Chester Chess Club Hosts Centenary Rapid Tournament

The tournament begins with Phil Crocker and Matthew Carr on stage and Mike McDonagh below

On Sunday April 7th the club hosted a rapid tournament to celebrate its founding a hundred years ago in 1919.

The organisers’ target was to attract 100 entrants, one for each of the years. After a worryingly slow start there was a late surge in entrants with the target hit with just minutes to spare.

Chester was well represented with 17 players young and a bit older. UK players came from as far as Halifax, Colwyn Bay and Birmingham to play. Internationally we had entrants from Brussels (former club member Tom Wiley) and three of the finest players from the Brombach club in Chester’s twin town in Germany near Basel. Polish, Spanish, Swiss, Bulgarian, Irish and Slovakian chess federations were also represented

The atmosphere was unusually jovial for a chess tournament, helped perhaps by the cut-price coffee and flapjacks on offer. Notwithstanding the pleasant environment, the tournaments were all hard fought.

In the Open Grandmaster Stephen Gordon triumphed with 5/6 closely followed by Chester’s number one John Carleton, former member Paul Townsend and Henrik Stepanyan on 4.5/6. Chester player Steve Connor finished just a half point back on 4/6.

GM Stephen Gordon secures first place, holding John Carleton to a draw in the final round

In the Major Michael Connor and Philip Zabrocki finished on 5/6 with Paul Watson being the top Chester player on 3.5/6.

In the Minor Robert Owens finished clear first on an impressive 5.5/6. Nick Pendlebury was the top Chester player on 3.5/6 with Ben Woodfinden and Jack Yang the top Chester juniors on 50%. Chester juniors and brother and sister Ethan and Caitlin Challoner both did well to score 2/6 in their first adult tournament. Seren Fletcher was the youngest Chester participant also playing her first adult tournament and gaining some useful experience.

Caitlin Challoner puts her Chester chess teacher Phil Skippon under pressure, with brother Ethan opposite

Thanks to everyone who helped make the tournament happen: Mike McDonagh (overall lead), Graham Bromley (finances and more) supported by Chris Doran and Steve Lloyd (multiple other tasks). On the day Matthew Carr kept everything running smoothly and Jixin Yang helped out invaluably. And last but not least the catering provided by Melinda Crocker got many 5 star reviews and attracted no end of celebrating winners and despondent losers.

A selection of further photos follow, and we look forward to seeing everyone again for the 150th…

An all Chester match in the Open with Steve Connor taking on John Carleton
Chester junior Seren Fletcher concentrates hard
All that thinking needs flapjack for fuel
Dave Bryan and Steve Lloyd take the white pieces
Chris Doran and Colm Buckley face off in the Open
Jack Yang deep in thought with league rival Sue Parry to his right
Brombach’s finest players sample England’s finest cuisine
Former member Tom Wiley in action on the top tables
Former Chester member Paul Townsend takes on GM Stephen Gordon
Graham Bromley and Ray Williams ponder their next moves with Phil McKeown to the far right
Paul Watson and Ray Williams in a key Major match-up
Brombach Club President Markus Haag faces John Carleton on the top tables on the stage

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