Oxfordshire Chess- News

News from 2016-17 for Oxfordshire Chess

News from other years: 2017 2015 2014 2013 2012 2010 2008 2007 2006 2005

27 Jun 2017

Gerard O'Reilly

Cowley Summer Blitz, Monday 26 June

The Cowley Summer Blitz, held on Monday 26 June, was much the biggest and 
strongest for a very long time, with 75 players taking part.

In a hard-fought last round, David Zakarian, who had been presented
earlier in the evening with the trophy for the revived Oxfordshire
Individual Championship, 
managed to beat frequent Blitz winner Marcus Harvey twice, mating him in
the second game with just one second left, and finishing level on 9.5
points with Csaba Koszta. Marcus, who had scored 100% up to that point,
finished on 8 points in equal third position with the very talented
youngster from Azerbaijan, 
Muhammad Ismayilov, and Will Burt, both members of Cowley Chess Club.

Cumnor's Daniel Varney could not repeat his Christmas blitz victory in
such a very tough field, but still took the prize for the best U18 junior.

The OCA Prizegiving for the season recently ended was held outside in
the cool evening after Round 3, and it was good to see so many of the 
team captains and individual award-winners present to be presented with
their trophies.

The full prize list for the Blitz is as follows:

1st=:                   David Zakarian (4NCL Oxfordshire)         9.5/10
                        Csaba Koszta (-)
3rd=:                   Marcus Harvey (Witney)                       8
                        Muhammad Ismayilov (Cowley)                    
Best Cowley player:     Will Burt                                    8
Best visitor:           Phil Hayward (Oxford City)                   7.5
Best junior (U18):      Daniel Varney (Cumnor)                       6.5
Best lady:              Olivia Smith (Cowley))                       6.5
Best U165:              Paul Rowan (Banbury)                         7
Best Cowley U155:       Geoff Rasell                                 6.5
Best visitor U155:      Andy Robins (Didcot)                         7
Best U14:               Jenith Wiratunga (Cowley)                    6
Best U145:              Tom Shepherd (Magdalen College School)       6
Best U130:              Mark McLeod (Didcot)                `        5
Best ungraded:          Eldar Elizada (Cowley)                       6.5
Best U12:               Dimitrios Zakarian (Oxfordshire Juniors)     5
Best U10:               Lineth Wiratunga (Cowley)                    3
Best slow starter (0/2):Bob Waugh (Cowley)                           7
Best very slow starter - 0/4:Advaith Panicker (Cowley)               4

I am grateful to everyone who helped make the event such a success,
Rose Hill Methodist Church for allowing us the use of the downstairs
Hall for the event;
the Kidlington Chess Tournament for the loan of equipment;
those who kindly donated prizes for the event or made donations to the
Lester Millin Memorial Fund;
John Taylor and Dave Robson, for help with the transporting of equipment;
Will Burt, for help with setting up the hall and taking entries on the door;
the many people who helped clear up afterwards;
Rob Harvey, who manned the wall charts and kept the round-by-round
scores up to date very efficiently;
and, especially, our controllers Tim Dickinson and Priscilla Morris, who
were not fazed by the unusually large number of players, and ran the
event quickly and calmly as ever.

Gerard O'Reilly (27 June 2017)

21 Jun 2017

Peter Hemmings

Graders Report 2017

A report from the Oxfordshire grader for the season 2016-2017 has been posted and my be viewed at the place indicated.

Link: documents/Graders Report 2017.docx
02 Apr 2017

Andrew Varney

Oxon U11 girls team

Oxfordshire Under 11 Girls team recently competed in the EPSCA final. 
This took place on the same weekend, and at the same venue, that 
Oxfordshire were winning the Under 14 Minor section of the SCCU Junior 

Unfortunately the team was missing a fair number of the stronger 
players, but this gave a chance for others to compete at the top level 
on higher boards, and others who would otherwise have been in the 
reserves tournament to play for the main team.

The team did not come last! The results do not do justice to how close 
some of the games were, and all of the girls are to be congratulated 
for their positive team spirit. Over half the team's points came from 
strong performances from Sana Kassey on board 3 and Asha Seymour on 
board 12. Full results can be found at the link below.

Next year Oxfordshire will be hosting the EPSCA U11 girls final, and I 
am hoping that we will be able to put a bigger focus on Oxfordshire 
girls' chess in the year leading up to that.
Link: http://www.oxfordfusion.com/epsca/TeamsOverall.cfm?EventID=101
01 Apr 2017

Andrew Varney

SCCU Junior Jamboree - Oxon winners

After some teething problems with setting up teams for the Southern 
Counties Chess Union Junior Jamboree, Oxfordshire fielded a team of six 
in the U14 minor section. The event took place at Orleans School in 
Twickenham on March 26th and comprised three rounds of standard games. 
The consistent strong performance of the team earned them the first 
place and each player came home with a trophy. Well done!

Warmest thanks to everyone who entered the competition, including those 
who could not go due to insufficient numbers of players in their 

Ola Murawska (team manager)


27 Mar 2017

Stephen Rumsby

Oxford U150 Team just miss clean sweep

The County U150 didn't quite manage to win against Hampshire on 
Saturday. As I was away for this match Ray Cordon kindly stepped in as 
captain. It looked to be a very close match with Hampshire winning 
11:9. Our bottom 5 boards were heavily outgraded, which swung the 
result their way. Nevertheless we still won the league overall with 10 
points. Thanks to all who played and to Ray for captaining. I hope 
everyone had an enjoyable afternoon's chess

12 Mar 2017

Andrew Varney

Oxford win EPSCA U9 south zonal!

Exciting news from David Zakarian, Oxon's EPSCA U9 team manager:

"In spite of the failure to qualify to the EPSCA finals from the South Zonal tournament last year, the Oxfordshire U9 teams recent results were quite reassuring, allowing us to speak about good chances to qualify. The results of the 2017 zonal held at Kennet School, Thatcham, proved wrong even our most optimistic predictions. In the afternoon of 11 March, while the University of Oxford was slowly but surely outplaying the Cambridge University team in the annual 135th Varsity match, the Oxfordshire U9 juniors were collecting invaluable points in their matches against opponents from 8 other counties. Eventually, after scoring 27½ out of 36 possible, Oxfordshire won the 1st place, coming 1 point ahead of the last years winner Sussex. Congratulations to all players both on the main boards and the reserves, as well as to all parents and coaches who contributed, in one way or another, to this success! It was a magnificent team effort, in which all players showed absolute determination and great perseverance!"

For results from the main tournament see the link below.

Link: http://www.oxfordfusion.com/epsca/TeamsOverall.cfm?EventID=95
14 Feb 2017

Gerard O'Reilly

40th Annual Kidlington Chess Tournament, 4 & 5 February 2017

Back in 1978, the first Kidlington Chess Tournament was held. It had two sections (Major: U180 and Minor: U135) and offered a guaranteed minimum prize fund of £130. The event grew rapidly. For the fourth event in 1981, an Intermediate section was added, the grading limits on the sections were 190, 160 and 125, and the prize fund had grown to over £500. Two years later, in the sixth annual tournament of Kidlington, the prize fund was over £700, and the grading limits of the three sections were 225, 175 and 125.

With this year's Kidlington Chess Tournament held at Exeter Hall, Kidlington, on 4 & 5 February, the event reached a landmark 40th year and featured a number of innovations. For the first time, the top section was not grading-limited but an Open section. We also had for the first time at Kidlington the option of online entry, and we added a further prize to the bottom section. (We had added a fourth [U120] section in 2012.) Moreover, the Oxfordshire Individual Championship, resuscitated this year, was decided at Kidlington, the winner being the eligible player with the highest combined score in the Open sections of the two weekend tournaments held in Oxfordshire during the season, at Witney in October and at Kidlington.

We were surprised and delighted at the large increase in the number of entrants this time. Such was the demand that we reached the capacity of our usual playing area (192 players) nearly a week before the start of the tournament and had to close to further entries. That had not come even close to happening before in the time I have been involved in the organization of the tournament. (Before my time, it had not been entirely unknown that the figure of 192 entries had been exceeded and an extra room in the building had been hired, but hiring an extra room at the venue was not economically viable and in any case we felt that allowing more entrants would have put undesirable strain on the facilities at the venue as well as creating the danger of a degree of overcrowding which would would not be good for the atmosphere of the tournament.

Of our 192 starters, 28 were in the Open section, 57 in the U180, 47 in the U145 section, and 60 in the U120. Competitors ranged in age from 7 to 89.

As last year, we were very pleased to have Andrew Varney deputize for Priscilla as controller for the U145 section on the Saturday, joining our other regular controllers, Tim Dickinson and Lucy Smith. As usual, they all did their work in an efficient, unruffled, and friendly way.

Despite the presence of Grandmaster John Nunn and new IM Alan Merry in the Open section, as well as Oxford University's Portuguese FIDE Master David Martins and Armenian FM David Zakarian, we again had a 'home-grown' winner, with Marcus Harvey (now an FM, too) of Witney Chess Club taking clear first place and the £250 winner's prize with a score of 4.5/5. He dropped just a half-point in round 3 against Nunn, and beat David Martins in the final round. Marcus's result was a repeat of his clear victory in 2015. (He also shared first place back in 2013.) John Nunn and David Martins, along with former Oxford University player Michael Healey, shared second place. Of those who finished a point further back on 3 in equal fifth place, Ben Ogunshola and David Coleman qualify for places in the 2017 British Championship at Llandudno this summer.

The Oxfordshire Individual Championship title and trophy go to Oxford University's David Zakarian, who, despite being unable to play the last round at Kidlington because of duties supervising the Oxfordshire Under-9 team, added to his score in the Open section at Witney to win the Championship with 5.5 points. Zoe Varney came second with a combined total of five points. (Marcus Harvey had been unable to play at Witney.)

Zoe's brother Daniel Varney, of Cumnor Chess Club, deservedly took clear top spot in the U180 section with a score of 4.5/5, a half-point ahead of visitors Peter Tart and Paul Colburn and of Cowley's Will Burt and Oxford City's Anthony Lee.

The U145 section produced a five-way tie for first place, shared by Berkshire players Michael Lucey and George Green, Camberley's Paul Gillett, and two Oxfordshire players, Steve Barry (who mostly plays tournaments rather than in the Oxfordshire League) and Cowley's Bob Samuels, all of them on 4/5.

In the U120 section, there was a seven-way tie for first place on 4/5, between James Barnett, Dominic De Silva, Paul Bristow, Jason Madden, Roy Watson, and two juniors, Gloucestersire's Oliver Stubbs and Berkshire junior Helen Archer-Lock, who thereby went one better than her shared second place in the section last year.

For a complete list of prizewinners and the crosstables for the four sections, please consult the other pages under the '2017' tab on the Kidlington chess tournament website. You may also wish to look at the fine selection of photos from this year's event taken by Brendan O'Gorman (who shared the U160 grading prize in the U180 section), which he has posted online here. My thanks to him.

As usual, Andrew Butterworth of Chess Direct provided the excellent bookstall as well as the boards and sets and a good number of the clocks we used, and we are pleased that Helen Hackett (Hackett's Food & Drink of Witney) was again able to provide us with the fine selection of refreshments. My thanks to them both.

A tournament organizer relies on many other people in a variety of ways to make things happen and to run smoothly, and it is a pleasure to thank them. In addition to the section controllers, and Andrew Butterworth and Helen Hackett (already mentioned), I would like to add my thanks to the staff at Exeter Hall (especially Bert) and to Ian Brooke and, especially this year, to Tom Williams.

After reaching the milestone of 40 years of the Kidlington Tournament this year, it's worth reflecting on and giving thanks for the efforts of those who started the whole thing off four decades ago (some at Kidlington this year played in the first event back in 1978!), and all those who through the years have worked hard and made contributions in different ways to keep the tournament going and growing. I single out Tom, not to downplay the vital roles that many other have played over the years, but because, having been among those who started the tournament up four decades ago, he is now standing down after forty years at the heart of the organization in various capacities. In recent years he has been Treasurer--though that title does scant justice to the contribution he has continued to make. In learning the ropes, since I came into the Kidlington organizing team in 2010, I have relied heavily on Tom, not only for his work as Treasurer and more, but also for his sound advice, encouragement, practical support and friendship. So a very special 'Thank you' to Tom.

Finally, my thanks go to all the 192 players who competed at this years Kidlington, and to those who made donations to our funds (vital to our long-term survival and to our support for local chess).

This year, we reached a milestone: the 40th annual Kidlington Chess Tournament. Next year, as we move into our fifth decade, we celebrate another 40th anniversary. The 41st annual Kidlington Chess Tournament, taking place on Saturday and Sunday 4 & 5 February 2018, will be the fortieth to be held at Exeter Hall. We look forward not only to welcoming back old chess friends but also to making new ones. Do join us there!

Gerard O'Reilly (14 February 2017)

Link: https://kidlingtonchess.org.uk/
11 Feb 2017

Andrew Varney

Oxon Junior tournament results

The full results for the Oxon Junior tournament held on 7-8 January 
2017 are available on the results section of this website. The 2016-17 
season champions are:

Under 18        Zoe Varney               
Under 15        Elizaveta Sheremetyeva  
Under 13        Bill Read       
Under 11        Ben Aubury & Dimitrios Zakarian (equal on tie-breaks)
Under 9         Ivan Chetverikov

Under 18 School   Cherwell
Under 11 School   St Joseph's* (on tie-break)
* clock prize awarded to MCS as St Joseph's were winners previous season.

Link: http://www.oxfordfusion.com/oca/GetTournamentResults.cfm
11 Feb 2017

Andrew Varney

Oxon U9 team inter-county friendly results

On Sunday 5 February, David Zakarian left the Kidlington Congress a round early in order to manage an Oxon Under 9 team in an inter- county match in Newbury.

After the match David wrote:

"Oxfordshire Junior U9 team had a wonderful tournament, coming second out of eight teams in the overall standings. Congratulations to all the players! Every single member of the team contributed to this success and I hope they all have learnt something from this invaluable experience. Special thanks to all the parents and guardians who dedicated one more Sunday to their childrens chess adventures!"

Full results can be found at:

Link: http://www.oxfordfusion.com/epsca/TeamsOverall.cfm?EventID=92