Thursday, 29 September 2016

Suffolk has a new First Team Captain

Following the plea on this website a couple of weeks ago, a new captain has been found for the Suffolk First Team.   For this season only, John Peters (left) will be taking over the helm.

John will receive support from Ian Wallis, the outgoing captain, who will be providing contact details for team members.   And if John cannot play for any reason, Ian has said that he will do whatever is needed on the day.

After this season, Steve Ruthen will be taking over for 2017-18 and, hopefully, the foreseeable future.   Steve will be retiring next year and will have more time to concentrate on chess.

It is hoped that those who usually play in the First Team will give John their full support.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

4NCL 2016-2017

There will be at least four Suffolk-based teams playing in the 4NCL this season.

Anglian Avengers 1, following their second place in Division 2 last season, have been promoted to Division 1.   Their second team will play in Division 3 (South).

Iceni will again field two teams, one in Division 3 (South) and the other in Division 4.

Anyone interested in playing in the 4NCL should contact either Ian Wallis (Anglian Avengers) or John Feavyour (Iceni).

The first matches in Division 1 will be played on 19/20 November at Wokefield Park, near Reading, whilst Divisions 3 and 4 will be at the same venue a week later, 26/27 November.   A year ago, part of the hotel was destroyed in a major fire - see here - but it has since re-opened.

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

RIP Mark Dvoretsky

The renowned chess coach and author Mark Dvoretsky has died at the age of 68.   You can read an excellent article and tribute to him here.

He published many books, some of which are available on my Amazon website:

School of Chess Excellence 1: Endgame Analysis   -   £11.20
School of Chess Excellence 3: Strategic Play   -   £11.20
School of Chess Excellence 4: Opening Developments   -   £11.20
Dvoretsky's Analytical Manual   -   £22.20
Secrets of Chess Training   -   £12.20
Secrets of Chess Tactics   -   £9.20

To buy any of these books, you will need to go to my Amazon site and search for the book you require.   Postage is additional at £2.80 per book.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Suffolk teams

Suffolk usually runs three teams in the EACU Championships: First Team, Under 160 and Under 120.

The dates have been advised for the first round of matches for the Under 160s (Sunday 9 October) and the First Team (Sunday 16 October).   We are still seeking a First Team captain for the current season.

The Under 120s will face Norfolk and possibly Cambridgeshire in fixtures to be agreed in early 2017.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Cambridgeshire Rapidplay

The Cambridgeshire Rapidplay took place today at Whittlesford Village Hall with a record entry of 108 players in four sections.

Entrants included 18 from Suffolk (six adults and 12 juniors).   Section winners were (names in bold are from Suffolk):

Open   -   Alan Merry   5/5
Major   -   Russell Goodfellow   5/5
Challengers   -   Ryan Chan and Mark Johnson   4½/5
Juniors   -   Aaron Saenz de Villaverde   4½/5

Other Suffolk prizewinners included Roger Smith (Challengers =3rd) and Amy John (Juniors =2nd).

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Suffolk League is underway

The first matches of the season were played in Divisions 1 and 3 of the Suffolk League this week.   Next week it's the turn of Division 2.

All the results can be found on Dave Wild's website here.

It would be good to see some games and positions published on this website, so please don't be shy: send me your games!

In the meantime, here is the final position from my own game (as White) against Alex Sheerin, played on Tuesday.   I checked him on c6 and offered a draw, which he promptly accepted.   Should I have offered a draw, or should he have accepted?

See if you can work it out for yourself, without using a computer.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Isle of Man International

Three Suffolk players (and one former Suffolk player) will be travelling to the Isle of Man in a week's time for the annual International tournament, sponsored this year by   An incredibly strong line-up includes 47 Grandmasters, headed by three American players: Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura and Wesley So.

Alan Merry, Adam Taylor and Ed Player will be joined by David Whitehead, amongst the 137 entrants in the Masters section.

There is a £50,000 prize fund in the nine-round event, with a £12,000 first prize.   Two of last year's winners (GMs Sargissian and Fressinet) have entered, although they are well down the seedings, at #14 and #17.   Top English entrants are Michael Adams (#5) and David Howell (#16).

Alan Merry is still 18 rating points shy of the 2400 needed for his IM title.   With so many strong players (Alan is seeded #69) this must be a great opportunity for him to gain these necessary points.

The tournament website will provide round-by-round results as well as a link to live games, which start daily at 13.30 from 1 October.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Bury St Edmunds Congress latest

The 34th Bury St Edmunds Congress is exactly one month away.   It takes place at the Apex on 22/23 October.

Entries have been coming in steadily, and Congress Secretary Steve Lovell received a further four entries this evening at the Bury Club.   This brings the total number of entries to exactly 50.   This is roughly in line with entries in previous years; most players seem to leave things to the last minute before sending in their entry.

Remember, you can enter and pay online.   Just click here and follow the instructions!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Peter Keffler's books

As many of you will know, when Peter Keffler died last December he left a huge quantity of chess books, more than 3,000 of them and over 1,000 different titles.

I took over his stock and have been selling them on Amazon.   The net proceeds are being shared between Peter's estate and myself.

Since I started selling in April, I have sold more than 900 books.   They are all very reasonably priced, because we just want the books to be sold.   I have recently started selling in Europe as well as the UK, which has meant a considerable increase in sales.

To view the available books, go to the Amazon page here.   You will need to scroll through a lot of pages though!

Amazingly, I have not yet sold a single book on Amazon to a Suffolk player....

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Full house at Ipswich

It was a full house at Ipswich this evening for the first League matches of the season.   Three Ipswich teams (A, E and F) were in action, as well as a match between teams from Saxmundham and Bury St Edmunds, who were using Ipswich as a 'halfway' venue.

It was good to see several juniors in action, including a whole team of youngsters from the Bury club.   These included possibly the youngest-ever player in local League chess, Rowan Kent (pictured right), who is not yet 7½ years old.   Although he lost, his game lasted two hours and 53 moves.   Rowan gets around: he lives in Ipswich, attends Woodbridge School and is a member of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club.   In July he played in two age-group sections of the British Championships, in Bournemouth.

For the record, Ipswich A beat Bury St Edmunds B 2½ - 1½; Ipswich E lost ½ - 3½ to Manningtree C; and Ipswich F beat Felixstowe 3 - 1.   The other match between Saxmundham B and Bury St Edmunds E was drawn.   In that match 10-year old Adam John (129) beat Dominic Carter (139).

Monday, 19 September 2016

The future of the UK Chess Challenge

As many chess players will be aware, the organiser of the UK Chess Challenge, Mike Basman (right), has been declared bankrupt on account of his debt of £300K to HMRC for unpaid VAT.

The UKCC has been operating for 20 years and has never charged VAT on entry fees, despite the turnover exceeding the VAT threshold.

The chess world seems split over their reaction to Mike's predicament.   Clearly, he has been errant in not checking if VAT was chargeable and did not employ an accountant (who would, almost certainly, have advised him that it was).   There is some sympathy for Mike who has introduced chess to thousands of children over the years.   Whether the UKCC can continue is in doubt.   It may need to be re-badged and almost certainly Mike Basman will not be taking a leading role.

A petition has been organised to try and get chess (or junior chess at least) exempted from VAT.   All physical sports are exempt, but 'mind sports' are not.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Dagne at the Olympiad

Suffolk's Dagne Ciuksyte (left) had a good Olympiad in Baku, which finished on 13 September.   Playing mainly on Board 2 for England, Dagne scored an unbeaten 6½ out of 9 (+4, =5, -0).   She won both games when she played on Board 1.

The best performance for the England Women team was by 15-year old Akshaya Kalaiyalahan (graded 214 ECF), who scored 7½/10 and gained 29 rating points from the event.

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Bury Knights Open Evening

The Bury Knights Junior Chess Club held an Open Evening yesterday.   It was full house at Horringer Court Middle School, with 25 current members supplemented by 22 newcomers.   That's the largest number of children there has been at the Club for several years.

Some 20 parents were given a talk about the background to the Club, which is celebrating its 25th year of continuous operations this season.

Ed Player coached the top group of club members (photo right), whilst former members Alba and Mario Saenz helped some of the newcomers who hadn't played chess before.

Some of the club members joined in with the coaching groups.   In the photo below Amy John and Tia Martin (in Club polo shirts) are helping Adam Leigh (kneeling left).

Remember, you can click on any of the photos to enlarge them.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Cambridgeshire Rapidplay next Sunday

The Cambridgeshire Rapidplay, organised by Paul Kemp, is taking place at Whittlesford Village Hall on Sunday 25 September.

Entries are pouring in and with a limit of 100, anyone wishing to play must get their entry in as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.

If you don't have an entry form, you can contact Paul at or by phone at 01223 873081.

The tournament has four sections: Open, Major (u160), Challengers (u120) and Juniors (u80 and under 12).   The five-round event is Rapidplay graded and starts at 10.00.   The (Fischer) time limits are 20 minutes each, plus 10 seconds increment from move 1.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

First Team Captain needed

Ian Wallis has been the Suffolk First Team Captain for several years.   He announced earlier that 2015/16 would be his final year as captain.   Now we are into the new season and no replacement has been found.

The first match of the season will probably be on 16 October, just a month away.   If no one steps forward, there will be no Suffolk team.   It's as simple as that.   Don't expect Ian to change his mind and relent, because he won't.

Last season some 24 players represented Suffolk, so there are 23 potential captains.   It's not a particularly onerous task, especially if you are organised.   You send out emails well in advance of a fixture and collate the responses.   Some 'chasing' is necessary, because not everyone is efficient at replying.

Please let either me or Ian know if you would like to take on this role.   We need to inform the EACU Organiser (Patrick Ribbands) soon if we are not taking part this season.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Digital chess clocks

Following a recent bulk purchase, I have four DGT 2010 chess clocks available for sale.   As they come from Holland, the price has gone up with the recent problems with the Euro exchange rate.   However, I will let these clocks go for £50.00 each.   Postage will be extra, but if you are a Suffolk player/club, then no doubt our paths will cross soon and clocks and cash can be exchanged.

If you would like to buy a clock, please let me know soon.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

England results at the Olympiad

After the final (11th) round today, England finished in equal fourth place, level on points with six other teams.   On tie-break, England finished ninth.

Today's match was a disappointment.   Facing a lower-rated Peru team, they could only manage a 2 - 2 draw.   Just one extra half-point would have given England the win, and fourth place on their own.

England's Board 1, Michael Adams, was unbeaten through the tournament, finishing on 6/9, gaining seven rating points.   Gawain Jones scored an excellent 7/9, whilst Nigel Short on bottom board, scored 6½/9.   It was England's Boards 2 and 3 who had a poor tournament.   David Howell won his first two games against weaker opposition, but could only achieve four draws from his remaining eight games.   Luke McShane scored +2, =2, -3 for 3/7.

As reported earlier, England beat third-seeded China in Round 6.   Then in Round 10 they beat fourth seeds Azerbaijan 2½-1½.   It was just a pity that England failed to take full advantage of matches against some of the weaker teams.

The full England results can be seen here.

Monday, 12 September 2016

BACL Game of the Season winner (Division 3)

There is an annual competition in the Bury Area League for the best game played in each of the three divisions.   Winners receive a £25 prize.

The winner of the Division 3 prize for 2015/16 was Adam Leigh of the Bury St Edmunds club, who also won the Player of the Season trophy, scoring seven points out of eight.

Here is Adam's winning game, where he was playing Black against Cambridge's Stan Bazyk.   Annotations by Adam:

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Bury Congress is next month

The 34th Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress is now just six weeks away.   It takes place at the Apex over the weekend of 22/23 October.

To date there are 34 entrants, but it's expected that numbers will exceed 150 on the day.

There are four graded sections: Open, u170, u145 and u120.   Previous winner and highest-graded English GM Matthew Sadler (pictured right) has entered again, so if you fancy your chances against such a strong player, enter the Open and hope for a good draw!

You can enter (and pay) online here.

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Ipswich Junior Chess Club off to a good start

The Ipswich Junior Chess Club got off to a good start this morning.

Organiser Martin Tomes reports:

"Re-formed and off to an enthusiastic start, the Ipswich Junior Chess club met at the main Library on Northgate Street for the first time.   Excellent facilities, with private kitchen and toilets, and ever-helpful library staff.   Some of the Ipswich Senior Club members plus parents helped out as 12 juniors came along.

A nice buzz to proceedings, as conversations welcomed and everyone present wanting to come back next Saturday at 10:00am.

Organiser knackered, but back for more.   The Club is booked up every Saturday to Dec 17th.   We already have an offer of a match from Norwich Junior Chess Club.... what an incentive..."

Friday, 9 September 2016

England teams in the Olympiad

The two England teams (Open and Women) are currently competing in Baku, Azerbaijan.   Suffolk's Dagne Ciuksyte is on Board 2 for the Women and is currently unbeaten on 4½/6.   Sadly, the rest of her team is not faring so well.

The Open team is having a good tournament.   Having convincingly won their last two matches against Vietnam and Chile, they faced third seeds China today.   All four members of the China team are rated over 2700.   The result was an astounding 3 - 1 win for England, who move into joint runners-up spot, with six wins out of seven.   They are actually placed sixth on tie-break, the same as their seeding.

England's Board 1, Michael Adams, beat Yue Wang (2737) when the latter blundered on move 35.   And Nigel Short, who is having a great tournament (5/6), won against an opponent rated 80 points higher, again following a blunder, this time on move 36.

It doesn't get any easier, as tomorrow England face India, with 2803-rated Harikrishna on top board (but there's no Anand).   India were thrashed 3½-½ by USA today, who now take top spot on 13 points (six wins and a draw).

Click here to see the results and here to view live games (starting at 13.00 GMT daily).   The official site can be seen here.

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Bury League Jamboree

The annual start-of-the-season Jamboree was held this evening at Moreton Hall Community Centre in Bury St Edmunds.   12 teams participated, six of which were from the Bury club.

Before the games started, the annual trophies were presented.   Pictured below, receiving trophies from BACL Admin Secretary Steve Lovell (clockwise from top left) are:

Kevin Clark (Linton A - Division 1 winners)
Patrick Ribbands (Linton Blacks - Division 2 winners)
Giulio Sahinoz (Linton Whites - Division 3 winners)
Tim Lunn (Division 1 - Joint Player of the Year)

Linton maintained their winning habit, scoring 11½/12 in the Jamboree, with perfect 3/3 scores for Kevin Clark and the two juniors, Giulio Sahinoz and Aarnavh Trivedi.   Only Martin Pinner dropped half a point.

The League starts in earnest next week, with matches in Divisions 1 and 3.

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Chess at the Apex

The Tuesday afternoon Club at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds has continued to meet every week over the summer.   Attendance usually varies between 8 and 12 members.

In the photo above, familiar faces include John Peters (playing Jon Collins), Dave Clark and Chris Davison.

The Club is open to all-comers, and there is no charge.   You can even park your car in the nearby Council car park for free after 3 pm.

Monday, 5 September 2016

The Ipswich Phoenix

Rising from five-year old stone-cold ashes, the Ipswich Junior Chess Club is about to re-emerge into the light of day.   Prime mover Martin Tomes of the Ipswich Chess Club has laid all the necessary foundations.   All he needs now is a large number of children to turn up on Saturday morning at 10.00 am at the Ipswich Library.   The new Club will welcome children aged between 6 and 16, of any standard.

Martin has put in a lot of hard work to reach this position and he deserves active support from members of the adult club.   Every chess club needs to have a cohort of juniors ready to step into the shoes of their older members.   The success of the Bury St Edmunds club in recent years can largely be attributed to its 'youth' policy; the Club currently runs four teams of juniors.

The new Junior Club in Ipswich has been heralded in the Ipswich Star - see here.

Last Saturday a number of children and their parents came to the Library for a discussion on the new Club.   They were able to have a few games with members of the adult club, as well as playing on a giant chessboard.

Suffolk Chess wishes the new club every success and looks forward to photos of the first meeting!

Sunday, 4 September 2016

County First team lose to Norfolk

The County First team, captained by Ian Wallis, finished as runners-up to Cambridgeshire in the EACU tournament.   The top three teams in the EACU qualify for the national stages, so Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk competed with six other counties in the first round of the national Minor Counties competition.

After one preliminary match, between Cornwall and Lincolnshire, eight counties were paired in the quarter-finals.   Suffolk were drawn against Somerset, whilst Cambridgeshire faced Leicestershire and Norfolk played Nottinghamshire.   All three EACU teams won their matches, with Suffolk having the most convincing of victories, 14½-1½ against a weak Somerset team.

In the semi-finals, Cambridgeshire lost to Lincolnshire, whilst Suffolk faced 'old enemies' Norfolk.   Played on 12 June, Suffolk's team was as strong as could be allowed under the rules (average grade under 180), but Norfolk won by 9½ points to 6½.   Despite good wins on the top boards by Dagne Ciuksyte and Graham Moore, boards 3 to 12 could only muster four draws between them.   The only other Suffolk winner was Richard Lamont on Board 13.

Norfolk went on to beat Lincolnshire in the Final by 9 points to 7.

Ian Wallis is standing down as First Team captain.   A replacement is urgently needed!

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Norfolk & Suffolk Cup returns to Suffolk

The Final of the Norfolk & Suffolk Cup took place at the end of May.   The Norfolk winners, Broadland Chess Club, hosted the Suffolk winners Bury St Edmunds.

This was the third successive year that these two clubs have competed in the Final.   Bury St Edmunds had beaten Ipswich 4 - 2 in the Suffolk Final, with wins for Mike Harris, Ed Player, Chris Davison and John Peters.

The Final was won by Bury St Edmunds by the same score, 4 - 2.   The Bury team was heavily outgraded (by more than 10 points per board on average) and were missing a key player, Mark LeVine, who had misunderstood pickup instructions.   'Non-playing' captain Laurie Pott was forced into last-minute action, with the bottom three boards having to play a board higher than expected.

The result was as follows (Broadland names first):
Kamil Przybyla (209)    0 - 1    Mike Harris (203)
Gerald Moore (186)    ½ - ½    Ed Player (198)
Ken McEwan (186)    1 - 0    John Peters (179)
Roy Hughes (189)    ½ - ½    Alan Watkins (165)
Karthik Saravanan (171)    0 - 1    Richard Lamont (168)
Daniel Frean (175)    0 - 1    Laurie Pott (135)

As can be seen from these results, the key to Bury's success was on the lower boards, with Alan Watkins gaining an excellent draw and Richard Lamont and Laurie Pott both winning their games.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Back on line and ready for the new season

This is the first posting of the new season.   From now on, readers can expect a new article every day.

I welcome news from the clubs in Suffolk.   Please send anything of interest to me.

The fixtures for the Leagues and Cups have been published for all to see on Dave Wild's website - here.

There is a total of 22 teams playing in the three divisions this season, an increase of one from 2015/16.

Over the next few days there will be a catch-up of events that have taken place over the summer.   We will also look forward to the first meeting of the re-formed Ipswich Junior Chess Club, taking place on Saturday 10 September.