The Suffolk junior online chess club has been running in one form or another since March 2020. It originally ran on ChessKid and we then moved to Lichess in late autumn / early winter 2020. We moved the club to Lichess to enable us to have matches against other counties and clubs, and we have also found Lichess to have far more options for us. ChessKid is still a great site – especially for beginners – due to the great coaching, but for a club, there are more opportunities on Lichess.
We started the club in a response to Lockdown to provide some regular sessions for kids and we now have between 10 and 20 players joining most sessions, and sometimes more. What has pleased Ed Player (Coach ), HarryOscar (Club Captain) and myself (Tim Kent) the most has always been the spirit in which the players within the club have played the game. The players are always polite and supportive of each other and also play the game in the right spirit – they want to win – and they never cheat. So, to thank the players for the great year they have given us, we wanted to have an awards ceremony.
It is important to note that every player deserved an award, but as is often the case with awards, we had to make certain choices. So, to those players not mentioned, you have not been forgotten – we are grateful to, and congratulate, you all for a great year in chess. There is not a player within the club to whom that does not apply.
And so… the awards…
Game of the Year: ADannatt26 vs Midnight17 Suffolk Junior Chess • lichess.org
This game was chosen for this award because it really stood out as a game in which both players played extremely well and was very well considered chess. A great game.
Mystic17’s chess this year as stood out as always being very well thought through – every move always gets maximum thought and focus. It is this improving attribute that would be of most benefit to most players.
Up & Coming Player: Maximralph
Maximralph has shown really good improvement in his strategy in games of chess this year and, we know, has been working very hard on his chess. He stood out to us as a player who has a really good chance to get a lot better this year – a really good year – well played.
Club Player: AbleLopsidedGiraffe, JamesBlyth & Rafandros
We discussed this award at length. There were many players who really stood out and had a claim for this award, but in the end we chose these three players. All three take part in nearly all sessions and play a full part in the club and always have something to say and suggestions to offer, and are generally great to have in the sessions (as are all players, to be fair). They always give it everything and are not put off if they have a few losses at the start of a session and often come back strongly. Really well deserved to all three.
Most Improved Player (Rapid Grade): ADannatt26 & HarryOscar
I must admit, this was a surprise. ADannatt26 & HarryOscar are two of the stronger players within the club, and I would have expected a player newer to chess to have won this award. We wanted to award this prize on the basis of improvement in grade, so this gave us a clear result. It is testament to these two players that they have started the year among the strongest players and have improved their grade the most. A really good achievement, so very well done.
Best Blitzer: Midnight17
This was another very close category. In particular, Rafandros also had a claim for this award. When playing Blitz chess (3 minutes or less on the clock), both players are very difficult to beat and do very well in Suffolk tournaments and other events. They have a very good instinct for chess and can see both good moves and threats to there position very quickly and can analyse games fast. We looked closely at their Lichess grades and performance and, in the end, Midnight17 won the award – very well done.
Player of the Year: RowanKent
This was yet another award which was difficult to award. Many players had a claim for this award, and ADannatt26 would also have been a well deserved winner with an excellent finish to the season. But, over the course of the whole year, we felt that RowanKent won the most events and was the best over the whole year. Well done for a very good year.
Prizes (all chess books):
Mystic17: Ten ways to succeed in the Middlegame
Maximralph: William Hartson – Improve Your Chess
AbleLopsidedGiraffe: Ten ways to succeed in the Endgame
JamesBlyth: Ten ways to succeed in the Middlegame
Rafandros: Ten ways to succeed in the Endgame
HarryOscar: The Chess attackers Handbook
ADannatt26: Gawain Jones book – The Dragon Volume 1
Midnight17: The Chess attackers Handbook
RowanKent: The Chess attackers Handbook
It was a long year and a bit in chess and we were starting to struggle a little come Christmas last year and the club needed something. At around Christmas Ed Player joined to help with the organising and coaching of the club and we could not do it without him. Shortly afterwards, HarryOscar stepped up to the role of Club Captain. HarryOscar offers the club a huge amount, quite apart for being a very good player and always being hugely supportive of all the players and Ed and myself. HarryOscar – thank you for all your help.