“Bonanza Night” – Live!

Tonight is “Bonanza Night” when our three teams in the Baum Trophy all play each other in three rounds of G30 Rapid Chess. The novelty this year is that three games in each round will be screened live on the Internet.

Watch them here: Bonanza Live Games
Approximate round start times of 7:30, 8:35 and 9:40 pm. The games will automatically refresh, but you will need to refresh your browser between rounds to get updated headers.

The games which will be shown live are:

Round 1

1 Staniland v Spearman
2 Bancroft v Collyer
3 Savaranan v Marden

Round 2

1 Spearman v Parols
2 Bancroft v Hodgson
3 Marden v Barclay

Round 3

1 Parols v Staniland
2 Hodgson v Collyer
3 Barclay v Savaranan

Approximate round start times of 7:30, 8:35 and 9:40 pm. You will need to refresh your browser between rounds to get update headers.

Junior Championships Play-Off and supporting acts live

Commentary and analysis in the Club Room, Tuesday 23rd May

This year it is the first of the play-offs in the Junior Championship providing the entertainment for peer review live on the Club Room smart board this Tuesday, 23rd May. Philip Staniland will be chairing the commentary in Roding with up to the minute analysis from his special guests of this and the two supporting acts, being played over the live boards.

Live: Bui v Collyer (colours to be determined), Sweeney v Harte, Marden v Bancroft

Last Tuesday Kyan Bui held his Knight and pawns ending resumption against Joe Rosenberg whilst Alex could only muster the draw against Nigel White; finishing on 4½ points each and triggering the double round play-off competition. Round 2 with colours reversed is scheduled for the 6th June.

It’s London v Essex in the 106 to 125 grading section as our respective third team captains, Kevin and Ben, battle it out in their postponed Round 9 encounter, which may well determine the destination of the two grading prizes on offer.

It should be fireworks too as two of our best tacticians, Larry Marden and Paul Bancroft, complete the last of the Round 9 top boards pairings and the evening’s live broadcast.

All games are being played to a finish using the incremental time control option.

In the absence of the Tournament Secretary (the little matter of the Division 4 London League Title taking precedence), Ian Hunnable will be deputising as Controller whilst providing the technical support during the broadcast.

The games will be accessible via this LINK

Nine on the Ninth

David Spearman wins Club Championship with a round to spare
Kyan Bui and Alex Collyer neck-and-neck in Junior Championship

Round 9 draw posted for 9 May with cross-table – Go there now

Congratulations to David Spearman on his third Championship in nine years (his second outright, the first of which was in 2008/2009 at his first attempt! David, having dropped just ½ a point in eight rounds, has amassed an unassailable 1½ point lead from his nearest challenger, Controller Mark Murrell (6). They meet in the final round.

Also in contention for the placement prizes are Laurie Burtt, Ian Hunnable, Andy Lu and Steven Rix ½ a point behind. Ian has played them all bar Andy and this determined the pairings for the consolation prizes. It will take a lot of results going the right way, but any of the chasing pack of seven (ranging from Kevin Sweeney [118] to second seed Paul Bancroft [175]) could still achieve a placement prize.

David and Steve are the only players who have yet to be beaten in this year’s competition.

In the Junior Championship Alex closed the gap in Round 8 setting up some interesting pairings for our junior contenders. With a head-to-head avoided (for now at least) will one of them be able to pull clear or will they face a play-off double round if they remain inseparable?

Final call for those Champagne Moments – get you entries in asap. This year Round 9 is early enough to be included so plenty of incentive for inspirational chess – or blunders!

Dispensations are discouraged in the final round unless unavoidable. All games bar four will be played on the 9 May.

It is all very tight too in each of the grading sections, where first and second place prizes are up for grabs. Each has a clear leader but only just. The front runners going into Round 9 are:

126 to 160 Mark Murrell (6) with Laurie Burtt and Andy Lu (5½); all having challenging higher-graded opponents in the final round;

106 to 125   Kevin Sweeney (5) with Ben Harte, Graham Hillman and Terry Skippen (4½). Kevin and Ben have been drawn together – will they square up for ping pong chess?

80 to 105   Mark Le Gassicke (4½) with Kyan Bui, Nic Charles, Alex Collier, John Jestico and Nigel White (4). Only Alex and Nigel go head to head;

 U80            Paul Read (3½) with Sid Burns and Sebastian Monzon (3).

Sebastian has set the target of 4 following his early encounter against Michael Fleming, securing a prize. Paul and Sid are paired together, one of whom will be disappointed.

For those interested, the current cross-table can be downloaded here: Championship cross table

Mark Murrell
Tournament Secretary


Steve Rix wins the Handicap Blitz Grand Prix

The story so far: after four of the five rounds of the 2016-17 Handicap Blitz Grand Prix, Steve Rix was in the lead with 20½/28, ahead of Terry Whitton, 19/28; David Spearman, 18/28; John Hodgson 17½/21.

Steve Rix, Grand Prix winner

Steve Rix, Grand Prix winner

Steve will admit the final event on 18 April was not one of  his best. While he started out like a train with 2/2, the loco derailed with losses in the next three rounds. The saving factor, however, was that his nearest challenger, Terry Whitton, was also having a mare and could do no better than Steve with 2/5.

With the mixed fortunes of the GP leaders, the interest divided, with the outcome of this 5th event and the destiny of the Grand Prix becoming separate strands from about R4 onwards.

In Round 4, the game between the tournament leaders, Paul Bancroft and Mark Murrell both on 3/3, was drawn, allowing Vladimir Parols, Paul Haddock and Jay Sharman to close within half a point of Paul and Mark.

All was thrown back in the melting pot when Round 5 brought reverses for Paul Bancroft (loss to Vladimir) Mark (loss to Paul Haddock) and Jay (loss to David Spearman). This brought Vladimir and Paul Haddock into the joint lead on 4/5, followed by Mark and Paul Bancroft.

In Round 6, Mark and Vladimir drew, Paul Haddock ost to David Spearman, John Hodgson defeated Paul Bancroft and Kyan Bui beat Kevin Sweeney, to leave the leading scores after 6 rounds: Vladimir, 4½/6; David Spearman, Paul Haddock, John Hodgson, Kyan Bui, Mark Murrell, 4.

Round 3 in progress

Round 3 in progress

In the “race” for the GP the 6th Round paired together the two leaders and with the point shared, Steve retained the GP lead.

The last round pairings saw the top three games drawn: Parols (4½)-Spearman (4), Haddock (4)-Hodgson (4), Bancroft (3½)-Bui (4), allowing Mark to join Vladimir in first place with a win over Kevin Sweeney.

Steve finished with a win in the last, while Terry lost again. So Steve’s 3½ points were enough to secure the GP, but Terry’s 2½ saw him slip to 4th place (21½) allowing David Spearman 22½ to take second place and John Hodgson 22 to take 3rd. Moreover, John had scored his points in only four of the five events, giving him the Petit Prix for the highest score from only four events.

Event 5 winners: Mark Murrell, Vladimir Parols, 5/7;
=3rd: Paul Haddock, John Hodgson, David Spearman, Kyan Bui, 4½;
20 players

Grand Prix Winner: Steve Rix, 24/35;
2nd: David Spearman, 22½/35
3rd: John Hodgson, 22/28 – Received the Petit Prix prize
4th: Terry Whitton, 21½/28 – Received the 3rd prize

Petit Prix Winner: John Hodgson

Essex League: Wanstead III prevail!

A year ago I was asked if I might take on the captaincy of our E3 team. A request that came as quite a surprise as I was, and still am, trying to find my way as a chess player and as a competitor. Kevin Sweeney who captained the team last year, reassured me that I would have very solid support from a quite a large squad of players for this team and he was absolutely right. Throughout the season all the players have been totally reliable, very helpful and very competitive. On the one occasion when it looked as if we might struggle to get a team out, players from the E4 squad made themselves available. May I take this opportunity to thank all the players in the squad and a few other players too for their readiness, their reliability and their helpfulness.

Our team has been a mixture of experienced regular players along with two Junior players. One of those Juniors is no longer a Junior and looks to be a very key player next season. The other Junior has impressed us all enormously and we hope he will be able fit many matches in between school work demands. One key regular player is moving away from the area and may not be so available next year. We also have a couple of players getting back into previous high levels of play. I feel very positive about the squad moving forward. The season did not start very well with a draw in our second game, quickly followed by our only loss, but we gained real momentum with a string of wins and managed the all-important win over Upminster III which means even if they finish with the same points we have the head-to-head win.

On Thursday 20th April I received an email from David Millward to say that our E3 team had won the Division and that we will now be promoted to Division 2. And we all know what that means about the challenge that lies ahead!

Ben Harte

WWCC National Club Major Champions 2017

A fitting epitaph for the late John Philpott, National Club Captain 1999 to 2011

The winners with the trophy! (l to r) Ian Hunnable, Mark Murrell, Organiser, Ian Reynolds, David Spearman

A difficult, but ultimately rewarding weekend in Solihull, saw the Club recapture the National Club Major trophy, previously won in style on three occasions under the captaincy of the inimitable John Philpott (2004, 2009 and 2010). That the five players who formed the successful team in 2010 were participating in this National Club weekend is especially poignant.

The Club also participated in the Minor competition, the squad system employed enabling some to participate in both competitions, each match of four boards, eight boards in total needing to be filled in each round, observing the grading limit of each. The pilot of this ‘flying octopus’ was Mark Murrell and you can read his detailed report, with its historical references, linked from the National Club page, together with a picture gallery and a few of the games (which you can download).

Go to the National Club page

Spearman and Bui pull clear in the Championships

Draw for Round 8 of the Club Championship is now posted.

David Spearman’s stroll towards the Championship continued in Round 7 overcoming Istvan Lengyel.  David (6½/7) is now 1½ points clear with 2 rounds to go. He next faces the enigma of new member Jay Sharman (5/7) who has come up on the rails. In the Junior Championship Kyan Bui (4/7) leads Alex Collyer (3/7) taking advantage of  Alex’s misfortune in the last round. John Keehner stands in Kyan’s path whilst Alex takes on Voldi Gailans.

Six players (5/7) vie for the placement prizes in the chasing pack of 6: Laurie Burtt, Ian Hunnable, Larry Marden, Mark Murrell, Jay Sharman and Terry Whitton.

There is plenty of competition too in the grading sections:

126 to 160 (5) – Laurie Burtt, Mark Murrell and Jay Sharman with just a ½ point behind Istvan Lengyel and Andy Lu
106 to 125 (4) – Ben Harte, Joe Rosenberg, Terry Skippen and Kevin Sweeney with just a ½ point behind Victor Fuller and Graham Hillman
80 to 105 (4) – Kyan Bui, Mark Le Gassicke, John Jestico and Nigel White
U80 (3) – Sid Burns with his closest contenders (2½) having already played their round 8 clash, with Paul Read’s victory over Michael Fleming setting the target of 3½ /8).

All games will be played on Tuesday 11th April save for those granted dispensation to play on an alternative date. Dispensations have been granted to Messrs Nickals, Rosenberg and Siddo. Access the draw from the link below.

Mark Murrell
Tournament Secretary

Click for Draw for Round 8