The 39th Kidlington Chess Tournament was held at Exeter Hall, Kidlington on 4 & 5 February. We had 161 starters this time, fewer than last year’s exceptionally high number, but nevertheless reasonably good. There were 24 starters in the top section (Under-225), 42 in the U180, 44 in the U145 section, and 51 in the U120. Competitors ranged in age from 6 up to 88.
Though Priscilla Morris was unable to return from acting as a controller in Gibraltar until Sunday to take charge of the U145 section, we were very pleased to have Andrew Varney deputize for her on the Saturday, joining our other regular controllers, Tim Dickinson and Lucy Smith. As usual, they did their work in an efficient, unruffled, and friendly way.
We had a local winner in the top section, with 14-year-old Pavel Asenov of Witney very impressively scoring 5/5 and winning the £250 prize, a full point ahead of another junior, 16-year-old Akito Oyama (Cambridge City).
Nick Arkell (Stourbridge) scored 4.5/5 to take top spot in the U180 section. Cowley’s Ray Starkie was involved in a three-way tie for second place with visitors Charlie Nettleton and Brendan O’Gorman on 4 points.
In the U145 section, the winner was Stephen Chadaway, who comes from Bromsgrove (4.5/5), half a point ahead of visitors Phil Foley and David Gilbert and Oxford City’s own John Yates.
In the bottom section (U120), Alastair Drummond won with 4.5/5, with yet another three-way tie on 4 points for second place between octogenarian Peter Housden, from Bedford, and two young juniors, Berkshire’s Helen Archer-Lock (aged 13) and Witney’s Bill Read, 11 years old.
Though some of our prizewinners were in their early teens, it was a pleasure to observe the notable fact that octogenarian Kidlington regulars Peter Housden and John Yates shared second-place prizes in their respective sections.
For a complete list of prizewinners and the crosstables for the four sections, please consult the other pages under the ‘2016’ tab. You may also wish to look at a fine selection of photos from this year’s event taken by Brendan O’Gorman (who competed in the U180 section), which he has posted online at http://tinyurl.com/Kidlington2016. My thanks to him.
As usual, Andrew Butterworth of Chess Direct provided the fine bookstall as well as the boards and sets and a number of the clocks we used, and we are pleased that Helen Hackett (Hackett’s Food & Drink of Witney) was again able to provide us with the excellent selection of refreshments. My thanks to them both.
A tournament organizer relies on many other people in various ways to make things happen and to run smoothly, and it is a great pleasure to thank them. In addition to the section controllers, and Andrew Butterworth and Helen Hackett (already mentioned), I would like to add my thanks to the staff at Exeter Hall (especially Bert), to Ian Brooke, and especially to Tom Williams, the Kidlington Tournament Treasurer (though that title does scant justice to his contribution), not only for his work as Treasurer and more, but for all his practical support, thoughtfulness, sound advice, and encouragement through the year.
Finally, my thanks go to all who played at this year’s Kidlington, and to those who made donations to our funds (vital to our long-term survival and our support for local chess).
Next year, we reach a milestone: the 40th annual Kidlington Chess Tournament, taking place on Saturday and Sunday 4 & 5 February at Exeter Hall, Kidlington. We look forward not only to welcoming back old chess friends but also to making new ones. Do join us there!
Gerard O’Reilly (12 February 2016)