2023/24 Review of the Season

Strong finish gives League success

This has been another successful season for Linton in the Bury Area Chess League. In division 1 the Leopards finished with five straight wins of 4-1 or better to win the League for the first time since 2015/16. Even more remarkably division 2 Linton Llamas retained the second division championship, coming from next to bottom with two matches to play by crushing their two main rivals. Our other sides also did well: first division Lions drew 8 of their 14 matches in a mid-table finish; Lynxes were third in the second division and Lemurs second in division 3. My thanks to all who played, especially the captains Chris Davison, Paul McMahon, Oded Pilowsky-Bankirer, Alan Wadsworth and Michael Osborn.

Other notable team successes included sharing the East Anglian Team Championship in the autumn, tying with a powerful Broadland side. This came after four outright wins starting in 2020. Linton were also winners of the Bury League team jamboree and more recently came second in the Cambridgeshire jamboree, with juniors as three of the four team members.

Individual achievements

Abigail Weersing was awarded the title of FIDE master for her performances, culminating in the European Club Cup in October. Ruben Evans was the joint British Under 16 champion in the British Championships last summer, qualifying for the senior championships this summer.

For their perfomances in the League Chris Davision was named first division player of the season, and Yoav Pilowsky-Bankirer second division player of the season. Our warmest congratulations to all of them.

Anglian Learning Chess Academy

In September we launched, in partnership with Anglian Learning and Sawston Village College, a chess academy to develop chess enthusiasts in Year 6 to Year 10 – late primary to mid-teens. Meeting at the College on Friday evenings in term-time we combine competitive chess with coaching, we had two teams in the Cambridgeshire Schools League, and ran a one-day tournament for local juniors (not just ALCA members) in early March.

There is no doubt that the standard of chess has improved over the year and two of the juniors have already made their debut in the Linton senior team. My thanks to the organising and coaching team of Paul McMahon, Alan Richardson, Mauricio Varea and Anthony Chan, and to the legacy of the late Patrick Ribbands which provided the funding to enable this to be set up. We are determined to maintain and build upon Linton’s reputation for developing junior talent, which has seen six of them selected to represent England in the past decade.

NB There are separate posts below on the East Anglian Team Championships and the success of Abigail and Ruben. The Anglian Learning Chess Academy has several web pages on this website which give further information on the Chess Academy.

Linton success at the British Championships 2023

Ruben Evans played a superb tournament to become joint British U16 Champion on 5/7 with a five-way tie at the top!

Ruben moved into joint first place after 4 rounds and managed to hold his nerve and maintain his pace right to the end to scoop joint top honours.

Abigail Weersing also had a very impressive run in the main championship, scoring 3.5 points against higher rated opposition, picking up over 60 rating points over the course of the tournament and in so doing now becoming Linton’s leading player by rating. (Nate deserves a mention too, emerging with an eminently respectable even score in the U1750!)

This caps a strong run for Abbey, following up from the UK Chess Challenge earlier in the month where she captured 2nd place in the Northern Gigafinal U18 on 6/7 for a mightily impressive +5 score placing as the top U18 girl. Here she is pictured being presented her spoils of victory from Sarah Longson.

Here is a position from Abigail’s round 6 game vs. Robert Starley (2064) in the British Championship.

Abigail has firm control of the f-file, and White’s King looks rather exposed. How did Abigail deliver the coup de grace here?

And here is a position from Ruben’s Round 3 game vs. Austin Ivan (1818) that helped to put him into contention for a top spot and allowed him to demonstrate his tactical chops.

Can you match Ruben’s tactical prowess?

The Championships were held at De Montfort University, Leicester, with the main Championship being contested over 9 rounds from 22nd July to 30th July and the Junior U16 over 7 rounds from 25th July to 29th July.

Solutions to the positions

Review of the Season 2022/23

This has been one of the most successful seasons I can recall. First and foremost six new members joined during the season are now regular League players: James Briginshaw, James Cole, Peter Jones, Simon Marsden, Konrad Scheffler and Greg Thompson. Without them we would not have achieved the same success over the board.

In September Linton won the Bury Jamboree. Whilst this is not unusual, this season we won every game, a perfect 12/12. A much more significant challenge was defending the East Anglian Club Championship in November. We entered a team in each of the rated sections: the Tigers (Liam Varnam, James Cole, Alan Richardson and Mark Lim) won the Open with 8/12, the Zebras (Paul McMahon, Neil Greenwood, Simon Jackson and Michael Osborn) shared first place in the U7200 with 7/12 and the Pandas (Anthony Chan, Simon Marsden, Ben Varea and Greg Thompson) romped home in the U6200 with 9.5/12.

In the Bury League the Lions were second in division 1, the Llamas and Leopards were first and second in division 2, whilst the Lynxes won division 3. The Llamas deserve a special mention. After a shaky start they won every match in the second half of the season with Ruben Evans winning the division 2 Player-of-the-Year award, closely followed by Anthony Chan. High-scoring Linton players in the third division were Vikram Banerjee (8/9) and Greg Thompson (9/11). In the Roger Goldsmith tournament the Larks finished second in division 1. In division 2 the final match saw a remarkable 3.5-0.5 win for the Lapwings against a stronger Bury team, which resulted in a triple tie for first place between the Lapwings, the Linnets and Bury Beehive. All in all a highly successful season!

A memorable Christmas treat was provided by Anthony Chan who kept us busy over the festive season with a puzzle collection to work through. And throughout the season we ran the club championship, with Paul Kemp winning the Jim Carr trophy, and Nate Weersing the John Dawson trophy for lower-rated competitors.

Away from the chessboard the club received a substantial bequest from the estate of Patrick Ribbands, who passed away in 2021. At the club’s AGM on 2 May it was agreed that the club would remain open throughout the summer for the Ribbands Rapidplay summer special and a programme of special events; a significant investment would be made in junior chess, perhaps in partnership with local schools; and the club would support and sponsor other local chess events and tournaments that benefitted Linton members.

In conclusion I must thank the club’s officers, especially Michael Osborn, our Secretary/Treasurer, and the team captains: Paul McMahon, Oded Pilowsky-Bankirer, Alan Wadsworth, Michael Osborn, Alan Richardson, Anthony Chan and Nate Weersing.

Paul Kemp

Linton Are East Anglian Champions Again

Linton Chess Club are East Anglian champions again after winning the EACU Patrick Ribbands Team Championship for the fourth year in a row. Not only did we win the Open Championship but also won the two supporting rating-limited championships, repeating our triple success of three years ago!

This was the fifteenth team championship, now named in memory of club member Patrick Ribbands who founded and ran the event until his untimely death two years ago. Linton entered a four-player team in each of the separate championships: Open, Under 7200 rating, and U6400 rating.

In the Open Linton Tigers were third seeds, but beat the top seeds 4-0 in the opening encounter. A narrow victory and narrow defeat in the remaining rounds was enough for victory for Liam Varnam, James Cole, Alan Richardson and Mark Lim with a score of 8/12.

The Linton Zebras U7200 team of Paul McMahon, Neil Greenwood, Simon Jackson and Michael Osborn scored 7/12 to share this title with Lowestoft. Last year they similarly shared this title.

Anthony Chan captained Linton Pandas to the U6400 title along with Simon Marsden, Ben Varea and Greg Thompson. They were all unbeaten and finished with an impressive 9.5/12.

My thanks and congratulations to all who took part.

Paul Kemp

Open winners (r to l) Liam Varnam, James Cole, Alan Richardson and Mark Lim with organiser Paul Kemp.
U 6400 winners (r to l)) Simon Marsden, Ben Varea and Anthony Chan (other team member Greg Thompson not present) with Paul Kemp.

Review of the 2021/22 Season

This has been a mixed season for the club. It was good to get back to playing over-the-board after 18 months away, but for various reasons there were fewer of us than there were when covid struck, even allowing for the new members that we welcomed.

The first tournament is always in September, a rapidplay jamboree in Bury St Edmunds. Our team of Aarnavh Trivedi, Paul Kemp, Harvey Kelly and Anthony Chan retained the trophy Linton have held for some years now.

In November the East Anglian Team Championships were held, renamed the Patrick Ribbands Team Championships after the Linton member who initiated them in 2009 and who sadly passed away early in 2021. Already the most successful club in the 12 years of these championships we had another terrific year winning the Open tournament outright and sharing first place in the U7200 rating tournament. This gave us a hat-trick of wins in the Open tournaments (the 2020 event being held online). The Open team consisted of Liam Varnam, Paul Kemp, Aarnavh Trivedi and Francis Bowers, and the U7200 team was Paul McMahon, Ruben Evans. Simon Jackson and Anthony Chan.

In the Bury League we found the competition tougher. We were significantly disrupted by covid absences, but battled on without postponements against stronger opposition. Unfortunately our campaign ran out of steam toward the end and two teams (the Leopards in division 1 and the Lynxes in division 2) were relegated. The Lions (division 1) and the Llamas (division 2) both finished in creditable third places, and the Lemurs were second in division 3, having led right until the final match. The coming season gives the club a real opportunity to bounce back.

However we did end the season on a positive note. Having won both divisions of the Roger Goldsmith Tournament (a rating limited competition) when it was last contested in 2019/20 we managed to repeat our success, albeit sharing the division 2 championship with Bury St Edmunds on this occasion.

It is always satisfying to see our younger players improve over the season and this year is no exception. On the new monthly rating system over the period from September to May Abbey Weersing has improved from 1945 to 2041, Ruben Evans from 1788 to 1829, Yoav Pilowsky-Bankirer from 1675 to 1772, Shivum Gordon-Shah from 1540 to 1600 and Benjamin Varea from 1383 to 1500. Well done to all of them.

Finally my thanks to all the captains: Paul McMahon, Oded Pilowsky-Bankirer, Alan Wadsworth, Michael Osborn, Anthony Chan and Rob Davies, and of course to all those members who have played for and supported the club over the past season.

Paul Kemp
Club Captain

Review of 2019/20 and 2020/21 Seasons

We started in September 2019 full of optimism with a record 6 teams in the Bury Area Chess League and 4 Roger Goldsmith teams. We enjoyed early success winning the Bury League Jamboree and knuckled down to the hard work of accumulating League points. However the League was suspended in March, and subsequently terminated by the AGM with positions decided on the basis of points at suspension, adjusted where necessary to take account of games played. Linton Lemurs were declared division 3 winners, with Linnets and Lapwings respectively winning the two Roger Goldsmith grade-limited competitions. Linton Lions were a whisker away from winning division 2.

As well as team success Oren Pilowsky-Bankirer won the third division Player-of-the-Year award, and the Game-of-the-Season prizes were won by Aarnavh Trivedi in division 1 and Giulio Sahinoz in division 2.

Perhaps the playing highlight of the season occurred over two weekends just prior to lockdown. In the East Anglian individual championships Chris Davison won the Open event with Aarnavh Trividi winning the junior title. The following weekend Linton won the East Anglian Team Championship, thus holding the main three regional titles.

With the suspension of over-the-board chess the club went online, thanks to the sterling efforts of Chris Davison. After initially playing in club tournaments we joined the Iceni League, covering Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, with members also competing in their individual championships.

Linton currently has over 30 active online players, and with teams in all three divisions offers members opportunities to play rapidplay team games or Classic slowplay individual games. So far Linton Pandas have won division 2 twice, and the Open individual championship has been won by Chris Davison and twice by Aarnavh Trivedi. The club is indebted to Chris and to Alan Wadsworth and Michael Osborn for their team captaincy and for their general support and promotion of our online activities.

The East Anglian Team Championships have been held online this year, and I’m delighted to say that we retained the title we won over-the-board last year.

Our success has been tempered by the loss of Patrick Ribbands from a heart attack in January. Patrick was an indefatigable chess organiser, Cambridgeshire’s County second team captain for 30 years among many other roles at club, county and regional level. At the Linton club he regularly captained teams and was always ready to fill a gap in the team sheet. He was a kindly and gentle man, a champion of the underdog, who always ensured there were opportunities for juniors and lower-graded players in any events he organised.

PAUL KEMP

Linton Chess Club Online

It is now just over a year since playing over-the-board chess became impossible and we transferred our activities online. Initially we played internal club competitions, but seeking fresh opposition we joined the newly-formed Iceni (East Anglian) League in the early autumn of 2020. As of April 2021 we have 35 members in our online club on chess.com, and are the most active East Anglian club in online chess.

Iceni run both a rapidplay League (in three divisions) and a standard play individual championship. Our successes so far include our second team twice winning division 2 of the League, and our first team coming second once. In the individual championship both Chris Davison and Aarnavh Trivedi have won the top division once.

Perhaps our most notable success has been retaining the East Anglian Club Championship online that we won over-the-board in March 2020. There were five divisions, and Linton fielded teams in every division, giving opportunities for players of all standards to gain experience.

Currently we are continuing to play in Iceni competitions and hoping to be able to return to the chess club and playing face-to-face at the beginning of September, in time for the new season.

Patrick Ribbands

The Linton Chess Club is very sorry to report the death of Patrick Ribbands, who died at the age of 71 of a heart attack. He was a stalwart of Cambridgeshire chess for as long as anyone can remember. He played and captained teams for Linton in the Bury League for the past decade, and played a similar role for Royston in the Cambs and Herts Leagues. Before that he played for Cambridge City and was club president. He was a regular at local Congresses and also in the supporting events at the British Championships.

It will be as an indefatigable administrator that he will be best remembered and most missed. Among many other roles he captained the Cambridgeshire county second team for 30 years and was grading officer for 22 years. For the East Anglian Chess Union he was County Match Controller for 22 years and grading officer for 15 years. He initiated and ran the East Anglian Club Championship from 2008. At the time of his death he had just completed running this season’s event online. He had been Match Secretary in the Bury League.

Patrick was a kindly and gentle soul, who always made sure that there were plenty of opportunities for the lower-graded and junior players in events that he organised. He had a long history of coaching juniors, who have themselves paid tribute to the influence he had on them when they were starting out. He was always full of ideas, as evidenced by the Ribbands pairing system which he devised as an alternative to Swiss pairings, organising rapidplay tournaments to try it out! He will be greatly missed: as a club member always willing to fill a gap in the team sheet, as an organiser prepared to take most things on, and as a friend.

Paul Kemp

Linton Triumph in East Anglia Championships

The Linton chess club and players have achieved a clean sweep in the East Anglian Championships (covering Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire) by winning all three main events.  I’m sure this has not been achieved by any club before.

Over the weekend of 7/8 March Chris Davison won the individual title and Aarnavh Trivedi won the junior championship.  And on 15 March the Linton Tigers team of Ashley Stewart, Chris Davison, Kevin Clark and Paul Kemp convincingly won the team championship.

We also had success in the supporting events.  Yoav Pilowsky-Bankirer won the other junior award on 7/8 March, the prize for the best junior graded under 170.  And at the team championships the Linton Bears and the Linton Wolves both shared first place in their respective grade-limited events.

Paul Kemp

Winners of the Bob Jones Trophy

Sarah Weersing and Gavith Dharmasena are presented with the Bob Jones trophy which they won at the 2019 Bury St Edmunds Congress. They both scored 3.5/5 in the Major Tournament and were the highest-placed juniors from the Bury and Suffolk Leagues to score more than 50%. Making the presentation is Congress Secretary Steve Lovell (left) and Bob Jones, who was the Congress Director for 16 years.