Tag Archives: 4NCL

Birthday Greetings FM Shreyas Royal (09-i-2009)

FM Shreyas Royal at the London Chess Classic, 2021 courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Shreyas Royal at the London Chess Classic, 2021 courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN sends birthday wishes to FM Shreyas (known as “Shrey” by his friends) Royal born on Friday, January 9th, 2009. “Hallelujah” by Alexandra Burke was number one in the UK hit parade.

Shreyas attended The Pointer School in Blackheath, London, SE3 whose motto is “The Lord is my Shepherd”. Currently Shreyas is home schooled.

In October 2021 BCN secured an interview with Shreyas via his father Jitendra and below is mostly from that interview:

BCN: What caused his initial interest in chess and at what age?

His initial interest in chess was capturing or as he used to call it ‘eating’ pieces but as he grew more mature, he loved that there were so many possibilities in chess, so much still left to explore! At the Age of 6 he learnt and got an interest in chess.

BCN: Has Shreyas had any chess teachers or coaches?

  1. Jyothi Lal N. with a peak of 2250 FIDE but is very knowledgeable and helped from just above beginner to 1800. He was Shreyas’s first coach.
  2. Meszaros Gyula (Julian) who was an IM with a peak of 2465 FIDE and was an endgame master which helped him from 1800-2100.
  3. His Current Coach is GM John Emms with a peak of around 2600 FIDE, he is an expert in many fields such as Positional Play, Openings, Strategic chess etc and has also made a big impact on how to prepare against opponents. He had helped him from 2100-2300 so far in just under a year!

BCN: Which chess clubs and/ or Teams does Shreyas represent?

He represents SV Erkenschwick from Germany and Wasa SK from Sweden for online events as he has joined them during the pandemic. He started his 4NCL career with KJCA Kings in January 2019 but now mainly represents Wood Green which he has played for in online events in and will also represent them in the upcoming 4NCL weekends.

His first appearance in Megabase 2022 comes from the 2015 British Under-8 Championship in Coventry, the eventual winner being Dhruv Radhakrishnan.

Progress from those early days has only been interrupted by school examination breaks and the Covid pandemic:

FIDE Rating progress chart for FM Shreyas Royal
FIDE Rating progress chart for FM Shreyas Royal

In August 2016 in Bournemouth Shreyas scored an impressive 6/6 to win the British Under-8 Championship.

Shreyas Royal at the 2016 UKCC Delancey Terafinal in Loughborough courtesy of John Upham Photography
Shreyas Royal at the 2016 UKCC Delancey Terafinal in Loughborough courtesy of John Upham Photography

BCN: What was his first memorable tournament success?

This was the 2016 European Schools Under-7 championship where he was runner-up without any preparation or work on chess!

Shreyas Royal at the 2016 UKCC Delancey Southern Gigafinal in Reading courtesy of John Upham Photography
Shreyas Royal at the 2016 UKCC Delancey Southern Gigafinal in Reading courtesy of John Upham Photography

In September 2017 Shreyas travelled to Mamaia in Romania and after nine hard fought rounds tied for first place with 8/9 in the European Youth Chess Championship, Under-8 with Giang Tran Nam (HUN, 1561).

In 2021 Shreyas was awarded the FM title by FIDE:

FIDE FM Certificate for Shreyas Royal
FIDE FM Certificate for Shreyas Royal

BCN: Which chess players past & present are inspirational for him?

  1. Magnus Carlsen, world champion and broke many FIDE records also is an inspiration for most of this generation. He likes his slow grinding and almost winning from any opening or ending. This is his favourite player of all time.
  2. Garry Kasparov played brilliant attacking chess and calculated like a machine.
  3. Bobby Fischer played a similar style to Kasparov but was more talented than both Magnus and Kasparov in his opinion as he worked all by himself at a time in the USA when chess was not so popular while for the Russians, they had brilliant coaches and had one good player after the other. He rates him a bit lower because Fischer quit competitive chess a bit too early and could not reach the heights he was worthy of.
  4. Alireza Firouzja
  5. Fabiano Caruana

BCN: What are his favourite openings with the White pieces?

He plays 1.d4 pretty much all the time.

MegaBase 2020 has 294 games with 1.d4 and one solitary 1.g3 from March 2021. The 1.d4 games feature main line Queen’s Gambit / Catalan type positions championing 5.Nge2 against the King’s Indian Defence and the exchange variation against the Grunfeld.

BCN: and what are his preferred defences as the second player?

Really depends on what they play, against every opening he has got one or two lines which he enjoys equally.

Megabase 2022 informs us that Shreyas defends the main line Closed Variation of the Ruy Lopez and main line Giuoco Piano. Previously he essayed the Sicilian Najdorf.

BCN: Does he have any favourite chess books?

Not really as he is not such a big fan of chess books, but he likes My 60 Memorable Games by Bobby Fischer. Fundamental Chess Endings and Encyclopedia of Chess Combinations.

BCN: Which tournaments are planned for 2022?

We have pencilled in a couple of norm and Open (France, Spain, Germany etc.) tournaments in European countries.

BCN: What are his favourite subjects outside of chess?

His favourite subjects outside chess are Science, History, Maths with Science as his favourite, History as his second favourite and Maths as his third favourite.

BCN: Does Shreyas play any physical sports?

He does Football, Cricket and a bit of Lawn Tennis.

BCN: What are his plans and aspirations for the future?

To become a world chess champion one day, but it’s very expensive to even get to the level of IM! Currently we are looking for sponsors who can help support Shreyas to get there.

Here is his personal website.

In late December 2021 Camberley Chess Club had Shreyas as their weekly Zoom meeting guest speaker.

and finally three of SRs favourite games:

and from more recent times:

and finally:

FM Shreyas Royal at the London Chess Classic, 2021 courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Shreyas Royal at the London Chess Classic, 2021 courtesy of John Upham Photography

Happy Birthday GM Ravi Haria (07-ii-1999)

IM Ravi Haria, 2019 British Championships, Torquay
IM Ravi Haria, 2019 British Championships, Torquay

BCN sends birthday wishes to GM Ravi Haria.

Ravi Haria was born Sunday, February 7th, 1999  in Elstree, Hertfordshire. “Maria” by Blondie was top of the hit parade. Ravi currently resides in London.

Ravi attended Lyonsdown School in Barnet and then The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and now reads History at University College, London.

ECF grading profiles for Ravi Haria
ECF grading profiles for Ravi Haria

Ravi learnt at the age of 6 and joined Barnet Knights Chess Club in 2005.   His first chess teacher was Angela Eyton who taught him the moves and Angela was followed by Tony Niccoli and then Julian Meszoras on his ascent of the chess ladder.

Ravi’s first recorded tournament was the 35th Barnet Knights Under-8  rapidplay on September 25th 2005. Also playing of note were Jonathan Pein and Isaac Sanders.

His first recorded standard play game  was in the London Junior Under-10 Championships on December 9th 2006.

By the time he was eight he had attracted the attention of the England selectors and played in the 2008 Commonwealth Championships in New Delhi coming home with a bronze medal.

Ravi aged 8 photographed by The Borehamwood and Elstree Times in January 2008
Ravi aged 8 photographed by The Borehamwood and Elstree Times in January 2008
Ravi aged 9 photographed by The Borehamwood and Elstree Times in August 2008
Ravi aged 9 photographed by The Borehamwood and Elstree Times in August 2008

In 2008 Ravi won the British Under-9 title in Liverpool. He said afterwards:

It was quite nice to be leading everyone and I felt proud of myself. I’m not sure how I control my nerves but it feels really good to win.

His mother Sona said:

It’s a bit overwhelming but we just support him. It means you have to give up a lot of time for him but it’s really nice to see that he’s getting somewhere.

This was followed in 2014 by winning the British Under-18 championship in Aberystwyth aged 15 and then the same title in 2017 in Llandudno.

Ravi Haria, UKCC Southern Gigafinal, 2013
Ravi Haria, UKCC Southern Gigafinal, 2013

In 2016 Ravi was equal 2nd to Deep Sengupta at the Hastings Masters Open with an impressive 6/9 and a TPR of 2563.  This performance secured his second IM norm.

The IM title was conferred at the 88th FIDE Congress 2017, 7-15 October, Goynuk, Antalya, Turkey.

He scored six points after 11 rounds at the 2017 World Junior championship in Italy and 5.5 points at the 2017 WYCC U-18 group in Uruguay.

Ravi completed his British junior titles run by becoming the current (no OTB event in 2020) British Under-21 champion in 2019 in Torquay scoring an emphatic 6.5/9 securing a share of third place.

Partial crosstable for the 2019 British Championships in Torquay
Partial crosstable for the 2019 British Championships in Torquay

Ravi became a FIDE Master in 2015 at the age of 16 and and International Master two years later making him England’s second youngest IM after Matthew Wadsworth.

OTB Elo rating profile for IM Ravi Haria according to MegaBase 2020
OTB Elo rating profile for IM Ravi Haria according to MegaBase 2020

His peak FIDE rating was 2497 in October 2021 and currently (February  2022) is 2490.

In 2019 Ravi teamed up with IM Adam C. Taylor to join Adam’s Making Grandmasters training venture.

FM Ravi Haria, ECF Secondary Schools Rapidplay, 2016
FM Ravi Haria, ECF Secondary Schools Rapidplay, 2016

On January 28th 2021 Thinker’s Publishing released The Modernised Anti-Sicilians, Volume 1, Rossolimo Variation which is a massive 520 page tome on the following position :

which was reviewed by FM Richard Webb.

which we hope will be followed by at least Volume 2!

The Modernized Anti-Sicilians - Volume 1: Rossolimo Variation, Ravi Haria, Thinker's Publishing, 2021
The Modernized Anti-Sicilians – Volume 1: Rossolimo Variation, Ravi Haria, Thinker’s Publishing, 2021

Ravi has plus scores against : Matthew Turner, Simon Williams, William Claridge Hansen, Bob Eames, David Eggleston and Arul Gupta to name but a few.

GM John Emms plays IM Ravi Haria in the final round of the 2019 British Championships in Torquay
GM John Emms plays IM Ravi Haria in the final round of the 2019 British Championships in Torquay

With the white pieces Ravi unsurprisingly plays the Moscow and Rossolimo variations against the Sicilian,  the Ruy Lopez and, in recent years, he has adopted the Reti/English complex.

As the second player he plays the French Winawer and (refreshingly) the Abrahams-Noteboom Variation of the Semi-Slav.

For your entertainment we have these two  brevities :

and

Ravi has played for University College London. Hendon and Cavendish in the London and other leagues and in 4NCL he started with Kings Head, transferring to Cambridge in 2014 and finally moving in 2016 to Wood Green.

In this game Ravi punishes IM Malcolm Pein who has a bad day at the office :

Ravi Haria, British Championships, 2014, Aberystwyth
Ravi Haria, British Championships, 2014, Aberystwyth

Ravi is Mesutgm on chess.com and lichess

Over the 19th – 23rd August  2021 Ravi played in the Wood Green Invitational round-robin event at Oddfellows Hall, Stafford.

Ravi scored 7.5/10 and secured his second Grandmaster Norm and  a TPR of 2680.

Wood Green Invitational Round-Robin event at Oddfellows Hall, Stafford. August Bank Holiday Weekend, 2021
Wood Green Invitational Round-Robin event at Oddfellows Hall, Stafford. August Bank Holiday Weekend, 2021

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend of 2021 Ravi played in the Northumbrian Masters  GM Tournament at the splendid Marriott MetroCentre, Gateshead winning jointly with Conor Murphy scoring 6.5/9 with a TPR of 2600. This gave Ravi his third and final GM norm.

The norm was ratified at a recent FIDE Congress. As of February 2022 Ravi stood at 2490 for standard-play.

Best Wishes IM Richard Bates (27-i-1979)

IM Richard Bates
IM Richard Bates

Best Birthday wishes to IM Richard Adam Bates born on this day (January 27th) in 1979.

Richard has won the Southern Counties (SCCU) championship in the 2015-16, 2016-17 (with Nick Pert) and 2017-18 seasons.

IM Richard Adam Bates
IM Richard Adam Bates

Richard Bates
Richard Bates
IM Richard Bates
IM Richard Bates
Sheen Mount Under Eleven Chess Champion Richard Bates and Robin Laisby enjoying a game during time out from the Teachers Assurance National Primary Schools Chess Championships. Malaysian Elephant Leyang Leyang and her keeper Duncan McGinnie help them not to forget their chess moves.
Sheen Mount Under Eleven Chess Champion Richard Bates and Robin Laisby enjoying a game during time out from the Teachers Assurance National Primary Schools Chess Championships. Malaysian Elephant Leyang Leyang and her keeper Duncan McGinnie help them not to forget their chess moves.

Happy Birthday IM Paul Littlewood (18-i-1956)

IM Paul Littlewood. Source : British Chess, Pergamon Press, 1983.
IM Paul Littlewood. Source : British Chess, Pergamon Press, 1983.

BCN wishes Happy Birthday to Paul Littlewood

Paul Edwin Littlewood was born on Wednesday, January 18th, 1956 in Skegness, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire. His parents were John and Jean Littlewood (née) Hadwick. Paul’s chess playing uncle was Norman Littlewood.

John and Paul on Skegness beach circa 1958. Kindly supplied by Paul Littlewood. George and Ringo are out of shot !
John and Paul on Skegness beach circa 1958. Kindly supplied by Paul Littlewood. George and Ringo are out of shot !
John, Jenny and Paul Littlewood, circa 1962. Kindly supplied by Paul Littlewood.
John, Jenny and Paul Littlewood, circa 1962. Kindly supplied by Paul Littlewood.

Paul attended Glenburn Comprehensive School in Skelmersdale from 1967 and then read Natural Sciences at Christ’s College, Cambridge from 1974.

Paul played badminton for Lancashire and Cambridge and, in 1971, won the English Schools Mixed Championship when he was 15 years old.

Paul and family receive a chess lesson from John following John's win in the 1972 Southport Open
Paul and family receive a chess lesson from John following John’s win in the 1972 Southport Open

On leaving University Paul taught science at Southbrook Comprehensive, Daventry. Four years later Paul became a dealer at Phillips & Drew and followed this as an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs. Stays at Lehman Brothers and JP Morgan were followed by a change of direction and since then Paul has been director of various food supply companies retiring in 2014.

Paul is married (3rd November 2006) to (his second wife) Fiona and lives in St. Albans, Hertfordshire.

PEL won the ECF President’s Award in 2007 and from the 2008 ECF Yearbook we have the following citation :

“International Master and accomplished bridge player. From British Chess champion (1981) Paul has presided over the 4NCL as chairman during its most successful period. When he became chairman over ten years ago the league consisted of two divisions and 32 teams. The league has now expanded to four divisions and a total of 72 teams. Most of England’s juniors play 4NCL. During this time 4NCL became one of the strongest leagues in Europe, at one time boasting a Division 1 rivalling the Bundesliga in strength in the top matches.

Paul has demonstrated the sound judgement of Solomon when dealing with league disputes and has drawn on his business acumen, honed during a successful career in the City with Goldman Sachs to make 4NCL the financially stable and expanding league it is today.”

Roll of Honour

  • British U18 Champion 1972
  • British U21 Champion 1975
  • British Champion 1981
  • As a junior represented England in Glorney Cup
  • International Master 1980

From British Chess (Pergamon Press, 1983) by Botterill, Levy. Rice and Richardson we have this article from Richard W. O’Brien :

“Paul Littlewood was destined to become a strong player from birth. His father John was for some time one of the strongest players in the country and represented England on many occasions. His uncle Norman was for a few years not far behind. Paul, however, has surpassed them both and has become the first in the family to reach IM status. (Ed: JEL was very much worthy of the IM title but insufficient events of the right type held him back).

A. Howard Williams, Martyn J. Corden, Paul E. Littlewood and A. Jonathan Mestel
A. Howard Williams, Martyn J. Corden, Paul E. Littlewood and A. Jonathan Mestel

All three are essentially attacking players. There have been times in recent years when play at the Hastings Premier has become dull. However, Paul one of the English representatives at the last three tournaments, was certainly not to blame. (His game against Brito of Brazil which follows is a striking example of this).”

Coached by his father, Paul became British U18 champion in 1972 and three years later became British U21 champion.

Clearly more interested in an academic career he went up to Cambridge and then followed his father into the teaching profession. Opportunities to play in strong tournaments were thus very limited. These opportunities, however, were grasped in both hands. Three times in thirteen months between August 1978 and August 1979 he obtained an IM norm and thus the title.

Partial crosstable for the Lloyds Bank Open, 1978
Partial crosstable for the Lloyds Bank Open, 1978

The first caused a sensation as it was totally unexpected. He shared first place at Lloyds Bank ahead of several grandmasters including Shamkovich, who was the first grandmaster he ever defeated.

Leonid Shamkovich plays Paul Littlewood during the 1978 Lloyds Bank Masters. Paul won the game.
Leonid Shamkovich plays Paul Littlewood during the 1978 Lloyds Bank Masters. Paul won the game.

Eight months later Aaronson Masters was won and then came the final norm, also at Lloyds Bank.

Tournaments abroad were limited although he represented England students. He did play at Kringsja (2nd equal) in 1978 and Borovo where he scored 6.5.13 finishing ahead of 3 GMs.

In 1981 came his finest achievement – winning the British Championship with a massive 9/11.

Partial crosstable from the 1981 British Championship in Morecambe
Partial crosstable from the 1981 British Championship in Morecambe

His father who was also competing in the championship was as proud as could be and deservedly so (he also coached Sheila Jackson who retained her British Ladies Championship that year). His excellent all round play took him to the title and only once during the tournament did he stand worse. His endgame play was so good that CHESS even published an article solely on these endings.

Paul Littlewood and friends during the 1978 Lloyds Bank Masters
Paul Littlewood and friends during the 1978 Lloyds Bank Masters

Duties at school in Daventry meant he was, in February 1982, unable to take part in the zonal at Marbella. This followed an excellent Hastings when as British Champion he made a plus score – a rare event indeed.

IM Paul Littlewood during filming for the "Trick of the Mind" series from Derren Brown
IM Paul Littlewood during filming for the “Trick of the Mind” series from Derren Brown

In the summer he gave up teaching and joined Phillips & Drew (stockbrokers). He now (ed : this was in 1983) lives with his (first) wife Sue and family in the wilds of Essex (Billericay).

IM Paul Littlewood, event and photographer unknown
IM Paul Littlewood, event and photographer unknown

Paul gives a simultaneous display in Letchworth.

Chess Tactics, Paul Littlewood, Crowood Chess Library, 1991
Chess Tactics, Paul Littlewood, Crowood Chess Library, 1991

Happy Birthday GM Keith Arkell (08-i-1961)

Keith Arkell, London Chess Classic 2021, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Keith Arkell, London Chess Classic 2021, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

We send birthday wishes to GM Keith Arkell, born this day (January 8th) in 1961.

Keith Arkell
Keith Arkell

Here is Keith’s Wikipedia entry

GM Keith Arkell (ENG)
GM Keith Arkell (ENG)

This was written about Keith aged 18 prior to the 1979 Spassky vs the BCF Junior Squad simultaneous display :

“Rednal, Birmingham. Rating 188. 2nd Lloyds Bank junior international, 1979.”

GM Keith Arkell
GM Keith Arkell

Keith was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 2014-15 season sharing with Jonathan Hawkins

Keith finally secured the Grandmaster title in 1995 as a result of the final leg of the French League Championship. Keith gained the IM title in 1985 and then made his three norms at Ostend 1990, Parthenay in France in 1993, and in the French League finishing in March. He became England’s 26th holder of the GM title.
On August 8th 2021 Keith became the 2nd British Online Champion

Here is an interview with ChessBase from 2016.

GM Keith Arkell
GM Keith Arkell

Arkell's Odyssey
Arkell’s Odyssey
Arkell's Endings, Keith Arkell, GingerGM, 2020, ISBN-10 : 1527265595
Arkell’s Endings, Keith Arkell, GingerGM, 2020, ISBN-10 : 1527265595

BCN has reviewed Arkell’s Endings in depth

Happy Birthday IM (elect) Jonah Willow (30-xii-2002)

FM Jonah Willow, UKCC Terafinal 2018, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Jonah Willow, UKCC Terafinal 2018, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Happy Birthday IM (elect) Jonah Willow

Jonah B Willow was born in Nottingham on Monday, December 30th 2002. Jacob was the most popular boy’s name in 2002. “Lose Yourself” by Eminem was number one.

Jonah has a chess playing sister, Hambel, who plays for Newcastle-under-Lyme, West Nottingham, Staffordshire CA and Nottinghamshire CA.

Jonah’s first recorded graded standard play tournament was the 2010 Delancey UK Chess Challenge Terafinal and his first recorded rapidplay event was the Nottingham Rapidplay in 2011.

Jonah Willow at the 2012 UKK Terafinal. Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Jonah Willow at the 2012 UKK Terafinal. Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Jonah’s first published standard play grade was 96D in January of 2012 :

Jonah's ECF grading progress
Jonah’s ECF grading progress

Jonah has represented West Nottingham, 4NCL Wood Green, Nottinghamshire CA and Syston (Leicester).

FIDE rating profile for FM Jonah B Willow from Megabase 2020
FIDE rating profile for FM Jonah B Willow from Megabase 2020

It is a little curious as to the reason for the rating profile to halt at the end of 2018 since Jonah has played plenty of FIDE rated games since. Compare the above with :

FIDE rating for FM Jonah Willow from fide.com
FIDE rating for FM Jonah Willow from fide.com

Jonah’s current (December 2021) FIDE standard play rating is 2381 and Jonah became a FIDE Master in 2018.

Jonah has plus scores against : Mike Surtees, Peter Svidler (!), Richard Pert, Peter Shaw, Ranesh Ratnesan, Shreyas Royal, Keith Arkell and Ameet Ghasi to name but a few.

With the white pieces Jonah is a committed 1.e4 player but he has scored 83% with 1.Nc3! first played by JH Blackburne against Noa in 1883 and named after Timothy A Dunst.

Jonah plays the unusual Chekhover Variation (4.Qxd4) in the 2…d6 Sicilian : this is an interesting alternative and has been discussed by GM Ben Finegold :

and

GM Varuzhan Akobian :

Jonah plays the Four Knights game with white.

As the second player he plays the Accelerated Dragon and the Modern Benoni.

He has his own Twitch TV channel.

On chess.com he is JonahWillow and his highest chess.com rating has been 2863 on April 5th 2020.

Jonah has achieved three IM norms at

1° Grandiscacchi Cattolica International 2022, 1st EJOCA Forest Hall Invitational 2021 and Dublin 2021.

FM Jonah Willow, UKCC Terafinal 2018, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Jonah Willow, UKCC Terafinal 2018, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Best Wishes IM David Eggleston (22-xii-1987)

IM David Eggleston
IM David Eggleston

Best Wishes to IM David Eggleston on his birthday.

David James Eggleston was born on Tuesday, December 22nd 1987 in Sunderland, County Durham to Ian and Janet Eggleston (née Robson). David has a brother, Thomas A, also born in 1987 who plays chess to a high standard (2178 in 2020). Thomas also plays for Durham City and for 4NCL North East England.

There is one game in Megabase between the brothers from round 5 of the Durham Open in 2003 which resulted in a 13 move draw. They shared the 1st prize with 4/5.

David currently resides in Durham and plays for Durham City in the North East League and for Cheddleton in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

David became a FIDE Master in 2007 and an International Master in 2013.

According to ChessBase David’s peak FIDE rating was 2434 aged 26 in December 2013. However, this could easily be surpassed.

He has a plus score against Keith Arkell, James Jackson, Peter Sowray and Chris Ward to name but a few.

IM David James Eggleston
IM David James Eggleston

With the white pieces David is a staunch e4 player playing open Sicilians, the Italian Game and 3.Nc3 versus the French and the Caro-Kann.

As the second player David plays the Najdorf and the Nimzo-Indian Defence.

David has one book, published in July 2014 : Hacking up the King published by Mongoose Press :

Hacking Up The King
Hacking Up The King
IM David James Eggleston
IM David James Eggleston

Happy Birthday IM Brandon Clarke (14-xii-1995)

IM Brandon GI Clarke
IM Brandon Clarke, British Championships (Major Open), Torquay 2019, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Happy Birthday Wishes to IM Brandon Clarke born on this day (December 14th), 1995. “Earth Song” by Michael Jackson was the UK Number One single.

Brandon George I Clarke was born in Leicester and now resides in Woodstock, Oxfordshire. He was a chess scholar at Wellington College, Berkshire and studied accounting at BPP. Upon leaving Wellington he relocated to California and became a chess coach in Orange County. A further relocation to Sydney, Australia allowed Brandon to become a coach at the Sydney Academy of Chess.

His personal web site is https://www.brandonclarke.co.uk/

His chess career started modestly but progress rapidly accelerated.

In the 2003 London Junior Championships he was =13 with 4/7

In July 2004 he secured his first published standard play grading of 84D and 62D for rapid play.  His first recorded rapid  play tournament was on the 4th of October 2003 being the Mini Squad Under 8s. In this event he beat a certain Jamie Horton who had a grading of 45D at the time.

In 2006 Brandon won outright the London Under 12 title with 7.5/9. Marcus Harvey was a runner-up. This situation was repeated one year later.

In 2009 Brandon won the LJCC Under-16 title this time with Akash Jain as runner-up. His TPR for a score of 5/6 was 199.

2010 saw the sharing of the British Under-15 Championship with Gordon Scott in Canterbury.

Brandon was a chess scholar at Wellington College, Berkshire and was part of the strongest school / college team to play in the National Schools competition for many years that included James Holland, Felix Jose Ynojosa-Aponte, Alexander Galliano, Latefah Meesam-Sparkes, Akash Jain, Adrian Archer-Lock and latterly William Foo and Richard Zhu. Despite being easily the strongest team they were denied the title by the antiquated age handicapping rules.

In 2016 Brandon became a FIDE Master.

FIDE rating profile for Brandon Clarke according to MegaBase 2020
FIDE rating profile for Brandon Clarke according to MegaBase 2020

He became an International Master in early 2019 and plays much chess in Australia, New Zealand and England having lived in the USA for some time after leaving Wellington College.

Aged 24 Brandon has achieved his highest FIDE rating of 2445 and it shows every sign of increasing.

IM Brandon Clarke, British Championships (Major Open), Torquay 2019, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
IM Brandon Clarke, British Championships (Major Open), Torquay 2019, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

With the White pieces Brandon is almost exclusively an e4 player with occasional forays with the Queen’s pawn. Against the Najdorf he prefers 6.Bg5 and allows the Marshall against the Ruy Lopez.

As the second player he plays the Najdorf and the King’s Indian Defence most of the time.

Brandon has his own YouTube Channel.

On Chess.com he plays under the handle of Biranidun with a blitz rating of 2847.

In January 2019 Brandon scored a very impressive victory in the 126th (!) New Zealand Open. “The 2019 126th New Zealand Open is part of the 126th New Zealand Congress and is a 9-round Swiss event being held at the Waipuna Conference Centre in Auckland from 14-22 January 2019.”

Cross table from the 126h New Zealand Open
Cross table from the 126h New Zealand Open

Brandon made a welcome return to the UK and comfortably won the 2019 Major Open in Torquay with 8.5/9 as an IM.

Brandon plays for Australia Kangaroos in the Pro Chess League.

The ECF grading web site shows his only club to be Littlethorpe (in Leicestershire) although Brandon played for Warwickshire Select in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

IM Brandon GI Clarke
IM Brandon Clarke, British Championships (Major Open), Torquay 2019, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Best wishes FM Peter Batchelor (10-xii-1996)

FM Peter Batchelor at the 2014 British Championships, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Peter Batchelor at the 2014 British Championships, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Best wishes to FM Peter Batchelor on his birthday.

Peter J Batchelor was born on Tuesday, December 10th, 1996. “Breath” by The Prodigy was the UK Number One Single. His father is the player Guy Batchelor.

Peter’s first recorded rapidplay event was on the 17th of July 2005 in the Barnet Knights Under-9 tournament where he scored 4/6 and his first (!) standard play event was on August 20th 2005 being the British Land UK Terafinal which was not such a happy result.

His first published ECF grading was 56E in July 2006 at the age of ten with a rapidplay grading of 57A.

Peter played league chess in the Middlesex and London Leagues playing initially for Willesden & Brent and then with Wanstead & Woodford both with his father Guy.

Peter attended the Capital City Academy which is a “specialist sports and arts Academy in Willesden, North West London, in the borough of Brent.” He has returned there post-graduation to teach chess and run the school chess club.

Peter studied mathematics at the University of Warwick and now lives in London.

According to Ben Purton : “I captain Peter in the 4NCL chess league, he is one of the most professional and talented players on my squad. He is extremely smart and nice to be around. Peter would be an asset to any organisation in the future and any graduate scheme would be foolish not to take such a person on.

I have seen him grow in to one of the best U21 chess players in the UK and hope to see him gain his IM title soon.”

Peter became a FIDE Master in 2015 and, according to Felice and Megabase 2020 his peak FIDE rating was 2365 in December 2016.

FIDE rating profile for Peter Batchelor according to Megabase 2020
FIDE rating profile for Peter Batchelor according to Megabase 2020

Peter plays for Grantham Sharks in the Four Nations Chess League (4NCL).

With the white pieces Peter plays the Queen’s Gambit and the Trompowsky Attack.

As the second player Peter plays the Classical variation of the Caro-Kann and the Alartortsev Variation.

On chess.com Peter plays under the nom de plume of Pbatch.

Peter Batchelor, 4NCL Final weekend, 2014, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
Peter Batchelor, 4NCL Final weekend, 2014, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

FM Peter Batchelor at the 2013 British Championships, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
FM Peter Batchelor at the 2013 British Championships, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Happy Birthday WGM Dr. Jana Bellin (09-xii-1947)

WGM Dr. Jana Bellin, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
WGM Dr. Jana Bellin, Courtesy of John Upham Photography

Happy birthday WGM Dr. Jana Bellin on this day (December 9th) in 1947.

Jana Malypetrova
Jana Malypetrova

From The Encyclopedia of Chess (Robert Hale, 1970 & 1976), Anne Sunnucks :

“International Woman Master (1969), Czech Woman Champion in 1965 and 1967 and British Woman Champion since 1970.

Jana Malypetrova
Jana Malypetrova

Jana was born in Prague on the 9th December 1947 and learned to play chess at the age of eleven. She made her first appearance in the international field when she played 2nd board for Czechoslovakia in Women’s Chess Olympiad in Oberhausen in 1966.

Jana Malypetrova and Inna Vesela, Harrachov 1963
Jana Malypetrova and Inna Vesela, Harrachov 1963

In the same year she represented Czechoslovakia in the Zonal tournament at Varna and came 11th.

Jana Malypetrova
Jana Malypetrova

She is now married to the British International Master, William Hartston, and played 1st board for England in the Women’s Chess Olympiad in Skopje in 1972 and represented England in the Zonal tournament in Wijk aan Zee in 1973 in which she tied for 1st place. In the same year she came =6th in the Interzonal Tournament. She is a doctor.”

Jana & Bill Hartston celebrate a family double at the British Championships in 1973 at Eastbourne
Jana & Bill Hartston celebrate a family double at the British Championships in 1973 at Eastbourne

From The Encyclopedia of Chess (Batsford, 1977), Harry Golombek OBE :

“Born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, but moved to England in 1970 after her marriage to WR Hartston. Czechoslovak Woman champion in 1965 and 1967 (under her maiden name of Malypetrova) and British Ladies champion in the five years 1970 to 1974. International Woman master since 1969.”

Bill and Jana Hartston are shown with some of their many chess sets. CHESS, August 1973, page 323
Bill and Jana Hartston are shown with some of their many chess sets. CHESS, August 1973, page 323

From British Chess (Pergamon Press, 1983) Botterill, Levy, Rice and Richardson :

Hastings International Chess Congress 21 year old Jana Malypetrova From Czechoslovakia And Vassily Smyslov From Russia. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Fresco/ANL/Shutterstock (1876232a)
Hastings International Chess Congress 21 year old Jana Malypetrova From Czechoslovakia And Vassily Smyslov From Russia. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Fresco/ANL/Shutterstock (1876232a)

“Jana Miles was born 9 December 1947 in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She moved to England when she married Bill Hartston. Divorced from Hartston in 1978, she subsequently married Tony Miles.

Hastings International Chess Congress 21 year old Jana Malypetrova From Czechoslovakia And Vassily Smyslov From Russia. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Fresco/ANL/Shutterstock (1876232a)
Hastings International Chess Congress 21 year old Jana Malypetrova From Czechoslovakia And Vassily Smyslov From Russia. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Fresco/ANL/Shutterstock (1876232a)

She was Czech woman champion in 1965 and 1967 and has regularly been the British Ladies Champion since moving to this country. She is a doctor of medicine.”

Bill and Dr, Jana Hartston (née Malypetrova)
Bill and Dr, Jana Hartston (née Malypetrova)

Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry OBE presents Dr. Jana Hartston with the ? prize
Sir Philip Stuart Milner-Barry OBE presents Dr. Jana Hartston with the ? prize

From Wikipedia :

“Jana Bellin (née Malypetrová; born 9 December 1947) is a British, formerly Czechoslovak chess player. She was awarded the Woman International Master chess title in 1969 and the Woman Grandmaster title in 1982.

Moment of concentration for reigning women's champion of Great Britain Jana Hartston and some of the 30 Post Officer players - all men who challenged her at postal headquarters London on September 6. Jana beat seven, drew with sixteen and lost to seven.
Moment of concentration for reigning women’s champion of Great Britain Jana Hartston and some of the 30 Post Officer players – all men who challenged her at postal headquarters London on September 6. Jana beat seven, drew with sixteen and lost to seven.

Bellin was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. She was the Czech Women’s Champion in 1965 and 1967 under her maiden name of Malypetrová. After her marriage to William Hartston she moved to England in 1970 and won the British Women’s Championship in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977 (after a play-off), and 1979.

Moment of concentration for reigning women's champion of Great Britain Jana Hartston and some of the 30 Post Officer players - all men who challenged her at postal headquarters London on September 6. Jana beat seven, drew with sixteen and lost to seven.
Moment of concentration for reigning women’s champion of Great Britain Jana Hartston and some of the 30 Post Officer players – all men who challenged her at postal headquarters London on September 6. Jana beat seven, drew with sixteen and lost to seven.

She has fifteen appearances in the Women’s Chess Olympiads, representing Czechoslovakia in 1966 and 1969 and England thirteen times from 1972 through 2006, seven times on first board.

Moment of concentration for reigning women's champion of Great Britain Jana Hartston and some of the 30 Post Officer players - all men who challenged her at postal headquarters London on September 6. Jana beat seven, drew with sixteen and lost to seven.
Moment of concentration for reigning women’s champion of Great Britain Jana Hartston and some of the 30 Post Officer players – all men who challenged her at postal headquarters London on September 6. Jana beat seven, drew with sixteen and lost to seven.

At the Olympiad she earned individual silver medals in 1966 and 1976, a team bronze medal in 1968 with the Czechoslovakian team, and a team silver in 1976 with England.

British Speed Chess Championship Grandmaster Nigel Short Playing Chess In The Park With L-r Susan Arkell Sheila Jackson And Dr Jana Miles. Courtesy of Shutterstock
British Speed Chess Championship Grandmaster Nigel Short Playing Chess In The Park With L-r Susan Arkell Sheila Jackson And Dr Jana Miles. Courtesy of Shutterstock

“Bellin is a medical doctor specialising in anaesthetics, and works in intensive care at Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich, England.

Jana with Sheila Jackson to her left
Jana with Sheila Jackson to her left

She is also Chairman of the FIDE Medical Commission, which supervises drug testing of chess players.

British Speed Chess Championship Grandmaster Nigel Short Playing Chess In The Street With Woman Grandmaster Dr Jana Miles : Credit : Shutterstock
British Speed Chess Championship Grandmaster Nigel Short Playing Chess In The Street With Woman Grandmaster Dr Jana Miles : Credit : Shutterstock

Bellin was married first to International Master William Hartston, then to Grandmaster Tony Miles, and after that to International Master Robert Bellin. She and Bellin have two sons: Robert (born 1988) and Christopher (born 1991).”

Dr. Jana Bellin
Dr. Jana Bellin

She is the granddaughter of thrice Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia, Jan Malypetr. and cousin of author and human rights campaigner Jiří Stránský.

WGM Dr. Jana Bellin, Courtesy of John Upham Photography
WGM Dr. Jana Bellin, Courtesy of John Upham Photography