Sax B on a roll….


Saxmundham B3 – 1Bury St Edmunds C
1Mike Usher17771 – 0Robert Jones1692
2Dominic Carter16511 – 0Rowan Kent1590
3Matthew Lawes-Wickwar13001 – 0Hugo Smith1459
4Lee Osmon13720 – 1Craig Bradshaw1442

Sax B continued their winning ways by beating Bury C in a top-of-the-table clash at Benhall last night. Dominic, Matthew and Mike all won in good fashion to make up for Lee’s early loss.

Matthew is having a great run of games at the moment, and won in style. In the diagramed position, playing Black, he found the excellent 31…Ng4! The game finished 33. Rxe2 Rxe2 34. Nh4 Bf6 35. Nxg4 Bxh4 36. Rf2 Bxf2+ 37. Nxf2 Qf3 38. Qf1 Qe3 39. Kg2 Re1 40. Nd1 Qd2+ 0-1

Tough Fight at Manningtree


Manningtree B2 – 2Saxmundham A
1Rod Saines1850½ – ½Simon Wilks1936
2Robert Stephens1735½ – ½Malcolm Lightfoot1896
3Simon Webber16891 – 0Sam Gaffney1833
4John Price15450 – 1Mike Usher1773

Despite being much stronger on paper, Sax A struggled against a plucky Manningtree team. Simon and Malcolm were never in trouble but couldn’t find a breakthrough. Sam was winning his game quite comfortably but then inexplicably fell into a mate. Mike evened the scores by piling the pressure onto his opponent until he eventually cracked.

Sax thrash Manningtree


Samundham AManningtree B
1Simon Wilks1997½ – ½
1 – 0
Simon Webber1911
2Malcolm Lightfoot17680 – 1
1 – 0
Robert Stephens1812
3John Feavyour19551 – 0
1 – 0
Adrian Sanderson1722
4Sam Gaffney1671½ – ½
1 – 0
John McAllister1662
6 – 2

Sax A had a comfortable win in the Division 2 Rapidplay Cup to win through to the next round.

Mike claims an FM scalp!

Here is Mike’s win from the recent 4NCL weekend, with his own notes.

Mike Usher (1721) – Mike Waddington (2112)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5

I usually play 2.Nf3 to avoid stuff like the Benoni, but for some inexplicable reason played 2.c4.  Now I was facing an FM with no prep! I remember thinking ‘and I bet he plays the Benko’…..!?

3.d5 b5 4.Nd2

I dragged this line from somewhere in my memory and hoped that at least we were both now out of our opening knowledge. The idea is to play e4 quickly. He thought for a while (encouraging!) before playing:

4…b4 5.e4 d6 6.Bd3 g6 7.f4 

Aggressive, but I figured there was no point waiting around for him to outplay me!

7…Bg7 8.Ngf3 O-O 9.h3 Nh5 10.Nf1 e5 11.fxe5 dxe5 12.Be3 Nd7 13.Qd2 Nf4 14.Ng3 Bh6 15.O-O Qe7 16.Ne2 g5 17.Ng3 Nf6 18.Bc2 Rd8 19.Qf2 g4 20.Bxc5 Qe8 21.hxg4 Nxg4 22.Qe1 a5 23.Nh4 f6 24.Qd1 Bg5 25.Nhf5 Bxf5 26.exf5 h5 27.Ne4 Rac8 (see diagram)

Stockfish gives White a healthy advantage (+3.1) here, but I was feeling the pressure on the King-side and wanted to open up some lines to counter-attack, so I played:


and the evaluation turns to -2.2! I should have stuck with my first plan of 28.Ba4 Qf7 29.Bb6 Rxc4 30.Nxg5 fxg5 31.Bxd8 with a decent advantage (Stockfish suggests 31…Qa7+ 32.Kh1 Nf2+ 33.Rxf2 Qxf2 34.Qf3 Qxb2 35.Rf1 should still be winning).

28…Rxc5 29.Nxc5 Rxd6!

I was expecting 29… Nd3 winning back the exchange, but this came as a shock. Taking the rook leads to a pretty mate 30.Qxd6 Ne2+ 31.Kh1 Ng3+ 32.Kg1 Be3+ 33.Rf2 Bxf2⌗ so I continued:

30.Qe1 Rd2??

Black returns the favour. Accepting the rook now loses the queen to Nh3+, but there is a sting in the tail…!

31.Qxd2! Nh3+ 32.gxh3 Bxd2 33.Ne4!

33.hxg4 Be3+ 34.Kg2 Bxc5 was what my opponent had calculated, with advantage to Black. My move saves the knight and after:

33…Be3+ 34.Kg2

the Black knight can’t move because of Nxf6+ winning the queen, so White ends up with a healthy bunch of pieces for the queen. The game continued:

34…Qc6 35.hxg4 hxg4 36.Rad1 Bd4 37.b3 Kg7 38.Rh1 a4 39.Rh4 axb3 40.axb3 Qa6 41.Rxg4+ 

I actually missed a forced win here. After 41.Rdh1 the Black king is trapped on the back two ranks and can’t avoid mate. The text is also winning, but I had to be careful to keep his queen away from any chances of a perpetual check. Having reached the time control I now had some time to think. 

41…Kf7 42.Rg6 Qa2 43.Rxf6+ Ke7 44.Re6+ Kd7 45.Rd2 Qa1 46.Bd1 Qa8 47.Rxe5! 1-0 The bishop is lost and with it all hope.

U1800 Cup disappointment


Bury St Edmunds31/21/2Saxmundham
1Steve Lovell17961 – 0Mike Usher1767
2Bob Jones17031 – 0Dominic Carter1663
3Mark Heffer16821/21/2Matthew Lawes-Wickwar1300
4Laureano Garcia16901 – 0Lee Osmon1375

Saxmundham kicked off their campaign in the U1800 Cup (a competition for teams of four, whose players are all rated below 1800) last week with a tough trip to Bury St Edmunds.

For Sax, this was essentially our B Team playing. Bury were much the stronger team on paper and duly won convincingly 3.5 -0.5. For us, Matthew’s sterling effort on board 3 earned a draw and prevented  the whitewash. Lee was quickly dispatched on board 4 and on top board, Mike managed to drop a vital pawn in a complex middle game and that was enough. Dominic seemed to have reached a drawn R+P endgame, but then went wrong and lost quickly, to cap a very disappointing night.

Sax success at 4NCL

Five club members were in action over the weekend 5-6 November in the 4 Nations Chess League, playing for the three Iceni teams (managed by our own John Feavyour, and including players from further afield). The Saxmundham players produced some good results against strong opposition.

Simon (rated 1924) played one game for the 1st team and one for the 2nd, with a win and a draw (against a 2023 rated player).  Sam (1833) also had a win and a draw (v 2003 rated player) for Iceni 2, whilst John (1855) also recorded a win and a draw.

Dominic (1653) and Mike (1721) were playing for Iceni 3, and the team struggled against two strong teams (as well as carrying a default on 6th board) with the team being significantly out-graded on every board. Dominic lost both games (to opponents rated 1938 and 2003 so no disgrace there), whilst Mike lost on the Sunday to a 1968 player, but on the Saturday had the immense satisfaction of beating a 2112 rated FM (FIDE Master), a ‘personal best’ for him.

In Simon’s win, the diagrammed position was reached after 35 moves with Simon (Black) to play. He played 35…Rfa8 with a significant advantage, although it took him another 40 moves to seal the victory, but missed the even better 35…Nc4! winning the exchange due to the pin on the b pawn.

Close at the top


Saxmundham A2 1/2 – 11/2Bury St Edmunds B
1Simon Wilks19271/21/2Laurie Pott1844
2Malcolm Lightfoot18991/21/2Steve Lovell1793
3John Feavyour18431/21/2Mark Heffer1678
4Mike Usher17671 – 0Default

Sax A entertained Div 2 league leaders Bury B at Benhall on Tuesday, beating them in a hard fought match by 2.5-1.5 though this was not enough to overtake them at the top. Although stronger on paper, Sax only won by virtue of a default when one of the Bury team failed to arrive.

The three games played all ended in draws, by very different paths. Malcolm finished first, playing the white side of a theoretical duel in the Spanish Opening in which neither player could find any advantage and an early peace was signed.

On top board, Simon played in his usual dynamic style, involving an unbalanced position and complex tactics. When the dust had settled he had two Bishops versus one Rook, but with the pawns all on one side, he could not find any way to break through.

Lastly, John had got a rather passive position out of the opening, but once his pieces started to unwind he won an important central pawn and seemed ready to roll his opponent up. But just as the win seemed likely, his Queen got into trouble and he had to sacrifice a Bishop to save it. Fortunately he had enough fire power left to convince his opponent to end the game peacefully.

Sax B win again

Ipswich C1 – 3Saxmundham B
1Piotr Dolewka15280 – 1Mike Usher1762
2Ken Lunn15070 – 1Dominic Carter1657
3Martyn Colebrook14740 – 1Matthew Lawes-Wickwar1300
4Adam Wilson14541 – 0Lee Osmon1383

The B Team continued its winning ways at Ipswich last night, beating Ipswich C 3-1, to get back to top place in Division 3.

Lee unfortunately dropped a piece early in his game and despite fighting on, was forced to resign a little later. Dominic evened things up with a comfortable victory, gaining first a piece, then turning that into a Rook, after which his opponent threw in the towel.

Matthew battled long and hard in his game, but just as things were getting tricky, he was gifted a piece, and his opponent had to resign. On top board, Mike’s opponent played a somewhat passive opening, letting Mike build up a strong positional squeeze. Getting desperate, he lashed out on the kingside, only to find his Queen trapped. He played on but his position collapsed quickly leading to resignation a few moves later.

Comfortable win for the A Team

Saxmundham A3 – 1Ipswich B
1Simon Wilks 19171/21/2Simon Riley1732
2Malcolm Lightfoot19041/21/2Les Jones 1721
3John Feavyour18381 – 0Alonso Paez1648
4Sam Gaffney18181 – 0Piotr Dolewka1531

Sax A were back in action last night, hosting Ipswich B at Benhall and romping home to a convincing 3-1 victory. We were much stronger on paper and so it proved in reality, despite a few nervous moments on top board.

John was the first to finish, making short work of his opponent in impressive style. Malcolm followed some time later, having been held to a solid draw in a R+P ending. Simon seemed in trouble on top board, facing a full-on Kingside attack and emerging from it having shed the exchange. However, accurate defence with his nimble Knight convinced his short-of-time opponent to share the point.

Sam was the last to finish. Having built up a strong position, winning two pawns along the way, he had only to engineer a decisive break through to the enemy King to secure victory.

Success at Bury Congress

Three club players participated in the annual Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress last weekend.

In the Minor (U1600) Section, Sally Rowles had, by her own admission, a disappointing tournament, finishing with 1.5/5.

Sam and Mike played in the Major (U1900) Section and both scored 3.5/5 (+2 =2 + a bye) which was good enough to finish =3rd in a field of 46. Sam had a rating performance of 1866, and Mike’s performance (2033) was good enough to win one of the £50 grading prizes as all his opponents were rated 100 or more points higher than him.