Essex Online Rapid Championships 2020-21

Controller: Mark Murrell

An excellent entry of 38 players embarked on the Essex Online Rapid Championship, enabling two sections – Open and U1600 – played over seven double-round weeks, 14 rounds in all in each tournament.

The Championships were played on on Monday evenings, starting at 7.00 pm, from 25 January to Monday 22 March.

Each double round involved two games against the same opponent, one with each colour, with a break of 15 minutes between legs which players can reduce by mutual agreement.

Congratulations to Russell White the first Essex Online Rapid Champion with a score of 12/14. Russell was never out of the lead, being chased closely by Ashley Freeman and Ian Hunnable, neither of whom could take more than half a point off him (though Ashley missed a win in their first game, which returned to haunt him) and Russell preserved a half point lead from Game 6 onwards, briefly widening it to 1½ points for one game. Ashley finished 2nd on 11½ – that agonising half point adrift – and Ian came 3rd with 9½.

Russell we have known as a fine player for a good many years. Ashley might be a new name to most, but he is a returning player, having been active in the North Essex League some 25 years ago. He gained strength during the tournament and when OTB chess returns, will be an asset to Club and County alike.

Congratulations to Jaideep Cheema the first Essex Online U1600 Rapid Champion. The championship went down the wire with Jaideep and Shivan Aggarwal tied for first going into the final round (14). They met in round 5 when honours were even. Shivan, leading at the start of the last two games, was held to a draw in each, being passed by Jaideep in the process, and had to be content with second on 10½. Third place was taken by Ruqayyah Rida, on 9.

A marathon undertaking by Controller and players alike. Only one pair of games was not played, in the last week of the U1600; a total of 250 games in all – 126 in the Open, 124 in the U1600. So well done to all the players and a big vote of thanks to Mark Murrell as Controller, who not only ran the show quietly and efficiently throughout, but came up with the format in the first place. While there is an Essex Online organising committee, the other two members – Ian Hunnable and Tom Barton – were both playing in the Open, so Mark’s marathon effort was single-handed.

There is one outstanding pair of games in the Open and we will shortly be adding the finishing cross tables (with official tie-break positions, which cannot be reflected in the ECF LMS tables – links below). All the games are given in the game boards further down this page, together with downloadable zip files of the PGNs. These will be updated when we have the final two games.

Schedule and Results

OPEN Championship: Schedule | Standings | Cross-Table

U1600 Championship: Schedule | Standings | Cross-table

Competition Rules

Pairings and Results for Rounds 1 and 2 are on the ECF League Management System at these links:

OPEN Championship: Leg 1 (R1) | Leg 2 (R2)

U1600 Championship: Leg 1 (R1) | Leg 2 (R2)

In the Open, four players won both games to form the leading group on 2/2: Jef Page, Ian Hunnable, Russell White and Jay Sharman, the latter producing the only upsets of the first double round when he twice defeated Tom Barton, the second when Tom blundered in a winning position. 17 players

The U1600 produced six double winners on 2/2: Lakshan Siddharth, Jaideep Cheema, Ruquyyah Rida, Aggarwal Shivan Paul Kukiewicz and Dai Harris. 18 players

The R1 and R2 games for each section are given in the game boards below; they’re the ones showing a game date of ‘2021.01.25’ and one pair of games in the Open dated ‘2021.02.03’.

Week 2, Rounds 3 and 4

In the Open, Russell White (2-0 v Jef Page) and Ian Hunnable (2-0 v Jay Sharman) were the only players to retain a 100% record after Week 2 (Rounds 3 and 4), now joint leaders on 4/4. Otherwise Martin McCall and Ashley Freeman both stayed in touch with the leaders – a point adrift, 3/4 – being the only others to win both games in Week 2.
Leaders after R4
=1 Ian Hunnable, Russell White, 4/4; =3 Martin McCall, Ashley Freeman, 3; =5 Dmitry Molostvov, Felix Todd, Julian Corfield, 2½. 18 players

In the U1600, Lakshan Siddharth beat Dai Harris twice to take the sole lead on 4/4. Shivan Aggarwal dropped a half in R4, but holds second on his own on 3½/4. There were, however, four other 2/2 performances in Week 2 by players who had dropped points in Week 1: Fraser Caves (3/4), Shiva Shrishti (3/4), Michael Buckingham (2/4) and Huzaifa Baig (2/4).
Leaders after R4
1 Lakshan Siddharth, 4/4; 2 Shivan Aggarwal, 3½, =3 Fraser Caves, Peter Kukiewicz, Shrishti Shiva, Jaideep Cheema, 3. 18 players

Pairings and Results

OPEN   Championship: Leg 1  (R3) | Leg 2 (R4)

U1600  Championship: Leg 1  (R3) | Leg 2 (R4)

The Open and U1600 games for R3 and R4 have been added to the game board below (in each case, these are the games with a date ‘2021.02.08’.)

Week 3, Rounds 5 and 6

Two games against the same opponent, each at G20+10. On – the first game to start at 7.00 pm, the second at 8.15 pm, or as agreed between the players. (Prior dispensation to play on other dates or times may have been approved by the Controller in individual cases.)

Pairings have been published at these links:

OPEN Championship: Leg 1 (R5) | Leg 2 (R6)

U1600 Championship: Leg 1 (R5) | Leg 2 (R6)

Week 4, Rounds 7 and 8

OPEN Championship: Leg 1 (R7) | Leg 2 (R8)

U1600 Championship: Leg 1 (R7) | Leg 2 (R8)

The completion of R7 marks half-way in the event.

In the Open, Russell White maintained a narrow lead at the head of the field with 7/8, but that bare fact hides the drama of R8. The Board 1 pairing was Russell against Ashley Freeman. The first game (R7) was drawn. In R8, Russell dropped a pawn, perhaps over-estimating his compensation. Ashley retained that advantage into a winning K+P ending. After 53 moves, both players were “playing on increments”, Ashley having 1m.05s and Russell 1m.41s. On the board, Ashley had a clearly winning position. But at this point disaster struck. We won’t dwell on the details, but it required two blunders to reverse the result. 54 a4? changed 1-0 to ½-½, whereas 55 b5?? threw it all away. Had Ashley won the game as he deserved, he would be in the joint lead with 6½/8 and Russell 6/8. It didn’t happen and Russell leads with 7/8 while Ashley drops to =3rd on 5½.

Meanwhile, Ian Hunnable made up lost ground after his ½/2 v Russell in R5 and 6, by beating Julian Corfield twice to move into second place. James Evans beat Felix Todd twice to share third with Ashley on 5½.

Open Leaders after R8: 1 – Russell White, 7/8; 2 – Ian Hunnable, 6½; =3 – James Evans, Ashley Freeman, 5½; 18 players.

In the U1600 competition it’s tight at the top with joint leaders on 6½/8 and joint 3rd on 6. Both leaders after 8 won both their games, Shivan Aggarwal beating Peter Kukiewicz twice and Ruqayyah Rida doing the double over Fraser Caves. This, however, hides the double change in fortunes as the joint leaders after R6, Lakshan Siddharth and Jaideep Cheema, both dropped a point this evening and both slip into joint third on 6.

U1600 Leaders after R8: =1 – Shivan Aggarwal, Ruqayyah Rida, 6½/8; =3 – Lakshan Siddharth, Jaideep Cheema, 6; 5 – Dai Harris; 18 players.

All the R7 and R8 completed games in both competitions have been added to the game board below – with thanks to Mark Murrell – these being the games with a date of ‘2021.02.22’.

There are six rounds still to play. Next rounds: 9 and 10, are on 8 March. Next Monday, 1 March, is taken up with Rapid 3 for which the Entry Form is now available.

Week 5, Rounds 9 and 10

OPEN Championship: Leg 1 (R9) | Leg 2 (R10)

U1600 Championship: Leg 1 (R9)  | Leg 2 (R10)

More drama in the Open; a remarkable pair of games on top board, as James Evans gave Russell a hard time to share the points. Game 1 (Round 9) was a game of four queens, although only three were on the board together at one time; James got his second queen first, but frustratingly couldn’t make anything of this advantage and Russell got a second queen a few moves later, to find James’ king open to a mating attack. In Game 2 (Round 10) James took the point with a well-played attack. Meanwhile, Ashley won both games to dash Ian’s hopes of taking advantage of a slip by Russell. So, while Ashley and James, =3rd at the start of the evening, grabbed 3/4 points between them, but Russell retains a half point advantage, now ahead of Ashley. Filev Boyan slips into third place.

Leaders after 10 rounds: 1 Russell White, 8/10; 2 Ashley Freeman, 7½; 3 Filev Boyan, 7; 18 players.

All the games from Rounds 9 and 10 of the Open have now been added to the game board below – tonight’s games can be identified by game date ‘2021.03.08’. Additionally, we have now made available a zip file of all the Open games to date in pgn format (requires a pgn reader) which readers can download and analyse locally at their leisure. Link below the game board. It is recommended that you save this zip file to your hard drive and open it from there.

In the U1600, Ruqayyah assumed the sole lead on 8 points with 1½/2 against Lakshan, who thereby slipped from =3 to 5th, while the other joint leader from R8, Shivan, could only draw twice against Jaideep. Meanwhile, Dai won both games against Michael Buckingham to join Jaideep in =3rd on 7.

There are six postponed games (three pairings x 2) which do not affect the leading places.

Leaders after 10 rounds: 1 Ruqayyah Rida, 8/10; 2 Shivan Aggarwal, 7½; =3 Jaideep Cheema, Dai Harris, 7; 18 players.

Completed U1600 games are now added to the game board below, the games being identified by game date ‘2021.03.08’. Of course, these do not include the six postponed games which are shown in the games list with the result * and no moves. These will be added when played and when the list is up to date, the downloadable zip will be supplied. Tip – in the meantime, if you click on the square d8 in the U1600 game board below, you can open a window showing all the games in pgn; right click and ‘select all’, then copy and paste into Notepad (or any other text reader) and save with the file extension pgn – e.g. u1600_games.pgn – and you have them.

Week 6, Rounds 11 and 12

OPEN Championship: Leg 1 (R11) | Leg 2 (R12)

U1600 Championship: Leg 1 (R11)  | Leg 2 (R12)

The two leading players in the Open each won both games in Week 9 of the Essex Online Rapid Championship, so Russell holds his half point lead over Ashley, now with 10/12 and 9½/12, respecitvely. They have now opened up a two point gap to =3rd, now Olga, having won both rounds of a postponed pairing with Luoke Wang, joins Ian and James on 7½, who shared the points in their individual encounter.

Open Leaders after 12 rounds: 1 – Russell White, 10/12; 2 – Ashley Freeman, 9½; =3 – Ian Hunnable, James Evans,  Olga Latypova, 7½; 18 players.

All the Open games from Week 9 have been added to the game board below and updated with the four postponed games, (Week 9 games dated ‘2021.03.15’) and the downloadable zip file of all the PGNs (dowload link below the game board lower down this page).

The U1600 continues to be unpredicatable, with the lead changing hands weekly. Ruqayyah held a half point lead after Round 10, but had the misfortune to lose both games in Week 9 to Jaideep, but this was only good enough to advance Jaideep to 2nd place as Shivan also won both games, against Dai. So Shivan assumes the lead on 9½/12, with just one Week – two rounds – to go.

U1600 Leaders after 12 rounds: 1 – Shivan Aggarwal, 9½/12; 2 – Jaideep C Cheema, 9; 3 – Ruqayyah Rida, 8; 18 players.

All the U1600 games from Week 9 have been added to the game board below (games dated ‘2021.03.15’) and now the downloadable U1600 zip file of all the PGNs is also available (dowload link below the game board at the bottom of the page).

Week 7, Rounds 13 and 14

OPEN Championship: Leg 1 (R13) | Leg 2 (R14)

U1600 Championship: Leg 1 (R13) | Leg 2 (R14)

The last two rounds of the Open was a simple formula: Russell had his destiny in his own hands, two wins and he would be Essex Online Open Champion 2021. Ashley had to win both games and hope Russell slipped up. Ashley won both his games quickly, but Russell, taking slightly longer, made sure and preserved his half point advantage to the end. Ashley finishes that agonising half point behind, while Ian won both his last games to finishe clear third.

There is one pairing still to play, but those games have no effect on the leading places.

Open Final Standings: 1Russell White, 12/14; 2 – Ashley Freeman, 11½; 3 – Ian Hunnable, 9½; 18 players.

The Games board below has been loaded with the Week 7 games (game date ‘2021.03.22’) – bar Molostvov-McCarron x2 – and all contained in the downloadable PGN zip file – link below the game board.

The action in the U1600 continued unabated. Shivan, like Russell in the Open, had his destiniy in his own hands: two wins and he was home. However, he could make no impression on Huzaifa and both games were drawn. This presented an opportunity to Jaideep and he took it with both hands, winning his pair of last round games 2-0 to take the U1600 Online Rapid Championship by half a point. Ruqayyah Rida secured thrid spot, sharing the points with Shrishti Shiva.

U1600 Final Standings: 1 – Jaideep Cheema, 11/14; 2 – Shivan Aggarwal, 10½; 3 – Ruqayyah Rida,9; 18 players.

The Games board below has been loaded with the Week 7 games (game date ‘2021.03.22’) with all contained in the downloadable PGN zip file – link below the game board.

Game board help: to flip the board, with Black at the top, click the square e7, with White at the top, click the square d2 (it’s the same square in both cases). Hover your pointer over the board and read the help label that appears to tell you what clicking each square does. (Not all squares are “active”.)

Open Games

Download: Open games to Round 14 inclusive (zip)

U1600 Games

Download: U1600 games to Round 14 inclusive (zip)