|Pete Leonard reveals the secret of his early successes |
for HBCC: an ice cream sundae before every match!
"Intermezzo was not the only person to have entered a chess tournament this summer, though my choice was a much less prestigious affair than the British Championships. However, I followed similar reasoning to his, when I saw the flyers for this event at the HBCC. We have friends who live in York, so I could stay with them and have a pleasant walk to and from the hotel each day.
This congress is in its second year. According to the organiser, Peter Cloudsdale, he had just ten entries last year; this time there were 34, which is a healthy increase. We were divided into two sections: A for those graded above 130 and B for those on 130 or below. A five round Swiss would suffice for such numbers, but I didn’t have his problems of managing the draw, so could simply enjoy an extra game for my entry fee.
Unlike the British Championships, the time allowance was quite short: just an hour apiece for the entire game. As my first game lasted over 60 moves, that was quicker than a minute a move! My target was to achieve a 50% score overall; not unreasonable, as my grade placed me pretty well in the middle, between a highest of 187 and a lowest of 131. I should be disappointed with less than 3/6 and pleased with more.
Everyone else was a stranger to me; in the first round, I drew White against Eric Key. A pleasant chap, I think we both had similar ambitions: to play as well as we could but chiefly to enjoy the experience. He confessed to not having touched a piece in anger for four months; together with my lack of match practice, this probably accounts for the less than perfect, though close, game.
So, I won each morning with White and lost each afternoon with Black. It must be my age; I’m missing my afternoon nap! Still, I can take satisfaction from the fact that I achieved my target and could even have had 3½ or 4/6.
It was a friendly, informal, tournament, held in a pleasant atmosphere; my thanks and congratulations to Peter and Claire Cloudsdale for their excellent organisation. Also to the various winners: of course Alexander Combie won Section A, with Adam Ismail joint second, so it’s no disgrace to have lost to him, either. Section B had joint winners and a five-way tie for third; there would probably have been a clearer result, from 16 players, if there had only been five, or even four, rounds. However, I can understand why six rounds were played; I certainly plan to enter the Jorvik Congress again."