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November 21-23, 2003

The 10th Oban chess congress took place this weekend in the Royal Hotel, Oban. Numbers were again high at 166 entrants with one Grand Master and three International Masters competing in the Open Tournament. Many of the players were accompanied by partners, friends and family who came to Oban to experience the congress which is now established as a firm favourite with chess players throughout the country.

It is estimated that in total, over 300 visitors travelled from across the country, with 10 players making the journey north from England. Over £1350 of sponsorship money was raised locally from numerous local businesses. Without their generous support the Congress would not have gone ahead. Due to the large numbers, additional tables were required which the Corran Halls and St Columba's Cathedral Hall kindly donated at short notice. The Congress organisers - Iain MacDonald, Duncan Campbell, Alan Murphy and Jonathan Davies, estimate that over £30,000 was spent by their visitors in Oban over the weekend which would inject £120,000 into the local economy in real terms.

There were four tournaments in the Congress - Open, Challengers, Major and Minor. These catered for the differing playing strengths with prizes in each tournament, the prize money totalling £1825. Caithness Glass kindly donated superb glass crystal trophies for each tournament winner and these were fiercely competed for. All the winners commented on how they valued their trophies above any cash prize.

Play consisted of five games held over the duration of the weekend, one game on Friday evening, two on Saturday and two on Sunday. The Swiss pairing system was used which meant players were paired according to strength and performance over the weekend. One point was awarded for each win and ½ point for each draw. Players ranged in strength. from Grandmaster to beginners. All ages were represented in each tournament. A total of 8 Oban Chess Club players competed in all tournaments of the Congress ensuring Argyll was well represented. John Treasurer, one of Oban Chess Club's latest members did very well to secure 3 points out of five in the very competitive Open Tournament. Duncan Campbell and Dave Gillespie acted as Arbiters with Alan Murphy and Iain MacDonald concentrating on running the event.

Yet again, the congress arranged social events for our guests. The Royal Hotel provided a reception buffet on the Friday evening while on the Saturday night Craig Munro hosted a quiz which was enjoyed by all. The bar remained open until the wee hours by which time chess boards had been produced so that moves could be analyised and argued over. At the close of play on Sunday evening, The Royal produced another buffet, which was eagerly devoured by the battle weary players and all concerned.

Following this, the Prize giving ceremony took place. Presenting the prizes and trophies were Fiona Sharples, Manager of Caithness Glass, Oban and Laura Collins of Chess.Scotland. All of our visitors commented how much they had enjoyed their time in Oban with the vast majority saying they intended travelling back next year for the 11th Congress. This will be held on the 26th to 28th of November 2004 once again in the Royal. Oban Chess club meets every Wednesday Night in The Royal Hotel and welcomes anyone along with an interest in Chess. Contact Alan Murphy, Team Captain on 01631 565373 for further details. The results of the Congress are on the following page.

Open - 1st= Neil Berry, IM Colin Crouch (trophy), GM Colin McNab 4/5

Challengers - 1st Douglas McKerracher 5/5

Major - 1st Mark Monaghan 4.5/5

Minor - 1st David Cubitt 4.5/5

Click the event headers for grading information

Iain MacDonald, Duncan Campbell, Alan Murphy, Jonathan Davies.

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Chess Scotland 2003