The Northumberland Rapidplay Championships, hosted by Forest Hall Chess Club on Sunday 29th January, ended in a resounding victory for FIDE Master Charlie Storey, who scored a perfect 9/9, to finish first by a full 2-point margin. His dominance of the event was such that he even had time to look at other games in some rounds, despite the short time limits!
The event, which featured a single 9-round Swiss tournament for a total of 56 players, was run on a brisk time limit of 10 minutes plus 5 seconds per move increments.
In joint second place were Phil Helmsley and Malola Prasath, on 7/9, each taking away a prize of £15.
As winner of the tournament, Charlie retained the Northumberland Open Rapidplay trophy and took away a first prize of £50. The Major (Under 170) trophy was shared between Kyrill Gara (Leam Lane) and Forest Hall’s Mark Younger on 6/9, while the Minor (Under 140) trophy was won by 9-year-old Forest Hall junior Yichen Han, with an even more impressive 6.5/9.
A grading prize of £40 was awarded for each grading band.
In the Under 120 grading category, Eddie Czestochowski (South Shields) won with 6/9, while in the Under 100 band it was Graham Matthews (Hartlepool) with 5/9.
In the ungraded category, it was a tie on 4/9 between Forest Hall’s Sai Kumar and Joe Helmsley, Phil’s son.
The Junior prize of £40 was won by Hanif Zaman of Forest Hall, with 6/9, whose wins included one over Paul Bielby. In the last round Hanif (playing off an ECF Grade of 122) was floated up to play Charlie Storey, and to his credit was the last game to finish, despite giving away a grading advantage of 95 points!
The Senior (Over 65s) prize, also of £40, went to John Marsh (Leam Lane), with 5.5/9.
The event was controlled by an arbiting team led by Alex McFarlane and the ECF’s new Chief Arbiter, Lara Barnes.
Despite a slightly late start (we had to wait outside on a crisp January morning for the caretaker due to a mix-up over the opening time at the Legion), the event soon caught up and the rounds finished on schedule by 4:45pm.
The prizes were awarded by John Wheeler, the president of the Northumberland Chess Association, who thanked Forest Hall for hosting the event.
The format of the event seems to be quite popular, especially with a growing number of junior players, and hopefully this will become a regular annual event in the calendar.