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2003 Congress 12-14 September

Sponsored by: Britannia Building Society, Leek United Building Society
Alton Towers, Cottage Delight
Lafarge Cement, Kerrygold
The Leek Chess Congress has become a regular fixture in September. This year approximately 130 players took part, spread equally between 5 sections.

The Britannia Building Society Open, which had joint winners Danny Gormally (Charlton et al) Colin Crouch (Pinner et al) and David Hulmes on 4 out of 5, proved to be the least successful for local players, with none scoring more than 2½.

The Leek United section was won by top seed Neil Moss (Oldham, 166) with 4 points, with Suzy Blackburn (Holmes Chapel), Conrad Westmoreland (Cheddleton) Geoff Lawrence and David Risley (both Macclesfield) amongst the 6 players on 3½.
Stephane Peddar (Stafford) also beat 50% with his score of 3.

The Alton Towers section was won by second seed Gavyn Cooper (Newport, 124) with 4½ points with Matthew Evans (Cheddleton) in tied second on 4.
Other notable scores by local players in this section were the 3 points of both Molly Moruzzi (Cheddleton) and Jon Blackburn (Holmes Chapel).

The Cottage Delight section featured players with grades upto 102 and was won jointly by Kristian Chesters (Macclesfield) and Stephen Lloyds (Chester)
Sandra Blackburn (Holmes Chapel) and Craig Whitfield (Cheddleton, grade more than 10 times his age) both scored an above average 3.

Newcastle's tenth seeded Paul Clapham won the Westwood section for players with grades of at most 79. Paul conceded his 100% record in the last round when agreeing a draw a pawn up. He knew that the draw would be enough for outright victory and a nice boost to the bank balance, so understandly decided not to risk that in a search for a perfect 5.
Stephen Kelly (Cheddleton) scored an unbeaten 3.

Macclesfield won the team competition, Alex Richardson (Cheddleton) the Landon Memorial trophy on a tie break from Malcolm Armstrong (Stafford).


The whole event was unobtrusively but effectively managed by the usual suspects, with Ray Poole providing such photogenic charts that their quality even survived my camera work - sample below.

Honestly the paper was white, but I did not want to draw attention to myself by using the flash! Any fuzziness in the picture is attributable to me (or your screen), not Ray.

The refreshment table was well stocked and open throughout. Hope there was no breech of the EU working time directives involved!

The fine weather encouraged players to explore the school grounds between games, assuming they had not decided to go further afield in search of lunch. Many competitors commented on how much they enjoyed the format of narrowly banded sections, and left with their enthusiasm kindled for the coming season.

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