Hello again from Leeds. The weather has certainly improved, and some even got to play football outside on the green. The food was better too with roast beef and Yorkshire pudding on the menu (however, the vending machines ran out of milk, and someone even padlocked one of the main doors and three side exits of the hall). After suitable rectifications, all was well.
After the first day, the Open was still unclear and several players were in with a chance. However, when you get tired, things can get a bit harder. Keeping one’s cool often pays dividends (note: Howell's, Adams' and Short’s famous victories at this event).
Chess, of course, can be a difficult game, notably with rapidplay when there are just a couple of minutes or even just a few seconds left on the clock. Discerning whether a position is drawn, whether your opponent is attempting to win by fair means, or whether you’ve just not got enough time can be tough. Stopping the clock in the permissible manner, or consulting the arbiter in a permissible fashion means you have got to know the rules of chess. Digital clocks do help because of their accuracy.
I say all this with just a bit of basic knowledge, but respecting the fact that you might have cocked up, you still need to respect your opponent and respect an arbiter's decision. Mistakes do happen, and to err is human. After all it’s just a game ... so, after viewing several games today, some of these situations did arise with games involving Stephen Gordon, Sophie Milliet, Jonathan Hawkins and Charles Storey for starters, as well as a couple more contentious ones. All had some of the above elements in them, but the arbiters seemed to deal with them fairly.
Pete Wells had an unfortunate loss against Robert Willmoth, which prompted him to call it a day, sadly, after also losing to Stephen Gordon. Respectfully, Stephen Gordon lost on time against Jonathan Hawkins, though it could have been a draw. Sophie Milliet had a good victory over James Cobb. Danny Gormally had a good start with a win against Jonathan Hawkins, but then lost to Craig Hanley.
In the last two rounds, draws by Stephen Gordon, Danny Gormally and James Cobb meant that Jonathan Hawkins could win it, and indeed he did so with a flourish. The Consett player beat Sophie Milliet in 44 moves.
Jonathan is a very good player and it shows in his grade of 251. Although only still an IM, he showed some pretty cool temperament, and above all the stamina to win. My personal thanks to all the players in the Open - their games are available in PGN on this site so that many of us can enjoy study and learn that bit more about this great game. Some other key results must be mentioned! The Major winner was Philip J Olbison, whilst the Intermediate was won by Michael McDonagh and the Minor was won by Angelica Dean.
In the junior events there were five players who all finished up on 4/5 points. Our controllers/arbiters John and Cathy managed things well .The full listings are on the separate winner’s summary sheet. My personal thanks go to Bruce Holland who kindly presented the prizes. Bruce is the Manager of Congress Chess at the ECF. His courteous manner is an example to us all.
It is of note that the long term President of the British Rapidplay, Mike Dow, is moving down to the South West soon. We hope he still continues to be involved with the event. The prize monies and grading prizes were all honoured, thanks to Stephen Burton our treasurer, whilst the event broke even under its own self financing plan. The target date for the event in 2013 is November 23/24th, hopefully at the same venue. It has been mooted that a rival event may come along next year, but as many great chess events fill the chess calendar, I’m hopeful that all players will continue to support this established British one, under the auspices of the ECF, but also for all British Players as well as foreign ones, such as Sophie Milliet this year. Your comments and suggestions for the event are always welcome. Crosstables will appear soon thanks to Jon Griffiths, plus selected photos and perhaps video clips. Uncollected certificates and prizes will be forwarded out.
A green scarf plus a blue extension reel were left behind?
Congratulations to all the winners of course, but thanks above all to all the chess players, arbiters, organizers, controllers, bookstall, helpers and staff at LMU for an enjoyable weekend. Regards to Geoff Jones and Neville Belinfante who were sadly not at this year’s event. Last but not least we must mention David Clayton for the live games and Andrew Walker our tireless webmaster.
So as the French might say, 'A la prochaine fois ... ce n’est qu’un jeu!'
- Brent Kitson, Congress Secretary BRCC