The 37th Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress welcomes record numbers to The Apex event
The Bury St Edmunds Chess Congress – regarded as one of the finest weekend chess tournaments in the country – saw contestants battle for one of four titles for the 37th consecutive year.
The majority of the 170 players – which organisers believe is a new record – competing at the Apex in Bury St Edmunds,were from East Anglia, including 13 from the town itself. But the event also attracted entrants from further afield and even drew players from Ireland, Denmark and India.
The event is divided into four sections, based on playing strength as measured by official English Chess Federation grades (or suitable proxies). The sections, which from strongest to weakest were the Open, Major (under 170 grade), Intermediate (u145) and Minor (u110), were all fiercely competitive, with over £2,000 total prize money on offer.
The Open (top) section was won jointly by International Master Richard Pert and International Master Antanas Zapolskis while the Major section was won jointly by Paul Kenning and Vladimirs Bovtramovics.
The Intermediate section was won outright by Ranjith Rk (from India) while there was a five-way tie for first in the Minor section.
Bury St Edmunds youngster Rowan Kent, 10, shared the victory with eight-year-old Kameron Grose as well as adults David May, John Duff-Cole and Paul Buswell.
The event is run entirely by volunteers on a not-for-profit basis. The main team is Steve Lovell (Congress Secretary), John Wickham (Congress Director and Chief Arbiter) and Paul Kemp (Treasurer and Assistant Arbiter).
Lovell said: “The organisers would like to thank local business for their support, without which the event would not be possible, especially those who supported financially: Music Sales, British Sugar and the Bury Area Chess League.
“I’d also like to thank the amazing Chess & Bridge store, in London. They supplied all our sets, boards and clocks and brought along their usual amazing selection of chess books and equipment for their bookstall. Without them, we would have a major headache.
“It was another great event. We’ve had lots of very positive feedback, more than I can remember getting in recent years – it’s been held annually.
“There have been a few different venues over the years, but we’ve been in the Apex since it opened in 2010. It’s a great venue, with one of our very few complaints being that we are now almost filling it, so further growing the event is difficult.
“This was my fifth year organising the congress. We try to make small improvements to things each year, and I think that that’s paying dividends; 170 players may have been a record.
“I enjoy seeing the local juniors doing well, so Rowan’s results are a real highlight.
“Chess is a great ‘leveller’ in that it allows people to play alongside or against each other regardless of age, sex, ethnicity or indeed physical disability. We had players well into their eighties and others as young as seven, and everything in between.”