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Archive for August 3rd, 2013

100th British – Rd. 6

The Rd. 6 draw for the top 5 games on the demonstration boards was as follows:-

Bd. White       Black  
1 Howell  1 Wells
2 Hebden  .5  .5 Gordon
3 Williams 4  .5  .5 Hawkins 4
4 Mackle 4  .5  .5 Lalic 4
5 Arkell  1  0 Fernandez 4

Peter Wells joins the top table after his win against Kosten, as does Dominic Mackle after his win over Gary Lane. The other newcomer was Keith Arkell.

Mark Hebden receives his Best Game prize from Chief Arbiter David Welch .

Howell v Wells.

Arkell v Fernandez.

Mackle v Lalic

Williams v Hawkins.

Of these 5 games, Howell kicked on with a win to put himself in a clear lead on 5.5. The Hebden v.  Gordon draw put them 2nd=, while there is a whole phalanx of 9 players on 4.5, as some fell back with draws allowing winners like Arkell, Ghasi and Kosten to make up ground with wins. Though undefeated, defending champion Gawain Jones has conceded 4 draws, and needs a good 2nd week to get back in contention.

Guess what! The Seniors' Championship stated today. Ken Norman has the T-shirt and is playing Devon match captain, Brian Hewson. (1-0)

Senior chess activity is becoming so popular that new grade-limited sections have been introduced to cater for the number involved. So as well as the 65 players in the main section, there are 24 in the U-130 Seniors section and 19 in the U-150. Do the maths and that’s 108 entries in total . This latter tournament was held during the 1st week, allowing these stronger players to enter the Open section as well if they so wished, while the U-130s are held concurrent with the main section.

The U-150 was won by local player, John Gorodi, who has a grade of 159. How so? Well, that’s his new grade, whereas his grade when entering was 141. In circumstances like this it would be very hard, for example,  to deny a player whose grade had just gone up from 129 to 131 a place in the U-130, after he/she had taken a special week off work and booked his hotel room for Week 2. Anyone who thinks Gorodi was, perhaps a little lucky in this respect, should bear in mind the fact that he suffered a nasty car crash on his way home on the Wednesday evening and was barely strong enough to travel in to play for the last 2 rounds, and could barely walk up to collect his trophy. (see below).

John Gorodi, inaugural British Seniors U-150 Champion receiving his tropy from ECF President, Roger Edwards.

100th British – Rd. 5

The afternoon started with the announcement of Andrew Martin’s Rd. 4 Game of the Day, which went to Tony Kosten for his win over Danny Gormally, one of his less difficult decisions.

Unlike yesterday, when the outcomes of the top 5 games had a bit of everything, today’s results had a certain unformity – i.e. four White wins.

Bd. White     Black  
1 Gordon ½ ½ Howell 19
2 Hebden 1 0 Ghasi 48
3 Wells 1 0 Kosten 39
4 Hawkins 1 0 Eggleston 39
5 Fernandez 1 0 Gormally 81

The Gordon – Howell game was a risk-averse affair, as one might have expected, as it keeps them in joint 1st place, but they are now joined by Hebden and Wells on 4.5/5. It’s always the case that a player’s fortunes can swing wildly at this stage in the tournament – towards the end of the first week. It seems but a few hours ago that Gormally was joint leader with a 100% score; now, after consecutive losses he’s little higher than 50%. Defending Champion, Gawain Jones, started brightly with a Game of the Day win, but after 3 draws, he was playing almost unnoticed amongst the crowd (Bd. 11) – riding in the peleton, to use a Tour de France analogy, but nothing a couple of wins won’t put right. 

Kosten receiving his Game of the Day cheque from Alex McFarlane.

Stephen Gordon makes his move against David Howell.

Hebden re-joins the leaders after beating Ghasi.

Wells joins the leading pack after beating Kosten.

Hawkins keeps in touch with a win over Eggelston.

Consecutive losses for Gormally will keep him off the top tables for a while.

The Gambit – a one-act play: 

Stewart Reuben has arranged for 6 performances of a chess-based play to be performed on the Friday and Saturday.

The play’s origins can be found when, at a creative writing workshop, the author, Mark Reid, was tasked with finding a story in the newspapers and using that as a basis for a script. He chanced on an article on the relationship between the two former world chess champions, Anatoly Karpov and his successor, Garry Kasparov. Karpov was a protégé of the Soviet Communist system in contrast to the more free-thinking, outspoken, Western-influenced Garry Kasparov. This relationship was fractured after their world championship match in which Karpov had a big lead which was gradually being whittled away as he apparently weakened under the pressure of the younger Kasparov’s late charge. Suddenly, with Karpov on the verge of being overtaken, the match was stopped on the grounds of Karpov’s physical and mental exhaustion. Kasparov suspected political interference behind the scenes, the authorities not wishing their man to be overthrown by someone they regarded as a “loose cannon”.

At the time, the author was also experiencing a broken friendship, so could empathise with their situation, and the idea for the play was thus germinated.

The play starts 25 years after their feud with Kasparov, played by Nick Pearce, visiting his old adversary (played by Ben Rigby) in his flat. Their 50 minute dialogue explores the breakdown in the relationship between them, but asks the question as to which direction Russia should go as the old Soviet system breaks down. As we know, Kasparov today is very active in Russian politics, tending towards the anti-establishment.

The set is minimal – just two chairs, a table, chess board and set. As they talk, they play the moves of what is clearly the last game of their 1985 match.

Having the kind of brain he possesses, Stewart Reuben was not simply content to arrange for 5 performances in the Riviera, but though it a good idea to have the play performed on 

Karpov & Kasparov start to replay their game.

Receiving the plaudits.

l-r: Kasparov (Nick Pearce) & Karpov (Ben Rigby) with author, assemble for a unique performance on the Big Wheel.

Helen Evans joins in as the audience of one.

Clearly wondering if this was such a good idea!

With captive audience.

Off they go.