Improved venue attracts increased entry at Saffron Walden

© Peter Walker 2002

About 80 competitors travelled from as far afield as Sussex, Surrey and Somerset to the County High School to take part in the Saffron Walden Rapidplay Chess Congress at the weekend, an event generously sponsored by The Cambridge Group. There were also plenty of local players, including several from the Bishops Stortford, Dunmow and Chelmsford clubs and, in the Junior sections, good representation from R. A. Butler, Dame Johane Bradbury, Friends, Clavering Primary and the County High School itself.

Indeed, the support from locals, especially schools within a five-mile radius of the Town, makes the formation of a Saffron Walden Chess Club with a large Junior section a must for the New Year: there is no shortage of budding players - all they need is the opportunity to play and someone reasonably local to coach them. Once the Club is established, perhaps a couple of Cambridge Undergraduates could be persuaded to help with the coaching. England's finest young chess players almost invariably find their way into Cambridge at 18 and no doubt one or two of them would like to earn a little beer money...

There was some hard-fought chess played. Possibly the game of the tournament was the round 4 encounter between the top two in the Open Championship, Chris Briscoe (Kingston-upon-Thames) and Robin Slade (Chelmsford). Robin was suffering a self-imposed handicap in that he and the other contingent from the Chelmsford area found that the lunch break was of insufficient length for them to attend to all the business that they wanted to. Robin's clock had already lost at least 5 minutes before he sat down to play but within a few moves his pieces swarmed out to attempt control the centre. Now it was Black's turn to have a think, but this was time well spent as by move 10 it was White's pieces which were looking for cover as Black called the shots. It wasn't long before Black had won a piece. Robin played on a piece down for some moves before his flag fell.

There were, inevitably, other thrills and spills, including the elegant help-mate which occurred in a late round in the combined Open / Major section, White oblivous to the danger posed by Black's minor pieces. Joseph Bloomfield, Saffron Walden's star Junior player, cruised effortlessly to 5 / 5 in the under 12 and then had to play Jonathan Fallman (Loughton). Jonathan is a classy player short on match practice this season as his rugby playing commitments have intruded into his chess-playing time, but the fact that Jonathan had reached 4 / 5 meant that a draw was a convenient result for both players. Joseph won the tournament, Jonathan qualified for the London under 12 Finals.

The under 10 section was especially close. William Cheung (Maldon) reached 5 / 5 but then faced Chris Miall (Billericay), a talented and well-organised player who has been getting some good results in recent tournaments. Chris needed to win to share first place, and did just that. This did a favour to Alex Huband (Suffolk) and Andrew Fernandes (S. Walden) who also won their final games to make it a four-way tie for first place. This was an especially good result for Andrew as he is still an under-8.

This venue has ample space for a much larger tournament and the school has already been booked for Sunday 7th December 2003

Slade,R - Briscoe,C [B00]
1.e4 Nc6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 e5 4.Nf3 dxe4 5.Nxe4 exd4 6.Bc4 Bb4+ 7.Bd2 Bf5 8.Bxb4 Nxb4 9.Qe2 Qe7 10.Nfg5 Bxe4 11.Nxf7 Nxc2+ 12.Kd1 Nxa1 13.Nxh8 Nh6 14.Re1 Bc2+ 15.Kd2 Qxe2+ 16.Rxe2+ Kf8 17.Re1 Bf5 18.Rxa1 Ke7 19.Re1+ Kf6 20.f3 Rxh8 21.h3 Bd7 22.g4 Re8 23.Rf1 g5 0-1

Position Under 8/10 Under 12 Open / Major
1 William Cheung
Chris Miall
Alex Huband
Andrew Fernandes
5 Joseph Bloomfield Chris Briscoe 6
2 Lloyd Carter 5 Robin Slade 5
3 Roly Fischer-Vousden
Jonathan Fallman
Tristan Blundell
Alan Riddoch
Peter Brander
  31 competitors 30 competitors 19 competitors
Forsyth: 1R6/2p2kn1/8/p2p2k1/6P1/7P/P4b2/8
The position to the right occurred in a late round of the Open Championship.
White, to play, found a neat way to lose.
Competitors before start of round 6.
Competitors await the start of the final round. Joe Bloomfield (right foreground) looks as though he's ready for bed. Standing in the background, experienced chess parent May Timms has seen it all before.
Klaus Fischer receiving his prize Chris Briscoe receiving his prize>
Klaus Fischer looks pleased with his prize. Chris Briscoe takes a second consecutive top prize in Essex.
Sponsor Greg Thompson and organiser Peter Walker look on.

Correspondence Chess

From Dr. Steve Williams

British Federation for Correspondence Chess (BFCC)
Year of Foundation: 1962
Number of Members: 2,000+
Short History:

Organised Correspondence Chess in Britain dates back at least to 1907, when the British Correspondence Chess Association was founded, though even this date is long after the great London-Edinburgh match played in the previous century. Another important milestone was the formation in 1932 of the National Correspondence Chess Club by a group of friends living near Epping Forest. The Federation itself was inaugurated in 1962 under the name of British Postal Chess Federation (BPCF) which was only changed to the present designation in 1999, to accommodate new technologies for distance communication. Also in 1962 the British Correspondence Chess Society was founded, originally for players with a particular interest in international play. The three major national CC organisations are affiliated to the Federation, along with about a dozen other organisations and about four hundred direct individual vice-presidents. To complicate the picture, one major tournament, the annual Counties and Districts Correspondence Chess Championship, lies outside the BFCC's jurisdiction, being organised principally by the over-the-board (OTB) organisation, the British Chess Federation (BCF).

The first president of the BFCC was T Vaughan Williams, who has been followed by Barry H Wood, Keith B Richardson, Peter C Gibbs, Reg Gillman, Norman King and Keith Escott. Over the period the British game has been adorned by one truly outstanding player, CCGM Dr Jonathan Penrose, who won the OTB British Championship many consecutive times before concentrating his chess attentions on the correspondence game. He has rated at the no. 2 spot internationally, though the world title itself has eluded him.

A notable success story of the BFCC was the introduction of a continous tournament known as the BFCC Open, as an alternative to the cyclical British Correspondence Chess Championship. There have been several thousand entries to this in the few years it has been running. It is already past its tenth final, for which the prize was 300.

The BFCC selects the English team, as there is no British team. The Scottish (SCCA) and Welsh (WCCA) associations, which are affiliated to the BFCC, choose their own teams, while there is also a Northern Ireland Postal Chess Association (NIPCA). The greatest success of the English team has been winning the silver medals in the 10th CC Olympiad.

The Reg Potter Memorial international CC tournament began in 1974 with four GMs and nine IMs. As a result of it four new GM titles were conferred, including one for British player Adrian Hollis, who came first. There is a book of the tournament edited by Ken Messere, who also took part himself. At the time of writing an international tournament in several sections in memory of Reg Gillman is still in progress.

Membership of the British Federation for Correspondence Chess is open to bodies organising correspondence chess. The fee is based upon the number of active correspondence players represented and ranges from 13.00 to 70.00. Individuals may subscribe as vice-presidents of the federation at an annual fee of 9.00. Please contact the secretary, A. Robertshaw, email: here or 30 Cae Lewis, Tongwynlais, Cardiff CF15 7LR. Further details are in the Official Chess Yearbook.

Kent take charge

Kent are now odds-on favourites to take the Southern Counties' Championship after their recent 10½ - 5½ victory over Essex at Charlton House. The Essex top half were excellent, outscoring their opponents 5 - 3. Jonathan Rogers led the way with what is becoming an increasingly rare appearance, and Lawrence Trent, David Sands and Bobby Payne also won well. Sadly, the bottom half managed a solitary draw amongst them.

Other results: Cambs 14½ - 1½ Bucks (5 defaults in this match, one of them by Cambs. Bucks. managed a solitary draw over the board, courtesy of one N. Butland - hooray for him. Another good win for Eddie Dearing. Can we not get him to play for Essex?); Sussex 10 - 6 Surrey; Oxon 8 - 8 Herts.

The following table shows Essex above Cambs. as, should they remain level on match points at the end of the season, Essex's win against Cambs. will act as the first tie-break. Cambs' total of 45 game points has been boosted by the gift of no fewer than 20 defaults (including all 16 boards v Oxon) in their matches to date. However, Essex must fancy their chances of winning their remaining matches, all at home against Surrey, Bucks. and Herts, so if that happens and Cambridge do keep pace with Essex on match points, then they will have managed to beat Kent.

The rules covering defaulted matches then become quite complex. In that eventuality (Kent beat Essex beat Cambs. beat Kent) game points would count as the tie break but if one of the three won a match by default then the game points against the defaulting County would be ignored in all cases. Since Essex beat Oxon by a narrow margin, that would favour them.

Kent 4 4 0 0 4 40
Essex 4 3 0 1 3 36½
Cambs 4 3 0 1 3 45
Sussex 4 1 1 2 32
Surrey 4 1 1 2 30
Herts 4 0 3 1 28½
Bucks 4 1 0 3 1 24½
Oxon 4 0 1 3 ½ 19½

Forsyth: 8/2k2P2/2r1K3/40 Forsyth: 8/2P5/1K1r4/32/k7

1.Kb5 [1.Kc5 Rd1 2.c8Q Rc1+] 1...Rd5+
2.Kb4 Rd4+
3.Kb3 Rd3+
4.Kc2 Rd4
[5.c8Q Rc4+ 6.Qxc4 stalemate - Barbier's original idea] 5...Ra4
6.Kb3 and wins.

White to play and win.
If you know the idea in the Saavedra position, this should not be too hard.

Last week's solution: "The Saavedra Position". An endgame study created by accident and in instalments in the pages of the Glasgow Weekly Citizen, mostly by G.E. Barbier but with a fine intervention by F. Saavedra (the underpromotion), during the spring of 1895. See Tim Krabbe's excellent website for a transcript of the original column by Barbier. The final twist in the tale in the discovery of this fascinating position was that Barbier himself died later in 1895, but he didn't get around to telling his readers that.

© Peter Walker 2002

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