The 38th Blackpool Chess Conference was held at the Imperial Hotel on the North Promenade in Blackpool, this year we had 353 players arrive at the event. 66 players winning prizes across the 5 sections with a total prize fund of £6260.
The Open section was the strongest it has been for many years with GM Matthew Sadler visiting us and scoring a perfect 5 points, he beat GM’s Hebden and Cherniaev in rounds 4 and 5 to seal an impressive score. Matthew has not played at Blackpool since 1997 and his name will now join the impressive list of Open winners. Second place went to David John Walker who finished well to score 4.5pts. With 49 players taking part the main prizes were divided up by just 5 players and the junior prize was split between Andrew Horton and Daniel Abbas. The Mike O’Hara memorial trophy was awarded to Daniel Abbas from 3C’s chess club.
The Major section with 70 players in a strong field was won by Alex Gillies from Scotland with his score of 4.5pts ahead of the 4 chasing players Nathanael Paul, Joshua Pink, Philip Olbison and Jason Lau who all finished 2nd on 4pts.
The Median section with 78 players was jointly won by Andrew Hargreaves from Great Harwood and Neil Coward who is based in Blackpool, both scored 4.5pts.
The Intermediate section was the largest section with 82 players and was a 4 way split between Paul Horman from Morecambe, Mark Keady from Brewood and 2 fine juniors Conor Reid from Braunstone and Tom Green from Chorlton all scoring 4.5pts.
The Minor section with 74 players was only decided in the last round when 2 players came through to share the prizes, Alan Fraser from Beckenham & Bromley winning the best veteran prize as well sharing 1st place with Caroline Robson who won the best ladies trophy as well with 4.5pts.
The event went well with no problems for the Arbiters Dave Welch, Alex McFarlane, Lara Barnes, Fiona Green and Peter Purland to resolve. The venue looked good after recent improvements to the lighting in the main playing rooms and despite a few problems with heating the players seemed to enjoy the event. Thanks to Brendan O’Gorman for taking the photos at this year’s event which can be viewed from the link on the website. We hope to hold the event again next year on the same weekend in March but this will have to be confirmed. Thanks to all our players for supporting the event and to the sponsors for their help in hosting it.
– Simon Woodcock, Congress Director