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THE 38th Glasgow Congress, held at Glasgow Caledonian University at the weekend, ended in a three-way tie for first between GMs Keith Arkell, Jonathan Rowson and IM Stephen Mannion, all on the relatively low score of 4/5.
The event however wasn't without controversy as last year's winner and top seed, GM Bogdan Lalic (pictured left, photo by JBH), became involved in a protracted dispute with the arbiters with regard to his pairings for the weekend.
We've all known and accepted the particular vagaries of the weekend Swiss, but realistically its the only way to accommodate a huge field in such a short time span. Everyone knows that you are bound to get a raw deal no matter who you are - top or bottom seed. But the basic fact remains: If you win all your games, then you'll win the tournament.
Lalic's gripes are centred around the fact that in successive rounds from 2-5, he had to play the top four seeds that contributed to him failing to get onto the prize list. Since, as in previous years, the tournament used accelerated pairings, he had an early meeting with a GM when he came up against Colin McNab in the second round - which he won.
However, the player and arbiters became involved in an argument over the crucial last round pairings with the prize money at stake. Since Arkell at this stage was the only player on 3.5/4, he had to be "downfloated" to meet one of nine players on a score of 3 (all due black). The Scottish Chess Association's pairing rules (which are modelled on FIDE's) meant that the highest rated player (Lalic) had to play Arkell. If he were playing in England, and using the BCF's pairing system, then he would have been correct in his argument as Arkell would have been paired against the "median" player of the group.
This isn't the first time that Lalic has felt hard done by with regard to the pairings in weekend congresses, but remonstrating McEnroe-like with the arbiter isn't going to change anything. In fact, the arbiter in question had the perfect retort: "Mr Lalic, I don't come up to your board to suggest moves. Please don't try and tell me how to make the pairings for this tournament."
B Lalic - C McNab Glasgow Congress, (2) Pirc Defence 1 e4 g6 2 d4 d6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Bd3 Bg7 5 0-0 0-0 6 Re1 Nc6 7 c3 e5 8 h3 Re8 9 d5 Ne7 10 c4 h6 11 Be3 Nh5 12 Qd2 Nf4 13 Bxf4 exf4 14 Nc3 g5 15 e5 dxe5 16 Nxe5 Bf5 17 Rad1 a6 18 c5 Bxd3 19 Qxd3 Bxe5 20 Rxe5 Ng6 21 Re4 Ne5 22 Qd4 f6 23 d6 Kg7 24 Qb4 Rb8 25 dxc7 Qxc7 26 Rd6 Rec8 27 Rxe5 fxe5 28 Qe4 Qf7 29 Qxe5+ Kh7 30 Nd5 Qg7 31 Nf6+ Kh8 32 Rd7 Re8 33 Rxg7 Rxe5 34 Rh7 mate
Result data compiled by Ken Stewart
OPEN (Prizes £550, £275, £150 + 2 x £100 grading prizes) 1= Keith Arkell (Bigwood), Stephen Mannion (Cathcart), Jonathan Rowson 4/5 4= Ken Beaton (Glasgow Montrose), Neil Berry, Jonathan Grant (both Edinburgh West), Donald Holmes (Crowwood), Bogdan Lalic, Colin McNab (Dundee & Victoria), Paul Roberts (Edinburgh West), Adrian Stalker (Holy Cross) 3½/5 Grading under 2050: Adrian Stalker (Holy Cross) 3½/5 Grading under 1900: Bruce McNally (Edinburgh West), Alan Melville (Edinburgh Civil Service), Gordon Rigg (Giffnock & Clarkston) 2½/5 MAJOR (Prizes £175, £100, £50) 1=Hugh Flockhart (Lasswade), Jamie Mollison (Dalmuir), Alan Prince (Edinburgh Civil Service) 4½/5; MINOR (Prizes £175, £100, £50) 1 William Clinton (Livingston) 5/5; 2 Murray Pollock (Airdrie Jun) (J) 4½/5; 3= Daniel Boyle (Bishopbriggs), Chris Perkin (Glasgow Montrose), Steven Tweedie (Airdrie Jun) (J) 4/5. PRESIDENT'S (Prizes £175, £100, £50) 1= Len Havard (Edinburgh), Evan Wood (Giffnock & Clarkston), Paul Wright (Bankton) 4/5 JUNIOR U16 (Saturday) 1 Keith Anderson (Edinburgh) 4½/5 2 Graeme Cook (Glenrothes) 4 3 Craig Cameron (Holy Cross) 3½ JUNIOR U12 (Saturday) 1 Marcus Montgomery (Bearsden) 4½/5 2 Megan Phillips (St Helens) (G, u10) 4 3 Kieran Montgomery (Bearsden) (2nd, u12) 3½ 4= Kieran Canning (Holy Cross) (2nd u12), Kevin Martin (Airdrie Jun), Frazer Naughton (West Kilbride) (2nd u10), Carine Docherty (Airdrie Jun) (G, 3rd u10), Mark Nelson (St Helens PS) 3 JUNIOR U16 (Sunday) 1 Craig Cameron (Holy Cross) 4/5 2= Colin Horne (Edinburgh), Claire Chalmers (James Young HS) (G) 3½ also Hannah Chalmers (James Young HS) (G) 3 JUNIOR U12 (Sunday) 1 Hugh Brechin (George Heriot's) 5/5 2 Kieran Canning (Holy Cross) 4 3= James McShane (St Bride's), Mark Nelson (St Helens PS), Carine Docherty (Airdrie Jun) (G, 1st u10) 3