Profound thinking at Scarborough Chess Congress: looking for a move in the middle distance!

Bill Ward writes: The Scarborough Chess Congress. The Jewel In The Crown of the Chess Calendar. The only people who don’t agree with that statement … are those who’ve never been. It is the hjghlight for so many, when good friends, and old friends, and good old friends get together and meet up to share famous memories, and maybe even create a few new ones.

The weekend started as Shane picked me up just after 9am, and off we tootled along the A64 (the possibility of snow had been forecast and we decided not to risk Staxton Hill!)
We stopped once along the way, at a Biker’s café just outside Staxton village for a cup of tea, and then headed into Scarborough at around 1pm. We arrived too early to go into our rooms at the Travelodge, so left our suitcases and headed down to the sea front for fish and chips!
After we had filled our bellies it was time to check into the hotel, and unpack our suitcases, before heading down to the Scarborough Spa for some serious chess!
I had entered the Minor. My first game was a good one. I drew black against a familiar face, Dave Glossop of Aughton.

After this, I had to wait for Shane to finish, he was in the Major and had a tougher challenge. After a long struggle, he agreed a draw. The time was around 10.45pm, Nigel Carpino and Andy Lee were waiting for us in The Kam Sang! We rang ahead and asked him to reserve our seats and order our regular ‘Set  Meal C’
The predicted storm had arrived and the rain was lashing across our faces as we waited half an hour for a taxi, eventually getting to The Kam Sang around 11.30. Nigel, Andy and his mate, Mel were there … slightly inebriated?!
A visit to The Kam Sang has to be experienced to be believed, the food is simply divine. We devoured the entire banquet and went out into the storm again. I finally made it into bed around 2am, but couldn’t sleep due to raging heartburn (crispy shredded beef in chilli sauce, just saying.)
Next morning, I had arranged to meet Shane for breakfast, but instead grabbed an extra hour in bed, eventually getting dfown to the Spa for 9.15 and round 2. My opponent was Noel Boustred, who had a good tournament, finishing 2nd with 4.5/5. It was another exciting game

So near, but yet so far(!) I retired to the Farrer’s restaurant for a rest and some scampi and chips, and then returned for round 3 hardly in a fit state to continue  After the exploits of the previous night, and the exertions of the last game I was feeling totally exhausted. This was my worst game of the weekend.

So, no points on a disastrous Saturday. I went back to the Travelodge for a lie down and to get the football results.  The plan for the evening, as was tradition, was ten pin bowling followed by Florio’s Italian. However, after the previous 24 hours I decided that what I really needed was a good night’s sleep, leaving the lads to go on their merry way. Putting the clocks back also guaranteed me another hour in bed … although the Fire Alarm at 6am Sunday morning somewhat shattered this! At least it got me up in time for breakfast, and then it was down to the Spa again for Round 4. Possibly my best game!

This took my score to 2/4. I had hoped for a total of 2.5/5 or better, and resolved to put my all into the last game to achieve this. In the end though, I think we were both happy with a draw.

A rather feeble effort, it is difficult to say which of us was the most tired! a final score of 2.5/5 in The Scarborough Minor, which was not too bad a result. Shane also managed 2.5 in The Major. Given the strength of the opposition,  a much more creditable effort on his part.
We drove back, thinking of our next adventure. We plan to go to the Metropolis for the London Chess Classic. But that’s another story … (!)

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