Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Results from Riga

This year's Riga Technical University Chess Festival recently took place from the 6th - 12th August. A total of 588 competitors from over 40 different countries travelled to the Kipsala exhibition centre (pictured below) in Latvia's capital to take part in one of five tournaments (A, B, C, D and E).

Kipsala Exhibition Centre - Riga Open

Latvia has produced some of the world's finest players, including former world chess champion, Mikhail Tal, and more recently former world number 2, Alexei Shirov - both players renowned for their attacking flair. Latvia's current number 1, Igor Kovalenko (GM) - FIDE 2644, was top seed in Tournament A, which consisted of 260 players including 13 year old Indian prodigy, Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa (GM), who is breaking all sorts of records:
  • Youngest International Master of all time (breaking Judit Polgár's 25 year old record).
  • Second youngest Grandmaster of all time (behind Sergey Karjakin).
This year two Suffolk players took part in the open Tournament A:
  • Alan Merry (IM)
  • Edmund Player (myself!)
By his own standards these days, Alan didn't have one of his best tournaments, but he still managed to put in a very solid performance scoring 6 points from 9 rounds, which earned him a share of 21st place and a grand total of 16 euros! Alan played a nice game in round 7, where he ended up in the position below. Can you spot how he finished the game?

From a personal point of view my own tournament went pretty well, especially at the beginning where in the first two rounds I managed back-to-back draws against Kaido Külaots (GM and Estonian number 1) and Iila Smirin (GM) - see game below. During the latter part of the tournament things faded away a little for me - my 7th round opponent unfortunately couldn't play  and I only managed to score ½/2 in my final two games - however, overall I was pleased with my play and final result.
For those considering a summer tournament next year, Riga is an excellent option for players of all ages and standards. This year the organisers also held two FIDE rated blitz tournaments as well as a cultural programme, offering chess players a visit to the local chocolate factory and a chance to play in a table tennis tournament.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Andrew Lewis is British Senior Champion!

This year's British Chess Championships was held in Kingston upon Hull from 27th July to 5th August.

Andy Lewis (FM), who plays for the Manningtree Chess Club in the Suffolk League, managed to win the British Senior (50+) Championships by a clear point and unbeaten, scoring 6/7. Congratulations Andy!

Other Suffolk players competed in various events:

Graham Moore, who plays for Ipswich Chess Club, performed very well throughout the majority of the main tournament, which was much stronger than in previous years due to stricter qualification regulations. Graham picked up some excellent results including a win against Scottish IM, Andrew Muir, and a draw against John Emms (GM), and although things slipped away a little in the final two rounds, he still managed to gain 5.8 rating points. However, the pick of the bunch was Jon Collins, who performed 160 points above is current international rating, gaining him 29.2 rating points!

Also, former Suffolk players, Justin Tan (GM elect) and Nicholas Pert (GM) competed in the main championship. Nick finished 5th= in the main event which was won by England's highest rated player of all time, Michael Adams (GM), who beat Luke McShane (GM) 3-1 in a rapidplay playoff, after both players ended up tied on 7/9.

McShane beat David Howell (GM) in the final round which gave him the opportunity to play Adams for the prestigious title. Can you spot McShane's nice finish?

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Norfolk & Suffolk Cup

The Suffolk Final of the Norfolk & Suffolk Cup took place on 28 June.   Bury St Edmunds had narrowly beaten Ipswich in one semi-final, whilst Manningtree had triumphed over Saxmundham in the other semi-final, despite having only five players in their team.

Neither team were at full strength, although Bury St Edmunds were missing only their Board 2, Ed Player.   Manningtree, on the other hand, did not have Adam Taylor, Leon Burnett or Jim Buis available.

Two of Manningtree's reserves, Carl Phillips on Board 5 and Dave Welsh on Board 6, both pulled off excellent draws against Jon Collins and Jaden Jermy respectively.   However, the top four boards all went Bury's way, with top board Mike Harris securing an excellent win against FM Andy Lewis.   Their game can be played through below.

[Event "Norfolk and Suffolk Cup – Suffolk Final"]
[White "Lewis, Andy"]
[Black "Harris, Mike"]
[Site "Bury St Edmunds"]
[Result "0-1"]
[Date "2018.06.28"]
[WhiteElo "215"]
[BlackElo "218"]

1. c4 f5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 e6 4. Bg2 d5 5. 0-0 c6 6. d4 Bd6 7. Nc3 0-0 8. Rb1 Nbd7 9. b4 Ne4 10. Qc2 Ndf6 11. b5 Bd7 12. Ne5 Nxc3 13. Qxc3 cxb5 14. cxd5 Nxd5 15. Qb3 Bxe5 16. dxe5 Bc6 17. Ba3 Re8 18. Bd6 Qa5 19. e4 fxe4 20. Bxe4 Nc3 21. Bd3 Nxb1 22. Qxb1 h6 23. Bh7+ Kh8 24. Bg6 Qc3 25. f3 Qe3+ 26. Kg2 a6 27. Rf2 Bd5 28. h4 Rec8 29. Qb4 Rc4 30. Qa5 Rac8 31. Bb4 Bxf3+ 32. Rxf3 Rc2+ 33. Bxc2 Rxc2+ 34. Kh3 Qxf3
Broadland Chess Club have qualified as Norfolk winners, for the fifth successive year.   The Final will be played in Norwich on Sunday 9 September.