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Prize Giving winners 600

Winners of the Hastings Masters: from left, Martin Petrov, Alexander Cherniaev, Danny Gormally, Oleg Korneev, chief arbiter Alex McFarlane, Sarunas Sulskis, mayor Cllr Nigel Sinden and Conor Murphy.

Six-way tie for chess trophy

Six players shared first place in the Masters tournament at Hastings International Chess Congress, after a draw dashed Danny Gormally’s hopes of running out sole winner. Meanwhile the Horntye trustees have confirmed that the venue will remain available for the town’s prestigious chess event for the indefinite future. Nick Terdre reports, photos by Matthew Carr.

Six players shared victory in the Masters tournament, the jewel in the Hastings International Chess Congress crown. Grandmaster (GM) Danny Gormally of England began the 10th and final round a half point ahead of a chasing pack of 12, but was unable to force a win in a rook plus knight versus rook endgame.

Joint winner Conor Murphy with mayor Cllr Nigel Sinden, Murphy won a prize for the best performance by a non GM/IM and gained a norm towards the International Master title.

Joint winner Conor Murphy with mayor Cllr Nigel Sinden. The Irish player won a prize for the best performance by a non Grandmaster/International Master and gained a norm towards the IM title.

But five of the players who were hot on his heels won their games and finished alongside the clearly frustrated Gormally on 7 points: GMs Sarunas Sulskis (Lithuania), Oleg Korneev (Spain) and Alexander Cherniaev (Russia), International Master (IM) Martin Petrov (Bulgaria) and Fide (World Chess Federation) Master (FM) Conor Murphy (Ireland). Each received prize money of £842 and becomes a holder of the Golombek trophy for a year.

As well as emerging joint winner, Murphy scored the first of the three norms he needs to gain the IM title, and won the prize for the highest score by a non GM/IM.

Future at Horntye confirmed

Concerns that the congress might have to find a new home when the outdoor sports currently accommodated at Horntye are relocated were laid to rest by Peter Finch, head of the Horntye Park trustees, who gave assurances that the building complex will be retained and remain available for the chess congress.

Also present at the awards ceremony were the Mayor of Hastings, Cllr Nigel Sinden, and Wayne Bradshaw, marketing manager of Tradewise Insurance – Tradewise and Hastings Borough Council are the main sponsors of the congress.

The prize for the best game – selected by GM Chris Ward with the assistance of the audience in the commentary room in which he holds court – was awarded to 16-year-old FM Jonah Willow for his victory over GM Simon Williams in the first round. With a rook sacrifice on the h-file, Willow, who ended the tournament in joint third place with 6 points, opened the way for his queen to threaten Williams’ king with an irresistible checkmate in just 24 moves.

The tournament was not overloaded with best game candidates, Ward told HOT. Second place after Willow’s demolition of Williams went to Dutch IM Koen Leenhouts’ win with black over Matthew Payne, in which he used his f-pawn and a knight sacrifice to open white’s kingside, won white’s queen for a rook and forced a back-rank mate (see games below).

WIM Rasa Norinkeviciute won the prize for best female player.

WFM Rasa Norinkeviciute won the prize for best female player.

Prizes galore

The prize for best performance against rating went to PU Midhun of India, who, with a pre-tournament rating of 2010, scored 6 points and ended joint third. The Con Power prize, awarded in memory of the late congress director for the best performance against rating by a player under 18, went to Jacob Boswell, whose 5 points and joint fifth place belied his pre-tournament rating of 1858.

The over 65 rating prize was won by Raymond Kearsley with 4 points, while the best placed female player was Women’s FM Rasa Norinkeviciute of Lithiunia with 5 points. Best performance by a local player went to Mason Woodhams of Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club who played in the New Year Morning tournament.

Meanwhile in the five-round Weekend Open David Howell, one of England’s top GMs and a former Masters winner, took the £500 prize after sweeping the board – not so surprising given his 2685 rating compared with the 2249 of the next highest player, Latvian FM Dmitrijs Tokranov.


S Williams vs J Willow

1.Nf3 c5 2.e3 Nf6 3.c4 g6 4.d4 cd4 5.ed4 d5 6.Nc3 Nc6 7.Bg5 Be6 8.c5 Bg7 9.Bb5 Ne4 10.O-O O-O 11.Be3 Bg4 12.Bc6 bc6 13.h3 Bf3 14.Qf3 f5 15.Qd1 f4 16.Bc1 f3 17.g3 Qd7 18.Kh2 Rf5 19.h4 Nf6 20.Be3 Ng4 21.Kg1 Raf8 22.Re1 Rh5 23.Qd3 Rh4 24.gh4 Qc7 0-1

M Payne vs K Leenhouts

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 e6 3.b3 b6 4.Bd3 Bb7 5.O-O Nc6 6.Re1 Nge7 7.Bb2 Ng6 8.g3 Bd6 9.e5 Bc7 10.Na3 a6 11.Nc4 O-O 12.h4 f5 13.Nd6 Bd6 14.ed6 Nb4 15.Ng5 Rf6 16.Bc4 b5 17.Bf6 Qf6 18.Bf1 Rf8 19.Bg2 Bg2 20.Kg2 f4 21.Qh5 h6 22.Ne4 Qf7 23.Qd1 Qf5 24.a3 Nh4 25.gh4 f3 26.Kg3 h5 27.Kh2 Qg4 28.Ng3 Qh4 29.Kg1 Qh3 30.Qf3 Rf3 31.ab4 h4 32.Ne4 Qg4 33.Kf1 h3 34.d3 h2 35.Ke2 c4 36.bc4 bc4 37.Kd2 c3 38.Nc3 Qf4 39.Kd1 Rf2 40.Ne2 Qf3 0-1

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Posted 13:35 Wednesday, Jan 9, 2019 In: Sport

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