The Torbay Congress came to an end this evening after a smooth passage throughout the weekend. A greater strain was put on the backroom running, as Congress Secretary, Ray Chubb, was laid out on his settee at home, gingerly getting acquainted with his new hip bone.
In common with other similar events, the overall entry was a little down on recent years, but the strength of the Open Section was beefed up considerably in the minutes before Kick Off on Friday evening, when first GrandMaster Keith Arkell walked in the hall unnanounced, followed a little later by IM Chris Beaumont, who, having no opponent available to play him, got a full point bye.
By the start of the final round, Arkell led the field by a half point from a number of strong contenders. He was drawn against the current West of England Champion, Paul Helbig, and concentrated on keeping things uncomplicated as he simplified down to an endgame with 2 rooks and a minor piece each that he turned into a relatively quick win, so guaranteeing him clear 1st.
Details of the prizelist were as follows (all scores out of 5 pts.):-
1st Keith Arkell (231) Paignton 4.5 pts. £200
2nd= Chris Beaumont (208) Bristol; Jeremy Menadue (185) Truro; Allan Pleasants (185) Weymouth & John Wheeler (185) Cosham: all 3.5 pts. £35 each.
Grading prizes: (184 – 175 inc.)
Dominic Bennett (182) Bristol & Dave Sully – Penarth both 4 pts. £40 each.
U-175: 1st= R. J. Webster (167) W. Bridgford; D. Twine (170) Plymouth & R. Thompson (173) Newton Abbot: all 3.5 pts and £10 each.
Major Section (U-170):
1st J. Waterfield (167) Bristol 4.5 pts. £110
2nd J. Nyman (159) Surrey 4 pts. £70
3rd= W. Ingham (164) Teignmouth & M. Harris (167) Newcastle-Under-Lyme 3.5 pts. £20 each.
Grading prizes (U-160):
I. S. Annetts (155) Tiverton; C. Woolcock (155) Barry & J. Ayres (159) Scarborough. 3 pts. £10 each.
U-154: J. Leung (145) Newton Abbot 3 pts. £30
Intermediate Section (U-150):
1st= P. Willcock (149) Wimborne & C. E. Keen (131) Exeter 4.5 pts. £90 each
3rd E. B. Sandercock (146) Bucks 4 pts. £40
Grading prizes (139 – 130):
C. Strong Clevedon £30
U-130: 1st= M. Probert (123) White Knights & P. Foster (121) Medway 3.5 pts. £15 each.
Minor Section (U-120):
1st= P. Saunders (110) Bristol 4.5 pts. £90 each.
3rd= M. Cuggy (115) Brixham & K. C. Spooner (118) Wimborne 4 pts. £20 each.
Grading prizes (109 – 94):
1st= N. Mackie (100) Bournemouth & J. Wallman (108) Dorset. 4 pts. £30 each.
(U-94): 1st= J. Fraser (u/g) TBGS; M. Haines (88 ) Chard & T. J. Hay (93 ) Teignmouth £10 each.
Of all the several areas within the Riviera complex, the Rosetor Room would appear to be by far the most suitable for this particular event. It is large enough to accommodate all sections with enough space between rows to allow people to wander and look at other games. It is thickly carpeted throughout, eliminating the distractions of creaking floorboards, chair-scraping and loud footsteps, while the general acoustics tend to muffle even whispered conversations. At each end of the room there is a recessed area, one suitable for the bookstall and the other used for analysis and light refreshment, yet these possible sources of noise make no difference to the general hush throughout the room. But it is only recently that this room has been made available to the congress – let’s hope it continues.
And now for some scenes from the battlefront: