Saturday, 31 January 2015

Gibraltar latest (and other events)

David Spence won his fifth round today, leaving him on 2½ points, or 50%.   His reward in Round 6 is Black against an Israeli Grandmaster...

Alan Merry is on 2½/3 (equal second place) in the 1st 4NCL FIDE-rated Congress, which is taking place at the Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport, this weekend.

Tomorrow (Sunday) sees the Suffolk Under 160 team facing Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.   The results will be published here in the evening.

13-year old Alex Sheerin (Ipswich and Bury Knights) is playing in Camberley this weekend in the South of England Junior Championships.   We'll let you know how he gets on.

Friday, 30 January 2015

New grades and nominations

With the new ECF grades having been published, Competitions Secretary David Green has indicated that the new grades should be used for board order purposes as from the start of next week.

Some clubs may wish to take this opportunity to re-nominate their teams(s), as allowed under the rules.   This may be necessary because some members' grades have changed considerably, necessitating a change in board order for existing nominees.   It may also be considered desirable to amend the nominated boards because a current nominated member has not played for a given team and is unlikely to do so for the remainder of the season.

Re-nominations should be sent to David Green before Monday 2 February.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Latest from Gib

After three rounds of the Gibraltar Masters, David Spence is on 50%, with a tournament performance of 2216, just below his current rating.   In Round 4 he faces an IM from Georgia with a rating of 2486.   That would be a good one to win!

Also playing, in the Challengers A section, David Brown (Saxmundham and Bury St Edmunds) had a poor start, losing his first three games.   But he won the fourth and now plays a 2074 from Norway in Round 5.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

East Anglian Team Championships

On 12 January, details were given on this website of the forthcoming East Anglian Team Championships, taking place in Bury St Edmunds on Sunday 1 March.   Organiser Patrick Ribbands is keen to receive news of possible entries.

If your club is hoping to enter, please get in contact with Patrick as soon as possible.   He will be at the Under 160s match in Newmarket this coming Sunday.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Gibraltar Masters starts today

The super-strong Tradewise Gibraltar Masters started today, with Suffolk's only representative, David Spence (2231), seeded 142 out of 253 entrants, playing White against GM Eduoard Romain (2638).

Featuring on one of the live boards, an unbalanced but relatively equal position had been reached after 30 moves:

Black has just played 30... R(e7)-e5.   The game continued 31. Qa6?   Qa4 is level.   ... Kh7   32. Bb7   Qd8   33. Qb6   Qd3+   34. Ka2?   Kc1 is White's only chance.   Rb5   35. Qa6   Qc4+   0 - 1.   After Ka1, Qa4+ Kb1, Qb3 is winning easily.

Tomorrow, David faces a 2014-rated player from Spain.

The top seed is GM Veselin Topalov, amongst a total of 72 Grandmasters!

Monday, 26 January 2015

New grades published today

The ECF grades for January 2015 are now live.

Looking at Suffolk players, there are six members of Suffolk-based clubs graded over 200.   Justin Tan, still only 17 years old, has improved by four points to 243, putting him equal or above several English grandmasters.   Alan Merry is back where he belongs, improving by 12 points to 226.   Suffolk's third junior, Adam Taylor, is up to 207.   These three occupy three of the four top Suffolk places, interrupted only by Dagne Ciuksyte, who is on 210.   Other Suffolk-based players over 200 are David Spence and Manningtree's Andrew Lewis, both on 207.

Other notable increases (+8 points or more):

Alan John (Bury St Edmunds)    +39
Kevin Greenacre (Ipswich)    +14
Les Jones (Ipswich)    +10
Ken Lunn (Ipswich)    +10
Alonso Paez (Ipswich)    +10
Anita Somton (Bury St Edmunds)    +10
Ted Matthewson (Ipswich)    +9
Ed Kirkham (Adastral Park)    +9
Jon Collins (Bury St Edmunds)    +9
Andrew Salmon (Clacton)    +8
Daniel Yarnton (Stowmarket)    +8

12-year old Alan John recorded the third greatest improvement of all English players, only four points adrift of the largest increase of 43 points.

Anita Somton is the highest-graded Under 11 girl in England.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

The five A's

Pictured above are the four Bury Knights members who played this weekend in the Junior 4NCL, as well as Amy, the 6½-year old sister of Alan and Adam John.   All five have names beginning with the letter A!

After completing their five matches in Division 1, the Bury Knights team finished in sixth place out of the ten teams, having won two and lost three.   Had one of their two individual losses in the final round been a win, the team would have finished in second place.

Scores (out of five) were:   Alex Sheerin - 2½; Anita Somton - 3; Alan John 2.   In Division 2, Adam John scored 3 points.  

The event was an excellent experience for the young team, who will hope for a higher placing in next year's Junior 4NCL.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Junior 4NCL

A team from the Bury Knights is playing this weekend in the Junior 4NCL at Hinckley.

On top board is Karthik Saravanan (151), borrowed from Lowestoft to boost the strength of our team.   The other team members are Alex Sheerin (126), Anita Somton (128) and Alan John (58).

The team lost their first two matches today, but won the third.   Tomorrow they play two more matches in Division 1 of this Swiss Team competition.

Also playing, though not for the Bury Knights, is 8-year old Adam John.   He is 'guesting' for the Midland Monarchs in Division 2, where he has won one game out of three so far.

This sort of competition is very tough, with some of the strongest juniors in the country taking part.   To be able to win matches in Division 1 shows the potential of the young Bury Knights team.   The four members of the club who are taking part have an average age of just 11¼.

Friday, 23 January 2015

'It's not all black and white', says judge

Two well-known chess players, who have both played before in Suffolk tournaments, have featured in a recent Telegraph article.

Their respective surnames have given rise to some amusing comments on Facebook (see below).   I guess Geoff will be upset by the verdict and Russell will be laughing all the way to the bank...

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Woodbridge School reach Zone Final

Woodbridge School is competing in this season's National Schools Chess Championships.   On Tuesday this week their six-board team beat Southend High School for Boys 4 - 2 and now face Haberdashers' Aske School in the Zone Final.

This competition is based on 12 regional (Zone) finals.   A total of 97 schools have entered the Under 19 Open section (for players born after 31 August 1995).

The Woodbridge team is strong, with Justin Tan (239) on top board.   The rest of their team are: Lai Chun (110R), Taisei Tsuroka (ungraded), Hugo Kelleway (91), William Read (91R), and Harry Rennell (77R).

If Woodbridge win their Zone Final, they will play two further rounds between February and May.   The remaining schools then qualify for the Finals, to be held at Uppingham School on 2/3 July.

Good luck to the team!

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

New Club is thriving

The new Apex Chess Club in Bury St Edmunds continues to thrive, with some 20 active members.   13 turned up yesterday afternoon to play in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere, despite having to compete with a 'mother and baby' group (seen in the background in the photo above)!

The Club meets every Tuesday afternoon from 15.30 to 17.30.   It's completely free, and you can leave your car in the adjacent car park without having to pay ('Free after Three' on Tuesdays).

The Club is ideal for retired or unemployed people, as well as children who can turn up to play when school is over.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Congratulations to Adam (and Franceys)

Manningtree's Adam Taylor (photo - Brendan O'Gorman) won the Golders Green Under 2200 tournament at the weekend, scoring 4½/5 and beating another strong junior, Akito Oyama from Cambridge, in the final round.

Adam secured a further 67 rating points to add to the 89 he gained from the Hastings Masters, which will bring his live rating up to 2202.

Congratulations also to Franceys Allen of the Stowmarket club, who recently won 'Winning Move' in the Times and received a copy of the Collins English Dictionary!

Monday, 19 January 2015

A win for Richard Lamont

In the County First Team matches yesterday, Suffolk's Richard Lamont (169) faced Cambridgeshire's Ray Ilett (169).   Richard played his trademark Fajarowicz Variation of the Budapest Gambit, a rarely played opening, but one that can catch out the unwary.   Ray certainly fell into that category, losing in fewer than 20 moves!

Sunday, 18 January 2015

First team win and draw

The Suffolk First Team, captained by Ian Wallis, faced Cambridgeshire and Norfolk today in the EACU County Championships, at Newmarket.

In the morning match Suffolk played the hitherto unbeaten Cambridgeshire, who fielded a very strong team (any team that can have Paul Kemp on Board 8 must be a strong team)!   Wins from Alan Merry and David Spence on the top two boards cemented the victory, although it was close at the end, with Suffolk winning 9 - 7.

In the afternoon match, Suffolk were favourites to beat Norfolk, but as usual, their opponents put up a good fight.   At the end it was down to Richard Lamont to secure the draw for the team by winning the last game to finish.

Three Suffolk players won both their games - David Spence, Graham Moore and Richard Lamont, whilst Ian Wallis and Silas Peck were unbeaten on 1½ points.

Norfolk thrashed Bedfordshire 12½ - 3½ in their morning match and, it is believed though not confirmed yet, that Cambridgeshire also beat Bedfordshire in the afternoon.

If so, then the current League Table reads as follows:


In the next matches on 8 February, Suffolk will play the two teams below them, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and must stand a good chance of winning both matches.   As captain Ian says, "There's still everything to play for!"

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Coloured chess sets

These coloured pieces are wacky!   They can be purchased, with any choice of colours, for just £10.00 a boxed set.   If you need a board to go with them, a semi-rigid plastic board costs £3.50.

Enquiries to Bob Jones.

Friday, 16 January 2015

County Correspondence update

Back in November, the eight-board Suffolk Correspondence team was listed, together with their opponents.

Since then, a number of games have been completed.   Only two Suffolk games, both won by Phil Revell, have finished.   So with two points, Suffolk currently lie mid-table.   Lincolnshire are top, having scored 6½ out of seven, closely followed by Essex C, who have six points from their eight completed games.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

New chess clocks for sale

I have five brand new DGT 2010 digital clocks for sale at £50.00 each.   First come first served!   They come complete with batteries and instructions.   Also available are boxed sets and semi-rigid boards at £15.00 each (set and board).

Contact me if you or your club would like one (or more).

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

UK Chess Challenge

The annual Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge is now underway in several Suffolk schools.   Children play seven rounds over the next few weeks, hoping to qualify for the next round, the Suffolk Megafinal, which will be held at Woodbridge School on Sunday 10 May.

The Bury Knights Junior Chess Club held their first two rounds last Friday, with over 40 children competing.   Eight members won both games, scoring six points (3 for a win, 2 for a draw, and 1 for a loss).

It is hoped soon to be able to supply a full list of all schools in Suffolk that have entered.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress

This annual junior tournament will take place on Sunday 8 March.

There are sections for Under 9s, Under 11s, Under 14s and Under 18s (ages as at 1 September 2014).

A new trophy has been provided by the East Anglian Chess Union and the winner of the Under 18 section will be the EACU Junior Champion (provided they qualify by residence, club, birth etc).

Entry forms are available from me (Bob Jones).

Monday, 12 January 2015

EACU Team Championships

This annual event is usually held in Whittlesford, south of Cambridge.   But this year it will move to Bury St Edmunds, making it more attractive to Suffolk (and Norfolk) clubs.

The date and venue is Sunday 1 March, at Moreton Hall Community Centre (home of the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club).

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.   Also eligible are people born in the county, with five years' residence in the county at any time, or currently attending a school, college or university in the county.

There are four sections:

There is no grading limit for the Open section.

The Team 600 competition 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 competition is for teams with an aggregate grade of 500 or less, though for this calculation anyone with a grade under 75 will be taken as 75.

The Team 400 competition is for teams with an aggregate grade of 400 or less, though for this calculation anyone with a grade under 50 will be taken as 50.

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 10 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 10.00 and 14.15.   The time limit is 36 moves in 90 minutes. then 20 minutes to finish the game.   Alternatively, by agreement, a time limit of 36 moves in 80 minutes, plus 10 minutes add on after move 36, plus 15 seconds per move from move 1.

If games are played with no increment, then in the quickplay finish, the provisions in Appendix G4 of the 2014 Laws of Chess will apply.   Draw claims on the basis that an opponent cannot win by normal means and/or has been making no effort to win by normal means, will not be allowed.

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) 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 bar at the centre and a pub nearby.   The centre also provides Sunday lunches and a menu is available on request.

Enquiries and entries should be made to Patrick Ribbands or to 01223 842197.   Entries by 15 February if possible, though an early indication that you might raise a team would also be much appreciated.   Later entries are at the organiser's discretion.

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

Sunday, 11 January 2015

4NCL second weekend

Mixed results again for the Suffolk-based teams in Round 4.   Anglian Avengers 1 lost again by the narrowest margin, whilst their second team drew 3 - 3 and the third team won 4 - 2.

Iceni 1 lost 1½ - 4½ again, but their second team reversed yesterday's score, winning 4½ - 1½.

Individually, most of those who lost yesterday, won today, and most of those who won yesterday, lost today!   Winners of both games were David Brown (AA2) and Martin Fogg (AA3).   In Division 1, 17-year old Justin Tan won both games and must now be very close to reaching a 2400 rating.

Others scoring 1½ points included Mike Cook and Anita Somton.

The next 4NCL weekend is 14/15 February.   The two team captains (Ian Wallis - Anglian Avengers and John Feavyour - Iceni) will no doubt be selecting their teams soon.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

4NCL Round 3

Round 3 (the second weekend) of the 4NCL took place today at Daventry and Hinckley.   The five Suffolk-based teams recorded only one win between them, with Anglian Avengers 2 winning 5½ - 0 (Their opponents defaulted on one board, hence the zero).   The other results were:

Anglian Avengers 1 (Division 2) - lost 3½ - 4½
Anglian Avengers 3 (Division 3) - lost 2 - 4
Iceni 1 (Division 3) - lost 1½ - 4½
Iceni 2 (Division 3) - lost 1½ - 4½

There were individual wins for Graham Moore, Ian Wallis, Silas Peck, David Brown, Martin Fogg (beating a 2107) and Alonso Paez.

In Division 1, Dagne Ciuksyte and Justin Tan both won for their respective teams.

A total of 27 Suffolk players are competing this weekend.

Full results will be published tomorrow (Sunday) evening.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Anita's amazing performance in London

Just after Christmas, 10-year old Anita Somton played in the Under 12 Major section of the London Junior Chess Championships.   This event always attracts many of the strongest players in the country and amongst the 72 entrants were over 40 junior internationals, and even included one WCM from India

Anita had a steady start, but finished with a flourish, beating the top seed (159 ECF) with Black in the final round.   She finished in joint second place on seven points out of nine, losing only one game.   She won £90 as well as a trophy for the best performance by a girl.

Her tournament performance was just short of 150.   When the January grades are published, her grade is expected to increase to 142.   It's worth comparing her grade to that of Nick Pert, the first Suffolk player to attain Grandmaster status.   At the same age, Nick was graded 160.

Anita will be able to play in the same section next year!

This was the position after White's 39th move in her final game against Adithya Munshi:

Anita now played 39... Rd5 and White blundered with 40. gxf7+??   This brings the Black Queen into the attack.   The game continued 40... Qxf7   41. Qf4   Qg6+!   42. Kh2   Qc2+! and White resigned.   White will lose at least a rook and the computer shows there's a forced mate in 9.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Hastings Masters

Four Suffolk-based players entered the Masters section of the Hastings International Congress, which ended on Tuesday, with mixed results.   They were amongst 102 entrants, which included 14 GMs and 9 IMs.

Adam Hunt (2437) scored 5 out of 9.   He had two good draws against GMs, but slipped up elsewhere to finish with a tournament performance (TPR) of 2416.

The best Suffolk performance was by Manningtree's Adam Taylor (2056), who also scored 5/9.   This included wins against two 2200+ opponents.   His TPR was 2253, which means he will gain an astonishing 90 points from the event. At least this means that his rating will more accurately reflect his ability, as 2056 was far too low.

Two Ipswich players, Steve Gregory and Ian Wallis scored four and three points respectively.   Whilst Steve (2056) was level in terms of rating, Ian (2009) had something of a disaster, and is likely to lose about 45 rating points, bringing his rating below 2000.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Christmas puzzles - answers to remainder

Here are the answers to puzzles 6 to 10:


White to play and win.   1. Bxc3+   Kxc3   2. h7   a1Q   3. h8B+! (not Q+ as 3... Kd2!, 4. Qxa1 would be stalemate).

White to play and draw.   This position looks pretty dire for White, but 1. f5! saves the game.   After the obvious 1... a3, White plays 2. fxg6!   a2,   3. Kg4   a1Q, 4. Kh5! and suddenly Black cannot prevent g4, creating stalemate.   Other first move options for Black (gxf5 or Kd7) also fail.

White to play and mate in 4.   This was a tough one, but Ian found the answer: 1. c8B!   The remaining Black moves are forced:   1... b3,   2. Bg4   b2,   3. Bd1!   Kxb1,   4. Bb3#.

White to play and mate in 3.   Another under-promotion is needed here:   1. Qa3   Kb1,   2. c8B   Kc2,   3. Bf5#.

White to play and mate in 3.   A very difficult puzzle to solve without the use of a computer.   It certainly stumped Ian Wallis (although Chris Davison got it right).   1. Rh7 (no immediate threat).   But now there's a mate in 2 (or 1), regardless of what Black plays.   Try it - you may need to use your computer!

Monday, 5 January 2015

Christmas puzzles - winner and answers

Only two sets of answers were received, from Ian Wallis and Chris Davison.   I hope a lot of other people had a stab at the puzzles, but perhaps felt they hadn't managed to solve enough of them to submit their answers.   Anyway, the winner, with a score of 9 correct out of 10, is Ian Wallis, who will receive a prize of a brand new chess book, 'Sabotage the Grünfeld'.

Here are the answers:


Black to play and win.   1... Rc4!   The threat is 2... Bc5, which needs to be played immediately after 2. bxc4.   The required follow-up after 2. Rc1 is more complex, but with accurate play Black should still win.

Black to play and force checkmate.   Ian correctly pointed out that there is no forced mate!   The setter of the puzzle obviously expected the re-capture of the queen after 1... Qxe5.

White to play and mate in 2.   1. Ra3, with either Ra5# or Rxe3# to follow, depending on Black's only replies.

White to play and mate in 5.   1. Rb1.   If Black replies ... Kf8, the solution is straightforward (Rb7 etc).   But ... Kd8 is more complex.   The second move is critical - 2. d4!, when the game might continue: 2... Kc7,   3. Ke7!   Kc6,   4. Kd8   Kd6   5. Rb6#.

White to play and mate in 3.   After White plays 1. d7, Black's king has six possible moves.   If Kf6, Ke7 or Kf7, d8Q leads to quick mates.   But for the other three moves, different promotions are required.   For Kd6, d8N; for exf4, d8B; and for exd4, d8R.   A clever problem, with all four types of promotion being required.

The answers to the remaining five problems will be given tomorrow.