Thursday, 19 September 2019

Summer time is over


All aboard and off we go again. This season Div 2 has a whole new look with only one Kenilworth team. There's also a whole new look to to the C team. After a successful off season recruitment campaign, Some of the old B team are now the C team and are joined by a host of others which leaves the squad looking like Mandela united.

Another member of this illustrious squad is Kenilworth old boy Ed Goodwin. It has been so long since Ed last played for Kenilworth that he can't actually remember anyone else who was there at the time. Welcome back Ed.

Ed was playing on board 1 against Richard Reynolds. With the white pieces and playing a queens pawn game, both sides castled on opposite wings and white rushed the king side with pawns. Richard defended well and forced white back. Fortunately, black then decided to trade queens and offer a drew. Short of time, Ed agreed.

Drago had the black pieces against Richard Liszewski. From a benoni, black to was able to contain the white attack and open attacking lines against the white king. However white defended very well and accurately and arrived at an ending where he was only two pawns down but still had attacking chances. Eventually black got his pieces into active squares and eventually white made a mistake which allowed black to win material.

For most of game Phil had a very good position with a white queens pawn game against Robert Walman attacking on the king side. Unfortunately accurate defensive play by black bought his attack to a halt and then won a pawn. Black advanced his a pawn and pulled white queen away from the centre allowing him to win a central pawn and ultimately the game.

Dave got the award for the luckiest win of the evening with black against Ken Allen. Black has soaked up white's initial pressure and then reached an even position. Seeing that a win was required by the team he played on rather than agreeing a draw. White then managed to regroup and win black's c pawn but at the expense of running short of time. Black then just sat on the position and allowed his active pieces to hold the position and wait for white to run out of time. Ultimately, white lost material and then the game on time.

From the Archives - Part 12, 1997-2003 - Juniors to the Fore!

There's a lot of ground to cover in the latest instalment of our never-ending club history, so I'll cut straight to the action.


1997-2001 - No idea what happened, as all the records have disappeared. For all I know we may have had Gary Kasparov pay us a visit in 2000 to celebrate the birth of a new Millenium - or indeed the 25th anniversary of the re-founding of the Club. Though, I'm guessing we didn't.

May 2002 - History recommences on the second of the month with the AGM. Yes, sometime between 1997 and now the Club finally came to its senses and moved the AGM date from September. After a five year information black hole, will we discover a whole new cast of characters at the helm of the good ship KCC? Well, yes and no. New blood has taken over as Chairman, in the person of Rod, but its old timers everywhere else. Bernard is Secretary (again) and Geoff King is Treasurer (still). However, the list of attendees records first mentions for some well known names - Paul Lam is in attendance (and so is his brother Mark!) and the meeting was also graced by the presence of Paul Mills, Nick Mottram, Steve Payne and Phil Wood, as well as veterans like Bruce, Chris and Tony, though it transpires that all had attended previous AGMs. The Chairman welcomed the only two actual debutants, Nigel Morris and Frank Holmes.

In total 18 people are present, and for the first time ever Secretarial satire makes an appearance in the minutes, as it is recorded that "Apologies were received from Mike and Simon Whatson, No apologies were received from Paul Marsh." No wonder he didn't stay around for too long given such vituperative comments! This would seem to indicate that we have 21 members of whom, three are called Payne; two Lam; and two Whatson. (Plus two Kings, though I don't think they were related.) Talk about keeping it in the family!

It transpires that Rod may be a slightly unwilling Chairman, as the incumbent Geoff Quilley had left during the year and he had been co-opted to the post. Nevertheless, he retains the role for the coming season, and Bernard and Geoff are also re-elected.

The club's fortunes during the season had been mixed with one team promoted (unnamed) and one relegated (Ken C). However, I'm slightly confused, as the only team to score more than 50% was the A team, so maybe they had found themselves in Division 2? Could we have sunk that low?? In a typical AGM burst of optimism, we decide that we will have 5 teams in the 2002-03 season, and there is a vote as to whether our D team should apply for Division 3 or Division 4. By a vote of 6-4 it was to be Div 3. Although by my reckoning, the abstentions carried the day easily! Match Captains will be, Phil, Paul M, Tony, Mike W and the newcomer Frank. Nice work getting a  newbie to volunteer!

Great news on the junior front, as the Club clearly has a golden generation on its hands. Paul had won the U-14 and U-16 Warwickshire titles, and played for England at U-14 level in Estonia, while brother Mark had won the county U-12 title and together with Adam Sykes had been members of the winning Warwickshire U-16 Minor Team. (Though winning what is not specified. Really, the Secretaries we had in those days.) I wonder, did we end up with the wrong Lam brother?! After all, we drew the short straw where the Wood siblings were concerned, so we had previous in this respect!

Bernard is Club Champion, and Bruce Club Lightning Champion. (Or Lightening Champion, according to the Secretary, so presumably we are talking some heavy lifting competition here?) Bruce and Nick were still to do battle in the final of the Club Plate, which subsequently went Nick's way.

The club had been in spend, spend, spend mode during the previous 12 months, and had racked up a loss of £164.17 after the purchase of several clocks, bringing back chilling memories of the financially incompetent years when Bernard had been Treasurer. Unlike then, however, we had been spending from a position of strength, and still had reserves of £190.

The Secretary had nothing to report.

May 2003 - 19 people attend the AGM on the 8th of the month (presumably at the Sports and Social Club?), with apologies from Phil Wood (supervising detention?), John Skinner (feeling somebody's collar?) and Paul Lam (out clubbing?!). Roy had returned from a year abroad (yes, that's how absences used to be described, I believe), but was not sufficiently re-enthused to turn up at the AGM or send his apologies.

Financial probity had been re-established, with a surplus of £94.68 on the year, and a healthy surplus of £284.79 to carry forwards. Subs were to stay unchanged at £10 for adults; £5 for associates (?) and £6 for juniors. (This means that club subs today (2019) are the same as they were at least as long ago as 2001!!)

The club's performance over the board had been pretty dire, with the A team coming bottom of Division 1 and the B team bottom of Division 2! However club honour was partially upheld by the C and D teams (3rd and 5th in Division 3) and the E team (3rd in Division 4). Not surprisingly, the A team Captain Phil Wood was unceremoniously dumped (no wonder he didn't show up to the AGM - he was lucky to escape a flogging in my opinion) and a new name in Carl Pickering was voted in to restore the club's fortunes. Somehow, though, Paul M kept his job as B team Captain. The meeting decided the club should throw itself on the mercy of the League and ask to stay in the same divisions for the coming season.

Our junior renaissance was still in full bloom. Paul had now become joint U-18 county Champion, despite being, by my estimate, only 14 or 15. (So that's your target to beat Jude and Billy!) He had also won the first Tony Miles Memorial Tournament. Adam Sykes was joint county U-16 champion, and Mark Lam joint U-14 county champion. What on earth were we doing languishing at the bottom of Divisions 1 and 2 with talent like this on our hands?!

Mrs Lam had nominated the club for the BCF Small Club of the Year award. We await the results of the judging.….

Oh yes, and the Secretary had nothing to report. Again.


Let's hope he finds one thing to report on - just one, that's all I ask - before this epic draws to a conclusion!

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

The Battle of Kenilworth

No, not some obscure encounter in the English Civil War, but the Kenilworth B v Kenilworth A match which kicked off the 2019-20 Leamington League season last night.

This was the first time I had ever played in a Kenilworth v Kenilworth encounter, but it was not new territory for several of the participants, as the B v C team match has occurred in each of the last two seasons. And with the B team winning Division 2 last season, the intra-Kenilworth encounter now takes place in Division 1. Neither team was at full strength, but it was still a pretty meaty encounter. The A Team averaged 177, and the B Team 153 - though that did include Jude's distinctly understated (as he was to prove) grade of 141.

Ben pulled off the first masterstroke of the evening by putting Andy W on Board 1 to play me, when I had been expecting Ben himself. But he was unable to bask in the glory of out-captaining me for long, as he had guessed our Boards 3 and 4 the wrong way around, so it ended up that no-one in the entire match played their expected opponent! Except that some of us have a lot of time on our hands, and can prepare for more than one eventuality.....

And so it was that I had taken a look at Andy's pet opening and had a good line ready against it. (Which was more than I had when he first unleashed it on me at the Perth Open in 2017!) Although Black got some activity for a few moves in the middlegame, as soon as this petered out he was in a very difficult position, with a knight stranded on h6 and his king in the firing line of a White pawn storm. I quickly got in the thrust f4-f5-f6 and it was curtains for the Black king.

Meanwhile, on Board 2 a modern-day masterpiece was being created by Joshua (as Black) against Ben. Or it was a totally unsound hack, I'm not sure?! What I do know is that as A Team Captain I was distinctly worried when Ben simply won the exchange, but then he made the fatal mistake of castling queenside and walked into a Pink brilliancy as a Black knight landed on b4 and after being taken by a pawn (leaving White a whole rook up) was replaced by another knight which not only won back a piece but forced the White queen to the pathetic square a1. Ben tried to save himself by returning the exchange, but Josh was having none of it and simply advanced his a pawn down to a3, causing ruination to the White king.

So 2-0 to the A team, and the match was clinched almost immediately when Jude and Mike agreed a draw on Board 4. Jude, showing little respect for his elders, had gone for the jugular from the opening with an e5-e6 pawn sac, but Mike defended this well and used some nifty knight jumps to consolidate his pawn advantage. But the extra pawn was doubled and on e6 and Jude adopted a very good piece set up that seemed to tie down Mike's pieces. With a massive time disadvantage, Mike opted for the pragmatic decision to offer a draw and Jude accepted, to make it a memorable Division 1 debut for him.

Which left Board 3, where our new recruit Dragomir enjoyed an even more memorable debut by winning, as Black, against Bernard C. Bernard seemed to be doing all the right things as Drago kept his king in the centre, but at a crucial moment Bernard decided to castle queenside and - like Ben (but thankfully not like me!) - found this caused him major headaches. Drago produced a highly imaginative piece sacrifice that, in the heat of battle and with the clock ticking (digitally, of course!), was very difficult to refute. Bernard gave up his queen for a whole heap of pieces, but the Black queen was a monster and Bernard's defence eventually faltered. The Black queen then danced in to deliver mate, aided by a monstrous pawn on c3.

So 4 highly entertaining games, a very close match, and a result that left both sides with plenty of positives for the season ahead. Its good to be back in league action!

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Reasons to be Cheerful

The new season is fast approaching, and once again all the mistakes are there waiting to be made. And we'll probably make them. Even when we have made the very same ones countless times before. But the next time disaster befalls you at the chess board, try to remember that however bad it was for you, its been even worse for somebody else. And if you don't believe me, read on!

In one of his marvellous books of reminiscences of the Soviet chess world of the 1950s and later (Smart Chip from St Petersburg), Genna Sosonko tells the tale of a blitz game between Genrikh Chepukaitis and Mark Taimanov. Now we've all heard of Grand Master Mark Taimanov, even if his chief claim to fame is losing 6-0 to Bobby Fischer in the Quarter Final of the 1971 Candidates Matches. But, of course, he was an exceedingly strong player. He won the Soviet Championship in 1956 and only lost out to Botvinnik for the 1952 title after a play off match. For the best part of 25 years he was one of the 20 best players in the world, and he is one of very few people who can claim to have beaten 6 (yes 6!) World Champions - Botvinnik, Smyslov, Tal, Petrosian, Spassky and Karpov. (But his overall record against Fischer was 0.5-7.5. It must have been something to do with the name, because he couldn't even beat one Johann Fischer at the 2003 European Seniors Championships. Though Taimanov was 77 at the time!)

But it isn't Taimanov that Sosonko's essay is about. It's actually a very affectionate remembrance of his opponent - almost unknown in the West - who was a ferociously strong blitz specialist. He played in the St Petersburg Blitz Championship 47 times (!!), winning it on 6 occasions and regularly beating the likes of Tal, Spassky and Korchnoi. In 1966 he also won the Moscow Blitz Championship, despite sleeping on a bench at a Moscow railway station between the semi-finals and finals. One year, Sosonko recounts, Petrosian was persuaded to give this event a miss by his wife, Rona. " You're the World Champion. Who will praise you if you win? And if you lose? It's fine if Bronstein, Tal or Korchnoi beats you, but what if you lose to Chepukaitis??"

Another anecdote relates to Karpov, who was bemoaning the ever-faster rates of play in tournament chess, complaining that eventually there would be nothing but Blitz, and then Chepukaitis could become World Champion. To which David Bronstein replied, "Yes he might, and I don't see anything wrong with that. Chepukaitis is a magnificent strategist and a brilliant tactician."

Well, this has been a very long introduction to what is going to be a very short game. It features Chepukaitis' pet opening - which he referred to as the mongrel variation, even though he thought it should really be named after himself rather than a certain Mr Trompovsky. It took place at a Leningrad Blitz Championship, in an unknown year. Don't blink or you'll miss it!




I think we can all sympathise with Taimanov's mood after such a debacle. It would be bad enough for the likes of us, but for a two times World Championship Candidate it must have been excruciating. So let's all remember this game the next time we make an appalling blunder. Far better players than us have made far worse mistakes!

And if that isn't a reason to be cheerful, I don't know what is!

Monday, 26 August 2019

From the Archives - Part 11, 1996-97 - Snoozefest!

Now, where was I? It seems like an age since Part 10 of this epic was published, but its only just over a month ago. And in that time a miracle has occurred, as - somewhat on a par, as far as historical significance is concerned, with the discovery of the Hitler Diaries - several more years' worth of AGM minutes have come to light, and we will get to them next time. Thanks to our Chairman for delving into the depths of his own archives to make sure these once more saw the light of day. So, with more material to hand, its off we go again.


Sep 1996 - It's AGM time, but one critical issue is left off the Agenda. The apparent disappearance of the Club Secretary's hole punch. Suddenly all our documents are unfiled, loose and out of sequence. (Or missing.) At least we didn't waste club funds buying a third ring binder, as with the loss of the hole punch this would have been as much use as a chocolate teapot. Although at this point I should own up to the fact that I have just spent £1 of KCC funds on a third ring binder. However, I must stress that while I am happy to donate the holes which my own personal hole punch has made in said historic club documents, I am not donating the hole punch itself, and the club must remain entirely dependent upon my good will for the continued punching of holes in any club papers. Moreover, whereas the club ran on a 4 hole punch up to 1995, all subsequent documentation will adopt the new Eco-friendly standard of 2 holes only. I cannot in all conscience advocate producing more holes than are necessary at this critical time for the environment. As long as all this is understood, I am sure we can manage the situation amicably going forward.

So, onto the 1996 AGM. But distressingly the minutes have seemingly been lost, as indeed have those of the 1995 meeting. But there is a slight compensation in as much as the 1994 minutes, which I couldn't previously find, have now turned up! (The loss of that hole punch has a lot to answer for!) And a very boring set of minutes they are indeed - by some distance the least informative of any in the archives. 16 members had turned up on September 8th 1994, and 4 had apologised for not turning up. There were no matters arising from the previous minutes. The Secretary (B. Rogers) had nothing to report. There were no matters arising from the League AGM minutes. And the only item raised under AOB was the possibility of a summer internal cup competition, for which there was "little enthusiasm". At least the club officials and match captains (all 5 of them!) were elected and the accounts approved. In keeping with the general tenor of the meeting, there was to be no change in subs!

If we leap forwards again to 1996, there may be no minutes, but there are accounts, which record that we had 20 adult (£7.50 pa) and 3 junior (£3.00 pa) members, and that the purchase of 4 clocks had pushed us into a deficit on the year of £50.93. We were still sitting on a reserve of £118.59, though, so the bailiffs were not yet banging at our door.

In the file there is a copy of the August 1, 1996 newsletter of Kenilworth Chess Club in New Jersey - the Kenilworth Kibbitzer. A 5 page densely typed bulletin which inter alia records that our namesakes had just recorded their best ever finish in the 6 team North Jersey League, finishing 2nd on 4/5 behind Rutherford Chess Club who scored 100%. I am struck by the following sentence: "Richard Falcetano did a fine job getting 4 players each month to play in the League. Sometimes Rich had to make a lot of phone calls trying to get a team together for the 5 matches." So apparently its the same the whole world over! Only sometimes its 14 matches. Plus cup ties! And another 12 in another league!! The club met every Thursday (snap!) and had 20 participants in its ladder tournaments, so was presumably very similar in size to us. Emblazoned across the front age is the statement that "We will write or call the Kenilworth Chess Club in England to try and get a postal match with them for September." My inherited archives do not record what became of this initiative. Someone out there presumably knows?!

1996-97 - The Club Membership List records 26 names, resident as follows:-

Kenilworth         14
Coventry              5
Leamington          5
Warwick               1
Balsall Common  1

So very nearly half our members lived outside Kenilworth. (A percentage that is only slightly lower in 2019!) While not wishing to run foul of GDPR diktats, it is interesting to note that one of our Coventry based members, Geoff King, lived in the same road where Paul now lives, while back in Kenilworth, Bernard and Tom Swallow lived at nos 3 and 4 in the same road. Very cosy!

This list also records match captains for our A, B, C, D, E and F teams. Yes, we apparently were running 6 teams in the Leamington League! And even more amazingly had found 6 volunteers to run them!!

That'll do for now, and in fact next time we will take a giant leap forwards to 2002, due to a complete black hole in the club's archive. I don't want to point the finger at anyone, but all I will say is that the last recorded club secretary in 1997 was a certain R. Watson Esq!!

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Billy Blitzes Belarus!

What a fantastic international debut from the one and only Billy Fellowes in the World Cadet Rapid and Blitz Under 8 Championships last weekend in Minsk, Belarus. In massive fields of over 140 players in each event (including more than 80 Russians!), Billy finished right towards the top of the scoreboard:- 18th= in the Rapid (6/9) and 27th= in the Blitz (5.5/9). In the process Billy earned himself FIDE ratings - at the age of 7! - of 1484 (Rapid) and 1314 (Blitz) and - more importantly - finished both events as not just the highest placed English player, but also the joint highest placed West European!

Billy in Belarus

And he had very tough pairings, too, having to play against Russian opponents in more than half his games. But far from being intimidated by their reputation, he cut a swathe through the most respected chess nation on the planet, scoring a quite phenomenal 7.5/10 against them, with only two losses and seven wins! The only other games he lost over the course of 18 games across the two tournaments, were against players from Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Incredible stuff!!

Both Billy and Jude have performed superbly on the international stage in the last couple of weeks and they should be massively proud of their achievements. The sky really is the limit for them on the chess board. And their coach, the one and only Paul Lam, has every reason to feel more than slightly chuffed with himself, too! A truly great effort, guys. This has been simply sensational stuff.

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

EYCC Slovakia Round Up and WCRB Belarus Preview

The European Youth Chess Championships are over and Jude is already back home from Slovakia, where he finished with 5/9 (+3, -2, =4) for 45th= in a field of 149, having started as the number 63 seed. (And amongst the West Europeans, he finished 15th.) Jude gained a phenomenal 93.6 ELO points (did he have to declare them at Customs on the way back, I wonder?), which takes some doing when you are playing against a seemingly endless supply of under-graded opponents. (And in view of this, massive kudos to young Lukas Dotzer of Austria, who managed to gain 211 points from his low starting rating of 1070. In a single tournament! Mind you, it can go the other way, as Bosnia's Borna Pehar unfortunately discovered, losing 188 points!)

That was a really great effort from Jude, who is, of course, technically an Under 9, so was giving away a whole year to most of the field. Kenilworth is massively proud of your achievements, Jude! As before, even more details of the event, complete with action shots of Jude, can be found on the Coventry Chess Academy news page.  (But be careful, as otherwise you might inadvertently read some positive reports about Roy, which could come as a massive shock to the unwary!)


The attention now switches to Billy who is jetting off to Minsk this week to play in what is bound to be an enormously strong World Cadets Rapid and Blitz (August 16-18) where around 170 players are due to start in the Under-8 tournaments - including more than 80 Russians!

(I don't suppose there will be much/any time for sight-seeing, as the action looks set to be fast and furious - so Charlotte is excused from being sent off around the cemeteries of Minsk as official KCC photographer to search for the grave of almost-World Champion, David Bronstein. Which would be a bit unnecessary, anyway, as there is a perfectly good photo on Bronstein's Wikipedia entry!)

The top seed in both tournaments (which are 9 rounds each) is from Ukraine, and boasts a Rapid ELO of 1696 and a Blitz ELO of an astonishing 1825 (equivalent to an ECF grade of 153). At the age of 8! But I have no doubt that Billy is going to put in a great effort and notch quite a few scalps along the way. And Billy is technically an Under-7 so like Jude he will also be giving away a year to most of the field. Good luck from everyone at KCC to Billy, and I hope he has an amazing time on this fantastic adventure.

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

News from Slovakia

Not sure where Joshua's day 9 report from the British Championships has gone - surely there can't have been any happenings which he doesn't want to write about? Anyway, I'm sure he'll get round to it soon. His public expects!

But in the meantime, here's a quick update on Jude's progress as part of the England team at the European Youth Chess Championships in Bratislava. And great news it is, too, as after 6 rounds Jude has the terrific score of 4 points, achieved against opposition which in each of the last five rounds has been rated more than 200 points higher than him. He has so far won against opponents from Greece, Hungary and Poland; shared the points with a Russian and a Turk, and only lost the one game to a lad from Serbia. He currently sits in joint 23rd place in a field of 149, from his starting ranking of 63rd - absolutely sensational stuff against the very best juniors in Europe.

Next up in tomorrow's 7th Round is the 34th seed from Denmark. Let's hope that the Thursday vibe which usually helps Jude take numerous scalps at the Gauntlet each week will work in Slovakia!

Good luck, Jude. You are doing great and we can't wait to hear all about it on your return.


For even more details, and some photos of Jude in action in Bratislava, take a look at Paul's regular reports on the news page at the Coventry Chess Academy website.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Joshua fails to qualify for the British Championship (part 8)

Only one medal placing to report on today, a disappointing halving of the club's achievements from yesterday's heights.

Team Sprog

As discussed yesterday, David started today in third place 1 point behind the tournament leader, and was playing him with black. A tough assignment on paper, but in what looked to me like a very well played game David managed to grind out a win and move level with him on points. Unfortunately the person in second place also managed to win so David only finished in second place, but still an excellent result that means we deserve one more of these - 🥈

Team PAYE

With Ben having departed to return to the dubious delights of the West Midlands, we and Andy were left to hold the team together, and both ended the day with draws. The similarity ends at that point though, with Andy holding a very impressive draw in a queen endgame a pawn down, whilst I managed to swindle a perpetual check draw in a completely lost position, save only by my opponent's lack of time. Still, the scoresheets say the same thing so in the long-term no-one will remember that difference.

Team Charlemagne

Roy wisely decided not to play any more chess after yesterday's zero move triumph, so the only interest today was in the senior event. Bernard's opponent attempted some what appeared to me to be very unsound hacking against his king in the opening, which I presumed meant Bernard must have at least a small advantage. However, it may never have been anything substantial, since the next time I looked the position had changed to something that looked incredibly drawish, and so it ultimately finished.

Mark on the other hand finally decided to play a sensible opening (see below), so unsurprisingly to me it appeared he had an excellent position. His opponent decided to never capture the lurching g pawn and thus consequently it remained on g5 for a large proportion of the game, seemingly putting an unpleasant cramp pon black's position. Apparently Mark feels the game was decide by blunders in the endgame, but a more strategic player like me can see it was essentially already over from move 5.

Team Eclectic

With Bruce's tournament over, it was left to David Howell to carry the flag alone, and he could only manage a draw with the black pieces against Ravi Haria. This means he goes in to the final round half a point behind Michael Adams, but he does have the white pieces so it should be an exciting conclusion to the championship.

Current standings:

Team Sprog: 74% (14/19)
Team PAYE: 59% (17/29)
Team Charlemagne: 67% (18/27)
Team Eclectic: 48% (11.5/24)

Obviously we need to look at Mark's excellent opening. I confess I'm not sure the move order is completely correct, but the position is the important thing. I'm convinced if I'd come up with moves like this there would be some unkind commentary about it's soundness.

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Joshua fails to qualify for the British Championship (part 7)

We are moving towards the end of the tournament, and we have some silverware to report on in this edition.

Team Sprog

Another draw for David today means he is one point off the lead in the U16 event with one round remaining. However, a good draw means he is playing the person in 1st place, so a win still gives him a chance of shared first place (there is one annoying person half a point behind the lead who can still spoil that ending).

Team PAYE

I managed to acquire some kind of illness today, I assume a result of too much fresh air and not enough time spent in a still, airless office in my job. Consequently fighting spirit was at a Very low level, so I was very happy to achieve two of the world's most boring draws today. I guess it is positive I still have the ability to kill all the excitement out of a game when desired, but not perhaps the most exciting talent to have. On a more exciting note, another fine win for Andy means he is currently on track to make a gain of over 50 rating points in one tournament, something which I haven't seen happen too often for anyone older than about 11.

The best result of the day though was definitely Ben. A win and a draw would be good results in any circumstances, but the win in the morning means he finished joint third in that event. A first piece of silverware for the club means for the first time in the event I get to dig out the official "Third Place Medal" emoji - 🥉

Team Charlemagne

Very much a mixed bag of results today. Bernard picked up a very creditable draw with the black pieces against a player rated of 200 points higher. Mark unfortunately was not able to match this result, and his defeat means he is one point off the lead with two rounds to go, so the same position as David found himself in this morning.

Roy as usual though managed to result to rescue the day for his team. His afternoon draw was nothing to write home about, coming against a player I'm sure must have been stronger than her rating of 1040. The more important result though was in the morning, where a victory means he finished joint second, meaning a second relevant emoji can be brought in to play - 🥈. We now just need someone to win an event and I'll have the full set.

Team Eclectic

Two draws for our dynamic duo today, though I guess objectively David Howell's draw with Michael Adams must be ranked very slightly higher than Bruce's with a very welcoming Frenchman.

Current standings

Team Sprog: 72% (13/18)
Team PAYE: 57% (16/28)
Team Charlemagne: 66% (16.5/25)
Team Eclectic: 48% (11/23)

There is no doubt that for today's featured game we should look at the flawlessly played win that took Roy to the podium in his event: