Tuesday, 31 December 2019

More Reasons to be Cheerful

In the first post on this subject (August 31, 2019), I presented a game lost in three moves by a former Soviet Champion, with the hope that it might console us a bit when we - as we inevitably would - lost a catastrophic game. But there are other types of loss which can be even more painful and more disheartening - those that happen when you are just outplayed from beginning to end. You get no chances; no counter-play; no activity - its just defend, defend, defend until in the end you get put out of your misery and have to concede that not only have you lost, but you have been given a lesson.

Fear not, though, dear readers, for such a disaster can befall even the best, as I will now show you. I won't reveal the players until you've had a chance to play through the game, and in particular until you've had a chance to study the final position.

Wow! Have you ever seen greater domination of the chess board than that? Look at the Black pieces, huddled pathetically in the top right corner of the board, while the White army bestrides the world like a Colossus (thank you, Mr Shakespeare). Surely this is a case of master versus amateur? Only a complete patzer could get so outplayed. Well, apparently not!

The player of the White pieces was, indeed, very strong - the great Vassily Ivanchuk - and as the game was played at the 1991 Linares Super Tournament, its clear that the Black pieces must also have been the responsibility of someone not too shabby. And that is indeed the case, since it was the one and only Garry Kasparov, possibly the greatest chess player of all time, who was on the receiving end of that almighty shellacking. I doubt he has ever been so outplayed in his life, and he cannot have been in a very good mood at the end!

So here we have another reason to be cheerful - if even Garry can be made to look like a total beginner, there is hope for us all yet. So let's all have the ambition for 2020 of playing like Kasparov - only not like in that game!

Monday, 23 December 2019

Christmas Quiz 2019

Yes, its that time of year again, and here it is - the annual KCC Christmas Quiz. And this time it is possibly the best yet - or rather its definitely the hardest yet! But its guaranteed to provide hours (and hours and hours) of entertainment - or more likely frustration. Still, we spend all year wasting our time on a fundamentally pointless game, so this is the perfect quiz for a chess player!

Below you will find a really rather touching, yet dramatic, short story marrying politics, romance and adventure. Maybe not up to the level of KCC's published author, Ben, but its the best I could do in the circumstances. Because within the story I have hidden a number of chess players' names, and your task is to find them. Some are very obvious; some are the product of such tortuous prose that it will be clear that there must be a hidden name in there; but some of them are very difficult; and several, dare I say, are virtually impossible!

Now its only a short story, but within it your task is to find:-

37 (oops! updated now to 41) Grand Masters (of whom 4 are deceased) including one (no actually two!) world champions and two (make that three!) women's world champions
3 (no make that 6!) International Masters, including a former British Champion; a former World Junior Champion; and one who was murdered! (And one you'll never, ever have heard of.)
13 KCC members

Most names appear once; some a few times and a few rare beasts appear many times. You get one point each time you spot a hidden name. The most appearances by a single name is a remarkable 22 - but even so I'm not expecting anyone to get this even once!! Just to make it more difficult, in at least three cases, (I've lost track of the exact number!) names can be found hidden inside even longer names. Two pairs of GM's share the same surname; and 3 KCC members share their names with either GMs or IMs. These all count double when you find them. So here's the short story - the rest is up to you!

Love Conquers All

Steep Hill, Ipswich was not where you would have expected a political revolution to start, but MI5 had been watching the place like a hawk – ever since the left wing activist known as Deep Red Ken had taken up residence. It was all quiet at first without any untoward incidents. While the original Red Ken had a thing for newts, the most exciting thing about his near-namesake was that he liked to keep a gerbil or two and a pet springbok. But when Baron Ian Nash, or the Aristocratic Anarchist as he was lampooned by the tabloids, paid him a clandestine visit at the midnight hour, the alarm bells started ringing again in Whitehall. This was “a potentially explosive combination,” joked the Home Secretary in very poor taste – a possibly live, possibly dud atomic weapon had gone missing from Russia recently, and until it was tracked down, no-one could feel entirely safe. Indeed, morale in the secret services was at a very low ebb; the missing weapon was like a smoking gun at their heads.

“Follow Ken,” commanded the Home Secretary. “I want to know what he’s up to. He’s the kingpin. Keep a very close watch on him. He’s a very dangerous fellow, especially if he’s teamed up with another group of thugs like the Aristo’s anarchists.” So MI5, of course, did their master’s bidding.

And the plot thickened as the trail led them to Holland, and a sleazy jazz club in a run down, graffiti daubed building – lit only by an old gas lamp -  on Rijksmuseum Road, Amsterdam. As a mournful saxophone played, and a would be heart-throb songsmith crooned away, the watching agents witnessed a surprising rendezvous with glamorous Mayfair socialite Ellin Back, dubbed London Nelly by the popular press.

“Fancy that!” whispered Agent No 1. “Any idea how a militant weirdo like Deep Red Ken finds a rich woman like her?” “No idea”, replied Agent 2. “Nor how Ellin found him. They should be on opposite sides in the class war, don’t you think? And I thought she had better taste in men than that! Now, do we grab him or risk it by letting him walk out with her?” “We’ve still got nothing concrete to hold him for yet,” moaned Agent 1. “I’m not a gambler, so we’ll just have to keep watching him until he lets his guard down – even for a minute will do.” So the two agents settled back, deep in the shadows, to enjoy the smooth jazz music, which had now been supplemented by a drum machine dub over a twangy guitar.

Back in the UK, the Baron was becoming rather unhinged by the stress of the whole affair, and also by the absence of Nelly. “I’m really missing my woman tonight”, he muttered. “Why did I ever introduce that man and woman. I’m to blame for that. Oh good grief, I’m even talking to myself now! I’m turning into a lame duck.” And he began to recite a psalm, as if the power of prayer could calm his nerves and send her back to him that very night.

But former deb Ellin did not return that night, nor anytime soon. Because she and Ken were out of control, in a whirlwind romance which sent them travelling across Europe, with ever more mystified British spies on their tail. One week it was a cruise up the Nile, then it was back to the Netherlands, via Italy and Spain. The two seemed to have a special rapport – life was just a bed of roses, all kisses and smiles. But their behaviour was driving the watching authorities crazy, and when they ended up in Berlin it was like waving a red rag. “Germany, now is it?” seethed the Home Secretary, slamming his fist down on the table like a hammer and knocking over a desk-lamp in the process. “This is a calamity. They’re scoring all the points in this contest and making a laughing stock of us.”

But apart from an irate politician, a couple of disgruntled spooks and a pining aristocrat, no-one else cared. For this was a triumph of love across the class divide. And who doesn’t like a story with a happy ending?

By my reckoning, the maximum score possible is now a (further) revised 154 (119 GM references; 11 IM references and 24 KCC references - remember some names score more than 1 point). Good luck. You will need it. The solution will appear here in due course - when I decide the suffering has gone on long enough!! For now I leave you with, if not a clue, then at least a hint. Just remember that a number of Chinese/Asian GMs do have very short names!

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

From the Archives - Part 14, 2005 - a New Chairman and a New Venue

For possibly the first time, the Club starts to look very like our modern day incarnation. Of course, my own glorious entry on to the stage is still some years away, but other than that nearly all our current key players are already on the scene.

May 2005 - Its AGM time again, though we have to guess that the venue is the Sports and Social Club as the Secretary is keeping his cards close his chest on this matter. On the 5th of the month some 15 members are in attendance, and the cast list comprises mainly names that would be very familiar to anyone joining the Club today. The only people not still either members or Thursday night attendees are Rob Olley, Frank Holmes, Tom Swallow, Nigel Morris and the late John Skinner. Five more people sent apologies, but - pointedly - the Secretary tells us that Adam Sykes did not. I think that constitutes a rap across the knuckles!

Rod is still the Chairman (for the next couple of hours at least!) and reports that the A team had finished 5th in Division 1, with the B team 3rd in Division 2, and the C team a lowly 8th (though never in danger of relegation) in the same division. The D Team would finish mid-table (some matches unfinished) in Division 3, while in Division 4 the E and F teams had finished 4th and 7th respectively. From across the years, considerable congratulations are in order to all those who enabled the Club to field 6 teams. A tremendous effort.

Three of our Cup teams had lost in Round 1 of their respective competitions, but Kenilworth 1 had reached the final of the Under-100 event (for a 4th consecutive year) where they lost to Rugby. Meanwhile, in the League individual competitions, Carl had lost his title to Steve Burnell, but no-one else managed to reach a Final.

On the domestic front, we seemed to be a year in arrears, as it is reported that Rod had won the 2003-04 Tilley Trophy and Phil the 2003-04 Plate. At least the Club Lightning Championship was up to date, and Paul had won with a 100% score, while John Skinner won the grading prize.

Rod ended his report by announcing that he was standing down as Chairman due to "other commitments" (watching TV? making model aircraft? walking the dog? work? - who knows?!), which prompted our ever-effusive secretary to give a stirring eulogy to the glories of the "Webb years". Bernard noted that Rod had (1) taken on responsibility for organising the Club Tournaments; (2) overseen an increase to six in the number of club teams; (3) raised club night attendances to their highest for many years; (4) overseen our award of BCF Club of the Year; (5) introduced the successful Chairman's Night; and (6) introduced Curry Nights. Wow! Now if only our current Chairman could similarly stir himself to such levels of devoted club service...…..

The accounts have not survived, but in the absence (yet again) of the Treasurer, Geoff King, it was reported that we had made a small surplus for the year, so subscription levels were left unchanged.

On the LDCL front we once again had people in key positions of power - Phil was taking over as Individual Tournaments organiser and Carl had (foolishly?) volunteered to act as Trophies Officer. The meeting voted on the proposed change to the LDCL time limit to 90 minutes for the whole game, and with 6 in favour and 8 against (plus one wishy-washy abstainer), the Club decided it would vote against the resolution at the League AGM. There was clearly an under-current of radicalism within the League, as there was also a proposal to automatically give the home player the black pieces in individual tournaments. The dyed-in-the-wool conservatives of KCC, though, were having none of this and decided we would vote against this, too. Computer says "No", and so does KCC!

Rod's successor as Chairman would be John Skinner, who was elected unopposed after being nominated by Carl. The Secretary and Treasurer retained their positions without a vote.

Ahead of a proposed Team Formation Meeting, the AGM decided to run 6 teams again - and once again found 6 volunteers to captain them:-

A - Carl Pickering
B - Phil Wood
C - Nigel Morris
D - Chris Aldridge
E - Mike Whatson
F - Frank Holmes

The Club tournament had made "disappointing progress", so the AGM decided to revert to three all play all sections for 2005-06. Everyone in the Club wanted to play, except for Paul and Mark Lam, and Nigel Morris. So, the strong players basically.

In an unexpected burst of enthusiasm, the meeting decided that we should obtain a stall at the carnival if possible.

Big Brother was alive and well, and knew that neither Len Krombeen nor Nick Waterman had coughed up their subs at the Sports and Social Club. Having been named and shamed, the meeting closed at 9.00pm.

September 2005 - 20 people attend a team formation meeting on the 1st of the month and sort out player allocations, but there are also big organisational matters to discuss. The Club has moved to the Royal British Legion Club (why?), though initially on a temporary basis. But what will that do to Club nights, as it seems the Legion cannot always provide the upstairs room on a Thursday?

Fascinatingly we learn that Chris would not be able to make Monday evenings; Nick Waterman and Nigel Morris can't do Tuesdays; and Nick M and Rod can't do Wednesdays. Bernard is strongly in favour of keeping club night on a Thursday, and Chris wants club nights and match nights to be kept together. But Geoff King is in favour of Monday nights.

Problems, problems. However, when Tom Swallow proposes that we move permanently to the RBL and rearrange league matches for those weeks when we can't have the upstairs room, it seems as though a light bulb has been switched on, since the meeting then votes in favour of this by 14 to 3, with another 3 mysteriously either abstaining or disappearing. Maybe they had realised they couldn't make Thursdays and shouldn't have turned up in the first place?

The Chairman and the Secretary were mandated to meet with the RBL Chairman and Steward to negotiate the terms of our transfer.

This is all very interesting, but what I really want to know is, who on earth are D and N Ardebili who attended this meeting and presumably played in our teams that season? I'm pretty sure I've never heard them mentioned before … and I think I would have remembered!

So there you have it. There is now only one more year of AGM minutes to review. The Club records are almost exhausted. As indeed am I. But hopefully I can just about summon up enough energy to complete this 31 year walk down memory lane in the next, and final, instalment of From the Archives.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

A White Christmas Comes Early to Kenilworth

There was no snow in  Kenilworth last night, but it was still most definitely a total white-out, as our rearranged Coventry League match against Coventry A ended with four decisive games, all won by White.  The more perceptive amongst our readers will thereby deduce that the match ended 2-2. A good result for Coventry, given that half their team was out of the country when the match should have originally been played!  And a good result for us against the league leaders. It was a very tense encounter, and it can be fairly confidently said that on no board did the correct result occur, although the overall match score was about right (and directly in line with ratings).

It is almost inevitable that there will be internecine encounters in this match, and despite Coventry turning up without either Joshua or Bernard C in their team there were still two such games, although even in this mini-match honours were also shared. Mike's disastrous run of results continued as he finished first with another loss against Lionel, who thus joins Joshua, Bernard C and Ed in the Kenilworth Hall of Shame for winning against us. (Whisper it, but I am in there too, for having given the likes of Bernard R and Carl regular thrashings in the years when I misguidedly played for Leamington. But at least I have never won, or even played, against Kenilworth since I joined the club!) But an extra spoonful of shame is awarded to Lionel for (a) having lost for the B team the night before and (b) winning against Mike from a bad/losing position.

But if that was an unlucky break for us, Lady Luck balanced things up on Board 4 as Ben came back from a losing position to beat Ed in the other civil war encounter. Ed's Dutch was doing rather well until he hallucinated and put a bishop directly en prise. Even then he had play and tricks, but Ben carefully navigated the rocky waters to level the score. This was a very happy moment for me, as when I had looked at the position shortly before I had miscounted the pieces and thought Ben was a rook down!

Almost simultaneously I won against Dave Ireland on Board 2, but the position had been totally drawn until a few seconds before the end, when Dave simply blundered a piece under pressure from the clock. A sad end to a very interesting game - albeit one where I never had any edge at any stage, until I was gifted a bishop!

Now if you were paying close attention, you will have been shocked by the last paragraph. What was the Club Organiser and Team Captain doing on Board 2 when he has been on Board 1 in every match he has played so far this season? And he is the highest graded active player in the club? Did he forget the board order rules and play someone ineligible above him on Board 1? Or had he put his hand in his pocket and brought in a hired hand? The answer is …. none of the above! The game marked the return to competitive action of our very own Paul, who by fortunate happenstance was available to make what was only his third appearance in three seasons - and first ever for us in the Coventry League! Regrettably, though, this selection coup only served to extend Paul's run of KCC results over those 3 seasons to played 3, lost 3! He had a very intense struggle against Henrik Stepanyan, which saw Paul win an exchange in the middle game, though the position was very complicated and White definitely had compensation. But the clock eventually caused some inaccuracies to occur and Paul lost back his exchange advantage, before ending up in a lost rook and pawn ending.

Still, a thoroughly enjoyable and well fought match. They won't be losing any sleep in Moscow Central Chess Club over the quality of the games, but they must surely have appreciated the fighting spirit. And they know all about white-outs in Moscow, too!

Sunday, 8 December 2019

John Skinner, RIP

Roy has passed on the very sad news that John Skinner died at the end of November. John was a club stalwart for 25 years or so, from around the mid-1980s right through to about 2010.

The funeral will be on Tuesday 10th December, at 11.15 at Canley Crematorium.

Roy will doubtless provide a full obituary in John's memory after the funeral.

Chess History Rewritten - Was Rubinstein Really a Mancunian?

The chess history books will tell you that the great chess master Akiba Rubinstein was born in Poland on December 1, 1880. But don't believe everything you read - fake news is not a modern invention, after all.

Chancing on a couple of his games recently, I was immediately struck by the fact that Rubinstein was a man who loved fianchettoing his knights - and as all devoted readers of the KCC Blog will know, this is one of the core characteristics of the Manchester School of Chess (see post dated January 14, 2019 by that other well known Mancunian, Joshua Pink). Take this game for instance:-

Or this one, when the fianchettoed knight is at the heart of a Rubinstein victory:-

Or even this one, where the knight is only fianchettoed for 2 moves:-

Fairly conclusive stuff, I think. A Mancunian if ever I saw one. From Didsbury, possibly. Or maybe Withington. But definitely from the south side of the City, I'd say! Although when you play through the following game, you may feel that only someone born in Heaven could have played such a brilliant combination. This is truly Rubinstein's Immortal Game. And thanks to being on the losing end of one of the greatest finishes ever, Georg Rotlevi has also acquired a degree of immortality. Even though he most definitely did not come from Manchester.

Wow, what a game! Seems like Rubinstein knew how to fianchetto his bishops as well!!

Friday, 6 December 2019

Fifteen (Games) 'til Christmas

Due to a peculiar set of circumstances, which I maintain are entirely not my fault, I am playing rather a lot of chess in the next few days. Perhaps even the hitherto unremarked upon record for the number of games by a Kenilworth Chess player, between the 7th - 10th December is about to fall?

Tomorrow I kick off with six or seven rapidplay games at the London Chess Classic. On Sunday, it's six games at the Coventry rapidplay. All of which will hopefully leave me well practiced for the B team match against Rugby on Monday and the encounter with Coventry on Tuesday night!

I'll write a blog next week, as to how it all goes. I'm already worried as to what I am going to do with my time between the 10th December and the Shropshire weekender on the 4th and 5th January. In hindsight, I probably should not have voiced this concern on the home front, but there we have it!

Thursday, 5 December 2019

European Youth Blitz Championship - Billy Punches Above His Weight Again!

After his brilliant top 10 finish in the European U-8 Rapid Championships, KCC's young superstar Billy Fellowes was always going to find it hard going in the Blitz event, since there was no U-8 tournament and he had to play in the U-10s - giving away up to 2 years to many of his opponents. But we shouldn't be surprised by now that Billy rose splendidly to the challenge and gave a terrific account of himself in this exceedingly tough competition. He finished in 51st place in a field of 150 competitors, scoring 5.5/9. As a measure of the standard in this event, and a sure sign that most of the field was probaby heavily under-rated - the top seed (a Russian lad rated 2145 - which is even higher than me!!) could only finish 12th. And just think, Billy will still be eligible for this event in 2 years time - what a mighty force he will be by then! Well done Billy!

And well done to honorary KCC member, Elis Dicen who followed up her own top 10 placing in the Girls U-10 Rapid event with a tie for 10th-18th place (12th on tie break) in the Girls U-10 Blitz, scoring a terrific 6/9.

And both these amazing youngsters also performed excellently in the Team Rapid event which took place between the two individual championships. Further details of these highly impressive performances, and more background on the Estonian adventure/experience can be found on the CCA Facebook page.

The standards that these two youngsters have reached over the last few days in Tallinn is truly outstanding, and I have nothing but admiration for their stupendous achievements. Except for a tiny degree of envy at their outrageous talent, if I'm totally honest!

I guess they must have quite a good coach. Wonder who that could be?

Banana Skin Avoided

All went well for KCC when we successfully avoided any slip-ups in the first round of the Coventry KO Cup on Tuesday.

Playing away against Second Division Rugby C, we started with a 1.25 points handicap disadvantage, meaning we needed to win 3-1. So one of us could have an accident (even a big one!) but the other three had to be on form. And before we started our task got a bit easier as Rugby C found themselves hit by a late withdrawal, and so had to default on Board 4. This gave Jude the evening off, as he had been due to make his Coventry League seasonal debut for us.

Things went smoothly enough, and I was never really worried about the match, although - as is usual with us! - we didn't always have everything under total control on every board!

I finished first, having won a pawn very early despite a rather lacklustre opening, and then snaffling a second not many moves later. My opponent found a seemingly clever move which set me up for a big cheapo, but even though I hadn't seen it coming, it actually allowed me a reply which stopped the cheapo; attacked a rook; and attacked a knight as well - now that's the sort of move I could do with more of! There was no defence to all the threats and we were one up.

Meanwhile Drago was having an interesting game on Board 3, in which he got powerful central pawns on c5 and d5; a monstrous bishop on b2; a killer knight on e4; and a marauding queen on g3. The pressure against the Black king - and g7 in particular - was too much and Drago was able to crash through witha  piece sac on f6, winning many pawns and an exchange.

Ben's game on Board 2, though, was anything but interesting, and he was having to work very hard to get any action going with the Black pieces, as the position had all the fluidity of set concrete. But by sheer determination - and a little help along the way - he finally managed to unleash a splendid tactical shot, jumping his knight onto the d2 square where it could be captured three ways - by a knight, rook or queen! Each capture lost the exchange, though, so it looked like a case of job done - but in chess we dont have a must capture rule, and White could have avoided material loss and traded into a queen ending at the cost of getting doubled f pawns. Its not at all clear whether this would have been that much better for Black, but fortunately for us, White forgot he wasn't obliged to capture and fell in with Ben's plan, losing material and the game.

So that was us safely through to round 2, where we will have a home tie in early February against Division 3 side Nuneaton D - to whom we will have to concede a 2.25 points handicap start - meaning we will only be able to afford to drop a half point if we are to make it to the semi-final.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Another Night, Another Defeat

For the second successive week the A team came up short in a crunch match at the top of the table, this time going down conclusively 1-3 against Banbury A. And for the second successive week, our conquerors catapulted themselves to the top of the table.

The match featured the divisions two biggest hitters, Banbury's International Master James Jackson, and our very own points machine Joshua, and they didn't let their adoring publics down, as both added another win to their season's tally to maintain a 100% performance for their respective teams - 5/5 for James and 6/6 for Josh.

Joshua was first to finish - of course! - with a surprisingly one sided win over Paul Rowan on Board 2. Black decided to give up a piece for reasons which completely escaped me, and after that it was plain sailing for Josh all the way into a simple bishop ending. Where he was the only one with a bishop - simple!

But already the writing was on the wall for the match result. Bernard C was consuming large amounts of time to get into a terrible position against Carl Portman on Board 3. He rather neglected his kingside development and pretty soon found himself obliged to recapture a piece on e7 with his king. Not surprisingly a tactical refutation followed almost immediately and Bernard crashed and burned in gruesome fashion. But at least it was quick and suffering was kept to a minimum.

Which was not the case for Mike and I in the remaining two games. Regrettably Mike's calm demeanour was disrupted very early on when he got his pieces in a terrible log jam on the queenside, and when his queen was attacked on b3 it only had the c2 square to go to, upon which Gary Jackson played b4 winning Mike's knight on c3, as there was a rook pinning it from c8. The only surprise thereafter was that the game actually continued for quite a long time. Mike somehow claimed a second pawn for his lost knight and even managed to break up the Black king's position to give some vague hopes of turning the game around, but a piece is a piece after all, and the inevitable eventually came to pass.

Of course, the secret of beating (or at least not losing to) Banbury A, is to win over the bottom three boards, because you are probably going to lose on Board 1 - especially if you are giving away a 40 grading point deficit. And having failed to implement part 1 of that strategy, the fact that part 2 duly happened was of no great significance for the result - it just emphasised the margin of Banbury's victory.

I improved on last season's game against James Jackson, but once I had reached the point where the engine had said I was equal and I had to think for myself, things started to go downhill. I felt I had no choice but to go into a double rook and minor piece ending, where White's knight on e4 dominated my woeful bishop on e7. I found it very hard to get in the freeing pawn break f7-f5, as James put the squeeze on the Black position. When it eventually happened it cost me a pawn, but at least my bishop sprang to life and so did my two rooks. The White king started getting checked around the board and for a few moves all three results seemed possible. But the White king ran to safety, while a White passed pawn on h6 was a monster. With best play its possible I might have reached the drawn position of rook and knight against rook, but best play didn't come into it, and in big trouble on the clock and on the board I was put out of my misery by a knight fork which won on the spot. Yes, even after my wretched bishop got out into the open, that cursed White knight was still bossing the board! Why are strong player's pieces always so much better than your own, I wonder?

So we reach the Christmas break with one of our players on 100%, myself on 58% ……… and no-one else above 50%! Not exactly the stuff of champions. Maybe we can turn it round in 2020, he said optimistically/self-deludedly!!

Monday, 2 December 2019

European Youth Rapid Championship - Billy is a Top Ten Hit!

Fantastic news from Estonia, where the remarkably talented KCC mini-superstar Billy Fellowes has had another sensational tournament, to finish in a tie for 6th-9th place in the European Rapid U-8 Championships. Scoring 6.5/9, Billy ended up one point from a medal; the top West European; and behind only Russian and Ukrainian rivals. After a relatively slow start in the first three rounds (50%), Billy then went into turbo-overdrive scoring 5/6, with his sole reverse coming at the hands of the 1588 rated Ukrainian top seed, who ended up with the silver medal.

And there was another top 10 finish for KCC to celebrate, as Elis Dicen, who has visited the club several times in the last few months (most recently just last Thursday!) with sister Imogen and dad Dennis, scored 6/9 to finish in a tie for 7th-11th in the Girls U-10 tournament and the top West European player.

Both these young stars still have a team rapid tournament and the blitz championships to look forward to, so they will have plenty more opportunities to terrorise Europe before they come back home. More news will almost certainly be available in due course, courtesy of coach extraordinaire Paul, on the CCA website here. Or for those of you who indulge in what I believe is referred to as "social media" (no idea, don't ask me!), Paul has an up to the minute Facesnapinstatwitchatbook news page here.

Good luck to both Billy and Elis for their next two days of intense and hectic chess competition.