Monday, 28 December 2015

Peter Keffler R.I.P.

Peter Keffler, doyen of the Clacton Chess Club, passed away last Tuesday (22 December).   He had celebrated his 92nd birthday only a month earlier.

In his prime, Peter was a 200-grade player (or equivalent) and had several published games and positions.   His most famous win, and one that was celebrated on his 90th birthday cake, was in 1970 when he won with the Black pieces in just 15 moves, playing the Traxler Counterattack (see game below).

John Lambert has written the following: "When I arrived at Clacton Chess in the early nineties, Peter was the leading light.   His knowledge of chess was extensive, as was his generosity in passing on his skills to others.   He had studied at Oxford University and had many games published.   He was quoted in Harding & Barden's 'Openings for the Club Player' for his thoughts on the Two Knights Defence.   If you have a copy, see page 22 (well worth a look).   Peter was influential to me (although starting late I never got near him) as well as juniors at the club in his attacking style of play which made him a match for any player in the Suffolk & Essex leagues.   Peter also played County Chess for Somerset, Essex & Suffolk and was a keen golfer.   He will be missed by many in the Chess world."

The following position has been quoted in several books, and can be found online as a great example of a back row mate:

Peter was Black and two pawns behind.   White has just played R(f1) to d1??.

Peter played 18...Qxd1 and White resigned.   After 19. Nxd1   Nf3+ to be followed by Re1+ and mate to follow.

Peter's attacking style can be seen to good effect in the following correspondence game from 1972 (Peter was White):

Peter's well-stocked bookstall featured at many East Anglian events.   His diligence in carefully packing away every single book in the correct box caused some anxiety for local caretakers, as well as congress organisers who wanted to get home after a tiring weekend!

Peter last played a league game in March 2014.   His deteriorating eyesight and general infirmity meant that he could no longer play serious chess.

Club colleague Melvin Steele has also written a tribute to Peter on the Clacton Chess club website here.

The funeral will take place at Weeley Crematorium at 14.00 on Monday 18 January.


There will be no more articles until 6 January (off to the West Country).

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Christmas puzzles - Day 4

This is the last of the Christmas puzzles.   If you have answers to all four, email them to me by 3 January.   The best set of answers will win a chess book!

Here is the final puzzle:

It's White to play and mate in 2.

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Christmas puzzles - Day 3

It's Boxing Day, or should that be ChessBoxing Day?

I could have written an article about the new 'sport' of chessboxing, but as I really don't understand its attraction, I shall instead give you a straightforward little puzzle to add to those from the last two days.   It's another Christmas Tree puzzle, with the White Queen sitting proudly at the top of a rather spindly tree:

It's White to play and mate in 2.

Don't put your answer in the comments below, but send all your answers to me tomorrow (after Day 4 puzzle is published) for a chance to win a book prize.

Friday, 25 December 2015

Christmas puzzles - Day 2

After yesterday's challenging little puzzle, here's something to test your ability at retrograde analysis.   As it's Christmas Day, it is a Christmas tree of course.   It's Black to play and mate in 2.

It should be easy to work out that White has just played one of two moves... but which one?   Only one is correct!

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Christmas puzzles - Day 1

Here is the first of four puzzles to entertain you over Christmas.

In the position below, it's Black to play.   But that's not the question.   Instead, it's what was White's last move?   And when you've solved that (it is possible!), what were the three previous half-moves (B/W/B)?:

When all four problems have been published (by Sunday), send in your answers to me.   The best set of answers will win a book prize.


Sad news received today... Peter Keffler has died, aged 92.   There will be a proper tribute to him after Christmas.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

78 points grading difference? No problem!

On Tuesday evening, Bury St Edmunds 'E' team of four juniors (average age 11) took on the Ipswich B team in the first round proper of the Suffolk Cup.   With huge grading differences (89, 78, 100, 76) the result was never in doubt.   But the surprise was that the final score was not 4 - 0 (it was 3½ - ½).

Playing with Black on Board 2, the youngest member of the Bury team, 9-year old Adam John (pictured right), faced the experienced Martin Fogg.   The game, which is featured below, demonstrates Adam's exceptional maturity.   After 39 moves he is clearly winning, but the game ended in a draw with both players very short of time.   It says a lot that Adam can play a three-hour game, at an away venue, and still maintain sufficient concentration.   Formerly coached by Anita Somton's father, he (and older brother Alan) now receive regular coaching from Ed Player.

Enjoy the game:

Both players were in time trouble and Adam is unsure of the remaining moves.   If Martin knows, then please let me know!   The game ended in a draw with Martin having Q + N v Q, a notoriously difficult ending to win, especially when time is short.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

How to beat an IM / WGM

GM Matthew Sadler (279) was not only the top seed at the recent Bury St Edmunds Congress, he is also the highest-graded player in the ECF.   Considered to be the strongest non-professional chess player in the World, his attendance at this event for the past two years has helped to maintain its status as one of the leading weekend congresses in the UK.

On 3½ points after the first four rounds, he faced Suffolk's IM/WGM Dagne Ciuksyte (216) with the White pieces in the final round, needing a win to secure at least a share of first prize.   Dagne was also on 3½ points, having won her three previous games, with a half-point bye on Saturday evening.

The game lasted only 25 moves, and is a model of straightforward development by Sadler, as well as taking advantage of one rather weak move by his opponent.

Here's the game:

So Matthew Sadler finished the tournament on 4½ points, alongside Suffolk's Alan Merry, whom he didn't have to play.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Under 160 game

Andrew Shephard (155), who played on Board 2 for the Suffolk Under 160 team on 6 December, has annotated his quick win against Norfolk's Terry Tripp (155).

1.   e4   c5
2.   Nc3   Nc6
3.   f4   g6
4.   Nf3   Bg7
5.   Bb5  e6?!

This is dubious.   Correct is 5. ...Nd4.
6.   Bxc6   bxc6
7.   e5!

Black is left with holes on the dark squares whilst White plans the obvious Ne4-d6.   Black solves this problem but creates another one in the process.
7.    ...d5
8.   exd6   Qxd6

Now Black is left with isolated, doubled c-pawns.   White's plan is simple - to gang up on the c5 pawn.
9.   d3   Nf6
10.   O-O   O-O
11.   Qe2   Nd5
12.   Ne4   Qe7
(see diagram)
12. ...Nxf4?? fails to 13. Qe3!

13.   c4!
A multi-purpose move.   Firstly, it kicks the knight from d5 allowing my bishop to come to e3.   Secondly, it fixes the black c-pawns - he is prevented from freeing his position with the thematic pawn sacrifice ...c4; perhaps he should have tried this earlier when he had the chance.   Finally, it allows my queen to guard the b2-pawn.
13.    ...Nb4
14.   Be3   Na6
15.   Qf2

The pawn on c5 is lost.
15.    ...Rd8
16.   Nxc5   Bxb2??

A blunder, but Black was already a pawn down in a difficult position.
17.   Qxb2   Nxc5
18.   Qb4!

Winning a piece.
1 - 0.

More games wanted please!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Half-time in the Bury League

The six clubs in the Bury Area Chess League provide a total of 19 teams, playing in three divisions.

The club of the season, so far, is Linton.   Their three teams are unbeaten; in fact they have won 15 games out of 16 played, with just one drawn match.

Predictably, two Linton teams - Blacks and Whites - head Divisions 2 and 3 respectively.   But Linton A, the one team to have drawn a match, are in second place behind Bury St Edmunds Scorpions, the team which consists of Ipswich-based players (Moore, Gregory, Munson, Wallis, Lunn).

These are the current tables:

Division 1

Bury St Edmunds Scorpions540119
Linton A541017½
Bury St Edmunds Scarabs520311½
Cambridge Examiners520310½
Cambridge Choristers5113
Cambridge Oddfellows51047

Division 2

Linton Blacks660022½
Cambridge Dons621318
Bury St Edmunds Cobras621315
Bury St Edmunds Vipers630315
Cambridge Academicals622214½
Ely Beet Bishops611410
Newmarket Stallions61057

Division 3

Linton Whites550019½
Bury St Edmunds E531115
Cambridge Gowns512210½
Bury St Edmunds F511310
Bury St Edmunds G5122

Individually, the top players in each division are:

Division 1   -   Ashley Stewart (Linton A)   -   4½/5
Division 2   -   Tom Smith (Cambridge Dons)   -   5½/6
Division 3   -   Adam Leigh (Bury St Edmunds F)   -   3½/4

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Chess in hibernation

With all matches in both the Suffolk League and the Bury Area League completed for the first half of the season, there are now no further league matches until 5 January, when matches in the Suffolk League re-commence.   The BACL starts again on 11 January.

It's good to see that all the Suffolk League's three divisions are being fiercely competed, with no one team dominating.

Just after Christmas there are two events which will feature some Suffolk players.   Adam Taylor has entered the Hastings Masters and Ed Player is also hoping to play.   The London Junior Championships are held immediately after Christmas and several youngsters from Bury will be playing.

So, with Christmas just around the corner, here is the plan for the next few days:

Sunday (tomorrow)   -   Half-time review of the Bury Area Chess League
Monday to Wednesday   -   Games from the Suffolk League (or something else if none is available!)
Thursday to Sunday   -   Christmas puzzles

Readers are requested to send me any interesting games or positions, for publication next week.   Please don't be modest!

Starting Christmas Eve (Thursday) there will be a tough puzzle to solve each day, until Sunday.   I will then be on holiday and there will be no further articles until 6 January.

Friday, 18 December 2015


Here's a game between John McAllister (Manningtree B) and Steve Lovell (Bury St Edmunds A), played this week.   It features the Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez, and contains an attractive Zugzwang finish.

Steve is Black:

Some comments on the opening first.   In the Marshall Attack, after 14... Qh3, White normally plays 15. Be3 or Re4.   15. Bxd5 is not considered favourable for White.   After 16. Bg4, taking on d5 is again unsatisfactory, as Black will play 17... Rad8 and although White would be two pawns ahead, he is hopelessly undeveloped.   Games in this line have usually resulted in wins for Black.

In the game, 18. Be3 is clearly losing (Bf4 is better), but it shows how easy it is for White to go wrong in the Marshall. It's the better 'booked' player who generally wins.

After the queens and rooks have been exchanged, it should be a simple win for Black, with bishop against Black's two extra pawns.   White's 40. f5 is the final nail in his coffin, allowing easy access for Black's king to penetrate to g5.

In the position above, with Black to play, White can resign.   Black plays 43... Bc7, taking control of the diagonal and preventing White's king from accessing g3.   After a couple more moves (c6 and a4), White does resign, because he is in Zugzwang and will lose both his kingside pawns.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Division 2 half-time round-up

All seven teams in Division 2 have now completed their six scheduled matches in the first half of the season.

This is the current table:

Ipswich D632115½
Stowmarket A615012½
Bury St Edmunds A622212
Felixstowe A621311½
Manningtree B6123

It's all very tight at the top, with Ipswich D only half a point clear of the field.   Five teams are within four points of each other.   Both Sudbury and Stowmarket A are unbeaten, but of the 21 matches played so far, nine (43%) have been drawn.

At the other end of the table, it looks as if Clacton and Manningtree B will be fighting to avoid relegation, having only won one match between them.

Rob Sanders (Sudbury) is the only player with a 100% record, having won all four games played.   Close behind him are Phil Hopkins (Felixstowe A) on 5½/6 and Martin Tomes (Ipswich D) on 4½/6.

A total of 54 players have represented the seven teams so far (exactly the same number as have played in Division 3):

Bury St Edmunds   -   10
Felixstowe A   -   9
Stowmarket A   -   8
Manningtree B   -   8
Clacton   -   7
Ipswich D   -   6
Sudbury   -   6

Only two juniors have played in Division 2 so far this season - Alex Sheerin (Stowmarket) and William Moody (Bury St Edmunds).

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Forthcoming events

There are a number of local tournaments in the next few months:

Norfolk Rapidplay (Norwich) - Sunday 7 February.   Three sections - Open, u140, u100.    Contact - John Wickham

Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress - Sunday 6 March.   Four sections - u9, u11, u14, u18.    Contact - Bob Jones

Suffolk Junior Open (Woodbridge) - Sunday 13 March.   Sections for all age-groups.    Contact - Adam Hunt

Great Yarmouth Congress - Sat/Sun 23/24 April.   Open, u170, u145, u120.    Contact - John Wickham

As well as the above events, several Suffolk Juniors will be playing at the London Junior Championships (28/30 December) and the EPSCA Under 11 Zonals (Sat 19 March).

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Division 3 half-time round-up

All Division 3 matches scheduled before the New Year have been played, with the exception of Bury St Edmunds D v Saxmundham B, which is being played on 12 January.

This is the current table:

Ipswich F650117
Ipswich E631214½
Bury St Edmunds D540114
Saxmundham B530211½
Stowmarket Rooks61148
Bury St Edmunds E6114
Felixstowe B6114

Ipswich E have a 2½ point margin over their nearest rivals, Ipswich E.   But the result of the outstanding match could see that advantage slip away, with Bury St Edmunds D only three points adrift.

At the foot of the division, three teams have identical playing records (+1, =1, -4), and there's only half a point between them.   Still, no team can be relegated from Division 3, so it's pride they're playing for!

Adam Leigh (Bury St Edmunds D) has won all five games to date and is level on points with Andy Molloy (Ipswich F), who has lost only to Adam.   Alex Sheerin (Ipswich F) is on 4½/6, whilst Phil Mortonson and Mike Spalding (both Ipswich E) have played four games with a 100% record.

A total of 54 players have represented the seven teams so far, with Bury St Edmunds fielding 19 players, 11 of whom are juniors, whilst Ipswich have utilised 12.   Of the clubs with only one team, Stowmarket head the list with 11 players this season, including two juniors.

Monday, 14 December 2015

London Chess Classic - Super Rapidplay Open

An amazing 368 players entered the Super Rapidplay Open at the London Chess Classic.   This must be one of the largest-ever single section events in the UK.   Entrants included 36 Grandmasters, 29 IMs and a host of other titled players (FMs, WGMs, WIMs etc).   Rating ranged from 2800 (GM Matthew Sadler) to a lowly 992.   The ten-round event was played over two days of this last weekend and included two Suffolk-based players:

Adam Taylor (2200) and Ed Player (2087) - this is their Rapidplay ratings.

Both performed slightly below their ratings, each scoring six points out of ten.   They both faced two GMs, losing both.

The main event at the LCC was the final tournament in the Chess Grand Tour.   World Champion Magnus Carlsen came from behind to win both this tournament and the whole event.   You can see details of all festival events here.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

London Junior Chess Championships

The London Junior Chess Championships originated in 1924 as the London Boys Championship.   Titles are awarded for seven age groups, Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, Under 14, Under 16, Under 18 and Under 21.   This annual event is considered to be the strongest junior tournament in the UK, outstripping the British where pre-qualification is not required.

Six juniors from the Bury Knights JCC played in the Under 10 and Under 14 sections this weekend.

Adam John was in the Under 10 Major section, whilst Joel Loyid and Toby Martin played in the Minor section.   9-year old Adam (pictured right) had the best performance, scoring five points out of seven. He had a disappointing first day, with +1, =2, -1, but recovered today with three straight wins.   He finished in joint 8th place in a field of 100 competitors.

Adam's 12-year old brother Alan played in the Under 14 Major section, where he faced opponents with an average grade of 139.   He scored two points out of six.   Only two of the 42 entrants were graded below 100.

Ralph Martin and Tom Roy played in the Under 14 Minor section, both scoring 50%.

Several Bury Knights members will be playing in the Under 8 and Under 12 sections, which are held immediately after Christmas.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

London Chess Classic - FIDE Open

The nine-round FIDE Open ended yesterday, with Suffolk's sole entrant, Ed Player (right), on five points.

Ed experienced one of the known pitfalls with the Swiss pairing system and a large entry (of 247 players).   Winning with White in Round 1, he faced a strong FM with Black in Round 2.   The colours alternated throughout the tournament, with Ed facing mainly lower-rated opponents when he had the White pieces, and higher-rated ones when Black.   In fact the average rating of his Black opponents (when he had White), was 2009 (scoring 4½/5), whilst his White opponents was 2372 (scoring ½/4).

The tournament was won by Dutch GM Benjamin Bok, who scored 8/9, a clear point ahead of the field.

The ten-round Super Rapidplay Open is taking place over this weekend, with Adam Taylor and Ed Player entered.   There is a massive entry of 367 players!   After five rounds today, both Adam and Ed are on three points.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Division 1 half-time round-up

There are no more Division 1 matches scheduled before the New Year, so now is a good time to review progress up to now.

This is the current table:

Ipswich C642014
Bury St Edmunds C631213
Manningtree A522112½
Ipswich A613211½
Bury St Edmunds B604211
Ipswich B612310½
Saxmundham A5122

No team is 'running away' with the division.   In fact, all seven teams are still 'in the hunt'.   Manningtree A will be playing their outstanding match against Saxmundham A on 20 January, a result which could see them overtake the current leaders, Ipswich C.   This match could also see newly-promoted Saxmundham A pull clear of the relegation zone.

Andy Lewis (Manningtree A) is leading the Player of the Year competition, having dropped only half a point from his four games.   He is closely followed by Jon Collins (Bury St Edmunds), who has scored three points from four games.

Only four juniors have played in Division 1.   Silas Peck has played in every game, scoring four points out of six.   Adam Taylor (Manningtree) has scored one point from two games.   The two John brothers from Bury St Edmunds both played in their first Division 1 match this week.   12-year old Alan lost to Andrew Shephard, but 9-year old Adam beat the experienced Les Jones.   This is Adam's best-ever win against an adult.

A total of 43 people have played in Division 1 so far this season.   Ipswich, with three teams, have used only 14 players.   Bury St Edmunds, with two teams, have utilised 16 players.   Clearly the two clubs have differing demographics; Bury players are often absent due to demanding work commitments.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Open Evening at Ipswich

Ipswich Chess Club hosted a second open evening yesterday (see here for a report on their first open evening in October).   Several juniors attended, as well as established members (Alex Sheerin, Steve Gregory, Roger Holt, Les Jones in the photo above).

'Professor' Ted Matthewson (in unfamiliar garb) provided a short presentation, before kids and adults present played a few games and practised the ideas Ted had introduced.   A cheerful and friendly evening.

The club is considering other ideas to stimulate youthful interest in chess in the Ipswich area - watch this space for more details.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Mike Taylor Memorial

A Memorial for Mike Taylor took place today at Haughley Park Barns, near Stowmarket.   This moving tribute to Mike was attended by more than 150 people, and included six Suffolk chess-players (Michael Clapham, Mike Cook, John Feavyour, Steve Gregory, Bob Jones and Laurie Pott).

There were several 'chess' references in the family's memories of Mike, but it was clear that he had many other interests, including music, photography, cycling, food and wine.   It seems he was almost unbeatable at Scrabble and enjoyed a challenging Sudoku puzzle.

Mike had recently started to teach chess to his 6-year old grandson, Alfie, who lives in Bury.   So we may well be seeing him soon at the Bury Knights!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

SCCA vacancies

There are currently four vacancies on the SCCA Committee.   These need to be filled as soon as possible.

*    Secretary
*    Junior Organiser
*    Correspondence Captain
*    Vice-President

The County Chess Association is run by volunteers, and can only continue to do so if more people are prepared to take on these roles.   As things stand, I am doing some of these tasks - but I'm not prepared to do so indefinitely.

The Secretary's role is not too demanding.   As the season comes to a close, the Secretary will need to arrange dates for a Committee Meeting and the Annual General Meeting.   Agendas will need to be prepared (in conjunction with the President) and minutes will be taken at both meetings, and distributed.   Apart from the (very rare) correspondence to be answered, that's all there is to it.   So let's see some hands go up!.

The Junior Organiser's role is as big (or as small) as you want it to be.   We have managed for a few years without one, but things are perking up now, with new junior clubs being considered in Ipswich and Martlesham.   Several adult players are helping out at local schools and the County Under 11 team has entered the National Championships for the fourth successive year.   Somebody is needed to co-ordinate all this, and even to encourage further participation.   We all know how important it is to encourage youngsters to play; without them our clubs will eventually fold.

The Correspondence Captain co-ordinates the eight-board Suffolk team that currently plays in the top division.   Jim Buis has undertaken this role for many years but now wishes to stand down.   The team virtually picks itself, so there's little the Captain needs to do, except liaise with the National Organiser and keep his team informed of start and finish dates.

The Vice-President will do (almost) nothing for the next couple of years, but will eventually take over as President.   It's important that the next President is well-versed in the ways of the SCCA, so a minor involvement in 2016 and 2017 is all that's needed.   The VP will need to be committed to take over for a three-year spell in June 2018.

Please contact me if you would like to be considered for any of these posts.

Monday, 7 December 2015

London Chess Classic weekend events

Three local players entered different sections of the Weekend Classic at the London Chess Classic.   Adam Taylor (Manningtree) played in the Open; John Peters (Bury St Edmunds) played in the Under 2000 section; whilst Stephen Pride (Cambridge & Bury St Edmunds) was in the Under 1800 section.

All three played well, recording only one game loss between them.   But the best result was by John Peters (pictured right), who was joint winner in the Under 2000 on 4½ points and a rating performance of 2246.   John has annotated his first round win, which is shown below.

Adam Taylor took a first round bye, but scored 3½/4 in his remaining games to finish joint second in the Open.

Stephen Pride was on 3½ points after four rounds in the u1800, but sadly lost his final game to finish in joint 8th place.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Under 160s play Herts and Norfolk

The Suffolk Under 160 team faced Hertfordshire this morning at the Turner Hall, Newmarket, losing narrowly by 7½ points to 8½.   However, in the afternoon, Suffolk beat Norfolk quite convincingly, by 9 points to 7.   This scoreline could, and should, have been better, but two of the last games to finish were drawn, with Suffolk players missing the wins.

As anticipated, the Cambridgeshire team was very strong, with more than half their team graded over 150.   By comparison, Suffolk and Norfolk had only three 150+ players, whilst Herts had two.   Cambridgeshire won both their matches.

This is the current league table:

TeamPlayedWonDrawnLostMatch PointsGame Points

Of the Suffolk players, Andrew Donnelly and Martin Tomes won both games, whilst those on 1½ points included Phil Hutchings, Alan Watkins and Bob Jones.

Martin Tomes (White) reached the following position after 20 moves in his afternoon game.   Black has just played d5, forking bishop and knight.   In fact White is winning easily and there are a number of good moves.   But Martin found the most spectacular move, causing Black to resign immediately:

21. Rf5!! (with Qh6 to follow)

Saturday, 5 December 2015

London Chess Classic underway

The long-awaited London Chess Classic commenced yesterday at the Kensington Olympia.   The main event is the final tournament in the Chess Grand Tour, which features many of the world's top players.   Michael Adams, England's number 1, has been added to the nine who have played in the previous events.   After two rounds, there have been nine hard-fought draws out of the ten games played, with only Anish Giri beating Veselin Topalov in the first round.   With two draws, Adams is in equal second place, alongside eight others!

Also being played is the Final of the British Knockout Championship.   Initial rounds saw many of Britain's top players being knocked out, leaving just David Howell and former Suffolk boy Nick Pert through to the six-game final.   Nick has done very well, especially considering he was a last-minute replacement for the unavailable Nigel Short.   After a draw in the first round of the final, Nick eventually lost a rook and pawn ending in round 2, which lasted nearly five hours.   The match continues until Wednesday, with one game each day.

The third major event taking place is the FIDE Open, which has a massive entry of 246 players (including 28 Grandmasters).   After three rounds there are still 11 players on a maximum score.   Bury St Edmunds' Ed Player has two points, whilst former Suffolk girl Anna York-Andersen, now studying at Cambridge University, has lost two and drawn one.

Alongside these premier tournaments are several other events.   These include the Weekend Classic in four graded sections.   In the 63-player Open, Adam Taylor (Manningtree) is third seed and after taking a first round bye, is well-placed on 2½ points.   In the Under 2000 section (71 entrants), fifth seed John Peters (Bury St Edmunds) is joint leader (of two) on 3 points.   In the Under 1800 section (83 entrants), Stephen Pride (Bury and Cambridge) is on 2½ points.

Live games and latest results can be viewed on the London Chess Classic website.

Friday, 4 December 2015

DBS checks

Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks are now called Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks.   Anyone involved on a weekly basis teaching chess to children, helping out at a school or club, or transporting children to tournaments, needs to undertake a DBS check.

Such checks can be arranged online through the Government website, but an Enhanced Check there costs £44.   Instead, an scheme has been set up between the Suffolk County Chess Association and Community Action Suffolk, whereby checks can be undertaken, also online, at a cost of only £15.

Anyone who teaches chess to children at a school or club, or coaches children at home, should apply for a DBS check. As the administrator of this scheme, contact me if you need to undergo a check.

Thursday, 3 December 2015


Forks, pins, skewers, as well as discovered checks, double checks, zwischenzug and deflection.   These are all tactics that are often seen in chess.   But a rarely-seen tactic is interference.   This is when a piece is sacrificially interposed so that an opposing piece is left isolated and vulnerable to capture.

An excellent example occurred on Tuesday this week, when David Green (White) faced Stephen Lewis in the second round of the Stowmarket Club Championship.   This was the critical position after 27 moves of a Budapest Defence:

Here, David found the remarkable 28. Be5!   It won him the exchange, but not the game, which petered out to a draw.   David has another opportunity to prove that he's a good chess player as well as an excellent Competitions Secretary when he plays for Suffolk Under 160s on Sunday.

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Chess at the Apex

The informal Tuesday afternoon chess club at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds continues to flourish.   Today there were 13 'members' attending.

In fact, there's no membership requirement; you just turn up at 3.30 pm with nothing to pay (and the nearby car park is free too on Tuesday afternoons).

If you're interested and would like to know more, please contact me (Bob).

Monday, 30 November 2015

Woodbridge Junior results

78 children from around East Anglia, aged between 6 and 18, played in the Woodbridge Junior Open yesterday.   There were five sections: u8, u10, u12, u14 and u16/18.   This tournament, organised by IM Adam Hunt, is one of the qualifying events for the London Junior Championships.   Players in the Under 8 section needed 4 points to qualify, whilst those in the Under 10 and Under 12 sections needed 3½ points for the Minor section at London, or 4½ points for the Major section.   Several youngsters managed to achieve their desired qualification certificates.

Suffolk prizewinners included the following:

Under 18  Winner   -   Alex Sheerin (Ipswich)
Under 18   3rd place:   -   Alan John (Bury St Edmunds)
Under 12   Winner   -   Teddy Yang (Leiston)
Under 12   2nd place   -   Jaden Jermy (Bury St Edmunds)
Under 12   =3rd place   -   Adam John (Bury St Edmunds)
Under 10   =3rd place   - Toby Martin (Bury St Edmunds)
Under 8   2nd place   -   Rowan Kent (Woodbridge)
Under 8   =3rd place   -   Tia Martin (Bury St Edmunds)

The five prizewinners from Bury St Edmunds are all members of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club (pictured right including Alex Sheerin, former Bury Knights member).

Separate trophies were awarded to Woodbridge School pupils who performed best in each section.

A large number of photos taken during the event can be viewed as a slideshow here (click on 'Slideshow').

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Suffolk First Team victorious again

The Suffolk First Team took on Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire today at Newmarket.   Despite fielding a weakened team, Suffolk won both matches, 9 - 7 and 13 - 3 respectively.

Five players won both games: Ian Wallis, Mike Cook, Tim Lunn, Richard Lamont and David Brown (1 by default).   Mike Cook has now won all four games this season for the county.

These results confirm Suffolk's position at the head of the league table, which can be viewed here.   Bedfordshire did Suffolk a huge favour by beating Norfolk 9½-6½.   It now seems likely that the two matches against Cambridgeshire on 7 February and 13 March will be crucial in deciding the EACU Championship.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

The draw kings

Several Suffolk players have drawn most of their league matches this season:

Division 1   -   Tim Lunn   5 draws/5 games;   Bob Jones   3/3;   Phil Hutchings   3/4;   Kevin Greenacre   3/4;   Mike Cook   3/5;   Simon Riley   3/5.

Division 2   -   Martin Alvin   4 draws/4 games;   Jim Buis   3/4.

Division 3   -   David Green   3 draws/4 games.

It's interesting to note that there are fewer draws in the lower divisions.   In Division 1, 27 games out of 68 have been drawn (40%).   In Division 2 it's 30% (18/59) and in Division 3 only 24% (16/67).

There have been just two defaulted games so far this season, one in Division 2 (Manningtree B) and one in Division 3 (Ipswich F).

Friday, 27 November 2015

A game from 1961

54 years ago, the Under 21 British Junior Championship in Aberystwyth featured two local players - Vivian Woodward and John Feavyour.   At the time, John lived in Saxmundham, whilst Vivian was from Leicestershire (he was then the Leicestershire under 21 and senior champion).   Now a member of Sudbury Chess Club, Vivian has provided the original game score (above) and the game can be played through below (it may take a few seconds to load).   The notes to the game are Vivian's, apart from the possible ending after John's resignation.

Soon after, Vivian gave up chess for 30 years, but John continued playing.   Perhaps they should now play a challenge match, where John may be able to get his revenge!

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Adam's the name

One of the more common names amongst Suffolk chess players is ... Adam.   There are six of them, including an International Master and a FIDE Master.

IM Adam Hunt (Woodbridge)FM Adam Taylor (Manningtree)Adam Harvey (Bury St Edmunds)
Adam Wilson (Ipswich)Adam Leigh (Bury St Edmunds)Adam John (Bury St Edmunds)

But Adam is far from being the most popular name amongst active Suffolk players.   According to the grading database, the leaders are:

John:   (Barratt, Barty, Feavyour, Kent, Lambert, McAllister, Peters, Player, Price)   =   9
David (& Dave):   (Brown, Clark x 2, Green, Mabbs, Robertson, Spence, Wild, Wood)   =   9
Michael:   (Clapham, Cook, Coughtrey, Harris, Schalit, Spalding, Usher)   =   7
Andrew:   (Donnelly, Lewis, Molloy, Paige, Salmon, Shephard)   =   6
Also, there are four Richards, four Martins and four Stephens (or Steve).

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

London Chess Classic

Who's going to the London Chess Classic?   This prestigious event is taking place at the Kensington Olympia, between 4 and 13 December.

The main tournament is the final (and third) leg of the Chess Grand Tour.   Nine players are competing in this nine-round event (Magnus Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Veselin Topalov, Alexander Grischuk, Vishy Anand, Anish Giri, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Levon Aronian), to which Michael Adams has been invited as England's No.1.   Topalov is the current leader.   There is a total prize fund of over a million dollars!

The Final of the British Knockout Championship will take place between 4 - 9 December. Seven of England's top players, as well as Scotland's Jonathan Rowson, will be competing for a first prize of £20,000.   The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be held on 1 and 2 December at the nearby Hilton Hotel, with the two finalists battling it out over six games at the Classic.

Also taking place between 4 and 11 December is the FIDE Open, which has a guaranteed prize fund of £15,500.   To date 26 GMs have entered, as well as a host of IMs and FMs.   Amongst the 205 entrants is Bury's Ed Player, who is also playing in the Super Rapidplay (see below).

Manningtree's Adam Taylor is playing in the 5-round Weekend Open (4 - 6 December), as well as the 10-round Super Rapidplay (12 - 13 December), which has a massive entry of 238 players.

You can watch some of the world's best players for just £20; that's the cost of a daily ticket, which can be purchased online.   Women and anyone aged under 25 can watch for free - all you need to do is register online.   Tickets include access to the Auditorium, where the games will be played, as well as to the live Grandmaster commentary room and all other festival events areas.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

European Team Championships round-up

The European Team Championships concluded on Sunday, with England's teams finishing 10th (Open) and 23rd (Women).   Both results were rather disappointing, as the teams had been seeded 5th and 18th respectively.

In the Open section, all except bottom board Gawain Jones under-performed, especially Luke McShane, whose performance of 2466 was more than 200 points below his current rating.   England finished with 11 points (four wins, three draws), whilst winners Russia scored 15 points (six wins and three draws).

In the Women's section, England's top board Jovanka Houska played extremely well, scoring 7/8 to gain the silver medal for Board 1, with a performance of 2614.   Suffolk's Dagne Ciuksyte had a disappointing event, losing her last two games against lower-rated opponents.   This was the position from her last-round game, where White (Dagne) is to play in a level position against her opponent from Azerbaijan.   Dagne erred with 39. Kxg2??   Instead 39. Rxe5 or Rd5 maintains equality.   After 39... Rd2! Dagne had no answer to the threats on f2.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Sharing the lead

As at the start of this week, there are some unusual features in both the Suffolk League and the Bury Area League.

In all three divisions of the Suffolk League, the lead is shared by two teams.   In Division 1, Ipswich C and Bury St Edmunds C have both scored 9½ points from four matches.   In Division 2, Sudbury and Ipswich D have scored 10½ points from four matches.   And in Division 3, Ipswich E and Ipswich F are equal on 11 points from four matches.   Also, in all three divisions, several other teams are very close behind, making this season one of the most closely fought in recent memory.

Meanwhile, over in the Bury Area League, there's a 'first'.   Linton's three teams are all heading their respective divisions.   Linton A lead Division 1, Linton Blacks Division 2, and Linton Whites Division 3.   Between their three teams Linton have played 11 matches, winning 10 and drawing one.   Not a bad start to the season!

You can view the latest tables by clicking on the respective leagues:

Suffolk League
Bury Area League.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Suffolk Cup and Plate draw

The initial round of the Suffolk Cup & Plate was completed last Tuesday, when Sudbury thrashed Felixstowe B 4 - 0.   The draw has now been made for the next round.   Because of the number of teams playing, several byes are necessary.   The aim, of course, is to get four teams into the semi-finals of both sections.

The 11 teams and their sections are as follows:

Cup - Bury St Edmunds E; Saxmundham A; Felixstowe A; Ipswich B; Sudbury and Manningtree A

Plate - Bury St Edmunds D; Ipswich F; Saxmundham B; Manningtree B and Felixstowe B

So, to decide the semi-final line-ups, two matches are needed in the Cup and one match in the Plate.   These are as follows:

Cup - Saxmundham A v Manningtree A (to be played on Tuesday 15 December); and Ipswich B v Bury St Edmunds E (on Tuesday 22 December).   Felixstowe A and Sudbury both receive a bye.

Plate - Ipswich F v Felixstowe B (on Tuesday 22 December).   Bury St Edmunds D, Saxmundham B and Manningtree B are straight through to the semis.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

A game from Division 3

It's not often that a game from Suffolk League Division 3 features on this website, but here is one between Bury St Edmunds' Chas Szentmihaly (right) and Felixstowe's Dave Robertson.   It was played recently in the Suffolk Under 125 Cup.   Aged 84, Chas is Bury's oldest member, who swears that good health in old age is related to the food that you eat.

The game has its errors, as might be expected from players graded 108 and 104.   But the finish is good!

Friday, 20 November 2015

10 days to go to the Woodbridge Junior

Adam Hunt reports that entries are coming in well for the 15th Woodbridge Junior Open tournament, which takes place at Woodbridge School on Sunday 29 November.

This is a qualifying tournament for the London Junior Chess Championships, with sections for Under 8, u10, u12, u14, u16 and u18.   There are six rounds, with 30 minutes each for the game.   All games will be ECF Rapidplay graded.

To avoid a £4.00 late entry fee, be sure to send in entries by next Wednesday.   Entry forms can be downloaded from the Woodbridge School chess website.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Cambridgeshire Girls' Chess Challenge

The first Cambridge Junior Chess Challenge for Girls took place on the 8th of November in Sydney Sussex College, Cambridge.   36 participants were divided into three sections (Under 8, Under 11 and 11+).   Five rounds, with 25 minutes each for a game.

Dagne Ciuksyte took her two girls, Charlotte (8) and Sofia (6) along to the tournament and this is her report.   The photo above was taken back in August when the girls played in a tournament in Lithuania:

"A great event for the little girls like Charlotte (8) and Sofia (6) Ciuksyte.

Charlotte, playing in the Under 11 section had fun promoting the pawns into queens (in one of the games she had as many as three of them on the board!) then showing her excellent restriction technique but found it difficult to deliver the mate.   Two stalemates rather than checkmates and the total result 1 point out of 5.   Look out - we know now what to work on!

Sofia did well scoring 2½ out of 5 in the Under 8 section but she had a hard time as well.   In one of her games she played a long Qc3-c8 check but then her opponent captured the queen with her king.   When Sofia pointed that the queen was defended by the bishop on b7, her opponent captured the bishop as well!   So here you go - Sofia was the queen and bishop down, looked puzzled about what happened but carried on playing without calling the arbiter.   She didn't give in and getting close to one of her opponent's rooks and capturing it gave her an idea to sneak close to another rook which she did and succeeded in demolishing it as well.   So now she was two extra passed pawns up in the minor pieces ending, but not knowing what she should be doing next offered a draw a few moves later.   :)

A big thank you to the organisers for a very well-organised tournament, a great venue and nice experience for all the participants.   And I'm pretty sure there's been more of the girls coming back home and wanting to play more chess games on the same day like my Charlotte and Sofia did!   Mum's dream came true!"

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

European Team Championships latest

After four rounds of the European Team Championships in Reyjavik, Iceland, the England Open team (Adams, Howell, McShane, Short and Jones) are still unbeaten.   But three of their matches have been drawn.   Today they face 10th seed Germany in Round 5; a good win could elevate England into third place.

In the Women's section, England are not doing so well, having won only one of their four matches.   Whilst the top two England boards are strong (Houska/Ciuksyte), the remaining team members have been heavily outrated in all the team's losses.   Suffolk's Dagne Ciuksyte (pictured right) has been rested for today's match against Sweden, who should provide weaker opposition and an opportunity for the England team to climb the table.

The Russia teams have won all four matches in both sections.

The venue, the Laugardalsholl, is where the legendary match between Fischer and Spassky took place in 1972.

Round by round results can be followed here.   Tomorrow (Wednesday) is a rest day in the nine-round schedule.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Basildon Junior Congress

Remember the name - John.   And that's a surname, not a first name.

There are three 'Johns', all with first names beginning with 'A'.   The oldest is 12-year old Alan, currently graded 111 but heading for 130+ in January.   Then there's 9-year old Adam (93 ECF) but also expecting to be around 130 in January.   Both Alan and Adam are regularly beating adults in the Suffolk League and the Bury Area League.   The youngest is 7-year old Amy (13R).

All three played in the Basildon Junior Congress on Sunday, where strong opposition can always be expected.   Alan played in the Under 14s (he's eligible for the same section next year) and scored 4½/6 to finish joint second.   Adam, in the Under 10s, scored 5½/6 and shared first place.   Amy played in the Under 8s, scoring 5/6, also sharing first place.

The three Johns were joined by five other Bury Knights' members.   11-year old Tom Roy (67 ECF) was joint second in the Under 12s, with 4½/6 (beating a 115 grade in the last round).   Tom's 6-year old sister Tania, playing in her first tournament, scored 1½ in the Under 8s.   Other Bury Knights playing were the three Martins: Toby 3 (u10s), Tia 3 (u8s), and Ralph 2 (u14s).

Sunday, 15 November 2015

4NCL Results

The first two rounds of the 4NCL season took place this weekend.   Divisions 1 & 2 were held at the Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport.

Playing on Board 1 for Division 1 team Oxford 1, IM Justin Tan faced two strong GMs and lost both games.

In Division 2, Anglian Avengers 1 drew 4-4 on Saturday, and won 4½-3½ today.   Individually, Andrew Lewis scored 1½, Adam Taylor 1 (two draws), Ed Player 1 and David Spence ½.

Divisions 3 and 4 were held at a new venue, the Radisson Park Inn at Telford.   This proved to be an excellent hotel, with spacious, clean facilities and friendly staff.   Those who had dinner in the hotel enjoyed an excellent meal.   Below is one of the two tournament rooms in the hotel:

In Division 3 (South), Anglian Avengers 2 drew 3-3 on Saturday, and won 3½-2½ on Sunday.   Graham Moore scored 1, Steve Gregory ½, and Ian Wallis ½ (played only one game).

In Division 4, Iceni 1 lost narrowly on Saturday 2½-3½, but whitewashed the Barnet Knights 3 youngsters 6-0 today.   Jon Collins scored 1½ and John Feavyour 1.

Iceni 2 played a triangular match, so the results were not known until today.   They beat BCM Hippos 3½-2½, but lost to Oxford 3 by the score of 2-4.   Peter Collicott scored 1½, Bob Jones 1 (two draws) and Vivian Woodward 0 .

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Adam draws with Ivanchuk

Playing in the European Club Championship recently, Adam Hunt (2421) faced GM Ivanchuk (2726) in the first round. Using the Caro-Kann Exchange (Panov) Variation, Adam (White) played an interesting sacrifice on move 15, which led to a draw; a fine result for him.

Here's the game (it might take a few seconds to load):

Adam may disagree with some of my notes.   His comments will be most welcome!