It was a Full House!
The 27th Dorset Rapidplay Championships were held last Sunday 12th March with an excellent full house of 50 players. Such is the popularity of this tournament that it was sold out with more than a fortnight remaining before the event. This may have been, in part, due to the free refreshments and lunch on offer together with a vast array of cash prizes, all designed to offer a friendly welcoming atmosphere and excellent value for money for all players.
Please don’t mention the locks!
There was an initial panic as, a few days before the event, we were separately ‘advised’ that the locks were shortly to be replaced but we did not know when and we only had the old key to the external kitchen door. Upon further enquiry, we found out this lock was changing a couple of days after the tournament completed but there was another problem, the key we had been given was not the best fit for the current lock (perhaps a reason why the lock was being replaced) and we were struggling to unlock the kitchen door when initially tested. However, after improving our locksmith ‘break-in’ skills with a few more test runs a couple of days before the tournament and a back up plan of collecting a ‘better cut key’ from the Wimborne Chess Club Chairman, Mike Davidson, who lived some 7 miles away, we had managed to gain entry without any hiccups and the rest of the day ran very smoothly.
Can you smell the bacon?
This year, we also had a breakfast offering of free bacon and sausage rolls for the early arrivals which were much in demand and much appreciated by the competitors. Thankfully, we had enough supplies of bacon but only just!
Playing Venue – Bar Area or the Main Hall?
This proved to be an ideal location with a large free car park, and, with 4 rooms inside the Merley Community Centre, there was plenty of space to roam around. This was particularly welcome as the heavens opened later in the day.
We chose to use the two bar areas (rather than the main hall) where the carpeted rooms provided a more comfortable, relaxing and social environment. We then used the main hall as the refreshments / lunch area and for post game analysis.
The bar rooms are pictured below, although, because the partition had been removed, it was effectively just one large playing room.
As we were also celebrating the DCCA’s Centenary Year, the prize fund was increased to £630, consisting mainly of £210 for the top 3 prizes, 7 rating prizes of £40 each together with a Veteran’s prize, 3 junior prizes, the exciting Team prize and an Organisers’ special prize of £20.
As is traditional, we used manual pairings and a wallchart as we find this adds to the friendly ambience and extra interest in the event as players crowd around the pairing boards at the start of each round. A whistle was used to round up all players, including many hiding in the car park, to ensure each round started promptly!
No Early Shocks
The 1st round paired the top half versus the bottom half of players and of the 25 matches, there were very few surprises with 22 of the higher rated players winning with only 3 draws and no losses!
After 3 rounds, there were only 5 players on the maximum of 3 points. Interestingly, only one of these players eventually came equal 1st. The lunch break can often result in a change in fortunes!
The 1851 to 1950 Rating Prize of £40 was won by Raimund Klein (Yeovil) with 4½ points.
The 1771 to 1850 Rating Prize of £40 was won by James Schumacher (Bournemouth) with 4 points.
The 1701 to 1770 Rating Prize of £40 was shared by Femi Oloyede (Bournemouth) & Nick Stout (Purbeck) with 3 points.
The 1621 to 1700 Rating Prize of £40 was won by Paul Jackson (Bournemouth) with 3½ points, a fantastic achievement as he scored more points than the any player in the above category.
The 1476 to 1620 Rating Prize of £40 was won by Ben Willis-Owen (Ringwood) with 3 points.
The Under 1300 Rating Prize of £40 was won by Dan Ursell (Highcliffe) with 2 points.
The Organisers’ Prize of £20 was won by Michael Pope (Salisbury) who was ranked 43rd out of the 50 players but still scored 3 points.
The exciting and competitive Best Team of 4 prize of £40 was won by the ‘Juniors’ team, Zhongyuan Sun (Southbourne), Ben Willis-Owen (Ringwood), Finn Schell (Southbourne) & Jason Wang (Southbourne), who scored a combined 15 points after the initial rating handicap bonus points, 2 points ahead of 4 other teams which came equal 2nd.
The Veterans Trophy & Prize of £20 was shared by Graham Willetts (Ringwood) & Bill Adaway (Wimborne) who scored 4 points.
The Junior 1st Prize of £50 (which included the 2nd prize) was shared by Zander Booth (Poole) and Jason Wang (Southbourne) who scored 3½ points.
By winning 3 cash prizes, Jason Wang won most money (£75), even more than the tournament winners!
The Junior 3rd Prize of £10 was won by Finn Schell (Southbourne) who scored 3 points.
There was also:
- A Best Lady Prize but, unfortunately, there were no lady players competing. The box of chocolates was subsequently awarded to Lucy and Emmeline Spirling for all their hard work and help in the kitchen (see below).
- A Booby Prize (a book on how to play better chess) but the winner of this prize had already made an early swift exit prior to the prizegiving! Strangely, this book appears to have gone missing – perhaps another competitor has found it helpful!
The Team of Organisers
I would like to thank Steve Peirson (pictured below), Joint Organiser / Controller, who worked meticulously hard throughout the whole day.
I would also like to thank Lucy and Emmeline Spirling (pictured below), who worked tremendously hard in the kitchen ensuring all competitors were suitably fed and watered. This enabled me to hover between both the playing room and kitchen.
Finally I would like to thank Steve’s wife, Lindsey, who provided the scrumptious 5 puddings and Lucy’s husband, John, who cooked the delicious vegetarian chilli.
Steve, Lindsey, Lucy, Emmeline and John were presented with their own gifts as a small token of our much appreciated thanks for all their help and support in making the whole day very successful.
We plan to hold the these championships again next year and we hope to see you then!
Martin Simons – March 2023