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Scarborough Chess Congress 2018

Posted by fellman01 on November 2, 2018

The 42nd Scarborough Congress took place on October 26th-28th, with 306 entries spread over five sections. Tynedale’s one representative, Steve Larkin, played in the Minor section, for players graded 135 or under. Of the 78 entries in this section, Steve (grade 112) was ranked 72nd.

He took a bye in round 1 (Friday night) and on Saturday morning had black against a young French girl, Emma Bienvenu, graded 128 and ranked 27th. It was a long, hard game (three and a half hours), with Steve having a one pawn advantage but facing serious kingside threats. Eventually these were dealt with and Steve was able to launch his own kingside attack, with two rooks on white’s second rank, leading to checkmate.

In the afternoon Steve had white against David Watson (129) from Aughton, who was ranked 23rd. Steve attacked from the start, winning a pawn and preventing his opponent from castling. So far so good, but he carried on pressing at the expense of queenside development, and this proved decisive as David forced his way through in the centre, before pinning Steve’s queen on his king. Subsequent analysis with Fritz showed that, of Steve’s last 18 moves in a 26 move game, no fewer than eleven were deemed by Fritz to be very bad, which must constitute some sort of record!

Sunday morning saw Steve with black against Brian Crofts (134) from Chesterfield, ranked 19th. Brian put Steve under a lot of early pressure and won a central pawn, but it proved to be poisoned and white, with queen exposed, miscalculated and dropped a rook, before resigning a hopeless position soon afterwards.

In the final round on Sunday afternoon, Steve, with white, played Sajjad Dehghan-Afifi (132) from Northernden, ranked 11th. Steve had marginally the better of the opening, but was then simply outclassed by a better player. Having dropped a piece, Steve played on almost to the bitter end, but the outcome was never really in doubt.

So two and a half out of five and the pleasure, in every case, of playing opponents never before encountered, in a comfortable and very well organised congress. I recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been before or who hasn’t been in  recent times.

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