Wednesday 15 September 1999
The visually handicapped play under conditions every bit as stringent as other tournament players, but with modified pieces and clock. The Championship was determined by the Premier, an eight-player, all-play-all tournament that was the culmination of a two-year qualifying cycle. There were also a Challengers tournament and a Minor tournament (for BCF 80 or below). The tournaments were controlled by the Fide arbiters Gerry Walsh (shortly to become BCF's new chairman) and Julie Leonard. Chris Farmer, chief executive of South Kestevan District Council, was an enthusiastic and supportive guest; the local MP, Quentin Davies, also visited.
With the reigning champion, Chris Ross, unable to participate, the former champion Graham Lilley was pre-tournament favourite in the Premier. Rated 2,235, Graham has qualified for the British Championship several times; this year in Scarborough he scored a highly respectable 4.5/11.
He started dreadfully in Grantham with just 0.5/2 but fought back splendidly, to run out the winner on 4.5/7. Other scores were (in tie-break order): Steve Burnell, Matthew Hewitt 4, and Colin Chambers 4; Stan Lovell and Jack Horrocks 3.5; David Hodgkins 2.5; and John Gallagher 2. Meanwhile, Bill Armstrong, 6.5/7, Phil Gordon, 5.5, and Hans Cohn, 4.5, took the first three places in the Challengers to qualify for the Candidates tournament next year.
In a Budapest Gambit, Black rather pushed his luck with 9 ...Ng6 when 10 Bxc7!? is far from clearly bad - and continued with the grossly optimistic 10...Nh4 and 11 ...Nf5 - 10 ...0-0 or 10 ...Bd6!? was more like it. After 12 Bxc7 Black felt obliged to win a pawn with 12 ...Nxe3. I tried defending the position after 17 Bf3, then realised that White has sacrificed only one pawn. 23 Rxf6! crashed through.
White: Graham Lilley
Black: David Hodgkins
For details of the BCA contact the secretary, Stan Lovell, 7 Coldwell Square, Crossgates, Leeds LS15 7HB (0113-260 0013)
1 d4 Nf6
2 c4 e5
3 dxe5 Ng4
4 Bf4 Nc6
5 Nf3 Bb4+
6 Nbd2 Qe7
7 e3 Ngxe5
8 Nxe5 Nxe5
9 Be2 Ng6
10 Bg3 Nh4
11 0-0 Nf5
12 Bxc7 Nxe3
13 fxe3 Qxe3+
14 Kh1 Qxd2
15 a3 Qxd1
16 Raxd1 Be7
17 Bf3 0-0
18 Rde1 Bc5
19 b4 Bd4
20 Bd6 Rd8
21 Bd5 Bf6
22 Re3 h6
23 Rxf6 gxf6
24 Be7 Re8
25 Rg3+ Kh8
26 Bxf6+ Kh7
27 Rg7+ Kh8
28 Rxf7+ Kg8
29 Rxd7+ Re6
30 Bxe6+ Kf8
31 Rd8 Mate!
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