Report on St Albans 2015

The 33rd St Albans Congress took place at St Columba's College on 28th - 29th March 2015. The overall entry of 193 was approximately 30 more than last year. We might have seen even more entries had the unfortunate clash of dates with the 4NCL weekend not prevented a number of players attending, particularly in the Open.

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An interesting development to note, however, is the growth in the number of Junior players. There was a total of 39 Juniors (under 18 years) of whom eight came from a single club - Watford. Bury Knights and Barnet Knights were also well represented.

We received a number of comments from players immediately after the event which have been pleasingly complementary particularly regarding the overall organisation and smooth running of the event. We are always happy to accept further comments and suggestions for improvements based on your experience of the Congress.

The Open was won by GM Alexander Cherniaev (Hackney) on 4.5 points, half a point ahead of promising local player Svetlana Sucikova (Hertford). Five players shared third place: Christian Stevens (Canada), Philipp Orgler (Hendon), Gautam Jain(University College School), Simon Roe (St Albans), Peter Davies (The Full Ponty). Gautam Jain and Peter Davis shared the Grading Prize.

In the Challengers, Paul Kelly (Hastings & St Leonards) on 4.5 points took both first place and the Grading Prize. Six players shared second place: Julien Shepley (Guildford), Finlo Rohrer (BBC/Mushrooms), Daniel Ellis (Hendon), Richard Bryant (Oswestry), Andrew Price (Leamington), Hugh Fenwick (Mushrooms).

Surprisingly, in the Major three players tied for first place on 4 points: John Cawston (Yorkshire Terrier), William Phillips (Hatch End), Leo Sanitt (Barnet Knights). Leo Sanitt also carried off the Grading Prize.

The Intermediate was won by Rob Parsons (Hatch End) who scored an impressive 5 points from 5 games to take first place. A full point behind were two players who shared second place: Rob Hewitt (Basildon), Steven Dale (Gerards Cross). The Grading Prize went to Patrick Sartain (Harrow) on 3.

The Minor attracted an amazing 72 players. It was won outright by Marek Piedel (Poland) who achieved a faultless 5, half a point ahead of Jacob Yoon (Enfield). Jacob also carried off the Best Junior (u14 yrs) and Grading Prizes. Third place was shared by no less than six players: Peter Brander (Chelmsford), Viktor Jamroz (Kent Juniors), Timothy Allen (Battersea), Jeff Tomy (Watford), Brian Foster (Hayes), Terence Greenaway (Torquay).

The Veterans Prize was shared between Timothy Allen (Minor), Brian Foster (Minor) and William Phillips (Major).

Hope to see you all again next year!

    The Congress Team