Can you find Check Mate in two moves? White to play. If you can find it - post your answer as a comment...
Last Saturday, the Suffolk U11 chess team travelled to Aldgate in London for the Eastern Region Inter County Match. As we are located in the strongest chess region in the country, this was always going to be a very tough event. Our team played extremely well against very strong opposition and achieved some very good results.
I would like to thank all of the team for their performances. We have some very tough opponents and all the players should feel very proud to have represented their county at this level and should remember that some of the very top players in the country were there. Two of our players did the impossible and won 2 of their 3 matches - Amy John and Georgia Pommier. To win 2/3 at this level is a performance that they should be very proud of.
I would also like to thank the team for their approach to the day. They worked hard and concentrated, but above all enjoyed themselves - well done.
I would like to thank the following who represented their county so well: Alex Bujnowski, Amy John, Arthur Dannatt, Beatrice Boreham, Edison Lorejo, Freddie Dannatt, Georgia Pommier, Isaac Kim, Joe Ferdinand, Lade Laguda, Lanfranco Lawson, Luke Holmes, Matteo Barberini , Max Lewis, Mevin Biju, Raf Calumpiano, Rowan Kent, Ryan John, Theo Pommier, Tia Martin, William Davison, Zikora Varner.
The overall results can be found here.
Suffolk's results can be found here.
Please note that there is an error on Round 3 boards 17 and 18, in which Beatrice Boreham and Alex Bujnowski actually played - I have asked for this error to be corrected.
The image below shows where we were playing - a very different environment to Suffolk's Schools!
Sunday, 13th May, saw the first of this summer's major junior chess events - the Mega Final, held at Woodbridge School. This is an event where players qualify through school or club stages to compete in the county final. From these, the top Suffolk players, the very best qualify to compete in the national Giga Finals.
Congratulations to all players who played in this event - they have all done extremely well to qualify. The results will be appearing shortly on the UK Chess Challenge Website.
Before we move on to the results, it was great to see the representation from Suffolk's schools and chess clubs, with many players coming from the Bury Knights. Players also came to the event having succeeded in the schools / clubs stage at Woodbridge school, Bosmere, East Bergholt, and Handford Hall - and other schools which I have not recorded. Thank you to all schools and clubs who took part in this event - it is a great way to make chess fun and competitive in clubs and also helps give a target and competition. Thank you to the UK Chess Challenge organisers for running the competition, and thanks also to Adam Hunt and Dagne Ciuksyte and for organising and running the event.
With the U7s category having been grouped with the U8s, Indula Dedigama played extremely well to win all his games while still an U7, while Lade Laguda won the U8s with some excellent chess, with both being Supremo in their categories. Athene Ross won the title of Suprema in the girls U8 category, again with some excellent chess.
In a big section with many players, Rowan Kent played well to win all his games to takes the title of Supremo in the boys U9 category, while Sofia Ciuksyte took the title of Suprema in the girls section.
The main drama of the day took place in the U10s section. Here there were 3 main protagonists who were all equal at the end of the event with Amy John, Georgia Pommier and Louis Thomas all equal on 5 wins from 6 games respectively, with Amy having beaten Louis, Louis having beaten Georgia, and Georgia having beaten Amy. The boys section was straightforward with victory and the title of Supremo going to Louis Thomas - congratulations to him. After checking the rules, it was confirmed that Georgia would take the title of Suprema due to her victory over Amy, so very well played, Georgia, for some excellent and consistent chess. And congratulations also to Amy for some excellent chess and a very well deserved qualification for the Giga Final.
With the U11 & U12 sections grouped together, Toby Martin earned the title of U11 Supremo with 4 wins from 6 games, while Amber Cook earned the Title of U11s Suprema. In the U12 section, Adam John earned the tile of Supremo with a perfect score of 6 wins from 6 games, while the title of Suprema was awarded to Charlotte Ciuksyte.
Tom Roy took the U13 Supremo title with an excellent 5/6. Samuel Prior won the U14 Supremo title, while Caitlin Shore won the U14 Suprema title. In the U15 section, Rowland Kerr took the Supremo title with an excellent 5.5/6, while Jenny Rochford took the Suprema title.
Congratulations to the Suffolk Junior Chess Under 9 team who yesterday travelled to Solihull for the national finals. This is an event for which they qualified last March. The teams approach was very impressive and they showed how far they have come in the last few months in their approach to matches and the thought that they put into their chess.
Hamilton Lowdell (Ipswich Junior Chess Club), Luke Holmes, and Isaac Kim (both Bury Knights) all won 2 out of 3 games and should be very proud of their performances, while Edison Lorejo and Raf Calumpiano both scored a win and a draw and also played very well.
However, many players played very well while not always winning. We saw some excellent chess by all players, while not always winning. We saw players play chess in a way they could not have achieved only a few months ago and have seen players confidence grow over the last few months through training session and competition and we have seen the players from different clubs and schools get to know each other, which has been great. We have also seen frustration when players have lost games they felt they could have won, and bounce back to fight for the next game. It has been a great experience.
All the players, no matter what the result should be very proud of their efforts and we look forward to seeing as many of them as possible at the Suffolk Junior Chess Open at Woodbridge School on Sunday 17th June at Woodbridge School. Contact Dagne Ciuksyte for more information.
So - the results. We did not win. We did not come 2nd or 3rd. But, we did come 13th out of 16 teams. I am sure many of the players would have liked to have done better, but this is the national final and many of these players are playing their first tournament chess, so they have all done really well.
the team photo...
... and the hidden chess piece photo...
Over the last few weeks, Suffolk's Junior players have represented the county at U9, U11, and U18 levels. The teams have had varying levels of success, but should all be very proud of their efforts in their matches and also of the way they have represented the county.
Before we get to the important business of the teams, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the clubs and schools who have provided players to the Suffolk teams. The 2 main chess clubs, Bury Knights and Ipswich Junior Chess Club provided the teams with many players and sincere thanks go to Bob Jones and Martin Tomes for the very significant time and effort they put into providing opportunities for young Suffolk players. Thanks also go to the schools with Woodbridge School, St Edmunds Catholic Primary School and Handford Hall being among the schools providing players. Without these clubs and schools, there would be no Junior Chess in Suffolk, so thank you to them all.
In all 3 of the Suffolk teams, the spirit and good natured behaviour was noticeable and I would like to thank the players and their parents for the commitment to travel to the various venues, none of which were close to Suffolk and to spend all day with the team. The players cheerful approach to the game and the team spirit were very noticeable - thank you to all.
Thank you to Ground Control for supporting the team and helping to make the event possible for the players.
On 25th February, the U18 team competed against 5 other counties in the major section in Grantham. While the team struggled against the tough opposition, the games were generally hard fought. Suffolk sent a team of 12 juniors who had an overall average grade of 122 - an impressive achievement in itself. However when competing against counties with average grades of 151, 154 & 161, it was always going to be a tall order.
Well played to the whole team: Alex Sheerin, Jaden Jermy, Adam John, Gavith Dharmasena, Kian Dharmasena, Alan John, Rowland Kerr, Tom Roy, William Moody, Rowan Kent, Mario Saenz de Villaverde, and Amy John.
Thank you also to Bob Jones for organising the team.
The report on the English Chess website can be seen here.
On Saturday 10th March, Suffolk's U9 team gathered in Richmond for the regional inter county event. Against some really strong teams we travelled in hope of strong results, but also prepared for a tough event with many of our players at the start of their chess careers.
In this 12 board event, we had a tough first round, winning only 3.5 points from a possible 12. A stronger 2nd round was needed, and the team delivered, winning 5 points and they followed that up with a further 5 points in the final round.
The team needed to finish in the top 6 to qualify for the national finals, and managed in the final round to overhaul Cambridgeshire to finish 5th - a truly fantastic result which bodes well for the future.
The stand-out performance of the day was undoubtedly by Edison Lorejo. Edison, who has a grade of 24, was asked to play opponents of grades 86, 63 and 26. In winning all three games, he managed a grading performance of 101. Surely his best performance to date.
Another notable performance was by Freddie Dannatt in securing 2.5 points from a possible 3 points which were crucial to secure qualification for the next round - well done Freddie.
The future of the U9 team will also be strengthened by our young new recruit Lade Laguda, who is only just 8. In winning 3 games out of 3, he will strengthen the team next year when the bulk of the players become too old for the U9s.
Not everyone wins all their games, and in these events, the way the matches are arranged, some players have a tougher draw than others. It was fantastic to see that all the players took their defeats and kept smiling and all enjoyed themselves, which is by far the most important thing.
Very well done to the ENTIRE team of: Rowan Kent, Raf Calumpiano, Edison Lorejo, Isaac Kim, Tania Roy, Luke Holmes, Mevin Biju, Freddie Dannatt, Hamilton Lowdell, Karthik Kamatham, Indula Dedigama, Tyler Whalen, Lade Laguda, Kara Whalen, Max Lewis, and Gabriel Kim.
The Suffolk results can be found here.
The full results can be found here.
Yesterday, 17th March, it was the turn of the U11s to represent Suffolk in a snowy Bromley. With 20 players per team, and 10 counties represented in the south-east zone, this was a big event with 200 players in the playing hall as well as reserve players.
After a tough first round in which the team scored 6/20, the team scored a good 8.5/20 to go into the final round needing plenty of wins to qualify for the national finals. Unfortunately, with some tough pairings, the team just failed to qualify.
The most notable performance was probably that of Milan Biju (Grade 53) who scored a win, a draw and a loss to score 1.5/3 against 3 players who were all graded over 100 to finish with a grading performance of 93 - very well played.
Other notable performances were by Raf Calumpiano, Eniko Stuller, Luke Holmes (all 2/3) and Marina Pommier (1.5/3).
The full Suffolk results can be found here.
As with the other teams, ALLthe players should be very proud of their performance. In these events, depending on the draw, some players can have a much tougher draw than others. Well played to EVERYONE.
Following the conclusion of the chess, it was time to travel home on a distinctly snowy and dark evening. One thing that will live long in the memory is the exceptional and ruthless aim of some of the players with snowballs, particularly at yours truly! You know who you are...
Spot the Chess Piece
Seen below is the Under 11 chess team in Bromley - can you find the Knight hiding in the photo???
A couple of weeks ago, local IM Dagne Ciuksyte organised Suffolk's first Exchange Chess Tournament. It was held in Martlesham and was a fun and boisterous event. Dagne's report is below.
"It was a great fun at the Exchange Chess Tournament! And surely I will be getting rid of the rule to be quiet in similar format (team) events in the future as it is simply impossible to stay still when you can't wait to send a message to your opponent be it desperate for an extra piece or being one move away from getting checkmate...
Anyway, the tournament started with our arbiter Mark Weidman lining the players up according to their grades and asking them to choose a teammate from the other half of the tournament. It's not often you see it happening at the chess tournament so we did have a few jokes floating around even before the event started!
I was partnered with John Painter. Both of us were rather generous to other teams (I got checkmated rather quickly in my very first game by, apparently, experienced Exchange Chess Player Russell White) so most of the time we were having a laugh sitting there at the bottom boards. John improved considerably by not only shedding me some of these precious extra pieces but also checkmating his young opponents hungry for his jokes and mistakes!
Surprisingly, the tournament was won by our arbiter Mark and his teammate 5-year-old Daniel who had a slight helping hand from another player's Mum."
The image to the right shows a position from the event.
The full results can be found here.
As I am sure everyone one is aware, the Bury St Edmunds Junior Chess Congress formed the second round of the 3 event Suffolk Junior Chess Grand Prix. The current standings are shown below. Congratulations to Rowan Kent, Marina Pommier, Jaden Jermy, and Rowland Kerr who are currently leading their sections. The final round of the Grand Prix takes place in Woodbridge on Sunday 17th June. For more information on this event, please see here. Remember that the Suffolk Junior Chess Open 50% extra points for the Grand Prix, so it is all to play for.
For the full Grand Prix Standings, please see here.
On Sunday 18th February 2018, Bob Jones hosted the annual Bury St Edmunds Junior Chess Congress in Moreton Hall. This is always a well attended and challenging event.
The Open section saw a fantastic contest between Jaden Jermy and William Stoeber. They finished up in equal first place and shared the prize. They then
played a 5 minute game of Blitz chess to decide the winner of the EACU Junior Championship, which is won by the top player in the U18 section. Congratulations to William Stoeber for winning the tie breaker.
A very strong Under 11 section was won by Dylan Stoeber with a perfect score of 6/6. Another notable performance was that of Jianzhou Mei, who could have played in the Under 9s but chose to compete in an older age group, and who scored 4.5/6
The Under 9 section was won by Rowan Kent with a perfect score of 6/6, while 6 players shared the runner-up spot all with 4/6. They were: Jackson Chen, Mae Catabay, Tommy Karpanos, Theo Pommier, Yvan Lokhmotov, and Nathan Cartledge.
The Minor section, which was open to any ungraded junior player or those with a grade under 50, was won by William Gu with a perfect score of 6/6.
The results can be found at the links below:
The Bury Junior Chess Congress also features a team event where players from the same school can enter as a four player team. This year, Woodbridge School's team put in a strong performance to win this competition with a score of 16.5/24. The scores were as follows: Rowan Kent 6/6, Marina Pommier 2.5/6, Georgia Pommier 4/6, & Theo Pommier 4/6. Well played to Woodbridge School.
Yesterday, the Abbey School sent a chess team to take part in the National Primary Schools Chess Championship. This is an event in which the school have a good record having come within a whisker of qualifying for the National Finals in the U9s section last year. This year Mr Hunt led the U11 team to Moulsham Junior School in Chelmsford. The team delivered in fine fashion to qualify for the Semi-Finals, which will be held over a weekend at Pontins this summer.
Having taken two reserves, the team got off to a good start, winning 4 out of 5 games on the scoring boards, and winning both of their reserve games. The second round saw a perfect result with all seven players winning their games. As the competition got tougher, the team lost their number 2 player, Marina Pommier, who had to depart to swim for Suffolk! The rest of the team had to step up a board, with Marina's sister, Georgia, playing board 2, and Henry Allen stepping up from the reserves to play board 5. It was a tougher round and a 3:2 win was well deserved with wins for Rowan Kent, Georgia Pommier, and Theo Pommier (yet another of the chess playing Pommier clan).
Success in chess always leads to tough matches and the 4th round was no different. The Abbey were drawn to play against Number 1 seeds Brentwood Prep school, led by ex Ipswich player Richard Pert. This was a tough round and proved to be the team's sole loss. The final round saw a return to form with a 3.5:1.5 win for the Abbey including a crucial draw on Board 1 for Rowan and wins from Fred Bartlett-Smith, Theo & Georgia to secure another win for the team.
Overall the teams finished 3rd out of 15 schools - a fantastic result.
With 2 wins from 2 for Henry Allen in the reserves, before stepping up to Board 5, and 4 wins from 5 for Lade Laguda (still only 8 years old) in the reserves, this shows the strength in depth available to the school.
Overall, the points were as follows:
Rowan Kent: 3.5/5
Marina Pommier: 2/2
Georgia Pommier: 4/5
Fred Bartlett-Smith: 2/5
Theo Pommier: 4/5
Henry Allen: 2/5
Lade Laguda: 4/5
Below are Photos and positions from the event.
Top Left: Spot the chess piece - Theo Pommier, Lade Laguda, Henry Allen, Fred Bartlett-Smith, and Georgia Pommier are seen here hiding a chess piece - where is it?
Top Right: Mate-in-One for White - This is a position from Rowan Kent's 3rd round game - he Check-Mated next move - can you see how?
Bottom Left: This is a position from the same game, but one move earlier. The chess computer assures us that there is Mate-in-5 for Rowan (playing white) - can you see how? I believe it starts Queen takes the Rook on b3. The first person to email firstname.lastname@example.org with the correct solution gets their name "in lights" when we publish their solution here.
Bottom Right: The Abbey Chess team - Henry Allen, Rowan Kent, Fred Bartlett-Smith, Theo Pommier, & Georgia Pommier collecting their medals for 3rd place. Marina Pommier and Lade Laguda had had to leave early.
Sunday 21st January saw the inaugural Martlesham Heath Chess Open, run by local International Master Dagne Ciuksyte. In a mixed field including junior players and some of the top players from Suffolk's adult players there was good competition. Woodbridge School's own International Master, Adam Hunt, won the event with a perfect 6 wins from 6 games, including wins against the 2nd and 3rd placed competitors, Peter Gemmel & Dagne Ciuksyte. A position from their game is shown below with Dagne's thoughts on the game.
There were some very good performances by Suffolk's Junior players. Jenni Rochford gave a stand out performance in winning 4 from 6 games, including a loss against Dagne Ciuksyte. Woodbridge School's Abhiram Durbakula also put in an extremely strong performance including a memorable win against 139 graded player, Cameron Little. A loss against Adam Hunt will no doubt also be remembered for a long time.
The next of Dagne's series of events is the Martlesham Heath Exchange Chess Tournament which is to be held on Sunday 25th February. More information available on the tournaments page here.
The full results can be downloaded here.
Check here for articles about the Suffolk Juniors.