For amateurs and masters alike, the Central London Chess Congress has become an important and much-loved fixture in London’s Chess calendar and we were pleased to welcome a great crowd back for our November 2017 edition.
Chess is ostensibly a quiet game, but don’t be fooled. Every match is a clash of ideas, unique in personality and yielding insights into the minds of its creators. Some contests have the character of fencing. Others feel more like boxing, or even drunken brawls. At a tournament like this with every competitor’s pride on the line, you can always expect some good fights.
In this year’s second event, round one opened on Friday 03/11/17 to a very healthy entry list of 107 in the Union Concert Hall—among which numbered masters and members of the Chess club here at Imperial. The event was organized once again by Imperial College alumnus John Sargent with the assistance of the College’s Chess club, and officiated by the legendary FIDE International Arbiter Adam Raoof. Entrants were divided into three sections based on ability, with five rounds to separate them over the course of the weekend.
In the Minor section, recent Physics graduate and former club President Apurva Deshpande (known to all as Appy)—perhaps more accustomed to organising the tournament than competing in it—finished with a respectable 2.5 points out of 5, while a good performance from BioEngineering student and London Chess League veteran Bob Yung earned him 3 out of 5. Considering that this section’s winner, Martin Van Tol, concluded the event with 4 points from 5, Appy’s and Bob’s performances are very promising.
Doctoral Student from the Department of Chemistry and Imperial College Chess Club VP, one Francesco Salerno represented the college in the Major section. Repeating his performance from April, he cruised to equal first in a field of more than thirty—drawing twice and winning three games! Sharing his spot on the podium was first seed E. Xaxiris of Greece.
Mathematics postgraduate Aluna Rizzoli alone repped the College in a typically brutal open section, bravely clawing two points from five against consistently higher-rated opposition. The tournament ended with first place shared between Adam Bukojemski and Philip Tozer, both with remarkable performances eclipsing even the favourite, strong Master Jovica Radovanovic! As in any sport, hunger, physical and mental condition, and luck can be every bit as important as skill or experience.
With an odd number of entrants and many players taking byes, Chess Club committee members Ben Nevett-Farman (Captain of the club’s team in the London Chess League), Thivan Gunawardana (Secretary) and Thomas Donaldson (President) also took the opportunity to play. Salvaging a single draw from six games, Ben and Thivan sacrificed their ratings and dignity to ensure their opponents each left at least one game with a smile, while Thomas swindled a win from an unfortunate competitor in the Open section.
As always, prodigious quantities of tea, coffee, and biscuits provided by the organisers fuelled the weekend’s action—necessitating some frantic trips to Gloucester Road and further afield to resupply.
For a remarkably successful weekend, we’d like to thank: Kristie Thacker and the SAC team for supplying the venue and access to the SAC kitchen. The experienced and ever-reliable Adam Raoof for taking up the mantle of Chief Arbiter yet again. The Chess Club Committee and Bob Yung for setting up the tournament hall and keeping the players fed and watered. John Sargent for booking the venue and equipment, liaising with the Union, and imparting much-needed wisdom and guidance to the committee.
1st Equal: A. Bukojemski, P. Tozer (4.5/5)
3rd Equal: A. Stewart, R. Mitra, T. Rogers, C. Russell (3.5/5)
Grading Prize: K. Shepherd, D. Sutton, L. Sanchez
1st Equal: E. Xaxiris, F. Salerno, C. McAleenan, V. Sagues (4/5)
Grading Prize: A. Pappas, R. Chiang
1st Equal: M. van Tol, C. Bardsley (4/5)
3rd Equal: C. Bernard, R. Morris-Weston, M. Shamash, M. Abedian (3.5/5)
Grading Prize: J. Moran, B. Portheault
Jacques Tivillier also posted some fun game analyses from his games at the congress on his YouTube channel – we recommend taking a look at them here!
Full results for the tournament can be found at: http://www.chess-results.com/tnr310141.aspx. We at the college’s Chess club hope to see you all again next year!