The forthcoming season will represent a landmark in the history of Essex Chess as the County Association's Centenary Celebrations reach their peak next month. On 3rd October the main event will be Essex Past v Essex Present, to be held at the Dukes Hall, Maygreen Crescent, Hornchurch. This prestigious event will be followed by the Centenary Dinner. Spectators will be welcome to attent the match, which is due to take place over 16 boards.

The Centenary Dinner will be attended by a Prestige Speaker (identity closely guarded). There will be three courses and coffee, the main dish being a Beef Wellington, although there will be a vegetarian alternative. The price will be £22.50 per head. Tickets should be ordered in advance from David Smith, 21, Chigwell Road, London, E18 1LR.

The following week there will be a double-round 50 board match between an Essex team and one representing the Southern Counties' Chess Union. This too will be held at the Dukes Hall. Each player will have an hour per game. In between the rounds there wil be a buffet.

Ivor Smith, who is editor of the Essex Chess Association newsletter "Chessex", has been researching the history of chess in Essex and has unearthed some fascinating facts. The earliest reference to the greatest game of them all dates back to the first half of the 15th century and is to be found in the Court Roll for the Manor of High Roothing (now Roding) 1423 - 1449. A fine of 2d was to be levied against "the common players of chess (scaccios)", which was banned in common with most board games. These were considered to be a waste of time during the period of the 100 years' war against the French. Records exist in Bury St. Edmunds of chess matches against Colchester (1870) and two against Chelmsford (1874 and 1876) but it must surely be the case that Southend is the longest-surviving Essex chess club, having celebrated their centenary last year. Ilford was not officially founded until 1900, although a group of players who were to become the Ilford club were instrumental in the founding of the County Association in July 1898. The first match was in October of that year, against the City of London, and although the match was lost 14.5 - 15.5 (three incomplete games were declared drawn) the result was later corrected to a 15 - 15 draw.


The rigours of regular chess tournaments begin again early next month. The Essex League will shortly be holding the fixtures meeting and matches will commence in October. In addition, there will be four tournaments held within the County before the end of 1998. The annual North Essex League congress will be held in Braintree this coming weekend. The entry fee is £15 for each of the Open and Under-160 events, and £13 in the under-130 and under-100. Prizes in the top two sections are £150, £100 and £75; in the bottom two they are £100, £60 and £40.

There are five rounds scheduled, beginning at 9.30 on Saturday. The rate of play will be 42 moves in 105 minutes with a 15 minute rapidplay finish. Entries should be sent to David Millward, 32, Fir Tree Rise, Chelmsford, CM2 9HS.

North Essex will be the centre of attraction again two weeks later as the Colchester Junior Chess Club, in association with the Essex junior Chess Association, will hold the Essex Junior Rapidplay Championships at the Highwoods Sports & Recreation Centre, Gilberd School, Brinkley Lane, Colchester. This event involves four sections for Juniors, at under-8, 10, 12 and 14 level, as well as an Open section for adult players. The under-8, 10 and 12 sections will be qualifying events for the London Junior Chess Championships which take place around Christmas.

The time control for this event will be 30 minutes per player per game. Entry fees will be £4 for under-8s, £5 for 10s and 12s, and £6 for under-14s and in the Open. Entries for this event should be sent to Roger Sharman, Trefoil, Crown Lane North, Ardleigh, Colchester, CO7 7RA.

The other two events, both rapidplay, take place on 15th November in Basildon (contact Arnold Lutton on 01268 280932) and 6th December in Dunmow (contact Peter Flint on 01245 351541). Both are London Junior Qualifiers, but the Dunmow event includes sections for adults.


The final scores from the Ralph Barnett Memorial Tournament were inadvertently omitted from my article covering the event. They were as follows:

1st Essex League 12.5 / 20

2nd Middlesex League 10.5

3rd Surrey League 10

4th North Circular League 9

5th Civil Service League 7.

This was the first occasion that the North Circular League have fielded a team in the event. Their top four of Gary Kenworthy, David Sands, Bill Stirling and Kevin Thurlow was impressive indeed and theirs was the only team of the five in which all 20 players arrived. The following game was one of the best played during the event.

Stirling,W - Spivack,S [A55]

Ralph Barnett

1.Nf3 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 Nbd7 4.Nc3 e5 5.e4 Be7 6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 c6 8.Re1 a6 9.Rb1 b5 10.b4 bxc4 11.Bxc4 Nxe4 12.Nxe4 d5 13.Bd3 dxe4 14.Bxe4 Rb8 15.dxe5 Bxb4 16.Bxh7+ Kxh7 17.Rxb4 Rxb4 18.Ng5+ Kg8 19.Qh5 Qxg5 20.Qxg5 Re8 21.Qg3 Nf8 22.Qc3 Rb5 23.Qxc6 Rbxe5 24.Qxe8 1-0

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