Sunday, 27 January 2019

County First Team report

(From team captain Steve Ruthen)

The first of three Sunday double headers saw Suffolk paired against Cambridgeshire, then Bedfordshire.

The morning match v Cambs was expected to be hard fought, and so it was.   Although we held a notional four grading point advantage it was only at the end that we pulled ahead.   Wins from the immensely experienced Gregory, Wallis, Feavyour, Sanders and Ruthen led to a 9-7 victory, with eight draws.

We were expecting an easier match v Beds, given the 14-2 score line last time we played, but the match proved to be even tighter than the morning match.   Only a delicate endgame squeeze by Ted Mathewson (accept doubled pawns at your peril v Ted) saw us home by 8½-7½.   Ted's was the last game to finish and when down to less than five minutes Ted forgot to press his clock after moving.   He must have “heard” the 15 silent screaming voices because he realised in good time, advised his opponent that although he (the opponent) was thinking, it was Ted’s clock that was running(!) and delivered the critical win.   I suspect his opponent knew VERY well that Ted’s clock was ticking towards oblivion.

Thanks to Hopkins, Gregory, Lewis and Quader for the other wins.

Steve Gregory leads the “no prize at all” competition for most points scored, with two wins.

It was also good to have Dave Spence available, and also Luke Hill for the first time.   Both of these players gave great solidity at the top end of the team.

WE lead the table as the only team with two wins.   We now face Norfolk and Cambs on 3rd February.

Saturday, 26 January 2019

New ECF grades published

The January 2019 ECF grades were published last week.   They can be viewed in full here.

Several Suffolk players have enjoyed substantial improvements in their grade.   The greatest increase (+19) is by James Pack (Bury St Edmunds), who has risen from 136 to 155.   He had been hoping for 160+, but he only played 25 games (+18, =3, -4) in the half-year up to the end of December 2018, so five ‘legacy’ games (at an average of 136) would have dragged him down.

Four other players have improved by more than 10 points:
Mario Saenz de Villaverde (Bury St Eds) +16 (to 96)
Angus Irving (Ipswich) +14 (to 127)
Mike Usher (Saxmundham) +13 (to 161)
Mark Le-Vine (Bury St Eds) +11 (to 198)

There is a new Junior at the top of the Under 18 list.   Long-time leader Alex Sheerin (177) has been pipped by Jaden Jermy (178).   Jaden is at #9 in the national list of Under 14s.   Maintaining third place is 12-year old Adam John (149), with a further four juniors graded 100 or higher.

The top girls are 10-year old Amy John (98) and Jenni Rochford (79).   Jenni squeezes in at #98 in the top 100 Under 16 girls.   As usual, there are few women in the list, with only former Suffolk Ladies’ Champion Vicky Allen graded over 100, as well as Saxmundham’s new member Sarah Rowles.

There are nine Suffolk-based players graded over 200.   They are:
Alan Merry (242), Adam Hunt (229), Adam Taylor (226), Mike Harris (219), Graham Moore and Andy Lewis (both 216), Ed Player (211), Dagne Ciuksyte (210) and David Spence (203). That would be some team in they were all willing to play for Suffolk in the County Championships!

Friday, 18 January 2019

Two Queen Sacrifices

Until two days ago, Stephen Lewis, a member of Stowmarket Chess Club and Bury St Edmunds Chess Club, had never had the opportunity to execute a Queen sacrifice in a competitive game, but was very pleasantly surprised to be presented with two opportunities in two days this week.

Puzzle 1: Can you spot how White forces checkmate in 16 moves after hoovering up most of Black's pieces?

Puzzle 2: White to play.

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Suffolk players at Hastings Chess Congress

Hastings and chess have a long history going all the way back to the famous Hastings 1895 chess tournament. The 2018/2019 Hastings Chess Congress featured Ipswich's Graham Moore and Manningtree's Adam Taylor, who both played in the 10 round Masters section. The final standings (extract below) are available from the chess results website.

Hastings Masters Final Crosstable

Graham (scoring 5½/10) and Adam (scoring 6½/10) performed excellently, both gaining ELO points which should help improve their national rankings in the next FIDE rating list. In fact Graham really scored 5½/9 as like many other participants he opted for a zero point bye in the final round. Adam managed to get himself up to board 2 in the final round where a win would have seen him end up in joint first place. Still, a draw with Black against former British Champion, Jonathan Hawkins, isn't bad going! The eventual six winners represented six different countries: Spain, Lithuania, England, Bulgaria, Russia and Ireland.

Also, on New Year's Day Adam won the Hastings FIDE-rated Blitz. Congratulations Adam!

Games from the Masters tournament are available from the website.