Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Last post of the year

This will be the final posting in 2016 as I (Bob Jones) will be away until 6 January.

The closing date for entries in the Christmas Quiz is 5 January, so be sure to email me your answers by then.

Looking back at the Suffolk League in the first half of the 2016/2017 season, it has been heartening to note that there were only four board defaults, one in Division 1 (Bury St Edmunds C) and three in Division 3 (Ipswich E, Ipswich F and Felixstowe B).

There have been a few postponed matches, but these appear to have been agreed between the respective teams without any apparent ill-feeling.   Two matches which should have been played in the first half are outstanding: Manningtree A v Bury St Edmunds B (to be played on 11 January) and Stowmarket A v Saxmundham A (28 February).

Competitions Secretary David Green has experienced very few problems so far this season.   One involved both captains agreeing to a result with one game transposed (Player A appearing to play for Team B, and vice versa).   But that has now been sorted.   David is hoping that the second half will be as peaceful as the first.

A Happy New Year to all our readers!

Monday, 26 December 2016

Christmas Quiz Part III

This is the final part of the Christmas Quiz.   It continues to use puzzles taken from Hugh Courtney's Christmas Quizzes in Chess magazine.   Today the puzzles are from the 1985 quiz.

Puzzle 1

The Black King is intentionally omitted.   This question is in three parts:

On which square must the Black King be placed:
a)   to be in stalemate?
b)   for White to be able to mate in one?
c)   so that it can never be mated (assuming the king remains on that same square)?

Puzzle 2

With so few pieces on the board, this one should be easy.   But be warned, it's anything but!

In this position, White takes back his last move and instead plays a move that is instant checkmate.   What is the retracted move and what does White play instead?

Puzzle 3

Finally, another 'retractor' problem:

Firstly, Black retracts his last move (a capture).   Next, Black plays another move instead to allow White to checkmate in one.   What is:   a) the retracted move?   b) What White piece then emerges on the board?   c) What is Black's next 'helpful' move?   d) How does White then checkmate?

If you have answered some (or all) of these puzzles over the past three days, then email me your answers to stand a chance of winning a new chess book

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Christmas Quiz Part II

In the absence of a traditional Christmas tree puzzle, here's a snowflake.   It's White to play and mate in two.   After White's first move, Black has two possible moves.   You will need to find the mate after each of Black's moves:

(From Hugh Courtney's Christmas Quiz 1973)

And now, the same position moved down a row.   This time it's White to play and mate in three:

(From Hugh Courtney's Christmas Quiz 1978)

Finally, click here.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Christmas Quiz Part I

This is the first of three days of Christmas puzzles.

Hugh Courtney died in 2012 at the age of 84.   Every year up to 2004 he published a Christmas Quiz in Chess magazine.   His stated aim was "to astound, puzzle, bemuse, infuriate, delight, amaze and amuse".

The following 'twin' puzzles were published forty years ago in the December 1976 issue of Chess:

These are both helpmates in two, with Black playing first.   White will mate on his second move.   In a helpmate, Black plays moves which assist White.   These are quite tricky!

Don't put your answesr in the comments below, but wait until Boxing Day and then email me your answers.   The best set of answers will win a new chess book.

Friday, 23 December 2016

Halfway point

With the matches played yesterday at Bury, the Suffolk League has reached its halfway point.   With the exception of a couple of postponed matches, each team has now played all the other teams in their division.

In Division 1, Manningtree A top the league, despite having played only five matches.   Their outstanding match against Bury St Edmunds B will be played on 11 January.   Manningtree A are unbeaten and are half a point clear of second-placed Ipswich C.   At the other end of the table, Bury St Edmunds C are half a point clear of bottom team Ipswich B.   Bury St Edmunds C is the only team not to have won a match yet.   To view the current league table, click here.

In Division 2, Bury St Edmunds A are three points clear of the pack, with Felixstowe A in second place.   Bottom-placed Stowmarket have a match in hand (against Saxmundham A) but this won't be played until the end of February.   Click here for the latest league table.

Division 3 is the only division to have completed all their matches.   Unbeaten Manningtree A appear to be romping away as they are four points clear of Saxmundham B.   Felixstowe B are three points adrift at the foot of the table. Here is the latest league table.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Hastings International

The annual Hastings International Chess Congress will be held from 28 December to 5 January.   To date, 12 GMs and 11 IMs have entered the Masters section.   Local players Adam Taylor and Ed Player have also entered, as well as former Suffolk student IM Justin Tan.

You will be able to follow their progress here.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Bury St Edmunds Christmas meal

17 members of Bury St Edmunds Chess Club, including several Ipswich players who are also members of the club, met on Monday night at Oakes Barn in Bury for a Christmas meal.   The event was organised by John Peters and will almost certainly be repeated next year.   Numbers had to be restricted due to the limited space available.

After an excellent three-course meal (costing only £12.50 pp), most members stayed on for some Blitz games of chess.

Left to right in the photo are: Graham Moore, Andrew Shephard, Tim Lunn, Michael Clapham, Steve Ruthen, John Feavyour, Mike Harris, Ian Wallis, Laurie Pott, Adam Leigh, Hugo Smith, John Peters, Andrew Donnelly, Ed Player, Jon Collins (hiding), and Steve Gregory.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

London Chess Conference

The London Chess Conference took place at the Hilton Olympia from 10 - 12 December and was timed to coincide with the start of the 8th London Chess Classic.

There's an article here about it, by one of the presenters, Sean Marsh.   The official website is here.

The topic of the Conference was 'The Didactics of Chess'.   To save you looking it up, 'didactics' means 'the science, art, or practice of teaching'.   So the Conference focused on different ways of teaching chess, mainly to children.   Speakers from around the World included Malcolm Pein (Chess in Schools and Communities), Mike Basman (ex-UK Schools Chess Challenge) and Kevin O'Connell (formerly from Ipswich).

It would be useful if the speakers' papers could be published, but there's no word on that yet.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Get on board with chess

An article in The Times today - here - explains why Lord Price, former chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, believes that children should start playing chess.

Meanwhile, yesterday's Telegraph reports that 'MPs call for chess to be redefined as a mindsport'.   Perhaps this is a better line to follow than wanting chess to be declared a 'sport'.   The lack of physical effort needed will always preclude it from becoming a 'sport'.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

London Junior Championships results

The first age-groups (Under 10s and Under 14s) played this weekend in the London Junior Championships.   The remaining age-groups (Under 8, 12, 16, 18) play in the week after Christmas.

Six children from Bury Knights JCC competed in these events.   In each age-group there are two sections: Minor and Major.   To qualify for the Under 10 Major section, players had to score at least 4½/6 in a qualifying tournament.

The only Suffolk entrant in the Under 10 Major section was seven-year old Rowan Kent, who attends Woodbridge School and is also a member of the Bury Knights.   Rowan scored 2/7, but has another two years in the same section.   After Christmas he will play in the Under 8 section, where he should stand a much better chance of a good score.   There were two local entrants in the Under 10 Minor section: Amy John and Toby Martin.   Amy, who is only eight years old, scored 4/7.   She won her first three games but then faced the top seed in Round 4.   Toby scored 3½/7.

In the Under 14 section there is no qualifying requirement.   Entrants are divided into Major and Minor sections according to grade, with the Minor section only open to players graded 120 or below.   12-year old Tom Roy, graded 91, had an excellent tournament, scoring 4½/6 to finish in joint third place in the Minor section.   He will have two more years to play in the Under 14s, so should be able to move up to the Major section next year.

Adam John, still only 10 years old and graded 129, played in the Under 14 Major section.   He scored an excellent 3½/6.   After Christmas he will play in the Under 12 Major.   His brother Alan was unable to complete the tournament and withdrew today.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

History of chess in England

There's a good article by Sabrina Chevannes in Chessbase News here.

It includes details about the recent House of Lords versus House of Commons match, which was reintroduced this year after a lengthy break of seventeen years.

Friday, 16 December 2016

London Chess Classic Festival results

The nine-round FIDE Open ended this evening.   Joint winners were two French GMs, Etienne Bacrot and Sebastien Maze, who both scored 7½/9.   There were a further seven players, all GMs, on 7 points.   Early leader, 17-year old Indian GM Aravindh, faded towards the end to finish on 6½ points.

Local players Ed Player and Adam Taylor both scored 5 points.   Adam should gain some rating points, but Ed might lose a few.

The Chess Grand Tour has reached Round 7 (out of nine).   Current leader is Wesley So, the latest GM to attain the 2800 rating level.   He is on five points, closely followed by Fabiano Caruana on 4½ points.   The only English player in the event, Michael Adams, is on three points.

The photo above shows the stage and auditorium at the Olympia Conference Centre where the tournament is being held.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

A nice finish

In a busy evening at the Bury St Edmunds club, there were four matches being played.   There should've been five, but Linton couldn't field a team so the fifth match had to be postponed.

In the match between Bury Cobras and Cambridge Academicals, Andrew Donnelly (White) had the following position against Chris Hughes, with Black to play:

Chris played the tempting d4, attacking the knight, only to be hit with Nd5+!   The rook must take the knight, when Bc7+ is mate in two.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

London Chess Classic

The seventh round of the FIDE Open took place this afternoon.   Ed Player took a half-point bye to move his score on to 4/7.   Adam Taylor faced his third GM of the tournament (Peter Wells) but was unable to improve on his previous results against GMs.   Adam had a half-point bye in Round 1, and has since won three games against lower-rated opponents.   He is yet to play anyone rated within 170 points of him, either higher or lower.

The sole leader is Indian GM Aravindh, on 6½/7, with two further GMs close behind on 6 points.

There was an interesting finish yesterday on one of the top boards.   On move 52 White (GM Smirin) played Qe5+ and Black (GM Shabalov) replied Kf7, for the position below.   Can you see how White prevented Black's c-pawn from queening (and won the game)?   (Answer below)

Answer: 53. Bc4+!   1-0

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

London Junior Championships

This weekend, the London Junior Chess Championships take place, with the Under 10s and Under 14s competing.   After Christmas, the Under 8s, Under 12s, Under 16s and 18s will be playing.   The London Junior Chess Championships originated in 1924 as the London Boys Championship.

Several Suffolk players have qualified to play, including the three John children, Alan, Adam and Amy, from Bury St Edmunds.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Division 1 latest

Suffolk League's Division 1 currently looks a bit distorted, with some teams having played two matches more than others.   Joint leaders are two Ipswich teams, C and A, on 12½ points.   However, Ipswich C have only played five matches, to Ipswich A's six.   Not far behind are Manningtree A, unbeaten this season but have only played four matches, with 10½ points.

At the other end of the table, Bury St Edmunds C recorded their first result last week, drawing against Ipswich A.   However, they remain in last place on 7 points.

At this stage of the season, it looks as if almost any team could win the title.

Shaun Munson (Ipswich A) is leading the individual listing, with an unbeaten 5/6.   Close behind are Ted Matthewson (Ipswich C) and Nick Savage (Ipswich A) on 4/5.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

London Chess Classic Festival latest

After four rounds of the FIDE Open, the two local players, Adam Taylor (Manningtree) and Ed Player (Bury St Edmunds) are both on 2½ points.   Adam had a half-point bye in Round 1 and today beat Sarah Longson, the new organiser of the Delancey UK Schools Challenge.

Only three GMs are on maximum points: GMs Shabalov, Aravindh and Bogner.   All three have Elo ratings that are within three points of each other (2563/2564/2566).   See the latest standings here.

Of the anticipated 250 entrants, 243 are playing, with seven 'no-shows'.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Division 3 latest

Of the three divisions in the Suffolk League, only Division 3 is making much sense.   Whilst teams in Divisions 1 and 2 have played different numbers of matches (between four and six each), all eight teams in Division 3 have played six matches, making it easier to see how things are panning out.

In a clear lead is Manningtree B, who were relegated last season from Division 2.   They have 18½ points, 3½ points clear of the two Saxmundham teams (B & C) who are in joint second place.

At the other end of the table, Felixstowe B are 2½ points adrift, with Ipswich E above them in seventh place.

Unsurprisingly, players from Manningtree and Saxmundham lead the individual table, with Adrian Sanderson (Manningtree) leading on 5/5.   Close behind is Mike Usher (Saxmundham) with 5/6.

Friday, 9 December 2016

London Chess Classic is underway

The London Chess Classic started today and continues until 18 December.   In the Grand Tour, England's only entrant, Michael Adams, lost to Lev Aronian in the first round.

In the FIDE Open, which features 34 GMs and 24 IMs amongst the 250 entrants, Ed Player won his first round against a lower-rated opponent.   Ed will gain just 1½ rating points from this victory, taking him to 2240 in the live Elo ratings. Adam Taylor took a first round bye.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Chess is not for optimists

From an article in Science 2.0

"Chess, like science, is the kiss of death for optimists.   Only the most naïve rookie feels optimistic in Chess.   Instead, Chess players think about their doom.   In a study called "Chess Masters' Hypothesis Testing", Michelle Cowley and Ruth Byrne of Trinity College, University of Dublin, set out to put that to the test with actual chess players and the falsification idea held up.

The best chess players, they found, used falsification to determine their future moves.   Bad chess players thought about the counter-moves of opponents in a very positive light (i.e. the opponent will do exactly what is needed in order to lose) while the best chess players thought about what opponents' counter-moves would damage them the most if they enacted a strategy; they falsified their own hypotheses.

So it isn't just scientists who regularly use falsification, but also chess players."

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

ECF Arbiter Course

The ECF is organising a weekend course for potential arbiters on 21/22 January.   It will take place in Solihull, West Midlands.

The course fee is £30 and the lecturers are the two Alex's - McFarlane and Holowczak.

If anyone is interested in joining this course, they should follow the links here.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Magnus Carlsen documentary film

There's a new documentary film on the life of World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen whichgoes on general release this month.   It has the original title of 'Magnus' (U).

It is very unlikely to be shown in many mainstream cinemas.   So you may be unaware that it is being shown at the Ipswich Film Theatre (the Corn Exchange) next week (13, 14 & 15 December, evenings at 7.30 pm).   There's an extra afternoon performance (2.30 pm) on Thursday 15th.

It costs £7.50 for a ticket, or just £3.00 for under 25s.   You can book tickets online.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Woodbridge Junior results

The Woodbridge Junior Open tournament took place last Sunday, with 77 players entered across five age-group sections.

There were strong entries from Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, with Suffolk being largely represented by players from Bury Knights JCC and Woodbridge School.

Prizewinners (Suffolk players in bold) were:

Under 8:
1st   Rowan Kent   6/6
2nd   Daniel Shek
3rd   Rishan Sharma

Under 10:
1st   Aarnavh Trivedi   5½/6
2nd   Arnav Srivastava
3rd   Kian Dharmasena
(All three are from Cambridgeshire)

Under 12:
1st=   Gavith Dharmasena & Jaden Jermy   5/6
3rd   Abigail Weersing
(1st and 3rd are from Cambridgeshire)

Under 14:
1st   William Bradley   6/6
2nd   Ralph Martin
3rd   Preethi Saravanan
(1st and 3rd are from Norfolk)

Under 18:
1st   Karthik Saravanan   6/6
2nd=   William Sait & Ben Sadler
(1st and 2nd= are from Norfolk)

This event was also a qualifying tournament for the London Junior Championships, which is one of the most prestigious junior tournaments in the country and takes place later this month.   Scores of 4 points were required to reach the Under 8 Final, whilst 4½ points was needed for the Under 10 and Under 12 Major Finals.   A lower score of 3½ points qualified players for the Minor Finals in these age-groups.   No qualifying score was required for the older age-groups.

The only other Suffolk player not mentioned above who will qualify is Tom Roy (Under 12 Minor)

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Jovanka on the Today programme

Last Wednesday, the final day of the World Championship, IM Jovanka Houska gave an interview on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, which is well worth a listen if you missed it.

You can listen to it here.   You will need to run the slider to 1:41:30, which is when the interview is about to start.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

London Chess Classic

As reported here, the London Chess Classic commences next Friday, 9 December.   It continues until Sunday 18 December.

Local interest includes Ed Player (2239) and Adam Taylor (2212) in the FIDE Open, where 37 Grandmasters are included among the 250 entrants.   They play nine rounds between 9 and 16 December.

The Super Rapidplay, with 10 rounds over the second weekend, 17/18 December, features 40 GMs and 363 entrants, so far.   Entries are still being accepted for this event, which is free to enter if done by 16 December.

Of course, the main event is the fourth and final round of the Grand Chess Tour, which features eight of the World's strongest players (plus two other invitees, including England's Michael Adams).   This event is currently led by GM Wesley So, who looks to have an unassailable lead in the battle for the $120,000 first prize.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Adam takes on the Bury Knights

FM Adam Taylor came to Bury St Edmunds this evening to give a Simul against ten of the best Bury Knights members. His opponents' grades ranged from 129 down to 16.   They were no match for Adam, who swept them all aside within an hour and a quarter.

He then proceeded to run through one of the games (against Jaden Jermy), which proved very instructive.

Before the event started, Adam pointed out that his ECF grade, now over 200, was below 100 seven years ago, when he was 11 years old.   Several of his opponents today are younger than that, so they were able to see that anything is possible.

In the photo above, the ten opponents are (clockwise around the boards): Adam John, Jaden Jermy, Alan John, Ralph Martin, Aaron Saenz, Mario Saenz, Amy John, Tia Martin, Tom Roy and Toby Martin.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Norfolk & Suffolk Cup result

Entering this annual competition for the first time, Manningtree Chess Club last evening achieved a notable draw against current Norfolk & Suffolk Cup Champions Bury St Edmunds.   Fielding a slightly weakened team, Bury lost on the bottom two boards, but won on Boards 3 and 4.   The top two boards finished in draws.

The full results can be seen here.

Whilst the match was in progress, several players could be seen sneaking off to check on the progress of the final day of the World Chess Championship, taking place in New York.   As most readers will be aware, Magnus Carlsen succeeded in retaining his title by beating Sergey Karjakin 3 - 1 in the Rapidplay tie-breaks.   Carlsen won the final game in style.   From the position below, when Karjakin (Black) had three ways of checkmating White in one move, Carlsen played Qh6+!, forcing mate on his next move.   Karjakin resigned on the spot.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Happy Birthday Magnus?

Will today be a happy day for Magnus Carlsen, who is celebrating his 26th birthday?   This evening (starting at 7 pm UK time) he will take on Sergey Karjakin in a series of rapidplay games, followed if necessary by Blitz games and a final 'Armageddon' game, to determine who shall be the next World Chess Champion.

This would appear to be compulsive viewing for chess players across the World.   But there will be at least 12 local players who will miss out on the action.   Teams from Manningtree and Bury St Edmunds will be fighting it out in the Norfolk & Suffolk Cup.   This is the first time that Manningtree have entered this competition.   There will be a full report tomorrow on this match, as well of course on the result of the World Championship.

For those watching the World Championship games this evening, here are the rules:
*   They start with a four-game rapidplay match, at 25 minutes each plus 10 seconds increment per move.   There will be a ten minute break between each game.   The players don't need to record the moves.
*   If the score is tied after these four games, they will play a two-game Blitz match, with five minutes on the clock and a three second increment per move.   If necessary, there will be up to four more two-game Blitz matches.
*   If the scores are still tied after these 14 games, they will play one 'Armageddon' game.   The players draw lots and the winner chooses White or Black.   The player with the White pieces has five minutes whilst the player with the Black pieces has four minutes.   But if it's a draw the player with Black wins the match.

Exciting stuff.   I bet you'll all be watching....

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Ipswich Club Championship

A total of 19 players are competing in this season's Ipswich Club Championship, where members utilise their 'off' weeks to organise matches against their chosen opponents.   Already, two rounds (out of six) have been completed.

Five players lead on maximum points: Ted Matthewson, Steve Gregory, Silas Peck, John Wright and Roger Holt.

The biggest surprise of Round 2 was Ted's win against Ian Wallis, who is graded 18 points higher.   Ted is pictured right.

You can see the latest results and cross-table here.

Monday, 28 November 2016

World Championship goes to tie-breaks

This evening's final round (of 12) ended in a draw after just 30 moves.   It was perhaps surprising that Carlsen, who had the White pieces, seemed content to swap off and head for a rather tame draw.

Carlsen may be confident of his abilities at Rapidplay and Blitz, to which they are heading on Wednesday after another rest day on Tuesday.

Today's game can be viewed here.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

4NCL report

4NCL's Division 3 (South) and Division 4 played this weekend at Wokefield Park, near Reading.   Four Suffolk-based teams were competing, with two in each division.   These teams included 16 Suffolk players.

The best results were by Anglian Avengers 2, who won both their matches (4½-1½ and 3½-2½) and now head Pool B in Division 3 (S) with four match points and eight game points.   Individually, Steve Gregory won both games, Ian Wallis scored 1½, whilst both Graham Moore and Shaun Munson scored 1 point.

The other local team in Div 3, Iceni 1, suffered two defeats (2½-3½ and 2 - 4), with Paul Botham the best scorer on 1½ points.   John Feavyour won one game, but both John Peters and Steve Ruthen failed to register a point.

In Division 4, Anglian Avengers 3 won one match (4½-1½) and narrowly lost one (2½-3½).   Keith Woodcock scored 1½, whilst Silas Peck, Alex Sheerin and Alan John each won one game.   Adam John had one draw.

Iceni 2 had an easy win on Saturday against Barnet Knights 3, but crashed 1 - 5 to top-rated team Oxford 2 today.   Saxmundham's Rory Goldsmith scored 1½ points, which included an excellent draw against a 166 graded opponent.   Mike Usher scored 1 and Bob Jones had one draw.

Division 4 featured teams with substantial rating differences.   Oxford 2 were relegated from Division 3 last season but have reinforced their squad for a team average rating of 2080.   Only five of the 16 teams in Division 3 have higher team averages.   At the other end of the scale Barnet Knights 3 and 4 averaged 1311 and 1263 respectively.   Perhaps there should be a ceiling of, say, 1900 as the maximum average grade per team?   There were four players in Division 4 with grades in excess of 200.   Oxford 2's top boards were graded 213 and 211.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

4NCL Divisions 3 and 4

This weekend sees four Suffolk-based teams playing in Divisions 3 and 4 of the 4NCL, at Wokefield Park, near Reading.

Anglian Avengers have two teams ('2' and '3'), one in each division, whilst Iceni 1 and Iceni 2 also play with one team in each division.

Fortunately, there are no matches scheduled between these teams this weekend, although the new pool system in Division 3 will mean that AA2 and Iceni 1 will have to play each other later in the season, as they are both in Pool B.

A full report on these matches will feature here tomorrow evening.

Friday, 25 November 2016

World Championship latest

As most readers will know, current champion Magnus Carlsen won the 10th game yesterday to level the score (5 - 5) against his challenger, Sergey Karjakin.

With today as a rest day, play resumes tomorrow Saturday in the crucial Round 11, when Karjakin will have the White pieces.   There then follows another rest day on Sunday, with the final round being played on Monday.

If the score is tied after 12 rounds, there will be a series of tie-break games on Wednesday.   Four games will be played with 25 minutes for each player with an increment of 10 seconds per move.   If the score is still tied, there will then be a series of two-game blitz matches played at the rate of five minutes plus five seconds increment.   These will continue for up to five 'matches', eg ten games, until there is a winner.

In the unlikely event of the scores still being tied, a final sudden-death 'Armageddon' game will be played.   The player who wins the drawing of lots chooses the colour.   The player with the White pieces receives five minutes, whilst the player with the Black pieces has four minutes.   A three-second increment per move is applied if the game continues beyond 60 moves.   In the event of the game being drawn, the player with the Black pieces is declared the winner.

Wednesday could be a fun day.   So cancel all other arrangements!

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

First 4NCL weekend

Last weekend saw the first matches for the 4NCL teams in Divisions 1 and 2, at Wokefield Park near Reading.

Anglian Avengers 1 achieved promotion at the end of last season to Division 1 and faced tough opponents in Grantham Sharks and Guildford 1.   Predictably they lost both matches, by 3 - 5 and 2 - 6.   Guildford 1 are probably favourites to win the title and won their first match 7½-½, with only their Board 8 Suffolk's Dagne Ciuksyte gaining the draw.   In the Avengers' match against Guildford 1, top boards Andy Lewis and Adam Taylor lost respectively to GM powerhouses Matthew Sadler and Gawain Jones.   But Ed Player managed a draw against former Suffolk player GM Nick Pert.

There are no Suffolk-based teams in Division 2, but next weekend Iceni 1 and 2, as well as Anglian Avengers 2 and 3, play in Divisions 3 and 4 at the same venue.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Date set for Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress

The annual Bury St Edmunds Junior Chess Congress will take place this season on Sunday 5 March 2017.   It will be held at the usual venue, Moreton Hall Community Centre, where there will be a maximum capacity of 100 entrants.

There will be four sections, but not the same as in previous years.   For 2017 the sections will be as follows:

Under 11
Under 9

The Open section will be for anyone aged 11 and over as at the start of the current school year.   The Novices section is for anyone who has never played in a chess tournament before.   They must be aged 10 or younger.

Entry forms will be available soon and will be sent to local schools and clubs.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

World Championship update

After six rounds of the World Chess Championship, being held in New York between Magnus Carlsen and Sergey Karjakin, the score is tied at three points each.   All games have been drawn so far.   The winner is the first to reach 6½ points.

Carlsen would appear to have let slip some winning chances in some of the games.

You can follow the games live on Chess24.com and on other sites, including ChessBomb.   Game seven is on Sunday evening as today is a 'rest' day.

Friday, 18 November 2016

New ECF website

The English Chess Federation's website has undergone a major facelift.   You can view it here.

What do you think?   Is it a substantial improvement?   Let's hear your views in the comments below.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Chess map of New York

If you're ever in New York, this map should prove useful.   You can view it in more detail here.

The World Chess Championship is underway in New York, with current Champion Carlsen drawing 2 - 2 with Challenger Karjakin.   The fifth game starts this evening.

So far, all four games have been drawn, although the commentators feel that Carlsen missed possible wins in games 3 and 4.

All can watch progress on the Chess24.com website.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Herts Congress report

John Peters has provided the following report, which includes his Round 1 game against Graham Moore.

The Hertfordshire Chess Congress took place last weekend at the County Hall, Hertford, with a total of 108 entrants across the Open, Challengers, Major and Minor sections.   The venue was spacious enough and provided an excellent book stall as well as a very reasonably priced canteen.

Jon Collins (VBury St Edmunds) put in a very creditable performance to take outright second place in the Challengers section, losing only to the eventual winner, Yousuf Bin-Suhayl (Wisbech), who finished with a perfect 5/5 to collect both first place and the Glynne Jones Trophy for the best performance by a junior.

Graham Moore (Ipswich) put together a very solid performance in the Open to grab a share of third place with 3½/5 after beating me in the first round in an extremely sharp encounter.   Graham had the Black pieces:

John's notes:   12...a6.   We have arrived at a pretty standard position in this line of the French Tarrasch.   The most popular moves for White here are 13. Bg5, Re1 and h3, however I've researched this line before and my computer prefers the move played, 13. Be3.

16. Ng5.   Seemingly White has pressure however Graham decided to go with an enterprising exchange sacrifice that gives him a long-term initiative.

20. Qb3.   The only move that retains any sort of advantage for White, albeit a small one.

22...Nf3!   Just when it looked as though I was going to get a rook to the e-file and coordinate my forces Graham unleashes a very pretty move.   If 23. gxf3   Bxf3+, 24. Kg1   Qe5 wins the White queen with the threat of mate on h2.

23...Qd7.   Qf7! is best.   Then if 24. gxf3   Re8 when White is forced to give up his queen to survive the mating threats.

27...Qg5?   Played after a long think. When discussing the game afterwards we both agreed we had looked at this line and decided that this move couldn't be played, due to Qe6+, winning the bishop on d6 but, in a case of mutual blindness, I countered with the unfathomable:

28. Qf5??   Played far too quickly, I had thought we would repeat the position and then I'd have the option to decide if I wanted to force the draw.

32. Rc8?   A losing move, both 32. Nc8 and 32. Rc3 are fairly equal.   Having realised my mistake on move 28 I was quite frustrated and then failed to find the best defence.

38. Kf1.   And resigns in view of 38... Bxd7   39. Rd3,   Bb5.

A well fought game!

Thanks must go to the organisers for putting together a great tournament; hopefully Suffolk can send out even more support next year.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

International Games Day

This Saturday, 19 November, is International Games Day.   According to Martin Tomes, there will be "a big event at Ipswich Library, which will include the Junior Chess Club."

The Club will be operating from 10.00 to 12.00 that morning, free of charge.   In the afternoon Martin will be setting up the giant chess set in the main library to play games with passers-by and to publicise both the junior and senior clubs.

Local players are invited to come along and support the event.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Herts Congress results

At least six Suffolk players travelled to Hertford at the weekend for the 65th Herts Congress.

In the Open, Graham Moore scored 3½ points to share third place, whilst John Peters scored 2½, including a draw against IM Neil Bradbury.

Jon Collins took second place (and £100) with 4 points in the Challengers, with the lowest-graded player in that section, 10-year old Adam John on 1½ (two draws and a bye).

In the Minor section, Tom Roy scored 2½, whilst 8-year old Amy John managed one win from her four games.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

London Chess Classic

In just under four weeks' time the London Chess Classic takes place at the Olympia Conference Centre, from 9 to 18 December.   The nine-round FIDE Open promises to be extremely strong, with 34 Grandmasters amongst the 198 entrants (to date).

There are several other events, including a ten-round 'Super Rapidplay' over the second weekend, with 263 (!) entrants, and six graded sections over the three-day weekend, 9 - 11 December.

To view details of all the events, click here.

The London Chess Conference is also taking place, from 10 to 12 December.   This is being held at the nearby Hilton Kensington Olympia on the topic 'The Didactics of Chess'.   Registration for all three days costs £250, with cheaper one-day options.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Ed mixes with the big boys

At the 11th 4NCL Congress which took place last weekend at Newport Pagnell, Ed Player (left) beat IM Andrew Greet in Round 1 and then faced GM Keith Arkell in Round 2.

Playing with the White pieces, Ed ground out a long game which eventually petered out to a draw.

The game was level for most of the time, although Ed's moves 50 and 51 might have brought about his demise.   Ed actually felt that 47. b4 was weak too.   But Keith failed to capitalise and after 61... Qg2+ the game was clearly drawn.   61... a3 might have been a better prospect for Keith.

Here's the game:

Ed is targetting 2300 (FM level) and his estimated gain of 15 points from this event will take his current rating to 2237.   Ed's win against Andrew Greet will be featured later.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Smart is the new sexy

So says World Champion Magnus Carlsen, according to a recent Guardian article.

Carlsen starts his defence today of the World title, against Challenger Sergey Karjakin.

The 12-game match in New York City starts at 18.00 GMT this evening.   The official site is here.   It costs $15 to watch the games and listen to the commentary, but there will almost certainly be other portals where the live action can be followed, such as Chess24.com.

If the score is even after 12 rounds, there will be four tie-break games, with a possible 'Armageddon' fifth game if the scores are still level.   The full rules and playing schedule can be viewed here.

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Lowestoft Rapidplay

Five members of Saxmundham Chess Club were amongst 29 entrants to the third Lowestoft Rapidplay tournament which took place at the Parkhill Hotel, Oulton Broad, last Sunday.

David Mabbs (3½) and Malcolm Lightfoot (2) took part in the Open section (11 entrants), whilst Mark Pulman (4), Rory Goldsmith (3) and Lee Osman (1½) played in the Under 150 section (with 18 entrants).

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

If you're in Cambridge...

... look up this guy.   Challenge him and see if you can beat him (but don't forget to make a donation).

According to this website, Slide Martin was once a junior chess champion, and has only ever lost six games when playing on the street.

Surely there are some strong local players who could beat him?

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Herts reminder

The annual Herts Congress is taking place this coming weekend in Hertford.   There is still time to enter.

At least six Suffolk players, including five from the Bury St Edmunds club, will be playing - Graham Moore, John Peters, Jon Collins, Adam John, Tom Roy and Amy John.

If you are interested in playing, go to their website, or contact the organiser, Kidge Elder.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Wrong set up

How often do you see a chess board set up incorrectly?   Does anyone know of other examples?

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Mark's result in Germany

Mark Le-Vine (right) finished the nine-round tournament in Bad Wiessee, Germany, earlier today, with a 50% score.

The event had over 470 entrants, all in one section, which included 28 Grandmmasters.   Seven players (all GMs) shared first prize, on 7½ points.

Mark was given an estimated Elo rating of 1500, which of course is far too low for his ability.   His tournament performance of 1940 was probably much closer to his true rating.   But because his rating was estimated, he didn't qualify for the u1600 rating prize, despite being equal first in that category.   Instead, he was awarded a year's subscription to Chess24.

The full crosstable for the event can be viewed here.   Mark's number is 244.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Woodbridge Junior

The 16th Woodbridge Junior Open will be taking place in three weeks' time on Sunday 27 November at its usual venue, Woodbridge School.

Organised by International Master Adam Hunt, this is the first of the three junior-only events that are held in Suffolk during the chess season (the others are the Bury St Edmunds Junior on 5 March and the Suffolk Junior Open).

There are trophies for section winners at Under 8, Under 10, Under 12, Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18 levels, as well as cash prizes dependant on the size of entry.   There are also separate trophies for the best players in each section who either attend a school or live in Woodbridge.

The tournament is a qualifying event for the London Junior Championships.   Scores of 4/6 are required to qualify for the u8 Final, or 4½/6 for the u10 and u12 Finals.   No qualifying score is required to enter the older sections.

For more information, go to the Woodbridge School chess website.

Friday, 4 November 2016

The World's youngest IM

One of the stars at the Isle of Man International Tournament, which finished on 9 October, was 11-year old Praggnanandhaa Rameshbabu (pictured left).   He is the youngest International Master ever, having achieved the title at the tender age of 10 years, 10 months and 19 days.

The chess world reeled at Praggna's amazing 18-move win in the final round, against a 2645-rated GM from Paraguay.   You can view the game here.   After White's 14. Na3?, the youngster played all the best moves, according to Stockfish.

Suffolk's Ed Player found himself playing the young IM in Round 3.   Ed was White and played a fairly standard Ruy Lopez.   His opponent won a pawn on move 23 and Ed was forced to resign after 37 moves.   Follow Ed's game below.

At 2448, Praggnanandhaa needs another 52 rating points, as well as three GM norms, to become the world's youngest-ever Grandmaster.   His target is the 12 years and 7 months of World Champion Challenger Sergei Karjakin.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Hastings Congress

In past years a number of Suffolk players have entered the Hastings Congress, which takes place just after Christmas every year.   Last year, Adam Taylor (Manningtree) was the only local player to enter.

The TRADEWISE 92nd Hastings International Chess Congress will take place at Horntye Park Sports Complex from 28 December to 5 January and will be held in memory of Con Power, Director of the Congress for many years.   The event will be sponsored by Tradewise Insurance Services and co-sponsored by Hastings Borough Council.   Further support is given by the English Chess Federation, the White Rock Hotel, Lansdowne Hotel, KC Computers and the John Robinson Trust.

Tournaments will include Masters, Christmas, New Year Morning and Afternoon and the 34th Weekend Congress.   The nine-round Masters will provide opportunities to qualify for titles and for FIDE ratings.   The Weekend Major section will also be FIDE rated.

Any enquiries should be addressed to Congress Director Alan Hustwayte   Tel: 01424 443300 or to PR Officer Pam Thomas   Tel: 01424 445348.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

County Match Controller vacancy

The post of EACU County Match Controller has been held for several years by Linton's Patrick Ribbands (photo right).   A vacancy will exist for this important role at the end of the current season, when Patrick will be standing down.

The County Match Controller arranges the fixtures and venues for the various inter-County matches in the EACU.   At present this involves First Team matches, as well as the Under 160 and Under 120 matches.

This is an organisational task which can easily be managed from home; there is no requirement to attend matches.   It will be expected that the post-holder will attend one committee meeting during the year, as well as the EACU AGM.

If anyone from Suffolk would like to take on this role, they should initially contact John Wickham, EACU Chairman.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A late starter

13-year old Ralph Martin, from the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club, has a current grade of 84.   Last year his grade was only 50.

Ralph is a late starter, despite having joined the Bury Knights Junior Club four years ago, in November 2012.   It has taken a while for him to come to terms with the game.   But suddenly, he has emerged as one of the club's leading youngsters.   He has played eight graded games so far this seaaon, losing only one, for an average grade of 124.

Below, he plays a very accurate game in the Suffolk Cup & Plate against another junior who is a year older than him:

Monday, 31 October 2016

The Mating Game

'The Mating Game' by Jovanka Houska & James Essinger - A new romance novel from the British Women's Chess Champion.

Meet Ivana (‘call me Vanny’) Jones, a sexy, beautiful, warm-hearted professional chess-player.   She has a problem: she’s only attracted to guys who can beat her… so what’s she to do when a chess amateur, the Russian billionaire Boris Bogolyubov, proposes marriage?

Not only that, but as Vanny tries to achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a chess grandmaster, she develops a crush on Norwegian sex-god Sven while also falling for a stunning and adoring Frenchwoman.   Meanwhile, Vanny’s hoping a revolutionary new drug treatment will save her best friend Charlotte’s life.

Set in London, Monaco, Budapest, Helsinki, Odessa, New York… and Leicester, this sparkily written, passionate, emotional and entertaining novel will rock your boat, even if you’ve never shouted ‘Checkmate!’

About the Authors

Jovanka Houska is the current British Women’s Chess Champion, an international chess master and one of the world’s leading women chess-players.   She has won many international tournaments and is a prolific author of books about chess.   She also loves travelling to remote islands, yoga, gardening, and enjoys many of the things Vanny likes.

James Essinger is a club-strength chess-player and a writer.   Ada’s Algorithm, his biography of computer pioneer Ada Lovelace, has been published in the UK and the US and in a Spanish edition, and is to be filmed.   He’s never lost at chess to Jovanka, but only because he’s too scared to play her.

The book can be pre-ordered here, at a cost of £14.99.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Suffolk players in action at Gatwick

Three Suffolk-based players travelled to Surrey this weekend for the e2e4 Gatwick International.   Unfortunately, none of them fared particularly well!

Alan Merry and Adam Taylor played in the top section, where entrants were competing for GM and IM norms.   Alan scored 4 and Adam 2 in this nine-round event.   The 20-strong field included six GMs and four IMs.

Meanwhile in one of the Challengers sections, David Spence finished third on 5½ points.   He was unbeaten over the eight games that he played, although all his opponents were lower-rated than him.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Mark's off to Germany

Bury St Edmunds' Mark Le-Vine (right) is travelling to Germany today to play in the Bad Wiessee tournament.   He is one of only two entrants from England.

There are 476 entrants in this single section, nine round tournament, which begins tomorrow, Saturday.   Mark doesn't have an Elo rating yet, so he will probably be placed near the bottom of the list when the pairings are announced.

You can follow his progress on the tournament website.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Suffolk League round-up

After a month or so since the season started, there's no clear leader in any of the three divisions of the Suffolk League.

In Division 1, all seven teams are within two points of each other - see here for the latest table.   Two teams, Manningtree A and Ipswich A, have 100% records, but their wins have all been by narrow margins.

In Division 2, Felixstowe A have won all their three matches, but have played one more match than their nearest rivals, Bury St Edmunds A.   The latest league table is here.

There are eight teams in Division 3, and they have all played three matches, so it's easier to see who's doing well.   As can be seen here, there is just half a point between the top two teams, Manningtree B and Saxmundham B.

Individually, the leading players in each division are:
Division 1   -   Kevin Greenacre (Ipswich B)   -   2/3
Division 2   -   Phil Hopkins and John McAllister (both Felixstowe A   -   3/3
Division 3   -   Mike Usher (Saxmundham B)   -   3/3

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

UK Chess Challenge

You may recall reading here about Mike Basman's bankrupty woes and the possible demise of the UK Chess Challenge.   Well, today, Sarah Longson (née Hegarty) - see photo right - has announced the following:

"Over the summer I was saddened to hear that the future of the UK Schools Chess Challenge, the world's largest chess competition, was in doubt.   The UK Schools Chess Challenge is very close to my heart.   Indeed, way back in 1996 it was the first major tournament that I won.   This opened some incredible doors, playing chess on Blue Peter and meeting the world champion, Garry Kasparov.   I subsequently went on to win the UK Schools chess challenge eight times.   My early involvement in schools chess was certainly the catalyst to going on and winning the British Ladies title 2013 and representing the English ladies team at the world chess Olympiads.   Today I am a lawyer.   However, since last year I have been 'full time' on chess teaching and playing in various competitions home and abroad.

I am delighted that my bid to take over the UK Schools Chess Challenge has been accepted.   I am supported by my husband Alex Longson, a strong chess player and also a chartered accountant.   We hope our professional backgrounds will add credence as the competition enters a new phase.   I hope the UK Schools Chess Challenge continues to inspire and opens up new horizons.   I also hope it continues to vaunt the belief that 'mental challenge and competition' is the 'equal of the sports field'.   We met with Mike Basman and Pat Armstrong last weekend to discuss plans and they are happy to work with us to make this tournament a success."

It's certainly good news that the event will be continuing, and it seems that Mike Basman will still be involved, although probably in the 'back room'.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Kids' chess film

I recently received a link to a short YouTube film about children playing chess.   Shots of the children are interspersed with other sports, presumably in an attempt to show that playing chess is a 'normal' activity.

Not sure if it really works, but I guess it's better than nothing.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Bury Congress results

The 34th Bury St Edmunds Congress ended this evening, with prizes to the value of £2,280 being paid out to 27 winners.  The entry of 151 players enjoyed some excellent chess in the splendid surroundings of the Apex.

Congress Secretary Steve Lovell is to be congratulated on the smooth running of the event; an enormous amount of preparation is needed to ensure that all goes well on the day.   Steve was ably assisted by John Wickham, Congress Director for the event, who made all the announcements and acted as chief arbiter.   Others involved included Paul Kemp, League Treasurer, as well as several members of the local chess club, who arrived early on Saturday morning to set up the auditorium.

The full results, as well as the prizes paid out, can be viewed on the Congress website.   The results were posted on the website at the end of each round, as well as the pairings for the following rounds.

The only person to score a maximum 5/5 was top seed in the Open, GM Matthew Sadler, pictured right receiving his winner's cheque for £350.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Bury Congress Day 1 report

After three rounds of the Bury St Edmunds Congress, there is just one person in each section on maximum three points.   They are:

In the Open, top seed GM Matthew Sadler
Major - Simon Morris (Hertford)
Intermediate - Gert de Block (Cambridge)
Minor - Scott Shelley (Chelmsford)

The photo above shows Adam Taylor (Manningtree) on top board against Matthew Sadler in Round 3.

The Open is extremely strong, with 12 players graded 200 or higher.   There are eight players on 2½ points, including Suffolk players Alan Merry, Dagne Ciuksyte, Graham Moore and Ed Player.

Sunday's Round 4 sees the two top seeds in the Open playing each other, with second seed and former Suffolk junior IM Richard Pert having the black pieces.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Junior chess in Bury is thriving!

In the five weeks since holding an Open Evening in mid-September, the weekly attendance at the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club has averaged 40.   A new Division 4 has been formed from the more promising youngsters who joined the Club recently, and after half-term, a new Division 5 will be created.

A lot of effort has been put in to helping the 'novices' to learn the basics, so that they are able to play a proper game of chess.   In addition to regular adult helpers Ed Player and Adam Leigh, former club members Daniel Garcia-Leon, Alba Saenz de Villaverde and her brother Mario, have all assisted.

With four classrooms in use, it's a busy (and at times noisy) environment.   But the children, who age from 4 to 13, all seem to be enjoying themselves.

All of the top group (Division 1) are playing regularly in the adult leagues, and scoring well.   10-year old Adam John managed a draw against Adam Harvey on Thursday, whilst 11-year old Jaden Jermy recently drew with Kevin Greenacre.

Any Suffolk chess player is welcome to come along on a Friday evening to join in with the fun, and perhaps share their expertise with the more promising juniors.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

ECF Congress of the Year

Congratulations to the St Albans Congress, which has been awarded ECF Congress of the Year.   This weekend congress attracts about 220 players each year.   The venue is pleasant and in a good location.   It is very friendly and has an excellent bookstall and analysis room.

The next Congress is over the weekend of 1/2 April 2017.

See here for the other annual ECF awards.

The next 'local' tournament, after the Bury St Edmunds Congress this coming weekend, is the Herts Annual Congress, 12-13 November at the County Hall, Hertford.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Bury Congress latest

With just three days to go, entries for the 34th Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress have reached 140.   Another ten entries are required to ensure that the quoted prize fund will be paid in full.

If you are still thinking about entering, there's still time.   No late entry fee applies, unless you enter on the day, when it's an extra £5.00.

Go to entry form to enter online.

The list of entrants includes:

*   8 titled players
*   10 graded over 200
*   4 graded over 230

This tournament will be the strongest ever held in Suffolk, and the strongest in East Anglia since the British Championships took place in Great Yarmouth in 2007.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

County First Team in action

First Team Captain John Peters reports:

Suffolk made a strong start to the season last Sunday with a win and a draw.   At one point in the morning session we were up 8 - 5 against a strong Norfolk side, a fixture that I would like to be called 'Farmergeddon' in the future.   But they closed out the final three games to snatch an 8 - 8 draw.

In the afternoon we managed to beat Bedfordshire 9 - 7 in a closely fought match, mostly owing to a strong performance among the lower boards.

Suffolk's most recent IM, Alan Merry, anchored the side from Board 1 with wins against Mike Harris and Evgeny Tukpetov.   Another performance of note was Silas Peck's two wins, the latter of which came when he moved up to Board 7 from Board 9 and smoothly pressed his opening advantage into a fine attack and converted into a winning endgame.

Weighing in with 1½/2 were Graham Moore, Ted Mattewson, Mike Cook and Leon Burnett.

Thanks to everyone for turning out and getting us off to such a good start.   As a reminder, the remaining two match dates are Sunday January 8th and Sunday February 19th.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Cup and Plate Quarter-Finals

Cup and Plate Organiser Rob Sanders has made the draw for the Quarter-Finals:   The dates shown are his suggested match dates:

Cup – 22/11/16
Ipswich B v Ipswich C
Ipswich D v Sudbury
Saxmundham A v Bury A
Manningtree A – Bye

Plate – 29/11/16
Felixstowe B v Manningtree B
Ipswich F v Bury E
Bury D – Bye
Felixstowe A – Bye

If any club wishes to change these proposed dates, they should contact both Rob Sanders and David Green.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

One week to go

The Bury St Edmunds Congress is just one week away!   Current entries stand at 115 and Congress Secretary Steve Lovell is hoping that the final total will reach 150.

If you are planning to enter, please do it now.   Don't leave it to the last minute.

Click here to see the list of current entrants; or here to enter the event.

Friday, 14 October 2016

County First team in action on Sunday

Suffolk's First Team, captained this season by John Peters, will be in action on Sunday at the Turner Hall in Newmarket.   They will face Norfolk in the morning and Bedfordshire in the afternoon.

John has promised to provide a report, so keep an eye out on Monday or Tuesday.   There might even be a game or two to look at.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Cup & Plate initial round completed

The last two matches in the Initial Round of the Suffolk Cup & Plate competition took place this evening.   Six teams will now progress to the first round proper of the Cup, whilst the other six teams will compete in the Plate.

The match between the two Bury teams, A and E, was extremely close and was only decided on tie-break.   The E team is 'all-Juniors'.   There were wins on boards 2 and 4 for Alan John (126) against Laurie Pott (150) and for Ralph Martin (84) against William Moody (107).   However, the A team's wins on Boards 1 and 3 decided the match.

These will be the teams in each section:


Bury St Edmunds A
Ipswich B
Ipswich D
Manningtree A
Saxmundham A


Bury St Edmunds D
Bury St Edmunds E
Felixstowe A
Felixstowe B
Ipswich F
Manningtree B

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

News from the Clubs?

It would be good to hear some news from the Clubs in the Suffolk League.   Let's hear about your new members, your premises, or any newsworthy items that have occurred over the summer break.

This website needs your input, so please tell me what's happening in your part of the county.

Without the input of other clubs and members, it will be difficult to maintain the daily schedule.   Perhaps you or another member have had an interesting game, or reached an interesting position.

Don't be shy; let's hear from you please!

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Book of the Year

The ECF Book of the Year award has gone to 'Chess for Life', by GM Matthew Sadler and IM Natasha Regan.   The book retails at £15.99 but can be obtained via Amazon for £11.62 including delivery.

In this thought-provoking, wide-ranging and often inspiring book, the authors examine how chess style and abilities vary with age.   The conventional wisdom is that greater experience should compensate for a loss of youthful energy, but with so many of the world elite currently in their twenties, chess is increasingly looking like a young man's game.   By making a number of case studies and interviewing players who have stayed strong into their forties, fifties and beyond, the authors show in detail how players can steer their games towards positions where their experience can shine through.

A full review of this book can be seen on the ECF website.

Matthew Sadler will be top seed in the Bury St Edmunds Congress, where entries have now reached 100.   We will be asking Matthew to bring some copies to the Congress, when I'm sure he will be happy to append his signature in the book for anyone buying a copy.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Isle of Man results

The three Suffolk players who travelled to the Isle of Man for the International tournament, which ended yesterday, all finished on 4 points (out of nine).

As previously reported, Alan Merry gained his IM title by beating a GM in Round 2.   He played six Grandmasters, scoring 2/6.   Overall, Alan gained 7 rating points.

Adam Taylor faced six titled players.   He beat an IM, as well as drawing with a GM and another IM.   He lost 3 rating points.

Ed Player's best win was against Scotland's Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant, who is a GM although her rating is now only 2376.   Ed lost 5 rating points.

The full results can be seen here.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Suffolk Under 160s results

The Suffolk Under 160 team played two matches today at the Turner Hall in Newmarket, against Cambridgeshire and Norfolk.   The Suffolk team was not as strong as had been hoped, and this was further weakened by the absence of one team member.

In the morning Suffolk lost heavily 5 - 11 to Cambridgeshire, but in the afternoon beat Norfolk 10 - 5 (there was a 'mutual default' on one board, hence the score was only over 15 boards).

No Suffolk player won both games, but Ed Kirkham, John McAllister and David Green scored 1½/2.   Also unbeaten were Laurie Pott and Harold Thomas (two draws).

Top board Phil Hutchings (159) won an interesting game in the afternoon with Black against Andrew Donnelly (159) (who lives and plays in Suffolk but was born in Norfolk!):

The other results today saw two wins for Hertfordshire (11 - 5 against Norfolk and 8½-7½ against Cambridgeshire).

The next matches for the Under 160s will be on 5 February 2017, against Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire.