Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Suffolk's largest social chess club?

The Apex Chess Club, in Bury St Edmunds, continues to thrive.   Today saw 14 people playing, including several children who are on their school holidays.

Whilst most evening clubs struggle to find enough players for (non-league) social chess, the Apex Club neatly fills that gap.   The Club is free, and car parking nearby is also free on Tuesday afternoons.


Monday, 30 March 2015

St Albans Congress

Five Bury St Edmunds juniors travelled to St Albans this past weekend for their 33rd annual congress.

Anita Somton played in the Under 141 (Intermediate) section, where she scored 3/5 (but was unbeaten).

In the Under 121 (Minor) section, brothers Alan and Adam John both scored 50%, whilst Ralph Martin and Tom Roy each scored 1½ points.

This was good experience of Congress chess, especially for the younger players (Adam is 9 and Tom is 10).   Nearly 200 people played in five graded sections.


Sunday, 29 March 2015

4NCL Divisions 1 and 2

Rounds 7 and 8 took place this weekend at the Holiday Inn, Birmingham Airport, for Divisions 1 and 2.

The only Suffolk-based team in Division 2 is Anglian Avengers 1.   The methodology for determining promotion and relegation is complicated.   After Round 7, the 16-team Division splits into two sections: the Promotion Pool and the Relegation Pool.   The eight teams in each section carry forward results against the other teams, and then play rounds 8 to 11 inclusive against teams from within their own pool.

Anglian Avengers knew they would be in the relegation pool, so their match on Saturday, against Guildford 3, was effectively a 'dead rubber', as Guildford were already destined for the promotion pool.   This was just as well, as AA1 crashed to a 6 - 2 defeat.

Today, Anglian Avengers faced Wessex, whom they outgraded by more than 100 points per board.   The result was a complete reversal of Saturday, winning by the same scoreline.   Anglian Avengers now head their pool and are in little danger of being relegated.

Andrew Lewis (Manningtree) and Graham Moore (Ipswich) both scored 1½ points, whilst David Spence (Ipswich), Ed Player (Bury St Edmunds) and Silas Peck (Ipswich) all won one and lost one.

In Division 1, the only Suffolk players in action this weekend were Alan Merry and Dagne Ciuksyte.   Both were unbeaten.   Alan drew with Australian GM David Smerdon on Saturday, and drew again today with English FM Isaac Sanders.   Dagne won yesterday against a lower-rated player, and had an excellent 82-move draw today, with the Black pieces, against former Suffolk Grandmaster Nick Pert.   The whole game can be viewed under 'Live Games' on the 4NCL website, but below is the position after Nick's 70th move (Rc7 - e7).   It appears that Nick missed the line which followed: 70... d4+!   71. Kxd4   Nc6+   72. Ke3   Nxe7   73. fxe7   Rg1   74. Ba4   Re1+   75. Kd2   Rxe7.   Now Dagne is winning.   The game seems to have taken a strange turn on the final move (82. Bb3), which if it was played, actually loses for Nick.   But the game was drawn at this point, despite the move 82... Rh3+, which would have won outright for Dagne.   Perhaps we'll hear more about this game from Dagne herself?



Saturday, 28 March 2015

The other league

The season is drawing to a close in the Bury Area Chess League, where Bury St Edmunds and Stowmarket clubs both play.   The league championship, promotions and relegations are slowly being settled.   Here is the current situation:

Division 1

Cambridge Examiners are the new League Champions.   Bury St Edmunds Scorpions (consisting of Ipswich players Graham Moore, Steve Gregory, Ian Walis, Tim Lunn and Silas Peck) have come third, just a point behind second-placed Linton A.

At the other end of the table, it's going to be a close-run thing with three teams battling to avoid relegation.   Bury St Edmunds Scarabs and Ely Beet Bishops have one match each remaining, whilst Bury St Edmunds Cobras have two matches to play.   The final match on 23 April is between Cobras and Ely, when the fate of one of those teams could well be decided.

Division 2

Cambridge Oddfellows need two points from their final match to be certain of promotion.   Mathematically it's still possible for them to be overtaken by Linton Blacks.   Bury St Edmunds Vipers and Newmarket Stallions have to play each other twice in the next few weeks (their first match in December was postponed).   Two drawn matches will see Vipers survive, as they are currently just half a point ahead.

Division 3

Promoted are Bury St Edmunds F, whilst Linton Whites are in last place.   Stowmarket are secure in second place, their 'ideal' result, as they do not feel they have a strong enough squad to play in Division 2.   This is the only division to have completed all its matches already.


Friday, 27 March 2015

Annual prizegiving at the Bury Knights

This evening's meeting of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club was the final one of the season.   The Club meets again after the summer holidays on 4 September.

As this was the last meeting, the annual awards presentation took place, with 40 members present as well as many parents.

Most of the prizewinners are pictured above.   (Left to right): Anita Somton (Player of the Year); Adam John (Most Improved Member); Alan John (Club Champion); Jonatan Kornak (Most Promising Newcomer); Harry Young (Most Enthusiastic Member); Bethany Young (Girls' Champion).

Club Organiser Bob Jones reported on another successful year (the Bury Knights 23rd year), where average weekly attendances exceeded 40.   The Club found half of the 20-board Suffolk Under 11 team and several youngsters are now playing regularly in the adult leagues.

Special mention was given to parents Sam Starling, who has coached the Novices for the past two years, and Laura Cortabarria, who is standing down as Club Secretary.   Both will be tough to replace, but other parents need to come forward if the Club is to maintain its leading position in the county.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Promotions and relegations

With the season drawing to a close, several league titles, promotions and relegations are already known in the two local leagues.

In the Suffolk League:
Division 1 - relegated are Bury St Edmunds A
Division 2 - relegated are Bury St Edmunds D
Devision 3 - promoted are Manningtree B

In the Bury Area League:
Division 1 - Champions are Cambridge Examiners
Division 2 is undecided
Division 3 - promoted are Bury St Edmunds F

The most exciting finish is in Suffolk League Division 1, where three teams, including current Champions Manningtree A, are within just two points of each other, all with one match to play.   Next Wednesday, 1 April, Manningtree A (26½ points) host current leaders Ipswich C (28½), whilst the following day, Ipswich A (27½) travel to Bury St Edmunds C, knowing what result is needed to win (or to be runners-up).

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Maybe the last time

Last night Adastral Park played their last league home match of the season (against Bury St Edmunds D), but will it be their last match ever?   As time has gone by more and more of the team have left BT.   This month sees the last BT employee (Ed Kirkham) retire, which means that the team may no longer be able to play at their superb premises at Adastral Park.   Currently they are exploring other options, so next season their matches may not be in such spacious accommodation.


Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Correspondence game from John Wharam

John Wharam, who teaches at Woodbridge School and is Adam Hunt's boss, is a Senior International Master at Correspondence Chess.   You can read all about him here in an article from a couple of years ago.

John has provided detailed analysis on a recent game he played for England on Board One in the European Team Championship 2014, against a Correspondence Grandmaster from Latvia:

John continues: "Winning this game nudged my rating to 2451, just above the 2450 minimum that is needed to enter a GM norm tournament. So, that will be next major challenge, and then in 2016 or 2017 I'll use the qualification for a World Championship Candidates tournament that I gained by winning a Semi Final of the World Championship back in 2014."


Monday, 23 March 2015

Suffolk Under 11s find it tough

The 20-board Suffolk Under 11 team travelled to Northampton on Saturday, to take part in the English Primary Schools' Chess Association (EPSCA) Midlands/East Zone Final.   The competition was fierce, with three London teams (Barnet, Richmond and Newham), as well as Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire.

This was the team before the event started:

Half the team (ten players) came from the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club, whilst Woodbridge School supplied a further five.  We 'borrowed' four players from Norfolk (allowed under the rules as a neighbouring county), whilst the last player was Vicky Allen's protégé from the Meadows Montessori School in Ipswich.

Top Suffolk scorers were Anita Somton (2 points; unbeaten) on top board; Adam John (2 points, Board 4); Jaden Jermy (2 points; Board 11); and Tom Roy (1½ points; Board 8).   All four are from the Bury Knights.

The team finished in seventh place, ahead of Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire and Newham.   Only the top six qualify for the National Finals, so similar to last year, Suffolk just miss out.


Sunday, 22 March 2015

4NCL report (Division 3)

This weekend saw the two Division 3 sections, North and South, coming together for Rounds 7 and 8.   Depending on the pairings, this can give an opportunity to play opponents from the North of England.   In fact, six of the eight matches involving Suffolk-based teams were against northern opposition.

But first, let's give some overdue credit to the 4NCL arbiters.   Have a look at the photo below:

This photo was taken half an hour before Round 8 was due to start.   The sole figure is arbiter Priscilla Morris, checking all the clocks.   Just think, the huge hall has to be set up - there are 120 chess sets in here, as well as three smaller side rooms that were also used for matches.   The team of arbiters, led by Dave Thomas, had to arrive early on Saturday to prepare for Round 7, which started at 14.00.   And then, when the last game finished this evening, probably after 17.00, everything needs to be packed away.   As a (former) Congress organiser myself, I know what an enormous task this is.   And that's not all.   Within a day or so of the matches being completed, you can play through the games online.   Over the weekend, nearly 350 games were played!

Anyway, back to the results, which were mixed.   15 Suffolk players took part in the following teams:

Anglian Avengers 2   Drew 3-3 on Saturday, but lost 5-1 today.
Anglian Avengers 3   Won 5-1 on Saturday, but lost 4-2 today.
Iceni 1   Won 3½-2½ on Saturday and drew 3-3 on Sunday.
Iceni 2   Drew 3-3 on Saturday but lost (heavily!) 5½-½ today.

The only Suffolk player to win both games was David Brown (AA3).   Two results of note on Saturday were Dominic Carter, who beat an 1820, and Alex Sheerin, who beat a 1727.

Other scores were:

Steve Gregory   -   0,   0
Ian Wallis   -   0,   ½
Mike Cook   -   ½,   0
Martin Fogg   -   1,   0
Richard Lamont   -   1,   ½
Keith Woodcock   -   ½,   0
Alex Sheerin   -   1,   0
John Feavyour   -   0,   ½
Nick Savage   -   ½,   1
Jon Collins   -   1,   0
Steve Ruthen   -   0   (only played one game)
Bob Jones   -   ½,   ½
Dominic Carter   -   1,   0
Peter Collicott   -   0,   0


Saturday, 21 March 2015

EACU Junior Champion

The East Anglian Chess Union decided at their last AGM to award a permanent trophy for the top junior player in the region.   The annual Bury St Edmunds Junior Chess Congress, held a couple of weeks ago, was chosen as the event at which the winner of the Open section would be declared EACU Junior Champion.

By winning all six games, 15-year old William Sait from Bury St Edmunds has become the first recipient of the trophy.

The photo shows William holding the new trophy, as well as the Bury Area Chess League Shield, which is awarded to the player with the best performance who comes from one of the clubs involved in the League.   William's maximum score ensured that he won the trophy.


Friday, 20 March 2015

Two new Club Champions

The final rounds were played this evening at the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club in the Club Championship and the Girls' Championship.

The winner of the Club Championship was 12-year old Alan John (pictured left), who beat Daniel Garcia-Leon in a nail-biting finish.   After three rounds, Daniel had led with three wins, whilst Alan was half a point behind.   But it was Alan who prevailed, in a game that lasted an hour and a half.

Four players were joint runners-up on three points: Alwin Jose, Daniel Garcia-Leon and brothers Mario and Aaron Saenz de Villaverde.

The Girls' Championship, with 12 entrants, was won by Bethany Young, who beat Liya Baby in a play-off, with both players having scored a maximum three points out of three.  

Both Champions will receive engraved trophies at the annual club prizegiving next Friday.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

4NCL this weekend

The coming weekend sees Rounds 7 and 8 of the eleven-round 4NCL.

The four Suffolk-based teams in Division 3 will be at Daventry, whilst Anglian Avengers 1 face Guildford 3 in Division 2 at Hinckley.

The two Division 3 sections, North and South, have now been combined and the draw for Round 7 has thrown up three N v S matches:

Manchester Manticores 1 v Iceni 1
N.E.England 2 v Iceni 2
Ashfield-Breadsall v Anglian Avengers 2

The other team, Anglian Avengers 3, will play Banbury Bulldogs.

The pairings for Round 8 will be published on Sunday morning.

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The Second 4NCL FIDE-rated Congress is taking place in Wakefield over the weekend 17 - 19 April.   Entries can be made online here.


Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Ian's game from Lowestoft

Ian Wallis has provided the following report:

"The fourth round on Sunday morning is possibly the toughest game of a weekend tournament, coming immediately after Saturday's tiring three games; it usually defines success or failure in the event.   Win on Sunday morning and assuming Saturday wasn't a disaster, then you are reasonably assured a share of the prize fund.   Lose and you're playing for pride in the afternoon.

Originally I was paired as White against Shaun Munson, a tough competitor at the best of times.   At least I was fortunate to have the benefit of a double White as his higher grade meant that he followed the colour sequence.   My record as Black against Shaun is abysmal.   I had mentally prepared to play him when just before the round was about to start the draw had to be re-done as it was realised that a player that had requested a bye on Sunday morning had been included in the draw.

My day suddenly got tougher; not only did I have to play Black, I also faced Dagne Ciuksyte, the top seed.   With no time to reassess this change of events the clocks were started and we sat down to play.   Unsurprisingly (to me) I managed to mix up my move order early in the opening, played a dubious seventh move and was faced with an inferior position by move eleven.   The prospect of trying to hold this against a stronger opponent was not appealing; drastic action was required!   The result was the following game:"

Many thanks to Ian for this detailed analysis (and well done on beating an IM/WGM).

Monday, 16 March 2015

Under 11s are off to Northampton

As reported here, the Suffolk Under 11 team is heading to Northampton on Saturday, where they will face teams from nine other counties (or areas).   These include Essex, Kent, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire, as well as the London areas of Barnet, Richmond and Newham.   The top six teams will qualify for the National Finals, which are held in Nottingham on 9 May.

The team consists of 20 players, as well as two reserves, who will play in a separate tournament.   Half the team come from the Bury Knights Junior Club, whilst Woodbridge School is supplying five players.   Five further players have been 'borrowed' from Norfolk.

Top board is Anita Somton (138), whilst Norfolk supply boards 2 and 3.   On Board 4 is nine-year old Adam John, whose grade is expected to exceed 100 in July.   Since 1 January, Adam has won eight out of ten graded games, including wins against Franceys Allen, Roger Smith and Hugo Smith (twice!), all graded over 100.



Sunday, 15 March 2015

Lowestoft Open

A strong contingent from Suffolk travelled to Lowestoft for their third annual Open tournament, held over five rounds this weekend.

In the Open section, nine of the 21 entrants were from Suffolk, whilst in the Under 150 section, with 17 entrants, five were Suffolk players.

The Open was won by Manningtree's Andrew Lewis with four points.   Ian Wallis shared second place on 3½ points alongside three Norfolk players.   Silas Peck won the grading prize.

In the Under 150 section, which was won by Norfolk's Graham Blowers, Bury's Anita Somton shared second place and also won the junior prize.

Dagne's six-year old daughter Charlotte played in her first tournament.   One to watch out for in the future?

Ian Wallis, who provided the above details, reports that it was a most enjoyable and competitive tournament.

The full results should be available soon on the grading website.


Saturday, 14 March 2015

Did Spock play chess?

In memory of Leonard Nimoy, who died a couple of weeks ago (27 February).


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The Third Lowestoft Open is taking place this weekend at Parkhill Hotel on the outskirts of the town.   If any Suffolk player is there, please send me a report.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Last Chance Saloon

The local rounds of the Delancey UK Schools Chess Challenge, now in its 20th year, have now been completed in a number of Suffolk schools (as well as the Bury Knights JCC).

For children who were either unable to compete (perhaps their school did not enter) or who failed to qualify for the Megafinal, there's a further chance to do so by entering the 'Last Chance Saloon'.

This event will take place in Bury St Edmunds on Saturday 18 April.   Entrants will play all seven rounds, at 20 minutes per game for each player.   The same rules for qualifying will apply and there will be badges and stickers for all as their scores progress.

Contact me (Bob Jones) if you would like an entry form.

The Suffolk Megafinal will be held at Woodbridge School on Sunday 10 May.




Thursday, 12 March 2015

Players of the Year

With the end of the season fast approaching, it's time to see who's leading the race to become Player of the Year in each of the three divisions of the Suffolk League.

Division 1

Adam Taylor (Manningtree)    87.5%
Steve Gregory (Ipswich)    80.0%
Mike Cook (Ipswich)    72.7%

Division 2

Malcolm Lightfoot (Saxmundham)    90.0%
Rob Sanders (Sudbury)    81.8%
Les Jones (Ipswich)    72.2%

Division 3

Phil Hopkins (Felixstowe)    90.9%
Carl Phillips (Manningtree)    81.8%
John Price (Manningtree)    81.3%
Andrew Molloy (Ipswich)    80.0%

All the above players have at least one more game to play, so the final table may look quite different.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Three generations

Former Suffolk Ladies' Champion Vicky Allen, is pictured here with daughter Paula and grandchildren Arthur, Harry and George.

Paula used to play chess when she attended Ipswich High School for Girls, originally in Westerfield Road and later in Woolverstone, back in the early 1990s.   8-year old Arthur is the latest chess enthusiast, playing last Sunday in the Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress (and winning a slow starter prize!)

The three children attend the Meadows Montessori School, which has recently moved to new premises in Larchcroft Road, Ipswich.

Vicky and Paula run the school's chess club, which meets every Wednesday afternoon, from 3.30 pm.   Of the school's 60 pupils, some 18 regularly attend the chess club.

One of the children, Jenni Rochford, has been selected to represent Suffolk in the Under 11 team, which is playing at Northampton on 21 March.



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The Suffolk Junior Open, due to be held at Woodbridge School on Sunday, has had to be postponed.   It will now take place on Sunday 21 June.



Tuesday, 10 March 2015

County Championships draw

By virtue of winning the Open section of the EACU County Championships, Suffolk will face Worcestershire in the National Quarter-finals.   The date and venue for this match have not yet been finalised, but will be announced here as soon as they are known.   Poor Norfolk, who finished third, face Cornwall in a preliminary round and a trip of at least 200 miles to a midway venue.   Second-placed Cambridgeshire will play Leicestershire, also in a preliminary round.

In the Under 160s, EACU Champions Suffolk will play their National Quarter-final at home to neighbours Essex, so should not require a midway venue.   This match will probably be played on either Saturday or Sunday 16/17 May.

Suffolk will not be competing in the national stages of either the Under 120s or Under 100s.


Monday, 9 March 2015

Bury Junior Congress results

71 children played yesterday in the annual Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress.   A total of £495 was paid out in prize money, thanks mainly to the sponsorship provided by the Moreton Hall Community Centre, in the form of a free venue.

Pictured right are the four section winners William Sait (u18), Karthik Saravanan (u14), Tristian See (u11) and Adam John (u9).

There were some excellent performances by members of the Bury Knights Junior Club, who contributed over 30% of the total entry.   Adam John won his first five games and drew the last to win the Under 9 section convincingly.   Anita Somton was unbeaten, but finished third in the Under 11s.   In the Under 14s, Alex Sheerin (also of Ipswich CC) lost only to the eventual winner to finish in second place.

The winner of the Under 18 section, Bury's William Sait, was awarded the title of EACU Junior Champion, with a new trophy to follow.

One sad note - apart from the 22 Bury players, there were only four others from Suffolk schools: two from the Meadows Montessori school in Ipswich, where former Suffolk Ladies' Champion Vicky Allen coaches, one from Creeting St Mary Primary School, and one from Waldringfield Primary.




Sunday, 8 March 2015

Suffolk are EACU Champions!

The Suffolk First Team today won both their matches, against Hertfordshire (12 - 4) and Cambridgeshire (10½ - 5½).   The final league table looks like this:

TeamPlayedWonDrawnLostGame PointsMatch Points
Suffolk86117213
Cambridgeshire851275½11
Norfolk85127411
Bedfordshire8206504
Hertfordshire801748½1

These two wins capped a tremendous season for the team, which lost only one match (to Norfolk) back in November.   Four players won both their games today: David Spence, Dagne Ciuksyte, Graham Moore and Richard Lamont.   Those on 1½ points included Shaun Munson, Ian Wallis (capt.), Mike Cook, Nick Savage, Silas Peck, Leon Burnett, Rob Sanders and Steve Ruthen.

Of course Suffolk are the current Minor Counties Champions (see here) and will now compete in the National Quarter-Finals in May, against the runners-up from the Midlands Counties zone.   Although there are three qualifying places (so Cambridgeshire and Norfolk also qualify) it was particularly important that Suffolk finished first.   The second and third-placed counties must play in a preliminary round, due to take place on the same weekend as the Great Yarmouth Congress at the end of April.


Saturday, 7 March 2015

Mobile phones postscript

A couple of days ago, we discussed what should happen when a mobile phone rings.

Ian Wallis has correctly pointed out that the SCCA rules differ from the FIDE laws.   Revised at last year's AGM, the relevant SCCA rule (1.4) now states: "Should any mobile electronic equipment emit a sound during play, the player in possession of it must immediately offer to resign.   His opponent may decline this offer."

So the SCCA is taking a more benign view than FIDE.   Has anyone experienced this new rule in action during this season? (Apart from the one cited in the recent article).


Friday, 6 March 2015

Two Championships at the Bury Knights

Two Championships are currently taking place at the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club.

Pictured above, the top 16 members (by rating) are playing in the annual Club Championship.   With Anita Somton not available, the field is wide open.   After two rounds, four players are on maximum score: Alan John (97), William Moody (97), Daniel Garcia-Leon (79) and Mario Saenz de Villaverde (69).   Games are being played with digital clocks and will be long-play graded.


With 14 girls included amongst the 50-strong club membership, it was decided to hold a separate Girls' Championship.

This is the first time in the 23-year history of the Club that such an event has been held.   This is an ungraded Rapidplay competition, over three rounds, played one round each week.   If two players attain three points, they will face each other in a fourth round.

First round winners were top seed Bethany Young, Autumn Myerscough, Liya Baby, Amy John and Tanya Rajayogan.

A new trophy will be presented to the winner.


Thursday, 5 March 2015

Mobile phones and 10.2

Two issues arose this evening in matches at the Bury St Edmunds club.

In one game, where an adult was playing a junior, the latter's phone rang.   He didn't resign but showed his intention of playing on (perhaps he didn't know the rule?)   His opponent took pity on him (he's only 12) and allowed the game to continue.   He lived to regret that decision, as he eventually lost!

So, what is the correct procedure?   The rule (FIDE 12.3) says "If any (such) device produces a sound, the player shall lose the game."   So that's clear, but what if the player whose phone rang doesn't react?   One thing is certain: if his opponent allows the game to continue, then he cannot claim the game later on.   It doesn't really matter if the opponent is a junior, an old age pensioner, or an attractive young lady.   You have won, and you should not allow the game to carry on.   If the opponent protests, then inform the team captains.

Has this happened to you?   What did you do - did you take the tolerant route or did you insist that you had won?

The second issue was a 10.2 claim.   This is when a player claims a draw when he has less than two minutes left on the basis that his opponent is either unable to win by normal means, or is making no attempt to win (i.e. trying to run you out of time).   The problem with this claim was that it was made on a digital clock with just two seconds remaining.   If you want to claim under this rule, you must leave sufficient time for the arbiter (if there is one, or the two captains otherwise) to watch the game and confirm that the opponent is making no real attempt to win.   Obviously, this is impossible with two seconds left.   As it happens, the player with more time was losing in material terms and agreed a draw.   But my advice in this situation is to decline the draw (don't forget, a claim of a draw is also an offer of a draw) and let your opponent's time run out.   He has 90 minutes to complete the game and if he is unable to do so in that time, then that's tough.   It doesn't matter if the other player has a material deficit.

The lesson to be learnt here is that if you intend to claim under FIDE rule 10.2, then do so as soon as you have less than two minutes remaining.

Again, your comments on this issue will be welcomed.



Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress

Today is the latest date for posting entries to the Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress, which is taking place this coming Sunday at Moreton Hall Community Centre.

With 55 entries confirmed, and at least a further seven anticipated, this year's Congress promises to be bigger than last year's when 60 children entered.

Sadly, for a local tournament, the number of entries from clubs and schools in Suffolk is only 23, most of which are members of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club.   Other entries are mainly from Norfolk (17) and Cambridgeshire (12).

Any late entries should be notified to me by email.


Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Suffolk Cup and Plate

The dates for the semi-final matches in both the Cup and Plate are now known.   They will be played over four successive Tuesdays in March:

10 March   -   Ipswich A v Manningtree (Cup)
17 March   -   Ipswich F v Bury St Edmunds D (Plate)
24 March   -   Ipswich C v Ipswich B (Cup)
31 March   -   Felixstowe v Saxmundham (Plate)

As this new competition reaches its final stages, it may be worth weighing up its pros and cons.

Both Rob Sanders, who proposed and designed the competition, and Colin Roberts, SCCA President, believe it has been a success.   With 13 team entries out of a possible 21, this is more than the competition it replaced, the League Cup, which last season had only five entries.

On the other hand, however, the Cup and Plate has thrown up some mis-matches in the Initial Round, when the seeding paired top against bottom, second top against second bottom, etc.   It may be worth considering a different pairing system if the competition is to continue next season, where the imbalance between the total grades of teams is less.

It is already known that at one club will not participate next season.   This club failed to win a single game in the eight that were played in the Initial Round and the Plate quarter-final.   Another club, Bury St Edmunds, were unable to field any of their Division 1 teams because of fixture congestion (they also play in the Bury Area League).

It is suggested that all Suffolk clubs should now advise the Competitions Secretary, David Green, as to the likelihood of their club's entry to this competition next season and, if so, how many teams.   This will give the SCCA Committee a better feel for the future of this competition.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Young talent on view

One of the joys of running a junior chess club is finding a young player with an emerging talent that can almost take your breath away.   A couple of years ago, it was Anita Somton, who has since represented England and is in the Top 60 English women with a rating of nearly 1500.

Now, a new talent has emerged.

A year ago, 8-year old Adam John (pictured left) had a rating of 611 (the lowest rating is 600).   He played in the bottom division at the Bury Knights.   Now, he is regularly beating adults in the leagues.   He has improved his rating to 1110 and it's still going up in leaps and bounds.   His January ECF grade was 74.

On Sunday Adam played in the EACU Team Championships.   He loves to attack on the kingside and here he shows real tactical awareness.   This was the position after 31 moves with White (Adam) to play.

The game continued:

32.   Bg6+    Kg8
33.   Bf7+!!  
I wonder how many adults would even consider this move.   The bishop can be taken by four different pieces!
         ... Kxf7  
The only move.   If the bishop is taken by the queen, rook or bishop, mate is forced after Qh7+.
34.   Ng5+    Qxg5  
Again, forced.
35.   Rxg5    Rh8
36.   Qg6+    Ke7
37.   Qxg7+    Bf7
38.   Qf6+    Kd7
39.   Qxf7+    Ne7
40.   Rg6    Rh2+
41.   Kg1    Rch8  
hoping for a draw.
42.   Qxe6+    Kc7
43.   Qxe7+    Nd7
44.   Qd6+    Kd8
45.   Rg7
  and after a few checks, the White king escaped to d5 and Black resigned.

Adam will celebrate his ninth birthday on Saturday...

Sunday, 1 March 2015

EACU Team Championships

19 teams competed today in the EACU Team Championships, held at Moreton Hall Community Centre in Bury St Edmunds.

There were six entries in the Open, five in the Team 600, and four each in the Team 500 and Team 400 sections.

The results were (all scores out of eight):

Open

Ipswich and Broadland Bitterns - 5 points (£25 each)
Bury St Edmunds A - 4
Manningtree and Royston - 3½
Broadland Harnsers - 3

Team 600

Bedford - 4½ points (£50)
Milton Keynes A, Milton Keynes B and Sudbury - 4
Cambridge - 3½

Team 500

Broadland Harriers and Golden Knights - 4½ points (£25 each)
Bury St Edmunds B - 4
Lowestoft - 3

Team 400

Broadland Swallowtails - 5½ points (£50)
Mighty Rooks - 5
Spanish Knights - 3½
Linton - 2

The Golden Knights, Mighty Rooks and Spanish Knights teams were mainly from the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club.

One of the quickest games to finish was in the Open section, when Stephen Pride (Royston) fell to Silas Peck (Ipswich) in just 14 moves.   This was the position after 9 moves with White to play.   Stephen's position is already looking rather weak:

The game continued:

10.   a3?    Na4!
11.   axb4?    Qxb4
12.   b3?    Qxb3+
13.   Kc1    Qa3+
14.   Kd1    Nxc3+

Resigns