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11th Newcastle Mini Congress

28th & 29th March 2015
Newcastle Bridge Club

Top tables from the Intermediate on Sunday morning. Facing the camera from the left: Sandra Blackburn, Andy Barker, Sam Beardmore, Thivyaa Rahulan, taking on respectively Pete Shaw, Dave Price, Julian Hawthorne and Nic Wright.
Just the eyes
Karl Lockett sneaks a surreptitious look at the game to his right.
The blatant approach
Andy Barker makes no attempt to hide his interest in the adjacent board.
I've now run a full football team of minis. This year forty entries became 38 starters.

Thank-yous are due to:
Jon and Sandra Blackburn for their donation of refreshments enabling all monies collected to fall straight through to the kangaroo fund,
The NSDCA, James Rothwell, Les Hall, Nic Wright and Arthur Banks for their donations,
John Day for liaising with the bridge club so as to make the event possible,
The team who helped return the building to its natural state afterwards,
Crewe and Kidsgrove Chess Clubs for the loan of their digital clocks,
Matthew Carr for providing grading support,
All those competitors whose enjoyment and thanks encourage me to 'play it again Sam' once more.

My worry this year was again "do the clocks go forwards this weekend?" Research said yes, so I made appropriate announcements fearful that someone would authoritively point out that he answer was "no". Fortunately the answer was indeed "yes".

Entries combined with bye claims resulted in a cross-section friendly in every round, with a filler also needed Sunday morning, a role filled by Thivyaa's father Raj with enthusiasm.

Despite this being the 11th mini, players are still coming out of the woodwork to make their debuts, this year seeing Phil Cattermole, Karl Lockett, Greg Willett, Kas Capatina, Andrew Barker, Robert Perry and Malcolm Green making their bows. Hopefully most of these will join the ranks of those who can stomach a second, third, ... run out, assuming that is that I find the urge to put on 12th, 13th, ... events.

The event also gave those of us who wanted to an opportunity to catch up with ex-Newcastle members James Rothwell and Francis Westfield, but don't say Jack the Ripper around the latter unless you have no pressing engagements to interrupt his response. PS his book is now available in kindle format.

Preliminaries completed, announcements made, the chess commenced and in due course the results rolled in. Though perhaps rolled is the wrong word, for although I like to think this is a friendly congress, the play was serious and often protracted.

Well done to all the prize winners. Well done too to the rest of the field, for without people willing to turn out and come fourth, fifth, sixth, etc, there would be no winners.

Carry on without me.
Ian Jamieson, standing left, dropped in to watch, but found nearly half the players missing in this subsection. Further Pavel Nefyodov seems more interested in neighbour Karl Lockett's game, and James Rothwell tries the standing view for his attempt to cope with Alex on top board. Not exactly tennis.
U100 U130 Open and U160
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