Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Suffolk First team off to a good start

The Suffolk First Team, captained this season by Steve Ruthen, got off to a promising start on 21 January with two wins against Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire.   Suffolk won both matches by the narrowest of margins - 8½-7½.

The team was weakened by the absence of several strong players, including Alan Merry and Shaun Munson.   Nevertheless, their lower-graded replacements did not disappoint, with Alex Sheerin winning both games on Board 15 and Ed Kirkham drawing his only game on Board 16 (he benefited from a default win in the other match).

Suffolk's leading scorers were:

Graham Moore (Board 1) - 2/2
Silas Peck (Board 3) - 2/2
Alex Sheerin (Board 15) - 2/2
Andrew Shephard (Board 12) - 1½/2

The next First Team matches are on 18 February.   This coming Sunday (4 February) sees the Under 160s in action against Hertfordshire and Norfolk.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Gibraltar Masters latest

After four rounds of the Gibraltar Masters, Suffolk's David Spence is on 1½ points.   He had two tough pairings in Rounds 1 and 2, and has scored all his points in the last two rounds.   Tomorrow he faces an English IM, Gary Quillan.

The tournament is led by Hikaru Nakamura, the only player on 4 points.

You can follow the live games on chess24.com, or on chessbomb.com.

Saxmundham's David Brown finished the five-round Challengers A section on 2 points, including a fine win in the final round against a higher-rated opponent.


Tuesday, 23 January 2018

January grades

The January ECF grades have been published today.   At first glance there doesn't appear to be much change, with most people moving up or down by just a few points.

Unsurprisingly, the top three 'movers' are all Juniors:

Adam John (Bury St Edmunds) +14 to 152
Jaden Jermy (Bury St Edmunds) +12 to 158
Alex Sheerin (Ipswich) +11 to 164

Amongst the adults, the largest increase is by Ed Kirkham, Felixstowe (+8 to 154), followed by Tim Lunn, Ipswich (+7 to 178) and Rene Martinez, Bury St Edmunds (+7 to 136).

The top active Suffolk League player is Mike Harris (Bury St Edmunds) 218, who now ranks #87 in England.   Mike is followed by Andy Lewis (Manningtree) 215 and Graham Moore (Ipswich) 210.

A list of Suffolk players can be viewed here.   However, there are several omissions from this list.   To access your club's members, enter the club's name in the search box and click on 'Find Clubs'.


Monday, 22 January 2018

Gibraltar Festival starts tomorrow

The Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival commences tomorrow, Tuesday 23 January.   Promoted as 'the best open chess tournament in the world', the Masters section has attracted 275 players.   These include an amazing 89 Grandmasters, led by Lev Aronian, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave and Hikaru Nakamura.   12 players are rated 2700 and above.

Suffolk's only entrant in the Masters is David Spence, seeded 217.   In Round 1 he faces a Georgian IM, rated 377 points higher.

Saxmundham's David Brown is playing in the Challengers A section.


Thursday, 18 January 2018

John Dawson RIP

It's sad to report that John Dawson, doyen of Linton Chess Club and a frequent participant in the Bury Congress, passed away on 5 January.

Born on 11 April 1924, John had been for many years the oldest player in the Bury Area Chess League.

John last played in the Bury Congress in 2014, when his failing eyesight required additional lighting to be provided.

There was always a twinkle in John's eye and he had a ready wit.   He would joke and tease at every opportunity.

He had hoped to play some league chess this season, but had not had an opportunity to do so.

Back in 2012, John (then aged 88) hit the headlines in the East Anglian Daily Times for his match at the Bury Congress against five-year old Jeff Tomy.   John won - just!

John died peacefully at home, aged 93.   He was a much loved father and grandfather who will be greatly missed by all.

John's funeral will be held at 2.00 pm on Wednesday 31 January at the Cam Valley Crematorium, Field Farm Drive, Great Chesterford, CB10 1SD.   Mourners are invited to the Red Lion at Whittlesford afterwards.


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Suffolk Junior Chess

Most news about Juniors in the county is now included on the new Suffolk Junior Chess website.   In the past, there has been some criticism that juniors featured too often in the daily 'blogs' on this website.   So now, that won't happen.   But if you are interested in the progress of our talented juniors, please do follow the website, which is being run by Tim Kent, the Suffolk Junior Chess Organiser.

This coming weekend, a team will be playing in the Junior 4NCL and later, on 25 February, a 12-board team will be competing in the ECF Under 18 County Championships.


Sunday, 14 January 2018

4NCL results

A total of 16 Suffolk players travelled to Reading and Solihull today for Rounds 3 and 4 of this season's Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

Five Suffolk-based teams were involved - Anglian Avengers 1 and 2 (captain Ian Wallis), and Iceni 1, 2 and 3 (captain John Feavyour).

There were some excellent team and individual results, as follows:

Anglian Avengers 1

(Division 2) - Won 5 - 3 and lost 3½ - 4½.
Ed Player ½/2
Andy Lewis ½/2
Graham Moore ½/2
Steve Gregory 1/2
AA1 are 3rd in Division 2B, on 5 points out of 8.

Anglian Avengers 2

(Division 3) - Won both matches 3½ - 2½.
Silas Peck 1/2
Ian Wallis 1½/2
Alex Sheerin 1/2
Keith Woodcock 1/2
AA2 are 3rd in Division 3A, on 6 points out of 8.

Iceni 1

(Division 4) - Won 4 - 1 and 4½ - 1½.
John Feavyour 2/2
Iceni 1 are second (out of 30 teams) in Division 4 on 8 points out of 8.

Iceni 2

(Division 4) - Won 5 - 1 and 4 - 2.
Jon Collins 2/2
Steve Lovell 2/2
Bob Jones 1½/2
Iceni 2 are 8th in Division 4, on 6 points.

Iceni 3

(Division 4) - Lost ½ - 5½ and 1 - 5.
Laurie Pott 1/2
James Pack 0/2
Iceni 3 are 27th in Division 4.

Also playing, in Division 1, were Adam Hunt and Dagne Ciuksyte.   Both won two games, which included an excellent win for Adam against GM Simon Williams.

The next two rounds are being played at Northampton and Reading on 10 and 11 February.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Adam beats a GM

In the first round at Hastings (see earlier article from 7 January), Adam Taylor was paired with the White pieces against last year's winner, and top seed, GM Deep Sengupta (2586).   Adam played well out of the opening, winning a knight for two pawns.   The following position was reached after Black's 23rd move:

Black's last move was Rad8 (?)   Adam now missed the best reply, both on his next move and the move after that.   Although Adam went on to win after 57 moves, he could have probably forced his opponent to resign if he had found the best move.   Can you see it?

Incidentally, after that first round loss, GM Sengupta went on to score 7/9 and share first place with Chinese IM Yiping Lou.


Monday, 8 January 2018

Good start for the Under 160s

Yesterday, Suffolk's Under 160 team got off to an excellent start to the EACU County Championships season, with two convincing wins.

In the morning, Suffolk beat old rivals Norfolk by 10½ points to 5½, but our opponents did field a rather weak team, averaging only 137 compared to Suffolk's 144.   In the afternoon, a stronger Cambridgeshire team (averaging 140) were defeated 10 points to 6.

The intended venue for the matches, Turner Hall in Newmarket, had been double-booked.   To give the Hall's bookings organiser full credit, she managed to find us an alternative venue (Exning Working Mens' Club) within 15 minutes of an initial phone call to her.   We were only ten minutes late starting the first match!

The best individual performances (two wins) were from top board Jon Collins and Board 4 Alex Sheerin.   Five others scored 1½ points: Martin Fogg (Board 2), Jaden Jermy (5), Ed Kirkham (6), Bob Jones (7) and Dominic Carter (12).

In the afternoon match, Jaden celebrated his recent 13th birthday by beating the experienced Ole Bay-Petersen in just 11 moves, having spent only three minutes on his moves.   The game is shown below.   Ole made two horrendous miscalculations to gift Jaden two full pieces, leading to an immediate resignation:

White: Ole Bay-Petersen (150)
Black: Jaden Jermy (146)

1.   e4     c5
2.   Nc3    d6
3.   g3     Nc6
4.   Bg2     g6
5.   d3     Bg7
6.   Be3     e5
7.   Qd2     Nd4
8.   Nh3?? (see diagram)     Bxh3
9.   Bxd4??     Bxg2
10.   Rg1     cxd4
11.   Nd5     Bh3
0 - 1

After 8... Bxh3 White cannot retake the bishop since his K & Q will be forked on f3.

To compound the error, White took the knight on the following move, instead of castling, which would have only lost a single piece.

The next matches, against Hertfordshire and Norfolk, will take place at the Turner Hall on Sunday 4 February.


Sunday, 7 January 2018

Adam gains his first IM norm

Manningtree's Adam Taylor scored 5½/9 at the Hastings Masters which finished on Friday.   His rating performance was 2485, which means he achieves his first International Master norm!   Adam's rating will increase by 52 points, to 2294.

Congratulations Adam!

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The Suffolk website is now back in action.   There will be frequent (but not daily) reports between now and the end of February.   There will be a lull during much of March as I will be on holiday then, but back before Easter.

One more thing - I have obtained a large number of brand-new DGT 2010 digital clocks from the ECF.   They cost me just £21.00 each and I am able to sell them at that same price.   If any club or individual would like to purchase some, please let me know before they all go.