Ernie Lazenby

Blackpool congress is one of the best run & organised on the circuit as was demonstrated by the high number of players who turn up each year; this year there was well over 400 players.

The Winter Gardens is an ideal venue being located in the town centre and within easy reach of the railway station and hotels. Parking in the centre of Blackpool can be a problem for those using their cars but this is a minor irritation in the overall scheme of things.

The OPEN section had 5 grandmasters, a number of IMís and a FIDE master. The north east was represented by David Eggleston who is now a FIDE Master and he did very well in strong company to finish 2nd = Very well done David

I was somewhat sad and surprised to note that Grandmaster Mark Hebden pulled out on the Saturday after losing and drawing a game. He won the third but these results put him out of contention for the prize money and he withdrew I believe due to illness. I first saw Mark play when he was a youngster at Scarborough in the 1970ís and since then heís been a very big supporter of weekend congressís including Blackpool. It was sad to see him withdraw because he has become something of a roll model for juniors.

All the results for the congress can be found on the Blackpool congress web site and therefore I wonít repeat what can be read there. Several of the games in the open were available live on the internet during all 5 rounds.

Cleveland CCA was very well represented by;

Kyle Kinnie (Darlington) played in the very strong Challengers section and did very well to finish on 3Ĺ. He was awarded a grading prize. An excellent result.

The CCA Chairman Ernie Lazenby found the sea air beneficial and managed to win 2 games, drew 2 and lost 1 playing in the Major section.

Also playing in the Major were; CCA treasurer Peter Ridsdale who finished up with the creditable score of 3. Peter ended up playing some very strong players including an up and coming junior whose level of play demonstrated he wonít be playing in the majors for many more years. Kevin Wilson (Darlington) played very well finishing on 3 Ĺ to win a grading prize. Very well done Kevin.

Steve Omerod (Darlington) was in contention until the later rounds but finished outside the prize money. I did not note his final score but I think it was 3.

The Intermediate section was interesting for the wrong reasons.

Ron Stather (Middlesbrough) and Gary Hewitt (Darlington) both had to play the eventual winner someone who not so many months ago entered a north east congress minor section where prize money was low and lost all 5 games against lower rated players. Maybe the polluted north seas breeze dulled his brain and the fresh air blowing in from the Irish Sea aided thought. One has to applaud someone who wins all 5 games! This chap gave all he played a chess lesson.

Ron finished on 3 points. I am sorry I did not get Garyís final score.

The organiser of this congress do a first class job each year and one hopes it continues for many years to come. No one person should be singled out but I think special praise should go to David Welch, Chief Controller and ECF Chief Arbiter, Simon Woodcock Congress Director and not least to Peter Purland who seems to have been part of the organising team for decades.

Click on picture to see bigger picture

Peter Purland
GM Mark Hebden
winner of the open section
FIDE Master David Eggleston 2nd = in Open section

General view of one of the playing areas
Open section top boards on the stage
CCA Chair Ernie Lazenby CCA Treasurer Peter Risdale and Ron Stather
Steve Omerod Kevin WIlson and Kyle Kinnie discussing a difficult position