The Gazette - February 2020

Sponsored by The Ulverscroft Foundation
Edited by Julie Leonard
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

David Hodgkins Memorial Annual Best Game Prize

Stan Lovell, judge of the 2019 competition writes:

In addition to those games sent directly to me, I also looked at eligible games published in the Gazette and on the user group, as well as games played in the BCA email events. In all, I looked at around three dozen games.

When I was asked to judge the 2019 competition, I was told we were not looking for perfection but for outstanding or noteworthy circumstances, such as: a giant killing act.

Once I started playing through the games I very soon became fascinated and experienced great pleasure from the skills and various styles of play. My first task was to reduce around three dozen games to a manageable short list. This proved to be the hardest part of the process. Eventually, I managed to reduce the pile to about eight. After more examination I found myself concentrating on three games. A swashbuckling performance by Peter Gibbs, in which he slew the dragon in a manner that would have filled St. George with pride. Then there was a resourceful, edge of the seat, game by Bill Armstrong. Both of these games were played in the BCA email tournament. Finally, there was a measured performance by Paul Benson, played in the BCA British Championship, Torquay. All of these games had much to recommend them. Eventually, after yet another play through, I decided to award the 2019 David Hodgkins Memorial Best Game Prize to Paul Benson, for his second round victory over Colin Chambers in the BCA British Championship 2019.

Editor’s note:

Grateful thanks to Stan for playing through so many games before deciding on a winner. Stan has also provided some comments on the best game that he selected, but by coincidence, Paul sent in this very same game for publication with his own annotations. Therefore, I have added Stan’s comments to Paul’s in the relevant places in the article that follows this one. It’s not often we have a game with two sets of annotations!

Congratulations to all those who made Stan’s task so challenging and most especially of course to Paul. We plan to award the trophy to him at the AGM.

The 2020 David Hodgkins Memorial Annual Best Game competition is open! Members and associate members in the British Isles can enter over the board and correspondence games played in a BCA event or for a BCA team during the year. The aim is to consider games at all levels in the BCA, whatever the grade of the players.

Please be on the lookout for games to enter and send them to any committee member in the format of your choice. Eligible games that are published in the Gazette during 2020 will automatically be included in the competition.

Our long-standing associate member, Peter Gibbs, has kindly agreed to judge the 2020 event. Peter is so modest about his chess that many members might not be aware of the dizzy heights his grade reached. I hope he’ll forgive me for mentioning that in 1958, when grading formats were very different, Peter was ranked as high as joint 8th in all of Britain! (The top two players had a grade of 1b, the next five were 2a, Peter and four others were 2b.)

Good luck everyone!