The 47th Blackpool Chess Congress took place on Friday 9th February through to Sunday 11th February. A five round Swiss tournament, with 5 sections and £6700 in Prizes.

A resounding success organised by Congress Director Bill O’Rourke, with 373 entrants. With the event clashing with a 4NCL weekend, the OPEN section was I suppose more open than normal. Offering a chance to many players in the 2100-2200 range an opportunity to go for the big prizes. After 4 rounds, the clear favourite and in the lead was IM Brandon Clarke with 4/4, in a group of 3 players just behind was Great Harwood’s own Martyn Hamer. A game then ebbed and flowed, mainly in Brandon’s favour turned on move 31. Martyn has a choice on which piece to move to d8. The Rook or the Queen – he went with the Queen, which looks to be the best move, two heavy pieces to push that d-pawn down the board. As we know, Chess can be a cruel game. The engines make it look easy, but I am sure Brandon with the extra pawn would still have gone on to win.

It would seem the point of Rd8 was to free up the pathway for the Queen to come to c5. The Rook on d8 would protect the bank rank, and free up the Queen to get into the game. Easy to say all this with hindsight. Brandon went on to win the game, and with it 1st place. Congratulations to Martyn for getting to be so close – better luck next year.

All the games from the Open Section are available on Lichess, select the round you want to review

Open Section Winners

Rk.NameRtgFED1.Rd2.Rd3.Rd4.Rd5.RdPts. TB1
1Clarke Brandon GI 2579ENG 25w1 24b1 13w1 9b1 7w150
2Raju Sooraj Menothuparambil 2204  16b1 5w½ 29b1 8w1 6b14.50
3Sarakauskas Gediminas 2462LTU 33b1 6w0 23b1 5w1 11b140
4Jaunooby Ali Reza 2246ENG 5b0 16w1 19b1 24w1 14b140

Major Section Winners

Rk.NameRtgFED1.Rd2.Rd3.Rd4.Rd5.RdPts. TB1
1Newton Robert vet1993ENG 17w1 9b1 22w1 16b1 6w150
2McKiernan James 1929  48b1 5w0 47b1 24w1 19b140
3Hymer Barry J vet1964ENG 34b1 8w1 10w½ 5b140
4Evans Paul R 1827  32b½ 46w1 41w1 16b140

Inter Section Winners

Rk.NameRtgFED1.Rd2.Rd3.Rd4.Rd5.RdPts. TB1
1Rughani Mahin 0ENG 27b1 53w1 9w1 3b1 2b½4.50.5
2Murrell Mark R A 0ENG 69w1 19b1 12w1 6b1 1w½4.50.5
3Barooah Michael 0ENG 82b1 20w1 10b1 1w0 24b140
4Jacob Sydney J 0ENG 38w1 9b0 50w1 36b1 11w140
5Donahue Randolph E 0ENG 36w1 26b0 38w1 44b1 19w140
6Lawrence Roy A 0ENG 80w1 43b1 33w1 2w0 20b140
7Ormerod Stephen 0ENG 35b½ 40w1 37b1 25w1 8b½40
8Lamming Christopher 0ENG 52w½ 79b1 56w1 13b1 7w½40

Minor Section Winners

1Williams Ana 0ENG 74w1 5b1 2w1 11w1 4b15
2Bullock Lee 0ENG 78w1 6w1 1b0 26b1 21w14
3Bishop Geoffrey L 0ENG 14w1 7b1 30w1 4b0 15w14
4Szydlowski Sebastien 0ENG 55b1 36w1 47b1 3w1 1w04
5De Block Gert 0BEL 34b1 1w0 48b1 30w1 18b14
6Webster Vivien 0ENG 39w1 2b0 59w1 14b1 22w14
7Jerome Stellio 0ENG 76b1 3w0 40b1 29w1 23b14
8Anderson Torrin 0  51b0 16w1 35b1 32w1 17b14
9Ellis Brian 0  16b1 51w½ 31b1 19w1 10w½4
10White Colin 0ENG 66w1 25b1 20w1 9b½4

Standard Section Winners

1Watson-Mcfie Joseph 14851485ENG107b1 21w1 61b1 20w1 4b15
2Ratcliffe James 14541454ENG 9b1 26w1 47b1 3w½ 20b14.5
3Lloyd Derek 15031503  97w1 23b1 5w1 2b½ 17w14.5

By Chess-Coach

A chess player for over 40 years, I have volunteered with Lancashire Chess Association for over 30 years. Have held several posts in that time, Treasurer, Junior Organiser, Junior Team Manager, Junior Team Coach, Web Author. I have managed the Lancashire Chess Association websites since 1997.