Yorkshire Post Article 4 – Scarborough Congress 2015 Report

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This is an extended version of the column published in The Yorkshire Post on 7th November 2015

Scarborough Chess Congress 2015 Report

The Scarborough Congress has established itself as the biggest weekend congress in the country in recent years. It has found a great home in the Ocean Room at Scarborough Spa which was made even more hospitable to the chess players this year as refurbishments improved the lighting considerably.

This year’s event took place October 23rd-25th across five sections. There were 331 entries, slightly down on last year’s record turnout.

Open

Only one of last year’s defending champions returned to defend his title, the top seed David Walker from Leam Lane. The strongest players likely to challenge him were Michael Barnes, Oskar Hackner, Sixten Thestrup, Martin Mitchell and Tim Wall.

The first two rounds left only five players on 2/2. In round 3 Thestrup drew with Wall in a relatively uneventful game, but Walker missed a golden opportunity to beat one of his main rivals. Walker had outplayed Mitchell all game and was an exchange up in the endgame, but both sides had dangerous passed pawns so matters weren’t trivial. Can you find the only move that would have secured the victory for Black?

The only other player on 2/2, Francis Rayner beat Oskar Hackner in a miniature to be the only player on 3/3. He consolidated this lead by winning again in round 4 to remain on 100% but Walker and Thestrup also won to only be half a point behind. The final round saw Walker vs Rayner and Isaac Craft vs Thestrup. Rayner played ambitiously with Black but Walker had a more sound position and eventually Rayner’s weaknesses told and Walker broke through to his king. Thestrup made the crowd wait to see if he could join Walker as he played a superb technical endgame with a good bishop vs bad bishop of the same colour. You can play through both these games on the Scarborough Congress website (NB. The website incorrectly shows that Craft beat Thestrup, Thestrup did win this game). This meant that Walker and Thestrup shared 1st place with 4.5/5 while Rayner and Wall had to settle for equal 3rd with 4/5.

Other Sections

There was some Yorkshire success in the other sections. AJ Slinger (York) and Graham Ashcroft jointly won the Major and John Milnes (Bradford) picked up a grading prize. The Intermediate first prize was also shared between Martyn Harris and Stephen Williams. Paul Clarke (Leeds) was one of the group in 3rd place.

Player of the Month Ian Thackray added to his success in the Isle of Man by finishing joint 1st in the Minor with Stephen Crockett and Dave Stebbings. Paul Gelder (Alwoodley) finished joint 4th. The Foundation saw the only 5/5 performance by Pawel Szutowski. Kenneth Parkin (Bradford) and Luke Stockham (Sheffield) were among those in the 9-way tie for 2nd.

Links

The next column will appear in The Yorkshire Post on Saturday 14th November


The editorial team at Yorkshire Chess compile a weekly column for The Yorkshire Post every Saturday, with the online version published on Sunday. If you have any feedback or suggestions for the column, please click on "Contact Us" at the top of the page.

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