Northumberland Chess Congress

The 50th version of this event was held at North Shields on September 26th-29th 2014. Three club members took part, Alex Ashworth and Steve Larkin playing in the Minor (34 entries, grade 135 and below), while Damian Rudge played in the Foundation tournament (15 entries, grade 105 and below).

Damian performed best, recording 50% over the 10 two-hour games he played during the five rounds. He might well have picked up two further wins, as he lost two games on time. The latter of these, in the final round, was an absolute cracker in which Damian’s queen and pawns were up against rook, bishop and pawns. Sadly he ran out of time when his opponent had just 2 seconds on his clock, but Damian could be proud of the way he played, avoiding all the traps set by a cunning opponent and almost forcing a win with his kingside pawns.

In the Minor, Steve took a bye on the Friday night and started well enough on the Saturday, with a win over Gosforth’s Anthony Neville. However, the afternoon brought a decisive defeat by Graham Matthews of Hartlepool. On Sunday Steve squeezed a draw with Jeff Baird of Forest Hall, but in his final game, against Bill Penny of Tynemouth, he succumbed to a poisoned pawn and said goodbye to his queen!

Alex, while recording one win and four losses, nevertheless played some good chess, losing a won game against Stan Johnson of South Shields on time, and converting a clear-cut draw into a loss by a careless move in another game. His results will certainly improve during the season.

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