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13th Newcastle Mini Congress

25th & 26th March 2017
Newcastle Bridge Club

Saturday evening is a chance to gain (or lose!) ground on those taking half point byes, but all the games featured here ended in draws.With white from the left Nic Wright, John Day, Sam Parry and Francis Westfield respectively take on Dave Price, Julian Hawthorne, Jack Healings and Jacob Cartlidge. In Jacob's case the draw broke his duck and gave him some momentum to take into day two when he claimed the kangaroo prize.

Blast from the past
The congress continues to be a thirty something competition, with 37 players lining up for this years contest after various reasons caused withdrawals from the 40+ entry list. Newcomers to the mini experience were Maximilien Launay, Michael Lee, Sam Parry and Martin Chadwick; the rest had previous experience of what they were letting themselves in for.

As usual sundry spectators dropped in; I recall seeing Rich Wiltshir, Richard Cantliff, Reinhold Heinlein, Brian Wagstaff, Paul Clapham, one of Crewe's newest recruits whose name I didn't catch, and Brian Hitchens, who I haven't seen since the league voted to do away with adjudications at some point lost in the mists of time.

Whilst I'm the public face of the congress, others contributed to the event too. John Day liaised with the venue, Steve Emmerton and the NSDCA made donations. Sandra and Jon Blackburn provided refreshments, the sale of which raised monies for the kangaroo prize, and I suspect did some cleaning up in the kitchen when I wasn't looking to ensure a ready supply of clean cups. Crewe and Kidsgrove chess clubs allowed the congress to use their digital clocks. John Day, James Rothwell, Alberto Gissi, Alan Paling and Pete Shaw helped return the club to its normal state on completion of proceedings. And best of all, all the players avoided any semblance of a dispute.

Francis Westfield and Thivyaa Rahulan display different techniques for handling heavy head syndrome.

Richard Szwajkun checks out father Steve's progress against Doug Barnett.

The closing moments of the last game to finish inevitably draws a crowd.

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