Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Norfolk Rapidplay Congress

The annual Norfolk Rapidplay Congress took place last Sunday at the Gas Club in Norwich.

This event is divided into three sections: Championship, Challengers (u140) and u100.   The total entry was 42, an improvement of five from last year.

The winner of the Championship was IM Alan Merry, who won all six games.   In equal second place on 4½ points were David Spence and Stephen Orton.   The only other Suffolk player in this 17-player section was Jon Collins, who scored 2½ points.

There were 16 entrants in the Challengers section, where the only Suffolk player, Rory Goldsmith, finished equal 4th on 3½ points.

There were no Suffolk entrants in the u100 section, where only nine played.

Monday, 30 January 2017

New ECF grades published

The January 2017 ECF grades have been published this evening.

Click here to see your new grade!

Some major improvements (+ 6 points or more) from:
Nathan Barnes (Clacton)   -   from 148 to 156
Chris Davison (Bury)   -   from 183 to 190
Jaden Jermy (Bury)   -   from 110 to 123
Mark Le-Vine (Bury)   -   from 173 to 182
David Mabbs (Saxmundham)   -   from 170 to 180
Silas Peck (Ipswich)   -   from 176 to 186
Tom Roy (Bury)   -   from 91 to 102
Nick Savage (Ipswich)   -   from 180 to 186
Mike Usher (Saxmundham)   -   from 140 to 147

Apologies to anyone who has been omitted!

Sunday, 29 January 2017

English Closed Championships (under 12)

Following his success in the London Junior Championships just after Christmas, when he scored 6/9, Jaden Jermy (right) of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club was invited to participate in the English Closed Championships, held at Yateley Manor in Hampshire over this weekend. The tournament was 'invitation-only', and featured many of the strongest Under 12s in the country.

16 youngsters entered, with Jaden (110 ECF) seeded 13th.   The top two seeds were both graded over 150.   12 of the entrants came from the Home Counties (Surrey, Kent, Sussex, Middlesex), which has always been the hotbed of English Juniors.   Jaden was the only entrant from the East of England.

Jaden took a half-point bye in Round 1, due to the distance he had to travel.   Over the next four rounds he drew three and won one, to remain unbeaten for the event.   His total of three points has earned him selection to the England Junior Squad!   This means that he will almost certainly be selected to play for England in forthcoming international matches.

Jaden is now looking forward to the imminent publication of the new ECF grades, which should see him improve his grade substantially.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

British Championships

The British Chess Championships will take place this year in Llandudno, North Wales, between 28 July and 6 August.

It's possible to enter online now.

There is a wide range of events, including weekend tournaments, weekday tournaments, and age-group events from Under 8 to 65+.

Entry to the main British Championship is either by qualification or exemption.   Players graded 218 or higher gain automatic entry, as do those rated 2350 or higher.   There are other ways that players can qualify, for example all titled players (GM, IM, FM) are able to enter.

Others can qualify due to performance in certain events.   Amongst the list of qualifiers is John Peters, following his excellent score in the Major Open at last year's Championships in Bournemouth.   Also qualifying to enter are Ed Player (from the Isle of Man Masters), Graham Moore (Hertfordshire Open), Alan Merry (titled) and Adam Taylor (Junior 180+ last year).

Friday, 27 January 2017

Drug testing?

A major study has for the first time identified two stimulants that significantly boost a player's endurance and ability to concentrate during a match.

Dr Klaus Lieb, a professor of psychiatry and psychotherapy at the University of Mainz, in Germany, says: "There is (sic) lots of data showing that a subject in a sleep-deficient state or exhausted people do profit from an enhancer.   We recommend to introduce rigorous doping controls in chess competitions."

There's a detailed article in today's Daily Telegraph.   At first read, it feels like an April Fool's joke.

Really?!   It looks as if coffee should be banned, too.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Ever lost on time?

Just don't say that to Vassily Ivanchuk.   In Round 2 of the Gibraltar Masters yesterday, fourth seed 'Chucky' was in a winning position and thought he had made the 40-move time control.   But have a look at his scoresheet and see if you can spot what was wrong:

Yes, he missed out move 24 at the bottom of the scoresheet, which meant he had only played 39 moves.   His opponent apologetically pointed it out when the flag fell.

Along with Ivanchuk, both the two top seeds (Caruana and Vachier-Lagrave) could only manage draws, which left third and fifth seeds Nakamura and England's Michael Adams at the top of the standings.   Both the other English GMs, David Howell and Nigel Short, also won, to take their scores to 2 and 1½ respectively.

In the third round, played today, Michael Adams leads the standings, along with eight other GMs on three points.   Both David Howell and Nigel Short are on 2½ points.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

The dangers of pawn grabbing

The following position was reached yesterday (White, Franceys Allen, to play) against David Green in the third round of the Stowmarket Club Championship:

Franceys, who was short on time with about four minutes remaining, played Qxh7??

I'm sure you can work out how David can force a win, but in case you're struggling, the answer is lower down this page.

...f4+!   0 - 1

If Kxf4, then ... Qe5+,   Kg4   Qf5#
If Kg4, then ... Qf5#
If Kh6, then ... Qh5+, Kg7 and after the exchange of queens, Black's g-pawn will promote.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Gibraltar Congress gets under way

The 15th edition of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Congress got under way today, with the first round of the Masters event.   This 254-player Open, probably the strongest open tournament in the World, features no fewer than 72 Grandmasters, of whom 12 are rated over 2700.

There are no local entrants, but three of England's top GMs are playing.   Both Michael Adams and David Howell enjoyed comfortable wins, but Nigel Short was extremely fortunate to escape with a draw against his 2314-rated Dutch FM opponent.   In the position below, Short (Black) has just played 43... Qe8.

White now played 44. Rb4??, to which Short replied ... Qe1, threatening both rook and the h4 pawn.   White was virtually forced to play 45. Qd4 and after the exchange of rooks and 46...Qxd6, it was relatively easy for Short to draw the game.   Instead, White could have played 44. Rb1 (covering e1) or c5, with a huge and winning advantage.

To view results and live games, go to the Congress website.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Date set for Bury Junior Congress

The Bury St Edmunds Junior Chess Congress will take place on Sunday 5 March at the usual venue, Moreton Hall Community Centre.

There will be four sections: Under 18, Under 11, Under 9 and 'My First Tournament'.   This latter section is designed to attract youngsters aged under 11 to enter an organised chess tournament for the first time.

The highest-placed qualifying entrant in the Under 18 section will be the EACU Junior Champion and will hold the trophy for one year.   To qualify, a player must either live in, or attend school, in Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Befordshire or Hertfordshire.

Due to space restrictions, the total number of entrants will be limited to 100.

Anyone requiring an entry form should email me.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Junior 4NCL results

Eight Bury Knights members travelled to Solihull this weekend to take part in the five-round Junior 4NCL event.   This tournament features some of the top juniors in the country.

Bury Knights were able to field two teams of four players ('Lions' and 'Tigers').   In order that all eight players could compete, the two teams were composed of roughly equal strength, ensuring that the average grade was below the required level to enter Division 2.   An alternative approach would have been to select the top four players to form a Division 1 team, but this would have left the Division 2 team rather weak.

After a flying start, when both teams recorded 4 - 0 wins in the first round, the teams did not fare quite so well.   By the end of the event, 'Lions' were on five points (two wins and a draw), whilst 'Tigers' were on four points (two wins).

Individual scores were as follows:


Adam John   3/4 (unbeaten - 2 wins and 2 draws)
Tom Roy   3/4
Ralph Martin   1½/4
Amy John   1/4
Tia Martin   1/4


Jaden Jermy   3½/5
Rowan Kent   3½/5
Toby Martin   1/4
(two other non-Bury Knights members also played for this team: Denis Dupuis scored 2/4 and Wilfred Hill-Wood scored 1/2)

Rowan's performance (see photo right) was exceptional.   Still aged only 7, he had a grading performance of 120.   He is now one of the strongest players for his age in the country.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Ed annotates a game from Hastings

White:   Ed Player (2239)
Black:   Miklos Galyas (2473)

Friday, 20 January 2017

Suffolk First Team

Following the article a week ago about the First Team's results, captain John Peters has provided the following brief report:

"Norfolk sit atop the EACU league table after combining to harvest wins against Hertfordshire and Suffolk.   However Suffolk overcame Cambridgeshire in the morning fixture and look to be favourites to take the second qualification place for the knockout stages.

Steve Gregory was the only Suffolk player to score 2/2 whilst Edmund Player, Graham Moore, Silas Peck and Alan Watkins all contributed 1½/2.

On paper this wasn't Suffolk's strongest team but we fought with resolve and the win against Cambridgeshire could prove crucial to the final standings.

The final matches are to take place on Sunday 19 February when Suffolk will face Bedfordshire in the morning and Cambridgeshire in the afternoon.   Should we beat Bedfordshire then Cambridgeshire will require at least a draw against Norfolk to set up a final match showdown in the afternoon.   I'll be sure to bring a calculator with me.

Thanks to everyone who played!"

Thursday, 19 January 2017

40 years ago

In 1976, the captain of the County First Team was (a much younger) Jim Buis.   In his report to the AGM, he advised that Suffolk were now playing in the Amboyne League, which was the equivalent of Division 3 of the Southern Counties Championship.

Suffolk played seven matches during the season, over 20 boards.   They beat Essex III, Surrey IV, Middlesex III, Kent III and Sussex III.   They lost to Surrey III in the last match of the season, and finished second in the table.   Suffolk also played Norfolk in a 21 board friendly, which ended all square.

Amongst the 44 players who represented Suffolk in one or more matches, included were Ian Wallis (scoring 5/8), Steve Gregory, Jim Buis, Roger Holt and Una Bartlett.   Still around in 2017, but not currently playing, were Chris Chambers, Chris Green and Sandy Peters (4½/6).

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

A Merry mate

Playing in the 4NCL Division 1 on Sunday, Alan Merry was easily beating fellow IM Richard Bates when the following position was reached (Richard had just played ...e4, attacking the rook.)

Alan played the obvious Rd6+ and Richard replied Ke5??

Alan's next move is very obvious too, but it's a pleasing checkmate anyway.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Norfolk & Suffolk Cup

For the first time in many, many years, there are more than two clubs competing in this season's Norfolk & Suffolk Cup (Suffolk section).   Manningtree have joined in the fray, and will play both Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds.

To date, only one match has been played, when Bury St Edmunds and Manningtree drew 3 - 3, with the former club winning on board count.

Ipswich entertain Manningtree next week, on 24 January, whilst Bury St Edmunds will play Ipswich at home on 16 February.

Bury St Edmunds have won the Suffolk section for the past three years and have faced Norfolk Champions Broadland each time.   Bury won in 2014 and 2016, whilst Broadland triumphed in 2015.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Division 1 update

Last week's match between Manningtree A and Bury St Edmunds B completed the first half of the season in Division 1, with all teams having played six matches.

Manningtree are the clear league leaders, with a four-point margin over second-placed Ipswich C.   The current league table can be viewed here.

Phil Hutchings, Manningtree's Board 4, is leading the individual statistics, with 5½ points from his six games.   Shaun Munson (Ipswich A) is close behind on five points.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

4NCL results

A total of 23 Suffolk players travelled to Northampton (Divisions 1 & 2) and Reading (Divisions 3 & 4) over the weekend to take part in Rounds 3 and 4 of this season's Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

Four players won both their games:

Alan Merry (Division 1) - playing for Barbican 1
Silas Peck (Division 3)
John Feavyour (Division 3)
Adam John (Division 4)

Suffolk-based team scores were as follows:

Anglian Avengers 1 (Division 1):   1½-6½ and 2½-5½
Anglian Avengers 2 (Division 3):   3½-2½ and 4 - 2
Iceni 1 (Division 3):   2½-3½ and 2 - 4
Anglian Avengers 3 (Division 4)   2½-2½ and 2 - 4
Iceni 2 (Division 4)   4 - 2 and ½-5½

Other individual scores (out of two):

Division 1
Andy Lewis   ½
Ed Player   ½
Adam Taylor   0
Shaun Munson   1

Division 2
Dagne Ciuksyte   ½ (1 game) - playing for Guildford 3

Division 3
Graham Moore   ½
Ian Wallis   1½
Steve Gregory   1
Leon Burnett   1½
Paul Botham   0
Steve Lovell   ½ (1 game)
Laurie Pott   ½ (1 game)

Division 4
Bob Jones   ½
Laurie Pott   1 (1 game)
Steve Lovell   0 (1 game)
Mike Usher   0
Dominic Carter   1
Tim Lunn   1½
Alex Sheerin   0
Keith Woodcock   1
Amy John   0 (1 game)

Team scores (out of a possible eight points from four rounds):

Anglian Avengers 1 (Division 1)   -   0
Anglian Avengers 2 (Division 3)   -   8 (2nd place)
Iceni 1 (Division 3)   -   0
Iceni 2 (Division 4)   -   4
Anglian Avengers 3 (Division 4)   -   3

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Jaden gets great publicity

12-year old Jaden Jermy, who plays league chess for Bury St Edmunds and is a member of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club, has received great publicity over the past couple of days.

The Marketing Manager at his school, Thetford Grammar, managed to persuade Eastern Daily Press to come to the school to interview Jaden.   The result was the article pictured right.

Other media soon caught on, and he (and his Mum Michelle) was interviewed on Good Morning Britain and Anglia TV.   There's also a good article in Friday's Bury Free Press.

Jaden has enjoyed a successful season so far and is hoping to obtain commercial sponsorship to enable him to receive high-level coaching.

Jaden, who had his 12th birthday on 1 January (a great day to have a birthday as he will be an Under 12 as far as FIDE is concerned for 2017), has a current ECF grade of 110 but is hoping for a substantial improvement when the new grades are published at the end of this month.

Friday, 13 January 2017

County First Team

The Suffolk First Team played last Sunday in the EACU Championships against Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Captain John Peters has promised a more detailed report, but in the meantime, here are the results:

Suffolk beat Cambridgeshire   8½-7½
Norfolk beat Suffolk   9 - 7

Individually, there were two wins for Steve Gregory, whilst Silas Peck and Alan Watkins both scored 1½ points.

After four rounds, Norfolk lead the table on 7 points, with Suffolk in second place on 5 points.   Cambridgeshire are on 4 points, whilst Bedfordshire have yet to gain a point.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

London Junior Championships

The second session of the London Junior Championships took place durnng the week after Christmas.   Three Suffolk children played in two tournaments: the Under 8s and the Under 12s.

7-year old Rowan Kent, who attends Woodbridge School, had a brilliant event in the Under 8 tournament, finishing joint second (out of 80 entrants) with 6 points from his seven games.   The winner, and top seed, won all seven games.

In the Under 12 Major tournament, Jaden Jermy, a few days short of his 12th birthday, scored an impressive 6/9 to finish joint 5th out of 85 entrants.   His grading performance was 137.   Also in this section, 10-year old Adam John finished on 5½/9.   But he will have another year at this level.

These three players, all members of the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club, will be playing in the Junior 4NCL next weekend (21/22 January), when the club will be fielding two teams.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Results from Hastings

The annual Hastings International Chess Congress finished last Thursday.   Local entrants Ed Player and Adam Taylor enjoyed varying degrees of success.

The entrants included 11 GMs and 12 IMs, so Ed Player's score of 5½/9 and joint 13th place was an excellent performance.   He lost in the first round to the eventual runner-up (Ed says he should have won that game), but then remained unbeaten for the rest of the event (three wins and five draws).   He drew with both GM Keith Arkell and GM Mark Kebden.   Ed will gain 20 rating points from his performance, taking his 'live' rating to 2259.

Adam finished on 4½ points and will gain 11 rating points.   He was unlucky to be drawn against former Suffolk player Justin Tan (who scored 6 points and finished joint seventh) in Round 8.   Adam's best result was a draw against GM Danny Gormally.

Ed has annotated some of his games and they will appear on this website later this week.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Christmas Quiz answers

Six entries were received for the puzzles.   Four were from local active players, one from a London player and the other from a former player (who now focuses on Bridge!).   They are (in alphabetical order):

Chris Chambers
Kevin Greenacre
Steve Lovell
Bill Mackintosh
Richard Saunders (London)
Andrew Shephard


Part 1
1   ,,,Ke4, e8(B)   d5, Bg6#
2   ...Kc6, e8(R)   d5, Re6#

Part 2
1   Bc3.   If ...e2, then Bd2#.   If gxh2, then either Bxe5#
2   Bxg4+   Kxg4,   Bxe2+   If Kf5 then Be6#.   If Kh3 then Be6#
There is an alternative answer to this puzzle (which the setter did not see).   Two people found this:   Bxg2+   Kxg2, Bxe2   If ...Kh1 then Bxe4#.   If ...Kh3 then Bf1#

Part 3
1a)   h1
1b)   a8
1c)   g7 (or b2)
2.   White retracts the move fxg8(N), capturing a bishop.   Instead plays f8(N)#
3a)   Black retracts K(f7)xg6
3b)   Replace a White knight on g6
3c)   Black plays Bxf6+
3d)   White plays Ne5#

Two entrants had perfect sets of solutions: Andrew Shephard and Richard Saunders.   Both will receive a new chess book.

Both Chris and Kevin omitted to mention that in 2-2, either bishop can mate by taking on e5.   Kevin made a typo in his answer to 1-1.   Sorry, but I had to be tough!

Steve's answers were basically correct, but he made three typos.   Bill didn't manage to complete all his answers.

Normal daily blogs will re-commence on Tuesday, as I'm away for the next two days.