The 13th Heywood, Lancashire, Chess Congress

June 16-17 2007

Town plays host to visitors from all over the country

Heywood once again welcomed players from all over the country for the two-day chess congress at the Civic Centre. International Masters from Scotland, weekend players from London, the Midlands, Wales and the North East joined North West players in competing for nearly £2000 in prize money across five sections of skill level.

The congress attendance was excellent, nicely filling the venue, and boosted even further by the fact that the HEYWOOD ADVERTISER OPEN was also the North of England qualifier for the British Championships to be held in August in Great Yarmouth. Held over two days at the Civic Centre, the event was roundly praised by the competitors, who also found time to visit the market and other Heywood facilities during the weekend.

Stephen Gordon of Oldham finally won the HEYWOOD ADVERTISER OPEN by just half a point. Stephen is well on his way to becoming an International Master, playing in events all over the world. But the great news for Heywood chess club was that Heywood player Dominic Rabbitte, just 16, beat Scottish International Master Steve Mannion as part of a very respectable performance which augers well for the future. Dominic and his 14 year-old brother Michael both won grading prizes. The Open was exceptionally strong this year.

The DUNNES STORES MAJOR was another excellent competition. Heywood players Bob Newton and Chris Murray were just out of the prizes. Main prizes went to players from Shrewsbury and Hull. Local Bill O’Rourke unfortunately lost close games to both the joint winners.

Yorkshire and Merseyside players shared the spoils in the ANTONIN WELEMINSKY INTERMEDIATE, a section run in tribute to 96 year old Heywood Chess Club player Antonin, who died two years ago.

The COVERSURE INSURANCE MINOR was very closely fought, with unusually six players sharing second place. However a very young rising star from York, Jean-Luc Weller, won the competition outright. Heywood players Liam O’Rourke and Ian Mitchell had moved up to this stronger section this year, and their half marks show good progress. James Carrington of Heywood improved again this year and was just outside the prizes.

Finally the KUMON MATHS NOVICE was won by Lancashire young stars Tom Fielding and Peter Cassell. Heywood’s Ben Atueyi and Paul Rabbitte did well in their first Heywood congress, and should be looking to be amongst the prizes this time next year.

Organiser Bill O’Rourke said "Once again we’ve held a first class chess congress in Heywood, which just shows what can be done by local volunteers. It is so important that our local sponsors are thanked, for they allow this event to take place - truly magnificent support from the Heywood Advertiser, Dunnes Stores, Coversure Insurance and Kumon Maths & English, without whom the event quite simply couldn’t take place. Thanks also to the Civic Centre staff, who did everything to make the event run smoothly".

Next summer Heywood chess congress will once again play host to several chess players from our twin town Peine in Germany. This visit will be the latest in reciprocal visits that have been taking place since 1996. Meanwhile 16 players and family from Heywood chess club will be visiting Peine in August for what is guaranteed to be a warm welcome.

Stephen Gordon Open Champion

Stephen Gordon on the left is the new Heywood Advertiser Open Champion


Dominic Rabbitte in the Open

Heywood's Dominic Rabbitte in the Heywood Advertiser Open


Players in the Major

Players from Hull and Shrewsbury competing in the Dunnes Stores Major


Tom Whitaker Intermediate Winner

Tom Whitaker near right on the way to winning the Intermediate


Jean-Luc Weller Minor Winner

Young Jean-Luc Weller (right) beat all comers to win the Coversure Minor


Liam O'Rourke in the Minor

Heywood's Liam O'Rourke competing in the Coversure Minor


Peter Cassell Novice Winner

Peter Cassell joint winner of the Kumon Novice





1st Stephen Gordon (3C’s) 4.5/5 £300

2nd= Don Mason (Shirley) and Adam Ashton (3C’s, British Championship qualifier) 4/5 £115 each

Grading prizes: U170 John Lyth (Morecambe), Phil Armstrong (Oldham), Martin Brown (Grappenhall), Dominic Rabbitte (Heywood), Michael Rabbitte (Heywood) and Peter Kirby (Bingley)

Edmund Spencer North of England U18 Champion: James Hanley (Lancaster)



1st= Richard Bryant (Shrewsbury), Eric Gardiner (Hull) and Nick Lee (Chorlton) 4/5 £116.67 each

Grading prize: Ken Rose (Chorley), 3.5/5 £20



1st Thomas Whitaker (Rotherham) £160

2nd M John Cawston (Lady Ann Middleton) 4/5 £80

3rd Robert Frith (Prescot) 3.5/5 £40

Grading prizes:

132-128 Richard Gavin (3C’s), Mick Connor (Great Lever), Robert Clegg (Huddersfield), Paul Smith, David Boulton (Denton) 3/5

U128 Dave Gaston (Crusaders) and Dave Sugden £10 each.



1st= Jean-Luc Weller (York RI) 5/5 £160

2nd= Robert Amos (PKA), Henry Broadley (Chorley), Noel Boustred (Eldon Square), Chris Evans (East Cheshire), Phil Titterington (Clitheroe) and Dave Colledge (Courier) 4/5 £20 each

Grading prizes:

U75 Dave Colledge (Courier)

75-87 Lee Baron (Bury) and Roger Walker (Belper) £20 each



1st= Thomas Fielding (Preston) and Peter Cassell (Chorley), 4/5 £40 each

3rd= Matthew Wedge-Roberts (Hebden Bridge), Steven Jones (Grappenhall), Chris Fielding (Preston) and Jade Stirrup (3C’s) 3.5/5


Puzzle competition winner: Daniel Broughton (West Bridgford) £10

Team competition winners: 3C’s (Chess Clock)

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