Grangemouth Congress 1998

September 4-6

Selection of Grangemouth 98 games

Scotsman 8-9-98

IT'S funny really, but it seemed like only yesterday that, as a schoolboy, I competed in 1974 in the first Grangemouth Congress. Now, celebrating their 25th anniversary, nothing much has changed for this superb weekend congress, sponsored by BP, Falkirk Council and Zeneca, except, of course, for the age of the players, like me, who habitually turn up each year to play.

Likewise in 1974, the Whisky Company Cutty Sark - due to the increase in UK tournaments created in the aftermath of the chess boom after the Fischer-Spassky match in 1972 - started a Grand Prix system for the tournament circuit in the UK, which was won by Tony Miles and Gerald Bennett. Apart from the lucrative prize, the winners in the first few years also received a bottle of whisky a day for a year!

This same format for the Grand Prix still exists today, albeit with a new sponsor, Onyx Leigh.  Since its inception in 1974, the Grand Prix in various guises has contributed around a quarter of a million pounds to British chess. And throughout those years, the Grangemouth Congress has been a pit stop for the top players involved in the chase across the country for the Grand Prix points. 

This year being no exception as second placed GM Jim Plaskett, from Hastings, tries to overtake current leader GM Mark Hebden, who's in pole position for the 3,000(UK) first prize. Plaskett's dash across the country for the Prix points came to a grinding halt at the weekend at Grangemouth.  For his efforts, he only managed to gain a third of one Grand Prix point as he lost out to GM Colin McNab who took the first prize of 500(UK) and the B.P. silver salver with a perfect 5/5.

Premier - GM C McNab (Dundee) 5/5; 2-3 IM J Rowson (Polytechnic) & GM J Plaskett (Hastings) 4.

Challengers - 1 J Konarski (Wandering Dragons) 4.5/5; 2-3 D Heron (Wandering Dragons) & J Parks (Kilmarnock) 4.

Major - 1 F Stevenson (Castlehill) 4.5/5; 2-5 L Freel (Holy Cross), J MacRae (Crowwood), C Sykes (Edinburgh) & G Thomson (Livingston) 4.

Minor - 1 B Shepka (Holy Cross) 4.5/5; 2-6 S McKinney (Wester Hails), K Emery (Stonehaven), P Carroll (Holy Cross) & D Bond (Balerno) 4

C McNab - J Plaskett

Grangemouth Premier (4)

English Opening

1 Nf3 b6 2 g3 Bb7 3 Bg2 Nf6 4 c4 c5 5 d3 g6 6 e4 Bg7 7 Nc3 0-0 8 h3 Nc6 9 Bg5 h6 10 Be3 d6 11 0-0 a6 12 Qd2 Kh7 13 a3 Nd7 14 Rab1 Nd4 15 b4 Rb8 16 bxc5 bxc5 17 Nd5 e6 18 Nf4 Bc6 19 h4 Nxf3+ 20 Bxf3 Ne5 21 Be2 Qd7 22 Nh3 Rxb1 23 Rxb1 f5 24 f4 Ng4 25 Bxg4 fxg4 26 Nf2 h5 27 d4 cxd4 28 Bxd4 e5 29 Be3 Qe6 30 Rb6 Rc8 31 Rxa6 Qxc4 32 Ra7 Bxe4 33 Qxd6 Ba8 34 Qxe5 Rg8 35 Bd4 Qc1+ 36 Kh2 Qc6 37 Rxg7+ Kh6 38 Qg5 mate by John B Henderson