Edinburgh Congress

April 14-16, 2000

Edinburgh & Lothians Chess Association Millennium Chess Congress

George Heriot's School, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh

A cool head nets a cool grand!

Almost 300 players were packed into the Main Hall at George Heriot's School for Edinburgh's Millennium Chess Congress. With the support of local businesses and the Lothian & Edinburgh Enterprise Ltd, prize money of £3600 was at stake and a first prize of £1000 to be won. The tension was palpable.

The Congress Director, David Stewart, believes that offering only a first and second prize in all events dissuades players from seeking tactical draws. It's his answer to Walter Pearson's three points for a win!

David was certainly vindicated at the Millennium Congress with Ian Robertson's first round defeat of Steve Mannion. Accelerated pairings brought the early leaders, GM Jonathan Rowson and IM John Shaw, together. Their game went to the wire, a draw agreed with only seconds remaining on their clocks.

In round 4, an all-ladies match produced the shock of the Congress. Carey Wilman beat WGM Keti Arakhamia- Grant winning the Giant Killing Prize with a grading difference of 485.

Concurrently, Dundee's Eddie Spencer was disposing of Irish IM Mark Orr.

The final round was a tense affair. The thought of the rich rewards of victory eventually affecting the players. A pawn down, Carey Wilman displayed great tenacity to hold Jonathan Rowson until the latter stages of the quickplay finish.

The focus switched to John Shaw's valiant efforts to share first prize with him. His encounter with IM Douglas Bryson had the spectators jostling for good vantage points. Douglas seemed to have gained the upper hand but in the latter stages he inexplicably fell behind on time. Could John yet snatch victory in the time scramble? Most could only guess who was winning.

All they could hear behind the layers of spectators was the noise of two woodpeckers testing the stability of their clocks as both flags hovered over seven o'clock both locally and nationally. The Bryson 'jumper' however was revelling in a series of forks that left John's King alone and out of time.

Jonathan Rowson could safely begin to dream of how to spend a cool 'grand' - the highest ever prize awarded at a weekend congress.

In the other events the final outcome was just as uncertain. In the Challengers, David Wallace spurned an offer of a draw from Ali Obay to turn a double-edged match into an outright victory and a £250 prize.

After taking a bye on Friday evening Holy Cross schoolboy, Steven Tweedie, won all his games to take the Bishops event.

Colin Horne of Edinburgh took the Under 14 trophy for youngsters with a grading limit of 1000.

With a grade of 880, Charles Curry of Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen could have played in the Under 14 event. Instead he shared first place in the Knights while, in the Major, Campbell Dougan, exhibiting some of the benefits of retirement, shared the spoils with his younger opponents in the Major.

A special thanks to the arbiters: Alex McFarlane, Donald Wilson, Rod Tweedie, Gavin Saxton, Peter Vangelov and Jim Wallace. Controlling and pairing fifty to sixty players each is no picnic!

Edinburgh & Lothians Chess Association Millennium Chess Congress - 14 to 16 April 2000 George Heriot's School, Lauriston Place, Edinburgh


Open (Prizes: £1000, £500 + 2 x £100 Grading Prizes) 1 GM Jonathan Rowson (Edinburgh) 4½/5 ; 2= IM Douglas Bryson (Shettleston), Craig Hanley (Lancaster) 4/5 Grading Prize (under 2100) & Giant Killing Prize £50 Carey Wilman (Castlehill) 3½/5 Grading Prize (under 1900)= Michael Ford (Lasswade), Raymond Wynarczyk (Northumberland) 2½/5 U18 Edinburgh Evening News Cup £50 + Book Prize WFM Elaine Rutherford J16 (Edinburgh) 2/5 Best Game Prize £50= Michael Ford (Lasswade), Graeme Nolan (Shettleston) Prize Draw £50 John Warren (Perth)

Challengers (Prizes: £250, £140 + £50 Grading Prize) 1 David Wallace (Wandering Dragons) 4½/5 2= John Garnett (Elmwood), Ali Obay (Edinburgh), Eoin Campbell (Wandering Dragons), Duncan Campbell (Oban), Ian McLean (Balerno), Mike Cavanagh (Bon Accord), Rudolf Austin (Edinburgh Civil Service) 4/5 Grading Prize Michael Bramson (Leeds) 3½/5

Major (Prizes: £250, £125 + £50 Grading Prize) 1= Campbell Dougan (Cathcart), George MacKay (Newmachar), Bryan Shepka J15 (Holy Cross) 4½/5 Grading Prize Richard Birkett (Inverness) 4/5

Bishops (Prizes: £250, £125 + £50 Grading Prize) 1 Steven Tweedie J12 (Holy Cross) 4½/5 2= William Porter (Wandering Dragons), Alex Stewart (Bon Accord), James Baillie (Glerothes), Stuart McKinney (Wester Hailes), Peter Doris (Wester Hailes) 4/5 Grading Prize= Mark Monaghan (Livingston), Robert Gilbert (Edinburgh Civil Service) 3½/5

Knights (Prizes: £250, £125 + £50 Grading Prize) 1= Derek Rooney J13 (Holy Cross), C McKnight (Edinburgh University), Charles Curry J12 (Robert Gordon's) 4½/5 Grading Prize= Sandy Enoch J13 (Bon Accord), Keir Harding (Sandy Bell's) 3½/5

Under 14 Allegro (Prizes: £20+Trophy; £10, £5 & medals + Easter eggs & badges for all players) 1 Colin Horne J12 (Edinburgh) 5/5 2 Kathleen Rutherford J10 (Edinburgh) 4/5 3 Robert Stronagh J12 (Boroughmuir) 3/5

Photos below by Mike Shepherd

Jonathan Grant (Edinburgh West) v John Shaw (Kilmarnock)
L to R: Keti Arakhamia, Ian Robertson, Mark Orr, Andrew Muir
Mike Shepherd (left front)
Elaine Rutherford (Edinburgh) plus controllers Gavin Saxton, Ron Tweedie
Elaine Rutherford (Edinburgh) receives prize from Hugh Flockart with Dave Stewart and Gavin Saxton in background
Grant v Shaw (foreground) with Rowson v Hanley behind