Friday, 31 March 2017

Prizegiving at the Bury Knights

This evening was the last meeting of the term at the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club, attended by 29 members.   The photo above shows the playing room at 17.45, before anyone arrived!

The Club does not meet during the Summer Term, so as this was the final meeting of the season, the annual awards were presented to deserving members.

The photo below shows the prize winners:

A four-round Easter Tournament was also held, with top seeds Jaden Jermy and Adam John sharing the honours.   After scoring a maximum four points, they played a five-minute tie-break, which they drew!

Every member received a golden Easter egg, as well as other prizes, regardless of their score.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Division 3 latest

Last evening, Manningtree B missed an opportunity to secure the Division 3 title.   Playing their 'C' team, they could only manage a 2 - 2 draw.   A 4 - 0 victory would have meant that they could not be caught.

Manningtree B are now six points clear of second-placed Saxmundham B.   Both teams have two matches to play, the last of which (on 18 April) is against each other!

Manningtree B's next match, on 12 April, is at home against bottom team Felixstowe B.

You can view the current league table here.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

St Albans Chess Congress

The annual St Albans Chess Congress is taking place this coming weekend.   To date over 200 players have registered, including three from Suffolk: Graham Moore (Ipswich), Andrew Donnelly and Jaden Jermy (Bury St Edmunds).

Last year the total entry reached 227.

It's still possible to enter, although a late entry fee may apply.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

It's a family affair

Last Tuesday, the three John children from Bury St Edmunds (Alan 14, Adam 11 and Amy 8) all played in the same team for the club in a Bury Area League match at Linton.   Only Adam won on this occasion.   It is hoped that the three siblings will be able to play together as part of a team more often in future.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Visit to Woodbridge

This evening Tim Kent (the new Suffolk Junior Organiser) and I visited Woodbridge Chess Club.   The Club meets in the Methodist Church Hall in St John's Street on Mondays from 19.00 to 21.00.

Six 'regular' members were in attendance and were joined by one newcomer.   Tim and I brought the total up to nine.

The Club is organised by Blake Gifford (left in photo) who can be contacted here.

Due to members' holidays the Club will not be open over the Easter period.   It will be open for business again on Monday 24 April.   See the Club's website here.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Division 2 latest

Realistically, promotion from Division 2 is now down to two teams: Bury St Edmunds A and Saxmundham A.   Bury A are five points clear, but Sax A have a match in hand.

The 'crunch' match will be the postponed meeting between the two clubs, now scheduled for Tuesday 25 April, at Saxmundham.   This will be the final match of the season for both teams.

At the other end of the table, Stowmarket A are three points behind Sudbury; both teams have two matches to play.   On 3 April these two teams play each other.   Stowmarket probably need to win, because their final match, on 18 April, is against Saxmundham A!

Friday, 24 March 2017

Division 1 latest

With less than a month to go before the end of the season, the title race in Division 1 is between two teams: Manningtree A and Ipswich C.   Both have two matches remaining and both have to play bottom team Ipswich B, the team that appears most likely to be relegated.

The 2½ point lead that Manningtree A currently hold could be severely reduced in the next round of matches.   Manningtree A face Bury St Edmunds B, not an easy match to win, whilst Ipswich C play Ipswich B.   It's possible that by 4 April the two teams could be on level terms.   However, Manningtree A's final match is against wooden spooners Ipswich B, so they probably hold a narrow advantage.

All will be revealed by 18 April, when the final matcvh is due to be played.   But before then, Manningtree A, who play Ipswich B on 12 April, could have built up an unassailable lead.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Roger Goldsmith Trophy

The Bury Area League's Cup competition, the Roger Goldsmith Trophy, is nearing completion with the two Bury St Edmunds teams holding the top positions.

All six teams have one more match to play, scheduled for Easter week.   Leaders Bury Beehive, fresh from a 3½-½ drubbing of Cambridge Masters this evening, play away at Fen Thoroughbreds (Ely), whilst second-place Bury Abbey are at home to Cambridge Porters.

At the end of the round-robin matches, the top two teams then play each other again in the Final during the second week in May.   Current holders are Bury Abbey, who beat Cambridge Students at the end of last season, despite only managing a draw in the 2016 Final.   The tie-break rules award the trophy to the team with the higher points total in the league stage.

The current league table (soon to be updated with this evening's result) can be seen here.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Forthcoming events

Here's a list of tournaments etc that will be coming up over the next few months.   Get your diaries out!

Sunday 9 April

EACU Team Championships
Teams of four, ideally from the same club.   See previous article about this event here.

Sunday 7 May

Suffolk Megafinal
Qualifiers from schools and clubs will compete in all age-groups (boys and girls) in the UK Chess Challenge.

Saturday 13 May

National Quarter-Finals for Suffolk First Team and Under 160s
Note: this may be played on Sunday 14 May, or earlier by mutual agreement.   Opponents are not yet known.

Tuesday 30 May

Suffolk County Chess Association AGM
At Ipswich Chess Club, starting at 19.30.

Sat/Sun 3/4 June

EACU Congress - Turner Hall, Newmarket
Open, u170 and u130 sections

Sunday 11 June

Bury Knights JCC Coaching Day #1
Members (and others by invitation).   At Moreton Hall Community Centre.   10.00 to 17.00

Saturday 15 July

Bury Knights JCC Coaching Day #2
As above

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Club Championships

Four rounds of the Stowmarket Club Championship have now been completed, with all 12 entrants having played their full quota of games.   There is a winner already, with one round still to be played, as Stephen Lewis is on 4 points, whilst his nearest three rivals (James Irwin, Daniel Yarnton and Vicky Allen) are all trailing on 2½ points.

See the current cross-table here.

Meanwhile, the six round Ipswich Club Championship has gone to a play-off.   19 members participated and most games were completed.   Steve Gregory and Ian Wallis both scored 5/6.   Steve and Ian did not play each other during the initial six rounds.   Steve lost a game to Mike Cook (4½ points) and Ian lost to Ted Matthewson (3½ points).

See the final cross-table here.   The play-off result will be published here later.

Monday, 20 March 2017

International Day of Happiness (or Merry-ness)

To celebrate the International Day of Happiness, here is a position from a recent tournament, featuring our own IM Alan Merry.

Last weekend (10-12 March), Alan travelled to Blackpool for their annual congress.   This year's entry totalled 350, with a sizeable number playing in the Lancashire Open.

Alan scored 4/5 to finish equal third (and winning £100).   In his last round game, against Philip Crocker (190 ECF), Alan (Black) had sacrificed a knight to reach the position below.

Without scrolling down the page to see the answer, see if you can work out how Alan forced checkmate.

(Photo copyright © 2013 John Upham Photography)

Also playing in the same tournament, former Suffolk junior Anita Somton finished second in the Major (u180) section, scoring 4½/5.   She won a total of £330, which included the best junior prize.

Black played 1... g4+!   2. Bxg4   Rh2+!   3. Kxh2   Qxh4+   4. Kg2   Qxg3+ and 5. Qh2 mate.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

4NCL Divisions 3 and 4

A total of 11 Suffolk players travelled to Wokefield Park, near Reading, this weekend for Rounds 7 and 8 of this season's 4NCL.   Both Anglian Avengers and Iceni fielded two teams.

Anglian Avengers 3 (Division 4) fared best, winning both their matches (4½-1½ and 3½-2½).   Anglian Avengers 2, who are playing in the 'Championship pool' in Division 3, drew one and lost one by the narrowest of margins.   They now stand fourth (out of eight) in their pool, three points behind the leaders.

Iceni 1 are suffering this season, with only one drawn match so far.   Playing in the 'Demotion pool' in Division 3, they lost both their matches this weekend (2½-3½ and 1 - 5).   They now need a minor miracle in the final weekend at the end of April, when they will be playing three of the teams immediately above them.   Iceni 2 (Division 4) enjoyed a mixed weekend.   On Saturday they played in a triangular match, losing one 0 - 3 and winning the other 2½-½.   Today they convincingly won 4½-1½, with no players losing.

Individual scores (out of two unless stated otherwise):

John Peters   -   0
Nick Savage   -   ½
John Feavyour   -   0   (1 game played)
Graham Moore   -   ½
Silas Peck   -   1
Steve Gregory   -   1
Tim Lunn   -   2
Alex Sheerin   -   1
Keith Woodcock   -   ½
Bob Jones   -   2
Mike Usher   -   ½

Alex Sheerin was a little fortunate on Saturday when his opponent played Be3?? in the position below, hoping Alex would take the proffered piece.   Instead he achieved a draw by repeated checking on h4 and e1.   If his opponent had played 39. Nh6+   Kh8   40. Ng4!   Be5+   41. Kh3, mate is inevitable within a few moves.

The final (three-day) weekend of the season is 29 April to 1 May.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Game from Jon Collins

Bury St Edmunds' Jon Collins (162) played Black against Chris Davison (190) in a Roger Goldsmith Trophy Division 1 match on Thursday.

Here's the game, won by Jon, who writes, "there were several inaccuracies (and I considered resigning a few times!) but it certainly was entertaining and I found a few nice moves :)".

(Notes by Jon):

Friday, 17 March 2017

Andy Lewis simul

FM Andy Lewis (Manningtree) visited the Bury Knights Junior Chess Club this evening and took on 14 members in a Simul.   After nearly two hours play, Andy won all 14 games, although he struggled against top seed 11-year old Adam John, who was the last to finish.   Adam was probably winning at the end, but sadly hung a bishop and was forced to resign.

The two girls in the photo (right), Amy John (8) and Tia Martin (9), were amongst the last to finish.   Both lasted for nearly 40 moves.

Andy said he was impressed with the standard of play and felt that everyone played well above their grade.   He hopes to return next season to play in another Simul.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

New Junior Organiser

At the SCCA Committee Meeting on Monday, it was agreed that Tim Kent (above), father of seven-year old Rowan, should be nominated for the important role of Suffolk Junior Organiser.   Until the AGM (scheduled for 30 May), Tim will be the Acting Junior Chess Organiser.

He has some great ideas for developing chess for children in the county and would like to hear from anyone who has connections with chess in schools, be they a teacher or a helper/coach.

For a long time, Suffolk has needed an enthusiastic parent to take on this role.   Tim now needs the support of all clubs and adult players.   He can be contacted by email here.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Players of the Season for County teams

At the SCCA Committee meeting held on Monday, it was agreed that trophies would be awarded for the players in both the Open and Under 160 sections who score the most points during the season.   For both teams, this will include the National stages, as both have qualified.

The current standings, after the six EACU rounds, are:


Graham Moore   5/6
Steve Gregory   4½/6
Alan Merry   4/4
Silas Peck   4/6

Under 160

Phil Hutchings   4½/6
Keith Woodcock   4/4
David Green   4/6
Laurie Pott   4/6
Andrew Shephard 3½/6
John McAllister   3½/6
Ed Kirkham   3½/6

Monday, 13 March 2017

Keith's Under 160 game

Suffolk's Keith Woodcock (ECF 132) has won all four games played in the Under 160s this season.   Here is the first game he played yesterday, with White against Norfolk's David Payne (127).   Both players made errors, but the game is nevertheless entertaining:

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Suffolk are EACU Under 160 Champions

The Suffolk Under 160 team played their final matches today at the Turner Hall in Newmarket, against Norfolk and Hertfordshire, winning both by large margins:

Suffolk   10½ - 5½   Norfolk
Suffolk   11½ - 4½   Hertfordshire

During the season Suffolk won five matches and lost only one, scoring 10 match points to finish ahead of Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, with Norfolk bringing up the rear.

In today's matches, out of 32 games played, there were only two individual losses by Suffolk players.   Indeed, Suffolk were unbeaten on the top 12 boards.

Three players won both their games: Colin Roberts, Keith Woodcock and James Pack.   James is a new member of the Bury St Edmunds club.   Keith Woodcock has won all four games played in the Under 160s this season and tomorrow this blog will feature one of his games from today.

The full Suffolk results can be seen here (you will need to scroll to the bottom of the page).

Saturday, 11 March 2017

Rowan plays for Essex

Ten years have passed since Suffolk was able to send a team to the Zone Finals of the EPSCA inter-Association Under 9s.   Way back (1990?) Suffolk actually won the National title, but we did have a pair of rather good twins as well as several other strong players.

This year it was no different, with only two or three players considered strong enough to represent their county.   So Essex requested to 'borrow' 7-year old Rowan Kent (Woodbridge School and Bury Knights), as they are allowed to do since Suffolk is a 'neighbouring county' (so say the rules).

Rowan (right) played on Board 2 and won all three games.   For the record, Essex scored 23 points out of a possible 36 and qualify for the National Finals, to be held on 22 April.

Friday, 10 March 2017

SCCA Committee meets on Monday

The Committee of the Suffolk County Chess Association will be meeting on Monday.   Agenda items include reviewing some of the competition rules as well as the nomination (and re-nomination) system.   Members will also discuss the possible introduction of incremental (Fischer) timing as the default option.

If any member of a club affiliated to the SCCA wishes to stand for office next season (2017/18), will they please contact the Secretary, Kevin Greenacre, to register their interest.

Officers of the SCCA include: President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Competitions Secretary, Results Officer, County Team captains (First, u160, u120 and Correspondence), Junior Chess and Women's Chess representatives.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

u145 Cup is completed

Congratulations to Manningtree Chess Club, who have won the Under 145 Cup for this season!   They accumulated 8 points from their three matches, narrowly leading runners-up Bury St Edmunds, who scored 7½ points.

Manningtree's top scorer was Dave Welsh, on 2/3, with John McAllister on 1½ (three draws) and Jim Buis, 1½/2.   Manningtree used a total of six players across the three matches.

Other team scores were Ipswich - 5½ and Felixstowe - 3.

The 145 Cup was first competed for in 1999, when it was won by Ipswich.   The trophy has been won four times by Ipswich, three times by Bury Cannons, Hadleigh and Adastral Park (all three clubs no longer exist!); twice by Saxmundham and once by Woodbridge School.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Woodbridge (x 2)

First of all, Adam Hunt has today postponed the Suffolk Junior Open, due to be held this Sunday.   He has written to all entrants:   "Unfortunately I have had to postpone the Suffolk Junior Open, due to take place this Sunday until Sunday 25 June.   Please accept my apologies for any inconvenience caused by this and let me know what you would like me to do with your entry fee, whether you would like me to return/destroy the cheque or keep it as payment for the tournament next term.   If you could also let me know that you have received this e-mail that would be much appreciated."

Whilst no reason for this postponement has been given, it may be because the number of entrants is too low.   Its timing, just one week after the Bury St Edmunds Junior Congress, is perhaps a little unfortunate.

On a happier note, the new Woodbridge Chess Club continues to thrive.   Organiser Blake Gifford reports that "...things seem to be going fairly well over here at Woodbridge.   We are slowly but surely developing a regular crowd.   We have been getting promotional support from local schools and we have had interest from quite a few juniors.   Due to this we have decided to adjust the club times to 19:00 - 21:00 (instead of 19:30) with the idea that we might encourage a few more."

I will be visiting the Club on 27 March in my capacity as President of the SCCA.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Bury Junior Congress in detail

Amongst the 92 entrants to Sunday's tournament, there were 23 girls - exactly 25%.   And they did very well, with several finishing in the prize money.

Amy John (Bury Knights) won the Under 9 section, despite losing her final game.   She was awarded the Under 9 trophy, as well as the Bury Area Chess League Trophy (pictured right).

Other prize-winning girls included Lettie Ganyushin (London) - joint winner of the Under 9s, Hettie Symes (slow starter Under 18s), and Tania Roy (slow starter Under 9s).   The 'Top Girl' prize was shared by five girls, each of whom scored four points: Tia Martin (Bury Knights), Oren Pilowsky-Bankirer, Mabel Symes, Julia Volovich and Claudia Bazyk (all Cambridge).

The Team prize for the best school entry was won by King's College, Ely.   Their three players (William and Dylan Stoeber, Robert Reed) scored a total of 14 points, beating St Edmunds RC Primary, Bury St Edmunds (Adam John, Tia Martin, Kirsten Taylor - 12 points).   There were 11 teams entered.

The Under 18 section was won by top seed Karthik Saravanan (photo left) from Great Yarmouth, with Suffolk players Tom Roy, Jaden Jermy and Alan John all sharing third place on four points.

The only Suffolk player to win a prize in the Under 11 section was Adam John, who scored 4½ points to finish in fourth place.

The 'My First Tournament' section attracted only 10 entrants, but the winner, Ben Palmer from Ipswich, was the only player in the whole tournament to win all six games.

The youngest entrant was six-year old Mae Catabay, from Colchester (pictured right).   Not only did she play well, scoring 2½ points, but she recorded all her games in her own scorebook!

Overall, the entry from Suffolk was rather disappointing.   Players from Cambridgeshire outnumbered Suffolk entrants (by 48 to 34).

The total Prize Fund amounted to £680.   The tournament organisers, Bury Knights Junior Chess Club, greatly appreciated the support of the Moreton Hall Community Association, who for the third year running provided their excellent facilities free of charge.

Monday, 6 March 2017

4NCL results

At the weekend, Anglian Avengers 1 played at Telford in Rounds 7 and 8 of the 4NCL Division 1.

After six consecutive defeats, Saturday's Round 7 was Avengers' final opportunity to win a match in the round-robin part of the tournament.   They were drawn against the strong Wood Green team, whose average rating exceeded Avengers' by more than 160 points.   Predictably, Avengers lost heavily (1 - 7 ), but the best individual result was on top board, where Adam Taylor managed to draw against GM Jonathan Speelman in what appears to be a heavily prepared game (correct me if I'm wrong!)

Round 8 on Sunday was the first of four matches in the 'Demotion Pool', to decide which two teams are to be relegated at the end of the season.   Unfortunately Avengers lost narrowly by 3½-4½, with a win for Ed Player and a draw for Adam Taylor (against GM Gormally in just eight moves).   David Spence recorded his second draw of the weekend.

All is not lost for the Avengers, but they will probably need to win at least two of their remaining three matches over the May Bank Holiday weekend.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Bury Junior Congress

A total of 92 children played in the Bury St Edmunds Junior Chess Congress today.

There were four sections: Under 18, Under 11, Under 9 and 'My First Tournament'.   The latter section was an innovation, designed to attract children who otherwise might be afraid to play in an age-group section, where there are usually some strong players.

The following won trophies and are pictured below:

Under 9   -   Amy John (Bury Knights)
Under 11   -   Arnav Srivastava (Cambridge)
Under 14   -   Gavith Dharmasena (Cambridge) - best u14 in the u18 section
Under 18   -   Karthik Saravanan (Gt Yarmouth)
My First Tournament -   - Ben Palmer (Ipswich Junior)

A more detailed report will follow in a couple of days' time.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Home-grown talent

Recently, Alan Merry's International Master title (at the age of 19) was great news for Suffolk Chess, as a 'home-grown' talent.   But a generation ago, it was the Pert twins, Nicholas and Richard, who were the first local players to achieve FIDE titles.   Nick has since gone on to become the county's first Grandmaster (at the age of 20).   There are 27 years between these two photos - can you tell who is who?   The Perts are now aged 36.

But have I got them the right way round??

Friday, 3 March 2017

Suffolk Under 11s - 27 years ago

This was the Suffolk Under 11 team that travelled to Newton Abbot in 1990 and finished runners-up (by half a point) to the eventual winners of the National Under 11 Inter-County Finals.   How many players can you name?

Clue 1: There's a GM and an IM (and they're related).
Clue 2: Only one person is currently playing regularly in Suffolk.   Which one?

Answers in Comments please.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Grade comparison 1991 - 2017

There are 35 currently active Suffolk players who feature in the 1991 grading list.   See the table below to compare their grading progress over the years:
NameCurrent ClubGrade 1991Grade 2017+/-
Franceys AllenStowmarket111106+10
Vicky AllenStowmarket9690-21
Paul BothamIceni 4NCL185171-14
Dennis BrownClacton6735-32
Hugo BrownSaxmundham9292=
Jim BuisManningtree160147-13
Kenn ButcherSudburyt148139-9
Michael ClaphamIpswich121162+41
Richard DoyleFelixstowe93107+14
John FeavyourSaxmundham/Bury St Eds159164+5
Gordon FisherFelixstowe6046-14
Kevin GreenacreIpswich146151+5
Chris Hargan (nee Forsdyke)Stowmarket5994+35
Adam HarveyBury St Edmunds140140=
Gary HemsworthFelixstowe129117-12
Roger HoltIpswich155148-7
Bob JonesBury St Edmunds128143+15
Les JonesIpswich152136-16
Ken LunnIpswich123113-10
Tim LunnIpswich/Bury St Edmunds149165+16
Shaun MunsonIpswich/Bury St Edmunds157193+36
Alonso PaezIpswich124130+6
Andrew PaigeSaxmundham115104-11
John PetersBury St Edmunds123175+52
Laurie PottBury St Edmunds144153+9
Dave RobertsonFelixstowe88107+19
Andrew SalmonClacton139158+19
Rob SandersSudbury163192+29
Adrian SandersonManningtree136116-20
Roger SmithIpswich11696-20
Mike SpaldingIpswich115118+3
David Spence(Unattached)111203+92
Scott TaylorBury St Edmunds149104-45
Ian WallisIpswich/Bury St Edmunds178188+10
Alan WatkinsBury St Edmunds122158+36

David Spence has the greatest improvement (92 points) but he was a little lad in shorts back then.   Second is John Peters with +52 (also a Junior in 1991).   The best improvement by an adult is Michael Clapham (+41).

Congratulations to Hugo Brown and Adam Harvey, whose grades are exactly the same!   19 players have improved, whilst 14 have declined.   The average change across all 35 players is +6 points.

Apologies if anyone has been inadvertently omitted.