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55th Northumberland Chess Congress

Posted by fellman01 on September 30, 2019

There were just two members representing Tynedale Chess Club at this event, held at North Shields on September 27th-29th. Jonny Kearney played in the Foundation for players graded 105 and below, while Steve Larkin played in the Minor, for players graded 135 and below.

The format in the Foundation was tough to say the least: 10 two-hour games over two and a bit days. Jonny was ranked second of fifteen entries on the basis of an estimated grade of 100, which was perhaps a bit high. In round 1 on the Friday night he shared the honours with Guy Smith of Peterlee (grade 80) at one win each. Round 2 on the Saturday morning brought 2 wins over Kevin Poulton of West Leeds (grade 68), followed in the afternoon by a win and a loss against Gerald Gregory of Hertford (grade 77). On Sunday he shared the honours first with Paul Richardson of Tynemouth (grade 97) and then with Luke Fletcher (estimated grade 90). Had he drawn his final game instead of losing it he would have finished second overall. Still he was happy with his 6 out of 10, enjoyed the whole experience of his first ever congress, and may have won the prize for most improved player.

In the Minor, where he was ranked 31st of the 53 entries, Steve took a bye on the Friday night, before drawing with Dave Ramsey of Morpeth (grade 123) on the Saturday morning and beating Ian Rook (good name for a chess player!) of Forest Hall (grade 121) in the afternoon. Both games were tight affairs, with just a pawn swinging the second game in Steve’s favour. On Sunday morning a wild and exciting game with Noel Boustred of Gosforth (grade 124) produced a win for Steve after he had offered a draw in the belief that a draw by repetition was unavoidable. Noel declined, believing he could get a checkmate which he couldn’t. Steve’s final game brought him down to earth as Kevin Cox of Gateshead (grade 122) thoroughly outplayed him. Still Steve, like Jonny, was happy with his 60% and enjoyed the experience.

The congress was well supported and, as ever, well run, making it a pleasure to take part. And a nice boost for the two Tynedale players was the presence of Peter Crichton on both the Saturday and the Sunday, offering moral support and encouragement.

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