The new season will begin before the end of the month and all chess teams will be subject to the rigours of the new grading list. The following players all represented Essex on at least three occasions during last season, and most played five or six times.

Player

Grade

Jonathan Rogers

225

Karl Mah

213

Andrew Lewis

212

Michael Twyble

208

David Coleman

205

David Sands

201

Graham Moore

197

Gary Kenworthy

195

Brian Kemish

195

David Sherman

195

Ivan Myall

184

Michael Roberts

184

John Moore

183

Russell White

178

Robert Parker

177

Lawrie Marden

173

Ivor Smith

173

Paul Williamson

173

David Millward

172

Most of these players should be available for the new season, although there will no doubt be one or two who will find this more difficult than in the past. Brian Kemish moved to Swindon half way through last season, but continued to make the journey at weekends to the Essex matches. It is quite possible that he will continue to play for the County, and of course that would be very welcome. However, it would be equally understandable if he chose to represent Wiltshire in the Western Counties' Union. Karl Mah, now firmly established as the leading British player in his age-group, will be taking his GCSEs next Summer, so there must be some doubt about his availability.

Of course, some players' grades have changed considerably. Graham Moore has moved up 11 points but one or two others now find themselves eligible for the under-175 team, which will be strengthened as a result.

In the lower teams, there has been more movement in grades. The most inconvenient from a County viewpoint is Richard Joyce's small increase to 125. Richard captained the under-125 team most effectively last year, but now his grade is too high for him to be able to play in his own team. Of course, there is absolutely nothing to stop him continuing as Captain, but many of these County matches involve long journeys and occasionally players default through disruption to travel plans. Under these circumstances there is little that is more frustrating than to have an empty board and a non-playing Captain who is not allowed to sit there because his grade is one point too high.

Some of the teams were left without Captains at the AGM in June, but I understand that certain stalwarts of the Essex organisation had agreed to stand in if nobody else was prepared to do the job. One new Captaincy which has been agreed upon is that Alan Trent will take over the under-100 side. Alan is an excellent choice for this post. He plays a little himself, and both his sons are graded below 100 but playing sufficiently well to be able to pick up a lot of points for the team. Since this team consists of only 12 players, 25% of each team is already assured!

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One sad loss to Essex Chess is that the Deeth family, of Danbury, will be moving to America at the end of next week. Steven has played fairly regularly for the first team in recent years and his wife Sheila is a qualified coach whose efforts were directed towards improving the chess of the pupils of Danbury Park School. Their oldest son Jonathan played on a high board for the County under-11 team and his younger brothers would almost certainly have taken places in their respective age group teams in the next season or two. The Deeths will be living in Salt Lake City, the result of the transfer of Steven's job. This is not the first time that they have lived there, and during a previous spell Steven became Utah State Chess Champion. I am certain that all Essex chess players wish them well.

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Walker, Peter - King, Andy

Writtle, 1996

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Bxf6 Bxf6 6.e5 Be7 7.f4 c5 8.Nf3 Nc6 9.Ne2 Qb6 10.c3 Qxb2 11.a4 cxd4 12.Rb1 Qa3 13.Rb3 Qxa4 14.Nfxd4 Nxd4 15.Nxd4 a6 16.Bd3 0-0 17.Qh5 g6 18.Qg4 Qa1+ 19.Bb1 Bc5 20.Kd2 Bxd4 21.Bxg6 Qxh1 22.Bxh7+ Kh8 23.cxd4 Qxh2 24.Rh3 Qxh3 25.Qxh3 Kg7 26.Qg4+ Kxh7 ½-½

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Last week's solution: 1 c6 bxc6 2 Rb5! axb5 3 b7. White's pawn queens leaving white with K & Q v R, K & 5Ps. The game was drawn.