Blackpool Chess Conference

27th Blackpool Chess Conference - 7th to 9th March 2003


Over 480 chess players from all over the country descended on Blackpool for the annual chess tournament that is held in the Blackpool Winter Gardens. An improved prize fund of over £8,000 was on offer. In the Lancashire Premier Open section, local player Brett Lund from Preston defeated Danny Gormally in round 3. In round 4 Grand Master Mark Hebden drew with Zimbabwean Robert Gwaze and Brett won his game, thus the only player on maximum points going into the last round, and thus the only person capable of winning the maximum number of points and the £1,000 prize on offer, was Brett. It was not to be however as Robert Gwaze defeated Brett, thus Mark and Robert finished equal first and each received £550 and the Jack Wolstenholme trophy, with Brett finishing third and winning £200.

The Hilton Challengers (U175) saw Lee Grinsell of Bushberry take the first prize of £500. The Blackpool Major (U140) was tied three ways between Graham Hughes of Chorley and Jannic Konarski and Martin Wallace both of Wandering Dragons, who each won £300. Anthony Robinson was an outright winner of the Southbank Intermediate (U120) with a maximum 5 points. The Fylde Minor was a four way tie between Gerard Chandler of Prestcott, John Clarke of Wigan, Daniel Eichner of East Grinstead and R Hakiem-Zaini of South Tyneside College. On a maximum five points, and thus winning the Standard section was Dave Marshall from Trowbridge. The £250 team prize was keenly fought with 35 teams trying to take the prize back to their club, the winner by half a point was Chorley.

The Sharon Furlong Trophy was shared between Julie Nicholas of Hereford, Amisha Parmar of Stapleford and Vicky Crompton of Swinton. The veterans prize was shared between local players Brian Riley of Blackpool and Clifford Hanson of Nelson.

The report includes a small database of games. We thank Chris Rice from Weekend Chess, Ken Harman and Dave Gaston for analysing them.

A Personal View by Ken Harman...

The long trek from London to the Winter Gardens Pavilion in Blackpool gave me the feeling I should have joined a crowd of raucous women, who had joined the coach at Milton Keynes heading for the Syndicate, Blackpool's latest and biggest night club. It was raining, windy and six hours on the coach convinced me that a half point bye in round one and a hot meal was in order. I had booked the Southbank Hotel, a five minute walk from the Pavilion and ably run by Bob Conroy, an ex chess player from Warrington who had generously given sponsorship to the tournament as had the Blackpool Hilton and Blackpool Council. The Winter Gardens was celebrating 125 years of entertainment and the theatre hall opulent Victorian Rococo at its best. A magnificent setting which took me back to the days of BH Wood's splendid tournaments in Southport's Town Hall in Lord Street in the 1960s. But this was 2003 and after a long lay off from weekend chess I realised nothing much had changed. Mark Hebden and Robert Gwaze shared first place in the Open, Mark without trying very much and with Gwaze fighting for the initiative with every move. Danny Gormally seemed nervous and out of form and with late withdrawals from Malcolm Pein and Ron Moss, it was left for Brettt Lund to make the running.

With four straight wins Brett's excellent play seemed to run out of steam against a very determined Gwaze in the last round.

I am always pleased to meet up with old friends. Mike Surtees now resident in Bolton impressed me with his "Revolutionary Opening Theory" which he considers to be the most important, or was it impotent, I can't remember, contribution to opening theory in the last 100 years. Basically it sees pawn development in a new way - develop them quickly and leave the pieces at home. It reminded me very much of Kmoch's ideas in "Pawn Power in Chess" but this is no fantasy idea like Basman's 1 g4? which hits at nothing but takes into account the dynamic features in the opening - witness his game against junior player C MacDonald who seemed mesmerised by Mike's magic on the 64 squares. If you want to know more, Mike is writing a book on ROT opening theory.

Steve Giddins was another casualty losing a piece in Round One and another in Round Two against myself and then withdrawing from the tournament. This was apparently convincing Ron Moss that he was in bad form and Ron withdrew without even playing.

I was pleased to see veteran DG Ellison still playing so well in the Open and elsewhere Jack Spiegel - Southend's able tournament controller, now retired and constantly falling asleep at the board. Perhaps the biggest change was in the fine play of some of the junior players who seem to get younger and younger. I was most impressed by 11 year old Amisha Parmar from Ilkeston, Derbyshire. She has a fine aggressive style and a good opening repertoire already and has been helped by ex Cedars club player - Dave Levens - who at 64 did well himself to get a prize in the Challengers section. Dave and I were great club rivals in the 1960s when Cedars and Islington chess clubs had the best junior players in the country and both of us are now training junior players ourselves. Amisha achieved a very notable 15th place in the Terence Chapman Group Grand Prixette leader board for women players last year. Still only 11 she has a great future if she continues to improve. See an example game of hers in the attached database.

This was a fine weekend tournament, an excellent venue even if the lighting in the main hall was a bit dodgy and much praise should go to the excellent organisation team, headed by David Clayton, the Lancashire Chess Association and the various sponsors. Chess and Bridge Ltd provided a first class bookstall with discounts every round, but where was Malcolm Pein? It was rumoured that he decided to visit relatives in Liverpool and looking at the inclement weather decided that coming to Blackpool was not the best variation!

Prize Winners

Congress Director: D Clayton
Congress Treasurer: S Woodcock
Chief Controller: D Welch, BCF Chief Arbiter
Number of tournaments: 6
Prize fund: £7,800
Number of competitors: 487

Lancashire Premier Open

Open to all players
Number of competitors: 38
Controller: D Welch
Prize fund: £1,600
1= R Gwaze Athenaum £550
  M Hebden GM Birstall    
3 DB Lund Preston 4 £200
GP 199-185 M Surtees Bolton 3 £100
GP U185 M Burrows Wigston £100
Lady Prize E Rutherford Edinburgh £50
Highest Scoring Jnr. C Macdonald Stirling Trophy
Arbiters Prizes (Three Months Subscription to Chess Monthly)
  G Kafka Edinburgh Uni.    
  C Macdonald Stirling    
Best Game Prize Michael Mkpadi Peterborough   Book Prize
Smith & Williamson British Championship Qualifier
  Brett Lund Preston    

Hilton Blackpool Challengers

For players graded below 175
Number of competitors: 81
Controller: P Purland
Prize fund: £1,150
1 L Grinsell Bushberry £500
2= D Bareham Brown Jack 4 £66.66
  JR Chapman Loughborough    
  R Jennings Rose Forgrove *    
  JSM Lysons Denton and 3C's *    
  K Nicholas Bath University    
  J Robinson Braunstone    
GP 159-150 D Levens Stapleford £66.66
GP U150 G Varnom South Birmingham £66.66
Lady Prize S Blackburn Holmes Chapel 2 £50
Highest Scoring Jnr. D Bareham Brown Jack 4 Trophy
Arbiters Prizes (3 Months Subscription to Chess Monthly)
  DJ Hall Thamesdown Jnr.    
  JSM Lysons Denton    
Best Game Prize Michael Ash Penrith   Book Prize
* Plus £33.34 for part share of grading prize.

Blackpool Major

For players graded below 140
Number of competitors: 96
Controller: C Tillotson
Prize fund: £1,250
1= G Hughes Chorley £300
  J Konarski Wandering Dragons    
  M Wallace Wandering Dragons    
GP 134-130 D Gaston Crusaders 4 £100
GP 129-125 B Brown Clitheroe 4 £33.34
  M Ward London    
  R Williamson Hunts Cross    
GP U125 C Tweedie Holy Cross 4 £100
Lady Prize S Khoo Weybridge 3 £25
  S Chide London    
Highest Scoring Jnr. S Khoo Weybridge 3 Trophy
Arbiters Prizes (3 Months Subscription to Chess Monthly)
  D Laws Tynemouth    
  K Tabner Telepost    
Best Game Prize W O'Rourke Heywood   Book Prize

Southbank Intermediate

For players graded below 120
Number of competitors: 90
Controller: G Jones
Prize fund: £1,250
1 A Robinson Oldham 5 £500
2= S Anandajeyarajah Richmond £200
  C Gallagher Wallasey    
GP 114-100 B McLean Atticus £50
  V Luzajic Leek    
GP 109-105 IB Bryan Kent 3 £50
  JE Blackburn Holmes Chapel    
GP U105 M Beardsley Eldon Square 4 £33
  A Khandelwall Nomads    
  J Wiseman Atticus    
Lady Prize C Sirisena Richmond 3 £50
Highest Scoring Jnr. S Anandajeyarajah Richmond Trophy
Arbiters Prizes (3 Months Subscription to Chess Monthly)
  D Gilbert DHSS    
  J. Reese Runcorn    
Best Game Prize C. Gallagher Wallasey   Book Prize

Fylde Minor

For player's graded below 100
Number of competitors: 89
Controller: S Boniface
Prize fund: £1,250
1 G Chandler Prescot £225
  J Clarke Wigan    
  D Eichner East Grinstead    
  R Hakiem-Zaini South Tynside College    
GP 94-90 C Carter Formby 4 £100
GP 89-85 K Lakhani Long Eaton 4 £100
GP U85 B Riley Blackpool 4 £50
  C Hanson Nelson    
Lady Prize N Thompson Thamesdown Juniors 3 £50
Highest Scoring Jnr. D Eichner East Grinstead Trophy
Arbiters Prizes (3 Months Subscription to Chess Monthly)
  RR Glover 3C's    
  S Lloyd Chester YMCA    
Best Game Prize K Lakhani Long Eaton   Book Prize


For players graded below 80
Number of competitors: 93
Controller: C Tillotson
Prize fund: £900
1 D Marshall Trowbridge 5 £200
2= K Thomas Lytham Ex. £75
  M Tillotson Crusaders    
GP 74-70 V Crompton Swinton 4 £50
GP 69-65 W Jones Wantage £25
  E Khoo Weybridge    
GP 64-60 N Carter East Grinstead 4 £50
GP 59-55 A Parmer Stapleford 4 £50
GP 54-50 S Hardy Leyland 3 £50
49-45 T Brown Crewe 3 £25
  P Harker Hartlepool    
GP U45 T Anandajeyarajah Richmond 3 £12.50
  A Lakhani Long Eaton    
  J Parmer Stapleford    
  B Seal Bradford    
UG Adult J Nicholas Hereford 4 £25
  I Casewell Shrewsbury    
UG Jnr. MP Carter East Grinstead 4 £50
Lady Prize V Crompton Swinton 4 £16.66
  J Nicholas Hereford    
  A Parmar Stapleford    
Highest Placed Jnr. M Tillotson Crusaders Trophy
Arbiters Prizes (3 Months Subscription to Chess Monthly)
  W Jones Wantage    
  J Parmer Stapleford    
Best Game Prize M Tillotson Crusaders   Book Prize

Sharon Furlong Trophy

Awarded to the lady with the highest score overall.

V Crompton Standard Swinton 4 £16.66
J Nicholas Standard Hereford    
A Parmar Standard Stapleford    

Veterans Prize

Awarded to the player with the highest score who is aged over 60.

B Holland Standard Camberley 4 £50
B Shaw Minor Cheadle    

Team Prize

Teams of 5, highest 4 to count.

Chorley Chess Club
  G Fairclough Standard 4  
  G Hughes Major  
  J Joyce Standard  
  A Rigby Intermediate 3  
  D Curzon Standard  

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