Scarborough chess congress 2015

Steve Larkin was the one club member to attend this event, which had a total of 330 participants spread over five sections. Steve was competing in the Foundation event, for players graded under 121. His grade of 111 ranked him 23rd of the 80 players involved. Round 1 on the Friday evening brought a simple win in 11 moves against Junges-Stair (Morpeth estimated grade 91). Round 2 on the Saturday morning produced what was arguably Steve’s biggest blunder of the weekend, when he convinced himself that his opponent, Morven Petrie (East Kilbride 100), could force a draw by repetition, when this was not in fact the case and Steve was a bishop up. Not surprisingly, his offer of a draw was accepted with alacrity! Saturday afternoon brought a long, hard game against Peter Brannan (Ecclesall 99), who accrued a one pawn advantage and proceeded to press with a pair of connected passed pawns. More by luck than good judgement, Steve managed to hang on for a draw. Sunday morning saw another hard game, this time against James Waddington (Bolton 95). Steve gained a pawn in the middle-game and went on to achieve a won endgame with two passed pawns. At this point a final score of 4/5 was on the cards and so it should have proved, for Steve’s final opponent, Kenneth Parkin (Enigma 97) – yes, Larkin versus Parkin! – played the opening terribly. Steve pressed hard but proceeded to play the ending even worse than Kenneth’s opening, finally succumbing to a passed pawn which could not be stopped. So in the end it was 3/5, which sounds OK till you reflect that every one of Steve’s opponents was graded 100 or below, that in round 2 he succeeded in turning a clear win into a draw, and that in round 5 he blew what should have been a decisive lead. If only one could see at the time even a fraction of the possibilities which Fritz points out later!

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