We finally held the thirty fourth Crowthorne Christmas speed handicap tournament last night (Saturday 2nd April) shortly before Easter, having postponed the event on its original date, shortly before Christmas, due to Covid restrictions. Nonetheless, a number of people thoughtfully entered into the spirit of the occasion by wearing their Christmas jumpers, and Scott even appeared in his legendary snowman onesie. Attendance was roughly half that of the previous over the board tournament in 2019, but that didn’t make the chess any more refined: the same extraordinary twists and turns of fate occurred on the boards as ever.
The winners of the two groups were Scott and Daniel and, appropriately perhaps, they were also the two finalists. Daniel reached the final beating Harriet in the semis after a hard-fought game in which he ingeniously sacrificed a queen to reach an advantageous bishop and pawn ending, converting it to a win through precise and careful technique. Scott had a somewhat quicker semi-final win against Mark (Cross) in a choppy tactical melee typical of the speed handicap.
In the final Scott played the opening which has given him so much success this season, the Black Lion defence albeit move in advance as white, and it delivered the goods for him again. Daniel’s king came under pressure along files and diagonals, leading to Scott delivering an on-the-board checkmate.
Congratulations to Scott for his first Speed Handicap win and fine performance all evening. Daniel’s turn will surely come.
At the other end of the field of achievements, Christine deprived Colin (Purdon) of the wooden spoon and bottle of wine. Thank you to her and to all who attended.
Many thanks to Jonathan for organising another enjoyable Christmas Handicap.