Once again, slick organisation and a generous sponsor ensured the success of the annual Suffolk Rapidplay Championships at the Town Hall and Corn Exchange, Ipswich. Some 300 competitors took part, competing for prize money in excess of £1500. As has beome a fairly regular occurrence at this event, Essex players succeeded in winning a large share of the prize money. There were six Essex competitors who either won outright or shared first place in a section, and a further thirteen who were placed second or third.

The Open sections, A and B, were for adults and juniors aged 16 or more, although there was nothing to stop younger players entering if they wished. The A section was especially strong, with several players graded in excess of 180. The top seed was Gary Kenworthy, from the Powdermill club, who did indeed win the first prize of £80 for his 5.5 / 6. He drew with Lorin d'Costa, aged only 13 and graded 141. Lorin defended especially well when a pawn down, won the pawn back and then forced a perpetual check. None of the other competitors was able to stay with Gary.

The Open B, for players graded under 125, was another success for Essex, as Peter Flint and Howard Berlin shared first prize with 5/6.

Lawrence Trent confirmed yet again his calibre as he entered the under-15 section, although not yet 12 years old. The critical game occurred in round 4, when Lawrence played Edmund Player, three years his senior and one of the strongest players nationally in the age group. Lawrence had black and kept this game very tight, succeeding in blocking the position with his pawns. With only about 3 minutes left for each player, the game appeared to be no more than 20 moves old, but neither side's pieces could pierce the barrage of pawns which kept the opposing armies apart. A draw was the only possible result. Both Lawrence and Edmund won all their other games to share the prize money.

The under-14 section was won by Matthew Broomfield (London), playing in his own age group, and Adam Eckersley Waites (Cambridge), aged 10, took second place. Adam's twin brother Tom scored 6/6 in the under-13, the critical game again being round 4 as he beat Graham Walker (Southend). Graham took second with 5 points.

Ezra Lutton (Basildon), playing in the under 12 section, was the third player to complete a perfect score. William Bennett (Cambridge) scored 5 and James Berlin (Ilford) was third on 4.5. It was David Ridout, a Kent player, who took first prize in the under-11 section. Edward Morris, also playing out of his age group, was second with 5. He drew two games, and perhaps the closest he came to a loss was against Heather Walker. Her Giuouco Piano backfired as, although she sacrificed her rook in the normal way she somehow failed to win Edward's queen. She was a whole rook down for some time, but Edward's king was so bereft of shelter that he had to give his own queen up for a rook to avoid mate. Subsequently, his pair of rooks became better organised and a pawn reached seventh. Edward ws probably winning now, but was so short of time that he asked the controller for a draw. Heather had plenty of checks at her disposal, and could have played on and made progress, but eventually agreed a draw. Heather was unbeaten on 4.5, sharing third prize with Stewart Trent and Tony Winston.

The under-10 section was won by Jacon Bigio, who scored 5.5. Daniel Hedges (Southend) scored 5, as did Ian Dunkeld (London). Antony O' Toole (Southend) and Alan Hawrami (Ilford) scored 4.5. The under-9 was won by Chris Russell, and David Smith (Saffron Walden) and Michael Evans-Young scored 4.5.

The under-8 section was again very disappointing in terms of the number of competitors. Only 8 participated, which represents something like a 75% drop over a 5 year period. This was won by Chris Anguelov and Poppy Aarons (both London) with Andrew Alexandrou (Waltham Abbey) in third place. Dana Hawrami (Ilford) and David Donaghy (Suffolk) shared first prize in the under-7 section with 5 / 6, ahead of Simon Payne (Ilford), Nathanael Lutton (Basildon) and Alex O'Toole (Southend).

The youngest competitor of all was George O'Toole (Southend), who is not yet 5 years old. George played in the novices' section, and scored 2.5/6.

Back to 1998 index page