the Bury and West Suffolk Club) advised the Suffolk County AGM that “a small committee had been appointed to consider looking for a suitable room as a permanent home for (the) headquarters of British chess”.

Whatever happened to that idea, I wonder?   Not sure where the BCF was based before Battle, but it certainly wasn’t Bury St Edmunds.   Anyone know?

EDIT (22 Feb).     I've just discovered that the BCF office relocated to Battle from St Leonards-on-Sea in 2001, having moved there in 1981 from... Norwich!

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Division 2 update

Most outstanding matches have now been played, providing a clearer picture of the league table.   Saxmundham A still have one postponed match to be played which, should they win 4-0, would bring them level with Adastral Park in second place.

Clacton A recorded their first victory yesterday, beating 3-man Saxmundham A by 2½-1½.   This moves them off the bottom of the table for the first time this season.

Unbeaten Bury St Edmunds B retain a narrow lead.   Their next match against Saxmundham A on 5 March could be decisive.


Bury St Edmunds B752018½
Adastral Park742117½
Bury St Edmunds C731314
Saxmundham A622213½
Clacton A811610½
Stowmarket A720510

The next matches in this division will be played during week commencing 4 March.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A western bias?

Finding something interesting to write every day can be quite a challenge.   And that's why many of the daily postings concern chess in the West (of Suffolk).   It would be good to include news from clubs other than Bury St Edmunds or Bury Knights Junior Chess Club.   So if you are reading this from the frozen East, please consider sending me something of interest.   It can be a game, a position, news about your members, results from in-house competitions; indeed anything of general interest.


Back on 4 February, you were given the challenge of solving an 'impossible' problem.   Of course, it wasn't impossible, just very difficult.   Silas Peck managed to solve it, but it took him the best part of two days!   Here is the solution (and a reminder of the starting position, with White to play and win):

1. Nf6+    Kg7   not Kg6, else Bh5+, covering f7.
2. Nh5+    Kg6   not Kh7, else Bc2+, forcing the king to the back row, with d8Q+ to follow; also, obviously not Kf7.
3. Bc2+!    Kxh5    forced.
4. d8Q!!    Nf7+    else the new queen will soon clean up.
5. Ke6    Nxd8+
6. Kf5   with the simple threat Bd1#  ...e2  forced.
7. Be4   threatening Bf3#  ...e1N  forced.
8. Bd5   heading for c4 and e2  ...c2
9. Bc4    c1N   again forced, to guard e2.
10. Bb5  threatening Be8#    ...Nc7  Black can delay things by one move by playing Nc6 first.
11. Ba4  and Black cannot prevent mate.  Knights can be interposed, but eventually White will play Bd1+ and Bxf3#.

So at the finish it's mate with K, B and P, against four(!) knights, bishop and two pawns.   Amazing.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Bury Knights champion

20 children took part in this season's Club Championship at the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club.   The participants were the top 20 rated members (out of a current membership of 45).

The Championship consisted of five rounds, at 25 minutes each per game.   The winner, scoring 4½ points, was 13-year old William Sait.

William is currently ungraded, having only played four graded games (in the 2012 Bury Congress).   But there he won three games, only losing to Ipswich's Roger Smith in the final round.   His grading performance over the four games was 125 (he had a half-point bye in Round 3).

On Thursday this week he will play his first game for the Bury St Edmunds adult club in the Roger Goldsmith (cup) competition.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Division 1 latest

The last update was exactly a month ago, when each team had played six matches.   Now, eight matches have been played, so there are just two matches each remaining for each team.

The positions of the teams have changed over the month.   Ipswich B have dropped from 3rd to 5th, largely because of an unfortunate default, when their team arrived too late to play Sudbury (who thereby picked up their first 'win').   Ipswich C have moved above Bury St Edmunds A, having beaten them convincingly last week.

Ipswich A appear to have an almost unassailable lead.   The Player of the Season competition is currently led by Shaun Munson, with 6½ points out of 8.

Here is the latest league situation:

Ipswich A862021½
Ipswich C832317
Bury St Edmunds A823316½
Ipswich B840414

The final two rounds of matches take place in mid-March and mid-April, with the final match (between Ipswich B and Ipswich C) to be held on 16 April.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Bury Junior Congress is next Sunday

With just a week to go, entries stand at about 60.   There's room for more, so if you know of anyone who might like to play, please let them know.   You can download an entry form here.   The latest date for entering (without having to pay a late entry fee) is Thursday 21st (or if posted, by Wednesday 20th).

Entries include some strong juniors from Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and, of course, Suffolk.   It would be good to see more entering from Suffolk though; at present only the 'strongholds' of Bury Knights JCC and Woodbridge School appear interested.

There's a 'free-to-enter' section for parents, so if you have a youngster who would like to enter, bring them along and you can both play!

The venue is the Moreton Hall Community Centre, where the adult Bury St Edmunds Chess Club meets.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Watch out - there's an 8-year old girl about!

Regulars will recall, a few days ago, reading about Anita Somton's call-up to an England team.   Still only 8 years old, she now plays league chess for the Bury St Edmunds 'E' team in the Bury Area League (Division 3).

Yesterday she faced another girl, 13-year old Alba Saenz de Villaverde, who plays for the Bury 'F' team.   Both Anita (59) and Alba (76) received their first long-play grades from the ECF in January.

In the game that follows, Alba certainly made a few errors.   But as you'll see, Anita capitalised on these mistakes and swamped Alba with a deluge of central pawns.   The finish is particularly impressive.   Be afraid.  Be very afraid!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Three-fold repetition

How often does this occur?   Perhaps more frequently than you may think.

In my game yesterday, in a losing position, I wondered momentarily if a threefold repetition had occurred, but convinced myself it needed another move, so didn't claim the draw.   Back home, my computer told me otherwise. As I went on to lose the game, I was somewhat annoyed at myself for not getting this right.   I just didn't take enough time to work it out properly.

This was the first position (of three):

My opponent (White) now played 42. Bd7 and the game continued 42... Kd6  43. Bb5  Ke5 (2nd repetition)  44. Bd3  Kd4  45. Bb5.  At this point I should have written down my intended reply, stopped the clock and claimed the game (as per FIDE Rule 9.2).   If 45... Ke5 the above position will have been repeated three times!

In my hassled state of mind (in time-trouble as usual), I mistakenly thought the position had only occurred twice.   I played 45... Ke5, didn't claim, and my opponent replied 46. Kh5, winning.

I wonder if anyone else has experienced this, or had similar 'mind-blanks'?

(Rule 9.2 states:

The game is drawn upon a correct claim by the player having the move, when the same position, for at least the third time (not necessarily by a repetition of moves) is about to appear, if he first writes his move on his scoresheet and declares to the arbiter his intention to make this move...)

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Final call for trophies

On a couple of occasions (here and here) I've asked if anyone knows where some Suffolk trophies are.  I've received just one reply.   Some people must know where these trophies currently reside (probably deep in some cupboard).

Please check at your Club and ask if anyone knows where these trophies might be:

Division 1 Champions
Division 2 Champions
Division 1 Player of the Year
Division 2 Player of the Year
Division 3 Player of the Year
Under 125 Winners
League Cup winners

Apologies if you've already told me about any of these trophies.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

100th British Championships

The Centenary Championships of the British Isles (more commonly known as 'The British') will take place at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay, between 28 July and 10 August.

In addition to the British Championship, for which pre-qualification is necessary unless you are a titled player, there are various other tournaments on offer, including:

*    British Senior Championship (for those born in or before 1953)
*    British Graded Championships: u180; u160; u140; u120; Senior u150; Senior u130
*    British Junior Championships: u16; u14; u13; u12; u11; u10; u9; u8 (ages as at 1 January 2013)
*    Major Open
*    5 day Morning / Afternoon Tournaments
*    Sunday Rapidplays (6 rounds)
*    Weekenders (5 rounds)

Entry forms are now available on line, or contact the Congress Secretary by email if you have any queries.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Results from the Norfolk Rapidplay

The Annual Norfolk Rapidplay Congress took place on Sunday at Thorpe House School, Norwich.   There were two sections: Championship and Challengers.   Amongst the 30 entrants were four from Suffolk.

The Championship was won by David Spence, who scored 5 points out of 6 with a grading performance of 214.   In joint second place was Stephen Gregory on 4½ points and a Gp of 201.   The Peter Burnett Cup for the highest placed Norfolk player was won by David LeMoir, who also scored 4½ points.

In the Challengers section, Simon Riley scored 3½ points and Roger Smith scored 3 points.

Full details can be found here.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A successful month for Chris

Cambridge City's Chris Davison, who is also a member of the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club and plays occasionally in the Suffolk League, is having a tremendous season.  

He is the current (joint) winner of the EACU Grand Prix and joint Cambridgeshire county champion.   In slow-play chess, Chris is currently on a 27-game unbeaten run; his January 2013 ECF grade is up 12 points to 177.   As reported on Friday he was runner-up last weekend in the Open section of the Herts Congress, drawing with two 200+ players.

Yesterday he won the Under 170 section of the Peterborough Rapidplay, scoring 5½ points out of 6 and winning £90 (his Rapidplay grade is 166).

Along with a number of other well-known chess-players, Chris suffers from Asperger's Syndrome.   Bobby Fischer may have had Asperger's.   Chess is thought to be an ideal pursuit for people with this disorder on the autism spectrum.

For more information on Asperger's, read here.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Fifty years ago

As regular readers will appreciate, it's not always possible to come up with something newsy and topical every day.   So it's on occasions like this that I have to fall back on either a puzzle or archive material.   Today it's the turn for something old.

Browsing through the old Minute Book, I came across the minutes of the 1963 Annual General Meeting.  Clearly there were some financial concerns at the time, because the Treasurer stated that there was a deficit of over £9 and that "there had been no subscriptions for vice-presidents during the year".   It appears that for many years it had been the practice of the Association to invite anyone to become a VP, upon payment of the appropriate amount.   Ten years earlier, in 1953, it had been agreed that "in future, all persons who subscribe £1-1-0 (a guinea) or more per annum shall be elected Vice-Presidents..."   This seemed to be quite a good way of raising money.   But with no funds from that source coming in during the 1962/63 season, it was agreed at the meeting that "Headmasters of schools, non-affiliated members who played correspondence chess, and any other person interested in chess, should be asked to become a vice-president".   The following year's AGM reported that £10-9-6 had been raised from VPs, so some ten people must have been persuaded to part with their guinea (apart from one who was short of a sixpence).

The 1963 AGM also agreed to reduce the number of boards per team from 10 to 8.   It would seem that there were no A, B, C teams then, just a single Club team.   The only clubs in the Suffolk League were Ipswich, Bury, Stowmarket, Felixstowe, Woodbridge and Saxmundham.   At some later date the number of boards was further reduced to 6, and subsequently to the current 4 (i.e. a car-load).   At least this did facilitate more than one team per club.

Finally, it was reported that the SCCA was "not receiving the publicity required to keep chess before the public and thus encourage the recruitment of new players".   Was that ever the problem!   Nowadays most clubs find it difficult to recruit new members, so nothing much has changed.   But with the advent of the Internet, all clubs have an opportunity to promote themselves to the wider world.   Just try googling 'Ipswich Chess' or 'Saxmundham Chess', or whatever your club's name is.   Does it immediately point you to your club's website?   For most clubs it certainly works, with your club's website top of the list.   But just as important is keeping your club's website up-to-date.   At least one club's site hasn't been touched for several years - and it shows!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Herts Congress round-up

The 61st Hertfordshire Congress took place last weekend at the County Hall in Hertford.   There were 108 entrants across four graded sections.   Ten members from Suffolk-based clubs competed.   The following tables show current (Jan 2013) grade, points scored (out of 5), and grading performance.   Eligibility for the graded sections was based on the July 2012 grades.   An asterisk after the score indicates that it includes a full-point bye.


Chris Davison177Cambridge City / Bury St Edmunds213
Shaun Munson206Ipswich / Bury St Edmunds3207
Ian Wallis174Ipswich / Bury St Edmunds188
Adam Taylor187Manningtree2177

Challengers (u175)

Stephen Pride153Cambridge City / Bury St Edmunds3179
Silas Peck154Ipswich2*134
Philip Hutchings160Manningtree / Clacton2*128

Major (u150)

Rob Kelly143Manningtree3153

Minor (u120)

Steve Pecke100Ipswich395
David Wood19Bury St Edmunds1*9

Of the above, only Chris Davison achieved any prize money.  As runner-up in the Open section, he won £88, which included the u180 grading prize.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Anita gets her England call-up

8-year old Anita Somton from Bury St Edmunds has been invited to represent England at the World School Chess Championships, which take place in Halkidiki, Greece, in May 2013.

The invitation follows on a number of successes over the past twelve months.   Anita won the inaugural UKI Girls Under 8 Championship and was second-placed girl in the Under 10s at the British Championships in North Shields in July.   She is also South of England under 9 Girls Champion (from the London Junior in December).

Anita attends the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club, and has played a number of matches for the adult club in the Bury Area League Division 3.   Her father, Somton Ukken, is a strong player himself, and gives Anita two or three hours coaching every day.

A bonus for you - see if you can solve the puzzle on the board; it's White to play.  What is the winning move?

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Ladies' Championship update

The Suffolk Ladies' Championship is now into its third round, although a couple of games have yet to be played. The latest situation is:

Emilia Jewell20013
Vicky Allen20002
Anita Somton10112
Adèle Lunn10001
Alba Saenz de Villaverde10201
Bethany Young00211
Liya Baby00200

Beacuse there are seven entrants, everyone takes a turn at receiving a bye, as follows:

Round 1 - Bethany
Round 2 - Anita
Round 3 - Emilia
Round 4 - Liya
Round 5 - Alba
Round 6 - Adele
Round 7 - Vicky

In the above table, byes have been shown up to Round 3 only, which is due to be completed by 15 February. Outstanding matches are Adèle v Vicky and Liya v Adèle.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

100 up!

This posting is Number 100 since the new Suffolk Chess website started at the end of September.   Not only has that milestone been reached, but also the site has now received 10,000 page views, as recorded on Blogger's 'stats'.   That of course is an average of 100 per day, but the highest daily figure was 181.

One slightly disappointing feature though has been the number of comments received, which number only 80 - and most of those are from the same few people.

Which brings me to the all-important question - How many people actually look at this website on a regular basis?

If you are reading this page, please take a minute to respond to these three questions, by emailing me:

1.   How often do you click on    Every day / a few times a week / once a week / only occasionally

2.   How many times have you added a comment?    A few / once or twice / Never

3.   Do you want these postings to continue?   If so, how often?    Every day / A few times a week / Weekly

Many thanks.   I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Another 'impossible' problem

At first glance it just doesn't seem possible.   In this position it's White to play and win.   OK, White has a pawn about to promote, but threats of Nf7+ appear to prevent this.   On the other hand, Black is poised to promote the c and e pawns, as well as holding a considerable material advantage.

If you haven't seen this puzzle before, have a go at solving it.   There's not much use in using a computer - there's no way it'll see far enough ahead from this position.   The main line, which leads to mate, is 12 moves long!

Answers to me by email please!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress - just three weeks away

The Bury St Edmunds Junior Chess Congress will take place at Moreton Hall Community Centre (where the adult club meets) on Sunday 24 February.   Entries are coming in thick and fast, but there is still plenty of space for more!   There's a 'free to enter' section for parents, in addition to the usual age-group sections for Under 8s, 10s, 12, 14s and 18s.   The entry fee is £12, or £10 for ECF 'Silver' members.

If you know of anyone who may like to enter, please send them a link to this page, or to the ECF tournament calendar page, where you can download an entry form.  If you are involved with a school chess club, and have not received any entry forms, please email me.

This event was not held last year, because the previous venue, Culford School, required an exorbitant fee to hire their hall.   So this year we have chosen the excellent Moreton Hall Community Centre, which has masses of off-street car parking and is next to shops, pub and a coffee shop.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Gibraltar roundup

It was a mixed tournament for Suffolk's David Spence.   Finishing on 5½ points (out of 10) sounds quite good, but this included two half-point byes, a default when his mobile phone rang, and two draws against titled players (GM/IM).  At the end, his Elo rating (2226) stayed virtually unchanged.  Still, I'm sure he had a great time, especially on the social side in the evenings.

You can see his individual performance here (scroll down and click on his name).   He finished in 100th place, out of 247 entrants.  Only six untitled players finished ahead of David, and five of those were on the same 5½ points score.

For those watching the live games, there was an outstanding finish.  Four players tied in first place on 8 points, so there was a Blitz play-off (10 minutes each + 5 seconds per move).  England's Nigel Short, already a four-time winner of this event, won his semi-final against France's Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, but lost out in the Final ½-1½ to Russia's Nikita Vitiugov (2694).  Nigel and Nikita were seeded tenth and ninth respectively, so both did extremely well against such an impressive field (which included 48 Grandmasters!).  

Nigel's rating has now crept up to just three points shy of 2700.  

The live online commentary by GM Simon Williams ('Ginger GM') and IM Irina Krush was quite brilliant - and amusing.   Hope they get signed up for 2014.

I particularly liked this finish by India's Chanda Sandipan (seeded 24th but who finished joint 1st) against China's Quang Liem Le in Round 10.  Sandipan (Black) in this position played 34. Qxd2+!.   The game continued ... Rxd2  35. Rxd2 h5  36. Bf5 Qe3  37. Ra2 resigns.   White is forced to take the rook on f2, else he will be mated.

Friday, 1 February 2013

Alex for England?

11-year old Alex Sheerin of the Ipswich Chess Club and Bury Knights Junior Chess Club is attempting to qualify to play for the England Under 11 team.   His target has been to qualify for the Under 11 Trial, for which a 'norm' has to be gained.   Earlier at the London Junior in December he obtained a 'half-norm', so needed another half if he was to get to the Trial in April.

Mum Jane (pictured right with Alex) is incredibly supportive and on 19 January drove all the way to Liverpool (in the snow) for Alex to play in the EPSCA (English Primary Schools Chess Association) Rapidplay.  When they arrived at the venue they found a note pinned to the door to say the event had been cancelled.  This, after Jane had phoned the day before to check the event was still going ahead!

So, back to Ipswich and then last weekend it was off to Yateley in Hampshire to play in the South of England Junior Championships.  Playing in the Under 11 section, Alex scored the required three points out of five to obtain his second half-norm.   In doing so, he had a grading performance of 112.   See cross-table here.

Alex's new ECF grade is 105, an amazing improvement from his July 2012 grade of 69.   His Rapidplay grade is 116.

Now Jane and Alex will have to travel back to Liverpool for the weekend of 27/28 April for the England Under 11 trial.    Good luck Alex!

Saxmundham in the National Club Championship

(This article should have been posted yesterday - sorry!)

Ten Clubs entered the Intermediate section of the National Club Championship, for which the controller is SCCA Competitions Secretary Mike McNaughton.   Saxmundham Chess Club is the only club from Suffolk that has entered.   In the first round they were paired against the 2012 champions Bishop's Stortford.   They came away with an excellent 3 - 1 win!

You can view full details on the ECF page here.

Two of the remaining five clubs now have to play a preliminary round, to determine the four which are to compete in the semi-finals.  Saxmundham have managed to miss the preliminary round and will now face either Maidstone or Wanstead and Woodford in the semis.  If the latter club wins, Saxmundham will be at home; if Maidstone win they will have to play away.

Good luck to the team, which consists of John Feavyour, Malcolm Lightfoot, Arthur McCormick and Andrew Paige.