Birthday of FM Andrew P Horton (15-i-1998)
Andrew became a FIDE Master in 2015 and an International Master in 2018.
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”.
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?
- 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.
- Meszaros Gyula (Julian) who was an IM with a peak of 2465 FIDE and was an endgame master which helped him from 1800-2100.
- 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:
In August 2016 in Bournemouth Shreyas scored an impressive 6/6 to win the British Under-8 Championship.
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!
In 2021 Shreyas was awarded the FM title by FIDE:
BCN: Which chess players past & present are inspirational for him?
- 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.
- Garry Kasparov played brilliant attacking chess and calculated like a machine.
- 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.
- Alireza Firouzja
- 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:
We send best wishes to GM Luke James McShane on his birthday, this day (January 7th) in 1984.
Here is Luke’s Wikipedia entry
Happy Birthday to FM 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 Enimem was number one.
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’s first published standard play grade was 96D in January of 2012 :
Jonah has represented West Nottingham, 4NCL Wood Green, Nottinghamshire CA and Syston (Leicester).
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 :
Jonah has plus scores against : Mike Surtees, 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!
Jonah plays the unusual Chekhover Variation (4.Qxd4) in the 2…d6 Sicilian : this is an interesting alternative and is discussed by GM Ben Finegold :
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.
Vaidyanathan Ravikumar (“Ravi” to his friends) was born in Paramakudi, Ramanathapuram, Tamil Nadu, India on Saturday, December 26th, 1959. On this day Nelson Rockefeller announced that he would not seek the Republican Party nomination for 1960.
Ravi credits his father N. Vaidyanathan for help with his early chess development.
In 1978 Ravi won the Asian Junior Championships in Tehran and was awarded the International Master title as a consequence. Ravi was India’s second International Master : Manuel Aaron was the first in 1961.
His earliest recorded game in Megabase 2020 was from the 3rd of September 1978 and was from the World Under-20 Championships in Graz, Austria. The event was won by Sergei Dolamatov and Ravi finished =25th on 6.5/13. The following year (Norway, 1979) Ravi improved to =12th with 7.5/13 and the title was won by Yasser Seirawan. James Plaskett was =3rd.
By now ( 1979) Ravi had graduated from The University of Madras with a degree in commerce and relocated to England seeking more playing opportunities. He played in his first Lloyd’s Bank Open in 1979.
Ravi made his first appearance for India in an Olympiad at Valetta, Malta 1980. In 1981 he was runner-up to Bjarke Sahl in the 6th North Sea Cup followed by a creditable equal 10th in the 68th British Championships at Morecambe won by Paul Littlewood. In round eight he played this attractive game against Daniel King. Notes by PC Griffiths :
In 1982 Ravi scored a creditable =3rd at the 1982 British Championships (Mile’s year) in Torquay including wins over Basman, Muir and Plaskett :
1983 included an excellent win over James Tarjan at the Lloyds Bank Open but Danny King got revenge for his 1981 defeat!
Ravi’s second Olympiad appearance for India came at Thessaloniki, Greece in 1984. This year provided Ravi’s highest FIDE rating of 2415 in January.
Ravi continued to be active as a player until 2000 when he started a career in coaching. He was the National Coach of the Emirates for eight years and has accompanied the ECF junior chess team to World Youth Chess Championships in 2014, held in Al Ain, UAE.
According to Spectrum Chess Calculation : “He is an experienced chess coach and provides chess coaching in 10 schools in Hertfordshire”
His first book was Karpov’s Best Games, Chess Check, 1984.
Following that Ravi wrote a biographical work on Ulf Andersson :
and most recently
There were also works on Anatoly Karpov and Jan Timman as well as works on the Caro-Kann Defence.
BCN sends best wishes to Graeme Buckley on his birthday.
Graeme Noel Buckley born on Saturday, December 25th, 1971 in Wolverhampton, West Midlands.
His first chess club was Bushbury which is also known as Bilston Sports & Social Club Ltd. His father David is the long time club President.
Graeme’s first recorded games in Megabase 2020 were at the 1987 British Championship in Swansea were he scored a modest 4/11.
Graeme married IM Susan Lalic in Sutton, Surrey in 2001 and they reside in Sutton. They have two daughters, Lucy and Emma who attend Nonsuch High School for Girls following in the footsteps of their mother.
Graeme became a FIDE Master in 1994 and an International Master in 1995.
He has played for Midland Monarchs and Wood Green in 4NCL, Surrey CCA, Wimbledon 4NCL Guildford and Bushbury (in Wolverhampton)
According to ChessBase Graeme reached his highest FIDE rating in July 2003, aged 32 of 2420.
Graeme teaches chess in many Surrey Schools and in conjunction with Susan.
Graeme has been a director of Surrey County Chess Association for four years resigning in 2011.
Graeme was Southern Counties (SCCU) champion for the 2009-10 season
According to Easy Guide to the Queen’s Gambit Accepted, Cadogan, 1998 :
“Graeme Buckley caused a stir in his first year as a professional player securing his International Master title in a matter of months, quickly followed by his first grandmaster norm. More recently he has been involved in some major coaching projects. In 1996 he was manager of the English youth team, who achieved the impressive double of winning both the Glorney and Faber Cups.”
With the white pieces Graeme playa the Queen’s Gambit nowadays with Nf3 appearing before c4 having flirted with the Trompowski in the early days.
As the second player he plays the Sicilian Scheveningen, the King’s Indian and not the Queen’s Gambit Accepted despite authoring a book about it!