Thursday, 31 March 2016

Ipswich C are League Champions!

The first division in the Suffolk League to complete all its fixtures is Division 1.   And the Champions, by just a single point, are Ipswich C.

Their squad consists of Ian Wallis (190), Mike Cook (189), Silas Peck (176) and Ted Matthewson (capt.) (166).   Both Mike and Silas played in all 12 matches.   In all, only three substitutions were needed, when Ted Matthewson (twice) and Ian Wallis (once) were unable to play.   Indeed, this has been an outstanding feature of the Ipswich C team: their ability to field a regular team.   They were unbeaten throughout the season, winning nine and drawing three matches.

Individual playing records were:

Silas Peck   8½ / 12   (71%)
Ted Matthewson   7 / 10   (70%)
Ian Wallis   7 / 11   (64%)
Mike Cook   6 / 12   (50%)

Runners-up, by just one point, were Manningtree A, who were only able to field their strongest team (including Adam Taylor and Andy Lewis) on four occasions.

To view the final league table, click here.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

EACU Team Championships

The above event is taking place this coming Sunday (3rd April) at the Turner Hall, Newmarket.   There are four graded sections: Open, 600, 500 and 400 (total grade of teams).

If any Suffolk player is interested in playing, please let me know as soon as possible.   Whilst the Championships are primarily for teams from the same club, it may be possible to 'mix and match', with two from one club and two from another, for example.

There will be two games, one starting at 10.00 and the second at 14.30.   County timings will be used, which includes 15 seconds increment from the first move.   Individuals will need to pay £5.00 each to cover the team entry fee of £20.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Karjakin wins Candidates

By beating nearest rival Fabiano Caruana yesterday in the 14th and final round of the FIDE World Candidates Tournament, 25-year old Sergey Karjakin (right) from Russia has qualified to challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen.   The World Championship match will be held in New York, over twelve rounds, from 11 - 30 November.

World #13 Karjakin (2760) is 10½ months older than 25-year old Carlsen (2851).   Most commentators seem to feel that the result is a foregone conclusion, but Karjakin has several months to prepare and will certainly put up a fight.

Karjakin finished the Candidates Tournament on 8½/14, a full point ahead of nearest challengers Caruana and Vishy Anand.

All 56 games from the event can be viewed here.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Southend results

The Southend Easter Congress, held at the Adult Education College (right), ended today.

On 4½/6, Alan Merry lost to GM Simon Williams in the final round today and finished the event in 8th place.   Alan still needs another 34 rating points to claim the International Master title.   Andy Lewis also lost today; his 4½ points earned him 12th place, but he lost 12 rating points in the process, taking his 'live' rating to 2276.

David Spence, seeded 17th, finished in 10th place, also on 4½ points and a gain of 17 rating points.   David has improved his rating by over 70 points in the past month.

Ed Player faded after a splendid start to finish on 3½ points, losing the last two rounds to lower-rated opponents.   Steve Gregory also finished on 3½ points (50%).

If any of the Suffolk players had an interesting game or position, please send it to me!

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Happy Easter - in Southend

Seven Suffolk players have travelled to Southend for their annual Easter Congress.   Five of these are playing in the seven-round four-day FIDE Open, alongside four GMs, three IMs and seven FMs.

After five rounds, Alan Merry and Andy Lewis are doing well on 3½ points, with David Spence and Ed Player close behind on three points.   Steve Gregory has 1½ points.   Ed Player was joint leader after three rounds, but then faced the two top seeds, both GMs, in Rounds 4 and 5.

Keith Woodcock finished on 3/5 in the weekend u145 event, whilst Roger Smith scored 2½/5 in the u120 section.

Full results will be published here tomorrow.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Who will challenge Carlsen?

The FIDE World Candidates Tournament, currently taking place in Moscow, is reaching an exciting conclusion.   After 12 of the scheduled 14 rounds, at least six of the eight competitors are in with a chance of winning the event and thus gaining the honour of challenging World Champion Magnus Carlsen.   The 12-game World Championship will take place next November in New York, where the two contestants will be competing for a prize fund of at least a million euros.

After 12 rounds the joint leaders in the Candidates are Fabiano Caruana and Sergey Karjakin, on seven points.   They are closely followed by Vishy Anand (6½ points) and Anish Giri, Peter Svidler and Lev Aronian, all on six points.

Round 13 takes place tomorrow, Sunday with Round 14 on Monday.   The final round pairs Caruana and Karjakin, and this could be the match that decides who the 'challenger' will be.

The official site is here.   Live games can be watched on a number of chess websites, including ChessBomb.   Games start at midday UK time.

Friday, 25 March 2016

Coaching in schools

A number of experienced local chess-players are involved with coaching in Suffolk schools.   These include Steve Gregory (Whitton Primary), Andrew Shephard (Ipswich Prep), Paula Allen and Alex Sheerin (The Meadows Montessori) and Bill Mackintosh (Creeting St Mary and Bosmere Primaries).   David Green and John Barratt assist Bill Mackintosh on occasions.

But perhaps the most active is Saxmundham's Mike Usher (pictured right) who receives some funding from Chess in Schools and Communities (CSC) to coach at two Ipswich schools, Ranelagh Primary and The Oaks, as well as two schools in Norfolk.

As SCCA President I am particularly keen to see more involvement with schools in the county.   Many schools will be willing to form chess clubs, provided an experienced adult can be found to run the club.   It's also worth checking out the CSC website, to see if any Suffolk school has requested assistance.

Apologies for anyone not mentioned above.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

End of the season approaches

Easter usually heralds the end of the league season in the Suffolk League.   But because Easter comes so early this year, there are several matches still to be played.

In Division 1, the final matches take place next week.   Unbeaten Ipswich C need 2½ points from their match on Tuesday against Saxmundham A, who in turn need two points to avoid relegation.   All to play for!

Division 2 won't be concluded until late April.   Ipswich D look favourites for promotion, needing 3½ points from their last two matches.   At the other end of the table, Manningtree B will almost certainly be relegated.

Division 3 is the closest division, with three teams in with a chance of promotion.   Ipswich E are leading Ipswich F by two points and Bury St Edmunds D by three points, but have only one match remaining.   The other two teams both have two matches to play.

Go here to see the latest league tables.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Suffolk Cup & Plate

The finalists for the Cup & Plate competitions are now known.

Cup   -   Ipswich B v Manningtree A
Plate   -   Ipswich F v Bury St Edmunds D

Both matches will be played at the Ipswich club on Tuesday 3 May.

Monday, 21 March 2016

Under 11s crash out

The Suffolk Under 11 team (pictured above) travelled to Twickenham (Middlesex) on Saturday to play in the EPSCA East Zone Finals.   This was an extremely strong event, with teams such as Barnet, Richmond and Kent competing for honours.   Nine teams entered, with the top six due to qualify for the National Finals.

Suffolk's team reflected the parlous state of junior chess in the county: only one player had a grade of 100+ and two team members were as young as six and seven (perhaps that's a promising sign for the future!)   Despite 'borrowing' four players from Norfolk, Suffolk finished in last place, scoring only 10½ points out of a possible 60.   The winners were the usual suspects Barnet, who scored 50 points.

Unfortunately, traffic problems meant that only 18 players turned up, making a difficult situation even worse.

Most of the team came from either Woodbridge School (eight) or Bury Knights JCC (seven).   The top three boards were Bury Knights' members, and between them they scored 4½ points, with Board 2 Jaden Jermy unbeaten on two points.   They faced very tough opposition, with Board 1 Adam John losing to a grade 143.   Probably the best results were Jaden's draw against a 144 and Board 3 Tom Roy's draw against a 136.   Three Woodbridge School players chalked up excellent wins: six-year old Rowan Kent beat a 111 grade in the first round; Marina Pommier beat a grade 72; and Juliet Porter scored 2/3 including a win against an 88-graded player - from Barnet!

Our thanks goes to Team Manager Boby Sebastian (Adam John's Dad) for organising the team and transport.   Also to Paula Allen who stepped in at the last moment to act as a board steward.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

4NCL weekend 4

A total of 17 Suffolk players were in 4NCL action over the weekend, at Wakefield (Divisions 1 and 2) and Telford (Divisions 3 and 4).

In Division 1, the three Suffolk players performed very well, each scoring 1½/2, including draws against Grandmasters.   IM Dagne Ciuksyte (2328) drew with GM Mark Hebden; FM Alan Merry (2367) drew with GM Matthew Turner; and IM Justin Tan (2441) drew with GM Jonathan Speelman - see photo below.

In Division 2, Anglian Avengers 1 drew 4 - 4 on Saturday, but lost 3 - 5 today.   Andy Lewis drew both his games, whilst Steve Gregory won one and lost one.

In Division 3, Anglian Avengers 2 drew 3 - 3 on Saturday, but won convincingly by 5 - 1 today.   All five Suffolk players were unbeaten, with Silas Peck winning both games.

In Division 4, Iceni 1 won 4½-1½ yesterday, but could only draw 3 - 3 today.   They now stand in third place in this division and are hoping to achieve promotion to Division 3 for next season.   Captain John Feavyour had an excellent weekend, winning both games, whilst John Peters was unbeaten on top board.   Iceni 2 had a difficult weekend, losing both matches.   Saxmundham's Mike Usher, playing in the 4NCL for the first time, was unbeaten on 1½ points.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Two Committee posts filled

Ever since the Annual General Meeting last June there have been a number of vacancies outstanding on the SCCA Committee.   Foremost amongst these are the posts of Vice-President and Admin Secretary.

It is with great pleasure that it can be reported that two willing volunteers have been found:

Vice-President   -   Leon Burnett (Manningtree)
Admin Secretary   -   Kevin Greenacre (Ipswich)

Of course, these posts will be 'Acting' until they are confirmed at the next AGM (to be held at Ipswich Chess Club on Tuesday 7 June).

With the appointment of Bob Stephens to replace Jim Buis as Correspondence Captain (as reported here), that leaves just one important post to be filled, that of Junior Organiser.

At present, junior activities in the County are limited to a small number of dedicated individuals, running junior clubs (Bury and Martlesham) and a few schools, as well as Boby Sebastian, Manager of the Suffolk Under 11 team.

What is still needed is one person to co-ordinate all junior activities and perhaps to encourage further uptake in schools and adult clubs.

Friday, 18 March 2016

Bury Knights awards evening

The annual awards presentation took place this evening at the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club, attended by 34 members and many parents.

The following trophies were awarded:

Best attendance (100%)   -   Tom Roy
Most improved member   -   Jaden Jermy
Most promising newcomer   -   Edison Lorejo
Most promising girl   -   Amy John
Most enthusiastic member (two awards) - Holly Vadakelan & Tania Roy
Player of the Year   -   Adam John

The final two rounds of the Club Championship were also played this evening.   In the final round, Mario Saenz de Villaverde lost to Jaden Jermy, who becomes Club Champion for the current season.

The photo above shows (left to right): Tania, Amy, Edison, Tom, Adam and Jaden.   (not in photograph - Holly)

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Hou Yifan is World Champion

The Womens' World Championship has been won by China's Hou Yifan.   She convincingly won the ninth game of her ten-round match with Ukraine's Mariya Muzychuk, to gain an unassailable lead of six points to three.

See the earlier article for more information.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Mike Cook is Champion

Many congratulations, once again, to Mike Cook on retaining the title of Champion of Ipswich Chess Club for 2016.   Mike remained unbeaten throughout the six round competition, winning four games outright and dropping only two half-points, namely to Steve Gregory and Ted Matthewson.

Over two years have now elapsed since any Ipswich Chess Club member (it was Steve Gregory) has been able to defeat Mike in the Club Championship.

A grand achievement by Mike who is a worthy winner.   In just over two months' time, Mike will celebrate his 80th birthday!

Thanks to Les Jones for this report.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Suffolk Junior Open results

The Suffolk Junior Open tournament, organised by IM Adam Hunt, was held at Woodbridge School on Sunday.   There was a disappointing entry of only 59 juniors.

There are trophies at every age-group from Under 7 to Under 18, but some sections were not competed for.

The following Suffolk Champions were awarded trophies:

Under 8   -   Rowan Kent (Woodbridge School)
Under 9   -   Marina Pommier (Woodbridge School)
Under 10   -   Adam John (Bury Knights JCC)
Under 11   -   Jaden Jermy (Bury Knights JCC)
Under 12   -   Jake Cartwright (Woodbridge School)
Under 13   -   Ralph Martin & Alan John (both Bury Knights JCC)
Under 14   -   Alex Sheerin (Ipswich CC)
Under 15   -   Joe Ross (Ipswich School)
Under 18   -   Lai Chun (Woodbridge School)

As can be seen, most of the winners are from Woodbridge School and Bury Knights JCC.   It would be good, in future, to see other clubs and schools more represented.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Suffolk First Team results

Suffolk's First Team, captained by Ian Wallis, narrowly lost both their matches today.   Norfolk reversed the scoreline from earlier in the season, winning 8½-7½, whilst Cambridgeshire ran out winners by 9 points to 7.

The Suffolk team was a little weaker than usual, missing top board Alan Merry amongst others.   However, reserves David Brown (1½/2) on Board 15 and Malcolm Lightfoot (2/2) on 16 both performed admirably.   No one else won both games, but top board David Spence, as well as Mike Cook, scored 1½ points.

Cambridgeshire, who also fielded a relatively weak team today, are EACU Champions for 2015/16, with Suffolk runners-up.   The final table can be seen here (although this is subject to change if Hertfordshire's results are made 'double-headers').

Saturday, 12 March 2016

FIDE Women's World Championship approaches its conclusion

The 10-round Final, between current World Champion and World No.4 Mariya Muzychuk from Ukraine and China's World No.1 Hou Yifan started on 2 March.   After eight rounds Hou leads 5 - 3, so Muzychuk needs to win both the remaining games to stand a chance of retaining her title.   Although she has drawn six of the games so far, she is yet to win a game against the challenger, who will have the White pieces in tomorrow's game.

The showdown is taking place in Mariya’s home city of Lviv, Ukraine.   The opening ceremony was a lavish and well-attended affair, as can be seen here.

Games can be viewed here.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Manningtree's new website

Manningtree Chess Club have radically updated their website - see here.   It now includes detailed match reports (worth a read, even if your team is not participating).

Other clubs, notably Ipswich (whose website is more than two years out of date) should take notice.   These days it's vital to have an online presence.   If a chess player is moving to your town, he or she will Google 'Chess/Town'.   If you want to attract new members, make sure your website looks good and, importantly, is up-to-date.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

Clacton kids

John Lambert has sent in the press cutting below, from the Clacton Gazette of 5 February:

John adds: "As you can see the event has grown in popularity.   Melvin Steele and I now coach at Engaines Primary whilst Steve Gregory coaches at Whitton Primary in Ipswich.   We expect to have more entrants in the June competition, so if any other Suffolk Junior school with a team of six would like to participate then they should get in touch with either Richard O'Brien or me.   Engaines A only dropped three points out of their 36 games."

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

New Correspondence captain

Manningtree's Bob Stephens has agreed to take over from long-serving Jim Buis as the County Correspondence captain.   This is excellent news, and will ensure that Suffolk can continue to participate in the annual competition.

The current situation in Division 1 (Ward-Higgs) is that Suffolk have scored 3½ points out of a possible seven (all draws!).   Unusually, these results all come from the top four boards; none of the bottom four boards have finished any of their games.

Suffolk are mid-table and provided some of the outstanding matches are won or drawn, we should avoid relegation.   This would be quite an achievement, having been promoted last season.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

County First Team

The Suffolk First Team is due to play against Cambridgeshire and Norfolk on Sunday this week.   The match against Cambridgeshire is important, as it will most probably decide the EACU Championship.   Cambs are currently top, with 10 points from six matches, whilst Suffolk are second, with 8 points from five matches.

On 7 February, Suffolk played Cambridgeshire in the morning, losing for the first time this season by the score of 5½-10½.   The only Suffolk player to record a win was top board Alan Merry.   In the afternoon, Suffolk were due to play Hertfordshire, but they were unable to field a team, so the Suffolk players all went home early!

There is some debate amongst the EACU county captains as to what should be done.   It seems that some 'double-headers' may need to be played.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress today

The Suffolk Chess website is back in action today, after a four-week 'holiday'!

The Junior Congress at Bury St Edmunds today attracted 109 entrants, by far the highest entry in recent years.   The venue, Moreton Hall Community Centre, was crowded, with parents having to find seats in various rooms of the Centre.   The Under 18, Under 11 and Under 9 sections were held in the Main Hall, whilst the Under 14 section took place in the Conference Room.

27 girls entered, nearly 25% of the total.   Most of the entrants came from Cambridgeshire, with only 38 players coming from Suffolk.   This was disappointing; several schools in Ipswich are now running chess clubs, but only the Meadows Montessori school managed to send four entrants.

The section winners were:

Under 18 - Karthik Saravanan (Gt Yarmouth)
Under 14 - Julius Jackson (Cambridge)
Under 11 - Alexander Hsieh (Cambridge)
Under 9 - Aarnavh Trivedi (Balsham, Cambs)

Karthik is the East Anglian Junior Champion for 2016.

Suffolk prizewinners included:

Alex Sheerin (Ipswich) 2nd in the Under 18s
Adam John (Bury Knights) 3rd= in the Under 18s
Daniel Garcia-Leon (Bury St Edmunds) 2nd= in the Under 14s
Tom Roy (Bury Knights) 3rd= in the Under 11s
Ralph Martin (Bury Knights) shared the u13 prize (in the u14s)
Rowan Kent (Woodbridge) and Amy John (Bury Knights) shared the u8 prize (in the u9s)