Friday, 31 January 2014

More on the new grades

The new grades which were published last Monday included 151 players who either live in Suffolk, or who play for clubs affiliated to the Suffolk County Chess Association.

The breakdown is as follows:

Adults   -   129
Juniors   -   22
Females   -   10

67 have seen their grades increase;
65 have decreased grades;
19 grades remain the same.

The most noticeable fact is that there are three Juniors in the Top 8, all graded over 200.   The last time we had a couple of juniors graded over 200 was in the era of Nick and Richard Pert; when Suffolk won the Under 18 inter-counties championship in 1997, they were graded 222 and 221.   Now we have Justin Tan (227), Alan Merry (223) and Adam Taylor (201).   Adam has leapt from 190 in July 2013.

Who will be the next Junior to reach the 'magic' 200?   16-year old Silas Peck looks to be the likely candidate, graded 171, up from 162.

The biggest improvement is by 9-year old Anita Somton, who gained 14 points, followed closely by David Green and Mike Coughtrey (+13).

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Meanwhile, in Zurich...

Whilst the massive Gibraltar Masters, with over 100 GMs and IMs playing, reaches its third round, the Zurich Chess Challenge starts today.

This is the first-ever Category 23 tournament, with an average rating of over 2800.   The six participants, which include the top three players in the world (Carlsen, Aronian and Nakamura), are all rated in the world's top ten.

The Chess World is spoilt for choice, with these two major events taking place at the same time.   I hope to be able to display some of the more interesting positions and games from these events on this website in the next few days.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

David Spence is playing in Gibraltar

The only Suffolk player at the Gibraltar Masters is David Spence (pictured right).   In the first round, played yesterday, he drew (with Black) against GM Dubov from Russia, rated 2614.   For his efforts, he faces another GM in Round 2 today.   The only other East Anglian player in the Masters is Cambridge City's Ashley Stewart, who lost his first game.

According to the Sunday Times, "The annual Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival has established itself as the most prestigious open tournament in the world".   This year over 250 players have entered, 66 of whom are GMs!   There are 22 players from England.

To follow the results, go to the tournament website.   And to watch some of the top games, live every afternoon, go to the Chessbomb site.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

County teams at Newmarket

On Sunday, the Suffolk Under 160 and Under 100 teams played at the Turner Hall in Newmarket.   The results were mixed!

The Under 160s, outgraded by an average of nine points per board, performed miracles in the morning against Cambridgeshire, pulling back an 8 - 6 deficit to draw the match.   But all the hard work was thrown away in the afternoon, when the same team crashed 3½-12½ to Hertfordshire.   Suffolk were still outgraded, but by only five points this time.   Suffolk's star was the reliable Ed Kirkham, who was the only player of the 16 to win both games.   The two top boards, John Feavyour and Andrew Shephard, scored 1½ points.

So with just one point out of a possible eight match points, Suffolk's chances of qualifying for the next round are almost nil (although mathematically possible).   Unfortunately, many strong players were unavailable and seven members of the Suffolk team were graded below 140.

At the same time, the Suffolk Under 100s, captained by Felixstowe's Dave Robertson, were competing against Norfolk.   The nine-board team played the same opponents twice, as White and Black.

With the White pieces in the morning, they fell to a 2½-6½ defeat, but playing Black in the afternoon, managed to draw 4½-4½.

The only player to win both games was Stowmarket's Daniel Yarnton (82).   Captain Dave (pictured front left) scored 1½ points.

The final matches for both teams take place on Sunday 16 March.

The County First Teams take on Bedfordshire and Norfolk next Sunday (2 February).

Monday, 27 January 2014

January grades

The new ECF grades have been published this morning.

Here's the full list of standard-play grades for currently active players who are either members of clubs affiliated to the Suffolk County Chess Association, or who live in the county with no current club.   Juniors are shown by (J):

NameClubNew gradeOld grade
Adam HuntWoodbridge School233232
Justin Tan (J)Woodbridge School227229
Alan Merry (J)Bury St Edmunds223227
Dagne CiuksyteSuffolk CCA219222
David SpenceBury St Edmunds206206
Shaun MunsonIpswich205204
Mike HarrisBury St Edmunds203209
Adam Taylor (J)Manningtree201190
Ed PlayerIpswich200205
Graham MooreSuffolk CCA192190
Steve GregoryIpswich/Bury St Edmunds189190
Mark Le-VineBury St Edmunds188188
Tim LunnIpswich/Bury St Edmunds184181
Ted MatthewsonIpswich183183
Steve RuthenBury St Edmunds180176
Mike CookIpswich176181
Chris DavisonBury St Edmunds176182
Martin FoggIpswich176174
Rob SandersSudbury176171
John PetersBury St Edmunds175169
Nick SavageIpswich175174
Rob McCorryBury St Edmunds174179
Luke HillIpswich173170
Somton UkkenBury St Edmunds172176
David BrownSaxmundham/Bury St Edmunds171175
Silas Peck (J)Ipswich171162
Ian WallisIpswich/Bury St Edmunds171178
Robert CopeBury St Edmunds167166
Phil HopkinsFelixstowe167171
Michael ClaphamIpswich/Bury St Edmunds161159
Malcolm LightfootSaxmundham161163
John FeavyourSaxmundham/Bury St Edmunds160151
Phil HutchingsManningtree160153
Mike TaylorBury St Edmunds160163e
Sam BrennanIpswich158158
Leon BurnettManningtree158154e
Richard LamontBury St Edmunds158171
Andrew ShephardIpswich/Bury St Edmunds155157
Andrew SalmonClacton154153
Pete SmythAdastral Park154156
Anna York-AndersenSuffolk CCA153153
Andrew DonnellyBury St Edmunds151148
John McAllisterManningtree/Adastral Park151146
Kevin GreenacreIpswich150157
Adam HarveyBury St Edmunds150145
Bob JonesBury St Edmunds150157
Jon CollinsBury St Edmunds149154
Stephen PrideBury St Edmunds149150
Bob StephensClacton/Manningtree149146
Jim BuisManningtree148150
Simon RileyAdastral Park147149
Vivian WoodwardSudbury146147
Ed KirkhamAdastral Park145138
Stephen LewisStowmarket145143
Rob KellyManningtree144145
Harold ThomasSudbury144146
Roger HoltBury St Edmunds142140
Nikolay LastochkinSuffolk CCA142140
Martin TomesIpswich141142e
Laurie PottBury St Edmunds140151
Mike McNaughtonStowmarket139144
John LambertClacton138140
Carl PhillipsManningtree137137
Keith WoodcockIpswich137134
Kenn ButcherSudbury136143
Dave PearceClacton136132
Laureano Garcia-MunozBury St Edmunds135142e
David GreenStowmarket135122
Les JonesIpswich134150
William Sait (J)Bury St Edmunds132126e
Colin RobertsBury St Edmunds131134
Scott TaylorBury St Edmunds131147
Mark WeidmanAdastral Park131130
Martin AlvinClacton128132
Mark BettleyStowmarket128129
Mike CoughtreyClacton128115
Arthur McCormickSaxmundham128128
Dick MyhillBury St Edmunds127129
Daniel Such (J)Woodbridge School127125
Jakob TulicSudbury127132
Dave WelshClacton127122
Steve LovellBury St Edmunds126127
Emilia Jewell (J)Bury St Edmunds125124
Gary HemsworthFelixstowe124122
John SkelleySaxmundham124115
Peter KefflerClacton123123
Anita Somton (J)Bury St Edmunds123109
Rob HayhurstStowmarket122120e
John BarrattStowmarket121126
Paul HarrisonBury St Edmunds121121
Alonso PaezIpswich121117
Melvin SteeleClacton120126
Adrian SandersonManningtree119118
Roger SmithIpswich116106
Mike SpaldingIpswich116115e
Ken LunnIpswich115120
Chas SzentmihalyBury St Edmunds115112
Vicky AllenStowmarket114109
Rory GoldsmithSuffolk CCA114114
Adele LunnFelixstowe110110
Andrew ToddClacton110112
Zac VaneBury St Edmunds109108
Dave WildAdastral Park/Felixstowe109111
John PlayerStowmarket107106e
Franceys AllenStowmarket106106
Phil MortonsonIpswich106101
Alex Sheerin (J)Ipswich106121
Peter MasseyBury St Edmunds105109
John PriceManningtree104106
David RobertsonFelixstowe10397
Hugo SmithBury St Edmunds103100
Philip ChapmanSudbury10198e
Artem Emelyanov (J)Woodbridge School101101
Peter CollicottSaxmundham100102
George Horan (J)Bury St Edmunds100100
Andrew PaigeSaxmundham99107
Peter ChadwickSaxmundham9798
Sean Colliety (J)Bury St Edmunds9796
Adam WilsonIpswich9698
John BartyFelixstowe9596
Greg EllisBury St Edmunds9595
Hugo BrownSaxmundham9395
Sean HoranBury St Edmunds9399
Gareth YoungStowmarket93100
Alan CrossSaxmundham9097
Yvonne Freiherr-FentonBury St Edmunds9098e
Daniel YarntonStowmarket9082
Dave ClarkBury St Edmunds8797
Hugo Kelleway (J)Woodbridge School8791
Nigel LakeClacton8799
Steve PeckIpswich8585e
Hugh Tawell (J)Woodbridge School8584
Patrick Gembis (J)Bury St Edmunds8364
Emile KosvinerBury St Edmunds8379
Alba Saenz de Villaverde (J)Bury St Edmunds8383
Steve MossIpswich8282
Arkaidy Stepanyan (J)Woodbridge School8178
Harry Elman (J)Woodbridge School7885e
Sid MacDonaldSudbury7875
Nick AtkinBury St Edmunds7573
Jan LengyelBury St Edmunds7377
Alan StoryClacton6963
Derek WootleyBury St Edmunds6660e
Martin ScallonFelixstowe6371
Ray FirmanStowmarket6156
Gordon FisherFelixstowe5656
Alan John (J)Bury St Edmunds5244e
Sohan Gowda (J)Stowmarket4826e
Bethany Young (J)Stowmarket4240e
Liya Baby (J)Bury Knights3231
David WoodBury St Edmunds2119

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Picking up the pieces

This article is directed mainly at chess players who live in or near Ipswich.

There is still a website for the Ipswich Junior Chess Club - but no club exists!

The Club was active until the end of the Summer Term 2011, but has seen little or no activity since then.   The website mentions where and when the Club meets - I wonder how many children have turned up to find no chess club?

Junior Chess Clubs that rely solely on parental support are doomed to failure.   That is the clear evidence from other Suffolk clubs that have folded in living memory.   The Stowmarket Junior Club continued with John Player and Mike Ashman in charge, but John's son Ed soon outgrew the junior club and Mike sadly passed away.   So seven years after it was formed in 1988, the club folded.   There was a similar experience at Newmarket, when the junior club, run by a parent whose child gave up the game, folded several years ago.

Incidentally, para 27 of the Ipswich Junior Club's Constitution states: "In the event of the closure of the Club all assets will pass to another Suffolk Junior Club to be decided by the Management Committee."   Presumably there are a lot of chess sets and clocks sculling around somewhere as they haven't been allocated to the one remaining junior club in the county, the Bury Knights..

So, all you Ipswich chess-players - what are you going to do about this problem?   If you don't support a junior club in your town, your club will slowly decline.   As members pass away or leave, there will be no youngsters to take their places.   Other than 12-year old Alex Sheerin, there are no youngsters at the Ipswich Chess Club.

To achieve long-term continuity, a committed person (not a parent) is needed.   Ask amongst your members; there may be someone prepared to take this on.

If the Bury Knights can have 51 members, as at present, then Ipswich has the potential to double that number, given the relative populations of the two towns.

Saturday, 25 January 2014

County Correspondence update

In the 'Sinclair 2013/14' tournament, Suffolk are competing against 19 other counties.   The event started on 1 November and to date 64 of the 160 games have been completed.   This is an email competition, a far cry from the days of 'snail-mail', when games could often take a year or more to complete.   Each team member plays two games, with White and Black, against the same opponent.

Suffolk are one of only six teams to remain unbeaten, so far.   Essex D are clear leaders with 7/7, with Essex C close behind on 4/5 (also unbeaten).   Suffolk have 3/4, with a win each from Bob Stephens on Board 7 and Bob Jones on Board 2, and two draws from Board 1 Ian Wallis.   The other Suffolk players, still to complete either of their games, are Silas Peck (Board 3), Phil Revell (4), Kevin Greenacre (5), Jim Buis (6) and Jakob Tulic (8).

The current crosstable can be viewed here.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Yes to Chess

Junior Chess in England has long sought a big-name sponsor.   Now, thanks to the hard work of Chess in Schools and Communities' (CSC) Malcolm Pein, Barclaycard have signed up to support the 'Yes to Chess' initiative.

Yes2Chess is a free online schools’ community, which primary schools from the UK, the USA. Germany, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Denmark will be eligible to join.   Each school may sign up to 100 pupils to the Yes2Chess server, where they will be able to play chess against children from other countries in a safe environment.   Only children who are registered to Yes2Chess by their school teacher or chess tutor will have access to the server, and there is no chat function.   No information on individual pupils will be captured, including pupils’ names.   Each child will have a unique username to which only their schools will have access.

Later this year, a series of online lessons will be issued, which can be enjoyed from the comforts of home or school.

Yes2Chess will also be hosting an online tournament, which will allow schools to put their chess expertise to the test.   Every school can enter an unlimited number of teams, each consisting of five players, who must have been born after 1 January 2002.   The winning teams from each country will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to London to take part in the final.

Click here to sign up for Yes2Chess.

Read more about the initiative here.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Another 4NCL game

This game between two Suffolk players featured recently in Kevin O'Connell's Saturday chess column in the East Anglian Daily Times.   Here it is again, with my own annotations.   It featured in a 4NCL match between Iceni 2 and Anglian Avengers 3.

Dominic Carter from Saxmundham is a newcomer to Suffolk chess, whilst 12-year old Alex Sheerin has been making quite a name for himself, both within his club (Ipswich) and nationally, where he has already represented an England team.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Felixstowe report

Following the request a few days ago for reports from team captains, I'm pleased to have received the following from Dave Robertson, captain of the Felixstowe team in Division 3:

"Division 3 appears to be wide-open with few points separating the top and bottom teams.   Felixstowe has had some disappointing results, compared to last year’s opening campaign.   We were top of the league (well Division 3 anyway!) until just before Christmas 2012.   But this season has seen results not going as well, despite the arrival of our new strongest player – see later.   The highlight of our season so far was our home clash with Clacton, who, on paper, brought the strongest team we have yet faced at Felixstowe.   We won 3½ - ½, by far our best result for a long while.

The arrival of Phil Hopkins has strengthened the team, taking over Board 1 responsibility; he has a 100% record from that pinnacle.

Unfortunately we have temporarily lost the services of Garry Hemsworth (pictured right in photo), as he has undergone minor heart surgery and is unavailable to play at the present time.   We all wish him well and hope he will soon be back – he has been a stalwart of Felixstowe Chess Club, and is our second highest ranked player, now that Phil has joined us.

We are currently the holders of the u125 Cup.   We are through to the final of that competition again, awaiting the victors of the Ipswich v Clacton tie.   We are also in the u145 Cup, although our grades are lowly (three of us are u100).   We are still ‘alive’ having drawn 2-2 against Manningtree, and wait to play Ipswich (as are Manningtree) in this ‘three-cornered’ all play all tournament."

Felixstowe Chess Club is on Facebook.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

A new chess facility in Bury St Edmunds

The Apex, venue for the annual Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress, will soon become the location for a new chess venture.   Starting in two weeks' time, on Tuesday 4 February. from 3.30 to 5.30 pm, anyone can turn up to play chess in the upstairs Gallery area (pictured below).   This facility will be available to everyone, regardless of age or ability, and will continue every Tuesday afternoon.   It will doubtless appeal to retired or unemployed people, as well as to children as an after-school activity.   It will be entirely free of charge and refreshments will be available at the adjacent Aspretto coffee bar.

This initiative has been developed jointly by St Edmundsbury Borough Council, who own the venue, and Bury St Edmunds Chess Club.

The Gallery area is under-utilised at present and Richard Hartley, the Council's Commercial Manager for Leisure, Culture and Communities, is keen to see the area used in this way, to attract people into the Apex who might not normally bother.   He also hopes to attract bridge and scrabble clubs, which could meet on other days of the week.

The Council today issued this press release (click on it to enlarge), which has been sent to the Bury Free Press and the East Anglian Daily Times.

On 4 February I hope to see a number of Bury St Edmunds club members present, to help to teach novices and to play friendly games against other opponents.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Norfolk Rapidplay Congress

Norfolk's John Charman has requested a plug for his Rapidplay Congress, on Sunday 9 February.

It will take place at the splendid Parkhill Hotel, on the northern outskirts of Lowestoft:

There will be two sections - Championship and Challengers.   You can elect to play in the Championship, irrespective of grade; otherwise the sections will be split according to entry.   The entry fee, assuming you are an ECF member, is £19, or £14 for Juniors.   First prizes of £100 are guaranteed in both sections, with second and third prizes guaranteed too.   Free tea, coffee and biscuits will be provided and food will be available in the hotel at lunchtime.

This map of the area shows the hotel, just left of centre.   (Click to enlarge)

As usual with Rapidplay events, current ECF rapidplay grades will apply where available; otherwise standard-play grades will be used.

The first round starts at 09.45 and prizegiving is scheduled for 18.00.

Contact John Charman if you would like to enter.   Closing date is 17.00 on Saturday 8 February and no entries on the day will be allowed.

Sunday, 19 January 2014

EACU Team Championships

The EACU Team Championships took place today at the village hall in Whittlesford, near Cambridge.   12 teams entered, including three from Suffolk (all from Bury St Edmunds).

There were three graded sections (number of teams in brackets) - Open (3); Team 600 (4); Team 500 (5).

The winners were:   Open - Linton;   600 - Cambridge Juniors;   500 - Broadland Harriers and Broadland Swallowtails (shared).

The three Bury St Edmunds teams did not fare well, finishing third and fourth in the Team 600 section, and last in the Team 500 section.   Individual scores (out of two) were:

Somton Ukken - 1½
Bob Jones - 1
Derek Wootley - 1
Chris Davison - ½
Steve Lovell - ½
Scott Taylor - ½
Anita Somton - ½
Patrick Gembis - ½
Alex Sheerin, William Sait, Chas Szentmihaly and David Wood failed to score.

Perhaps next year other Suffolk clubs will enter a team or two?

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Stowmarket Rooks flying high

Yesterday's report on Division 3 of the Suffolk League failed to mention leaders Stowmarket Rooks. So incensed was their captain, David Green, that he sent in the following article, which I'm delighted to publish, with humble apologies for the earlier omission...

In Division 3 the holders of the wooden spoon for finishing last in the 2012/13 season are now top of the division and have been there, or in second place, for most of the season.

We have struggled on Board 1 as we have no highly-graded star for this board.   However John Barratt (126) has pulled off some good performances on top board against higher-graded opposition whilst giving most opponents a stern challenge.

Modesty forbids me to tell you how I have been playing on Board 2, just let me say I am more than happy with my form as I am playing as well as I did at my peak back in 1999.   Won 3; drawn 3; lost 1.

The team has been bolstered by the welcome return to chess of Robert Hayhurst who has given us a good secure Board 3.   Rob played for Stowmarket for many years and his grade peaked at 144 way back in July 1998.   He had stopped playing league chess by 2008, when his grade had dropped to 108.   Rob was welcomed back to the Stowmarket club with open arms, just as I was when I returned to Stowmarket and league chess after an 11-year break caused entirely by business pressures.

We tried to nominate Rob with an estimated grade of 112 for the 2013/4 season but the league grader knew better and he was provisionally graded as 120e.   So far this season he is playing like his old (1994) self and has a 128 season performance.   Well done so far Rob; keep up the good work.   But can we have more wins and less draws please?   Rob has scored 1 win and 5 draws so far this season.

Franceys Allen on Board 4 has racked up 3 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss and has made immense amounts of tea and coffee while doing so.   Thanks Franceys.

By game 7 of this season the Rooks have earned 16 points which is ½ point more than we managed in all 12 games last season.   We look forward to many more victories in the league.

It would be good to see similar reports by other team captains!   Many thanks Dave.

Friday, 17 January 2014

Division 3 round-up

On Monday we reported on Division 1, observing how close all the teams are.   And so it is in Divisions 2 and 3.

In Division 2 there are just 4½ points between top and bottom, and the team at the foot of the table have a match in hand, too.

In Division 3 only 3½ points separate the teams.   That's less than a single match result, so it's all to play for:

Stowmarket Rooks716
Ipswich E714½
Saxmundham B714
Bury St Edmunds D713½
Manningtree B712½

The next matches in this division are on 28 January.   If Clacton were to beat Saxmundham B and Bury St Edmunds D beat Felixstowe, then it's possible that Bury D could end up top of the division by the end of the month, having been bottom at Christmas.   Clacton too could be top.   Every half-point counts, so draw offers need to be balanced against team needs.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

A game from the 4NCL

I had been hoping for a game or two to be sent to me, following last weekend's 4NCL matches.   But in the absence of any, readers will have to put up with one of mine.

This game shows the dangers lurking in the Black side of a Morra Gambit.   If you're not aware of the traps, you can fall down heavily, as Martin Fogg soon found.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

"Kentucky nuns gain four years by keeping their minds active"

That's the by-line in an article in today's Daily Telegraph, referring to those Sisters of Notre Dame who continue teaching after retirement, compared to the ones who choose to stop.   The article goes on to extol the cryptic crossword as the 'solution' to brain-ageing.   But we chess-players know that our great game is the real answer.

Apparently, another 'huge' study (not involving nuns) has discovered that undertaking just 10 one-hour sessions of brain training over a period of five or six weeks has "the potential for delaying dementia or attenuating it".   Well, that's good news.   What about a couple of three-hour games of chess every week and several hours of preparation?   Perhaps, as the article suggests, with tongue firmly in cheek, if the nuns did the cryptic crossword as well as continuing to teach, they would probably live forever.

You only have to look around the East Anglian chess scene.   Linton's John Dawson celebrates his 90th birthday this year and those who know him will recall his sharp wit and twinkling eyes.   The long-departed Don Ward (pictured right) was Suffolk Champion on 14 occasions.   Up to the age of 89 he would turn up regularly at the Bury Knights and delight in teaching tactics to the kids.

Most clubs have members in their 70s or 80s, who continue to play regularly.   Ipswich's Roger Smith is 76 and has won six games out of seven in this season's Suffolk League.   Bury's Chas Szentmihaly won't disclose his true age, but is believed to be either 79 or 80.   And I remember, with great affection, Roy Adams, who died ten years ago at the age of 73 when his latest (BCF) grade had plummeted to 76.   He had always promised to give up chess if his age ever exceeded his grade!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

British Chess Championships 2014

This year's British Chess Championships will be held in Aberystwyth, Wales, between Saturday 19 July and Saturday 2 August.   The venue is Aberystwyth University, where reasonably-priced accommodation will also be available.   The Championships were last held in Wales in 2006, when the venue was Swansea.

As usual there will be sections to suit all tastes and abilities.   The British Championship is open only to exempted or qualified players.   'Exempted' means most titled players (GMs and IMs), whilst qualification is available by winning any of a large number of Open events around the country.   For example, the qualifier from the Bury St Edmunds Congress 2013 was Shaun Munson.

Other important events include the British Senior Championship, open to any player born in or before 1954; the Major Open; British Graded Championships (u180, u160, u140 and u120); 5-day morning and afternoon tournaments, 5-round Weekenders (three graded sections); One-day FIDE-rated Rapidplays; and Junior sections from Under 8 to Under 16.

For more details on these sections, including entry fees, go to the Championship website.

For more information about accommodation at the University, follow this link.

Monday, 13 January 2014

It's even tighter at the top

Suffolk League Division 1 has a crazy look about it.   Two teams have played six matches, whilst one team has played only three.   But really there's only a thin sheet of Bronco between all six teams.

Here's the current table:

Bury St Edmunds B612
Manningtree A511½
Bury St Edmunds A511
Ipswich A610½
Ipswich B59
Ipswich C36

Last week, Manningtree A pulled off an amazing 3½-½ win against Ipswich A and are only half a point adrift with a match in hand over current leaders Bury St Edmunds B, who drew with Ipswich B.   Can anyone remember if Ipswich teams have ever filled the three bottom rungs of Division 1 before?   Mind you, Ipswich C need only 6½ points from their three outstanding matches to leapfrog into top spot.   They play two of these in the next eight days (14 and 22 January), by when we'll have a much better picture of how the division is panning out.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

4NCL Results

A total of 26 Suffolk players travelled to Hinckley and Daventry this weekend for Rounds 3 and 4 of the 4NCL.

Playing at Hinckley in Division 2 were Anglian Avengers 1, who consolidated their position in Pool A by winning both matches.   They now lie in second place in the league table (see below).

The other four teams (Anglian Avengers 2 and 3; Iceni 1 and 2) all played in Division 3 at Daventry.   All eight results were extremely close; often it was the final game to finish that decided the match result.

Of the Suffolk players, two won both games: Ian Wallis (Anglian Avengers 2) and Phil Hopkins (Anglian Avengers 3).   Those on 1½ points included Ed Player and Alan Merry (Anglian Avengers 1), David Brown and Alex Sheerin (Anglian Avengers 3), Bob Jones and Steve Lovell (Iceni 2).   12-year old Alex Sheerin's performance was particularly noteworthy.   A late replacement, he beat a 1610 and drew with a 1780 (Elo ratings; neither opponent has a current ECF grade).

Three other players (Adam Hunt ½, Justin Tan 2 and Dagne Ciuksyte 1) are in non-Suffolk teams in Division 1.

Full results:

(Average team rating in brackets)

Division 2
Anglian Avengers 1 (2269)    6 - 2 v KJCA Kings (2084);   5 - 3 v Wessex (2058)

Division 3
Anglian Avengers 2 (2074)    3 - 3 v West is Best (1990);   3½-2½ v Fermented Sharks (2039)
Anglian Avengers 3 (1886)    3½-2½ v Iceni 2 (1802);   3 - 3 v The Full Ponty (1904)
Iceni 1 (1987/1996)    3½-2½ v Surbiton (2072);   3½-½ v Gloucestershire Gambits (1899) - only four players
Iceni 2 (1802)    2½-3½ v Anglian Avengers 3 (1886);   3 - 3 v Celtic Tigers 2 (1751)

League tables

Division 2
1   Warwickshire Select 1    8 match points   21½ game points
2   Anglian Avengers 1    6 match points   21 game points
3   KJCA Kings    6 match points; 17 game points

Division 3
Out of 49 teams entered:
3   Anglian Avengers 2   - 7 match points   (Two teams have 8 match points)
8   Iceni 1   - 6 match points
16   Anglian Avengers 3   - 5 match points
34   Iceni 2   - 3 match points

Any other Suffolk players interested in playing in the 4NCL should contact either Ian Wallis (Anglian Avengers) or John Feavyour (Iceni).

Saturday, 11 January 2014

First Bury Knights of the term

Last evening saw the first meeting of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club.   Most existing members attended, as well as four newcomers.   In total 43 attended!

The Bury Knights is the sole remaining junior club in the county, having been started 21 years ago.

Usually the Club uses two or three classrooms at Horringer Court Middle School, but earlier in the afternoon there had been an alarm, when builders had accidentally set the roof on fire!   The fire brigade had been called and the children had been told to evacuate the school.   As they weren't allowed back in the classrooms, all their books remained on the desks, making it impossible to put out the chess sets.   So instead we were allowed to occupy the gym, which was set out for examinations.   A large enough space, certainly, but noisy and echoey.   The first two rounds of the UK Chess Challenge were played, with seven members winning both games.

Friday, 10 January 2014

4NCL this weekend

This weekend sees Rounds 3 and 4 of the 4NCL, where many Suffolk players will be trekking to Hinckley and Daventry for two tough games of chess.

There will be a clash between Suffolk teams in Division 3 on Saturday, when Anglian Avengers 3 take on Iceni 2.   On paper, the Avengers team is considerably stronger, but upsets are always possible in the 4NCL, where time limits are much longer than in the evening leagues.   This season, for the first time, 30-second increments are added from the first move.   Players have 100 minutes for the first 40 moves (equivalent to 2 hours when increments are added), followed by 50 minutes for the rest of the game (plus 30-second increments).  In theory, no one should lose on time, even if they're down to the wire, provided they can make their move within 30 seconds.   The great advantage of this system is that there can be no draw claims under the 'two-minute' rule.

The results of the five Suffolk-based teams (Anglian Avengers 1, 2 & 3, Iceni 1 & 2) will be published here on Sunday evening.   Anglian Avengers 2 are currently lying in 3rd place in Division 3 and will be seeking two more wins to add to their convincing wins (6-0 and 5-1) in Rounds 1 and 2.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

New Laws of Chess

On 1 July 2014, new Laws of Chess come into force.   As reported previously, there are a number of significant changes.

To download the latest draft of the new rules, click here.

It would be good to hear your opinions of the changes.   Will they impact on league chess?   Should we further encourage the use of increments (10 seconds per move)?   See the new Rules G.4 and G.5, which replace the former 10.2.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Training Day for Suffolk Under 11s

On Sunday 16 February a Training Day will be held for children who were aged 10 or younger on 1 September 2013; these are 'Under 11s'.

It is expected that between 30 and 40 children will attend the event, taking place at Moreton Hall Community Centre, Bury St Edmunds.   Invitations are being sent out to those children who are possible candidates for the Suffolk Under 11 team, which will compete against other East/Midland counties a month later in Chingford, Essex, on 16 March.

The day will consist of coaching for a couple of hours in the morning (10.30 to 12.30), with a 15-minute tournament being held in the afternoon.   We are looking for a number of adults to come and assist during the morning with the coaching.   Ideally, the coaching will take place in groups of 3 or 4, so we need 10 'coaches'.   Don't worry if you've never done this sort of thing before; your experience is the main thing.

If you are able to come and assist that morning, please email me (Bob Jones).

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

EACU Team Championships

As noted yesterday, the EACU Team Championships will take place at Whittlesford Memorial Hall on Sunday 19th January.

This popular event is organised most efficiently every year by Patrick Ribbands.   In the past, the only Suffolk club to enter has been Bury St Edmunds, who won a digital chess clock for their efforts a couple of years ago.

It would be good to see some other Suffolk clubs represented, although, as Patrick points out below, teams do not have to be all from the same club.

He says:

"Teams consist of four players from the EACU but not necessarily from the same club.   EACU players are those living in or from clubs located in or affiliated to Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk or Suffolk.

The Open is for any four players.
The Team 600 is for teams with an aggregate grade of 600 or less, though for this calculation anyone with a grade under 100 will be taken as 100.
The Team 500 is a team with an aggregate grade of 500 or less, though for this calculation anyone with a grade under 75 will be taken as 75.

There will be an inscribed digital clock or a cash prize for the team with most game points in each category but the number and value of prizes will depend on the number of entries.   If there are ten entries two weeks before the event the EACU has undertaken to buy a trophy.

The event uses the county match format of two rounds but starting at 09.45 and 14.00.   The time limit is 36 moves in 90 minutes then 20 minutes to finish the game.

The exact format of the competition will depend on the number of entries.

The entry fee is £20 per team payable on the day.   Any player who is not a member of the ECF needs to pay an extra £4.   The clubs that won the top division of the six EACU county leagues (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Bury Area League) in the last season are entitled to enter a team of entirely their club players at half price into the Open.

Tea and coffee will be provided free of charge.   There is a pub or two in the village and a village shop.

Enquiries and entries should be made to Patrick Ribbands or to 01223 842197.   Entries by 12th January please, though an early indication that you might raise a team would also be much appreciated.   Later entries will be at the organiser's discretion.

If you do not have the four players for a team I may be able to put you in touch with others who would like to play."

Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year!

Back from holiday, but there's not a lot of chess news for you.   One of the few Suffolk players who has remained active over the festive period is Silas Peck.   He played in the CCF (Coulsdon) Christmas Tournament, winning the u1950 section with a perfect 5/5.

Then, last weekend, he travelled to Hastings to play in the Weekend Major.   He only played in three of the five rounds but, aided with a bye, scored 3½/5.

If anyone else has played in any tournaments recently, please let me know.

Some dates to note:

This coming weekend (11/12 January) sees the regular treks to Hinckley and Daventry for Suffolk players in the 4NCL.

On Sunday 19 January, the EACU Team Championships take place at Whittlesford.   Teams of four (usually from a club, but not necessarily) can play in the Open, u600 and u500 sections.   For more details, contact Patrick Ribbands.

The Under 160s play at Newmarket on Sunday 26 January, whilst the First Team and the Under 100s play a week later on Sunday 2 February.

The following Sunday, 9 February, sees the Norfolk Rapidplay, at Oulton.   Contact John Charman for details.

On Sunday 16 February, there's a Training Day for Under 11s, at Moreton Hall Community Centre, Bury St Edmunds and on the following Sunday, 23 February, the Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress takes place at the same venue.

Finally, on Sunday 2 March, the First Team and Under 100s play at Newmarket, whilst the Suffolk Junior Open Championships take place on the same day at Woodbridge School.

So, it's a busy period for the next couple of months, mainly on Sundays.