The 32nd annual Crowthorne Chess club Christmas Speed Handicap Tournament Party was held on Friday night (20th), and gave us the nerve-wracking exciting chess we’ve come to expect from the speed handicap format. I saw at least three games where the winner delivered mate with three seconds left on the clock, and there were an extraordinary number of unintentional queen sacrifices, including one in the final.
In order to speed things up the games were of ten minutes duration this year, instead of the usual 15, and there were 25 players, not quite a record but certainly a good turnout.
We played with three groups in the first stage this year, and the winners of the three groups were Scott, Bob and Mark (Cross), who were joined by Richard, Pradeep, Colin (Purdon), Andy and Daniel in the knockout stage. The final was between Andy Pollock, competing in his first CCC speed handicap, and Bob, runner up 20 years ago. Andy played an exciting tight game but Bob, who had been on terrific form all evening, finished off by winning the final, and getting his name on the Harvey-Ironside Shield for the first time.
The speed format doesn’t suit everyone, and the wooden spoon and bottle of wine was taken by Ken.
Thanks to everyone who helped with the setting up and tidying away, and also to Carolin, one of the Erfstadt chess exchange visitors this autumn, who gifted a large selection of German cakes and biscuits. And finally, an extra special mention and thanks to a good friend of the club, former long-time club member Peter Larwood who travelled from afar just to be with us for the evening.
Have a wonderful Christmas everybody.
Many thanks to Jonathan for the above report, and for organising the tournament with his usual efficiency.