Archive for September, 2010

Paignton Chess Congress Simul

Chess venues don’t get much better than the historic Oldway Mansions and it was nice to have a wander around the gardens before starting a simul to commemorate the 60th year of the Paignton Congress.
I played against 31 opponents and had a tough time of it as there weren’t many games that I could put away quickly. Sensing that I was going to finish as punctually as Wembley stadium, I speeded up considerably and just about managed to conclude before the building had to close for the night.
As part of the celebrations Bob Jones has written a very well researched historical account of the tournament which is available Keverel Chess.  Many thanks to Alan Crickmore for organising the simul and many other events in the westcountry including the Paignton tournament for many years.  I enjoyed his son Neil’s wry commentary to one of his games in the book.Adams, Paignton Simul

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Next Year: Sheffield

I have been very impressed with CJ de Mooi, who has put a tremendous amount of work into his stint as ECF president, driving up and down the country to attend prizegivings far and wide and also organising the  Staunton Memorial Dinner, generously sponsored by Darwin Strategic,  held at Simpsons on 8th September.  One of the results of his efforts is a considerable increase in budget for next year’s British Championships.

This year the general strength in the British seemed to be less than I remember, I don’t know if there are any plans to try and restrict the number of lower rated players or those who qualify from feeder events next time, it would probably be desirable for the tournament but perhaps not very fair to players who have supported the event in less promising periods. I remain somewhat baffled as to why players from non-UK federations, eg. Russia or Poland, are able to participate; nothing against them personally, but to me residency seems irrelevant and would recommend only allowing players from a qualifying federation or who are at least in the process of moving to one.

Pairing systems are not a great strong point of mine but it seemed to me that there was little or no effort to limit the difference in average opposition which would have made for a more level playing field. Swiss tournaments are inevitably unfair but this injustice should be minimised as much as possible.

A suggestion I have seen regarding the future of the event is to switch the championship to a 12 player all play all. Whilst this has some merit in boom times I think it would be pretty dire in less well financed years. Instead of changing the British format, I would prefer reviving an event that has been sorely missing for many years: an English championship. This would have the advantage that the new tournament would have flexibility over location, dates and format that the British would only ever be able to acquire with massive detrimental changes.

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This Year: Canterbury

Canterbury seemed, to a rare participant, to be an above average venue for the British championships:  a nice town with a decent playing hall and reasonable accommodation available at the university.  The main drawbacks seemed to be the failure of the university to open any restaurants during the weekend, a move which cost them a lot of money as well as causing considerable inconvenience due to the lack of other options nearby.  Failing to keep the bar open on the last night as they had done on other occasions was probably also not financially astute.  During my longest stay on a campus my main problem was the extreme temperature in my room, until I managed to circumvent health and safety by acquiring the requisite Allen key to open the window more than a crack my room closely resembled a sauna.

Some of my games have already been annotated for the Telegraph, and others will appear in BCM and Chessbase but I will mention an interesting moment in my game with Richard Pert in the third round. Read the rest of this entry »

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