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David Blower takes part in Birmingham Chess Rapidplay Congress

Posted on October 13, 2014 at 11:40 AM

As you can probably guess from the topic title I did not win it! 

The Birmingham Chess Rapidplay Congress 2014 was at Quinborne Community Centre, in Quinborne, near Birmingham on 12th October 2014.  It was my best performance at a rapidplay congress.  This was not too difficult as it was my first rapidplay chess congress.  I do not think it quite matched my performance at the Staffordshire Chess Congress 2014 which was a standard play congress. 

I was the only one flying the flag for Brewood and whilst I considered taking part in the open to pit myself against eventual winner international master Ameet Kumar Ghasi, I decided it would also be more sensible and more competitive for me to enter the minor section for players with a maximum grade of 110.  In total there were 34 entries in this section. 

The rate of play was all moves within 20 minutes plus 10 seconds per move.  This means in reality it is unlikely a player can lose on time if they are winning on the chess board. 

Thanks to Alex Holowczak from Warley Quinborne Chess club who organised the tournament and to all the other arbiters at the tournament.  Unfortunately I do not happen to know the other arbiters by name, and can not find a list of them published anywhere.  They know who they were though, and if I become aware of their names I will edit the website to acknowledge that. 

So how did I do then?  In the list of results below the rapidplay grade of the opponents is displayed alongside their name.  Although quite a few players (including myself) have ECF standard play grades I decided using just rapidplay grades as some of the opponents also have rapidplay grades.  

The club of the opponent is also displayed.  This gives you an idea of how players from all around the country enter chess congresses, which is different in comparison to the league chess which is played at the club, which only ever involves local chess clubs. 

The board match reports are also given, although it was not a requirement to notate the games and I did not, therefore it is relying on my memory.  But it is as accurate as it can be. 

Minor Section: 

David Blower: 


It was the best ever performance at a rapidplay chess congress for David Blower. 

Overall score:  2½ out of 6.  

Position:  21st out of 34. 

Match Results:

Round 1:  Neddy Tsoi (69) (Boldmere St. Michaels) 0-1 David Blower (Ungraded)

In round 1 I was drawn against a junior Neddy Tsoi.  His brother Leo is graded 170 rapidplay and 175 in standard play and plays for the England team for his age group.  I knew I was in for a tough match to start with.  Neddy as white made a mistake in the opening meaning he had lost a pawn.  I then had both rooks and queen lined up on the e file attacking a pinned bishop on e3. 

In response he had both rooks, queen and king defending.  I needed an extra piece in the attack.  The knight needed to hop around from f6, to d7, b6, and c4 in successive moves to attack the pinned bishop on e3.  The pinned bishop had to move to d2 otherwise he would have ended a piece down.  The exchanges happened as follows:  

... Rxe2

Rxe2 Rxe2

Qxe2 Qxe2


In short all the major pieces were exchanged on e2.  My knight still on c4 was forking his bishop on d2 (which was now defended by the king on e2) and a backwards undefended pawn on a3.  This meant I was now 2 pawns up. 

With Neddy having a dark squared bishop I moved every pawn and my king onto white squares in such a way that his dark squared bishop was effictively useless and he had no way through with his king.  This gave my knight the freedom to hop around the board to gain pawns and Neddy eventually ran out of time.  A very good start to the congress for me, with the game going almost the distance. 

Round 2:  David Blower (Ungraded) ½ - ½ John H Pakenham (109) (Warley Quinborne)

As the list of pairings for the 2nd round was announced it was confirmed that I was on the top table.  It means nothing now, but it did make me smile at the time.  A very even game all the way through was level until near the end where we were both left with king, rook and a few pawns each.  John forked pawn and rook with his rook defended by what would have been a passed pawn. 

This meant he went a pawn up and then I pushed forward a passed pawn leaving it undefended meaning I had gone 2 pawns down.  In the end exchanges of pawns meant I was still 2 pawns down leaving me with just rook and king, and John with rook, 2 pawns and king.  As long as I had a rook I was not going to resign, with my thought process being:  "just make it awkward for him." 

That I certainly did, and he later on missed the fact I could take one of his pawns back and I did.  Eventually I took the other pawn with my rook leaving it as rook v rook at the end and an agreed draw.  A lucky escape for me. 

Round 3:  Robert Mantell (Ungraded) (Leamington) 1-0 David Blower (Ungraded)

They say a chess defeat is never wasted if you learn a lesson from it.  That I certainly did, with my opponent playing the Danish Gambit opening.  Robert had looked it up on wikipedia before the tournament started and as I did not know it too well I went with the previously unheard of Danish pastry defence!!  The game crumpled apart soon after this. 

e4 e5

d4 exd4

c3 dxc3

Bc4 cxb2

Bxb2 Bb4+

Nc3 d6

Qb3 Bxc3+


This follows this youtube video on the Danish Gambit opening for the first 5 minutes and was exactly the point of the attack for my opponent:

Next time do not ever play cxb2 as tempting as it may be.  From there I played:  

... Nh6 (to defend against the check of Bf7+,)

Bxg7 Qe7

Bxh8 Qxe4

Qe3 Qxe3


meaning that I had now lost my rook and the queens had being exchanged.  I eventually also lost the knight, and my opponent exchanged down pieces to leave me with no chance of winning.  One of those rare occassions where the match is decided in the opening. Ouch. 

Before the match started as we were waiting to start Robert said he wanted to analyise the match in the cafe area whatever the result. 

David Blower:  "You should have told me you were going to do this before the match started, not afterwards," said to much laugther to those who heard the comment! 

Round 4:  David Blower (Ungraded) 1-0 Jeremy Ho (Ungraded) (King Edward School)

As white I opened up with the 4 knights opening, Scotch variation.  The game was very even but eventually I used my king well in the endgame to end up 2 pawns up.  I eventually managed to use the advantage of 2 pawns to make the correct waiting moves to gain the opposition, eventually getting one of the pawns to the 7th rank with my king defending both the pawn and the queening square. 1-0. 

Afterwards in the cafe area my opponent said he was not familar with the 4 knights opening.  I do not think the game was decided in the opening though. 

Round 5:  Les Hall (81) (Crewe) 1-0 David Blower (Ungraded)

This was the most gut wrenching defeat of the day for me.  Before the game started I was on 2½ out of 4.  I was 10th and only 1 point behind the leaders.  Les Hall was in contention to win the grading prize.  I was a pawn up but Les used his queen, rook and bishop to launch a mating attack with a series of checks that ended up in checkmate as my king ran out of squares to escape to. 

I had my queen, rook and bishop attacking a pinned pawn, defended only by rook and king.  I was only one move away from doing this before Les started his mating attack and at any point if Les had not checked me I would have been able to start my attack.  It was one of those defeats that ends up becoming difficult to take.  That was the end of any chance I had to win a prize. 

Round 6:  David Blower (Ungraded) 0-1 Martin Berridge (Ungraded) (Stourbridge)

Martin had doubled up his rooks before I did to attack a pawn, and although I had an equal number of pieces defending, one of them was the queen and I could not double up my rooks quickly enough.  Martin kept his doubled up rooks advantage throughout the whole game which he eventually managed to use to deliever the checkmate. 

David Blower in the cafe:  "If I win, I win some prize money, if I lose I have had a good day playing chess, and met some friendly people from other clubs who also like playing chess.  Well that's the theory anyway.  If only it was like that." No doubt I was disappointed to end up with more defeats than wins on a day that had started really well. 

2 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses from 6 ECF graded rapidplay matches played. 

The full results and pairings for the entire congress for the minor section are on the following website link: 

From there you can see details of the pairings for each round, the rankings after each round, and each individual players detailed results.  

For club members who did not enter this year, but who may want to enter next year and find out more about the Birmingham Chess Rapidplay Congress here are some useful links: 

Here is the link to the Birmingham & District Chess League website: 

From there you can find the link on the Birmingham & District Chess League website about the Birmingham Chess Rapidplay Congress 2014. 

David Blower reaction: 

Overall it was a bit disappointing to end the tournament with 2 defeats especially as I had done well earlier on in the tournament.  At least with one of those 3 defeats I learned what the Danish Gambit was.  I was pleased with my 2 wins, both of them were quite tough games, and I managed to snatch a draw in round 2, from the jaws of defeat. 

I also managed to meet various people from local chess clubs, Alex Holowczak, [Warley Quinborne] Matthew Carr, [Cannock and Rugeley] Nick Arkell, [Stourbridge] Paul Evans [Halesowen] John Fahy [Warley Quinborne] and of course all of my opponents which is the best and unexpected thing about playing in these chess congresses. 

Switching off between games is difficult but I managed to counteract that by watching the grand prix at the end of round 2, and going for a short walk round Quinborne at the end of round 5.  I decided to stay for the prize ceremony despite the disappointment.  I plan to enter next year as well. 

Categories: Congresses

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