The 2024 Dorset Closed Chess Championships were held in the Merlot Suite at the West Cliff Hotel in Bournemouth, from Friday 19th to Sunday 21st January. The playing room was ideal for the tournament with plenty of space. The hotel provided a water station, and the food and drink available in the bar area was of a very good quality. The bar area was also perfect for going through the games afterwards. The entry of 41 players was excellent compared to entrants in the different formats used in the last few years.
The Championship section was hard fought throughout. After 2 rounds the top 2 seeded players, Allan Pleasants and Mike Waddington, were in the sole lead on 2 points. They met in round 3 and their game was drawn. They were then joined by Christian Westrap on 2.5 points.
The 2 strongest juniors, Finn Schell and Jamie Doyle, had made a slow start but were beginning to win every match and after round 4 in which there were decisive games on all but 1 board. Allan was leading on 3.5 points with Finn, Adam Batson and John Weatherlake on 3 points.
The final round saw 2 very exciting seesaw games on the top 2 boards with Allan and Adam drawing and Finn beating John resulting in Allan and Finn (who won his last 4 matches) sharing the championship trophy on 4 points.
Adam and Jamie won the Under 2000 & 1950 respective rating prizes on 3.5 points.
The full results are shown below.
The Major section was dominated by Chris Leeson who won his first 4 games and a draw in the final round against Mark Potter guaranteed him the trophy.
Tim Jones came second winning 4 games and only losing in round 3 to Chris.
The Under 1750 & 1675 rating prizes were both won by Hugo Melling who had an excellent 3.5 points.
with Tim Joyce and Chris Webb coming 2nd in these rating groups also winning a prize.
The full results for the Major are shown below.
The Minor section was extremely competitive with the early frontrunners Chris Foley and Ron Salinger after round 2 on maximum points and then drawing against each other in round 3.
Harshal Kulkarni came out of the pack to win his last 3 rounds beating both Chris and Ron to finish first outright on 4 points and win the trophy.
Michal Orszulak came an excellent second on 3.5 points.
The Under 1400 rating prize was won on 3 points by Sam Hooks.
Michal and Sam, both juniors, were playing in their first ever open tournament so well done to them both.
The full results for the Minor are shown below.
The prize giving on Sunday had all the trophy winners and nearly all the other winners present, with at least 25 players present.
The tournament was notable for the performances of the junior players with 5 of them winning prizes out of the 8 juniors who took part. The more senior players will have to look to their laurels!
The tournament was enjoyed by all the participants who thought that the playing conditions, hotel areas and excellent running of the tournament by the Controller Martin Simons were outstanding and hoped we could come back next year.
I would personally like to thank Martin for all his work before and during the tournament including entering all results on LMS and pairing boards, result sheets and a demonstration board illustrating the top match. I would also like to thank Peter Anderson for all his work on the website including setting up the tournament email and payments system and collating entrants’ details to the tournament.
Ian Clark, January 2024