Metropolitan Chess Club

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Hastings: A Valuable Dimension of British Chess?

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The 82nd Hastings international Chess Congress was held at the excellent Horntye Park Sports Complex from 28 December 2006 to 7 January 2007. As well as the two week, 9 round Swiss, Masters Tournament there were traditional one week tournaments (of varying standards) and a standard weekend congress. The Masters format replaced the Premier and Challengers three years ago.

The great David Bronstein, 1924 -2006, once described Hastings “as part of your National Heritage and should receive lottery money”. There is still significant financial support from Hastings Borough Council but the financial support from that source has understandably declined in recent years.


The open Masters tournament had around 100 players including numerous GMs (both UK and overseas), promising British juniors, overseas club players and both George Dickson and myself. George and I are both in the ELO 1800-2200 (ECF 150 – 200) range.


The very varied opposition and Swiss format makes for interesting and enjoyable games for players of our standard. A score of 50% (4.5/9) was a reasonable target for such players. This year, I played roughly half British and roughly half overseas players with three demanding games against British juniors.

Play began at 1415 with one game per day. The rate of play was appropriately slow: 40 moves in 80 minutes followed by all moves in 20 minutes with the addition of one minute for each move from the start. Pairings were posted on the internet the evening before a round thus there was a significant opportunity to prepare for opponents and their weaknesses.

As in previous years, I put one of my losses down to poor opening preparation as Black. Overall my results were very close to my expected performance based on grade.

However the magic of the tournament comes from the people (players and administrators), the place and its British chess history.


Round 1


  Ian Calvert
20640 - 1J Rudd2310
  George Dickson21711 - 0R Cumming 155



Ian blundered on move 22 after being under pressure in opening against a strong player. To quote George " My young opponent will soon wipe the floor with me – but not just yet!"


Round 2


  D Eggleston
I Calvert
  G Jones
24301 - 0George Dickson 2171


Ian's good defensive play in Bishop vs. Knight endgame held a draw for him in 44 moves after he conceded some  pawn weaknesses on move 17. George was put to the sword in 22 moves by a formidable IM.



Round 3


  Ian Calvert
D Muter
  George Dickson21711/2
H Grooten


Ian had a 22 move draw with some innovative opening play but which was level throughout while George had a 43 move draw against a slightly less formidable IM than he had faced in the previous round.


Round 4


  A Wilson
I Calvert
  G D Ledger
1 - 0George Dickson 2171


Ian had an easy 18 move draw in Bronstein line of Scandinavian. George had  poor opening (Bishops Opening) but his oppoent closed out the game very efficiently.


Round 5


  Ian Calvert
R Norinkeviciute 2094
  George Dickson21711/2
J Fraser 1983



Ian had a 26 move draw after some slightly inaccurate middle-game play but was in no real danger of losing. George allowed his young opponent to equalise in the opening.



Round 6


  I Calvert
H Groffen
  A Wilson2056
0 - 1George Dickson 2171


Ian was lucky to escape with 50 move draw after some inaccurate play from move 40. George sacrificed a piece in the opening which 'worked a treat' but it could have been a different story if white had played 8. d4


Round 7


  D Vrban
Ian Calvert 2064
  George Dickson21710 - 1 J Rudd


Ian accepted draw offer on move 19 after playing effectively against Lennigrad-Dutch Bird opening. George was beaten by some fine endgame play from his talented opponent. 


Round 8


  S Chevannes
2093 1 - 0
Ian Calvert2064
  A Pickersgill2093
1/2George Dickson 2171


Ian lost a fairly routine Barry attack game, in 38 moves after underestimating White’s king side attack. Another bad opening from George, however he was able to recover and secure the draw. 


Round 9


  Ian Calvert 20641 - 0
J Macrae
  George Dickson21711/2 S Chevannes 2093


Ian won a nice Q and P ending in 73 moves after slowly building on positional advantages. George allowed a good position to slip away into a lost rook and pawn ending but was saved when his opponent fell for a stalemate!


All of George and Ian's games from the tournament can be played through here





Last Updated on Saturday, 17 February 2007 10:19  

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Chess Quotes

If you put one grain of wheat on the first square of the chessboard, two on the second, four on the third, eight on the fourth, and so on, then, in order to complete the pattern you will need to put nine trillion two hundred and twenty three thousand three hundred and seventy two billion thirty six thousand eight hundred and fifty four million seven hundred and seventy five thousand eight hundred and eight (9,223372,036854,775808) grains of wheat on the sixty fourth square, which is quite a lot. (Using English billions and trillions and not US billions and trillions).