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Leamington Rapidplay

Sunday 15 September | Leamington Town Hall




Leamington Town Hall first opened in 1884

There are no lamingtons on display, nor spa pools visible, but if you are after a cream or foam-filled chess tourney, the annual Leamington Rapidplay in September is one of the best in the region in which to brush up your chess under pressure.


Their 26th Rapidplay (30' games = 6 games on a Sunday) was held in the magnificent Town Hall (1884) on the Parade. Very nice town : Nathaniel Hawthorne, Napoleon III, Lytton Strachey, Erwin Schrodinger (yes, the cat guy) & Frank Whittle all sojourned here (as does Russell Howard!). And in 1872 the first tennis club in the world was formed in Royal Leamington Spa.


Anyhow, back to the chess. Ably run by Messrs Greenland, Belinfante, Elwin, Holowczak & Holland, this tourney was paperless! (apart from score sheets and chess paraphernalia on sale).


Thanks to a portable Warwickshire computer network using Swiss Master, the organisers used the latest technology so that participants could view the VGA screens to find out their next opponents before sitting down in the huge hall at the traditional looking chess boards and tables.


There were 4 graded sections:


  • a FIDE-rated Open for the first time (with 20 players rated above 2000)

  • U170 (26 entries)

  • U145 (38) & U110 (18)


These were contested by players of all ages from about 10 - 70. Players local to Leamington Spa did very well. This is not surprising, as it's not so easy to play well after a long drive to and from the tournament.


Derek "Ruggertackle" Edwards is usually on the scene, but this year I was the only member of WCC to attend. Even Witney's top guns would get a workout --- this year the Open featured (the very friendly) GMs Ameet Ghasi, who won the main trophy, & Mark Hebden (2nd), IM James Cobb & FM Ian Thompson (3= with four others!).



The Leamington Chess Leagues seem generally stronger than the Oxon. ones, with more varied competitions to choose from. In addition to normal club leagues, they have Individual KO leagues at Open, U150, U120 & U90 levels, as well as Team KOs (Open, U120, & U700!). Perhaps Oxfordshire could consider introducing individual KO's events too.


With 1st, 2nd & 3rd prizes awarded in each division, plus grading & slow starter (0/2) prizes, I strongly recommend this annual one-day Rapidplay to Witney members.


A bonus for me this year were some hard-earned petrodollars after winning my final game ...


Richard Weston - Gary White, [A40]

Leamington RP Rd6, 20.09.2012

1.d4 b6 2.Nf3 Bb7 3.Bg5 h6 4.Bh4 g5 5.Bg3 d6 6.e3 Bg7 7.Bb5+ Nd7 8.h3 Ngf6 9.Nbd2 a6 10.Ba4 b5 11.Bb3 Nb6 12.c4 bxc4 13.Nxc4 Nxc4 14.Bxc4 c5 15.Qb3 Qa5+ 16.Nd2 Bxg2 17.Bxf7+ Kf8 18.0–0–0 Bxh1 19.Rxh1 Qc7 20.Bg6 cxd4+ 21.Kb1 e5 22.Rc1 Qe7 23.exd4 Nd7 24.Ne4 Rb8 25.Qxb8+ Nxb8 26.Rc8+ Qd8 27.Rxd8+ Ke7 28.Rxh8 Bxh8 29.d5 Nd7 30.b4 Nb6 31.Nc3 Kd7 32.Bd3 e4 33.Nxe4 Nxd5 34.Bxd6 Nc3+ 35.Nxc3 Bxc3 36.Bf8 1–0







Richard Weston, Witney CC

20 Sept 2012



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