Monday, 11 September 2017

Giving Something Back

My very good friend and CSC colleague David Hardy recently wrote a chess book and I have just posted a review here.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

8th Mike Closs Memorial Tournament - Report

As mentioned yesterday, today brought the 8th Mike Closs Memorial Tournament.

I replaced the unavailable defending champion Julian Allinson in this year's line-up, thus making my tournament debut after seven years of 'merely' being in the role of organiser.

The players had to pick a comedy-themed envelope to determine the pairings.
The others chose first and left me with Tony Hancock. Stone me, what a life!
Everything is ready and now I await the guest stars 
Play was soon underway. The four players had to play each other four times at 5-minute chess.

Kevin Winter
David Baillie - former champion of this event
and the only person to have played in all eight.
Richard Harris
Me, hard at work
Richard arrived with gifts! He had spent part of the morning baking excellent blueberry muffins. Chess tournaments are civilised here at Marsh Towers.

The scores of the first cycle of games were:

Sean Marsh: 5.5/6
Kevin Winter 3.5/6
David Baillie 3/6
Richard Harris 0/6

I drew against Kevin in the final game of the first cycle when Kevin should really have won.
Enjoying the muffins at half-time
The second cycle saw the pace increase and brought the most closely contested games.

Scores of the second and final cycle of games:

Sean Marsh: 4.5/6
David Baillie 4/6
Kevin Winter 3.5/6
Richard Harris 0/6

I lost the final game of the event when I missed a key move in Kevin's attack. I had a lost position in one of the games against David too but managed to hold a draw.

Final scores:

Sean Marsh: 10/12
David Baillie 7/12
Kevin Winter 7/12
Richard Harris 0/12

All of the games were hard-fought and many sacrifices were played. Mike would have enjoyed the games, that's for sure.

Lunch after the tough battles
Thank you, everyone. The 9th Mike Closs Memorial Tournament will definitely go ahead in 2018.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

8th Mike Closs Memorial Tournament

Tomorrow brings the 8th Mike Closs Memorial Tournament, which is set to feature a small yet competitive group of players who will play 12 rounds of 5-minute chess games in memory of my great friend.

I have written about Mike many times here at Marsh Towers, as a judicious use of the search box will definitely reveal.

We first played each other at chess while still at our respective schools and went on to become very close friends and club mates at Guisborough, Redcar and Elmwood. Playing side-by-side for our teams we enjoyed a remarkable run of success at Guisborough (winning the league title for the first time in 50 years) and Elmwood (regularly winning the league and the Tom Wise KO Cup). We tended to win the same individual honours too, such as the Cleveland Championship, the Northern Counties Chess Union Championship, the Redcar Congress and the championships of our three mutual clubs.

We helped each other prepare for key games and were in touch with each other virtually every day from just after leaving school all the way until the terrible news came through of his extremely untimely death.

We played each other many times too, in the Cleveland Championship, the championships of the three aforementioned clubs, an assortment of tournaments and even when we played for different teams. Our games were usually full of fighting, creative chess as we constantly tried to get the better of each other. Despite working together so closely, we always had different styles and different openings.

Our friendly rivalry provided plenty of inspiration for both of us as we made our way up to the top of the local grading lists and, playing together, offered a difficult and challenging match for all-comers.

Things have never been the same since that fateful day back in 2010.

We still meet and play chess...but now it is only in my vivid dreams. For an indeterminate amount of time we are back as we were: playing, analysing, talking. Always semi-aware I am caught in a dream, I feel reluctant to wake up and break the spell created by our moves and games.

Once a year I organise a tournament in his honour. I feel sure he would have approved of the event. 

2010 sometimes feels like five minutes ago but are already up to the eighth tournament in the series.

Reports on the previous events can be found by clicking on each of the following links:

7th Memorial Tournament

6th Memorial Tournament

5th Memorial Tournament

4th Memorial Tournament

3rd Memorial Tournament

2nd Memorial Tournament

1st Memorial Tournament

Tomorrow's tournament promises to be as exciting as the others. A full report will follow here in due course.