Low entry could mean the end for the ECA Congress

The End of an Era?

When the 2002 ECA Congress was short of players, a decline in numbers by some 30 or so from the previous year, organisers were prepared to put it down to the double distractions of a World Cup and a Jubilee. The expectations were that the event would pick up again in 2003. Sadly, this was not to be. Prize find had been calculated on the basis that 125 competitors would play, but when only 105 entered, the ECA was faced with a loss of some 450. This is clearly a situation which cannot continue indefinitely and the future of the Congress now looks bleak indeed.

But a report on a weekend congress should not be dominated by the financial probems facing the organisers. There was a great deal of excellent chess to be celebrated, including an Open Championship boasting no fewer than three IMs. What is more, these were not just any IMs: Messrs. Gormally, Cherniaev and Pert have all been pushing hard against the stubborn door which leads to the GM title and it is hard to believe that they won't find themselves on the right side of it soon. Elsewhere, there were at least two World Title contenders playing, as George O'Toole and Dana Hawrami, each of whom has been selected to represent England in their respective age groups when the World Youth Chess Championships take place in the autumn.

Quite apart from the IMs, some of the very strongest untitled players from the London area were in attendance. Defending Champion Peter Taylor (Cavendish) alongside Lawrence Webb and Andrew Stone were all graded over 200. This was a very strong section.

There were two noteworthy results from the first round. David Millward inflicted defeat on Gavin Lock and Mark Ruston held Peter Taylor to a draw. Millward was at it again in round 2, this time sharing the point with Andrew Stone to give him a performance over 2 rounds of 216, compared to his actual grade of 159. Five players made their way to 2 / 2: the three IMs, Lawrence Webb and John Anderson. Nick Pert floated down to play Andrew Stone whereas Danny Gormally played Lawrence Webb and Alexander Cherniaev played John Anderson. In this last fixture, the Essex player put up a very spirited performance, reaching an ending in which he had one fewer pawns but with a very active king. Cunning endgame play by the Russian eventually entombed the Black king on the a-file and it was then just a matter of time before the remaining white pieces lined themsleves up to deliver mate. Gormally won comfortably enough but Nick Pert, playing Black, was involved in an ending of N & 3 v N & 3 in which Black had a, b & g pawns and white had a, b & c. There appeared to be two options: sacrifice the knight for the a & b pawns and then hope to win with the whtie forces divided on different sides of the board, or invade with the king, allow the g-pawn to drop, and then try to queen the a-pawn. Nick chose the latter and with both sides down to their last few seonds of a 3-hour session, a draw was agreed because it was not possible for Black to stop White from sacrificing hi knight for the final pawn.

Now the two top seeds played one another and the forcing nature of the first few moves, in which Danny Gormally, playing White, sacrificed a pawn for development, and saddled Black with an isolated pawn, gave the impression that both players were prepared for a long scrap. However, after about 15 moves a draw was agreed even though Black still had an extra pawn and appeared to have reasonable chances of hanging on to it. Meanwhile, Nick Pert rejoined the leaders after a comfortable win against Mark Ruston, who had hitherto enjoyed some fine success, reaching 2½ / 3, a most impressive score for a player in the bottom half of the draw.

Round 5 once again paired two of the IMs together. Cherniaev took the white pieces and Pert played the French Defence. It was a good old-fashioned Advance variation and, after the opening of the c-file, there was an early exchange of queens. No-one here wanted a draw because Danny Gormally would not expect anything other than a win against Peter Taylor, and that was indeed the result. Once again, Nick Pert found himslef playing on the black side of N & 3 v N & 3 but this time he had a central passed pawn to White'a h-pawn. Both sides had a- & b-pawns. Once again, Black went for the king invasion option, but this time White created a passed pawn and, although the black knight positioned itself in front of the passed pawn and appeared to be preventing the advance of either king or pawn through a capture or a fork, the fact that the Black king was in the wrong part of the board allowed white's knight to interfere with its opposite number. This had the effect of evicting the black knight from the queening square and eventually the white king prevented its return. With both black pieces now relegated to the role of spectators, the pawn was going to queen. Therefore the leaders going into round 6 were Danny Gormally and Alexander Cherniaev.

It was now Li Wu's turn to play Danny Gormally. Li, who is one of the strongest teenagers in British Chess, has been playing for Wanstead for about a year. This was going to be a tall order as some 53 grading points separated the players on board 1. Li played a Sicilian Defence, but Danny swept it aside to reach 5½, taking first place because the Webb-Cherniaev game reached an early draw. This result ensured second place outright for Alexander Cherniaev but gave Lawrence Webb the highly-valued British Championship place. Peter Taylor took black against Nick Pert, but once again the difference in ability between a very strong regional player and a world-class IM showed and the game was short and one-sided. John Anderson drew with Jeff Goldberg and thereby retained the R. A. Jones trophy for Essex Champion.

At the prize giving ceremony, after the various winners had been presented with their cheques, the time came to award the SCCU Champion's trophy, which went to Danny Gormally. He was very pleased to win it, and it seemed to mean more to him than the money, commenting "I haven't won a trophy for years!" It will be his to polish until December, when the Hitchin tournament will host the 2003-2004 SCCU title.

The under 160 event was won jointly by Junior players Stewart Trent and Peter Poobalasingham, each scoring 5 points. Stewart begcan with a loss to Peter Byre (Met. Office) and Peter Poobalasingham also began with 1 / 2 as he drew, firstly with Simon Moate and then with Cambridge player John Daugman. Another strong Junior, Dana Hawrami, led after four rounds, but losses in the last two, firstly against William Phillips, and then Stewart, ended his challenge. William Phillips lost to Peter Poobalasingham in round 6.

The under 120 section was won jointly by John Campbell (Roding & Loughton) and Simon Moth (Braintree), again with 5/6. There was a multiple tie for third place as no fewer than 7 players scored 4 points.

Subin Sen v Tom Winter Stewart Trent v George O'Toole Danny Gormally v Alexander Cherniaev Alexander Cherniaev v Nick Pert Danny Gormally v Li Wu
Subin Sen v Tom Winter, rd 2 Stewart Trent's first
round loss did not prevent
him winning first prize
in the under 160.
Crunch Match:
Gormally v Cherniaev.
Pert awaits Ruston
Anderson v Taylor
Nick Pert plays the
French v Cherniaev.
For the second time Nick had black in a knight ending.
Cherniaev squeezed out
a win with the last pawn.
Li Wu's Sicilian proved no match for Danny
Gormally in rd 6.
SCCU Champion Danny Gormally Essex Champion John Anderson Essex u150 Champion Aidan Corih Quote of the Championships: Don Dennis (at the bookstall): "Have you got a book which explains how to give up chess?"
Danny Gormally, SCCU Champion John Anderson with the R.A. Jones Trophy.
R.A. Jones, a Southend Jeweller, was a great philanthropist, giving many sports trophies, two sports fields and the 30 acre Priory Park to the people of Southend. The ECA Champions' Cup was first awarded in 1923. R. A. Jones died in 1925.
Essex u150 Champion Aidan Corish    

Dave Brunt (1949 - 2003)

Dave Brunt was one of the stalwarts of chess upon whom so many of the rest of us depend but who never receive the plaudits they deserve. The main organiser of the Customs Chess Club, everyone who plays for or against Customs had come to rely upon Dave: he rarely missed a club meeting, opening and closing the premises, making tea, he represented the Club as often as he could, and was always prepared to offer lifts to other team members. He conducted affairs with a quiet good humour.

Although a lifelong Bristol City supporter, Dave was born in Manchester and moved to Bristol as a boy. His accent bore no traces of his northern roots, however. His love of football extended to managing a team for Customs & Excise, for whom he worked in the Computer division for many years.

Dave's chess grade was never much above 100 but, an experienced campaigner, stronger players were never entirely safe from his attacks and he took a few good scalps in his time.

All who knew Dave will miss him terribly and Customs Chess Club will never be the same without him. His death, on 16th May from a cardiac arrest, has robbed us of one of life's gentlemen.

UK Chess Challenge

Record Numbers in Basildon Megafinal

The Woodlands School became a heaving cauldron of chess players as the County's top juniors descended upon Basildon to take part in the Essex Megafinal. The competitors ranged from under 7s, just beginning to find their way in the world of Chess, up to World Title contenders: Li Wu, who swept the board in the under 14 section, represented England in the World Championships last November, scoring a creditable result. Li was the strongest player present, but there was also great experience in the other sections, including British age-group Champions Ezra Lutton and Dana Hawrami, as well as Ezra's brother Josiah, who beat a Russian Grandmaster in open competition last season.

The time control of 20 minutes for all moves is much too rapid for the best players to produce their best chess, but in general the strong players took the points. Perhaps the unluckiest player of the day was Paul Butfield, whose 4 in the under 18 section might have been 6. Poised to deliver mate a rook up against Kyle Bennett, Paul's flag fell and Kyle was deemed the winner because he still had a pawn left; and later Paul had reached a very promising position against top seed Ezra Lutton. Both sides had chances but Paul had a couple of extra pawns which, if he had managed to exchange the queens, would almost certainly have given him a winning position. However, Ezra is a class act and he manufactured a dazzling array of tactics which blew Paul away, winning queen for rook.

Jack Sirkett put in another excellent day's work, winning his age-group for the second year in succession ahead of school team-mate Elliott Holland, but some sections were so tight that a play-off was necessary. In these, Alan Hawrami found a way to win a piece against Josiah Lutton, Ethan Finney defeated Richard Maynes and Angharad Lee accounted for Laura Hough in the under 7s, both players finding it difficult to adjust to the 5-minutes-for-all-moves time control.

Any player scoring 4 points or better will receive an invitation to play in the National Gigafinal at Keele University on 12th & 13th July.

under 18 Lots of chess players Paul Butfield Top boards, under 10 secion
Ezra Lutton v Jason Klimach.
Ezra gains revenge for last year.
Lots of chess players Paul Butfield contemplates
a promising position
The high boards in
the under 10 section.
Girls' under 9 & 8 & 7
Sabrina Salhi 5 Broomgrove
Rebecca Wastell 4.5 Cherry Tree
Sarah Dudley 4 Chingford C Fo E
Rebecca Riley 4 Sunnymede Juniors
Kelsey Catherine Phillips 3.5 St Peters
Anna Dodge 3.5 R.A.Butler
Angharad Lee 3 St Teresa's
Laura Hough 3 Leigh North Street
Elizabeth Hatch 2.5 Woodlands,Warley
Caoimhe Murphy 2.5 Leigh North Street
Megan Brown 2 Hadleigh Junior
Girls' under 10
Simone Webb 6 Chessmates
Melissa Hirst-Jones 5 Leigh North Street
Irena Klimach 4 Newbury Park
Laura Smith 3.5 Heycroft
Kaliashni Puvanendran 3 Ursuline Prep
Emma Crampton 3 Heycroft
Stephanie Hime 3 Rainham Village
Charlotte Goodge 3 Heycroft
Laura La-Page 2.5 Woodlands, Hutton
Hanayyah Anwar 2.5 Fairlop
Eleanor Grant 2.5 Kings Road
Caitlin Brunero 2 Cherry Tree
Charlotte Burch 1 Grafton
Victoria Odd 0 Hadleigh Junior
Girls' under 12 & 11
Ellie Rossuck 5 Thaxted
Kimberley Hirst-Jones 5 Belfairs High
Samantha Carter 4 Cherrytree Primary
Laura Malbon 4 Leigh North Street
Jade Markwell 3.5 John Bramston
Emily Warner 3.5 St Edwards C of E
Ashleigh Jenner 3 The Willows
Samantha Hardy 3 The John Bramston`
Bianca Thompson 2.5 Fairlop Primary
Moira Clarke-Moisley 2.5 St Edwards C of E
Jessica Thain 2 East Bergholt
Ifrah Potrick 2 Connaught Girls
Rabecca Lee 1 Fairlop
Boys' under 7
Toby Mugford 6 St Teresa's
Dev Yellappa 5 Thorpe Hall
Callum Edward Lambert 4 Thorpe Hall
Kaya Musalar 3.5 Thorpe Hall
Kane Lour Turner 3.5 Kingston
Oscar North-Concar 3.5  
William Mugford 3 St Teresa's
Harry Woodger 3 Downham C of E
Michael Broom 3 Woodlands,Warley
Joshua La-Page 2.5 Woodlands, Hutton
Alex Webster 1.5 Barons Court
Benjamin Lomax 1 Barons
Basheer Shonuga   Westchurch
Boys' under 8
Robert Gold 6 Chingford C of E
Ratheshaw Sivanantharajah 4.5 Newbury Park
Thomas Maklouf 4 St.Peter's Catholic
Louis Blaxill 4 Colchester High
George Gardner 4 Maylandsea
Mason Lang 3.5 Downham C of E
Jonathan Welfare 3.5 Colchester Boy'sHigh
Matthew Stoker 3 Colchester
Nick Roth 3 Thorpe Hall
William Strutt 3 Elm Green
Sudhakar Brodie 3 Woodlands Prep
Nathaniel Levine 2.5 R A Butler
Taylor Brown 2.5 Hadleigh Junior
Joseph O'Reilly 2 Cherrytree
Jack Shaw 2 Woodlands, Hutton
William Dalby 2 Colchester High
Felix Hammond 1.5 Burnham
Charles Hall 1 Rainham Village
Matthew Canham 0.5 Cherrytree
Jack Bullock   Colchester High
Adam Field
Boys' under 9
Jack Sirkett 6 Temple Sutton
Elliot Holland 5 Temple Sutton
Jonathan Perry 5 Cherrytree
Jummy Sheng Chen 4 Friar's Grove
Nathanael Lee 4 St Teresa's
Sam Radford 4 Colchester High
Christopher Miall 4 Buttsbury
Jamie Cockett 4 Thorpe Hall
Matthew Davies 4 Colchester High
Rhys McKay 4 Thorpe Hall
Xavier Wilders 4 St.Peter's Cathohc
Amaresh Asokan 3.5 Newbury Park
Janagan Vijayanathan 3.5 Newbury Park
Ashley Coleman 3
Ronan Murphy 3 Leigh North Street
Charlie Downes 3 Chingford C of E
Liam Hoy 3 Maylandsea Primary
Ivan Koulajenkov 3 Elm Green
Sang-ho Park 2.5 Broomgrove
Jonathan Hime 2.5 Rainham Village
Christopher Thompson 2.5 Rainham village
Hugh Harding 2 Elm Green Prep
Samuel Andrews 2 Robert Drake
Carl Buet 2 Holy Family
Samuel Polifroni 1.5 Mayland Sea
Thomas Thompson 1 Hadleigh Junior
Thomas Adam 1 Kings Road
Jamie Reid   Thorpe Hall
Boys' under 10
Marcus Bertuzzo 6 Chingford C of E
Peter Maynes 5 Chingford C of E
Angus Roberts 5 Upshire Primary
Jonathan Migan 5 Chingford C of E
William Cheung 5 St. Cedd's Primary
Todd Goodyear 4.5 Chingford C of E
James Mugford 4.5 St Teresa's
Charlie Wakeling 4 Leigh North Street
Damon Burgoyne 4 Leigh North Street
Liam Hough 4 Leigh North Street
Ike Okonji 4 West Ham C of E
Harry Warren-Wilson 4 Dame Bradburys,S'W
Ashley Gray 4 Leigh North Street
Luke Smith 4 Robert Drake
Arjuna Brodie 4 Woodlands Prep
Cameron Irwin 4 Thaxted
William J. Garner 4 Dame Bradbury's
Hamish Hore 4 Elm Green
James Wilkinson 4 Grafton
Laurence Baker 3.5  
Christopher Quaey 3.5 Canewdon
Andrew McKeown 3.5 Heycroft
Dominic Campling 3 St Peter's Primary
Toby Challis 3 Plumberow
Michael Nower 3 Colchester High
Ryan Weeks 3 Riverside
Daniel Valente 3 The Willows
Nicholas Pearman 3 Elm Green
Jack Hart 3 Downham
Christopher Dance 3 Rodings
Joshua Barrick 3 Holy Family
James Garrod 3 Kings road prim
Samuel Woodger 3 Downham C of E
Elliott Thornhill 3 Riverside
Aiden Woodcock 2.5 Yardley
Ryan Marder 2.5 Nabbotts Junior
Nicholas Wilson 2.5 Ursuline Prep
Stuart Gardner 2.5 Holy Family
Karl Constantinou 2.5 Downham C of E
George Spencer 2.5 Duwnham C of E
Wesley Ridealgh 2.5 Leigh North St
Jang-ho Park 2.5 Broomgrove
Oscar Hackett 2 Colchester High
Louis Yen 2 Holy Family
Jay Kerai 2 Newbury Park
Matthew Harris 2 Downham
Joshua Blaxill 2 Colchestor High
Joseph White 2 East Bergholt
Jamie Boyce 2 Canewdon Endowed
Henry Omotoso 2 West ham church
Sam Denham 1.5 Ursuline Prep
Joe Tanswell 1.5 Kingston
Chris Kehoe 1.5 Holy Family
Aaron Chohan Kumar 1.5 Barley Lane
Charlie Dougal 1 Ghyllgrove
Jamie Keen 1 Holy Family
Miles Lloyd 1 Heycroft
Alexander Leggett 0 Downham C E
Luke Pursey 0 Holy Family
Joey Carver   Thorpe Hall
Harry Ward   Thorpe Hall
Mitchell Deeks   Riverside
Stuart Pavitt   Rodings
Daniel Mellon   North St
Theophile Desarmeaux   St.Peter's
Boys' under 11
Jack Goodyear 6 Chingford
Mahdi Salhi 5 Broomgrove
David Pedro 5 Woodford Green Prep
Alex Randall 5 Temple Sutton
Michael Migan 5 Chingford C of E
Roland E.S Johnson 5 Brentwood Prep
Sean Casey 4 The Willows
Mikail Yazar 4 Fairlop
Callen Johnson 4 Grafton
Tim Roth 4 Thorpe School
Dipendra Mistry 4 Barley Lane
Jonathan Bishop 4 St Peter's Primary
Nicholas Campling 4 St Peter's Primary
Matthew Cairnduff 4 Dame Bradbury's
Matthew Roberts 4 Nabbotts Jnr
Laurence Ralph 4 R.A.Butler
Joseph Cummins 4 St'Peters R'C
Kerry Lendon 4 Branfil Junior
Jonathan Fallman 4 Staples Road
Andrew Thorn 3 Hadleigh
Emeka Okonji 3 West Ham C of E
Daniel Vanhinsbergh 3 Hadleigh Junior
Benjamin Sandy 3 Barley Lane
James Canham 3 Cherrytree
Robert Williamson 3 Cherry Tree
Marshall Osei-Tutu 3 William Torbitt
Brook Hurrell 3  
Jake Taylor 3 Roding
Steven Ashwell 3 Robert Drake
Boris Hackett 3 Colchester High
Grant Cowie 3 Nabbotts Junior
Philip Whiteman /Dove 3 Plumberow
Robert Parini 3 Colchester High
Jack Downes 3 Chingford C of E
Jamie Burgoyne 3 Leigh North Street
Hywel Nenard 2.5 James Oglethorpe
Jonty Levine 2.5 R A Butler
Andrew Lis 2.5 Burnham
Haider Anwar 2.5 Fairlop Primary
Jim Watkins 2 Nabbotts Junior
Jack Linwood 2 Thaxted
Nathan Williamson 2 Nabbotts Junior
Kristian Smith 2 West Ham Church
Alan Jupp 2 Nabbotts Jnr
Robert Stanley 2 St.Peter's R'C
Beau Senion 2 Westham Church
Vivek Joshi 2 William Torbitt
Jamie Goldstein 2 Woodlands Prep
Kieran Hooper 1.5 Fairlop Primary
Michael Williams 1.5 Ursuline Prep
Robert Dove 1.5 Plumberow
Sam Patmore 1.5 Burnham On Crouch
Nathan Monte 1 Hadleigh
David Robertson 1 James Oglekhorpe
Ryan Wheeler 1 Fairways
Jason Kimbell 0 Canewdon
Christopher Munden   St.Luke's Harlow
Sam Davidson   Riverside
Boys' under 12
Dana Hawrami 6 Ilford County High
F Nathanael Lutton 5 Home Educated
James Callcut 4 Wanstead High
Robert Bosworth 4 Moulsham
Lee Miles 4 Cecil Jones High
Richard Thompson 4 Highams Park
David Page 3.5 Cecil Jones High
Vincent Morris 3.5 Shenfield
Joshua Clare 3 Bramston
Faisal Sharif 3 Ilford Coun High 7Q
Ethan Thomas-Lothian 3 Aveling Park
Daryl Blows 3 Ceal Jones High
Thomas Cheung 2.5 Moulsham High
Danny Kiln 2 Castle View
John Dawson 2 John Bramston
Liam Dillor 2 Shenfield high
William Grosvenor-Duffy 2 Wanstead High
Murray Elsden-James 2 Cecil Jones High
Nicholas Harris 2 Shenfield High
Simon Armstrong 1.5 Cecil Jones High
Tommy Vincent 1 John Bramston
Boys' under 13
Ethan T Finney 5.5 Chingford Foundation
Richard Maynes 5.5 Chingford Foundation
Ashley Simpson 4 Belfairs High
Alexander Hagedorn 4 King Edward VI
Mark Khan 4 Aveling Park
Matthew Bertuzzo 4 Chingford Foundation
Jonathan Kitchener 4 Fairlop Primary
Calum Ross 3 The John Bramston
Luke Jones 3 Castle View
Arran Haydock 3 Castle View
Jamie Mansell 3 Cecil Jones
Ian Ellingham 3 John Bramston
Simon Wehre 3 Maulsham High
Harry Yeff 3 Highams Park
Jonathan Ginn 3 John Bramston
Harry David Gamish 2.5 St.Edwards C of E
Thomas Whelan 2 Aveling Park
Bobby Sills 2 St Edwards
Tarik Fontenelle 1.5 Wanstead High
Joshua Seager 1 Wanstead High
Nicky Degiorgio 0 Castle View
Boys' under 14
Li Wu 6 Bancroft's
Andrew Lillie 5  
Anukhshen Ruthramanickam 4.5 Ilford County High
Asad Matloob 4 Aveling Park
Nicholas Searles 4 Moulsham High
Sebatian St. Louis 3.5 Moulsham High
Adam McMillan 3.5 Aveling Park
Craig Brightly 3 Castle View
Andrew Smith 3 Shenfield High
Tommy Hawkes 3 Aveling Park
Asher Ndiwe 3 Aveling Park
Suhal Mahmood 3 Aveling Park
Andrew Mann 3 Chalvedon
Nathaniel Warner 2.5 The Friends
Matthew Evans 2 Aveling Park
Dipesh Sheth 2 Aveling Park
Christopher Baldwin 2 John Bramston
Simon Tustin 2 Shenfield High
Amardeep Harkinshaw 2 Aveling Park
Matthew Constantinou 1 Aveling Park
Christopher Allerston   Brentwood
Christopher Baker   Castle View
Boys' under 15
Alan Hawrami 5.5 Ilford County High
E Josiah Lutton 5.5 Home Educated
Jonathan Hannah 4 King Edward VI
Craig Wilson 4 St.Edward
Christopher Taylor 2 Belfairs High
Jonathan Davidson 2 John Bramston
Cameron Ross 2 The John Bramston
David Rees Jones 2 King Edward VI
Leigh Clements 1 John Bramston
Mixed under 18 & 17 & 16
J Ezra Lutton 5.5 Home Educated
Kyle Bennett 5 Westcliff Boys
Jason Klimach 4.5 Ilford County High
Costas Achillea 4 Highams Park
Leigh Finegold 4 Ilford CHS
Paul Robert Butfield 4 Belfairs High
Alexandra Tourbassova 4 Bromfords
Gary Smith 3 Belfairs High
Sonny Aulakh 3 Aveling Park
Joshue Moreira 2 Aveling Park
Kiren Kamall 2 Wanstead High
Sinthooren Chandralingam 1 John Bramston
Roberto Leonardo D'elia 1 Ilford County High
Sarah Jeffries 1 Belfairs High
7b/1Kp2p2/2Q5/4p2b/4Nk1p/1p2N3/3BP2P/1q6 3r2n1/1pB1N2p/nPQ3pP/b4p2/r2k1pR1/P1R2B2/3KP2q/6Nb

White mates in 2.

Last week's solution: (Janos Bartsch, 1896) 1. Bb8 and Black is in Zugzwang.

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