Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Jaden's success in Norfolk

12-year old Jaden Jermy lives in Thetford but plays his chess in Suffolk (Bury Knights and Bury St Edmunds).   On Saturday he travelled to Norwich to take part in the Norfolk Junior Championships, which are open only to children living in, born in, or attending school in Norfolk.

Jaden scored 5½/6 in the Under 14 section, and is now the Norfolk Under 12 and Under 14 Champion!

As reported here, Jaden is now a full member of the England Junior Chess Squad and expects to be selected to play for England some time this year.   He is hoping to raise funds to cover his travel and coaching costs.

Any contribution by local chess players will be much appreciated!

Monday, 27 February 2017

Training Day in Brentwood

Nine Suffolk Juniors attended a training day yesterday in Brentwood, organised (amongst others) by International Master Richard Pert.

The photos below show the Bury Knights' members (Milan Biju, Rowan Kent, Adam John, Amy John, Isaac Kim and Tom Roy), as well as the Woodbridge School children Rowan Kent (again!), Marina, Georgia and Theo Pommier.   Behind them in both photos is GM Matthew Sadler, England's highest-graded player at 282, who was helping to coach the children, along with Richard's twin brother GM Nick Pert.

This was the second 'Train and Play' event organised by Richard Pert and Robin Slade, Head Coach of the Chelmsford Junior Chess Club.   The next one will be held on Sunday 2 April and entries can be made here.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Game Fee to be abolished?

The English Chess Federation is proposing to abolish Game Fee.   You can read a paper on this topic here.

To summarise, Game Fee is currently payable at the rate of £2.50 per game.   This applies to all players who are not ECF members.   The ECF would like to introduce a system whereby players are allowed three competitive (graded) games free of charge, before they are required to join the ECF.   The three 'free' games would be allowed for each league than a person plays in.   So a person who plays in both the Suffolk League and the Bury Area Chess League, would be allowed three games in each league before needing to take out Bronze membership.

Game Fee as it stands at present, involves often small amounts being invoiced to clubs.   This is not considered cost-effective.

Leagues will be invoiced £25.00 for each person who exceeds the three-game limit (£15.00 for Juniors).   Leagues, in turn, will obviously invoice the relevant club.

This proposal does not affect 'Pay-to-Play' fees in congresses.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

World Blindfold Simul record broken

Most club players would struggle to play a single game, blindfold.   We tried it at the Bury St Edmunds Club several years ago, and only Alan Watkins was able to master the technique.   So imagine playing five, or ten, or.... even 48 games, simultaneously, blindfolded.

Uzbekistani, GM Timur Gareyev (2618), the self-styled 'Blindfold King', who is now based in the USA, took on 48 opponents recently at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.   A detailed report, which includes an interesting history of blindfold chess, can be seen here.

For the record Timur won 35, drew 7 and lost only 6.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Back in 1990

The photo above was taken in 1990 (or thereabouts).   It shows the Suffolk Junior Championships when they were held in the Ipswich Corn Exchange.   Entries in the '90s often exceeded 300 children.

In those days we had an effective Junior Chess organisation, as can be seen from the chart below.   What we desperately need now is for someone to take up the challenge of organising and promoting chess for children within the county.   Both Essex and Cambridgeshire, and to a lesser extent Norfolk, have strong arrangements, with coaching and other events.

It has been too long with no Junior Organiser for the county.   Apart from the Bury Knights, Woodbridge School and a few state schools, there's not a lot of chess being played by children in Suffolk.   The Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress on 5 March has so far attracted more entrants from Cambridgeshire, than from Suffolk!

If anyone - a parent perhaps - is interested in promoting junior chess within the county, please have a chat with me.   I did the job for ten years (1988 to 1997) and it was an amazing, rewarding experience.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

EACU Team Championships

The following has been received from Patrick Ribbands:

The EACU Team Championships will take place at Moreton Hall Community Centre, Bury St. Edmunds, on Sunday 9 April.

There will be four sections: Open, Team 600, Team 500 and Team 400.

Teams consist of four players from the EACU but not necessarily from the same club.   EACU players are those living in or from clubs located in or affiliated to Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk or Suffolk.   Also eligible are people born in the county, or with five years' residence in the county at any time, or currently attending a school college or university in the county.

The Team 600 section is for teams with an aggregate grade of 600 or less in the January list though for this calculation anyone with a grade under 100 will be taken as 100.

The Team 500 section is a team with an aggregate grade of 500 or less though for this calculation anyone with a grade under 75 will be taken as 75.

The Team 400 section is for teams with an aggregate grade of 400 or less though for this calculation anyone with a grade under 50 will be taken as 50.

There will be a cash prize for the team with the most game points in each section but the number and value of prizes will depend on the number of entries.

The event uses the county match format of two rounds starting at 10.00 and 14.30.   If digital clocks are available for all boards of a match, the time control will be 36 moves in 80 minutes, followed by 10 minutes to finish the game, with an increment of 15 seconds per move from move one.   Results will be submitted for grading

The exact format of the competition will depend on the number of entries.   The entry fee is £20 per team payable on the day.   Any player who is not a member of the ECF will need to pay an extra £5.   The clubs that won the top division of the six EACU county leagues (Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and the Bury League) in 2015/16 are entitled to enter a team of entirely their club players at half price into the Open.

Tea and coffee will be provided free of charge.   Enquiries and entries should be made to Patrick Ribbands or to 01223 842197.   Entries by 28 March if possible please, though an early indication that you might raise a team would also be much appreciated.   Later entries will be at the organiser's discretion.

If you do not have four players for a team Patrick should be able to put you in touch with others who would like to play.


Let's see plenty of entries from Suffolk!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Alan's purple patch

Alan Merry, our home-grown International Master, is enjoying some excellent results this year.

In early January he entered the Shropshire Congress, where he scored 4½/5 to take the first prize of £1000.   His only draw was against top seed GM Mark Hebden.

Then in the 4NCL in mid-January he won both his games, whilst at the end of the month he played in the Norfolk Rapidplay, winning all six games!

February saw his first loss, when he was beaten by GM Stephen Gordon (2506) in the 4NCL, but bounced back the following day by beating GM Tamas Fodor (2511).   Finally, last weekend he won both his games in the EACU County Championship.

Here's a full list of his results:

Shropshire Congress   (6-8 Jan)T Sygnowski202Win
P Davies167Win
GM M Hebden246Draw
R Maciol202Win
IM J Cox218Win
4NCL   (14-15 Jan)J Blackburn198Win
IM R Bates231Win
Norfolk Rapidplay   (29 Jan)P Walton147Win
D Hall170Win
R Hughes185Win
D Spence203Win
A Brett197Win
M Hughes185Win
4NCL   (11-12 Feb)GM S Gordon241Lost
GM T Fodor245Win
EACU First Team   (19 Feb)FM G Kenworthy204Win
B Van der Velden208Win

That's 15 wins, one draw, and one loss.

Alan's ECF grade is 232 and his grading performance over these 17 games is 250.   Meanwhile, his Elo rating has crept up to 2411.

Stowmarket Club Championship

Twelve members of the Stowmarket Chess Club are taking part in this season's Club Championship.   To date, three rounds (out of five) have been completed.

Top seed Stephen Lewis (left) is the current leader on three points, with Daniel Yarnton close behind on 2½ points.   These two will play each other in Round 4.

Click here to view the current cross-table.

Monday, 20 February 2017

County First Team make it through

Suffolk's First Team, captained by John Peters, has made it through to the National stages of the County Championships.   Yesterday, they played Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.

In the morning, Suffolk beat wooden spooners Bedfordshire comfortably by 10 points to 6, despite losing on the bottom three boards to lower-rated opponents.   At the same time, Norfolk were soundly thrashed by Cambridgeshire, losing 4½ - 11½.   Had Norfolk won, then Suffolk's result against Cambridgeshire would have been academic, as Suffolk would have qualified anyway.   So a win (or a draw) in the afternoon against a highly motivated Cambridgeshire team was now essential.   A win by Cambridgeshire would have seen them through.

Stand-in captain Ian Wallis reports, "The match started off badly for us.   Cambs won a couple of games early on and a few draws put them in control.   Looking at the remaining games it was difficult to see where our points would come from to get back in the match.   We won a game to get in touch but then lost another one to remain two down.   But the match finally swung our way in the final quarter and we managed enough wins to reach 8 points and were safely through to the national stages."

Four players won both games: Alan Merry, Graham Moore, Shaun Munson and Tim Lunn.   On 1½ points were Steve Gregory, Ted Matthewson and John Feavyour, whilst Ian Wallis and Nick Savage were unbeaten with two draws.

As can be seen from the final league table, Norfolk and Suffolk finished on equal match points.   Unfortunately, game points do not decide tie-breaks.   Rule 3b of the EACU County Championship rules state, "If two or more teams are level in match point scores they shall be placed in order of game scores in the matches between the tied teams, and if these are equal according to their total game scores except that if another team has defaulted a match against one of the tied teams then all matches against that team shall be excluded.   If these do not give a decision, board count in the match or matches between the teams concerned will decide, and failing that the Elimination Rule shall apply until the scores are unequal."

In the matches between Suffolk and Norfolk, one match was drawn and the other was narrowly won by Norfolk.   So Norfolk are the season's EACU Champions and Suffolk are runners-up.   Both counties qualify for the National stages.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Adam plays in Ireland

Woodbridge School's resident International Master Adam Hunt travelled to the West of Ireland this weekend to take part in the three-day Bunratty Masters tournament.   The event attracted a strong field of 48 players, which included six Grandmasters and five International Masters.

Top seed and eventual winner was GM Nigel Short, who continued his current rich vein of form (he beat Caruana recently at Gibraltar) by winning all six games, including a Round 3 defeat of Adam Hunt.

Adam also played GM Lalic, against whom he drew, to finish on 4½/6 and a share of fourth place.

Short's last round win, against IM Alex Lopez, rated 258 points lower than him, was an interesting double-edged affair, which can be seen (for the time being, at least) on the live games page of the Bunratty website.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

A game from the 4NCL

As reported here, Laurie Pott scored an excellent win over Rob McCorry in the 4NCL Round 6 last Sunday, giving away a 196 rating point difference to his opponent.   Laurie has kindly annotated his game, which is certainly worth playing through.   Laurie (White) uses his tried and tested London System:

Friday, 17 February 2017

Ipswich are Suffolk Champions

After a three-year reign, Bury St Edmunds were deposed yesterday by Ipswich, who beat them 4 - 2 in the final match of this year's Norfolk & Suffolk Cup, to determine Suffolk's representative to face the Norfolk champion club.

This season, for the first time in many years, three clubs were competing for the title.   Manningtree had already drawn both their matches against Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich, so this match was the decider.   Another draw would have caused a large headache for the Competitions Secretary, but from early on in the match, it looked as if things were swinging Ipswich's way, with both Mark Le-Vine and John Peters dropping a pawn in the opening.

The first to finish was the top board, with Graham Moore and Mike Harris sharing the spoils.   But Chris Davison on Board 3 gave Bury some hope when Ian Wallis blundered and resigned.   The third game to finish restored equality, when Nick Savage overcame John Peters' stiff resistance.

Although Ed Player managed to survive with a draw on Board 2 against Shaun Munson, the other two games were won by Ipswich.   The full result was as follows (Bury St Edmunds first):

1   Mike Harris (214)   ½ - ½   Graham Moore (193)
2   Ed Player (205)   ½ - ½   Shaun Munson (193)
3   Chris Davison (190)   1 - 0   Ian Wallis (188)
4   Mark Le-Vine (182)   0 - 1   Silas Peck (186)
5   John Peters (175)   0 - 1   Nick Savage (186)
6   Jon Collins (162)   0 - 1   Steve Gregory (186)

The average grade of each team was very close: 188.0 (Bury) and 188.7 (Ipswich), but Ipswich's strength in depth told at the end.

Ipswich will now face a home match against the Norfolk Champions, which will be either Broadland or Fakenham.   They will be playing their final match on 4 April, so the Grand Final will probably not be held until late April or early May.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Opposite castling game

On Tuesday, Bury's Mark Le-Vine faced Alex Sheerin (Ipswich) with the Black pieces in a Division 1 match.   A lop-sided game ensued, with both players attacking kings that had castled on opposite sides.   It was Mark who eventually prevailed.

This was the position after 24. b6:

The game continued:   24... hxg2+   25. Kxg2   axb6   26. axb6   gxh2+   27. Kh1   (27. Kxf2 would have held on a little longer)   Qg1+!   28. Nxg1   hxg1Q#

As Mark points out, his 25... axb6 was unnecessary.   But it was a pleasing finish nevertheless.

You can play through the full game here:

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Ian's game in the 4NCL

Ian Wallis, playing White in the 4NCL Division Three last Sunday, had the following position:

Ian says: "I had focused all my analysis on a piece sac on b5, convinced that this would be winning.   I concluded that the knight was better than the bishop and after 20. Nb5! my opponent duly resigned because of the line... 20. axb5,   21. Bxb5+   Nc6   (if 21. ... Bd7 [or even Nd7] then 22. Nc7+   Qxc7; 23. Qxc7   Bxb5; 24 Qc8#)   22. Qxh8 with material advantage and the better position."

However, Ian missed a more aesthetic way of winning.   Can you spot the sequence of moves?   (the answer will be provided on Friday)

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Four new recruits at Woodbridge

(From the Woodbridge Chess Club News page):

"A cold and gusty night (on Monday) but still the Woodbridge chess aficionados roll on in.   Woodbridge Chess Club is going from strength to strength!

Four new recruits came along and it was great to see that there is a keen discussion about the possibility of raising a league team in the near future.   If any club in the area wanted to arrange a friendly please get in touch (Blake Gifford).

We would like to encourage anyone to come along to our club nights.   We currently don't have any junior members but they would be more than welcome (bring your adult along!).   We also have some really strong players who would be happy to offer coaching.   If there is an interest, a Saturday morning session could be a possibility."

Monday, 13 February 2017

Early learner

12-year old Jaden Jermy (Bury St Edmunds and Bury Knights) now has a little sister (Juno), born a week ago today.   Jaden is determined to introduce her to the game as early as possible...

Sunday, 12 February 2017

4NCL results

Over this weekend a total of 16 Suffolk players have been competing in Rounds 5 and 6 of the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

In Division 1, played in Northampton, IM Alan Merry faced two 2500+ rated GMs, losing one and winning the second.   IM/WGM Dagne Ciuksyte won both her games against lower-rated opponents.

Anglian Avengers 1 lost both their matches and are now threatened with relegation to Division 2, having lost all six matches this season.

In Division 3, played in Telford, Anglian Avengers 2 won both matches and have now won all their matches so far this season.   In Round 7 they will play the only other team with a perfect score.   It's looking increasingly likely that Anglian Avengers will have two teams in Division 2 next season!

Iceni 1, also playing in Division 3, drew both their matches.   This was certainly an improvement as they had previously lost all their matches.   In Round 7 they will face the only other team with a poorer record.

In Division 4, Anglian Avengers 3 lost one and won one, both by the narrowest of margins.   Iceni 2 lost both their matches and slip to 19th place out of the 25 teams competing.

Individual scores out of two (Suffolk players only):

Andy Lewis   0
Adam Taylor   1
Ed Player   ½
Graham Moore   1
Ian Wallis   1½
Steve Gregory   1
Silas Peck   2
Paul Botham   1
Tim Lunn   1
Keith Woodcock   0
Adam John   1
Jon Collins   ½
Laurie Pott   1
Rory Goldsmith   0

The most notable results were the wins by 10-year old Adam John (131), who beat a 156-graded opponent, and rated 242 Elo points higher, and Laurie Pott (153), who beat Cambridge's Rob McCorry, graded 178 and rated 196 points higher.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Playing chess improves kids' maths

According to Dansk Skoleskak (Danish Schools Chess) research shows that children actually become better at maths and are better able to concentrate when they play chess.

School children across Denmark will be meeting once again next Friday to play chess.   A maths lesson will be replaced by an hour of learning and playing chess.   The Danish chess organisation Dansk Skoleskak is behind the initiative, which has spread to 266 schools this year.   Almost 40,000 students have registered for the game day.

(My comment): Not sure how one hour of chess can be 'proven' to improve mathematical ability...

Read the full story here.

Friday, 10 February 2017

UK Chess Challenge underway

Every year the UK Schools Chess Challenge, sponsored by Delancey, attracts some 50,000 children across the UK.   Most play the initial round within their school, but a few junior clubs also take part.   The Bury Knights Junior Chess Club has participated in this competition ever since it started over 20 years ago.   Last year two Bury Knights' members managed to qualify for the final round, the Terafinal.   Only 100 or so children manage to reach this stage.

The photo below shows some of the 30 Bury Knights' members who are taking part this year:

After four rounds (out of seven), the sole leader is 10-year old Adam John on 12 points (three points for a win, two for a draw and one for a loss).   Close behind on 10 points are seven other members.

To qualify for the next level, the Megafinal, players must either score 17 points (equivalent to five wins and two losses), or be the highest scorer in their age-group (boys/girls).   The Megafinal is held at Woodbridge School, in May.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

New members at Bury

Many chess clubs find it difficult to recruit new members, but the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club has been fortunate this season in welcoming eight new members!   One of these is Stephen Lewis, who wanted to be able to play in higher divisions than he can at Stowmarket.   He will still be playing for his original club, but will also be able to play for Bury in the BACL Division 2 as well as the Suffolk League Division 1.

Others include Sean Wickrama, Anthony Taylor and 9-year old Milan Biju.

This evening, four other new members came together to form a team in Division 2 of the Roger Goldsmith Trophy.   They are pictured below:

Left to right:   James Pack (e140), Rene Martinez (e130), Sean Ramsey (e70) and Greg Hart (e60).

Of these, the first three have all joined this year (2017), whilst Greg joined the club in November.   For the record, the team beat Bury's 'Juniors' 3½ - ½.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Roger Goldsmith Memorial Trophy

In 1990 the then Secretary of the Bury Area Chess League, Roger Goldsmith, suddenly died of a heart attack at the age of only 42.   Of course, this was a tremendous shock to everyone in the League, but especially to his Ely Club members.

The League President, Jim Page of Stowmarket, proposed that a trophy should be awarded in his name.   A Cup competition was devised, open to all clubs in the League, with a maximum grading limit of 550 per team.   Initially it was entitled the Roger Goldsmith Champagne Memorial Trophy, because Jim wanted the winners to receive a bottle of champagne, in addition to an engraved wooden chess board.

The competition has now been running successfully for 25 years.   The trophy has been won by Linton on seven occasions, with Bury St Edmunds/Bury Cannons six times.   Cambridge and Woolpack have won three times each, whilst Sudbury and Ely have won twice.   One win has been recorded for Soham and Stowmarket.   Indeed, the only club in the League not to record a win is Newmarket (who have recently dropped out of the BACL).

The only changes in the format is that a bottle of champagne is no longer awarded, and the maximum grade is 580.   There is also a Division 2, for teams not exceeding 450.

The only game score I have against Roger is dated 21 February 1989, a year or so before he died.   He was a reasonable chess player; his grade for this match was 101.   In the following position, I (White) had wrongly sacrificed a knight for a pawn, hoping to win his knight on c6.   The game continued:   12. Bxe7   Bxe7?   If Roger had taken back with his King, he would have escaped the pin and would have been heading for a win.   He was probably deterred from playing 12... Kxe7 because of the fork on g6, losing his rook.   But the knight can easily be rounded up and I would still have been losing.

For the record, after 13. Bb5, I ended up after the exchanges on c6 a pawn ahead and went on to win!

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Woodbridge Chess Club inaugural meeting

(Blake Gifford reports):

Last evening saw the inaugural meeting of the Woodbridge Chess Club (see here for earlier article).   Many thanks to everyone who were able to come!

Lots of friendly games were played and some strong visiting players from other Suffolk clubs including Saxmundham, Felixstowe and Ipswich attended, as well as four newcomers.

The Club will continue to meet on a weekly basis and we strongly encourage anyone who wants to learn and improve to come along.   Our next meeting will be on Monday 13 February, from 19.30 to 21.30.

Also a special thank you to Ed Kirkham (Felixstowe Chess Club) who kindly came with donations of chess sets and clocks.

WCC now has equipment and players.   The world is our oyster!   See here for the Club's website.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Incremental timings

The use of incremental (Fischer) timings is increasing.   If you play in the 4NCL, then you will be familiar with the 30 second increment that is added from the first move.   It makes for a better standard of chess, because even if you run out of your initial stock of time, you know you still have 30 seconds to make your next move.

The other local league, the Bury Area Chess League, first provided the opportunity in the 2007/08 season to use Fischer timings, provided both players agreed.   A few players did try it out, and in 2014/15 it became the default option in the League's Division 1.   'Traditional' timings would only be used if both players agreed.   This was immediately successful and in the current season (2016/17) Fischer timing was extended to Division 2.   At the League's next AGM it is likely that all three divisions will have Fischer timing as the default.

But in the Suffolk League, where traditional timings are still the default option, Fischer timing is rarely used.   Most clubs now have the DGT clocks which make the setting of Fischer timing straightforward.

My suggestion, which will be taken to the next Committee Meeting of the League, is to follow the BACL route and make incremental timing the default option in Division 1.   If this is accepted, we can extend this to Divisions 2 and 3 in due course, subject to AGM approval of course.

There are a number of objections to incremental timings,, foremost of which is the worry that games may continue long after the three-hour limit set by many venues.   However, to the best of my knowledge there has not been a single instance in the Bury League of a game continuing longer than three hours.   The BACL uses 70 minutes plus 15 seconds per move.   This means that a game of 60 moves would take 2 hours 50 minutes.   A game would have to extend beyond 80 moves if it is to take longer than three hours, which is very rare in league chess.   Some other leagues around the country use different timings - 75 + 10 seconds is popular.   However there is some objection to such a small increment.   The extra five seconds in the Bury League system permits a better standard of chess.

Watching a game where a player has exhausted his initial stock of time can be very exciting.   We all know players who regularly get into 'time trouble'.   But they are well-adapted to handling this situation, often pressing the clock with only a second or two remaining, and seeing the clock reverting to 16 or 17 seconds!

There's another important benefit of using incremental timings.   The old '10.2' rule, whereby a player may claim a draw in the last two minutes, does not apply.   This avoids the situation where captains (if available) have to make an often difficult decision.

I would like to hear your opinion on the introduction of increments in the Suffolk League.   Please comment using the link below.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Suffolk u160s win bigly

(With apologies to Donald Trump)

Suffolk Under 160s enjoyed two good wins today at Newmarket in the EACU Under 160 County Championships.   In the morning Suffolk convincingly beat league leaders Hertfordshire by 11 points to five.   There were wins for the top six boards, as well as the bottom four boards.   But the middle six boards could only manage two draws between them!

In the afternoon Suffolk beat Cambridgeshire by 9½ points to 6½.   Cambridgeshire had a slightly higher average grade, so this was a particularly pleasing result, especially as they had beaten Norfolk in the morning match.

Four Suffolk players won both games: Phil Hutchings (Board 1), Laurie Pott (4), Andrew Shephard (5) and Keith Woodcock (14).   On 1½ points were Stephen Lewis (Board 2), Alex Sheerin (3) and David Green (16).   Two youngsters played on Board 15: 10-year old Adam John won in the morning and 12-year old Jaden Jermy won in the afternoon.   So the three juniors in the team (including Alex Sheerin) scored 3½ out of four.

The final u160 matches are on 12 March.   If we can field a strong team again we will stand a good chance of winning the EACU Championship.


Herts lost to Norfolk today, so Suffolk head the League table on 6 match points, with Herts and Cambs on 4, and Norfolk on 2 points.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Rowan conquers the South of England

Following on his excellent performance in the Junior 4NCL (see earlier report here), 7-year old Rowan Kent from Woodbridge School and the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club travelled to Yateley Manor in Hampshire last Sunday to play in the Under 8 section of the South of England Championships.

He could not have played better, winning all six games.   Although Rowan was the highest-graded player in the event, he beat both the second and third seeds on his way to the title.

Rowan's new Rapidplay grade is 97 - not bad for a seven-year old!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Full house at Bury

There were four matches taking place last evening at the Bury St Edmunds Chess Club.   Two of these were in the Bury Area Chess League, where the Club has seven teams.   Another was in Division 1 of the Suffolk League, whilst the fourth match (the nearest row of players in the photo above), was in the Suffolk u125 Cup.   This match featured one of the youngest members of the Bury St Edmunds club, 8-year old Amy John, who managed to beat her adult opponent!   Amy is on the extreme right of the photo and was playing on Board 4 for the Bury St Edmunds 'Juniors' team.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Gibraltar Masters results

The ten-round Gibraltar Masters ended today, with three GMs tied on 8 points: Hikaru Nakamura (USA), Anton Guijarro (Spain) and Yangii You (China).   They will now face tie-breaks to determine the prize money.   In 4th place, together with five other GMs, was England's Michael Adams.   He drew his final round game, but if he had won, he would have shared first place.

The two other English GMs, Nigel Short and David Howell, both did well, scoring seven points to finish 10th=.

View the games and final standing here.

It's worth having a look at Women's World Champion Yifan Hou's final round game.   With the White pieces, she played the most incomprehensible opening moves, was almost 'foolsmated' and resigned after Black's fifth move!   It appears from the interview that followed, that she played like this in order to demonstrate dissatisfaction with her pairings across the whole event.   With some justification perhaps, as she faced seven female opponents, whilst Nakamura played none!

The tie-breaks rules can be viewed here.


The Tie-break was won by Hikaru Nakamura (third year in a row!).

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

A new Chess Club in Woodbridge

Starting next Monday, 6 February, a new adult Chess Club will be starting up in Woodbridge!   The brainchild of Blake Gifford, its first meeting will be held at Woodbridge Methodist Church Hall, St John's Street, Woodbridge, IP12 1ED, from 19.30 to 21.30.

There's even a website for the new club.   Blake can be contacted by email here.

Blake is a teacher at Whitehouse Primary School in Ipswich, where he set up a chess club a year ago.   If any local chess player would like to offer any support at the school, however occasional, Blake would be delighted.

Blake says, "I am a chess player from childhood but never to a very impressive standard and have played a lot on line for the past year or so.   I wanted to play more in real life and found that there wasn't a club in Woodbridge.   So I thought I would start one.   I'm sure there will be some keen players in town.   I have access to 12 or so sets and clocks which initially will be borrowed from school.   I am hoping I will be able to eventually raise money to get equipment for the club.   I have some interest for the opening night, but would guess numbers will start at around 10 people."

Hopefully there will be a report and photos from the new club's opening night.