Yesterday, Suffolk returned to division 1 in the May 2021 edition of England's monthly inter-county blitz, organised by International Organizer, Alex Holowczak.
Everyone played well and as always, we had very consistent scoring all the way through the team. Thanks to everyone for playing, it was another great team effort!
Assuming it is the same format as usual, the bottom three will be demoted, which means that Suffolk has managed stay in the top division - so very well played again to everyone.
It's always difficult to pick out special games as there are so many, but one particular game that caught our attention was OliverRichards (1261) v yoda794 (1741). What was impressive wasn't just that White ended up winning a game against someone rated almost 500 points higher, but also the active, courageous and tactical nature of the win. After a Ruy Lopez (Spanish game), the following position arose where White started throwing 'Tal-like' tactics at Black's under-developed formation.
The Suffolk Junior Chess team has recently taken part in a fantastic international rapid play event organised by FC Bayern München. Yes, that's right, Bayern Munich (as it's written in English) have a chess club! In fact, they have various sports departments (or Vereins in German), also including basketball, handball and table tennis, to name a few.
Last Sunday's event included ten teams from Austria, England, France, Germany, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland and was centred around Bayern's "Reds against Racism" campaign. An accompanying Zoom call allowed the the organisers demonstrate how powerful chess can be as a way to connect lots of people from around the world. During the call, the chess children and tournament organisers could interact via different languages via the chat feature and occasionally using the mic as well. The tournament itself was hosted on lichess.org and once it began, the Zoom call was much quieter and the 300+ players zoned into their games.
Full details of the main event can be found on the FC Bayern München website:Chessbase website, which can easily be translated into English using DeepL Translator.
The Suffolk Junior Chess team did incredibly well and finished 4th overall in the final standings - it was a great team effort all round and every player performed extremely well. In terms of the overall individual scores, special congratulations go to Midnight17 (10th), Maximralph (18th), Mystic17 (21st) and CheckMateIWonHaha (23rd) for finishing in the top thirty places.
Suffolk Junior Chess also hosted a follow-up blitz event for anyone involved in the main tournament to take part in afterwards. One of the guest participants was Marco Bode, a former Euro 96 Winner and World Cup Finalist with Germany, who spoke about Fair Play during the main event. Suffolk's ADannatt26 came first outright, and despite losing their first game they went on a streak of ten wins in a row, proving that it's still possible to win an event after a slow start.
Suffolk Junior Chess would like to thank the chess organisers from FC Bayern München and the other teams for creating such a wonderful experience and opportunity for all participants.
Last weekend, former Suffolk Junior Justin Tan (playing as Black) gave a simultaneous display against 17 Suffolk Juniors with a time control of 30 minutes plus 30 seconds per game. Suffolk Junior Chess set up a Zoom call that ran in parallel. This allowed Justin to commentate on some of the games at the same time as playing them, and also answer questions posted and voiced by players and spectators. It was quite impressive to see the Grandmaster manage this on top of the simul display!
All of the players representing Suffolk played extremely well, especially out of the opening - developing their pieces towards the centre of the board and in most cases getting their King into safety early on. After the openings were completed, Justin had lost quite a bit of time already. However, the master's strength began to show during the middlegame positions when he engineered a few checkmates. This also gave him a bit of respite on the clock. Even so, some of the games were still proving pretty tricky for the GM, who specifically called out how well Charlotte2000 and Mystic17 had played their opening moves, making some of his subsequent moves very tricky to calculate.
In the end, Justin did an amazing job, winning all 17 games. Despite the perfect score, the youngsters from Suffolk rustled the Grandmaster's feathers on a few occasions, and at one point RowanKent ended up with a winning advantage when Black allowed White's knight (previously stuck on the rim of the board) back into the game to dominate Black's bad bishop.
Justin awarded a best performance/game award to two players: Mystic17 and RowanKent. These games were also the last to finish and are shown below. Justin has also very kindly offered to provide both players involved a joint Grandmaster online coaching class as a prize.
Suffolk Junior Chess are very grateful for the experience Justin gave the kids and are very keen for a rematch some time in the future. Everyone involved thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the event, which also included a pre-simul quiz (won by MerryJazz) and the opportunity to play through some of the games afterwards with Grandmaster analysis.
GM Justin Tan currently resides in Melbourne in Australia and has just had his first chess book published titled: 1.e4! The Chess Bible - Volume 1 - A Complete Repertoire for White.
Inter County Battle Blitz
Last Monday, for the first time, we took part in the Inter County Battle Blitz. This is an event run by Alex Holowczak and is formed of two divisions. We joined in Division 2 while our friends in Essex Junior Chess, having been promoted to Division 1 in the last round, were playing in Division 1.
The event took the form of an Arena tournament played over 90 minutes, and with 10 teams in Division 2 and 144 players representing their local teams, this was a big event. We were delighted that no less than 21 players played for Suffolk in this competition - a great turn out. So - what happened? Well, we came second - a fantastic result. For much of the event we were neck and neck with Yorkshire and Hampshire and at times in first place. As the event wore on, Yorkshire pulled away to take a well deserved first place and the race was on between Hampshire and Suffolk for the Silver medal position. This went down to the wire and some great results in the last few minutes secured our silver medal position - well played to all.
In an outstanding performance meancactus scored 26 points for the team, a scored equalled only by RowanKent and meancactus performed at 134points above his grade - to score so many points and outperform your grade is an really excellent. ADannatt26 also had an excellent event. Not only did he score 18 points for the team, he played to a performance grade of 1798, which is no less than 221 points above his Lichess grade - another great effort. derpydough123, understoodporcupine, Mystic17 and RowanKent were also among the players to play well above their grade. Well done to all these players. Well played also to WiseCrabbyCoconut who scored no less than 19 points, and to Midnight17 and HarryOscar who both scored 18 points, and also to Sana333 who is a relatively new player, but who scored 12 points.
We have congratulated lots of players and I would like to mention everyone, but that would be a very long article. But, what pleased me the most about our performance was how well the team performed as a whole. You need 2 things among others to succeed in these events. You do need your top players, they will score you points. But that is not enough. To borrow a cricketing phrase, you need to bat a long way down the order. What I mean by this is that you need to be able to score plenty of points throughout the team. Firstly, you need all those points, and secondly, players will always have an off day so we need a strong team. And that is what the team did so well. Everyone contributed to the result - so well done to the whole team.
You can see the full results and all the games here: lichess.org/tournament/ApuMThsZ
So, where does that leave us? - in Division 1! How amazing is that? Our first match in Division 1 will be on Monday 4th January at 6pm. We will send out a link to the event as soon as we are able to, most likely a week before.
SJC Clubnight - Wednesday 9th December
Well played to Midnight17 who won this event, playing no less than 13 games of chess in one hour, and won all but 3 of them - very well played. RowanKent also played very well to take second place. AbleLopsidedGiraffe, Koliyfl0w37 and wisecrabbycoconut all finished on 14 points, with AbleLopsidedGiraffe taking 3rd place by having the highest performance grade.
To see all the games and the full results, click here: lichess.org/tournament/Tv2ZUEA0
Today we held an Arena event. Number were slightly down due to AbleLopsidedGiraffe, OliverRichards and RowanKent taking part in the online London Junior Chess Championships U12 finals which are running throughout today.
Midnight17 looked sure to follow up his victory on Wednesday with another victory this morning, only for ADannatt26 to put together an amazing run of results at the end to take victory. Well played ADannatt26 - a great finish. Midnight17 secured second place, while Rafandros secured third place by virtue of some great results at the end.
To see all the games and the full results, click here: lichess.org/tournament/Kc4hhvCJ
Tonight was the night for Midnight17. He scorched to victory with a perfect 10 wins from 10 games - what a performance! Very very well played. Sana333 also had an excellent evening taking second place from RowanKent on tie-break - again very well played. RowanKent completed the top three with a great comeback after a wobbly start.
But - tonight was Midnight17's night. 10 wins from 10 games is a perfect results - can anyone equal it?
All of tonight's games and the full results can be found here: lichess.org/tournament/4cKrQTUP
London Junior Chess Championships (LJCC)
Last weekend was the finals of the LJCC. This is a major event - one of the 'majors' of the junior chess calendar. It is normally held over the board in Harrow, but this year has moved online. In the younger age groups, entry to the finals is by qualification only, and in normal years these qualifiers are held all over the country. This year the qualifiers were also online, but a high level of performance was still required to gain entry to the finals. Last weekend was the finals of the U18 and U12 age groups and Suffolk had players who made it to both of these events.
Rowan Kent has entered the LJCC for a number of years and this year took the opportunity to enter the U18 age group. Against lots of older players the standard of chess was high, but the pressure was off. Rowan Kent had a great event and scored 4/7, and came an impressive 36th out of 123 entrants. Very well played.
The full results and all the games can be seen here: lichess.org/swiss/0LZCfGR9
The finals of the section were by qualification only and we were delighted that 3 Suffolk players qualified for the final. These players were AbleLopsidedGiraffe, OliverRichards, and Rowan Kent. This was the first time AbleLopsidedGriaffe and OliverRichards had entered this event and they performed extremely well. AbleLopsidedGiraffe achieved an extremely good 3 wins form 7 games, while OliverRichards also had a great event and scored 2/7. Reaching the finals of this event is a really big achievement, so to get there and win games - that is fantastic, so very well played to them both. RowanKent also had a good day and managed to score 4 wins from his 7 games to finish in the top half. Very well played.
The full results and all the games can be seen here: lichess.org/swiss/ZbTYv4Ix
Wins, Draws, Losses and Stalemates - we had them all tonight. I think tonight proves you should never give up. If all else fails - try for a stalemate!
Special mentions tonight go to:
sana333 - Undefeated
jamesblyth - Best ever finish
m4verickvp - first win
MerryJazz - 2nd and somehow fitted in 16 games in one hour - how exactly?
CheckmateIWonHaha - First time and came 5th
I have reasons to congratulate to congratulate every player, but then they would not be special mentions. But - well played to everyone.
Well played also to RowanKent for winning the event, MerryJazz who came second, and in third place, HarryOscar who could so easily have won or taken second.
If you have a Lichess account, you can see the full results and all the games here: lichess.org/tournament/OW4oN79K
Well played to RowanKent, Midnight17 & ADannatt26, our top three players today, scoring 23 points, 18 and 16 respectively. There was some very good chess today, so well played to all - it was great to everyone winning at least one game.
I think that one question that all members must ask themselves is "how can I do better?" Arena chess rewards players who win games quickly because they fit more games in and so have more opportunities to score points. But, everyone knows this, and so there is a temptation to rush. I would strongly suggest that you are better to play reasonably quickly, but also to understand that there are periods of games and certain positions which require more thought. I suspect that the easiest way for most players improve their results is to try to be aware of the moments in games which deserve more attention. After all, you get no points for losing games. Another thing to think about is when you go Berserk. You get more points for winning if you do take this option, but you also half you time. It is probably worth thinking about this as well.
I would like to congratulate two players in particular today. Firstly sana333. This was sana333's first tournament in the SJC Lichess club and sana333 played really well, winning 6 games out of 9 and coming 6th overall. Very well played, and welcome to the club.
I would also like to congratulate MerryJazz. MerryJazz regularly does very well in these events, but today had a tough start, losing several matches. In that situation, it can be tempting to give up and stop trying. But, that is not what happened. Instead, he continued playing and managed to win 3 and draw 1 of his last 5 games, including winning against the runner up in todays event. Very well played. Is it possible that you were rushing a bit at the start?
If you have a Lichess login, you can see the full results and look through all the games here: lichess.org/tournament/5qIyeEDu
We are continuing to run our events on Lichess. Tonight we had two tournaments, both and Arena set-up.
We started with Fischer Random (also known as Chess960. This is where the board is set up differently. The Pawns are in the usual places, but the other pieces, while remaining on the back rank, are mixed up. Why play this form of chess? Well, it is nice to have a change and it is fun. It is also good to mix things up a bit. Players get used to using certain openings and rely on this knowledge. By changing the set-up, it forces players to play a bit more on instinct, which sharpens them up. But the main reason? - it's fun.
So - how did everyone do? RowanKent managed the change in set up best to secure a win, even lose in his last match to a very amusing Checkmate after only 5 moves. Well played to OliverRichards for seeing it. The position has been used in the Checkmate in 1 puzzle below. Can you find Checkmate?
Koliyfl0w37 and OliverRichards finished equal on points, with Koliyfl0w37 taking second place on tournament performance grade. Well played to all the players.
If you have a Lichess account, you can see the full results and all the games here: lichess.org/tournament/pj0F722b
In our second Arena style event this evening, we had a half hour Blitz competition. There was a very close finish to the event with Midnight17 pushing RowanKent all the way and very nearly winning himself. AbleLopsidedGiraffe looked on course for victory after winning his first three matches before losing a few towards the end. Very well played to all.
If you have a Lichess account, you can see the full results and all the games here: lichess.org/tournament/EKqfAGfQ
Chess Problem - Checkmate in 1
This position is from the game between OliverRichards and RowanKent. How did OliverRichards deliver checkmate in only one move here?
By the way - you may wonder how the pieces came to be in these positions - surely it is an impossible position? Yes, in normal chess it would be an impossible position, but this was a game of Fischer Random chess - otherwise known as Chess960.
This is a very strange smothered mate - what a great way to win!!! Well played OliverRichards.
A match took place today between Essex, King Edwards Grammar School (Chelmsford) and Suffolk in a Team Battle Blitz on Lichess. It was a great event and played with a great spirit. With three strong teams playing each other, we were in for a treat. The contest remained tight for the first half an hour, before KEGS pulled out a lead. Being in a strong position, a couple of their players very kindly paused for a cup of tea, before re-joining the battle in the last 15 minutes. Suffolk took full advantage of the opportunity and took the lead with about ten minutes to go. It was then neck and neck all the way to the finish, with Suffolk taking victory by a single point. The match finished as follows:
1st: Suffolk - 125 points
2nd: KEGS - 124 points
3rd: Essex - 99 points
What a close contest - who would have imagined that we would have such a tight finish? I would like to say a big thank you to all the players from all three teams. This was the first time Suffolk has competed in this arena, and we are very grateful to Essex and KEGS for playing us, and to Robin Slade for setting up the event and organising the Essex and KEGS teams - very much appreciated. I would also like to thank every single player in the Suffolk team. We had a truly fantastic turn out - 25 players represented Suffolk and we are grateful to all of them. It is always tempting to look at the highest graded players, but what we consistently find in tournaments is that it matters much more how strong the team is as a whole than whether you have the best two or three players. Congratulations to the whole Suffolk team - and thank you.
If you have a Lichess account, you can see the full results and all the games here: lichess.org/tournament/P1cSD2Vm
Game of the Day
The game below is taken from one of the games today, and earned HarryOscar the "Game of the Day" award, chosen by Ed Player - see awards list below for further details. Ed has analysed and made notes in the game - this is well worth a look and is shown below. Thanks Ed!
You can also find this analysis here: lichess.org/study/9tbsYAXq/UBTw9RFG
We were very lucky to have had both Adam Hunt and Ed Player following the Suffolk players. Both are titled chess players and we are very lucky to have them helping chess in Suffolk. Ed Player very kindly looked through a lot of games and followed the event and has made the following awards and special mentions:
Player of the Day
"Best player has to go to Midnight17. He managed to take out the Essex no.1 seed SYM_Lak2Splashy and only lost two games. Very well played Midnight17."
Performance of the Day
"Meapearson gets my vote for best performance, performing at 1444 with a rating of just 1223 . He played really steady chess and if he can play a bit more actively and confidently against higher rated opponents, he'll be even tougher to beat. Very well played Meaperson."
Game of the Day
HarryOscar - "For best game prize, I found this game: lichess.org/lTPcx5I2/ - the standard is really high for two 1500s and HarryOscar had some amazing vision (or perhaps a bit of luck - who knows, it's blitz) to come out of a complicated tactical combination in the middle game."
Mentioned in Dispatches
"There were some great team performances from the likes of Rafandros, RowanKent, and Meancactus, who used the berserk options regularly to try and help the team score more points."
Don't be carried away by the event. If you are too desperate to win and gain points for the team, you may well not do as well as you would like. The thing is to focus on playing the best chess you can while managing your time effectively. If you can do that, you will get the points anyway.
Oh - much more important than that - enjoy it - otherwise there is no point...
Can anyone stop him??? RowanKent had a night to remember - played 11, won 11. Not a bad streak! Well played. With a number of players tied on 14 points at the end, Koliyfl0w37 mounted a late surge and took second place on tiebreak on the basis of having a slightly higher performance grade - extremely well played. HarryOscar took 3rd place on tiebreak, while AbleLopsidedGiraffe was very unlucky to miss out on the top 3 while also scoring 14 points.
Full results and all the games here: lichess.org/tournament/qDzFg5RE
Check here for articles about the Suffolk Juniors.