Steve Ledger for England!

I shall be off to Losinj in Croatia for the European Seniors Team Championships from 18th to 27th September.

Teams Here =>

Seems a bit weird that when I joined Bedford Chess Club I was 12 and now I’m off to play in a Seniors event (!) but it’s the only way I’ll ever get to play for the England 1st team at anything 😊-

If I remember / anything interesting happens then I might try to send an update or two.

Steve Ledger (blame Ed for the headline)

Paul at the British, rounds 4-7

Unfortunately, communications broke down after round 3 so I’m presenting the rest of Paul’s competition in one chunk. Its still interesting to hear his contemporaneous thoughts though. I thought Fritz played particularly well in round 4 which obviously inspired Paul’s creativity in round 5!

Very well done on the final outcome and thanks for sharing with us – Ed.

“In Round 4 I got the opening I wanted and won a pawn, but White seemed to have compensation. However, he allowed me one big winning chance (move 26) and I wasn’t alert enough to see it. It was all downhill from there so I am back to my appointed place on 2.5/4 which is =9th/20th out of 50. No one has 4/4, three leaders on 3.5/4, five on 3/4.

Suddenly from an inferior opening position in round 5, I found a piece sacrifice which seemed to play itself. The win puts me on 3.5/5 with five others. Ahead are Ken Notman on 4.5 and three others on 4. Two rounds to go.

I played an uneventful draw today(round 6) to reach 4 out of 6. i was offered a draw at move 19 and didn’t feel optimistic enough to refuse. Two leaders on 5, two on 4.5, so I have a faint chance of a share of third prize if I win in Sunday’s final round.

My final round opponent was the same as last year when a win for either of us would have gained a share of first place. This time there was only an outside chance of =3rd, but, as it transpired, even a decisive game would not have put the winner in the prize money. White was better for most of the game, but I missed my best chance at move 18 and the game was eventually drawn when I chickened out in time trouble. So 4.5/7 and a share of 5th place was the limit this year, though it’s always nice to get a plus score and my TPR was 2151. Three players tied for the title on 5.5/7 (no play-off): David Friedgood (former South African champion), Mark Page and Brian Hewson.

Cox’s at the British!

Before starting the Championships, David, Toby, and Lucian had given themselves the targets of scoring more than last year (the 2018 scores were 2/5, 3.5/7 and 2/7 respectively). David finished on Friday with 2/5; the same as the last 2 years. With a round still to go on Saturday, Toby and Lucian had exceeded their targets with current scores of 4 and 3.

One interesting aspect of the British Championships is that it gives an informal insight on national trends. Last year, the rise in prominence of the London System opening was remarked on by the commentary team. This year more games with the Morra Gambit (1. e4 c5, 2. d4…..) against the Sicilian and the Reti Gambit (1. e4 e6, 2. b3……) against the French Defense have caught our attention.

Paul at the British, day 3

I was happy to draw today against a 2121 after playing insipidly in the middlegame. Black missed two good chances for a clear advantage. Jim Burnett is now sole leader on 3/3 and I am in a group of 5 on 2.5/3. Richard Freeman is also on 2.5/3 in the O-50s.

Bedford at the British, Tuesday

Posting this halfway through Wednesday so we now know that Toby has 2.5/4, Lucian has 2/4 and David is struggling a bit.

As for Paul, I’ll let him modestly explain how he’s in the lead after round 2 …

“This was just one of those days when the game went my way against a higher-rated opponent (2177 v my 2017). I know no theory in this sort of opening but a kind of King’s Indian set-up developed and I just hoped for a playable middle game. Just three of us on 2/2 and I have White v Ken Norman in Round 3.”

Bedford at the British!

Three quarters of the Cox’s and Paul Habershon have entered the British Championships at Torquay this year.

David lost his first game in the under-120 section. Toby and Lucian both have 1/2 in the under 14’s and 12’s respectively.

You can follow the Championships here but we are also lucky again to have some regular insights from Paul ….

“So here I am again, another year older but no wiser. I arrived on Ftiday and played unsuccessfully in the 5-round weekender: WLLDD for 2/5. It was either to exhaust myself or warm up for the Seniors. I am rated 16th of 50 players. Top seed is Danny Wright making a long delayed debut in the O-65s. Few of you are old enough to remember him from the 1960s when he won the Hastings Challengers and qualified to play in the following year’s elite 10-player Premier. However, in the usual top half v bottom half first round he only drew with Philip Stimpson, so I am temporarily ahead of him after a rather fortunate win v Colin Ramage. As you will see in the notes to the attached game I thought I had played well, but Fritz soon put me right afterwards. My opponent missed a win and then a draw.

There was an incident with the Rd 2 pairings this evening. I happened to be in a Chinese restaurant with Adrian Elwin, Stewart Reuben and others when Adrian decided to look up the pairings on his phone. Reuben was on Board 3 with one point but he had lost his first round game! Mild panic from the Director of Home Chess. All he could do was phone the relevant arbiter, but we decided the rule is that the pairings cannot be changed once published. We don’t yet know if the players wrote the wrong result on their scoresheets.” – Paul

Tales from the riverbank

Neil shows his observation and analytical skills are still well-honed …

Leonard Barden had a rather unfortunate account yesterday of a Latvian/Czech GM being caught whatever the equivalent of red-handed is when someone points a camera over the side partition of the bog and catches you analysing your game on your phone. The man concerned had a rather good game a few years ago against Keith Arkell which Arkell is now convinced involved cheating; he also got quite neatly stuffed by one D. Ledger. Neither game really fits into the categories on the site, but hey…

Old Americans

Richard suggests an interesting game between 2 decent GMs in USA seniors championship.

Jan Ehlvest blunders a piece on move 5 (!!) realising too late that 6 d4 isn’t possible then continues to find counterplay. The end of the game is unexplained but it is thought that they had agreed a draw on move 28 then realised they had to play to move 30 I think so it didn’t matter what they played. There is a massive swing in what the engine thinks of the position on moves 25-26.

All interesting stuff and shows what can be achieved.

July gradings are out

Name July 2019 January 2019 July 2018
Ravi Arulnandhy 170 C 168 D 169 D
Mindaugas Beinoras 228 D 227 D 229 D
Richard Bodily 173 B 176 B 178 B
Mike Botteley 160 C 153 B 154 A
Andy Chapman 160 B 166 C 169 C
Nick Collacott 170 C 166 C 164 C
Ben Cox 137 B 130 A 124 A
David Cox 77 A 74 A 63 A
Lucian Cox 113 A 111 A 107 A
Toby Cox 164 A 150 A 139 A
James Gardner 187 B 171 B 167 C
Peter Gill 135 C 133 C 138 C
Paul Habershon 175 A 183 A 180 A
John Harbour 133 C 141 C 139 C
Chris Hill 147 C 146 B 140 B
Qais Karimi 166 A 164 A 159 A
Tony Lawrence 45 C 49 C 54 D
Steve Ledger 195 A 188 A 186 A
Mac Mackenzie 68 D 67 C 71 C
Richard McMorran 138 A 138 A 132 A
Gerry Nolan 124 D 127 D
Marc Obi 160 A 167 A 167 A
Ben Pike 104 D 102 D 103 C
Steve Pike 163 C 168 C 170 C
Callum Shields 128 D 137 D 134 E
Alex Taylor 168 C 164 C 163 C
Giuseppe Valerio 140 D 149 C 150 C
Nigel Walker 96 E 95 D 95 D
Robert Walker 128 B 128 C 128 B

Some notable improvements by Steve L, James and Toby. Full details may be found here.

For team selection, an ordered list of available players may be helpful:-
228 – Mindaugas Beinoras
195 – Steve Ledger
187 – James Gardner
175 – Paul Habershon
173 – Richard Bodily
170 – Ravi Arulnandhy
170 – Nick Collacott
168 – Alex Taylor
166 – Qais Karimi
164 – Toby Cox
163 – Steve Pike
160 – Mike Botteley
160 – Andy Chapman
160 – Marc Obi
140 – Giuseppe Valerio
138 – Richard McMorran
137 – Ben Cox
135 – Peter Gill
128 – Callum Shields
128 – Robert Walker
113 – Lucian Cox
96 – Nigel Walker
77 – David Cox
68 – Mac Mackenzie
45 – Tony Lawrence

Junior success

Some junior chess news from the weekend.

Toby and Lucian both attended the “Gigafinal” of the UK Schools Chess Challenge in Manchester, one of four Gigafinals being held, having previously qualified from the more local “Megafinal”.

Lucian scored 4/6 in the Under 11 section. His tournament was noteworthy for playing against prodigy Yichen Han (candidate master, and a grade of 207!); Lucian managed to enter the end-game a pawn up, but was unable to sustain it and eventually lost.

Toby won the Under 14 section with a score of 5/6. He now goes on to compete with the winners from the other 3 Gigafinals in the Terafinal (the national final) in September.