Friday, 5 February 2016

Full house at Bury

Last evening there were five matches taking place at the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club, the most there has ever been.   40 players packed the room, with analysis boards also available in the bar area.

This was the last match at the Club for David Wood (pictured right), who is moving to live and work in Colchester.   David has been a mainstay of the Club for the past couple of years, running three teams and always willing to assist with setting up and packing away.   He enjoyed a brief period of celebrity last year when he was amongst a dozen or so nominations for ECF 'Player of the Year'.   Someone had noticed that his grade was the lowest 'A' grade in England; he ended up with as many votes as Alan Merry!


This will be the last article for three weeks.   No more until 27 February!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Gibraltar Masters won by Nakamura

After the final round of the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters, two players finished on 8/10: top seed Hikaru Nakamura from the USA and French GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (usually referred to as 'MVL').

The two then had to take part in a play-off.   After four close-fought draws, Nakamura eventually prevailed in the fifth (Armageddon) game.   He wins the first prize of £20,000.   He won this event last year too.

Anna Muzychuk from Ukraine won the women’s award, scoring 7/10.

Justin Tan finished on 6 points, with a performance rating (2463) just 17 points above his current rating.   David Spence had an excellent tournament, gaining 36 rating points, taking his live rating to 2176.   In the first six rounds David scored three points against five GMs!   He finished on 4½ points.

The best English performance was by Gawain Jones, who finished =3rd on 7½ points.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Gibraltar latest

With just one round to play, the Tradewise Gibraltar Masters is heading for a dramatic finale.   No fewer than eight players share the lead on 7/9, with a further nine players (including England's Gawain Jones) on 6½ points.

Suffolk players:   Justin Tan is on 5½ and David Spence has 3½ points.

The final round starts early tomorrow (Thursday) at 10.00 GMT, with live games from the top players available here.   The final round pairings can be viewed here.

It seems highly likely that there will be a tie for first place, in which case there will be a play-off in the afternoon.   The tie-break rules state:

"In the event of a tie for first place, there shall be a speed play-off.   If there are four or fewer players tied for first place, there will be a speed knock-out play-off for the first prize of £20,000.   If three players tie for first place, the player with the highest performance rating will be seeded directly into the Final of the Play-Off; the other two players will contest the Semi-Final.   If more than four players tie for first place, the four players with the highest performance ratings shall qualify for the play-off to decide the first prize."

Top seed Hikaru Nakamura is amongst the players on seven points, and must be favourite to win the huge first prize.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Tata Masters round-up

After 13 hard-fought rounds the super-strong Tata Steel Masters tournament ended on Sunday with World Champion Magnus Carlsen winning by a clear point from the rest of the field.   His nearest challenger, Fabiano Caruana, surprisingly lost in the final round, when a win would have drawn him level with Carlsen.   This is the fifth time that Carlsen has won this tournament.

The final table can be seen here.

Michael Adams, the only English participant, had a disappointing event, winning only one of his games (and losing four).

In Carlsen's final game, he reached the following theoretically drawn position after 57 moves.   Carlsen was White against Diren Ling.   It's Black to play (57... Re2+):

Carlsen now spent the next 42 moves, trying to force an error.   It finished amusingly (see following position):

97. Rg3+   Kf1   98. Kf3   Rf2+   99. Bxf2   Stalemate!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Suffolk Juniors play in Surrey

Nine Suffolk Juniors travelled to Yateley Manor, near Camberley, in Surrey for the South of England Junior Championships.   This event attracts some of the strongest juniors in the country, many of whom are seeking a 'norm' to qualify for the National Junior Squad.

The best individual result was by 9-year old Adam John, who scored 3½/5 in the Under 11 section, gaining a half-norm.   His brother Alan also achieved a half-norm in the Under 13 section, scoring 3/5, as did Tom Roy, with 3/5 in the Under 11s.

Other scores were:
Ralph Martin (u13) - 2½/5
Toby Martin (u9) - 3/6
Amy John (u9) - 3/6
Tia Martin (u8) - 2/6
Tania Roy (u7) - 1½/6 (and 1/6 in the u8s)

The results for Alex Sheerin (u14) are not currently available.