The 17th Heywood, Lancashire, Chess Congress

June 18-19 2011


17th Heywood Chess Congress continues to pull in entries from all over

The seventeenth Heywood chess congress held at a full Heywood Civic Centre continued to pull in top grade players to Heywood last weekend from locally, regionally and nationally. There were participants from Glasgow, Aberystwyth, Scunthorpe, Bangor, York, Stafford, Chester, Derby, Penrith and Consett, alongside Heywood and Lancashire players.

The VAN LEEUWEN WHEELER OPEN was expected to be dominated by Glasgow’s Scottish International Master Steve Mannion, but unexpectedly there was a sensational performance from Alex Richardson of Newcastle under Lyme, who swept all before him with a 5/5 score. This also secured him a qualifying place in the British Championships next month. Left in his slipstream was Mike Surtees of Bolton in second. There were further encouraging performances from young Heywood players Dominic and Liam Rabbitte.

First place in the DATA MATTERS MAJOR was secured by Mark Talbot of Wigan. Heywood’s Bob Newton struggled for once and failed to finish in the prizes.

However there was local success to celebrate in the ANTONIN WELEMINSKY INTERMEDIATE. The event was won by congress organiser Bill O’Rourke at the 17th attempt! Bill took great delight in announcing at the prize giving “The intermediate winner is – ME!” Bill donated his prize money back to the congress fund to secure the event’s future.

In the ORB ASSOCIATES MINOR, there were many Heywood chess club entrants, but the outstanding performance came from the club’s 84 year old Jim Tennant-Smith, who won a grading prize and was just outside the main prizes. Heywood’s Pete Edhouse also won a grading prize. The section was won by young Matthew Walsh of Leyland. Matthew and his twin James are already England regulars.

The KUMON MATHS NOVICE was won by Colin Friar of Liverpool. David Thorp of Heywood was half a point off third, while Heywood players David Jinks and Mark Cooper were getting their first experience of competitive congress chess.

Organiser Bill O’Rourke said ‘Despite economic austerity, players from all over the country were willing to come to Heywood to compete in this well established event. These players spend money in the local economy, at the market, Heywood shops and in the local hotels. Many of the players and their families readily admit they have never heard of Heywood before playing at the congress. The Albany Hotel was full with chess players all weekend, and players were in and out of local shops and the market all weekend.” Bill stressed the importance of the sponsors to the event: “It is the local sponsors that allow this event to take place - truly magnificent support from Van Leeuwen Wheeler Steel tubes of Bury and Aberdeen, and Data Matters, Orb Associates and Kumon Maths & English from Heywood. Without them the event quite simply couldn’t take place. A special thanks from all the players to them”.

Bill also paid tribute to the Civic Hall staff, two of whom will be leaving in July. “Duty manager Heather has been professionalism personified, always helpful and welcoming to competitors for many years. And Bar Stewardess Shelia has been present at every one of the 17 yearly congresses, and always made the players feel welcome. Many thanks to both.”

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Bill O'Rourke 2011 Intermediate Winner

Bill O'Rourke - Congress Organiser and Winner of the Intermediate Section





1st Alex Richardson (Newcastle-Under-Lyme) 5/5 £350

2nd Mike Surtees (Bolton) 4/5 £160

3rd Don Mason (Shirley) 3.5/5 £80

U185 Grading Prizes: Joe McPhillips (Bolton) and Henry Broadley (Chorley) both 3/5 £10 each

Lancashire Open Championship: Shared by Ben Hague (Rochdale), Joe McPhillips and Henry Broadley £8.33 each



1st Mark Talbot (Wigan) 4.5/5 £250 and Lancashire Major Champion £25

2nd = David Toole (Denton), Nathan Talbot (Wigan) and Philip Olbison (Chorlton) 3.5/5 £60 each

Grading Prize: U170 Dave Toole, Nathan Talbot and Philip Olbison 3.5/5 £6.66 each



1st= Bill O’Rourke (Heywood) 4.5/5 £200 and Lancashire Intermediate Champion £25

2nd = Richard Gavin (Oldham), John Shakespeare (Bangor), Roger Chapman (Wigan) and Andrew Horton (3C’s) 3.5/5 £25 each

2nd = and shared Grading Prize: U152-147 Mick Connor (Great Lever) and Paul Stephenson (Waterloo) 3.5/5 £35 each;

U147 Brendan Brown (Clitheroe) and Jan Kitshoff (Culcheth) 3/5 £10 each



1st Matthew Walsh (Leyland) 4.5/5 £200 and Lancashire Minor Champion £25

2nd = David Colledge (Courier) and Roger Walker (Belper) 4/5 £50 each

Grading prizes: 132-125 David Sugden (Hebden Bridge), Jim Tennant-Smith (Heywood) and John Ryan 3/5 £6.66 each;

124-115 William Egan (Scunthorpe) and Peter Edhouse (Heywood) 3/5 £10 each;

U114 Adrian Dawson (Halifax) 3.5/5 £20



1st Colin Friar (Waterloo) 4.5/5 £100

2nd John Light (Leeds) 4/5 £50

3rd = Kenneth Aldersley (Pendle), Jonathan Mahony (Leeds), Peter Brace (Spondon) & James Waddington (Bolton) 3/5 £5 each


Puzzle competition winner: David Boulden (Denton) £10


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