Last Monday evening the chess players of Calderdale gathered at Hebden Bridge Chess Club for the first round of the 2010-11 edition of the Calderdale Individual Championship. The Trades Club has hosted the Championship for a number of years now and, in the past this geographical location may have deterred some of the eligible players from further down the valley from taking part. That was certainly not the case this year however as the competition attracted the strongest field for years in terms of both quality (6 players graded over 150) and quantity (43 entrants).
Certainly the ordnance at the top end of the field is pretty impressive. Headed by the 200 rated Darwin Ursal, who is Halifax’s new recruit and then followed by Chris Booth from Huddersfield, our very own Dave Wedge, who is the reigning Champion from the last two seasons, and Matthew Parsons, Courier’s John Morgan and Alastair Wright, the Hebden Bridge ‘A’ team Captain.This represents the sternest of tests and must surely produce plenty of high quality chess and bags of tension as the rounds progress.
The strength at the top of the field this year also had another consequence. It turned the first round into a bit of a procession. In the last few years there have been some notable surprises with lower ranked players drawing, and on occasion even beating, some of their so called ‘betters’. This was not the case this year as the top half of the draw won every game against the bottom half who left with not even a half point to show for their labours. To be sure there were some close run contests. John Morgan survived an almighty scare against Barrie Wadsworth and Matthew Parsons had to work very hard to grind down Brian Corner.
Sadly, your correspondent is not participating in this year’s competition due to a planned vacation that will mean I am away for the final round (the only one in which a half point bye is not permitted). All this having sneakily arranged the departure for the second week in March thinking that the competition would take place (has it has done for years) on the first Monday of each month. I must have a stern word with the League fixture secretary! Ah well, at least readers of this blog will have a dedicated reporter for the duration of the tournament. I shall do my best to regale you with the story of the tournament round by round. Sadly, there was not a great deal of top quality fayre from round 1 with most games being decided by blunders or oversights. We also ran out of carbon copy score sheets and so I was only able to collect a limited number of games from the top few boards and of those a decent number were impossible to decipher!
A comprehensive list of entrants and results can be found by selecting the ‘Calderdale Individual Championships 2010-11’ tab at the top of the page. The next round is on Monday, December the 13th and we will have a brand new batch of score sheets with which to capture proceedings.