November 16-18, 2001
THE Scottish chess fraternity made its annual pilgrimage to the gateway to the Highlands at the weekend for the 8th Oban Congress, held at the Royal Hotel. What first started as a "little social event" to help commemorate the 60th anniversary of Oban Chess Club in 1993, has now grown in stature to become one of the most popular tournaments on the UK Grand Prix circuit.
As ever, Oban bucks the trend in attendance numbers due to the legendary local hospitality. This year the congress had a record-breaking entry of 166 (which coupled with accompanying family and friends boosted the numbers to over 300) that booked out the Royal Hotel for the whole weekend.
With additional support and backing of over 40 local businesses which raised over 1,500(UK) in prize money for the four sections, this allowed congress director Jonathan Davies, and his enthusiastic committee, to yet again put on another memorable weekend at Oban.
As in previous years, the winners from each of the four sections go home with a unique memento of their victory with a unique glass trophy, especially hand-crafted for the tournament by Caithness Glass. The four recipients being GM Colin McNab who was the outright winner of the Open, and, on Sum Of Opponents Score in the other sections, Walter Mather, Douglas Heatlie and Stuart Crosbie.
Prizewinners Open: 1 GM C McNab (Dundee & Victoria) 4.5/5; 2-5 IM S Mannion (Cathcart), A Stalker (Holy Cross), S Tweedie (Holy Cross), C Macdonald (Stirling) 3.5. Challengers: 1-5 W Mather (Grangemouth), K Feighan (Grangemouth), D Hall (Perth), D McKerracher (Harrogate), R Evans (Glasgow Montrose) 4/5. Major: 1-3 D Heatlie (Wandering Dragons), O Graham (Nottingham), M Jones (England) 4.5/5. Minor: 1-2 S Crosbie (Edinburgh West), N Grant (Bon Accord) 4.5/5.
A Grant - C McNab Oban Congress, (4) English Opening 1 c4 e5 2 g3 d6 3 Bg2 g6 4 Nc3 Bg7 5 d3 f5 6 Nf3 Nf6 7 0-0 0-0 8 Rb1 Kh8 9 b4 c6 10 b5 Qc7 11 a4 Nbd7 12 Ba3 h6 13 a5 c5 14 a6 Nb6 15 Bb2 Kh7 16 Nd2 Rb8 17 axb7 Bxb7 18 Bxb7 Rxb7 19 e4 Qc8 20 f3 h5 21 Nb3 Rbf7 22 Qe2 Ne8 23 Ra1 Bh6 24 Nd5 Nxd5 25 exd5 f4 26 Qg2 fxg3 27 hxg3 Be3+ 28 Kh2 Ng7 29 Rae1 Nf5 30 Qh3 Nxg3 (31 Kxg3 [31 Qxg3 Bf4] 31 ..Rxf3+ 32 Rxf3 Rxf3+ 33 Kxf3 Qxh3+) 0-1