ECF National Club Championships 2018

Mike Botteley is seeking interest in this annual event – please let him know as soon as possible.

Your Chess Club recently participated in a previous ECF National Club Championships.

The ECF is now accepting entries for the 2018 Championships. It will be teams of four, but Clubs can use a squad of more than four players to play in a team.

The format of the event is the same as last year’s and the rules can be read on-line – see link below.

The event will take place over a single weekend on the 7th & 8th April 2018 at the Park Inn by Radisson Telford Hotel Telford, Shropshire TF3 4NA

Accommodation at the Hotel is available with special rates for the event  :

Prices per Room:

£36.00 B&B per person per night (based on two sharing) £62.00 B&B per person per night (single occupancy)

Also available is a 3 Course evening meal ay an add on rate of £20 per person per night

Chess format:


January 2018 ECF Grading List will apply


Major : Teams with an average grade of 175 or less     

Inter : Teams with an average grade of 150 or less        

Minor : Teams with an average grade of 125 or less

Pairing: This will be carried out using Swiss Master software which employs the FIDE official pairing method

Time Control: 90 minutes plus a 10-second increment per move

Round Times:

Round 1 – Saturday, 12.30 Round 2 – Saturday, 17.00 Round 3 – Sunday, 10.00 Round 4 – Sunday, 14.30

Discounts on entry:

For every three players staying at the venue, £10 discount may be claimed against the event entry fees.

The best way to discover more about the 2018 Championships, together with the location details, is to go to the ECF website:

Why do I keep playing chess?

– probably because of games like this one!  Richard and Paul give a master class in madness.  Apologies to both playes for my annotation efforts.

Norfolk News

A little snippet from Norfolk CCA’s excellent magazine, of some interest to Bedford players from former years:

One of the best things about chess in Norfolk is the monthly magazine En Passant, enthusiastically edited by David le Moir (who some may have encountered as the author of a couple of rather decent books on tactics). A regular contributor is Senior International Master (correspondence) Mike Read, and Mike’s piece from the February issue caught my eye and may be of interest  to Bedford players of a certain vintage.

In November 1977, Read was playing for Norfolk on board 5 against one Nick Wingfield. In those days there was adjudication after four hours’ play (effectively after 40 moves, because virtually everybody used their full time allowance).  So Read was faced with trying to use the next four moves to reach a position which would give him some hope of a draw on adjudication.



Candidates for the candidates

Arguably the best tournament of the year kicks off tomorrow.  As usual, there are various ways to watch it live:-

Chess 24 – Jan Gustafsson, Peter Sidler and Sopiko Guramishvili provide top coverage

Chess brahs – very weird combination of Eric Hansen, Yasser Seirawan and Aman Hambleton (without beard since he made GM) can be quite amusing

FIDE – if all else fails! – it’ll probably be dull but they may have the best video!

Chessdom and Chessbomb – a couple of cheap and cheerful options


Stockfish download

Gerry Nolan has asked me to bring the following to your attention:-

For anyone interested, I see that Stockfish 9 engine has recently been released and can be downloaded from the free Stockfish site. It’s still the most powerful engine around and regularly comes ahead of its closest rivals Komodo and Houdini, both of which cost between $50 and $100. Amazing value😁

He is clearly practising for next season!?

Leighton Buzzard B 2½-2½ Bedford D

1. Brian Valentine ½-½ Qais Karimi
2. Pete Taylor 0-1 John Harbour
3. Fred Dorn 0-1 Toby Cox
4. ??? 1-0 Ben Pike
5. ??? 1-0 David Cox

First to finish was David on board 5. He sacrificed a piece, presumably for “insufficient compensation”, given the result.

Pete and I played a tight game and swapped off all of the big guns to go into N+7P endgame where his doubled f-pawns gave me a clear advantage. I blundered this away, and was fortunate that he soon returned the complement. Not a classic.

Ben won a pawn with a sneaky Bxf2+, and looked well set as he reached an endgame with B vs N and his extra pawn converted into a passed h-pawn. His opponent pushed his pawns whilst Ben didn’t, and the wheels came off.

Toby contrived to trap his own queen on b7, and Fred could and probably should have swapped Q+P for R+R. They ended up in a R+P endgame with Toby two pawns down, but Fred allowed Toby’s rook to rampage along the 7th rank, and a draw was certain. Except for the fact that Fred ran out of time.

Qais had what looked like a slight advantage against Brian: a not very good extra pawn and a lot of extra time. But Mr V. is a tough nut to crack, and they finally swapped off all the remaining pieces whilst everyone else was packing up to go home.


Bedford B on fire against champions-elect!

Your editor managed a reasonably respectable draw with the White pieces against Peter Hunt on board 5.

For Bedford B, that was easily the worst result of the evening!

Alex’s report:-

Home Team: Leighton Buzzard A Away Team: Bedford B
Board Name Grade Score Score Name Grade
1 Evgeny Tukpetov 210 0.5 0.5 Marc ON Obi 166
2 Stephen Law 181 0 1 Alex Taylor 163
3 John R Sharp 174 0 1 Richard T Bodily 168
4 Andy Tinker 177 0 1 Ravi Arulnandhy 161
5 Peter Hunt 170 0.5 0.5 Steve Pike 161
1 4
Played: 27/02/18

Bedford B braved the Beasts From the East to face Leighton Buzzard A. A tough battle was expected as LB were yet to lose a match this season.

The first game to finish was Steve’s on Board 5. With kings castled on opposite sides of the board, both sides had attacking chances, but once these petered out, a draw was agreed.

Being board 1 in division 1 is a thankless task, but Marc took the game to Evgeny. Out of the opening Marc won a pawn and seemed to have a good position (see game). A slight inaccuracy allowed an exchange sacrifice which then allowed Evgney to force a draw by perpetual check.

With scores level, attention turned to the middle boards which seemed at one point to be turning towards the home side.

Ravi and Andy Tinker were involved in a ding-dong affair in a King’s Indian. Ravi sacrificed the exchange and seemed to have good compensation for it, although he felt that it was probably not enough. Pieces were scattered around the board which made it very difficult to establish who would come out on top. In time trouble, Andy went wrong which allowed Ravi to launch a decisive mating attack.

My game with Steve was an odd affair. Out of the opening I had a good edge with Steve’s king being slightly exposed. However, in the middle game I carelessly lost a pawn (forgetting that bishops can take forwards!!), although it probably did not fundamentally alter the position. Steve managed to neutralise my active pieces and go into a queen and rook ending which was winning, but a blunder to allow me to win a rook and the game.

The final game saw Richard playing a closed Sicilian against John Sharp. Richard always looked to be at a slight disadvantage as John had pressure down the queenside, although it did not look decisive. Hanging grimly on to the time control things seemed to worsen for Richard, but John then seemed to forget the time control limit and inexplicably lost on time in a much better position.

An emphatic 4-1 victory for the B Team, however it could easily have been the other way round. Overall, one of Bedford B’s best performances for many a season – second place here we come!

Bedford EACU success (detail added)

Bedford entered 2 teams into the EACU Championships at the weekend.

The 600 team (combined grade 600 or less) were the outright winners of their section with 6/8.  Richard McMorran and Ravi scored 2/2 and Qais and Mike scored 1/2.

Bedford 4 2 2 0 6
Linton 4 3 1 0
Dirty WCS 4 1 1 2 4
Sudbury 4 1 1 2 3
St. John’s Drunken Knights 4 0 1 3

The 400 team came joint 1st in their section with 5.5/8.   Lucian scored 2/2, Callum 1.5/2, Peter Housden 1/2 and David 1/2

Broadland 4 2 2 0
Bedford 4 2 1 1
Linton 4 2 1 1 5
Cambury 4 2 0 2 3
Newmarket 4 0 0 4 1

Very well done to all involved, excellent performances – please share some games with us!

Full details may be viewed here.


Nigel’s creativity

This is what the C team are currently missing – get well soon Nigel, your team needs you!




Bedford C struggle against the OU

Home Team: Bedford C Away Team: Open University
Board Name Grade Score Score Name Grade
1 Giuseppe Valerio 154 0 1 Peter C Clarke 170
2 Peter S Gill 134 0 1 Ray Holland 158
3 Richard McMorran 130E 0.5 0.5 James NO’D Alexander 147
4 Robert S Walker 117 0.5 0.5 Paul Endersby ug
5 Nigel B Walker 86 0 1 Dominic Bartram ung
1 4
Played: 22/02/2018

After the C Team’s run of good results we went into last night’s match against the OU with hopes of reversing the narrow defeat in the away game.

We were outgraded by 20 points or so on each of the top three boards but with Walkers on four and five I was optimistic.

Every OU player opened c4 on the odd boards and we went for e4 on the evens. After that I didn’t see as much as I would have liked as Ray Holland played a line of the French that I hadn’t seen before which took all my attention. According to my digital friend Hiarcs I was fine after 16 moves (it didn’t suggest any improvements). I saw a simplifying combination which I played for the sole and not very good reason that I thought Ray probably hadn’t seen it. Afterwards Ravi told me that I had simplified to a losing end game, but Hiarcs still reckons I was slightly better. Not for long – Ray outplayed me in a Queen and Rook ending.

I’m not sure if Nigel Walker finished before or after me, and I can’t say what went wrong but he seemed to have an even middle game, with few exchanges, before going wrong. Robert was playing a newcomer with an estimated grade of 120 (a wild guess I was told!). He got just what you want against a Sicilian Dragon, with an attack down the h file, won a pawn and seemed to be cruising to victory. Somewhere however his opponent turned the tables and Robert had to hang on for a draw with Bishop against Knight and pawn.

Richard, having decided to abandon Black squared Bishop fianchetto lines fianchettoed his White squared Bishop instead and managed to get a pawn up in a blocked position. Richard does not give up easily but when he discovered that even a win would not save the match he offered a draw and a pint to James Alexander.

By this time the writing was on the wall for Joe, battling it out with Peter Clarke for the umpteenth time. With a good position he routinely allowed an exchange of rooks without really considering the consequences and Peter’s imposing pawns crashed through.

The C Team is down to a squad of 5 at the moment with Diego finding it hard to make Thursday evenings and Nigel Staddon, Mac and Tony all unwell. In case they are reading this we send them our very best wishes for their recoveries and hope to see them back at the club before long.

Peter Gill, 23/02/2018