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.

Home win for Sax A

Saxmundham A2.5 – 1.5Stowmarket
1Simon Wilks19171 – 0Tim Lunn2063
2Malcolm Lightfoot19120 – 1Stephen Lewis1961
3John Feavyour18400.5 – 0.5James Irwin1777
4Sam Gaffney18351 – 0David Green (DEF)

The A Team began their home fixtures with a narrow 2.5 – 1.5 win over Stowmarket.  Crucially, the visitors gifted  a vital point when their Board 4 failed to appear, and they had to default the game.

Of the games that did play, Malcolm was first to finish. Having built up an advantageous position against his opponent’s Scandinavian Defence, he overlooked a simple zwischenzug (an ‘inbetween’ move) that led to the loss of a piece, prompting instant resignation.
With the match all square, John was facing a tough ‘heavy piece’ ending (Queen plus two Rooks each) but could not find a way to break through, leading to an agreement to share the point.
This left Simon battling on, having employed the dynamic Modern Benoni Defence leading to an exciting unbalanced fight. At one point Simon had offered the exchange (swap of a Rook for a minor piece) and had a Knight en prise. His opponent (probably wisely) declined, but Simon later crashed through for an impressive win, clinching the match for the home team.

Sax A in tough opener

Sudbury2 – 2Saxmundham A
1Robert Sanders (B)20361 – 0Simon Wilks 1924
2Andrew Donnelly18190 – 1Malcolm Lightfoot1904
3Jakob Tulic16701 – 0John Feavyour1855
4Robert Kent15080 – 1Sam Gaffney1833

The A team began their season with the long trip to Sudbury, and a tense battle ensued, ending in an eventful 2-2 draw.

Simon had a long tussle with his opponent that ended up in a complex double rook and pawn endgame, which somehow slipped away from him. Malcolm had an exciting game, with his opponent grabbing pawns whilst Malcolm went for the King. In the end Malcolm won a Rook and, with his King fatally exposed, his opponent resigned.  John’s loss was then made up for by Sam winning when, in an equal endgame, his opponent  blundered.

B Team wins again

Felixstowe B1 – 3Saxmundham B
1Gary Hemsworth (B)16350 – 1Mike Usher 1712
2David Robertson13940 – 1Dominic Carter1653
3Trevor Wright13241 – 0Lee Osmon (DEF)1383
4John Harvey12500 – 1Hugo Brown1317

The B Team continued their winning ways on Tuesday with a 3-1 win at Felixstowe B. The team had the worst of starts when Lee became unwell and had to pull out at the last minute and no replacement could be found, leading to a default on Board 3. However, the rest of the team delivered three wins to take the match comfortably.

Hugo refuted his opponent’s early piece sacrifice and later increased his material advantage to bring home the point. Dominic met the King’s Gambit with the Falkbeer Counter Gambit which appeared to flummox his opponent, who didn’t handle it well, shed a piece, and after much wriggling Dominic closed out a simple win.

Mike had his opponent under sustained pressure from early on, but couldn’t find a decisive continuation. Eventually he managed to turn the pressure into a material advantage, gaining a vital passed a-pawn, and entering an advantageous R+P ending. At this point, just as Mike was knuckling down for a long grind, his opponent overlooked a well-known endgame tactic:

This position is winning for White, but Black blundered the point straight away by playing 43…Kf7?? allowing a well known tactic – 44.Rh8 and Black resigned. If Black takes the pawn then Rh7+ wins the Rook, otherwise White queens the pawn with an easy win. The King must remain on g7/h7 to guard against the tactic, leaving white’s win needing a bit more work.

If instead, Black plays 43…Ra1, intending to shuffle his King between g7/h7, then White needs to play 44.f4! to ensure his King can then be free to wander up the board, whilst Black’s pieces are tied down to preventing the a-pawn fulfilling its destiny. Note that 43.f3? would not achieve the win, as Black can play 43…Ra2+ followed by exf3 and he has a good counter-threat. By playing f4 White avoids this as Black has to take en-passant straight away, with no time for the vital Rook check, and White’s King is again free to roam.

Sax Players Shine

Two Sax players participated in the Cambridge Rapidplay Tournament last Sunday, with good results, though both suffered reverses in the final round.

Sam Gaffney was playing the Challengers (U1650) section, and roared off with 4/4 before losing his last round game to the eventual winner (a strong Polish junior) to finish equal 2nd on 4/5, with a rating performance of 1815. Sam would also have won the grading prize, but players were limited to one prize each, the prize for 2nd place being greater (£40).

Mike Usher entered the Major (U1900) section and scored two wins and two draws before also losing in the last last round to the eventual winner, to finish on 3/5, and a performance rating of 1851, which also earned him £20 for the U1800 rating prize.

New season kicks off with a win

The new season started on Tuesday with the B Team hosting visitors Bury St Edmunds D in Division 3. We were gifted a point when our opponents could only muster three players, but once down to business the games were hard fought.

Dominic was returning to club duties after a lengthy break and perhaps that showed when he got a slightly worse position but then blundered a piece. However, that reverse was more than made up for when Matthew won a tricky R+P endgame, and I tempted my opponent to take first one dubious pawn, and then a second, definitely ‘too hot’ one, which enabled me to crash through with a nice mating attack.

So Sax B ended up 3-1 winners to mark an encouraging start to the season.

20/09/22 Sax B 3 Bury St Edmunds D 1

  1. Mike Usher (B) 1 – 0 Zeb Strela
  2. Dominic Carter 0 – 1 Anthony Taylor
  3. Matthew Lawes-Wickwar 1 – 0 Patrick Gembis
  4. Default. 1 – 0

Bury B 1.5 – 2.5 Sax A

21st October 2021

  1. Adam John (1870) 0 – 1 Malcolm Lightfoot (1960)
  2. Alan Watkins (1773) 1/2 – 1/2 John Feavyour (1863)
  3. Robert Jones ( 1765) 1 – 0 Default
  4. William Gu (1623) 0 – 1 Simon Wilks (1800)

Sax A visited Bury on Thursday and came away with a solid victory, despite suffering an unforeseen default. Malcolm and Simon brought in the wins, with Simon keeping up his excellent record since joining the club. At full strength the A team is now a strong contender within the division for the season’s honours.