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Richard's Master Class

38 entries, after a withdrawal on the morning, assembled for the 2016 Essex Rapidplay at Writtle. A fourth section U90 meant that the entry was divided among small sections. What the Open lacked in numbers, it made up for in strength, with an average grade of 187, led off by IM Richard Pert, who put on a masterclass in rapidplay chess. Having won with a round to spare on 5/5, Richard cannot be said to have coasted in with a last round draw, having put a lot of effort into trying to complete a 100% tournament; his game with David Sands was the last to finish of the whole event. David Sands can therefore take a lot of credit having held an IM pressing for the win the whole way.

So Richard Pert is Essex Rapidplay Champion. The North Essex Champion was John Moore, who entered only the day before, having realised the event was on the Saturday and not the Sunday when he was unavailable. John finished equal 2nd on 3½/6, together with Andrew Brett, David Sands and Jeff Goldberg. Elliot Cocks won the Junior Prize and retained the Essex Junior Championship, with 2½/6; while this might seem a modest score, in such company this was an excellent score, a grading performance of 181, including a draw with David Sands 195 and a win against Ivan Myall 182.

In the other sections, the Major U160 (8 players) was a tie between Malcolm Kingsley and David Faulkner on 4½/6, ahead of ECA Chairman, Colin Ramage, on 4/6. The Intermediate U125 (8 players) was won by John Lambert (Clacton) 5/6, ahead of Leonardo Stefanoni (Ilford), 4.

Finally, the Minor U90 (12 players) was won by Andrew Willoughby, unattached, with 6/6, the only 100% score of the day. Andrew, ungraded, unattached to any Club, was playing his first tournament for 30 years, not since his days at Colchester Grammar. Having had his arm twisted by his son Christopher to play, Christopher being among the contingent of Essex Juniors, Andrew had the satisfaction of winning their individual encounter when in the join lead with 3/3. There was a quadruple tie for 2nd place on 4, involving Christopher Willoughby, Urbi Modhura, Mario Cassar and Mike Coughtrey (Clacton).

Full tournament tables available from the Rapidplay page.

Rapidplay page

Last call for the Essex Rapidplay - 9 July

This Saturday, 9 July, the Essex Rapidplay takes place at Longmeads Community Centre, Writtle. Play starts at 10.00 a.m. Six Rounds Swiss pairing, incremental rate of play, four sections, Open, Major U160, Intermediate U125, Minor U90. Incorporates Essex Rapidplay Championship, North Essex Rapidplay Championship, Essex Junior Championship. Full details and Entry Form can be found on the Rapidplay page (link below).

38 entries have been received to date. If you are interested in playing, Register in advance pay cash on the day. There's an entry link on the Rapidplay page.

Current entry lists can be found via the Rapidplay page. Round-by-Round results will appear on the Rapidplay tournament tables pages throughout the event on Saturday.

Rapidplay page

Essex U180, U100 are County Champions

...and the U160 team lost only by the odd point.

Our 'thumbnail' sketches below give you the flavour of Essex' experience of the day. Visit the Teams page for Mark Murrell's in-depth report.

ECF U180 Final: Lancs 7-9 Essex
The last time Essex played Lancs was the QF last year when Lancs won on board count in Mark Murrell's last season as U180 skipper. Mark was on duty as ECA Match Captain to watch his debutant replacement Gavin Strachan guide the U180 squad to the County Championship in his first season. Yet there was only a two points margin between the teams right at the end; for a long time the match was too close to call. Even when Essex reached the magic score of 8 points at 8-6, nothing could be taken for granted as, naturally, Board Count did no favour the East Saxons. However, when Steve Williams steered his tricky R & P ending to a position with just the two kings remaining, Essex could breathe again. Gavin then concluded his game as a draw. Excellent stuff!

Thanks to the industry of John Philpott (official games inputter for U180, U160 and U100) the U180 games are already available. You can find them in the Game Board on the U180 page.)

U180 page | Aggregates | ECF Website

ECF U160 Final: Middlesex 8½-7½ Essex
Essex and Middlesex travelled from the Home Counties to contest this Final in deepest Warwickshire (not sure why it always has to be "deepest", but there it is). While Essex made a fight of it, Middlesex held a two point advantage for some time in this encounter. This margin still existed with just three games to go but Essex hopes briefly rose on the realisation that two of these games were likely Essex wins. Alas, the third of these was a Middx banker so, although Essex narrowed the Middx winning margin to just one point, improving on the SCCU result between these two teams, Middx were not to be denied and secured the U160 County Championship by 8½-7½.

John Philpott has now completed the input of the U160 games which can be found on the U160 page. Thank you, John.

U160 page | Aggregates | ECF Website

ECF U100 Final: Kent 3½-8½ Essex
Another all-Southern Final! In the SCCU competition, Essex drew at Home against Kent, 6-6, but won Away by 7-5. In this third encounter Essex left the opposition in no doubt as to who was in charge with an emphatic 8½-3½ victory.

U100 Page | Aggregates | ECF Website

John Philpott has now completed the input of the U100 games which can be found on the U160 page. Thank you, John.

We are preparing a picture gallery which will be available soon.

Anum Sheikh ECF Player of the Year!

In the annual poll to decide the ECF Player of the Year, Essex Junior Anum Sheikh came top!

Voting was close and you can find the list HERE.

Anum beat a string of GMs in the short list, which makes a refreshing change. The citation listed her Bronze medal win at the European Schools Championship in Turkey when she was representing England.

Congratulations, Anum!

ECA AGM 29 June

There were a number of changes in the elected Officers at this year's AGM, held on 29 June at Wanstead House. Principal among these was that of President, where Ivor Smith retired after countless years' service to the Association (and countless previous attempts to retire!). We shall honour Ivor's contribution to the life of the ECA at another time.

Those elected (with previous incumbents in brackets where changed) were:


Ian Hunnable (Ivor Smith)


:  Colin Ramage (Bryan Gaze)

General Secretary

John Chapman

Assistant Secretary

Steve Wedlock


Les Groombridge (Malcolm Crane)

Match Captain

:  Mark Murrell

Assistant Match Captain

Peter Nickals (David Smith)

Correspondence Match Captain

Steve Abbott

League Secretary

David Millward


David Millward

Junior Organiser

Dave Hawkins

Tournament Secretary

Ian Hunnable

Publicity Officer

Ian Hunnable


Ian Hunnable

Safeguarding Officer (New post)

:  Mark Murrell

Apart from elections and adoption of reports, etc., there were only two decisions taken at this year's meeting:

i) Subscriptions were reduced from £5 to £4 for adults and £2.50 to £2 for Juniors, which reflects savings to the Association related to the ECF move from Game Fee to Membership;

ii) the creation of the new post of Safeguarding Officer, for which the best background reading is to be found on the ECF website via this LINK The Association's current Child Policy can be found in the Corporate Menu at the bottom of this and every page on this website. Further developments, which may lead to adopting an amended Child Policy closer to the new ECF model, may arise from future meetings of the ECA Executive.

Officers' reports presented to the AGM will be available here shortly.

Wanstead win Team Blitz; Larry Marden Lightning Champion

The Essex Team Blitz was won by Wanstead A, aka "Knightmares" with 18/24, ahead of Barking A on 17 and Writtle with 16. You can find the details in the tournament tables: Team Blitz tables

The afternoon event, the individual Essex Lightning Championship, was another Wanstead success, Larry Marden providing the thunder. Larry and David Sands finished =1st on 5/6, but Larry Marden went home with the trophy on tie-break. Lightning Tables

Essex Chess Association

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