The following report was written by Bill Clews of Leyland Chess Club, joint winner of the Minor section at the 2009 Blackpool Chess Conference.

A report on the Blackpool Minor (or how I won £316.66 and some trophies!)

Round 1 I was black against Dennis Davies (grade 104) with whom I shared a trophy a few years ago at the Chorley Congress. He chose the only opening I'd done any special preparation for but the game was an anticlimax as he threw a piece away in short order:

1.c4 Nc6 2.g3 e5 3.Bg2 d6 4.Nc3 g6 5.e4 Bg7 6.d3 Nge7 7.Nge2 O-O 8.Be3 Nd4 9.Nxd4??

Round 2 Clews v. Gary Clarke (grade 101 - the only game in my life in which I've ever played an 'intuitive' sacrifice (i.e. very little calculation). I simply wasn't in the mood for queen-side pawn play.

1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.0-0 0-0 5.d3 d6 6.Nbd2 c6 7.e4 Qa5 8.Nc4 Qh5 9.h4 Bg4 10.Ne3 Bxf3 11.Bxf3 Qb5 12.c3 Nbd7 13.Be2 Qb6 14.Nc4 Qc7 15.Be3 Ne8 16.f4 d5 17.exd5 cxd5 18.Nd2 Nd6 19.Nf3 Nf5 20.Bf2 h5 21.d4 Nf6 22.Kg2 Ng4 23.Qd3 Nxf2 24.Rxf2 Nh6 25.Ng5 Qd7 26.Qe3 Rae8 27.Re1 a6 28.Bd1 e6 29.Qd2 b5 30.Rfe2 Re7 31.Bc2 Ng4 32.Qd3 Nf6 33.a3 Rb8 34.Nxf7 Rxf7 35.Rxe6 Re8 36.Rxe8+ Nxe8 37.Qxg6 Nf6 38.Bf5 Qd8 39.Be6 Qf8 40.Re5 Qe8 41.Bxd5 Qxe5 42.Bxf7+ 1-0

Round 3 I played the Scandinavian against David Walshaw (grade 101) which fizzled out to a draw in 23 moves.

Round 4 John Aldridge (grade 97) played weakly against my King's Indian Attack:

White (to play)

24.Rxg7+ is a 'sacrifice' that can be easily calculated!

Round 5 found me playing black against Kevin Winter from Halifax (grade 104), the only player with the full 4 points. As usual, lack of stamina had set in and I lost a piece against his Veresov. I nearly resigned but (fortunately!) decided to play on. The position is after my 25...a6:

White (to play)

He played 26.Qd3 to which I responded 26...Rd8. He instantly grabbed my queen totally missing the 'cheapo' 27..Rxd1 mate. Understandably, he looked sick to death - that one move cost him the £400 which he should have gained as outright winner of the Minor!

So, with three of us on 4½, I shared 1st place and won the £50 Veteran's prize. Another little bonus is that my grade, currently 88, will be a little healthier!