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The Tale of the Welsh Championship 2008    (J.D Thornton)


28 players entered this event held at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff, which seemed to prove a well liked venue in Cardiff.  The players would have set out with different priorities, but, rather on the lines of a Grand National summary, I will eliminate players as their chances of winning the main prize – the title of Welsh Champion disappeared.  I am including a few games, but will highlight other games of interest which should be available on the WCU website with a (*).


By the end of Round 2 the following had slipped out of contention:


Dave Perrett (0/2) had missed clear winning lines in a very interesting game against Alan Spice (*) in Round 1 and then blundered in the opening against Gareth Morris.

David Bennion (0/2) dropped pieces against both Leighton Williams and Rudy Van Kemenade.

Tom Brown (0/2) had been outplayed by Pat Bennett in Round 1 and then fell to a sharp attack by David Jameson (*) in Round 2 

David James (Ѕ /2) lost without a fight to Charles Summers in Round 1 and then couldn’t convert an extra pawn against Joe Fathallah (Ѕ /2) in Round 2.  Joe had already collapsed under pressure from Jon Blackburn in Round 1, so his good draw in Round 2 against David nevertheless put him out of contention.

Lee Davies (Ѕ /2) outplayed Richard Jones (*) in Round 1, but failed to find the likely win at move 30, and only drew.  That was as good as it got, as Lee lost to Michael JR White in Round 2, and only scored one win out of the remaining 6 rounds.

E Michael White (Ѕ /2) had taken a bye in round 1 and losing a long game against Michael Lexton who found a nice mate in a R + opposite bishops ending finished his chances.

Joseph Turner (Ѕ /2) made Richard Jones work for a long time to convert a 2 pawn advantage in a double rook ending but following his bye in round 1 was now out of the running.

Carl Davies (Ѕ /2) had obtained a good draw against Francis Rayner in Round 1 but was outplayed by Dave Sully in Round 2.


On the basis that anyone under 2 at the end of round 3 might be a ‘kingmaker’ but would not be the king, the following slipped away:-

Pat Bennett, Charles Summers and John Trevelyan all on 1/3; and Dave Sully, Jon Blackburn David Jameson Rudy Van Kemenade and Francis Rayner on 1Ѕ /3


Pat’s error was punished efficiently by Suzy Blackburn.  Charles second loss in a row, this one to Alan Spice, really did leave him playing for grading points.  John Trevelyan had been very fortunate not to lose to Suzy in Round 2 (*), but was less fortunate in a series of exchanges against the other lady, Olivia Smith, who competently converted the material into a full point.   

Francis at this stage could not stop drawing, in this round with Rudy, whilst Jon Blackburn’s  tactical sequence of exchanges produced nothing better than a drawn Rook ending against David Jameson, who was having a good event.  Dave Sully was on the worse end of things once Richard Jones opened up the centre, and steadily went downhill from there on, a somewhat premature resignation maybe enabling him to save his energy for later.


Round 3 also saw the first heavyweight pairings with James Cobb drawing with Tim Kett and Leighton unable to get past Sven Zeidler in a long battle where a lot was simmering below the surface (*)


The biggest heavyweight contest, between the 2 IM’s Leighton Williams and James Cobb was in Round 4 with not much happening, and a relatively short draw.  This left Tim Kett who had beaten Sven Zeidler out on his own on 3 Ѕ/4.


Michael JR White was eliminated from contention in Round 4 by Richard Jones, who picked the exchange off him and won the ending.  Suzy Blackburn was unlucky to lose to Gareth Morris, in a game which went to the end of the session, endless manoeuvring producing no advantage to Gareth, who persisted in playing on to the end.  I’m told Suzy missed a mate in one long after the players had stopped keeping score. Her well deserved reward for playing tenaciously throughout the tournament, to this point and in later games was both the Ladies’ and the U-21 titles.   Olivia Smith tried hard to beat Alan Spice (*) but only ended up losing the game.


In Round 5 Tim Kett, playing a home-brewed idea on the Black side of the Lopez caused pressure on b2 and his win almost saw the end of an out-of sorts Richard Jones’ challenge.(*) 

Mike Lexton missed his chance against Sven Zeidler, whose sacrifice on f6 was unsound if Mike had found 19…h6. 


Zeidler,Sven (2223) - Lexton,Michael [B23]

1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 g6 4.Nf3 Bg7 5.Bb5 Nd4 6.0–0 a6 7.Bd3 d6 8.Nxd4 cxd4 9.Ne2 e5 10.c3 dxc3 11.bxc3 Nf6 12.Bc2 0–0 13.Qe1 b5 14.d3 Qc7 15.fxe5 dxe5 16.Qh4 Bg4 17.Rxf6?! Bxe2! 18.Bd2 Qe7 19.Bg5 Qc5+? (19. .. h6! 20. Rxf7 Qxg5 -+) 20.Rf2 Qxc3 21.Rc1 h6? (21. ..Qd4!)  22.Bxh6 Bxh6 23.Qxh6 Bh5 24.g4 1–0


The only surprise after Gareth Morris’ series of errors against Leighton was that the latter missed a mate in 2 at move 19! (*)

Alan Spice was doing fine against James Cobb (*) until he went active at moves 21 and 23, and although the spectators and possibly Alan may have thought he had chances at that stage, there was nothing in it for him, with James playing accurately from there on.

Also in Round 5 was what, for me, was the sacrifice of the tournament, with David Bennion producing an attack completely out of the blue to decimate Carl Davies.


Bennion,David (2070) - Davies,Carl (1876) [C54]

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.d3 Nc6 4.Nf3 h6 5.0–0 Bc5 6.c3 0–0 7.d4 exd4 8.e5 Ne4 9.cxd4 d5 10.Bb3 Bb6 11.Nc3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 Na5 13.Bc2 Nc4 14.Bxh6!! Nb2 15.Qc1 gxh6 16.Qxh6 f5 17.exf6 Rxf6 18.Bh7+ Kf7 19.Bg6+ Kg8 20.Ng5 Qe7 21.Rfe1 Be6 22.Bf7+ Rxf7 23.Rxe6 Rh7 24.Rg6+ Kh8 25.Nxh7 Qxh7 26.Qg5 Rg8 27.Qf6+ Rg7 28.Rh6 1–0



So at the start of Round 6, only 3 remained in true contention - James, Leighton and Tim, with Tim in pole position on 4Ѕ.  Richard, Sven,and David Jameson who had come back with a series of good results, realistically had too much to do from 3Ѕ.  Already there had been considerable interplay amongst these players.


In this round, James as Black enterprisingly sacrificed 2 pawns against Sven (*) in the early middle game to hold the initiative, and was one pawn behind for a long time.  Maybe in the end his greater determination to win was the deciding factor.  Meanwhile, Leighton was showing his class against Tim, whose error at move 15 cost a pawn from an approximately level position, and thereafter he was spared no mercy. 


Kett,Tim (2243) - Williams,Leighton (2389) [B60]

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 Nc6 6.Bg5 Qb6 7.Nb3 e6 8.Bd3 Be7 9.0–0 a6 10.Kh1 Qc7 11.f4 b5 12.Qe2 b4 13.Nd1 0–0 14.Ne3 Bb7 15.Rae1 h6 16.Bh4? (16. Bxf6!) Nxe4! 17.Bxe7 Nxe7 18.f5 Nxf5 19.Nxf5 exf5 20.Qh5 Rae8 21.Qxf5 Re5 22.Qf4 g5 23.Qe3 f5 24.Bxe4 Rxe4 25.Qh3 Qxc2 26.Rd1 Rh4 27.Qg3 Rg4 28.Rd2 Qxd2 29.Nxd2 Rxg3 30.hxg3 Bd5 31.b3 Kg7 32.Rc1 Kf6 33.Rc7 Re8 34.Rh7 Re1+ 35.Kh2 Re2 0–1


Richard’s challenge disappeared with a rather tame draw against David Jameson.


The last round had Richard paired as Black against James, David as Black against Leighton and Tim Black against Michael JR White.  Those who were prepared to stay to the bitter end, were given a feast of fighting chess which went down to the last 5 minutes.  Probably Leighton was always in command against David, but to the spectators at least, the game was in the balance throughout. 


Williams,Leighton (2389) - Jameson,David (2033) [D61]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 c6 4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.e3 0–0 7.Qc2 h6 8.Bf4 Nbd7 9.h3 b6 10.cxd5 Nxd5 11.Bg3 Nxc3 12.bxc3 Bb7 13.Bd3 c5 14.0–0 Bf6 15.e4 Qc8 16.Qe2 a5 17.e5 Be7 18.Nd2 Rd8 19.f4 Ba6 20.f5 Bxd3 21.Qxd3 cxd4 22.cxd4 Nc5 23.Qe3 exf5 24.Rac1 Qd7 25.dxc5 Bxc5 26.Rxc5 bxc5 27.Nc4 Qd4 28.Rc1 Qxe3+ 29.Nxe3 Rd3 30.Nxf5 g6 31.Nxh6+ Kg7 32.Bf4 Rc8 33.Ng4 c4 34.Rc2 c3 35.Kf2 Rd4 36.Bh6+ Kh7 37.Be3 Rb4 38.Bc1 g5 39.a3 Rb5 40.Bxg5 Rb2 41.Ne3 Kg6 42.h4 Rc5 43.Bf4 Rd5 44.Kf3 Rd3 45.Rc1 c2 46.Ke4 Rxa3 47.h5+ Kh7 48.Kf5 Rc3 49.Nd5 Rd3 50.Nf6+ Kh8 51.Ra1 Rd4 52.Be3 Rd3 53.Bh6 Rb5 54.Bf8 Rd1 55.h6 1–0


Richard fought like a tiger against James with probably his best chess of the weekend, but after failing to find 43...Bf5!, his attack petered out rapidly, and James got the point and a share of the title with Leighton. 


Cobb,James (2412) - Jones,Richard S (2344) [E70]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 0–0 5.Bd3 Nc6 6.Nge2 e5 7.d5 Nd4 8.0–0 c5 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bh4 d6 11.a3 Qd7 12.b4 b6 13.Rb1 g5 14.Bg3 h5 15.h4 gxh4 16.Bxh4 Qg4 17.Nxd4 Qxh4 18.Nf3 Qg4 19.bxc5 bxc5 20.Nb5 Ne8 21.Re1 Kh8 22.Qd2 f6 23.Nh2 Qg6 24.Nf3 Rg8 25.Bf1 Bh6 26.Qd3 Bf4 27.Rb2 Qg4 28.Nh2 Qh4 29.Nf3 Qg4 30.Nh2 Qg6 31.Nf3 f5 32.exf5? Bxf5 (after this Black is on top) 33.Qd1 Qf6 34.Rbe2 Bh3 (both ...h4 and ... Bg4 seem better) 35.Kh1? Bg4 36.Rc2 Rd8 (36. ... h4!) 37.Nc3 Rd7 38.Ne4 Qf8 39.Be2 Nf6 40.Nxf6 Qxf6 41.g3 e4 42.Nh2 Bh3 43.Bf1 Bg4?? (43. ... Bf5! Introducing the threat e3 as well as h4 and Rh7 should win!) 44.Nxg4 Rxg4 45.Bh3 Rh7 46.Bxg4 hxg4+ 47.Kg2 1–0


Tim’s excellent result against Michael was thus only enough for 3rd place and a bundle of grading points after the toughest set of pairings throughout the event.


Francis Rayner went unbeaten after draws in Rounds 1 to 5 and two subsequent wins, and John Trevelyan showed there is no-one better in Wales at outplaying opponents in approximately level endings.  I include his last round win against Sven where at White’s move 30, Fritz 9 gives Sven as marginally better, yet only 15 moves later he is resigning.


Trevelyan,John (2178) - Zeidler,Sven (2223) [B10]

1.e4 d5 2.d3 Nf6 3.Nd2 c6 4.Ngf3 Qb6 5.Be2 Nbd7 6.0–0 e5 7.c3 Bd6 8.exd5 cxd5 9.d4 e4 10.Ne1 Bc7 11.f3 Qd6 12.g3 0–0 13.fxe4 dxe4 14.Nc4 Qe6 15.Ng2 Nd5 16.Nf4 Bxf4 17.Bxf4 Nxf4 18.Rxf4 Nb6 19.Nxb6 Qxb6 20.Qb3 Qxb3 21.axb3 f5 22.Bc4+ Kh8 23.Raf1 Re8 24.Bd5 g6 25.h4 Kg7 26.g4 Re7 27.gxf5 Bxf5 28.h5 a6 29.hxg6 hxg6 30.Rh4 Rh8 31.Rxh8 Kxh8 32.Rf4 Kg7 33.Kf2 Kf6 34.Ke3 g5 35.Rf2 Kg6 36.Rh2 Kg7 37.b4 Bh7 38.c4 Bf5 39.c5 Rd7 40.Bb3 Bg6 41.d5 Rf7 42.Rf2 Rxf2 43.Kxf2 Kf6 44.d6 Bf5 45.Bd5 1–0


Final Positions

1= James Cobb, Leighton Williams        6

3 Tim Kett           5.5

4= John Trevelyan, Francis Raynor        4.5

6= David Jameson, Gareth Morris, Richard S Jones, Alan Spice, Michael Lexton,

 Rudy Van Kemenade, Michael JR White       4

13= Sven Zeidler, David J James, Tom Brown, Suzy Blackburn, Dave Sully,

 Pat Bennett           3.5

19 Jon Blackburn, Charles Summers        3

21= Dave Perrett, Joe Fathallah, Olivia Smith, Joseph D Turner    2.5

25= David Bennion,  E Michael White        2

27 Lee Davis           1.5

28 Carl Davies           1


Ladies Champion  Suzy Blackburn


Under 21 Champion Suzy Blackburn


Tom Weston Major

This was won jointly by Jason Garcia, last year’s winner and Paul Hatchett, both on 6/7. Paul had beaten Jason in Round 5, but drew with Bill Hunt in Round 3 and then with John Waterfield in Round 7.

James Thomas beat Bill Hunt in the last round to share 3rd place with John Waterfield.


1= Jason Garcia, Paul Hatchett       6

3= James M Thomas, John Waterfield      5

5= Paul Tew, Julie Wilson, John Bowers, David Jiles, Mark Cooke  4Ѕ

10 Yinglun Teng          4

11= Bill Hunt, Paul Bridges, Jimmy Stewart, Hugh Price, Richard Hanscombe,

 David Buttell, Lorenzo Basso, Megan Owens, Ian Eustis   3.5

20= Beryl Hughes, Russell Dodington,  David Cleverly    3

23= Tony Gutteridge, Matthew Francis, Jon E Blackburn, Bob Hurn  2.5

27= Wyn Howells, Frank Trombley, Sandra Blackburn    2

30 Malcolm Probert         1.5

Jeremy Jones withdrew on 0/3 and CJ De Mooi who presented the prizes filled in to avoid a last round bye and won his game!


John Bishop Minor

A junior, Ashley Davis produced consistently the best chess, but conceded an unnecessary draw in round 5 to Alex Bullen by accepting a sacrifice leading to perpetual check when winning easily.

Alex Wills had the quickest win of the whole event with the following very plausible opening trap, which Ben Thomas had avoided in Round 2 having been caught identically earlier this season!


Crowley,Clive - Wills,Alex (1199) [C57]

1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Nf6 3.Nf3 Nc6 4.Ng5 d5 5.exd5 Nd4 6.d6?? Qxd6! 7.Nxf7 Qc6 8.Nxh8 Qxg2 9.Rf1 Qe4+ 10.Be2 Nf3# 0–1


1= Bill Wilkins, Ashley Davies, Vince Williams     5.5/7

4 Andrew Trickey         4.5

5 Ben Thomas          4

6= Alex Bullen, Alex Wills        3.5

8= Phil Smith, Nick Ban, Matthew Lunnon      3

11= Kevin O’Rourke, Clive Crowley       2.5

13= David Kett, Nathan Trickey        2