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.

Sax B 3 – 1 Felixstowe B

19th October 2021
1. Sam Gaffney (B) (1780) 1 – 0 David Robertson (1443)
2. Mike Usher (1713) 1 – 0 Trevor Wright (1338)
3. Paul Cartwright (E1300) 1/2 – 1/2 Henry May (1293)
4. Geoffrey Lilley (1053) 1/2 – 1/2 John Barty (1285)

The B Team continued their good start to the season last night with a 3-1 win over Felixstowe B at Benhall. Sam and Mike duly got the better of their lower rated opponents on the top two boards to provide the two wins.On Board 3 Paul Cartwright was returning to competitive chess after a long hiatus. Paul may have been a little rusty, as he obtained an advantage in his game but couldn’t make it count, eventually agreeing to a draw. Geoffrey, playing on Board 4, managed to win a Rook, but he too couldn’t reel in the win, and also settled for a draw. So, a comfortable win, but it could have been even better!

Woodbridge 2 – 2 Sax A

6th October 2021

Woodbridge v Saxmundham A
1. Peter Gemmell (B) (2035) 1/2 – 1/2 Malcolm Lightfoot (1960)
2. Tim Wesson (1795) 1 – 0 John Feavyour (1863)
3. Sam Gaffney (1780) 1/2 – 1/2 David Brown (1825)
4. Chris Skirrow (1683) 0 – 1 Simon Walks (E1800)

The Saxmundham A Team opened their account on Wednesday at local rivals Woodbridge. The teams were quite evenly matched on paper, and so it proved in reality – a hard-fought draw. Many congratulations go to Simon Wilks on board 4 who won on his debut for the club.

A Good Start!

The B Team opened its account on Tuesday with an emphatic home win over Bury St Edmunds D, winning all four games:

Saxmundham B 4 – 0 Bury St Edmunds D

  1. Sam Gaffney (B) (1780) 1 – 0 Laureano Garcia (1683)
  2. Mike Usher (1713) 1 – 0 Rob Lepley (1390)
  3. Samuel Allen (E1350) 1 – 0 Diana Meredith (E1200)
  4. Geoffrey Lilley (1053) 1 – 0 Patrick Meredith (E1200)

Samuel was making his OTB debut for the club and found himself playing another debutant (hence the estimated ratings). He soon outplayed his opponent to win comfortably, but Geoffrey was first to finish, winning in even quicker fashion.

The top two boards were longer tussles. Sam gained a winning advantage early on but it took care to reel in the whole point. Mike’s opponent held his own for much of the evening, but seemed to tire towards the end, made a poor move and offered a draw. Mike sensed that the things had changed and played on, and sure enough, as often seems to happen in chess, a poor move was followed by an even worse one. His opponent had to resign just five moves later.

Stronger teams lie ahead, but it was as good a start as we could have hoped for. Congratulations to Samuel for opening his account for the club in such emphatic fashion.

Back to the Board

Saxmundham Chess Club has re-opened its doors after the long break due to the Covid restrictions. Several new members have come along already and as we gear up for the return of the SCCA league competition it has been encouraging to welcome the new players as well as the return of old friends. Some of the new members are keen to play in competition and this will be a very heartening boost to the current squad of match players.

For the new season, Saxmundham will be entering two teams; the A team will play in Division 2 of the Suffolk League, and the B team in Division 3. Teams consist of four players, usually ranked in order of their Rating, which is a numerical indicator of their playing strength. The other teams are played twice, home and away, with the away team enjoying the White pieces on Board 1, alternating down the rest of the order.

Competitive chess is played with special clocks that record the thinking time for each player, and the game starts with a particular amount of time allotted to each for the game. In the Suffolk League that allocation is 75 minutes each for the game, plus 15 seconds is added back onto your time every time you make a move (this is known as an Increment). If you run out of time you lose the game! The added pressure of time creates an extra, very exciting, dimension to the game.

The new season is due to start on 14th September