SJCA Grand Prix
SJCA President Resigns
Members of the SJCA Executive were shocked when John Montgomery announced his immediate resignation as President. John has agreed to continue as Membership Secretary.
At a meeting on 17th September the SJCA Council met to discuss the situation and to consider the possibility of a merger with the SCA. John Glendinning gave a presentation to the meeting. This presentation emphasised the lack of development and the duplication of activity prevalent in Scottish chess. It also stated that the key priority should be the promotion of grass roots chess, particularly youth chess. After considerable discussion the motion that "Council should embrace the concept of a merger from July 2001 of the SJCA and the SCA" was passed by 7 votes to 4.
Following this decision Rod Tweedie agreed to become Chairman until June 2001.
SJCA Chess Suppliers Grand Prix
The 2000 Grand Prix was very hard fought with the winner only 2½ points ahead of the runner up. The prize-winners all received vouchers for Chess Suppliers.
1st Joe Redpath
2nd David Sime
Girls Prize Elaine Rutherford
Merit Awards Graham McKay, Kevin Martin, Kathleen Rutherford.
The prizes were presented at the Grangemouth Congress by Sam Collins.
The SJCA thanks Sam, the owner of Chess Suppliers, for his continued support of the Grand Prix.
The SJCA would also like to announce a slight change to the Grand Prix rules. The East and West of Scotland Championships will now count towards the total as will one day allegros/rapidplays. In the case of allegros the weighting factor will be 50% of the equivalent weekend event e.g. Opens will have a scale factor of 2.5.
The Boys' Championship was held in Glasgow from 30th June to 2nd July and attracted 14 entrants.
It was intended that this event would also incorporate the Scottish Girls' title, but no girls entered, two preferred to play at Hawick and another played a first round tie in the Scottish Championship.
Defending Champions Joe Redpath and David Sime were there and as early as round 2 these two shared the lead. Their third round draw allowed James Ross to join them. Ross and Redpath drew in round 4 as did Sime with half-point specialist Kafka. This allowed Duncan Grassie to draw level with the trio.
D Sime v J Redpath
1 e4 d6 2 f4 e5 3 Nf3 exf4 4 Bc4 h6 5 0-0 g5 6 d4 Bg7 7 Nc3 Ne7 8 g3 g4 9 Nh4 f3 10 Ncf3 gxf3 11 Bxf7+ Kxf7 12 Qxf3+ Kg8 13 Qf7+ Kh7 14 Rf6 Nf5 (=) 15 Qg6+ Kg8 16 Qf7 draw agreed.
The final round was filled with decisive results the only draw being - yes you guessed - Kafka v Rigg. Redpath dispatched Grassie and Sime ground down Ross to once again share the title. The grading prize was won by Christopher MacDonald.
1st= Joe Redpath, D Sime 4/5; 3rd= G Kafka, D Grassie, D McGowan, J Ross, C MacDonald 3/5; 8th= G Rigg, G McKay 2.5;
10th=J Orr, N Thomson, D Rooney 2; 13th D Mann 1; 14th G Mann.
Celtic Tri-Nation Tournament
This event came to Scotland for the first time and was held at James Watt College, Greenock. The college providing an excellent accommodation and venue for the tournament. Scotland had won both the Under 14 and Under 12 sections last year but knew they would be hard pressed to repeat that achievement. As only three teams compete two teams of 'Auld Stars' were brought in to even up the numbers. These teams were made up of juniors just too old, parents and officials.
Under 14 Rd 1
Alex Lopez 1-0 Daniel McGowan
Robert Kelly 0-1 Colin Hall
Michael Devlin .5 Steven Tweedie
Stephen McDonald 0-1 Keith Anderson
Ashley Hegarty 1-0 Neil Thompson
Brian Fitzgibbon 1-0 Sandy Enoch
A disappointing start for the Scottish team.
Wales 4-2 Ireland
This left Scotland needing to win at least 4-2 in the final match.
A hard fought encounter which saw the Scots go 2-0 down before fighting back. Unfortunately Sandy's opponent defended well to prevent the required win.
D McGowan 1-0 Suzie Blackburn
C Hall 1-0 Lowri Johnston
S Tweedie 1-0 Olivia Smith
K Anderson 0-1 Huw L-Waters
N Thompson 0-1 Chris Arnold
S Enoch .5 Luke Williams
1st Wales 6.5
2nd Scotland 6
3rd Ireland 5.5
Under 12 Rd 1
Ireland 1.5-4.5 Wales
Ioan Rees 0-1 Chris MacDonald
Gruffydd Johnston 1-0 Graham McKay
Joshua Williams 1-0 Ross Anderson
Nicholas Hassell 1-0 Peter Stewart
Jason Robinson 0-1 David Oswald
David Lovell 1-0 Hugh Brechin
So Wales had won the Under 12 no matter the score of the round 3 match.
Bad news for Scotland before even a pawn is moved. Ross Anderson is unable to play due to ill health and a board must be conceded.
Sarah Hegarty .5 C MacDonald
Matthew Dignam 0-1 G McKay
Karl McPhillips 0-1 P Stewart
Robbie Lunn 0-1 D Oswald
Eamonn Keane 0-1 H Brechin
Lesley Fennelly 1-0 Default
1st Wales 8.5
2nd Scotland 6.5
3rd Ireland 3
Next year the event will be staged in Ireland.
The international with Wales in January will take place in 2001 but discussion is underway as to the future of this event following the success of the tri-nations and the change in rail fares. Children will no longer be able to travel for £2 and this will increase the cost considerably.
Primary Individual Championship
The Primary Individual Championship was held at the Rosemount Golf Hotel, Blairgowrie on the 10th and 11th of June. This year it was reduced from the normal entry of 32 to 24 to ensure that the standard of play was maintained.
Most of the early rounds went according to the form book and it was not until round 3 that the big guns met. There was only one decisive result on the top boards with Graham McKay defeating Calum Forbes to take the lead. MacDonald v Stewart, Rutherford v Montgomery and Oswald v Ballard were all drawn.
Graham's lead was short lived as he went down to Christopher Macdonald in the next round. Peter Stewart defeated David Oswald to share first place ahead of the chasing pack half a point behind. Round 5 saw wins for the favourites and so it was all down to the last round.
Peter Stewart had, on paper the tougher game being drawn against McKay whilst MacDonald was up against Oswald. Though both players fought hard for the result that was needed neither opponent was going to give way and both games ended in draws. Christopher MacDonald was awarded the title on tie-break.
1st= C MacDonald, P Stewart 5/6
3rd G McKay 4.5 4th= C Ballard, C Forbes,G Smith 4; 7th= K Martin, R Melville, D Oswald, K Rutherford 3.5; 11th= E Cruikshank, C Elsdon, G Greig, A Melvin, D Sri, I Stokes 3; 17th= F Campbell, K Miller 2.5; 19th= K Montgomery, D Urquhart, R Watt 2; 22 S Duff 1.5 ; 23 J McShane 1; 24 R Horn 0.
The group went swimming at the local leisure centre, which had stayed open especially, on the Saturday evening with the bill being picked up by the hotel owner.
I thought I would look up the FIDE rating list to see who the youngest player with an international rating is. Unfortunately FIDE do not give the century of birth so unless the Russian Evgeny Aristov (2045) is a child prodigy at age 1 year 9 months he is probably 101! I think the same is probably true about (10)4 year old German Helmut Stadler (2114). Neither player has had any games since January but neither is inactive. Much more problematical are Ba Hanshi (2084), Jinheng Xu (2115), Shaolong Du (2171), Yu Wu (2119), Hua Zong (2115) all of China, and Lukasz Schreiber (2042) of Poland (he has one game since January) all of whom are 9 or 109. So, if anyone knows who the youngest player with an international rating is - or indeed who is the oldest - please let me know.
A number of players took part in the British Championships at Millfield School, Street, Somerset in August.
The most successful of the Scottish contingent was Elaine Rutherford who won the Girls Under 18 title. The Under 18 event was held within the Major Open allowing the competitors the chance of gaining an international (FIDE) rating. Elaine finished in 12th position (in a field of 70) with 6½/11. Graeme Kafka and Daniel McGowan, also playing in this event, scored 5½ and both completed the requirements for an international rating and will appear on the next list. Gordon Rigg scored 4½. The event was won by English 18 year old Richard Pert.
In the Under 11 Championship Christopher MacDonald finished 3rd= on 5/7. Christopher had the satisfaction of being the only person to take anything from the Champion, Abhijeet Gupta of India. Christopher offered a last round draw in a superior position when slightly short of time. Gupta, who was also playing in the Major Open later played Gordon Rigg. As Gordon had been giving Christopher a hard time for his draw the rest of the Scots gave Gordon an extremely hard time when he lost.
The Glorney Cup is a tournament for teams of U-18s from 8 European nations. This year the event was held in Dublin and Scotland did reasonably well. Although we failed to qualify for the top section we did finish in overall fifth place by winning the second section. France were the winners. Unfortunately, Scotland was unable to field a team in the girls equivalent tournament, the Faber Cup.
Stirling Chess Club has recently changed its constitution to encourage juniors to be on its committee and to take an active part in the organisation of the club. George Clark thought it may be the first club to do this. Not only do other clubs do this but I am reminded of the occasion at Paisley when a junior player replaced a former SCA President as the President of the Chess Club. I shall not embarrass Donald Holmes by naming the former SCA President concerned.
In many sports there are disputes about who was the greatest of all times. In chess, because of the grading system, this should be less of an issue. But is it? According to the grading system the current crop of juniors are inferior to previous generations, indeed very few feature on the top junior list published in the grading list. No-one appears at U18, U16, U14, U12, U10, U9, U8 and U7.
Age Top Current
U20 J Rowson 2540 E Dearing 2235
U19 J Rowson 2480 J Parkin 2240
U18 J Rowson 2415 G Kafka 1930
U17 R McKay 2360 E Rutherford 2085
U16 J Rowson 2310 J Ross 1675
U15 M Condie 2230 J Redpath 2040
U14 M Condie 2105 D McGowan 1750
U13 M Condie 1930 C Hall 1815
U12 I Higgins 1735 R Anderson 1260
U11 B MacFarlane 1685 C Macdonald 1605
U10 B MacFarlane 1535 C Ballard 1025
U9 S Halliday 1435 B Hawthorn 765
U8 B MacFarlane 1300 D MacAuley 565
U7 C MacDonald 1050 None
It is certainly true that Jonathan Rowson and Mark Condie were exceptional talents. But even allowing for this Eddie Dearing who now plays his chess in England is in 16th place at U20. If you disregard James Parkin who was born in England and spent his formative years there the top home born Scot at U19 is David Eynon (2055) in 26th place. Certainly Christopher Macdonald is in second place at U11 and Colin Hall third at U13 (behind only Condie and Rowson). Joe Redpath must also be considered a tremendous prospect and along with Elaine Rutherford must be considered the exceptions to a generally downward trend.
There is currently a heated debate within the SJCA Council as to what games should be graded and as to whether the current minimum grade of 300 should be raised. Is coming on with a low grade an incentive or a disincentive? Your views are welcome.
Scottish Lightning Champion: Graeme Kafka (on tie-break from Duncan Grassie, Christopher Macdonald and Joe Redpath)
Nardini Junior Trophies were awarded to:
Primary Christopher MacDonald
Under 14 Derek Rooney
Under 17 Kevin Campbell
Junior Event: 1st K Martin 5/7, 2nd= C Horne, K Rutherford 4.5
Primary (Sat): 1st G Greig 5.5/6, 2nd I MacGregor 5, 3rd G MacLaughlin 4.
Primary (Sun): 1st F Campbell 5/6, 2nd= C Docherty, L Hughes 4.5.
Stewarton Bonnet Guild Allegro
Under 14: 1st K Shovlin; 2nd G Phillips; 3rd M Hudson.
Under 12: 1st C MacQueen (on tie-break); 2nd T Elsden; 3rd= I MacGregor, L Shovlin, J Malkin.
Under 14: 1st C Horne 5/5, 2nd K Rutherford 4, 3rd R Stronagh.
Junior Prize: D Rooney.
Please send any articles for inclusion to:
Alex McFarlane, 2 Castlehill Crescent, RENFREW PA4 8RY.
Acknowledgement: Picture of Elaine Rutherford at the Scottish Championship by Robert Beacon.