Sunday, 28 December 2014

Alan beats an FM in 20 moves

18-year old Alan Merry (2347), who has already achieved the required number of norms to become an IM (he just needs to get his rating to 2400), beat the experienced FIDE Master Peter Sowray in the final round of the Brambles Masters last weekend.   Here is the game (Alan is White), with a few annotations:

(Edited to amend IM to FM)

This will be the last article for a week or so.   The next will be on Monday 5 January.

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Xmas puzzles #4

Today sees the last of the Christmas puzzles - four puzzles to bring the total up to ten.

Please send your answers to all the puzzles to me, Bob Jones.   The best set of answers will win a book prize!

Puzzle #7

White to play and draw.

Puzzle #8

White to play and mate in 4.

Puzzle #9

White to play and mate in 3.

Puzzle #10

White to play and mate in 3.

Remember, no computers.   Good luck!

Friday, 26 December 2014

Xmas puzzles #3

If you are suffering from the excesses of Christmas Day (and Boxing Day), then here is the perfect cure - a couple of (fairly) tough puzzles for you to solve.

Don't forget, wait until tomorrow before sending in your answers to all four days' puzzles!

Puzzle #5

White to play and mate in 3.
(After White's first move, Black has six possible moves.   You will need to find the answers to all six.)

Puzzle #6

White to play and win.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Xmas puzzles #2

A very Happy Christmas to all our readers!

It being Christmas Day, here are a couple of 'Christmas tree' puzzles.   The numbering follows on from yesterday:

Puzzle 3

It's White to play and mate in 2 (easy).

Puzzle 4

White to play and mate in 5 (difficult).

Good luck - and remember, wait until Saturday before sending in your answers.   And, try and solve them without using your computer!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Xmas puzzles #1

Here are the first of the puzzles which will feature over the next four days.   Please don't post your answers in the comments section, but wait until you've seen all four days' puzzles.   Then you can submit your answers to me and perhaps win a prize!

Puzzle 1

Black to play and win:

Puzzle 2

Black to play and force checkmate:

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Alan finds it tough at Hampstead

Over the past week or so, Alan Merry (Elo 2347) has been playing in the 14-player Brambles Masters, in Hampstead.   With half the field rated over 2400, Alan was hoping to gain some points that would bring him closer to the 2400 rating he needs for his IM title.

Starting with an excellent draw against the eventual joint winner, top seed GM Fier from Brazil, Alan stood proudly on three points after the first five rounds with a likely improvement of 30 rating points.   But things then went badly wrong, and he lost in rounds 6, 7 and 8.   He recovered with a good win in the final round today against IM Peter Sowray (2385).   So instead of gaining the 53 points he needed, Alan will probably just manage to ease his rating over 2350.

The final cross-table can be viewed here.

As can be seen left, Alan featured on the cover of the British Chess Magazine for November 2014.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas puzzles

Starting on Wednesday (Christmas Eve) and continuing until Saturday, there will be a series of puzzles for you to solve.   Please don't show the answers in the comments sections; instead, wait until you've solved all four days' puzzles, then send your solutions to me, Bob Jones.

There will be a book prize for the best set of answers!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Competitions Secretary's report

David Green, the Suffolk League's Competitions Secretary, has provided the following 'half-time' report:

"At the halfway point of the season I offer a few thoughts and observations on how the rule changes and new competitions have worked so far.

Overall I feel that the competitions are running well.   The Suffolk League fixtures have all been played on time.   The Under 125 fixtures have just been published.   The initial round of the Cup and Plate has been completed and the fixtures for the first knock-out matches for both the Cup and Plate have been scheduled and the first of these has been played.

Fixture postponements

We did not change the rule regarding the acceptable reasons for postponing a fixture but we did change the Competitions Secretary who oversees these postponements!   Clearly I see things a little differently from our previous Competitions Secretary and there were some minor complaints when I insisted on the application of our newly revised rules as they stand.   Certain 'gentlemen's agreements' that allowed postponements because of player non-availability were seen to be in contravention of our brand new rule book.   These agreements were cancelled despite pleas that they were established custom and practice.


We changed the default rule from always on the lowest board to the board on which the player was absent.   Some concern was expressed within the rules revision sub-committee about the possibility of tactical defaulting.   So far such fears appear to be baseless as there has been a similar level of defaults to the previous seasons that were run under the old rules.   There may be more defaults ahead as substitutes reach the limits on the number of times they are allowed to play but that is a separate issue.   Let us hope this will be a very small number.


For all their complexity the new substitution rules only apply to clubs with more than one team in the league and all seems to be working as intended.

The database produced by Dave Wild to track the main teams, substitutions for higher teams, lower teams and teams in the same division is working well; without it I am certain I would not have been able to cope with the detailed record-keeping that rule 5.4 requires.   Thanks again go to Dave Wild for his excellent coding skills.


As I hope you are all aware I do not want to use penalties to ensure rule compliance.   However I feel I need to be fairly rigorous when captains fail to meet the requirement to be accurate and punctual when entering the match results.   The whole database is only as good as these match result entries and until they are entered, confirmed and approved, the rest of the functions, in particular the substitutions monitoring system, are out of date.

In this area I have applied a penalty and have had to be proactive and warn captains of the consequences of their late entry of results.   Perhaps we need to be more careful in teaching any new captain how to enter results and ensuring that every new captain has the correct access to the database.   Once asked, Dave Wild is always very quick to set up a new captain and to ensure correct access but if he is not asked then how can he or I know that such action is needed?

There have been no ineligible players fielded although Ipswich did default a game for match purposes and then agreed and played a friendly game on that board with an ineligible player filling the slot.   That gave the player who had travelled to Ipswich a graded game, avoided a penalty and was, I believe, the correct and proper action.

Cup and Plate

There have been some minor misunderstandings of the new Cup and Plate rules in particular Rule 1 which allows teams to opt out if they wish and Rule 2 where a player may play for only one team.


So far the new rules and the new Comps Sec seem to be doing what is expected.

I wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year and if the second half of the season is as good as the first half I will be very satisfied with my efforts."

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Looking forward to Gibraltar

Now in its 13th year, the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival goes from strength to strength.   The 2015 event starts on 26 January.   To date the Masters section has an amazing 248 entrants, including some 70 Grandmasters!   David Spence is the only Suffolk player entered.

The Festival has a total prize fund of £175,000, with a first prize in the Masters of £20,000.

Subsidiary events include the Challengers and Amateurs, with both week 1 and week 2 sections.   The total entry in the Festival currently exceeds 450.

Whilst no other Suffolk players have entered so far, it is understood that David Brown intends to play.   He, and others, have until 16 January to enter if they wish to avoid paying a late entry fee.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Anita goes to London

Immediately after Christmas (28 December), Bury's Anita Somton (128 ECF) will travel to London to take part in the Under 12 section of the London Junior Chess Championships.   The results will be published here after the event.

Entrants must have achieved a good score from one of a number of qualifying tournaments.   Anita scored 5/6 in the Under 14 section of the Woodbridge Junior on 23 November.

Anita will play nine games over the three-day event.   She will be able to play in the same section next year, as she is currently an Under 11.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Half-time update

All three divisions of the Suffolk League have completed their scheduled fixtures for the first half of the season.   If nothing else that's a tribute to the team captains as well as to the Competitions Secretary, David Green, who has kept his finger firmly on the pulse.

Each division has seven teams, so each team has so far played six matches.   Here are the current league tables:

Division 1

Ipswich A641116½
Ipswich C650116
Manningtree A632115
Ipswich B622212
Bury St Edmunds C620410
Bury St Edmunds B6123
Bury St Edmunds A60155

So, the three Bury St Edmunds' teams are propping up the table.   It seems almost certain that one of these will be relegated at the end of the season.   Last year's Champions, Manningtree A, are hot on the heels of two Ipswich teams, with only 1½ points separating the top three places.

Division 2

Saxmundham A650117
Ipswich D631213½
Adastral Park623112
Stowmarket A6204
Bury St Edmunds D60156

Saxmundham A have a clear lead at the top, whilst at the other end of the table, Stowmarket A and Bury St Edmunds D appear to be fighting to avoid relegation.

Division 3

Manningtree B650117
Ipswich F631213½
Stowmarket Rooks 621312
Ipswich E631211½
Saxmundham B613211
Bury St Edmunds E6024

Manningtree B are emulating their A team and head the division by 3½ points.   At least Bury St Edmunds E can't be relegated!

Players of the Season

The leaders in each division are:

Division 1:   Steve Gregory (5½/6)
Division 2:   Malcolm Lightfoot (5½/6)
Division 3:   Phil Hopkins (6/6); Carl Phillips (5½/6); Andrew Molloy (5½/6)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

FIDE ratings

The December FIDE rating list contains 33 Suffolk-based players (who qualify to play for Suffolk) with current standard-play ratings.

A number of other players have not played enough games to qualify for a rating (nine games against rated players are needed).

1Adam Hunt2437
2Justin Tan2366
3Alan Merry2347
4Dagne Ciuksyte2340
5Andrew Lewis2226
6Ed Player2240
7Mike Harris2234
8David Spence2231
9Shaun Munson2167
10Mark Gray2091
11Tim Lunn2057
=12Steve Gregory2056
=12Adam Taylor2056
14Steve Ruthen2053
15John Feavyour2029
16Paul Botham2016
17Ian Wallis2009
18Nick Savage2007
19John Peters2000
20Mike Cook1997
21Phil Hopkins1988
22Michael Clapham1923
23Luke Hill1921
24Somton Ukken1915
25Martin Fogg1906
26Richard Lamont1893
27Malcolm Lightfoot1867
28Silas Peck1862
29Bob Jones1844
30Vivian Woodward1703
31Keith Woodcock1668
32Alex Sheerin1622
33Anita Somton1464

For some reason, David Brown doesn't appear on the latest FIDE list, but it's believed that his rating is 1961, which would put him in 22nd place.

Other Suffolk players who have not yet played enough games for a rating are (number of games played in brackets):

Andrew Shephard (7)
Jon Collins (5)
Laurie Pott (5)
Simon Riley (5)
Ted Matthewson (4)
Graham Moore (4)
Colin Roberts (4)
Steve Lovell (3)
Dominic Carter (2)
Peter Collicott (2)
Mark Weidman (2)
Sam Brennan (1)
Leon Burnett (1)

Please let me know if there are any omissions or errors!

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Chess at the Apex

The Tuesday chess club at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds is still going strong.   Today ten members attended, and weekly numbers have been as high as 14.

The Club is free of charge and you can park your car in the adjacent car park after 3 pm without having to pay.   The Club meets from 3.30 to 5.30.

New members are always welcome.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Christmas puzzles

Over the Christmas period, it's planned to have a number of problems.   If anyone knows of any difficult, but interesting, problems, please let me know.   You can email me at bobjoneschess (at)

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Silas gains rating points

Silas Peck completed an excellent performance in the London Chess Classic FIDE Open, which concluded this evening. He finished on 50% (4½/9) with a tournament performance of 1990.   He will gain 57 much-deserved rating points, which will improve his live rating to 1919.   Having beaten two players rated over 2000 and drawn with another, it surely won't be long before Silas himself reaches the 'magic' 2000.


Bury's Anita Somton played in the Northwick Park Major (u155) tournament in Harrow over the weekend.   She scored 50% with a grading performance of 144.   Still only ten years old, she is certainly a great prospect for Suffolk chess.


Mark Gray scored 3/5 to finish in joint 11th place in the Weekend Classic Open.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

London Classic - FIDE Open

Ipswich's Silas Peck is on two points after the first five rounds of the FIDE Open.   His performance rating is 1932, 70 points higher than his current Elo rating of 1862.   His best win was in Round 4, when he beat a 2031 from India.   Tomorrow and Sunday see two games each day, with barely an hour's gap between rounds.

The five-round Weekend Classic tournament started yesterday.   The only Suffolk player entered in Mark Gray, who is seeded 12th in the Open section.   He drew his first round match.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Bury Knights Christmas Tournament

32 children attended the last meeting of the Autumn Term this evening at the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club.

A 'piece handicap' tournament was held, where the higher-rated opponent had to remove a certain number of points from his side of the board before the game started.   The highest-rated player had a handicap of 8, whilst the lowest-rated was on zero.   So if top played bottom, then the top player would have removed, say, a knight, bishop and two pawns.

The eventual winner was 9-year old Aaron Saenz de Villaverde.   This was an excellent performance by Aaron, who won all five games.   Three players were runners-up on four points: Ryan Swann, Bass Sloane-Hunter and Sammy Roberts.   Everyone received prizes of different sizes, with Aaron getting the biggest - a large bar of Toblerone!
The winner of the fancy dress competition (chess-themed Xmas outfit) was Edison Lorejo, with William Hurry as runner-up.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Bury Area League latest

With mid-season fast approaching, it's time for an update on the Bury Area League, which involves seven teams from the Bury St Edmunds club, and one each from Newmarket and Stowmarket.

In Division 1, Bury Scorpions (which consists of four Ipswich members - Messrs Moore, Gregory, Wallis and Lunn) lie in second place, 3½ points behind the leaders, Cambridge Examiners.   The other two Bury teams, Scarabs and Cobras, are poorly placed at the foot of the division.

In Division 2, Bury Vipers have lost all four matches, but are being propped up by Newmarket, who have also lost all four matches.

Stowmarket are faring well in Division 3 and currently head the table.   The other three Bury teams are clustered in mid-table.

You can view the full league tables on the Bury League website.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

London Chess Classic

The only Suffolk player in the nine-round FIDE Open is Silas Peck (pictured left).   He lost in the first two rounds on Monday and Tuesday, to a 2278 and a 2048.   But today he beat a lower-rated Italian to get his score off the ground.

The Classic 'Super Six' started today, with England's Mickey Adams winning an amazing Q & 3P v Q & 2P ending against one of the favourites, Fabiano Caruana.   The other two games were drawn, so Mickey heads the table.   Adams handled the endgame immaculately, not rushing his moves.   Just before Caruana resigned in a lost position, one of the commentators said, "Sit on your hands when a win is in sight."   How true, and how often have we all failed to heed that maxim?

You can view the Super Six games here.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Three Sundays in March

Get your diaries and calendars out.   Here are three dates in March 2015:

On 1 March, thge EACU Team Championships take place at Moreton Hall Community Centre, Bury St Edmunds.   This event is usually held at Whittlesford, but this year should attract more Suffolk teams.   More details later.

On 8 March, the Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress will be held at the same venue.   This year, the event incorporates the EACU Junior Championship.

Then on 15 March, the Suffolk Junior Open takes place at Woodbridge School.

More information about each of these events will be published later.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Success for the Under 100s

The eight-board Suffolk Under 100 team played a double-header against Cambridgeshire yesterday - and came out on top, winning overall by 9 points to 7.

In the morning, Suffolk won convincingly by 5½ points to 2½, with wins from captain Daniel Yarnton on Board 2, Trevor Webster (Board 3), Rob Scott (Board 4), Alan John (Board 5) and Tom Roy (Board 8).   In the afternoon, with colours reversed (and a different set of opponents as Cambridgeshire decided to change their board order), Suffolk went down 3½ - 4½.   There were wins from Dave Wild on top board, Trevor Webster (again) and Ralph Martin.

One pleasing aspect of this result was that four of the team were juniors from the Bury Knights.   All scored one win, except eight-year old Adam John, whose turn will surely come soon as he shows great potential.

The Under 100s next play on 22 February, when they will face Norfolk.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Two draws for the Under 160s

Suffolk Under 160s recorded two match draws today (8 - 8), against Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.

In the morning match, against Cambridgeshire, ten of the sixteen boards were drawn, with wins for Kevin Greenacre, Bob Jones and Laureano Garcia.   In the afternoon, against Hertfordshire, Suffolk needed just half a point from the last two games to finish, but sadly lost both.   Kevin and Laureano both won again.   Other winners in the afternoon were Ed Kirkham, Mike Taylor and Anita Somton.

In the other morning match, Norfolk beat Herts 9½ - 6½ and in the afternoon, Cambridgeshire beat Norfolk 9 - 7.

So after the first rounds of matches, Cambridgeshire lead the league table with three points, closely followed by Suffolk and Norfolk on two points, with Hertfordshire on one point.

The next Under 160 matches take place on Sunday 1 February.

The top boards of the Suffolk team: Malcolm Lightfoot, Ed Kirkham and Martin Fogg - all unbeaten today (five draws!)

Saturday, 6 December 2014

London Chess Classic

The 6th London Chess Classic got underway today.   It started with a ten-round 'Super Rapidplay', with some 300 entrants.   After five rounds, six players share the lead with a maximum score.   It appears that no Suffolk players have entered.   You can follow the live games on the Congress website.   In the fifth round today, Nakamura won a 15-move miniature against Jonathan Hawkins, whose queen became trapped after taking the a1 rook.

The main 'Super Six' event starts on Wednesday, with Fabiano Caruana, Vishy Anand, Anish Giri, Hikaru Nakamura, Vladimir Kramnik and Mickey Adams competing in a round-robin.   A nine-round FIDE Open starts on Monday and various other events are scheduled during the week..

Friday, 5 December 2014

More games please!

It's ages since we managed to display a game on this website, mainly because no one has submitted one for publication.

With dozens of games being played in the Suffolk League this season, there must be some interesting enough to appear here.   Please send me any games that you would like to see published, preferably annotated.


On Sunday, the county Under 160 and Under 100 teams will be in action at the Turner Hall in Newmarket.   The u160s play Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire, whilst the u100s face Norfolk in a double-header.   Half the eight-board Under 100 team consists of juniors from the Bury Knights, with a fifth (Anita Somton), playing for the Under 160s.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Woodbridge Junior results

Last Sunday the Woodbridge Junior Open tournament welcomed 79 players of varying ages between 6 and 18.
The results were as follows (Suffolk players are in bold):

Under 8 Section:

1st: Bhramav Rajesh (Essex) 6/6
2nd: Yucheng Bian (Norwich) 5/6
3rd: Arthur Nath 4/6
Woodbridge Winner: Charlotte Ciuksyte 2½/6
(8 Players)

Under 10 Section:

1st: Panagiotis Klotsas (Cambridge) 5½/6
2nd: Zahra Jaufarally (Colchester) 4½/6
3rd=: Aaron Saenz de Villaverde (Bury Knights), Luca Sangiovanni-Vicintelli (Cambridge), Ciaran Brightley Davies (London), Eden Coles 4/6
Woodbridge Winner: George Na Nakhorn (The Abbey) 4/6
(22 Players)

Under 12 Section:

1st: Charlie Pickering (Norwich) 5½/6
2nd: William Bradley (Wymondham) 5/6
3rd: Sarah Weersing (Essex) 4½/6
Woodbridge Winner: Zoe Newman (Woodbridge School) 4/6
(28 Players)

Under 14 Section:

1st: Karthik Saravananan (Lowestoft) 6/6
2nd: Anita Somton (Bury Knights) 5/6
3rd: Campion Mitchell-Cotts (Saxmundham) 3½/6
Woodbridge Winner: Cavan Fawcett (Woodbridge School) 2½/6
(12 Players)

Under 16/18 Section:

1st: William Sait (Bury Knights) 5½/6
2nd and Woodbridge U18 Winner: Jacob Elman (Woodbridge School) 5/6
3rd: Ben Schreiber (Woodbridge School) 4/6
(9 Players)

The planned Open section, which includes adults, as well as the Parents' section, were cancelled due to lack of entrants.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

December ratings

The December 2014 rating list has been published by FIDE.   The 'England' list contains four Suffolk-based players in the top 60:

IM Adam Hunt     2437    #29
GM Jon Levitt     2415    #36
FM Alan Merry     2347    #54
IM Dagne Ciuksyte     2340    #57

FM Justin Tan is of course Australian, but at 2366 would feature at #49 in the ENG list.

Former Suffolk players Nick (2562) and Richard Pert (2443) are at #8 and #26 respectively.

Dagne is #3 ENG woman, with Anita Somton (1464) at #55.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Cup and Plate dates (and a result)

The new Cup and Plate competition has reached the first round proper (the quarter-finals), with seven teams competing in the Cup and six teams in the Plate.

One match in the Cup was played last evening, with Sudbury going down ½ - 3½ to Ipswich C.   The other two matches, between Ipswich D and Manningtree, and Ipswich E and Ipswich A, will be played on Tuesday 6 January.   The seventh team, Ipswich B, has a bye to the semi-finals.

In the Plate, Saxmundham will play Stowmarket on 6 January, whilst the two Bury St Edmunds teams, E and D, face each other on Thursday 29 January.   Two teams have byes: Felixstowe and Ipswich F.

The success or otherwise of this event can be judged by its 13 entries, considerably more than the nine teams that played last season in the Under 125 and Under 145 Cups combined.   However, eight teams declined to participate in the Cup and Plate, mostly on account of fixture congestion and the consequent difficulty in finding sufficient players. These were three teams from Bury St Edmunds (A, B & C), Adastral Park, Clacton, as well as the 'B' teams from Stowmarket, Saxmundham and Manningtree.   Both Bury and Clacton have considerable commitments in other leagues (Bury Area and North Essex respectively).

Monday, 1 December 2014

Under 120s draw with Norfolk

Playing alongside the First Team on Sunday, the eight-board Suffolk Under 120 team managed to draw 8 - 8 with Norfolk in their double-header.

In the morning, the team went down 3 - 5 to Norfolk, with wins for Chas Szentmihaly and Andrew Paige.   But playing in the afternoon with colours reversed, Suffolk won 5 - 3.   This time there were wins from Dave Robertson, Roger Smith, Andrew Paige and Mark Nevison.   Congratulations to Andrew for winning both games, and to Chas and Roger for scoring 1½ points each.

The second set of matches, against Cambridgeshire, is scheduled for 8 February.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Mixed results for the County First Team

The Suffolk First Team lost this morning to a strong Norfolk side by 6 points to 10.   But in the afternoon they bounced back, narrowly defeating Bedfordshire 8½ - 7½.

No Suffolk player won both their games, but three players scored 1½ points - Tim Lunn, Leon Burnett and Somton Ukken.

Both Suffolk and Cambridgeshire have now played two matches, with the other three counties - Norfolk, Beds and Herts each having played four matches.   The league table is therefore a bit distorted, although Cambridgeshire are the only county to have won all (both) their matches.

1    Norfolk 6 pts from 4 matches
2    Cambs 4 pts from 2
3    Beds 4 pts from 4
4    Suffolk 2 pts from 2
5    Herts 0 pts from 4

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Individual stats

With most of the first half of the season completed, it's time to see who are leading the Player of the Season statistics.

In Division 1, Steve Gregory (Ipswich) has scored 4½/5, with the two juniors Adam Taylor (Manningtree) and Silas Peck (Ipswich) both on 3½/4.

In Division 2, Rob Sanders (Sudbury) leads with 4½/5, followed by Malcolm Lightfoot (Saxmundham) on 3½/4 and Ed Kirkham (Adastral Park) on 4/5.

In Division 3, Phil Hopkins (Felixstowe) has retained his 100% record with six wins.   He is followed by Manningtree's Carl Phillips and Ipswich's Andrew Molloy, both on 4½/5.

Friday, 28 November 2014

County matches

This weekend and next will see three Suffolk teams in action against other EACU counties.

On Sunday the First Team take on Norfolk and Bedfordshire, whilst the following Sunday (7 December), the Under 160s play Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.   On the same date the Under 100s are matched against Cambridgeshire, whom they will play twice with reversed colours.   All matches take place at the Turner Hall, in Newmarket, starting at 10.00.

Team captains Ian Wallis (First team) and Bob Jones (u160s) have managed to find full teams of 16 players, albeit a little weaker than usual.   But Daniel Yarnton, the Under 100 captain, is still seeking three more players to complete his team.   Any Suffolk players graded below 100 who would like to play should contact Daniel.

(EDIT): The Under 120s (captain - Peter Collicott) are also playing Norfolk in a double-header on Sunday!

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Junior 4NCL results

Five members of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club played last weekend at Hinckley in the Junior 4NCL league, which features some of the strongest juniors in the UK.

The photo below shows four members of the team that played on Saturday: left to right: Tom Roy, Adam John, Alan John, Alex Sheerin (Board 1).   On Sunday, Daniel Garcia-Leon replaced Tom Roy.

Alan top-scored with 3½ points from five games, whilst Alex and Adam each scored 2½ points. Both Tom and Daniel won one game, so no one went home empty-handed.   The team finished in 6th place out of 20 teams in Division 2, an excellent d├ębut in this tough event.

In effect (Alex excepted) this was the Club's second team, with the likes of Emilia Jewell (130), Anita Somton (128), William Sait (126), and Patrick Gembis (90) waiting in the wings.   The Club hopes to be able to field two teams in the next rounds, on 24/25 January, with one team in Division 1 and the other in Division 2.


11-year old Alan John and his 8-year old younger brother Adam continued their good form in the Suffolk League this evening, both winning their games against their Felixstowe opponents.   Alan, graded 58 in July, is heading for a grade of more than 100 in January 2015.   Adam only has a rapidplay grade (24) at present, but should achieve a standard-play grade in January in the region of 60 or 70.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Suffolk Ladies' Championship

Vicky Allen, the Suffolk Ladies' Organiser, has published the draw for this season's Championship.   There are five entrants, including current Champion Emilia Jewell, who will play in an all-plays-all over the next few months.

Round 1:
Bethany Young v Emilia Jewell
Vicky Allen v Chris Hargan

Round 2:
Anita Somton v Bethany
Emilia v Chris

Round 3:
Vicky v Anita
Chris v Bethany

Round 4:
Emilia v Vicky
Chris v Anita

Round 5:
Anita v Emilia
Bethany v Vicky

These five entrants come from just two clubs, with Stowmarket providing three and Bury St Edmunds two.

The competition must be finished by the end of April, so entrants are encouraged to organise their games as soon as possible, even playing them out of order if necessary.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Peter Keffler - 91 today!

Clacton's Peter Keffler is 91 today - many happy returns!

Peter received a visit recently from Michael Clapham, who went to his house to collect some books to sell at the Bury St Edmunds Congress.   Michael reports that Peter was in good spirits.

Although he only has limited mobility these days and his eyesight is very poor due to macular degeneration, Peter is mentally as bright as ever and still enjoys a long chat about almost anything.

Up until last season Peter was playing league chess but is now unable to get to matches but is still keen to play at home with friends.


There will be no more articles until Wednesday 26th as I'm away.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Coaching at the Bury Knights

With an average weekly attendance this term of 40, the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club continues to thrive.   Lately, more attention has been paid to coaching.   Last week the top group (Division 1) received an hour's coaching, whilst this evening it was the turn of Division 2.

Each 'division' at the Bury Knights contains between 10 and 15 children, according to ability.   Each month, members are promoted or relegated based on their performance against others in their division.

In the top group, all but three players have Elo ratings in excess of 1000, with Alex Sheerin currently top on 1575.   Division 2 ranges from 635 to 820, but there are some highly promising players included who are anxious to attain the heights of Division 1 as soon as possible!

Coaching today was based mainly on rook endings, with the emphasis on K & R v K.   Some pawns were then introduced, with the classic Lucena and Philidor positions demonstrated.


A team from the Bury Knights will be playing this weekend in the Junior 4NCL, in Hinckley.   All four players (Alex Sheerin, Alan and Adam John, and Tom Roy) performed well at the recent Bury St Edmunds Congress, so should do well against the other teams in their division.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Draw for the Cup and Plate

Rob Sanders has made the draw for the first round proper of the new Cup & Plate competition.


Ipswich D v Manningtree
Ipswich E v Ipswich A
Sudbury v Ipswich C
Ipswich B - Bye


Saxmundham v Stowmarket
Bury St Edmunds E v Bury St Edmunds D
Felixstowe - Bye
Ipswich F - Bye

Competitions Secretary David Green has said that the two fixtures that involve the same club can be organised on a convenient date (before the end of February) to suit their club.   The Bury E v Bury D match in the Plate will therefore take place on Thursday 29 January.

David will sort out the remaining fixture dates, in consultation with the clubs concerned.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Future of the Bury Congress

Aided by tea/coffee and an unlimited supply of Doritos, a small group of chess players (a sub-committee of the Bury Area Chess League) met this evening to discuss the future of the Bury St Edmunds Congress.   After lengthy discussion of the various tasks involved in organising the weekend event, several distinct job roles were agreed.

Norfolk's John Wickham will be the Tournament Director, responsible for running the congress over the weekend (24/25 October 2015).   He will also co-ordinate, from afar, other people who have differing responsibilities.

Steve Lovell will be the Congress Secretary, responsible for distributing the entry forms, receiving and recording entries, and preparing the wall charts.

Paul Kemp will be the Congress Treasurer, and will prepare the budget and set the prize fund.

Entries via PayPal will continue to be encouraged and Tim Davison will ensure the website is updated.

The photo above shows (left to right) Steve Lovell, Paul Kemp and John Wickham during the meeting.

Roles that still need to be filled include a Sponsorship Manager, responsible for securing some £1,000 of financial support.   Also needed is an Equipment Officer, who will ensure that sufficient sets, boards, clocks, scoresheets, result slips, wall charts, pens etc are available.   He will also co-ordinate a team of local players who will need to set up the Apex venue on the Saturday morning.

Any volunteers for these two roles?

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Cup and Plate

The new Cup and Plate competition has nearly finished its preliminary stages.

The draw will shortly be made for the first round proper.   In the hat are the following teams:


Ipswich A
Ipswich B
Ipswich C
Manningtree A


Bury St Edmunds D
Bury St Edmunds E
Ipswich F

One preliminary round match, Stowmarket A v Ipswich D, was played this evening, but the result is not yet known.   The winners will play in the Cup and the losers in the Plate.

Rob Sanders, as the originator of this competition, will undertake the draw for the first round shortly and will be published here.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Top 100

According to the November rating list, published by FIDE, the top 100 English players include four Suffolk-based players:

Adam Hunt   2433   (28th)
Jon Levitt   2415   (35th)
Alan Merry   2348   (52nd)
Dagne Ciuksyte   2338   (56th)

In addition, Suffolk-born twins Nick and Richard Pert are 7th and 26th respectively (2564 / 2443).   And the other pair of identical twins, Tom and Adam Eckersley-Waites (94th and 95th) were members of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club for a couple of years between 1994 and 1996.

Justin Tan (2361) is of course Australian, so doesn't feature in the English list.   If he did, he would be in 50th place.

Adam Hunt's 'replacement' at Woodbridge School a couple of years ago, Stephen Gordon, is 13th at 2497.
So that's a total of ten players with close links to Suffolk.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

4NCL results

This weekend 24 Suffolk-based players travelled to Daventry and Hinckley to take part in the first two rounds of the 4NCL.

(Photo above shows the Danetree Suite at Daventry Court Hotel, shortly before the start of Round 1.)

Five teams - Anglian Avengers 1, 2 and 3, and Iceni 1 and 2 - experienced mixed results, but there were some excellent individual performances.

But first, four 'stars' played in different Division 1 teams.   Their results (opponents' ratings in brackets) were:

FM Alan Merry    0, 1   (2490, 2192)
IM Adam Hunt    ½, 1   (2478, 2334)
IM Dagne Ciuksyte    1, 1   (1915, 2018)
FM Justin Tan    0, 1   (2667, 2297)
Justin's loss was against GM David Howell, current joint British Champion.

The three Anglian Avengers teams won their Saturday matches but all lost on Sunday!

Division 2 - Anglian Avengers 1:
Round 1 - won 5 - 3;  Round 2 - lost 2 - 4

Ed Player    ½, 0
Adam Taylor    ½, ½
Graham Moore    1, 0
Mark Gray    ½, ½
Steve Gregory    0, 0

Division 3 - Anglian Avengers 2
Round 1 - won 4 - 2;  Round 2 - lost 2 - 4

Ian Wallis    1, ½
Mike Cook    0, ½
Richard Lamont    0, 0
Phil Hopkins    1, 0

Division 3 - Anglian Avengers 3
Round 1 - won 3½ - 2½;  Round 2 - lost 2 - 4

David Brown    1, ½
Martin Fogg    1, ½
Keith Woodcock    0, 0
Alex Sheerin    ½, 0

Division 3 - Iceni 1
Round 1 - won 5 - 1;  Round 2 - won 4 - 2

Nick Savage    1, 1
John Peters    1, ½
Leon Burnett    1, ½

Division 3 - Iceni 2
Round 1 - lost 2 - 4;  Round 2 - won 4½ - 1½

Jon Collins    1, 1
Malcolm Lightfoot    ½, ½
Bob Jones    0, 1
Vivian Woodward    0, 1

In Round 2, both John Peters' and Bob Jones' games lasted nearly six hours and were amongst the last to finish.   John's draw on top board against Fide Master Paul Byway was particularly noteworthy.

Congratulations to the three players who won both games this weekend:
Dagne Ciuksyte
Nick Savage
Jon Collins

Iceni 1, having won both matches, lie in 5th place in Division 3 (out of 44 teams).

Saturday, 15 November 2014

4NCL this weekend

The first two rounds of matches take place this weekend, with many Suffolk players travelling to Hinckley and Daventry to pit their wits against some of the best chess players in the country.

Iceni (captain John Feavyour) will be fielding two teams in Division 3 (at Daventry), whilst Anglian Avengers (captain Ian Wallis) have three teams - one in Division 2 (at Hinckley) and two in Division 3.   Those five teams total 30 players, though not all team members are from Suffolk.

The results will be published here tomorrow evening.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Puzzle time #4

Continuing our occasional series of puzzles, here's one that defeated members of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club at their weekly meeting this evening.   There's a black bishop hiding behind the box on d8, by the way.

The full position is shown below.   It's Black to play and force checkmate.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Divisions 2 and 3 update

The top four teams in Division 2 have just one point between them, although third place Ipswich D and fourth-place Saxmundham A both have a match in hand.   Here's the current league table, with Adastral Park just heading Sudbury:

Adastral Park42209
Ipswich D32108
Saxmundham A32018
Stowmarket A4103
Bury St Edmunds D30033

Two players have a 100% record - John Feavyour (Saxmundham A) and Melvin Steele (Clacton).

In Division 3, Manningtree B have a clear lead, as well as a game in hand over nearest challengers Felixstowe.   As usual, Phil Hopkins has a 100% record for Felixstowe, having won all five games so far.   Here's the latest table:

Manningtree B430111
Ipswich E4211
Ipswich F4202
Stowmarket Rooks32108
Saxmundham B40226
Bury St Edmunds E4013

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

County Correspondence team

Suffolk's eight-board correspondence team (we play by email these days - cheaper than stamps) is playing in Division 2 of the County Championships.   There are ten teams in the division, which means that we get to play all our opponents except one - Merseyside.

Our team, with opponent's county) is:

Board 1    Ian Wallis (Essex C)
Board 2    Bob Jones (Essex D)
Board 3    Silas Peck (Yorkshire C)
Board 4    Phil Revell (Durham)
Board 5    Kevin Greenacre (Warwickshire B)
Board 6    Jim Buis (Staffordshire)
Board 7    Bob Stephens (Lincolnshire)
Board 8    Jakob Tulic (Northumberland A)

Each players has two games against the same opponent, one with White and one with Black.

The event started on 1 November, but there have been some results already (not by our team).   The cross-table and pairings can be viewed here.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

100 years ago

Adrian Thorpe's magnum opus on the history of the Bury and West Suffolk Chess Club, published in 1997, provided snippets of information for most years between 1867 and 1996.

Unsurprisingly, membership declined during the war years.   In 1914 membership stood at 20, but the following year had dropped to just seven.   Numbers began to increase when the war was over, but the Club's 50th anniversary celebrations (in 1917) were postponed on account of the war.

In 1914 the annual rent for hiring the room at the Athenaeum was three guineas (£3.15).

Monday, 10 November 2014

Another Facebook page

Bury Knights Junior Chess Club now has its own Facebook page.   It's only five days old, but has already received 35 'likes'.

Other than Felixstowe and Bury St Edmunds, are there any other Suffolk chess clubs with a presence on Facebook?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

A kid no more

Yesterday (8 November) was Alan Merry's 18th birthday.   Alan joined the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club shortly before his 8th birthday.   By May 2005, he was the club's second-highest rated member, at 1200.   Now, at 2348, he is on the verge of becoming an International Master (just needs another 52 rating points) and already possesses a Grandmaster norm.

He remains a 'Junior' for the rest of the English chess season, but for FIDE purposes, his junior status ceases at the end of this calendar year.


In Sochi today, Magnus Carlsen took a giant step towards retaining his World Champion title, with a convincing win over Vishy Anand.   In typical Carlsen fashion, he conjured up an attack when none seemed likely.   In fact, his a4, Ra3, Rg3 combination may well be an antidote to the Berlin Defence of the Ruy Lopez.   You can view the annotated game here.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

World Championship under way

The World Championship match between challenger Vishy Anand and current World Champion Magnus Carlsen got underway this afternoon.   Anand had the white pieces and the result was a reasonably interesting draw after 48 moves.   Although the game never swayed decisively either way, at the end Anand was forced to bale out with a perpetual.

You can play through this game, as well as watching future games live, on, although that site seems very slow to load up at times.

Perhaps a better bet is ChessBomb.   Both sites show the current Stockfish evaluations.   The next game starts at midday (GMT) Sunday.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Junior 4NCL

The Bury Knights Junior Chess Club will be fielding a team in the Junior 4NCL at Hinckley, on 22/23 November.   This will be the first time that a junior team from Suffolk has played in this competition.   The event is held over five rounds, with three games on Saturday and two on Sunday.   All games are submitted for ECF grading.

The Bury squad includes regular league players Alex Sheerin, Anita Somton and Emilia Jewell, as well as up-and-coming youngsters, brothers Alan and Adam John.   For each round, a team of four is required.   The team manager is Boby Sebastian, father of Alan and Adam and the current Chairman of the Club.

The squad was unable to play in the first round of matches in October, but expects to be able to field a team in the third round in January.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Division 1 latest

Following this evening's match between two Bury St Edmunds teams, which resulted in a 4 - 0 whitewash ('C' beating 'A'), the current league table has a very unbalanced look.   Whilst Bury St Edmunds A have played five matches - and lost them all - current League Champions Manningtree A have only played two matches - and won both.   Here's the table:

Ipswich C430110½
Ipswich A3300
Bury St Edmunds C32018
Manningtree A2200
Ipswich B31025
Bury St Edmunds B4103
Bury St Edmunds A50053

With six matches to be played by each team before Christmas, it's going to be a hectic period for the likes of Manningtree and the others who have only played three matches.

The best individual performance so far is by Steve Gregory, who has won all three games.   At the other end of the individual table, Ed Player has surprisingly lost all five games!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Woodbridge Junior coming soon

The popular Woodbridge Junior Open tournament takes place at Woodbridge School on Sunday 23 November.   This is their 14th tournament, which started back in 2001.   International Master Adam Hunt has taught chess at the school for the past ten years.

The tournament features sections for six different age-groups: Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18.   There is also an Open section for stronger juniors, which adults can enter, as well as a free-to-enter section specifically for parents of children who are playing.

The event is a qualifying tournament for the prestigious London Junior Chess Championships, which take place in December.   Scores of 4/6 at Woodbridge are required to qualify for the Under 8 Final in London, and 4½/6 for the Under 10 and Under 12 Major Finals (or 3½/6 for the Minor Finals).   No qualifying score is required for the u14, u16 and u18 sections.

Age-group qualification relates to age as at 31 August 2014.

Entry fees range from £10.00 (Under 8), to £15.00 (Open).

You can download the entry form here.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Souvenir booklet

If you played in this year's Bury St Edmunds Congress, you may be interested in a 12-page booklet, featuring cross-tables for each section, as well as several photos and a list of prize-winners.

Copies have already been sent to all entrants who are on email, but anyone can purchase a printed copy (A4 size on A3 paper) for £2.00 including postage.   Use the Congress website to pay.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Bury Congress prizewinners

Over 25% of the entrants won a prize (41 / 162).   A total prize fund of £2,426.50 was paid out.

Here's the full list:

Open (total = £1100.00)

1stMatthew SadlerSG Amersfoort£500.00
2nd=Gediminas SarakauskasGuildford£150.00
Adam TaylorManningtree£150.00
David SpenceAnglian Avengers£150.00
u190=Gerald MooreBroadland£25.00
Ian WallisIpswich£25.00
u175Chris Davison4NCL Iceni£50.00
JuniorDavid RedmanCambridge City£40.00
Best winGerald MooreBroadland£10.00

Major (total = £549.00)

1st=Richard LamontBury St Edmunds/Stowmarket£187.50
John DaugmanCambridge City£187.50
3rd=Julian RayRoyston£26.00
Mark SzymanskiEly£26.00
Ed KirkhamAdastral Park£26.00
Kevin GreenacreIpswich£26.00
u155=Patrick RibbandsLinton£20.00
Ole Bay-PetersenCambridge City£20.00
JuniorCassie GrahamWorthing£20.00
Best winColin RobertsBury St Edmunds£10.00

Intermediate (total = £437.50)

1stStephen MossSurbiton/Kingston£200.00
2nd=Les JonesIpswich£23.00
John DolamoreNorwich Dons£23.00
Richard GreenKing's Lynn£23.00
Tristian SeeCambridge City£23.00
Ian BurridgeNewark£23.00
Mark NettletonLowestoft£23.00
Terry BrownBrighton£23.00
Richard FennerSuffolk£11.50
u131Elliot CocksChelmsford£20.00
u121John BradleyDunmow£20.00
JuniorWilliam SaitBury St Edmunds£15.00
Best winTristian SeeCambridge City£10.00

Minor (total = £340.00)

1stMarek BiernackiSutton Coldfield£150.00
2nd=Peter EllisRolls Royce Derby£26.00
William BradleyWymondham£26.00
John McKeonMilton Keynes£26.00
Adam HirstBishop's Stortford£26.00
Vicky AllenStowmarket£26.00
u100Oscar SelbyWestminster£15.00
u60Alan JohnBury St Edmunds£15.00
JuniorJeff TomyWatford£10.00
Junior u60Preethi SaravananLowestoft£10.00
Best winAdam JohnBury St Edmunds£10.00

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Changes to the grading system

As from January 2015 there will be a number of changes to the calculation of ECF grades.

The ECF Grading Team has decided to address two major issues of concern:

A.   The harmful effect of incorrectly reported dates.   These occur chiefly, but not exclusively, in club championships where very often a single arbitrary date is assigned to every game in the competition.   This places undue weight on the precise dates of games played around the 30-game cut-off point.   The order in which two games were played can make a difference of 3 points or more to the player’s grade two years later.

B.   The need to indicate the strength of players as early as possible, noting that a grade for ungraded players is already visible by referring to the games listed in their opponent’s database record.

In consequence there will be three changes introduced in the January 2015 grading list:

1.   At present, category A grades are calculated by averaging the grading points from the most recent 30 games.   Starting in January the averaging will be over all games in the previous two grading periods.   This change will mean that category X will become redundant.

2.   At present, grades in categories lower than A are calculated over the most recent 30 games, assuming that the player has played more than 30 games in the last three years.   In January the calculation method will revert to the system used until January 2011.   There will no longer be a cut-off point part-way through a grading period.   Instead, the system will take as many games from each prior period as it needs in order to make 30 games, but they will use grading points for the average per game for the earliest period used.

3.   There will be a new grade category F, requiring only five games in the last 36 months (including at least one in the most recent period).   Category F grades will be published like any other grade, but they will not be used in future calculations.

A further benefit of (1) and (2) is that they are expected to reduce 'stretch' in the system.   Testing suggests that they are neither inflationary nor deflationary.

Change (3) will increase the number of players with published grades (currently less than 12,000) to an estimated 13,600 or more.   However, some concern has been expressed by congress organisers that a grade calculated from just five games may create a highly inaccurate representation of the player's ability.   This can be reflected in graded sections and grading prizes.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

A week to the World Championship

The World Championship match between World Champion Magnus Carlsen and Challenger Vishy Anand takes place in Sochi, Russia from 7 to 28 November.

The official website can be accessed here.   Photos of the event will be posted here.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Bury Congress results

The cross-tables for the Congress are now available on Dave Wild's grading website.

Click on the following to see your section:


Please let me know if you spot any errors.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Anita's back from Georgia

10-year old Anita Somton returned today from the European Youth Championships where she finished on 4½ points from nine games.   This was a slightly disappointing result, as she was on 4/6 before finishing with two losses and a draw.

Nevertheless, to finish midway in such a strong event is no disgrace.   It must have been extremely tiring for one so young to have to play nine long games over the 10-day period.

No doubt she will bounce back with some good games in the League - she is due to play at Bury tomorrow!

Monday, 27 October 2014

Bury Knights elect new chairman

A new Chairman was elected at a Committee Meeting of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club, held this evening.   He is Boby Sebastian, father of promising juniors Alan and Adam John.   Boby replaces Damian Wallace, who has been in charge for the past four years.

Several initiatives were discussed at the meeting, including a more formalised coaching structure.   Local players who are prepared to come along on Friday evenings, even if only on the odd occasion, will be welcomed.

The Club's finances are extremely healthy and it was agreed to set up a bursary fund to provide funding for members who are selected to represent their country or county.

It is hoped to arrange a match soon with the newly-formed Colchester Junior Chess Club.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Congress Report #1

Too shattered, both physically and emotionally, to write a full report, so here's a summary of the results:

The Open section was won, as expected, by top seed Grandmaster Matthew Sadler (see photo).   Three players shared second place, including Adam Taylor and David Spence.

Two players shared first place in the Major (u170) section: Richard Lamont, who plays for both Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket, and Cambridge City's John Daugman.

The Intermediate section (u145) was won by Stephen Moss (who writes an occasional chess column for the Guardian newspaper), whilst the Minor (u120) winner was Marek Biernacki, from Sutton Coldfield.

Local players who won cash prizes were:

Ian Wallis (u190 grading prize)
Ed Kirkham and Kevin Greenacre (3rd= in the Major)
Colin Roberts (best win in the Major)
Les Jones (2nd= in the Intermediate)
William Sait (Inter Junior)
Vicky Allen (Minor 2nd=)
Alan John (u60 grading prize)
Adam John (best win in the Minor)

A total of 162 played (166 entered, but four withdrew before the congress started).

Many, many thanks to all the people who made the event a success.   Next year (24/25 October 2015) I expect to be playing, not organising!

Friday, 24 October 2014

Bury Congress tomorrow

Following four withdrawals (including Alex Sheerin who's unwell, and Competitions Secretary David Green, for whom work must come first) and two late entries, the (final?) number of entrants is 164.

There are 44 entrants in the Open.

Spectators are welcome to come and watch - the viewing balcony will be open from 10.30 to 17.00 on Saturday and from 10.30 to 16.00 on Sunday.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Little Red Riding Hood plays chess!

Little Red Riding Hood turned up at the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club this evening and played a couple of friendly games.

This LRRH is only six years old and is sister to two older boys who were playing (and winning) in a Bury Area League match.

All three are members of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club, which meets tomorrow evening before the start of half-term.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Bury Congress latest

Entries now number 166, including two who haven't paid yet (and therefore don't appear on the list of entrants).

The Open section is now super-strong, with 12 players graded over 200.   The median player is graded 187.

The largest section is the Minor, with 50 entrants (including 19 juniors).

Additional grading prizes will now be paid, as well as various Junior prizes.

There are only a few places remaining, so get in quickly if you want to play but haven't entered yet!

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Estimated grades

It's too early in the season to judge whether the estimated grades of new players are correct, or need amending.   However, the following newcomers have played at least one game in the Suffolk League:

Bury St Edmunds

Alan Broadway   90
David Clark   60
Adam John   23R
David Lampshire   120
Trevor Webster   90


Henry May   75


Andrew Lewis   204

Some of the above will have played the necessary nine games by the end of December, and will therefore get a 'proper' grade in the January 2015 list.

Clubs not mentioned have no new players yet.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Anita latest

Anita won her second game today and will be on Board 2 tomorrow, playing the fifth seed.   Her game will be on the live boards, from 12.00 UK time.

The photo above shows Anita being coached before today's game by IM Lorin d'Costa.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

For Freedom

Stowmarket Chess Club's Gareth Young wrote the following piece just before the current season started.   Food for thought...

"So here I am enjoying the sunshine and the blue sky, and feeling very blessed to have three lovely children (two of whom also enjoy playing chess as I do) and also feeling blessed to live in a pretty part of England even if it is flat. (Suffolk will always be home to me). My thoughts turn to chess and how it’s not long before the new season gets underway, and I really must start to read some chess books to improve my game as I had a very flat season previously and keen to improve.

But then my thoughts suddenly change to what was happening 100 years ago when dark clouds were hovering over Europe and how events back then have changed our world to what it is today. If you didn’t know by now I am talking about the Great War, where a young generation of men answered the call and left these beaches to fight for freedom. Little did anyone know of the horrors that would lay ahead; many young men would not return home and many that did were broken men. There couldn't have been many distractions for the men on the front line but I’m sure chess must have been one that could have given them some form of relief from the everyday horrors that they had to live with.

If it wasn't for these men and women I wouldn't be feeling lucky to have what I have got. And my question is? Is there any room in Suffolk chess where we could honour these generation of men as a mark of respect? Because if it wasn't for them we all wouldn't be enjoying the game."

Two for the price of one

No article yesterday (ran out of time), so there are two today.   Here's the first:

Anita Somton won her first game in the European Youth Championships today.   She played an unrated girl from Armenia.   The photo shows her before the start of the game.

Tomorrow she plays another unrated girl from Georgia.   You can follow her progress here.   Georgia is three hours ahead of the UK, so Round 2 starts at 12.00 GMT on Monday.


Entries for the Bury St Edmunds Congress have already exceeded last year's total of 143.   With a maximum entry of 172, you will need to register soon if you want to play, but haven't entered yet.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Bury Congress update

With one week to go, the number of entries received for the 32nd Bury St Edmunds Congress has reached 138.   This is just five fewer than played last year, so we will certainly exceed the 2013 entry.

Top seed in the Open will be Grandmaster Matthew Sadler, the highest-graded person on the ECF grading list at 280. There are 10 players graded over 200, making the Open the strongest for many years.

The largest section to date is the Minor (Under 120), with 38 entered, including 13 juniors.   You can view the current list of entrants here.

The entry includes 36 players from Suffolk.