The 2nd Heywood, Lancashire, Chess Congress

June 22-23 June 1996


Chess, Chess and more Chess!

Heywood continued to enhance its rapidly growing reputation as one of the chess centres in the North of England when the Civic Hall was packed on Sunday with 172 competitors for Heywood’s second chess congress. Following on from the success of the inaugural Heywood Chess Congress last year, the response to this event was incredible, with competitors from as far as Wales, London, Hull, Birmingham and Oxford. And a speciality this year eight players competing from Heywood's twin town Peine from Germany.

Organiser Bill O’Rourke takes up the story: "All over the country congresses have been reporting 15-20% decreases in attendances, one factor being the difficulty in obtaining sponsorships. However Heywood has managed to reverse the trend with a magnificent increase of 13% in numbers over last year, owing a great deal to the sponsorships supplied by the Heywood Advertiser, Barclays Heywood and Orb Associates".

Shortly before 9am the Deputy Mayor's consort James Gartside got the games under way. Play progressed smoothly throughout the weekend, although half the congress crammed into the Civic Hall bar to watch the television on Saturday afternoon to watch England’s penalty shoot out with Spain. The roar that went up even brought a smile to the leading players on the stage!

Players from the new Heywood chess club performed very well, and for the first time ever two Heywood Chess club members won prizes. Neil Fawcett came second in the Minor (very unlucky to not actually share the first place), while David Thorp came equal second in the Novice section. Andrew Martin only just failed to claim third prize, finishing fourth, with James Duffy also just finishing outside the prizes. Eight year old James Campbell finished with a 60% record. Not bad for a club that is only nine months old! Most encouraging was the fact that thirteen Heywood novices from the club competed and none of them looked out of their depth.

The total prize fund of £1500 was presented by the sponsors, being shared amongst the sections ranging from experts to complete novices.

And so what’s next for Heywood Chess? Bill says: "I’m hopeful a coachload of Heywod players will be competing in the Peine competition next September in Germany. To make the event bigger, I will shortly be approaching more local companies to ask them to sponsor the different sections. That way we will attract even more chess players to Heywood".

Paul Littlewood 1996 Open WinnerPaul Littlewood (right) on his way to winning the Open Section


1996 Winners Galore

Winners Galore!
(back right are Ilya Baros and John Littlewood, both now sadly passed away)

1996 First visit by Peine players

First visit by Peine players - top left Jorg Drescher of Peine observes Heywood Advertiser editor Gerry Sammon handing over the sponsor's cheque




1st Paul Littlewood (Wood Green) 4.5/5 £300

2nd= William Giblin (Trafford Junior Knights) and John Littlewood (Atherton) 4/5 £115 each

Grading prizes: Malcolm Peacock (Preston) and Martin Goodger (Swinton) £20 each

John Littlewood qualifies as Heywood Qualifier for British Championships

33 players



1st= Jon Burgess (Trafford Junior Knights) and Mandy Haslinger (Formby) 4/5 £120 each

3rd= Kirk Gornall (Crusaders), Mark Whitehead (Rochdale) and Stuart White (Bolton) 3.5/5 £13.34 each

Grading prizes:

Mark Whitehead and Stuart White £6.66 each

Roy Fisher (Unattached) and Allan Dunkerley (Rochdale) £13.33 each

23 entrants



1st= Ilya Baros (Rochdale), Robin Wilding (Blackburn) and Clive Davies (Rose Forgrove) 4/5 £70 each

Grading prizes:

Mike Haslinger (Formby), Brian Shaw (East Cheshire) and David Talbot (Blackburn) £6.67 each

Mick Connor (Great Lever) £20

27 entrants



1st John Robinson (Swinton) 5/5 £100

2nd= Neil Fawcett (Heywood) and M.P. Crowther (Stockport) 4.5/5 £40 each

Grading prizes:

Thomas Heron (Prescot) and Tom Dugdale (Huyton) £20 each

Mike Day (Prescot), Danilo Solomczak (Rochdale) and Mark Jones (Droylsden) £6.66 each

70 entrants



1st Danny Wood (Waterfoot) 5/5 £20

2nd= Alan Jones (North Manchester) and David Thorp (Heywood) 4/5 12.50 each

19 entrants


Total entry = 172 players (13% increase on 1995 congress)

Total prize fund = £1500 (25% increase on 1995 congress)

Copyright @Heywood Chess Congress 2024

Cookies                                                                                                              Privacy Policy