Saturday, 28 February 2015

Two Junior tournaments

There are two junior tournaments coming up in the next two weeks.

On Sunday 8 March, the Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress takes place at Moreton Hall Community Centre, in Bury St Edmunds.   There are four sections: Under 9, Under 11, Under 14 and Under 18.   The winner of the Under 18 section will receive the trophy as East Anglian Junior Champion.

The following Sunday, 15 March, sees the Suffolk Junior Open, at Woodbridge School.   There are sections for all age-groups from Under 8 to Under 18, as well as an Open section for Adults.

For entry forms for either event, contact me.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Suffolk to play in the Under 11s

As in the past two years, Suffolk will be entering a team in the Under 11 Inter-Association Championship 2015.   This event is organised by the English Schools Primary Chess Association (EPSCA) and Suffolk will be competing in the East Zone Final on Saturday 21 March in Northampton against Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent, Northamptonshire, Barnet, Newham and Richmond.   It is anticipated that six of these nine 'counties' will qualify for the National Final, to be held in Nottingham on 9 May.

The 20-board team will include half a dozen players from Norfolk.   The rules allow us to 'borrow' players from a neighbouring, unaffiliated, county.   The bulk of the team, however, will be supplied by the two 'centres of excellence', Bury Knights JCC and The Abbey, Woodbridge.

The Team Manager is Boby Sebastian (father of Alan and Adam John), who will be pleased to hear of any children who are worthy of selection.   We are allowed to take up to four reserves.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

A game from the 4NCL

Playing on 14 February in the 4NCL for Iceni 1, Bury & Ely's Chris Davison enjoyed a fairly quick win.   Here is his game:

Chris' win contributed to a 4½-½ win for Iceni, Surbiton having defaulted on the bottom two boards.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

EACU Team Championships on Sunday

At least 18 teams have entered so far in the EACU Team Championships, taking place at Moreton Hall Community Centre, Bury St Edmunds, this coming Sunday.

There are four sections: Open, Team 600, Team 500 and Team 400.   There are at least four entries in each section, including teams from Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

Everyone will play two games, at County time rates (36 moves in 90 minutes, plus 20 minutes QP).

It's not too late to enter a team, but tomorrow (Thursday) is the deadline.   Please contact Patrick Ribbands if you wish to enter.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Suffolk Under 100s win the EACU

The Suffolk Under 100 team, captained by Stowmarket's Daniel Yarnton, has won the Peter Burnett Cup (pictured right) for the EACU Under 100 Championship.

On Sunday, the eight-board team played two matches against Norfolk, winning the first 4½-3½ and drawing the second 4-4.   Because the matches between Norfolk and Cambridgeshire were never played, Suffolk win the Championship as the only team to fulfil its schedule of matches.

One remarkable feature of the Suffolk team was that they managed to field the same eight players for both sets of matches (on 7 December and 22 February).   This team consisted of four adults and four juniors.   This was their playing record:

NameGrade (July)Grade (Jan)PlayedScore%
Dave Wild991014375
Daniel Yarnton971054250
Trevor Webstere901454250
Rob Scott7570463
Alan John (J)58974375
Adam John (J)24R744125
Tom Roy (J)13R414250
Ralph Martin (J)10R184250

The team has decided not to proceed to the national rounds, as it would have proved difficult to find the extra four boards required for the 12-board team.   So instead, Norfolk will represent the EACU in the semi-finals as they have received a bye in the quarter-finals.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Justin to become an IM

Playing in the Bunratty Classic last week, Justin Tan scored 4½/9 against a strong field, with a tournament performance of 2456.

Justin lost only one game, against the eventual winner, and beat his mentor IM Adam Hunt.   This is the third and final norm he requires for the International Master title.   Justin has also achieved the required rating of 2400.   His next published rating is expected to be 2407.   The title will be ratified at the next FIDE Congress in April and he should become an IM officially in May, soon after his 18th birthday.

This is a stunning achievement for Justin, who arrived at Woodbridge School in late 2013 with the challenge of attaining this title.   It is also a feather in the cap for Adam, who has guided him for the past 18 months and taken him to various tournaments across Europe.

The photo shows Justin proudly holding the IM norm certificate, presented after the tournament had finished on Sunday.

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Suffolk win the Under 160s

It went right down to the wire, waiting for the last two results in the match between Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire.   Cambs needed 1½ points from these two games to win the match and therefore the championship.   But they could only manage a win and a loss, resulting in a drawn match.   Well done Herts!

Although Jon Collins and Simon Riley were still to finish, it looked certain that they would both win, which they soon did.   So the match points finished level, with both Suffolk and Cambridgeshire on 9 points out of a possible 12.   Both counties had recorded three wins and three draws and both the matches between them had resulted in draws.   So it was down to game points, and here Suffolk triumphed, with a two point advantage.

This is how the final table looks:

TeamPlayedWonDrawnLostMatch PointsGame Points

In the morning, Suffolk beat Hertfordshire 9 -7 and in the afternoon beat Norfolk 9½ - 6½.

Jon Collins on top board won both games, as did Simon Riley (Board 5) and Stephen Lewis (Board 15).   On 1½ points were Mike Taylor (3), Pete Smyth (4), Bob Stephens (12) and Anita Somton (14).

By winning the EACU Championship, Suffolk avoid having to play in a preliminary round.   Instead, they will go direct to the national quarter-finals where they will face the runners-up in the Southern Counties section.   The draw can be viewed on the ECF website.   The most likely opponents are either Sussex or Kent, but they still have to play their final matches.

The default date for the Quarter-Final match is Saturday 16 May, but the match can be played on the following day if both captains agree.   Your captain will be on holiday, so will need someone to stand in on the day.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Suffolk Cup & Plate

Rob Sanders has made the draw for the matches in the Suffolk Cup and Plate competition, which has now reached the semi-final stage.   Rob would like all the games to be played on the same evening but there are the usual constraints on that wish, not the least of which is that there are three Ipswich teams drawn at home and that would probably cause venue congestion at the Ipswich club.

Fortunately the draw has resulted in home teams that all play on a Tuesday evening.   With Manningtree and Bury playing on Wednesday and Thursday evenings it would have been more difficult to arrange to play all on one evening had they been drawn at home.

It is not surprising that the Cup teams are all from Division 1 of the Suffolk League while the Plate contains Division 2 and 3 teams.   Equally unsurprising is the strong Ipswich representation, given that the three Division 1 Bury St Edmunds teams could not fit the Cup and Plate competition into their very crowded fixture lists.

Cup Semi-Finals

Ipswich A v Manningtree
Ipswich C v Ipswich B

Plate Semi-Finals

Felixstowe v Saxmundham
Ipswich F v Bury D

Friday, 20 February 2015

Bunratty Classic results

All this half-term week, ten players have been battling in the nine-round Bunratty Classic in Ireland.   They include the Woodbridge pair of Adam Hunt and Justin Tan.   Included in the field are three GMs, six IMs and one FM (Justin).   Neither Adam nor Justin had a particularly good start, both drawing four and losing one of the first five rounds.   Justin drew with two GMs, but lost to the lowest-rated player in the field!   In Round 6, Justin managed to beat Adam Hunt, a real feather in his cap.

The latest cross-table can be seen here.


Meanwhile, the Graz International tournament has also finished, and Manningtree's Adam Taylor had a disaster.   Instead of gaining the 22 points he needed for his FM title, he ended up losing 89 points!   After his Round 2 loss to a GM (reported here), he only scored 50% against the next seven opponents, none of whom were rated over 2100.   As a Junior, he has a K-factor of 40, which means that any rating change can be considerable.   He now needs to regroup and find another event to regain the lost points.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

A 4NCL position

This was the position in Round 6 of the 4NCL last Sunday between John Peters (White) and Chris Rawlinson, after Black's 65th move:

John has a difficult decision to make.   Should he retain the linked pawns on the a and b files by playing 66. g7, or to play 66. Ka4 and exchange his a-pawn, thus leaving two separated pawns on the b and g files?

Endings with opposite coloured bishops are notoriously tricky, and can often end up drawn, even when one player has extra pawns.   The danger that John recognised was that Black's bishop may be able to block the progress of the linked pawns, for example:

So John correctly played 66. Ka4, soon ending up with passed pawns on b6 and g6.   The Black king and bishop were unable to cope with the twin promotion threats.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Stowmarket's Club Championship

Stephen Lewis has provided the latest standings in Stowmarket's annual Club Championship. He reports:

"In a repeat of last year's Round 3, Dave Green and Stephen Lewis meet in Round 4 with the two remaining 100% scores.   On the other high boards the final two rounds will see some competitive pairings amongst the following group of five, with only 18 grading points separating the highest and lowest graded players to only drop one point.

Newcomers to Suffolk Chess Tim Porter, Jay Kellichner and Ashley Firman have all picked up valuable game experience in competitive matches and all have scored their first graded wins, whilst new club member David Wood got off the mark by sharing half a point with Bethany Young in Round 3."

The current standings and pairings for Round 4 are as follows:

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Adam's in Graz

In Round 2 of the Graz International tournament, Adam Taylor faced GM Monika Socko (2452). This was a mammoth struggle, where after 80 moves Adam was a pawn down in a rook ending (see diagram).   But Adam missed his chance to draw against the Grandmaster.

It’s White (Adam) to play.   He can force the draw with 81. Rc1, but instead played Ke6, which loses.

Had he played Rc1, the game might have continued: 81… Kb5   82. Ke6 Rd2   83. Kf5 c4 (or Kb4)   84. Kxg5 Kb4 (c4), drawing.

But after 81. Ke6, the game continued … c4   82. Rc1 Rc5   83. Kf6 Kb5   84. Rb1+ Ka4   85. Ke6 c3 and Adam resigned after a further four moves.

After four rounds, Monika was joint leader on four points, but lost in the fifth round.   Adam, doubtless exhausted and probably deflated after that struggle, went on to lose to a lower-rated opponent in Round 3 and only drew in Round 4 with another lower-rated player.

Needing another 22 rating points for his FIDE Master title, Adam (on 2½/5) now faces an uphill battle, having lost 45 points after five rounds.   He has four more rounds to claw back the deficit.   Today he faces yet another opponent rated more than 200 points below him, where even a win will gain him only nine points.

You can follow his progress here.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Mike at 80

Congratulations to Clacton's Mike Coughtrey, who is 80 years young today.

At yesterday's family party he received presents of an Ipad and a bottle of whisky, which means (he says) he is now drunk in charge of an Ipad...

It's good to see that Mike's chess is still going well.   Last year he attained his highest-ever grade of 128; this January he's at 113.

In 2013 he was runner-up (with a grading performance of 163) in the Intermediate (u145) section of the Bury Congress and in 2014 lost only one game.   Keep playing Mike!

Sunday, 15 February 2015

4NCL third weekend

Rounds 5 and 6 in the 4NCL were played this weekend, with Divisions 1 and 2 at their new venue at the Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport, whilst Division 3 continued at Daventry Court Hotel.

There were 21 members of Suffolk clubs playing.   In Division 1, Alan Merry lost to GM Jonathan Speelman on Saturday, but drew with IM Adam Hunt today.   Adam had beaten GM Peter Wells on Saturday.   Justin Tan, still only 17, drew on Saturday against a 2404 and beat a 2312 today.   If my calculations are correct, he will have achieved a live rating in excess of 2400.   He should gain 25 points today, bringing his rating up to 2408.

In Division 2, Anglian Avengers 1 won 4½-3½ on Saturday, but could only draw 4-4 today.   They are now in mid-table in their group, having won two, drawn one and lost three matches to date.

In Division 3, Anglian Avengers 2 won 3½-2½ on Saturday, with some excellent individual results, despite being heavily outgraded by their opponents.   But they came unstuck today, losing 1-5, with only captain and Board 1 Ian Wallis managing a win (against an FM).

Also in Division 3, both the Iceni teams faced opposing teams with two defaulted boards.   On Saturday, Iceni 1 won 4½-½, which included two default wins, whilst on Sunday Iceni 2 won 3½-½ against a different team who also defaulted on two boards.   All very frustrating for Anita Somton, who had travelled up on Sunday, expecting a game.   Perhaps there should be some financial penalty...

The remaining results were losses for Iceni 1 today, by 2½-3½ and for Iceni 2 yesterday, by the same margin.

Two Suffolk players won both their games - Steve Gregory and Bob Jones - whilst those on 1½ points included Adam Hunt, Justin Tan, Ian Wallis, Nick Savage and John Peters.   Malcolm Lightfoot was also unbeaten.

The photo above shows the unheralded heroes of the 4NCL - the arbiters and their helpers.   They are the first there on Saturday morning, setting up the Hall, and the last to leave.   Chris Davison (Iceni 1) was the last to finish this evening, after six hours and five minutes of chess.   The arbiters then had to put away all the sets, boards and clocks. They deserve a big thank you from all the players.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Is their anyone out they're?

Just off to the 4NCL at Daventry.   In the meantime, ponder on this....

Apart from last Monday's post, there has been a distinct lack of comments recently.   Some feedback would be appreciated, if only so I know you're reading this!

Friday, 13 February 2015

Division 3 update

Earlier this week, we reported on the latest positions in Divisions 1 and 2.   Now it's the turn of Division 3, where Manningtree's second team seem intent on following in the footsteps of their seniors, who won Division 1 last season.   They are now six points clear of the field, although Ipswich F have a match in hand.   This is the current table:

Manningtree B970224½
Ipswich E951318½
Ipswich F851218½
Stowmarket Rooks 932417
Saxmundham B814313½
Bury St Edmunds E8026

One of the last matches to be played in this division will be Ipswich E v Manningtree B, on 31 March.   This could be a crucial match to decide promotion to Division 2.


This weekend sees Rounds 5 and 6 of the 4NCL.   There will be a full report on Sunday evening.


Adam Taylor won his first round at the International Tournament in Graz, Austria, gaining 5 precious rating points.   Tomorrow he faces his first GM opponent - Polish GM Monika Socko (2452).   You can follow his progress here.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

National Schools Championship

On Tuesday, Woodbridge School faced the might of Haberdashers' Aske's School in the Zonal Final of the National Schools Championships.

Apart from top board, the Woodbridge team was outgraded by a huge margin.   The game between Justin Tan and Ravi Haria (pictured below) featured two of the strongest juniors in the UK:

1Justin Tan241½ - ½Ravi Haria226
2Lai Chun1220 - 1Tarun Malhotra189
3Anthony Yuu/g0 - 1Roman Mitra178
4Taisei Tsurokau/g0 - 1Lawrence Lee154
5Hugo Kelleway950 - 1Vincent Lee152
6Harry Rennell870 - 1David Xu150

Adam Hunt reports:
"The scoreline didn’t really reflect the games, with all matches going comfortably into the second hour.   Anthony Yu entered a B+5 v N+5 endgame which he couldn’t hold.   Harry Rennell lost a pawn in the opening and a second in the endgame and that was that.   Taisei Tsuruoka got to Rook and 4 v Rook and 5; again which he couldn’t hold.   Predictably the last game to finish was the top board encounter where Justin Tan was a touch better but never enough to really trouble White.   Haberdashers are, grading-wise, favourites to go on and win the event."

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Adam's being sent out to Graz

Manningtree's Adam Taylor is off tomorrow to play in the annual tournamernt in Graz, Austria.   He is the highest-rated untitled player in the tournament and there's even a GM who is lower-rated than he (how could that be?)

You can follow his progress from Friday here.

Adam needs to gain 22 points from the event to attain FIDE Master status.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Division 2 update

With three or four matches remaining, five teams seem to be in with a chance of promotion to Division 1.   Leading the pack are Saxmundham A, who were surprisingly held to a draw this evening by Stowmarket A.   On Board 1 Stephen Lewis (137) got the better of John Feavyour (165).

At the opposite end of the table, Bury St Edmunds D are the likely candidates for relegation, despite holding Clacton to a draw this evening.

Here's the current league table:

Division 2

Saxmundham A851220½
Ipswich D841318
Adastral Park833217
Stowmarket A931514½
Bury St Edmunds D80269


Today is the 600th post since it started in September 2012.

Monday, 9 February 2015

A lucky win

The following position was reached yesterday in the County First Team match against Hertfordshire.   John Peters (176) was Black and his opponent was graded 160.

It's White to play.   White resigned as he couldn't see a way to save the game.  . What would you have played?

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Two wins for the Suffolk First Team

It was close, but Suffolk managed to win both matches today in the EACU County Championships, at the Turner Hall in Newmarket.

On paper, Suffolk should have won both matches easily, as they outgraded opponents Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire by some margin.

Top Suffolk scorers were:

Shaun Munson   2
Rob Sanders   2
Nick Savage   1½
Ian Wallis   1½
Phil Hopkins   1½
Andrew Shephard   1½

Suffolk beat Hertfordshire 9½ - 6½ in the morning, and scraped home 8½ - 7½ against Bedfordshire in the afternoon. At one stage it appeared that Suffolk would lose the PM match, but last-to-finish Steve Gregory managed to eke out a win both for himself and the team.

Three counties - Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk - now have nine match points from their six matches.   But Suffolk are third when game points are taken into consideration.   The final matches on 8 March are crucial, with Suffolk facing Hertfordshire as well as current league leaders Cambridgeshire.

Suffolk are current Minor Counties Champions.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Division 1 update

The Suffolk League Division 1 is fast becoming a tale of two clubs, with a third club - Manningtree - helping to cloud the issue.

The three Ipswich teams currently occupy three of the top four places, whilst the three Bury St Edmunds clubs are firmly rooted to the foot of the table.

Manningtree are the current League Champions and the recent addition of Andrew Lewis (207) to their squad makes them very tough opponents.   They have a match in hand over the leaders, Ipswich C, and a 4 - 0 win would bring them up to within half a point.

With Ipswich B having two matches in hand over Ipswich C, as well as two of the Bury teams, it looks almost certain that one of the Bury St Edmunds teams will be relegated.   Here is the current table:

Division 1

Ipswich C971124½
Ipswich A861122
Manningtree A843120
Ipswich B723214
Bury St Edmunds B914414
Bury St Edmunds C820611½
Bury St Edmunds A90279


Tomorrow, the County First Team is playing against Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire.   Full results and a report will appear here during the evening.

Friday, 6 February 2015

Alex gets his hands on the cup

Back in August last year, Alex Sheerin was a member of the six-board England team that won the John Robinson Cup, in the quadrangular Under 14 match held at the University of Stirling, against similar teams from Scotland, Ireland and Wales.

He was recently given the trophy to hold, each team member having a couple of months to share it.

The photo (left) was taken today at the Bury Knights Junior Club, where Alex (ECF 128) finished in third place to Anita Somton (138) and William Sait (127) after the seventh and final round of the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge.   Anita won all seven games in the competition, whilst William lost only to Anita.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Final results from Gibraltar

David Spence had a strange tournament.   Despite the huge entry, the closest rated opponent he played was 147 points (lower).   He played four titled players - two GMs and two IMs, losing to all four.   But he scored 5/6 against the lower-rated players, whose average rating was just 2043.

David's tournament performance was 2241, 10 points above his current rating, but because of the imbalance in his opponents, he will end up losing one rating point!   You can see his playing record here.

The tournament was won by GM Hikaru Nakamura on 8½ points, with English GM David Howell runner-up on 8 points.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Tournament updates

Last Saturday, we mentioned Alan Merry and Alex Sheerin, respectively playing in the First 4NCL FIDE-rated Congress and the South of England Closed Championships.

Alan (2349) was on 2½/3 after the first day, but lost in Round 4 to FM James Jackson, who is rated 36 points lower.   But he bounced back in the final round, beating junior Matthew Wadsworth.   Unfortunately, Alan, who needs to increase his rating to 2400 to obtain the IM title, lost some 8 or 9 rating points from the event.   Nevertheless, Alan finished equal third out of 43 entrants.   The results can be viewed here.

Alex, playing in the Under 14 Closed section, where all entrants were invited, faced a very strong section, with only five players from the total entry of 36 graded lower than him.   He scored 1½ points with a grading performance of 102.   The full results can be seen here.

David Spence will be playing the final (tenth) round in the Gibraltar Masters tomorrow.   He's currently on 4/9.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Simul at Creeting

I (Bob Jones) went to Creeting St Mary Primary School today, where I was invited to play against six members of their chess club. (Modesty forbids me giving the results).

The club meets every Tuesday after school, under the tutelage of local man Bill Mackintosh.   There are currently 17 eager children who attend each week.

The school is a model of what can be done.   All that's needed is an enthusiast who is prepared to give up his or her time.   The rewards are great, because the children's enthusiam is infectious.

Monday, 2 February 2015

Primary Schools Invitation Tournament report

On 29 January, Engaines Primary School of Little Clacton organised their third bi-annual Invitation Tournament   It was held at Whitton Community Primary School in Ipswich for teams of six of primary school age.   This year two teams from Engaines, two from Whitton and one from Hamford Primary Acadamy, Walton-on-the-Naze took part.   It was played during school time, with games played over four rounds of twenty minutes on each player's clock.

Engaines A (pictured above) won convincingly with 23½ points from 24 games; Engaines B were runners-up on 16½ points, with Whitton A 11, Hamford 5 and Whitton B 4.   The Engaines 'A' team consisted of (l. to r.) Nathan Butcher, Casey Chambers, Ryan Spendlove, Amber Coleman, Luke Simpson and Tobias Lunnen.

Engaines are coached by Clacton's John Lambert, having been runners-up with their 'A' team in the National Yes2Chess Tournament in July 2014.   They were far too strong for Whitton, who are coached by Steve Gregory, although in fairness Steve has only been involved for a few months.

It is envisaged that the event will be staged at Hamford Primary in June or July when at least three other schools have expressed an interest in taking part.   Engaines would be pleased to hear from other schools (contact John Lambert).

Yes2Chess is closing entries for the coming year at the end of February, so there is still time for schools to enter teams of five which must include at least one girl.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

A good day for the Under 160s

Suffolk's Under 160 team played Norfolk this morning, winning 9½ - 6½, and then in the afternoon drew 8 - 8 with Cambridgeshire.   This was the second time this season that Suffolk has drawn against Cambridgeshire.

The morning match always looked good for Suffolk, and the win was achieved before the last few games had been completed.   There were wins for six of our players, with a further seven obtaining draws.

The Cambridgeshire match appeared to be going Suffolk's way, with the score at 7 - 5 with four games remaining.   But two losses and a draw brought the score to 7½ each.   It was left to your captain to salvage a draw in an unbalanced position, with Queen against Rook, Knight and a couple of pawns.

There were two wins for 'new boy' Steve Lovell, with several scoring a win and a draw: Kevin Greenacre; Martin Fogg; Andrew Donnelly; Colin Roberts and Keith Woodcock.

In the other matches, Hertfordshire lost both their matches, to Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.

The League table now stands as follows:


The final matches take place in three weeks' time, on Sunday 22 February.   So far, 11 players have confirmed their availability.