The most recent edition of the Central London Chess Congress at Imperial College kicked off on Friday the 20th of April, finishing on Sunday. The club officers, returning Congress Organiser and FIDE Arbiter descended on Beit Quad for what proved to be a delightfully sunny weekend.
A from-the-stage view of the playing hall
The event was organised 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. Things got off to a good start with League Captain Ben Nevett helping us maximise the event’s seating capacity, allowing us to accept more players without turning away anyone at the door! Round one began on time with 95 registered entrants in the Union Concert Hall, where players were divided into three sections (the Minor, the Major, and the Open) based on ability, with five rounds to separate them over the course of the weekend.
Position 1: Donaldson vs Jones – It looks like Thomas has blown his lead after a 3-hour epic…but can you find the winning continuation?
The tournament saw the club’s President-elect FIDE Master Aron Teh, incumbent Thomas Donaldson, VP Francesco Salerno, and esteemed-member Aluna Rizzoli brave the Open section, with shock entrant superstar (former world No. 9) and prolific author Grandmaster John Nunn raising the average rating of the section substantially.
(Front) Oscar Garcia Hernandez faces GM John Nunn while IM Richard Bates (behind them) plays IC Chess Club president Thomas Donaldson
International Master Richard Bates and two-time Bangladeshi Woman’s Champion Akter Shamima rounded off a remarkably strong tournament (much to your author’s dismay).
The President started off well but saw his tournament performance catch fire and crash at the final stretch in a microcosm for his academic career at Imperial, failing to convert against WIM Shamima and then losing to a strong player from France, Jules Brunier, on Sunday.
Xaxiris vs Bates – IM Bates is in trouble already, and needs to create opportunities against an opponent 400 points his junior who is playing well. What is Black’s continuation here?
Aron suffered a shock loss in round one before storming into third place with a streak of four consecutive and ruthless wins—including one over Aluna, who finished on two points out of five. Rock-solid as ever, Francesco ended his time on the committee on a high with two wins, two draws, and a single loss. First place was shared by Dr Nunn and IM Bates, surprising no-one, after they took a break from their respective massacres of the opposition to agree a quick draw in round four.
For another incredibly smooth weekend, we’d like to thank: Kristie Thacker and the SAC team for providing the venue and access to the SAC kitchen. Adam Raoof for taking up the mantle of Chief Arbiter. John Sargent for returning as Chief Organiser again and doing everything that title entails.
This is IC Chess signing out for this academic year – we look forward to seeing you all again in October!
Solutions to the two positions above (answers are in white text below, highlight to see the answers):
Donaldson vs Jones
40. g6 fxg6 41. Rf1! (Threatening to promote the f-pawn in short order)
41… Rc8 (41… Rxf1+ fails to: 42. Kxf1 Rf5+ 43. Rf4! and f7-g8=Q+ will win)
42. Rxg6 Rf8 43. Rxf5 exf5 44. Kf2 Kb7 45. Kf3 Kc6 46. Kf4 Kd5 47. Kxf5 Kd6 48. e4 Re8 (loses immediately to a simple tactical shot, but anything else is equally hopeless)
49. f7+ (wins the rook and black resigns)
Xaxiris vs Bates
33. … Qxd4! Nxd4 34. Bxd4 bxc3 35. bxc3 (and suddenly black has strong counterchances: see the full game here)
Written by Thomas Donaldson / Editing by John Sargent / Photos copyright John Sargent