Welsh Women's Chess Championship 2004 and
Welsh Girls U18 Championship 2004
by Debbie Evans-Quek
There are relatively few females in Wales who can compete confidently at this competitive national/international level. Experience has shown that organisers are reluctant to hold women only weekend (or longer) tournaments due to the sparse entries. Top players find they would rather select a strong weekend open event with guaranteed strength of opposition to competing in a low key female only event. Like many countries a compromise is usually made on finding creative ways of promoting the game to the minority.
For this reason Wales has followed the example of the BCF and holds the event as part of a well supported mixed event. Monmouth is a popular venue and this year successfully catered once more for the female events in the Open. There were 7 entries 3 of whom were from this years Women's Olympiad squad. In fact all the female entries were either current or previous Welsh International players. This was a respectable number especially when considering that The British Championship 2004 only attracted 2 entries.
Congratulations to Debbie Evans-Quek who retained her title of Women's Welsh Champion scoring 3Ѕ/5. The calibre of opposition available was very strong. Debbie drew after a fight with black against IM Jimmy Sherwin, for example.
Suzie Blackburn and Olivia Smith shared 2nd on 2Ѕ/5. They also shared the title of Girls U18 Champion. Suzie gave Welsh International and former Welsh Open Champion Richard Jones a good game in round 1. In the last round Olivia Smith beat experienced Welsh International and Welsh Women's Rapid play Champion 2003 Julie Wilson . Julie had struggled to draw a lengthy game with the legendary Jane Garwell-Richmond in the previous round. All the games from this event can be found on the Internet under Monmouth Open.
Of course cynics will argue that females should not have their own agenda in the chess world. However, most of the chess world recognises the advantage of supporting females in chess as evidence in the growing number of entries to the Women's Chess Olympiad. This October the Welsh Women's team will be captained by Jason Cast taking his wife Abigail Cast. Also in the team will be Debbie Evans-Quek, Olivia Smith and Julie Wilson.
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