It was a beautifully sunny Autumn day in Chipping Sodbury town, full of chess players old and young. Organiser John Stubbs drummed up a lot of interest outside of the league and from juniors – many of whom played blitz and bullet chess all throughout lunch!
Courtyard Kibitzing in the Autumn sunshine
There was even an exhibition challenge where juniors would square off against top seed Attila Reznak. Nobody managed to topple him but it clearly tired him out!
Different approaches to mental preparation. Recalling theory, or a headache from too much blitz?!
Back to the tournament – there were three sections according to grade boundaries, with junior and/or grading prizes for all. All sections were a swiss format, 6 rounds, with 20-minute games plus an increment per move.
No smoking – but plenty of fire on the board in the minor section
We start with the minor which was destroyed by the juniors – three of them tying for first!
Youth vs experience. Toby was too quick for his opponent in this game, winning on time
The winners of the minor section – John Skeen, Yuvraj Kumar and Toby Kan
On to the major section, which also featured many new players in amongst the tournament veterans, and was hotly contested as one would expect. The juniors were the stars once again – clearly not fazed by playing all day – or by facing their coaches across the board!
Dave still clearly in opening theory! He was outfoxed this time though
There were no outcries of tournament fixing as Oli Stubbs took down the major undefeated – very well deserved and no doubt a future threat to the open section.
Oli playing right to the bitter end against Adrian Champion. Oli won the major section convincingly with 5 / 6
The open featured more newcomers, with three clear top seeds plus many eager challengers.
Games get underway in the Open section
One of these challengers played yours truly in the first round…
*may not be the exact position* After a long pressing game I had 20 seconds left and missed the simple block Rf6; first spotting a prettier (but much worse) move Rd1?! Which looks like it works, save for Rd5! which Remi spotted – and thereon went on to win the tournament. Oh how it could have been!
As for me, I went on to get 0.5 out of 3 and was contemplating an even worse score than my previous two rapidplays, but I was saved by a bye and then by actually playing decent moves to creep up to 3.5/6 – enough for joint third and the grading prize! (The exciting final game against Lewis can be found here, featuring three exchange sacrifices). By contrast, Remi hadn’t played a rapid tournament for decades – so it was doubly impressive that he took down the top seeds and quickly took control of the event. He actually won with a round to spare as his progressive score would have won a tie-break situation.
Remi coolly converts against Mike from a pawn ahead to win the tournament.
It was a day for newcomers as well as juniors – as new Downend star Attila shared third place with Adam (and myself) and Chris Smith – who also recently returned to the game.
Chess doesn’t stop after the handshake – plenty of different perspectives on the game were discussed after the dust had settled.
Post-mortem between two top players from Downend. Lewis (right) finished 2nd in the tournament with 4/6.
All in all a splendid return of Chipping Sodbury – many thanks once again to arbiter Geoff Gammon, and organiser John Stubbs. The next one is set for April 2018 – and could even be FIDE rated! We will keep you posted.
Oli graciously accepting his prize!
Mike is a regular pretender in Bristol’s top division and can also be seen propping up local tournament ladders. He writes a regular column for the Bristol Chess Times and plays a solid 20 openings a season.