Click here for the gallery – photographs courtesy of Anna Gallagher
The Hastings International Chess Congress this year welcomed Tradewise Insurance Services as a new sponsor, in conjunction with Hastings Borough Council and the English Chess Federation. Though Hastings has a proud history, the organisers now hope that this new sponsorship will turn the focus to a bright new future. Tradewise is synonymous with the Gibraltar Chess Festival and this is a hard act to live up to. However, as there is now a whole year to plan ahead we hope the next event will prove to be the start of a regenerated Hastings Congress.
Thanks also go to other stalwart supporters – The White Rock Hotel, The Lansdowne Hotel and KC Computers, whose sponsorship is vital to the event. The staff at Horntye Park Sports Complex must also be thanked for their hard work and warm welcome, which is much appreciated by players each year. Last and most importantly, thanks to the players for their endurance of the monsoon conditions and travel problems – we hope they will be back next year.
Thanks to Tradewise, the Congress was able to offer a Junior Coaching Session – the juniors who attended were delighted, and GM Chris Ward was amazed that they stayed for the whole 3 hours, concentrating intently. This is something to build on. Chris’s commentary and the live games were, as usual, excellent. We hope to improve the streaming for next year … the internet capabilities require investigation, and this will be addressed before the next event. We should also thank Chess24 and chess-results.com for their coverage, and Brendan O’Gorman and Lara Barnes for their excellent photographs.
The final round of the Hastings Masters and GM Vakhidov 2546 started in 1st place ½ a point ahead of the hungry pack! Playing Black against GM Khenkin 2605, who had started poorly but had fought his way back into contention, the game was a battle but ended with a draw which was a fair result. This left open the opportunity for others to catch up with Vakhidov to share first. The opportunity was grabbed by GM Mista 2567 who, with the Black pieces, defeated English GM Flear 2459 and moved in to a share of 1st. Flear, who had recovered from a loss in Round 1 to get himself back in contention, thus found himself out of the prizes which is a great shame. This left us with the long battle between GM Berkes 2604 and GM Sulskis 2590 to decide whether anyone else would share 1st. Eventually, however, the point was split and, with no-one else in range, Vakhidov and Mista had secured the top prizes.
English players were in contention throughout the tournament but, unfortunately, none were able to claim a prize at the end. The last home prize possibility was lost when GM Fodor 2492 defeated GM Williams 2439 to secure for himself a share of 2nd whilst condemning Williams to the realm of the almost made-its.
Tradewise introduced a new prize for norms achieved. Here was the one English success with an IM norm for FM Peter Batchelor 2307 who scored 6/9 who scored 2/3 in the final rounds against 2 GMs and an IM to secure his success. Many congratulations to Peter!
2= GM Igor Khenkin (UKR); GM Ferenc Berkes (HUN, below left); GM Sarunas Sulskis (LTU); GM Tamas Fodor (HUN, below middle); IM Julian Sarkar (USA) 6.5
IM Norm achieved by Peter Batchelor. Best performance by a woman player – WFM Rasa Norinkeviciute. British Championship qualifying places to be decided by the ECF