3rd Inverness Chess Congress - 2016
Ness Chess Perfect Success
Congress Report by David Congleton
The 2015 Inverness Chess Congress was a fitting, inaugural event to launch the Scottish Chess Tour. Four trophies on offer and each one won with a perfect score.
FM Clement Sreeves dutifully brought with him the Open cup he was defending and returned home with it after securing the title with 5 wins out of 5. Only Clement will know how much of an incentive the FIDE rating of the event had, how influential automatic qualification for next year’s Super 8 was or whether the decision to play all 5 rounds with a view to winning was down to his own character. Whatever the reason it was good to see him not take the easy, quick draw option in the last round.
A draw in the last round would have been sufficient to guarantee Clement outright first place but his victory allowed Andrew Green, Declan Shafi and Kai Pannwitz a larger share of the second equal prize money.
Andrew’s last round victory over Ireland’s John Healy, pushed John out of the prizes and allowed the winner of the Olson-Shafi match to join the second equal party. Kai Pannwitz had done all his hard work on the Friday and Saturday and was sitting on 3/3 but had a prior engagement on the Sunday at right back with Ross County’s Under 14 team, so had taken a half point bye on the Sunday morning and completely given up any point scoring opportunity in the afternoon. His Sunday result also involved 3, with a 3-0 win over Montrose.
Kai managed to get back from his outside chess interest in time to pick up his second equal prize and the trophy for best junior performance with a tournament performance rating of GM standards, 700 plus points higher than his live grade.
Callum Smith, was perhaps unlucky not to take the junior trophy for the second time, having won it at the first Inverness Congress in 2013. A plus score of 500 would probably have won the cup any other year. His success in the Major event, with again 5 wins, bodes well for his participation in the European Youth Championships next weekend and the prize money he collected this weekend means he can bring his mum back something nice from Croatia for chauffeuring him around the country to all the chess events.
Callum’s performance was just as exceptional as Clement’s and Kai’s, possibly more so, given that he was ranked 9th out of 14 in the starting line-up and took out the top three seeds in the first 3 rounds.
Callum’s third round opponent, Keith Aitchison, bounced back from his defeat to win his last two games and take second place outright. Third place was shared between David Cumming and another upcoming junior, Ioannis Dabos-Doukas both with three points.
Yet another junior, Tom Constance, played well over the weekend and while his last round draw was not enough to earn him a share of third in the section, it did earn him the grading prize and a share of the third place in the junior cup with Dietah Connolly Sams from the minor section. Both of them recorded performances of 375 points above their live gradings.
The Minor section saw 5 out of 5 number 3, as Peter Doris enjoyed the same perfect weekend as Clement and Callum. Young Jonathan McKay gave him a scare in the penultimate round but missed Qh1 which was winning. Peter took full advantage of this reprieve and went on to beat Robbie McLeod in the last round to complete the hat trick of perfect section winners.
Jonathan McKay played well above his age all weekend and was unfortunate not to leave with a prize. Ruairidh, however, kept the McKay banner flying, finishing second outright. Third place was shared by Andrew Millar and Roland Fraser, for the “not too old” guard and Nandini Dutta for the younger generation and the girls.
A huge thanks to our hosts the Chieftain Hotel, to John McNicoll who puts up with me disappearing every five minutes and really arbiters on his own (he’s not really as grumpy and scary as he pretends), to all of the players, parents, partners who came along and add to the event, to all those who help set up and take down and make everybody welcome on their Highland visit.
Finally, the Inverness Congress was an idea muted three years ago and without the late Robert Rough it would have been almost impossible to organise. I know he was delighted that Inverness had its own Congress and I know somewhere in chess heaven he was looking down and smiling over the weekend at a Perfect Ness Chess Congress Success.