BCA International Autumn Congress 2013

International Autumn Tournament November 2013

Sponsored by The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, the Grimmitt Trust and the Warwickshire Masonic Charitable Association.

By Gill Smith, BCA Treasurer

The BCA’s annual International Autumn Tournament was held over the weekend of 15th to 17th November at the Holiday Inn, Solihull.  The hotel staff were very helpful, the food was good and, with its position close to a large shopping centre, participants judged it to be a very good choice of hotel.

We were pleased to welcome our fundraiser, Julia Scott, and her husband, Roy, to join us for the weekend. Julia’s excellent work raising the largest part of our income has enabled us to continue with our projects and events despite the economic downturn. We also welcomed Ben Graff, an associate member who lives near Solihull, to his first over-the-board event with the BCA.  Four players joined us from the Republic of Ireland.  In total 42 BCA members stayed at the hotel of which 27 took part in the chess. 

This was the first chess tournament that I had entered.  I had been worried that I might forget to press the button on the chess clock after my moves but I didn’t.  What I did forget once was to make my opponent’s move on my board and once or twice it was pointed out that my board did not match my rival’s.  Each time my error was quickly rectified by a steward or an arbiter and I learned to double check that the boards matched each other.  I lost a couple of games in not very many moves.  I will gloss over them for now, although I was grateful for their analysis in the bar afterwards. They were definitely games to learn from.  I was pleased with my two wins and also proud of my final game of the weekend because, although I lost that game, I felt that I had put up a good fight.  My final game is repeated at the end of this article. 

The bring and buy sale on the Saturday evening raised £120.15 which included two amounts raised by Peter Gibbs auctioning firstly a splendid chess set which he had donated and then a beautifully decorated, gingerbread house donated by Julia Scott.  On the Sunday afternoon Sheila Milsom held the raffle raising £135.

By round 3 Steve Burnell with 3 points was ahead of 4 other players who each had 2 points.  Steve maintained his lead to finish the tournament with 4 points and Ernie McElroy was second with 3.5.  In the Minor section Steve Brown and Voldi Gailans each had 3 points after round 3 and 3.5 points after round 4.  Round 5 saw Steve gain a point to win first place with 4.5 and George Phillips and Mark Hague had each scored a total of 4 to share second place.

At the prize giving Steve Burnell thanked our sponsors for supporting this event, Julie Leonard, Peter Gibbs and Richard Murphy for running the tournament, Julia Scott for her fundraising which helps to make such tournaments possible, Sheila Milsom and the other ladies who ran the bring and buy sale and the raffle, and the hotel for all they did for us.  Voldi thanked Steve for organising the weekend to further applause from everyone.

The final results after all 5 rounds were


1st Steve Burnell  4,

2nd Ernie McElroy 3.5,

Joint 3rd Steve Hilton, Les Whittle and David Hodgkins 3 (David Hodgkins won Grading prize A)

Ben Graff, John Gallagher, Norman Wragg, Sean Loftus and Ian Blencowe all scored 2.5 (Sean and Ian shared grading prize B)

Eamonn Casey and Guy Whitehouse 2, (Guy won grading prize C)

Phil Gordon 1.5

Mark Kirkham 0.5.


Description: Steve Burnell with his trophy along with Peter Gibbs and Julie Leonard


1st Steve Brown 4.5

Joint 2nd George Phillips and Mark Hague 4

Voldi Gailans 3.5

Denis Warren 3, (grading prize B)

Gary Wickett 2.5

John Carroll, Dan Rugman, John Osborne, Gill Smith, Lea Ryan, Richard Harrington 2, (Dan won grading prize A, Lea and Richard shared grading prize C)

Eleanor Tew 1.


Description: Steve Brown was presented with his trophy by Peter Gibbs

My game against Denis with my analysis. 

Denis Warren v Gill Smith

1. e4 e5

2. c4 Bb4

3. Nc3 Nf6

4. Nge2 0-0

5. d3 d6

6. Bd2 Nc6

7. a3 Bc5

8. Nd5 Nxd5

9. exd5 Nd4

10. Be3 Nf5

11. Bxc5 dxc5

12. Ng3 Nd4

13. Be2 a6

14. 0-0 b5

15. f4 bxc4

16. dxc4 Rb8

17. f5 Rxb2

18. Bg4 Qh4

19. Rf2

at first I thought this was bad news with my rook being forced back but then I spotted that rank 6 was clear for me to slide my rook along to back up the Queen on the h file so my next move was

19 …Rb6

20. Rb1

It has been pointed out to me that if I had played RxR I could have drawn the white queen away from her support of the bishop on g4 but I played

20 …Rh6

21. Nh5

Denis noticed what my plan was and prevented my Qh2 being backed up by the rook on the h file


22. fxg6 Bxg4

perhaps better would have been hxg6 maintaining pressure on the knight

23. Nf6+ Kg7

24. Nxg4 

again preventing my Qh2.  Good would have been Rh5 but

24 …f5

25. Nxh6 Kxh6

26. gxh7 Kxh7

27. Rb7 Rf7

28. d6 Kh6

29. dxc7 Rf8

30. Rb8 Ne6

31. Rxf8 Nxf8

32. c8=Q Kg7

33. Qxf5 1-0



Description: View of the playing room as players prepare for a new round


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