News has moved!
This page is the old “Club News” page which has been superseded by the blog here.

Pre-2018 events can be seen here, please see blog posts for more recent news. This page will no longer be updated.

Christmas Handicap Final
Here is video action of the Christmas Handicap final, between James New (with the White pieces) and the winner of the tournament, Ian Thompson (see report below):

Many thanks to John Upham for filming the game, and also for this photo gallery of the event!

No Club Night between Christmas and New Year
Please note that the club will not be open on Wednesday 27th December. Normal service will be resumed on Wednesday 3rd January!

Christmas Handicap
Our Club Secretary Jonathan Welton has supplied this report on this year’s Christmas Handicap:

The thirtieth annual Crowthorne chess club speed handicap was held last night (Friday 22nd December) in the Wellington College staff bar which we took over for the night. As ever the speed handicap provided exciting knife edge games, and all of the games I watched could have gone either way. I’ve always maintained that the difference between coming first and last in this event is much finer than results may imply.

We had a very considerable 23 players and, given that number, split the group stage into three groups rather than the usual two, with the top two players in each group, plus the two next best overall, going through to the quarter finals of the knockout stage. Due to the lateness a couple of the juniors had to leave after the group stage, including Arjun Babbar who actually won his group. The other group stage winners were Ian Thompson, who lost only one game, and Mia Harris, who dropped only half a point.

The final was between Ian Thompson and James New. James started solidly and played extremely well against his much higher graded opponent, but eventually Ian’s queen and rooks broke through convincingly, and Ian finally got checkmate – with just two seconds left on his clock. Congratulations to Ian for winning again, having also won in his previous appearance back in 2010, and well done James for coming runner up.

The rapid play format doesn’t suit everyone, and at the other end of the results table the bottle of wine and wooden spoon was keenly contested, but won by our treasurer George Green.

Many thanks to Christine and Ken for organising the sumptuous food, including delicious sandwiches which Christine prepared herself. And thanks to everyone for playing and making the event memorable.

and many thanks to Jonathan for organising the event.

Christmas Meal
All Crowthorne Chess Club members are invited to a Christmas meal jointly with Camberley Chess Club on Saturday 2nd December (gathering at 7pm for a 7:30 start).

This will be at Don Beni, in Crowthorne High Street

Please let Jonathan Welton know if you are planning to attend.

Louise Head is the English Women’s Champion!
Louise Head, of Crowthorne Chess Club, has won the English Women’s Championship, which was held this weekend (1-3 September) in West Bromwich. Louise scored an emphatic 5 out of 5 to win outright, a full point ahead of Kanwal Bhatia in second place. Louise won their round 4 encounter, with the following position reached after 26 moves of a Benko:

Full details, and all the games, can be found on the ECF website. This result qualifies Louise for a place in the England women’s team in the 2018 Women’s Olympiad Team.

Many congratulations Louise!

Evening 5-minute mini tournament
As part of the summer off-season activities, a six round blitz tournament was held on Wednesday (30th August) with a time limit of 5 minutes for each player, without increments. It was a fun tournament, and it was good to see a number of junior players taking part. The tournament was won by Colin Purdon. Many thanks to Ken Coates for organising the tournament – in addition to the usual challenges of running a Swiss, he also had to accommodate players turning up after round 1 and leaving before the final round. He has provided the results table (click to enlarge):

2017 Khyber Cup – Results
The annual Khyber Cup mini chess tournament, which was held on Saturday (Aug 5th), had all the attributes of a traditional Khyber Cup – excellent surroundings, thirteen superb and friendly players (and one mum), and weather varying from glorious sunshine to moderately heavy rain. Fortunately the latter came down while we were all warm and dry in the Thatched Cottage pub, and only the boards and pieces got wet.

The winner, for the second year running, was Ken Coates. But Ken’s path to victory was not as assured as last year: he went into the final round needing a clear win against Peter Tart, and after a very tightly fought middle game it was only towards the end that Ken gained a slight but sufficient advantage, and even then had to play with caution to avoid Peter’s typically tactical trickery. Well done Ken.

So Ken won, with 4 out of 5 points.
Peter and Andrew Marley were second on 3.5 points, and Colin was next on 3 points.

A special mention too for the youngest player present, George Taphouse, just 9 years old, who won his mum the bottle of wine for being the most promising new player.

Thanks to John Upham for not only being an excellent host for us all, but also for the organisation and advertising on Facebook. This very much made the event the success it was.

Many thanks also to John Upham for the photos which appear below:

Crowthorne and Camberley Chess Club members : Khyber Cup, 2017

Andrew Marley & Ivor Kelly

Khyber Cup, 2017 – play in progress

Mark Taylor & Steve Harley

Khyber Cup, 2017 – the prizes

Peter Tart & Ken Coates

Well done, George Taphouse

Khyber Cup, 2017 : Winner is Ken Coates

2017 Khyber Cup!
The date of the Khyber Cup – the annual summer rapidplay event for club members and friends – has been set for Saturday the 5th of August.

John Upham has kindly agreed to host the event this year, as he has on two previous occasions. Please see John’s email for more details.

Change in Club Meeting rooms
From July 2017 the club will stop meeting in the college Mathematics rooms, and instead meet in the English Department. This is due to work being carried out on the Maths buildings, which is expected to complete in September 2018.

Members please see Jon Welton’s email for details, visitors please ask at the porter’s lodge (main building entrance) for directions.

Success in the Haslemere Cup
Crowthorne’s Haslemere Cup B Team, consisting mainly of junior players, has won the Haslemere trophy! This competition is a handicapped knockout event, where teams of 5 play two rapidplay games against their opponents.

Ken Coates, the (usually non-playing) captain of the team has provided this report of the final:

Congratulations to the team of Andrew, Mia, James, Daniel and George who beat Bracknell in the Surrey Border League Haslemere Cup final last night (May 22).

All 10 games were hard fought affairs. On the night, Bracknell were the higher graded team and, according to the handicap rules, needed to win 8½ – 1½ or better. Crowthorne needed to get 2 or more points to win but that seemed a tall order at the beginning of the match.

As it turned out, in the first round Bracknell won 3-2 with Andrew and Daniel both winning their games against higher graded opponents. These two points sealed victory for Crowthorne by “half-time”.
In the second of the five games, Bracknell won 3½-1½ giving a final score of 6½-3½ in their favour but with 6½ not being enough for a Bracknell victory and 3½ being significantly more that the required 2 points for Crowthorne.

Although George and James had really close, long games and were in no way out-classed, their opponents were more battle-hardened. Mia and Daniel both won one game each against their opponents but Andrew playing on board one, deserves a special mention with a win and a draw against a must higher graded (145) opponent.

Click here for the full scorecard

Christmas speed handicap 2016
Many thanks to club secretary Jonathan Welton for the following report:
The Christmas Speed Handicap was, as usual, full of nerve-wracking and mostly evenly balanced games. (Mine were not so evenly balanced, going decidedly against me, even the one I managed to fluke.)

We had a pretty good turnout of 14 players: 12 adults and two juniors, along with various partners and parents. This allowed us to have a full pair of knockout stages, which led to a final between Colin, who sailed through despite an extra ten point grading burden from being last year’s winner, and James Love, one of the juniors, who had won all his games bar one (against David Bradley-Brock) to that point. Both players played the opening very fast , and accurately as far as I could tell. James made more use of his time later, and the game proceeded very evenly until each player had only queen and knight, when James slipped up and lost his queen. But with only 45s to play the whole game Colin ran out of time.

So congratulations to James, and another new name on the trophy. See the photo for the combination of youth and wisdom. (And Colin.)

The long and short of it

The two finalists

In the lower knock out half, the bottle of wine was “won” by Jon Lloyd.

Jon Lloyd victoriously(?) showing his prize

The staff bar was again an excellent venue, and plentiful food was laid on by Mrs W.

Crowthorne Juniors vs Eton College
A picture from the recent Crowthorne C match at Eton College, showing the two teams (the big children are Eton’s, the smaller ones Crowthorne’s):

Crowthorne narrowly won the match (see the matchcard for details).
A good time was had by all the players, and the Eton coach has offered a return friendly at Crowthorne.

Room Update (Sep 2) – Back home!
After all the to-ing and fro-ing in recent weeks, we’re pleased to say we’re back in the maths block from this coming Wednesday (Sep 7).

Room Update (August 30)
Tomnorrow (Wednesday 31st) we will be meeting in E1 in the English block, which is marked “Old Laundry” on the college map.

Room Update (August 23)
Road resurfacing continues at Wellington College, however the main entrance is now open again, but it is only possible to get as far as the first of the three parallel roads leading towards the main buildings. You can take this road and turn left at the roundabout at the end, and follow the road to the car park at PE1 where we have been meeting recently. If PE1 is still available to us we will meet again there. Otherwise we will meet in E1, with the directions as indicated below. But do check PE1 first.

Apologies for all the disruption. Hopefully things will settle down soon

Room Update
Club Secretary Jonathan Welton has sent this update regarding which rooms we will be playing in this summer:

Apologies to anyone who turned up last night (Aug 17th) and experienced difficulties finding us. For a start, the main road was being resurfaced and it was necessary to use an alternative entrance. Secondly PE1 was available so we stayed in that building rather than move to E1.

There is a map of the Wellington College estate here.

I expect the road resurfacing to be complete by next week (Aug 24), but if it’s still the same the alternative entrance is the Talbot/Beresford one off Waterloo Road at the top of the map. If leaving late the only gate open will be Mordaunt Gate leading to Byron Drive on the right of the map. It will open automatically but slowly on approach. (This exit is only available during the roadworks. At other times, and when used as an entrance, number plate recognition is in operation.)

We will stay in PE1 (marked P.E. on the map) for the remainder of the summer, provided it stays available to us. Otherwise we will move to E1 which is labelled Old Laundry on the map and is located to the right of the centre of the map

Temporary Change of Room
We are currently not playing in our usual rooms due to other events going on in Wellington College. Instead for the past few weeks we’ve been meeting in PE1, which is in the porta-cabin on the left at the end of the third parallel road leading up to the main college buildings.

We have to move again this week. For the rest of the summer we will be meeting in E1 (English 1). It is hard to describe how to get there, and the security guards will probably struggle to explain it. There is also little parking available nearby. For both reasons it is best described from the PE1 area, parking there and walking down.

Please note there is a possibility we may be allowed to stay in PE1, Wellington staff have not got back to me on that. If so we will leave the PE1 door open, so when passing there check to see if that is the case.

Park in the car park near PE1, then walk from there towards the school and through the nearest archway with the cafe on your right. Walk straight through there, straight across the quadrangle and out the other side. Carry on straight across the courtyard and on to the path through the lawns opposite which leads to the gap in the wall. Beyond the wall the path branches; take the left branch. This leads round to a modern building on the left. E1 is in this building, ground floor, the first room on the left.
The path leading up to the E1 building is unlit and will be dark at night. If leaving late a torch could be useful.

Louise Head in the Czech Open
Louise recently travelled to Pardubice, where she competed in the Czech Open B section (under 2300).

As Lucy (Louise’s mother, who went with her) says: “She played very well and achieved 6/9 with 5 wins, 2 draws and 2 losses. She shared the top woman prize (2nd on tie break). I enjoyed an interesting week walking round Pardubice.”

To put the result in perspective, Louise was 95th ranked in the tournament and ended up sharing 20th place, gaining 27 FIDE rating points in the process – an excellent performance!

2016 Khyber Cup
Many thanks to Club Secretary Jonathan Welton for the following report:

The Khyber Cup held on Saturday July 16th, was the friendly summer event we’ve come to expect over the years. A lovely day with ideal weather conditions, allowing all games to be played outside.

There being seven competitors this year we agreed in the lunchtime pub session to turn it into an all-play-all tournament. The results followed grading order, and were:
1. Ken a comfortable winner on 6.5 points, dropping half a point only to…
2. Peter Larwood on 5.5. Wonderful to see Peter again, looking relaxed and well, and playing strongly.
3. Dave Herring with adventurous play on 4.5
4. Jon Lloyd close behind on 4
5. Jonathan (me) struggling to get 3 points
6. Dave Hemmings on a respectable 2.5
7. Christine on 2 and taking home the long handled wooden spoon.

Special thanks to Dave and Suzanna Herring for not only supplying the venue, but also for acting as the perfect hosts providing refreshments, sandwiches and cakes, and even sending Pixie away for the day so that games were not interrupted by a pug nonchalantly walking across the chessboard as happened last year.

(Hopefully, photos will be available shortly.)

Temporary room change
Our usual playing rooms have been occupied by language student events for the summer. Instead we have been allocated the room PE1 for the next few weeks.

We have used PE1 before a few years back. It is located on the left at the end of the third of the parallel roads on the right off the main road through Wellington College (Byron Drive). Take that third road and turn into the small car park at the end using the last entrance on the left, ironically marked ‘out’. (You can also use the entrance just before this, marked ‘in’, but this car park is fairly tight.)

If in doubt ask the security guards, who are fully aware of the room change.

Khyber Cup
The date for the club’s summer friendly competition, the Khyber CUp, has been set for Saturday the 16th of July. For the third year running, David Herring has kindly agreed to host it. It would be helpful if club members intending to play could let Jonathan know in advance.

2015/2016 Season Summary
Crowthorne had a rather mixed season. As Jonathan pointed out in the AGM we finished second in every division in which we played in both the Berkshire and Border Leagues – that is to say, either second from top or second from bottom!

The best result was in Division 1 of the Berkshire League, where Crowthorne finished second to a very strong Sandhurst team (who ran away with the division) just ahead of Bourne End and Reading. Crowthorne B’s second place in Division 3 was another highlight.

For full results, please visit the Berkshire and Border League web sites (links in the Useful Links page).

Border League B Team season complete
Following Wednesday’s (April 20) match against Reading A, the B Team has completed all its fixtures, ending with 8 wins, 4 draws and 4 losses. As a result, the B Team will finish either 2nd or 3rd in Division 2, depending on other results.

To see the complete results for all the matches in the season, please open the Crowthorne B Fixtures and Results 2015/2016 – Excel link in the Club Files page (members only).

Crowthorne v Wellington College
David Brock put in a captain’s performance in the recent Crowthorne v Wellington College match in the Surrey Border League, by beating the strong and talented junior William Foo despite being substantially outgraded. Here is the game, with notes by David:

The resignation is perhaps premature but, in addition to being a pawn down, White’s position is uncoordinated and lacks any means of generating active play.

The other games in the match did not go so well for Crowthorne, and Wellington College convincingly won the match with a score of 3.5-1.5 (see match card for details).

Return to Scandinavia
There was another outing for Ken’s Scandinavian Defence in the recent match against Eton College. In this game White did well out of the opening, but the resulting position was complex and unbalanced, leading to an “up and downer” of a game, but an interesting one.

In the diagram above, Black had a crisper win at move 25 - can you find it?

25 …. Qxa2+ 26 Kxa2 Nxc3+ would have won more efficiently.


Club nights over Christmas
There will be a chess club next Wednesday, 23rd December. A casual night, being as there are no matches, so an opportunity to play friendlies or analyse games.

There will be no chess club the following Wednesday, 30th December, and we will start again on the first Wednesday in the new year.

2015 Christmas Handicap
Many thanks to Jonathan Welton, our Club Secretary, for the following report:

The 28th Crowthorne Chess Club Christmas Speed Handicap took place on Saturday 12th December in the familiar surroundings of the Wellington College staff bar. Fewer players than last year’s extraordinary bumper turnout, but still sufficient to have a full knockout stage.

The final this year was between Louise Head and Colin Purdon, both of whom comfortably won their group stages without loss. In the final Louise gained a slight edge following an interesting opening, after which the position became rather complex allowing Colin to win a pawn, and Louise resigned in view of mating threats.

So another new name on the shield, and Colin achieves a rare double, having won the Khyber Cup earlier this year as well.

At the other end the wooden spoon was secured, for the third time, by Ian Murray.

For the first time in my knowledge the fourth place in one of the groups couldn’t be decided by point score, individual game result, or Sonnenborg-Berger. Deciding the place was critical because one player would play up in the quarter final, and the other in the wooden spoon section. The order was decided by the toss of a coin.
Sumptuous food was laid on, including Mrs W’s pasta salad. Thanks go to her, and all who played.

Full details of the group and knockout stages can be found in the Club Files page.

Pawn Power
An interesting ending arose in a match against Guildford in the Surrey Border League. Jon Lloyd, the winner of the game, comments “I was particularly pleased to have found a way through to the white King from the position below. My plan was to ignore the h pawn capture and advance through the centre. It is good when a plan comes off! I was particularly pleased with 47…..e3! When this pawn is supported by the King promotion is inevitable.”

Scandinavian Success
Last week’s match in the Berkshire League between Bourne End and Crowthorne saw an interesting tussle between the respective captains, Roger de Coverley and Ken Coates. The notes below are based on analysis supplied by Ken.

Chess in Schools and the Community
Jon Lloyd from Chess in Schools and the Community (and Crowthorne Chess Club B team captain) is teaching 15 children in years 10 and 11 chess as an afterschool activity on a Monday night at Gordons School in Woking. He has kindly sent us this report of his experiences:

The lessons in how to play chess started at the beginning of the academic year. Some children had not played chess before and others have various degrees of ability. There is much enjoyment and interest in playing the game and you can hear the enthusiasm from across the school. The progress being made is very encouraging; all the children can now fully play chess and have learnt, among other skills, how to checkmate with only a queen or only a rook, pinning, skewering and forking. I am pleased that one student is now taking up competitive chess in tournaments outside the school, having recently enjoyed the experience of playing against other children of his own age and learning from chess tutors [including Grandmaster Nick Pert and Crowthorne A team Captain Ken Coates] at the Berkshire Junior Chess Association.

I was particularly impressed by the level of understanding for the game shown by some of the children. They worked out how white can checkmate in two moves [white to play] against any defence from black. See if you can spot the winning move [answer given below].

All the children at the chess club have entered an inter-school competition, playing white and black against each other. They play without clocks and do not record moves. The speed of chess is lightning fast, but it is anticipated that it will slow as the children understand the benefit of strategic thinking.
It has been agreed that the winner of the tournament will receive a chess book and something edible.

Answer to chess problem

White plays 1 Qxb8 Nxb8 2 Rd8 checkmate


Preparation for the new season
Intensive training over the summer break has resulted in a more professional attitude for Crowthorne players, in addition to a new away strip, examples of which are provided below:

wed1 wed2
Actually … these photos were taken as part of the celebrations for David Brock’s wedding.
Congratulations to Dave, and his wife Polly!

New fixtures are out!
The fixtures for the 2015/16 season are available for both the Berkshire and Surrey Border leagues. Please use the Useful Links page to see them. As ever, fixtures are subject to change, so if you import all the fixtures into your calendar be careful to check with the respective web sites that they haven’t moved before committing your diary.

51st Berks & Bucks Congress
There was a good turnout of Crowthorne players in the Berks and Bucks Congress, which is held annually over the Summer Bank Holiday weekend. This year it was held at St Piran’s School in Maidenhead.

No fewer than eight Crowthorne members played in the event, with George Green putting in the star performance by being joint winner of the Reserves A.

George at the Berks and Bucks

George Green (left) and Mark Stone, co-winners of the Reserves A section

The other Crowthorne players had varying degrees of success, with Anthony Zhang, Colin Purdon and Louise Head playing in the Championship; Andrew Marley in the Challengers; David Hemmings and Saatvika Mahesh in the Reserves B; and Christine Coates in the Reserves C.

Full results can be found on the Berks & Bucks website and many more photos on John Upham’s smugmug pages

2015 Khyber Cup
The annual summer social rapidplay competition was held on Saturday, 15th August. Many thanks to Jonathan Welton, our Club Secretary, for the following report:

The thirtieth(!) Khyber Cup yesterday lived up to its tradition of being a friendly and fun event. It was hosted in the beautiful surroundings of Dave Herring’s garden, and Dave also provided excellent hospitality in the form of refreshments, sandwiches and home brew, as well as the entertaining pets. Many thanks to Dave.

The clear winner was Colin, with a perfect score. Congratulations to Colin, who gets his name on the Khyber Cup Shield for the second time, and this time without it being a shared honour.

The full scoresheet was:
5 points: Colin Purdon
3.5 points: David Brock, Derek Johnson
3 points: Peter Larwood, Peter Tart
2.5 points: Dave Herring, Mark Wallace,
2 points: Christine Coates, Andrew Marley, Jonathan Welton
1 point: Neil Lightning
0 points: Neil Binney


Here’s the winner holding the shield. In the foreground you’ll see the the excellent cake provided by Dave’s wife, and in the background two players dazzled by Colin’s brilliance and a relaxed looking Peter L.

Dave’s son Isaac took many pictures which perfectly capture the mood of the event, and which are uploaded here.
Here’s a selection of Isaac’s pictures (click on the pictures to enlarge):

The Khyber Cup, which is a shieldDraw?
122 1218   2431 88119

The new ECF grades are out!
Some impressive performances have been achieved by Crowthorne juniors:

Anthony Zhang is the top U14 player in the list, with a rating of 210 (up 14)
Louise Head is (for the second year running) the 2nd highest U18 female player, at 184
Harvey Zhang (Anthony’s brother) is the top U11 player, at 159 (up 13)
Saatvika Mahesh has managed a massive 43 point increase on last year’s grade, and is now rated 111

For links to the ECF grading database, please visit the Useful Links page.