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9th Newcastle Mini Congress
Sponsored by home bargains

2nd & 3rd March 2013
Newcastle Bridge Club

The last round draws to a conclusion and spectators gather around the Jon Blackburn U160 match in which the winner is guaranteed a share of first prize. The Arbiter is easy to spot as he's the one who has to be attentive at all times.
A ninth mini-congress, and a ninth entry in the thirties. Steady as she goes. But before getting stuck into the report proper I must remember the Oscar speech bit and give thanks where they are due:

Home Bargains for their sponsorship,
Jon and Sandra Blackburn for their donation of refreshments,
John Day for liaising with the bridge club to make the event possible,
James Rothwell who helped John and I set the room up beforehand and also helped us return it to its natural state afterwards,
Robert Milner for grading, and Matthew Carr for providing arbiter support,
All those competitors whose enjoyment and thanks encourage me to 'play it again Sam' once more.

I'm always nervous that I won't make my self-imposed timetable for opening the doors at the congress, but again I surprised myself and made it to the church, sorry club, on time, to find a few people waiting for me to let them in. One good thing about the scale of the event is that I know most of the players by sight, and this year I was expecting to make a couple more acquaintances - young Thivyaa, probably with a parent or two in tow, and Matthew Carr's "best friend" Fraser Greenroyd. Consequently I was a little taken by surprise when a body I didn't recognise strode in, being neither Thivyaa-shaped nor indeed likely to be the aforementioned best friend. This I soon learned was Edward Day, who normally plays friendlies at the University of the Third Age. I blame Ernie, but signed him up for the event anyway.

Anyway, after all the usual announcements that people don't want to listen to play got underway, producing the results detailed in the other pages.

As I'm not a 'real' arbiter one of my announcements is always to show any incompetence in an unbiased fashion. This doesn't mean I'm averse to giving the odd pep talk between rounds. Thus before the final game I warned Derrick who was about to be faced by Thivyaa not to be fooled by her youth and charm, but to take care to beat her whilst he still can. Much use did it do - the first time I looked at his game he was a pawn down, and in the rook ending that followed he was never allowed a chance to get even.

My records show that Ben Scattergood was best junior in the U100 section. With him now co-winning the top section I wonder how many people are regretting not beating Ben whilst they could. For adults the moral is simple. You are not being unsporting by beating juniors. They won't show any mercy to you in later life, so get your retaliation in first whilst you can.

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.

Your game is more interesting than mine
U100 U130 Open and U160
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