The B.C.A. Autumn International Tournament

The B.C.A. Autumn International Tournament, at the Moat House Hotel, Bedford, November 14-16, lived up to its name, with players from the Republic of Ireland, Spain and Romania as well as the UK. This was one of our largest ever Autumn Tournaments, with 29 players in the Open and 16 in the Minor. We were very pleased to see 8 junior members taking part, including 3 in the Open.

The Open looked from the start like a battle between the four top seeds:

Paul Cumbers (Sheffield), Gavril Draghich (Romania) Dacian
Pribeanu (Spain) and Chris Ross (Huntingdon), all graded over 175. The Minor was even closer, with Michael Meaney (Limerick), Jim Cuthbert (Sidcup), Richard Allen (RNIB New College, Worcester) and Tony Murray (Dublin) graded 65-70.

The photo by Julie Leonard shows Gavril Draghici with his trophy, Mike Meaney in play

In Round 1, on Friday evening, all four seeds in both sections won their games. In Round 2, on Saturday morning, the top seeds in the Open maintained their 100% scores, but Michael and Richard pulled ahead in the Minor as Jim and Tony drew with Darren Paskell and Simon Ledwith (both New College)

Round 3 that afternoon saw some decisive games. Gavril won against Norman Wragg, while Chris and Dacian drew their top board clash in an exciting finish and Paul drew with Phil Doyle. This left Gavril in the lead on 3/3 with Chris, Dacian and Paul on 2.5. Les Whittle and Roger Waters won their
games to join the group on 2.5.

In the Minor, Michael Meaney kept his 100% score by defeating Richard Allen. Tony stayed half a point behind by beating Darren. Simon joined Tony on 2.5 with a win against Jim Cuthbert.

Saturday evening saw a break from the chess, with singing in the bar, most notably by Michael Meaney and his friends from Ireland.

In round 4 on Sunday morning, Gavril maintained his lead and his perfect score by defeating Chris Ross, but Paul and Dacian kept up the pressure with wins against Roger and Les respectively. In the Minor, Michael suffered his first loss, at the hands of Tony, who moved into the lead on 3.5/4. Simon
drew with John Osborne and Richard defeated Geoff Patching. Simon and Richard joined Michael on 3/4.

The photo by Julie Leonard shows Gavril and Chris at the start of their game

This left several players with much at stake on Sunday afternoon. In the Open, Gavril and Paul drew on Board 1 while Dacian overcame Phil Doyle on Board 2. Chris and Les defeated Roger Waters and Stan Lovell respectively.
These results left Gavril and Dacian equal first and second with 4.5/5, but Gavril took the trophy on tie-break (sum of progressive scores). Paul was third with 4/5. Chris and Les finished on 3.5/5, joined by John Gallagher (Leeds) and Ernie McElroy (Dublin). John and Ernie won grading prizes, along
with Roger, Yan Kit Chan, Richard Murphy and Robin Williams on 2.5/5.

In the Minor, Richard defeated Tony, Michael bested Simon, and John Osborne won against John Busbridge. This left Michael and Richard equal first and second on 4/5 with the same sum of progressive scores. Tony and John took
third and fourth place on 3.5. They were awarded third place prize and a grading prize respectively. Simon also won a grading prize.

The photo by Julie Leonard shows Dacian at the board

Three people made a huge contribution to this successful tournament, which could not have taken place without them. Stan Lovell organised the event, including all negotiations with the hotel. Controllers were Peter Gibbs and Julie Leonard were the tournament controllers throughout the weekend.

The photos by Julie Leonard.

B.C.A. 2002