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Junior Chess

The Yorkshire & the Humber Regional HASSRA Individual Chess Championship was staged on Friday 15th July 2016 at Quarry House, Leeds. (HASSRA stands for Health & Social Security Recreational Association. It is now the sports and leisure association for current and former staff working for the Department of Health, Department for Work & Pensions, the Food Standards Agency and associated executive agencies and public bodies. Membership is also available to private contractors working on Departmental business and former staff of any qualifying employer.) A disappointing entry of just three players contested the Championship, causing steps to be taken to avoid a repetition and boost future attendance.
The Competitors.

Name.

Dale Cullum.

Chess Grade.

Yorkshire Chess Association 110. English Chess Federation 119.

Club/Team.

West Leeds. Leeds League Division 2.

Club/Team.

West Leeds. Yorkshire Chess Association Division 3.

Name.

David G. Mills.

Chess Grade

Yorkshire Chess Association 139. English Chess Federation 140.

Club/Team.

Beverley. Hull & District Divisions 1. Six and Four Board Leagues.

Club/Team.

Hull & District ‘B’. Yorkshire Chess Association Division 2.

Club/Team.

Scunthorpe Bishops. Scunthorpe League.

Club/Team.

Scunthorpe. Lincolnshire League Divisions 1 and 2.

Name.

Ian D. Strickland.

Chess Grade.

Yorkshire Chess Association 131. English Chess Federation 128.

Club/Team.

West Leeds. Leeds League Division 2.

Club/Team.

West Leeds. Yorkshire Chess Association Division 3.

The Format.
Having regard to the number of competitors and the time available for play, it was decided to organise the event on a double round all-play-all format. Games would last a maximum of 40 minutes, each player having 20 minutes for all moves. A draw was conducted to determine the order of play.

Round 1. White: D. G. Mills. Black: I. D. Strickland.
A cautious approach from the defending champion who adopted a Colle System with white. Multiple exchanges gave rise to a king and pawns endgame. Strickland delayed an opportunity to create a passed pawn on the queenside of the board which may have offered winning chances. This was immediately prevented by his opponent and a draw was agreed shortly afterwards in a completely level position.
Result ½ - ½.

Round 2. White: D. Cullum. Black: D. G. Mills.
Mills adopted the Modern Defence, hoping to unsettle his less experienced opponent. This strategy paid dividends when he won material in the middlegame. This was followed by a policy of exchanging pieces which led to an untenable position for white, eventually causing his resignation.
Result 0 – 1.

Round 3. White: I. D. Strickland. Black: D. Cullum.
Strickland adopted the Queen’s Gambit, Exchange Variation, causing his opponent to fall behind on time. In a difficult position, Cullum played for complications and both parties faced severe time trouble. When Strickland eventually lost on time, Cullum had only seconds remaining on his clock.
Result 0 – 1.

Round 4. White: I. D. Strickland. Black: D. G. Mills.
Strickland’s Queen Pawn advance was answered by the English Defence – 1. d4 e6  2. c4 b6  3. e4 Bb7 – a sharp system popularised during the 1970s and 1980s by several top English players, including Miles, Plaskett, Speelman and Keene. It is ideal for speed chess if white is unfamiliar with the underlying tactics and strategies. Mills won a pawn in the opening and held onto it into the King, Rook, Bishop and Pawns endgame to enjoy a significant advantage. Somewhat behind on time, discretion was the better part of valour! He exchanged rooks and secured a bishops of opposite colours ending which was quickly agreed drawn.
Result ½ - ½.

Round 5. White: D. G. Mills. Black: D. Cullum.
Mills’ use of the London System – 1. d4 d5  2. Nf3 Nf6  3. Bf4 – earned him a significant positional advantage. He was able to force the win of a piece for a pawn and this was soon followed by further material gains. Cullum resigned when faced with a forced checkmate in two moves. Mills had an unassailable lead.
Result 1 – 0.

Round 6. White: D. Cullum. Black: I. D. Strickland.
Another Queen’s Gambit Declined. Fortunes flowed back and forth as pieces were exchanged. Both players faced time pressure.  A pawn up in a drawn King, Bishop and 2 Pawns versus King, Bishop and 1 Pawn ending, Cullum’s flag fell, causing him to lose on time. Strickland had just a few seconds remaining on his clock.

Tournament Table.

 

1.

2.

3.

Total.

  1. D. G. Mills.

 

½    ½

1    1

3

  1. I. D. Strickland.

½    ½

 

0    1

2

  1. D. Cullum.

0    0

1    0

 

1

An entertaining day’s chess with Mills taking the title for the fifth time, having previously won it outright in 1975, 1976, 1981 and jointly in 2015. He goes forward to the National Final to be held on 10th September 2016 at the HASSRA Festival, Warwick University.

David G. Mills.
Yorkshire & The Humber Region HASSRA Chess Organiser.