Blackpool and Other Congresses
BLACKPOOL MARCH 2020
This might be the last Chess Congress for some time but 3 Formby players attended.
In spite of fears with the Corona Virus the congress was well attended, although the customary handshake was forgotten as everyone gave each other ‘the elbow’.
Andre Eagle, Rob Haseman and Ed Patten were all in the Standard Section and as usual had a fair mixture of results, frustrations and joyful moments!
In the 1st round Rob went a knight up but then lost his queen to a bishop fork. Andre played his trusted Kings Indian and won comfortably. As did Eddy, who, against a weak opponent checkmated with his Knight. Eddy went on to win his next game in a rooks and P’s ending. His rooks were far more aggressive and he succeeded by forcing checkmate with his Knight P. Also, in the 2nd round Rob regained some ground with an easy win over a lower graded opponent. However, Andre lost his concentration and his match after a 4 hours ‘slog’.
In round 3 Eddy agreed a draw against a tough opponent in a tight position that meant one mistake, from either player, and it was all over. Rob was really on form and despite being 2 pawns down manged to queen his centre pawn and win the game. Andre 3rd game was a gruelling 75 moves marathon. sadly, he slipped up to lose.
On the Friday night the 3 hero’s compared notes and enjoyed a few drinks in the Imperial Bar. On the Saturday night Andre and Rob went for a curry and then discovered the delights of Blackpool’s British Legion!
In his 4th game Andre allowed his king to be skewered to his queen and lost. Rob didn’t do much better as his opponent attacked first Rob’s kingside then his queenside. Eventually his opponent had the better of it in a Bishop and Pawns ending. Eddy meanwhile kept his form. In his game he won a couple P’s early on. His opponent went for glory with a bishop sacrifice which Eddy defended well, then went on to win.
In the final round Andre came back well. His exposed King was under real pressure, but good, Q, R and N moves placed Andre in a winning position. He finished the congress with a decent 2/5. Rob also won his last game and ‘suckered’ his opponent after 9 …yes 9 moves, and he has the scoresheet to prove it! Rob finished with respectable 3/5.
But it was steady Eddy, on 3.5/4, again going for glory. Eddy, playing white, had the better of the opening moves but allowed his opponents knights to tie up his defence. After some repositioning, Eddy managed to stop a Q checkmate with his rook, at the same time, attacking his opponents Knight. When the knight moved Eddy forked Blacks K and Q with the same rook! His opponent resigned. He finished on 4.5/5.
A delighted Eddy had come 2nd out of around 90 competitors and was warmly congratulated by Andre and Rob. Eddy was also the highest scoring veteran.
PRESTON NOVEMBER 2019
MAJOR 24 1 2 3 4 5 Total
MBh 21 137 b 158 1 w 161 0 0 0 0 1
RO 29 121 b130 0 w128 1 b128 0 w138 0 b121 1 2 jt 23rd
JG 30 120 w129 0 b141 0 b128 1 w121 .5 w133 1 2.5 jt 13th
EP 15 106 w34 1 b118 0 w87 1 b72 1 b114 1 4 JT 1ST
RG 19 99 W ug 1 w109 0 b72 0 b74 1 w91 0 2 jt 20th
Each Formby entrant was asked for comments and were received as below. Mike's section schedule has not been published beyond rd 1. Rob's first opponent was the ultimate section winner, Phil Ramsey of Southport. In defence of Bob in his 5th round his opponent is graded 91 at the age of 8 ,plays in the 4NCL juniors and for England age group and has a father with a grade of 222. Her mother is apparently no slouch over the board either.
Preston Chess Congress Report 2019.(Report by Ed Patten in the 3rd person singular)
There were 5 Formby Chess Club players attending Preston. There was a good turn out this year for all the sections and the event was held in the pleasant and comfortable surroundings of the Harrington Annex. We arrived in typical cold and damp Preston weather, trying to avoid anyone with symptoms of Pneumonia or Bronchitis.
In the first round Mike Barooah got off to his traditional good start by beating a 158 graded player! Eddy and Bob also had expected wins against lower graded opponents.
In round 2 we had to count the bodies! After losing his opening game to a strong ’Atticus’ player, John Grady continued his losing streak by throwing away a winning position! Mike, Eddy and Bob G all lost against higher graded players. Rob Owens saved the ‘whitewash’ when he beat a 128 graded challenger which made his score 1 from 2.
In round 3 the fortunes of all our players started to change. Bob G, Rob and Mike all lost their games due to various missed opportunities, bad luck and time trouble…all in that order! Happily, John G grabbed his first ½ point, at last, and Eddy also won.
In round 4 Eddy secured yet another win, after his opponent made an ill judged Rook sacrifice, he was now on 3 out of 4. Bob G beat his opponent and was on 2 points. After 4 games John G was finding his form and won. However, Mike’s good start was vanishing rapidly and he lost again. Rob Owens was also struggling and lost.
In the final round Rob Owens was pleased to recover some ground and won, his final score 2/5. Mike B, who had played much higher graded players all tournament, lost again to finish on 1/5. Bob G, who’d had a very frustrating weekend lost his last game to 8 years old Allana Ashton! (who apparently had to stand on her chair see the board!) Bob finished with 2 out of 5. John G, after a miserable start, did really well to win his last game and end the competition with a respectable 2.5/5.
Eddy went into the last round knowing that a win would put him in the prize money! The rules allowed an additional 10 seconds for every move and sure enough he needed every one of them!
It was a very intense ‘cat and mouse’ game and the time flew by. Eddy seemed to play better when his clock went down below 5 minutes and he didn’t have the distraction of writing down every move. However, his opponents’ 15 minute time advantage slowly ebbed away as Eddy won an exchange after threatening check mate, then he managed to skewer his opponents bishop with his extra rook.
With only 2 minutes on his clock, but with a rook advantage, he started to mop up his opponents supporting pawns. His opponent conceded as Eddy was about to Queen a forward pawn!
So, an eventful but always and enjoyable Preston Congress ended and a delighted Eddy, to the congratulations of his colleagues, finished on 4/5 with a share of the 1st prize.
' My comments on my games are based on 'Fritz' assessments....
In 4 of my 5 games I was ahead for at least halfway through those games, making a disastrous positional move against Sanjoy Banerjee of Atticus in my first game (which then led to a deserved defeat) and falling for a tactic in my fourth game which turned my lead of the exchange plus pawn into a draw. In the remaining game (game 2) I was well behind for most of the game when a mistake by my opponent enabled me to get adjacent pawns to the 6th rank with Queen and rook behind - but the chance disappeared as I misplayed it badly..... so 2 wins, 2 defeats and a draw.
At least I had the consolation that no-one with a grade lower than my own finished higher than me!'
BLACKPOOL CONGRESS MARCH 2019
JANUARY 2019 GRADINGS
1 2 3 4 5 TOTAL
MAJOR BELOW 181 – 77
G HASLINGER 3 177 B 163 1 W 168 0 W 160 .5 B 159 1 W 168 1 3.5 7TH
INTER BELOW 155 -- 64
J M HASLINGER 16 151 B 136 0 W 132 0 B 95 1 W 131 1 B 138 .5 2.5 40TH
M BAROOAH 50 132 W 148 0 B151 1 W 145 1 B152 0 W 152 0 2 46TH
MINOR BELOW 135—94
M BARRETT 43 126 B 86 1 W 131 0 B 114 .5 W 109 .5 B UG 1 3 28TH
R OWENS 66 121 B 130 1 W 129 1 B 131 0 B 130 .5 W 130 0 2.5 38TH
STANDARD BELOW 115--94
R GREAVES 26 107 W 73 .5 B 93 1 W 111 0 B 90 0 W 80 1 2.5 49TH
A EAGLE 49 93 W 108 .5 B 54 0 W 79 .5 B 73 .5 W 80 0 1.5 76TH
R HASEMAN 59 88 W 111 0 B 77 1 W 110 .5 B 109 0 W 73 1 2.5 41ST
8 club members made the annual pilgrimage to Blackpool for the congress and the bald stats of their games are above. However, these by themselves do not necessarily reflect the ‘tos and fros’ of individual games and whilst the gradings were the latest available, in the standard section especially where they concern young players they can be a little misleading of quality.
I had asked the individuals to provide some narrative comment on games but as not all were forthcoming, in a number of cases I have had to rely on my very fleeting observations when I was able to visit the different areas of play and which did not include any of the last round on Sunday afternoon.
Gareth reported on his games as follows
‘’ On Friday I played Szilard Tamas with black. I got a good position from the opening and developed a strong attack on his king. However, he defended very well and it was only in the ending when we were both down to under five minutes that I secured a win with a powerful knight fork.
On Saturday In my game with Brent Perrin I think I missed some opportunities to get an advantage with white. Instead he took the initiative and got a Rook battery on the g-file. I decided to give up my Q and the g2-pawn for both his Rs. However, it didn't help that I had a hapless Ba2 and he outplayed me, using mate threats with his Q and light-squared B to get his Q into my position to win the game. In the afternoon I had a colour switch to get white again against Michael Parker. I think I had a slightly better position and a big-time advantage, but possibly a bit fatigued, I let him exchange off advantageously. Unfortunately, the final exchange of Qs to get a two B