National Schools' Championship

Southend High knock out the Champions

In a riveting encounter against the defending Champions, Southend High School has progressed to the semi-finals of the National Schools' Championships by beating Hampton School on board count after drawing the match 3 - 3.

The rules of the Competition state that the older side must win by a margin of one point per year's difference in average age and that had huge implications for Southend's team selection. Their most experienced player, Graham Walker, has represented the School at chess ever since he started there in 1996, but, having reached his 18th birthday on 21st September last year, his presence would have pushed the average age up. First year pupil Alex O'Toole (d.o.b 20/8/1991), almost 7 years younger than Graham, but only 11 points lower graded, was selected at Graham's suggestion. Although Alex lost his game, his presence brought the team's average age down by 13½ months and that proved to be critical.

It could be argued that Southend High actually made heavy weather of this match: apart from board 1, where Michael Bridger was obliged to face Thirumurugam Thiruchelvam, the Southend players were considerably higher graded than their opponents. Anthony O'Toole and the Jellet twins delivered the goods on boards 2, 3 & 4 respectively. However, the closeness of the match won't worry them as this result takes the school to its best ever performance in the National Championships, improving on the quarter-final place they achieved last year.

Other schools to have reached the semis are RGS Guildford and Oakham, both of whom have a long tradition in this competition, and they will be joined by the winner of RGS Newcastle v Bluecoat Oldham. Guildford, with an average age of 17.5 in their last match, will be completely rebuilding next year. They did especially well to beat a very strong St. Pauls School on board count. Southend, assuming that they pick an unchanged team, will be amongst the youngest of the semi-final sides, although the Newcastle - Oldham match involves two teams whose average age is less than 15.

All the Southend High players, with the exception of Michael Bridger, are former pupils of Temple Sutton School, but Michael also learned his chess there as a member of the Southend Junior club. But for the luck of the draw at the zone stage, which put Temple Sutton in the same half of the draw as Southend, Temple Sutton might be taking part in the Plate competition for zone runners-up, but that place went to King Edward VI, Chelmsford, who are probably weaker than Temple Sutton and are, of course, about 5 years per player older!

BdSouthend HS3 - 3Hampton School
1Michael Bridger0 - 1Thirumurugan Thiruchelvam
2Antony O'Toole1 - 0Graham Hantman
3Nicholas Jellett1 - 0Nicholas Moon
4Matthew Jellett1 - 0Eric Pollitt
5Daniel Hedges0 - 1Noah Schlesinger
6Alex O'Toole0 - 1Tim Robinson

National Club Championships

Major Section

Wanstead edge past Brown Jack

John Philpott reports:

Wanstead & Woodford had reached the quarter final of the National Club Major by defeating Metropolitan B (who conceded home advantage) and Tunbridge Wells at Wanstead House. The players were faced with a rather lengthier journey for the match with Brown Jack B, who are based in the village of Wroughton in Wiltshire, a few miles from Swindon. Although Brown Jack is not a well known name in Essex circles, the club is a thriving one in its local area, and had fielded two viable teams in the Major: the "B" is slightly misleading as both the teams were close to the U160 average grade limit The B team had won its first two matches in the competition on board count, and on the basis of inside information from David Smith's son Andrew who played for Cosham in the second of these, was known to be likely to feature two very strong top boards in Tim Headlong and Richard Haydon. Wanstead's general intentions were to use Li Wu and Larry Marden to neutralise the threat at the top and then aim to pick up sufficient points lower down to shade the match.

The loss of the toss was offset by Ian Hunnable's relatively quick draw as Black on board 3, where his opponent had innovated on move 2 of a French defence with 2 e5. Mark Murrell's Sicilian defence seemed to be under considerable pressure against the young Brown Jack board 5, but Mark survived into an ending where he had sufficient activity to recover lost material and force a draw. At this stage, it seemed possible that all five boards could be drawn, forcing a possibly unprecedented rapidplay rematch. However, this danger was removed by the positive result in Paul Barclay's game. Paul had not seemed to get much out of the opening or middlegame, but his opponent gave up a piece, either as a miscalculation or in the hope of obtaining kingside attacking chances, just as she was heading for severe time trouble. Although there were one or two anxious moments for the spectators along the way, Paul consolidated to victory, and Wanstead now just needed 1 out of 2 on the top boards, whereas Brown Jack were looking for 1 1/2 points to force another board count victory.

Li Wu has been a real asset on top board for Wanstead this season, and he played a good game to hold Tim Headlong as Black in a well-studied line of the King's Indian, turning down a draw offer while Larry Marden's game was unclear before agreeing to split the point. There were mistakes by both sides on Board 2, but Larry was eventually able to force a perpetual check to send Wanstead through to the semi-finals.

Editor's note: Brown Jack club meets in a pub of that name. Formerly known as Swindon Wyvern (another pub?), details can be obtained at their excellent website.
BdBrown Jack B2 - 3Wanstead & Woodford
1Tim Headlong½ - ½Li Wu
2Richard Haydon½ - ½Larry Marden
3David Tomboline½ - ½Ian Hunnable
4Fenella Headlong0 - 1Paul Barclay
5Daniel Hall½ - ½Mark Murrell

Paul Barclay v Fenella Headlong [C54] National Club, 29.03.2003

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.e5 d5 7.Bb5 Ne4 8.cxd4 Bb4+ 9.Nbd2 0-0 10.a3 Ba5 11.0-0 Bg4 12.Be2 f6 13.h3 Be6 14.Bd3 Ng5 15.Nxg5 fxg5 16.Qh5 Bf5 17.Bxf5 Rxf5 18.Nb3 Bb6 19.Be3 g6 20.Qe2 Qe7 21.Rad1 Rd8 22.Rc1 a6 23.Rfd1 Nxe5 24.dxe5 Rxe5 25.Nd4 Re4 26.Qd3 Bxd4 27.Bxd4 c6 28.b4 Re8 29.Be3 g4 30.hxg4 Rxg4 31.g3 h5 32.Bc5 Qh4 33.Kg2 Qg5 34.Re1 Ree4 35.Rcd1 h4 36.Rxe4 Rxe4 37.Qf3 hxg3 38.Qf8+ Kh7 39.Rh1+ Rh4 (time) 1-0

National Club Championships

Minor Section (Plate)

Southend Juniors go out in Style

BdChislehurst4 - 1Southend Juniors
1Steve Chick½ - ½Peter Walker
2Geoffrey Bishop1 - 0Lloyd Carter
3Michael Jones1 - 0Liam Raybould
4Simon Moate1 - 0Andrew Raybould
5Brian Drew½ - ½Lee Miles

The purpose of entering this event was to give our players some experience against adult opposition and to that degree the match was not quite so one-sided as it looked. Lee Miles had been a piece ahead but failed to take full advantage and allowed the win to slip away. Liam Raybould, aged 9, kept the position level for a long time and indeed was only a pawn down after 2 hours' play. Lloyd Carter seemed to lack confidence and allowed his opponent to dictate terms. Andrew Raybould was paired against an opponent whose grade was entered as 125e, but who was a regular Kent County player in the u150 team a few seasons ago before he slipped out of the grading list. Andrew kept attacking but has yet to develop the "tightness" which experience will surely bring. The permanent juvenile playing on board 1 was fortunate: my opponent offered a draw with 41 ... Rd8 when the completely winning 41 ... Re4 was available (42 Bxe4 Qxe4+ and 43... Bxd5) but Black is still better in any case. Furthermore, I made the time control with only 8 seconds (digital clocks were being used) to spare after some confusion over the number of moves made. Due to a recording error, I had thought that move 39 was actually move 40 and it was my opponent who suggested that I make a quick move "to make certain"!

Walker,P - Chick,S [C01]
Nat Club Minor

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 exd5 4.c4 dxc4 5.Bxc4 Bd6 6.Qb3 Qe7+ 7.Be3 Nf6 8.Nf3 0-0 9.0-0 Nc6 10.Bd2 h6 11.Re1 Qd7 12.d5 [12.Ne5 Bxe5 13.dxe5 Nd4 14.Qd3 Nh7 15.Nc3 Rd8 16.Rad1 Qf5 17.Qg3 Qg4 18.Be3 c5 19.Bxd4 Rxd4 20.Rxd4 cxd4 21.Ne2 Ng5 22.Qxg4 Bxg4 23.Nxd4 Rd8 24.Nb5 Rd2 25.f4 Ne6 26.h3 Bh5 27.Bxe6 fxe6 28.Nd6 Rxb2 29.g4 Bg6 30.f5 exf5 31.gxf5 Bh5 32.a4 b6 33.Rc1 a5 34.Rc8+ Kh7 35.f6 Rb1+ 36.Kg2 Rb2+ 37.Kg3 Rb3+ 38.Kh4 Rb4+] 12...Ne7 13.Nc3 a6 14.a4 b6 15.Rad1 Bb7 16.Ne5 Qf5 17.f4 Ng4 18.Nxg4 Qxg4 19.Be2 Qh4 20.g3 Qh3 21.Bf1 Qd7 22.Bg2 Rad8 23.Be3 Rfe8 24.Bf2 Qf5 25.Qc4 Qd7 26.Qb3 Nc8 27.Rxe8+ Rxe8 28.Qc4 Bf8 29.b4 Rd8 30.b5 a5 31.Kf1 Nd6 32.Qd3 g6 33.Ne4 Nxe4 34.Bxe4 Qh3+ 35.Bg2 Qxh2 36.Bg1 Qh5 37.Bf3 Qf5 38.Qc4 Bd6 39.Kg2 Re8 40.Bd4 Kh7 41.Rh1 Rd8 -

From Ilford v Maldon, 17/3/03

Payne,R - Harden,R [A48]

Notes by the winner

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.e3 Bg7 4.Bd3 0-0 5.b3 d5 6.Bb2 Bg4 7.Nbd2 Nc6 8.c4 Nb4 9.Bb1 Ne4 Oops! Unbelievably, I hadn't seen that this loses a pawn! A total blunder! 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Bxe4 f5 I have got to drum up some compensation for the pawn. 12.Bb1 e5 Preferred to 12 ... c5 because this forces White to respond to the threat of ...e4 13.Qd2 After 13 dxe5 I had planned ...Qe7 followed by Rd8 13...e4 14.Ne5 Bxe5 15.Qxb4 c6 16.Qd2 Bc7 17.Bc2 f4 I have to keep things rolling... 18.d5 fxe3 19.Qxe3 Ba5+ 20.Kf1 [20.Bc3 Qf6] 20...Qh4 21.Qd4 Rxf2+ 22.Kg1 [22.Qxf2 Rf8 23.Qxf8+ Kxf8 and White is still deep in trouble, with numerous mates in the air.] 22...Rxg2+ 23.Kxg2 Bh3+ 24.Kg1 Qg4+ 25.Kf2 Rf8+?! [25...Qf3+ 26.Kg1 Qg2#] 26.Ke3 [26.Qf6 Rxf6+ 27.Ke3 c5 28.Rhf1 Rf3+ 29.Ke2 Rxf1+ 30.Ke3 Qf3#] 26...Qf3# 0-1

From EPSCA u11, 15/3/03

Payne,S - A.N. Other [A46]
EPSCA u11, 15/3/2003

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bf4 e6 4.e3 d5 5.Bd3 Bd6 6.Ne5 Bxe5 7.Bxe5 Bd7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Nd2 b6 10.c3 a5 11.Qc2 g6 12.e4 Nxe5 13.dxe5 Ng4 14.Nf3 Bc6 15.Rad1 Qe7 16.Rfe1 a4 17.h3 Nh6 18.exd5 Bxd5 19.Be4 Bxe4 20.Qxe4 a3 21.b3 b5 22.Qc6 Rab8 23.Rd7 Qe8 24.Red1 Nf5 25.Ng5 Ne7 26.Qxc7 Rc8 27.Qb6 Nc6 28.Ne4 Kh8 29.Nf6 Rb8 30.Qxc6 Qc8 31.Rc7 Kg7 32.Rxc8 Rbxc8 33.Qd6 Rb8 34.Qc5 Ra8 35.Rd7 h5 36.Qd6 Kh6 37.c4 1-0

1k6/1r6/2K5/Q7/8/8/8/8 3q4/8/8/7k/8/B7/4K3/1Q6
White to play and win. Not an endgame study, but a very handy piece of technique. The endgame K & Q v K & R has many traps and, according to Muller & Lamprecht, computer research has unearthed hitherto unknown defences. "While they confirmed that the Queen should win from all normal starting positions, they also showed that it was quite difficult to win if the defender played precisely." Last week's solution (Troitzky, 500 Endspielstudien): 1 Qh7+ Kg4 2 Qe4+ Kh5 3 Be7 Qe1 (the threat was Qf5+ and Bf8+) 4 Qh7+ Kg4 5 Qh4+ Kf5 6 Qf6+ Ke5 7 Qe6+ and wins the queen next move

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