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Congress shows chess is still thriving

GRANDMASTER: Matthew Sadler
GRANDMASTER: Matthew Sadler

The 35th Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress proved to be as big as ever at the weekend with a close to capacity 169 entrants packing out the apex across Saturday and Sunday.

The long-time number one graded British player in the English Chess Federation, grand master Matthew Sadler, who represents Guildford, came out on top again in the open competition, though this time had to share £530 of prize money with Hackney’s international master Richard Bates.

Locally-based and former Bury St Edmunds Chess Club member Alan Merry, who now competes for London-based Barbican in the 4 Nations Chess League, came third.

Four competitions were run, based on rankings, with Stowmarket’s Stephen Lewis, who also plays for Bury as well as his hometown club, the joint winner of the Major (second tier) section.

Linton’s 11-year-old Abigail Weersing carried off the Minor section (fourth tier) winner’s cheque of £150 after becoming the only player over the weekend to win all five round matches.

Congress secretary Steve Lovell, who wished to thank sponsors Music Sales, the Bury St Edmunds Town Council and British Sugar, said it was great to see so many junior players enter.

“It was really notable was the sheer number of junior players we had,” he said.

“In the minor section more than half (of 59) were juniors.

“It shows the sport really is thriving.”