An Excellent Weekend For Cumnor At Kidlington


The weekend of the 4-5th February 2023 saw the return of the Kidlington Chess Tournament after a Covid-19 enforced break; the last time I visited Exeter Hall it was for my vaccinations.

Exeter Hall, Kidlington

Six members of the club participated, and between them managed to bring home FOUR prizes! Pride of place must go to Gareth Stevens who managed to share first prize in the Under 1800 section, so retaining that title from when the competition was last run in 2020.

He achieved this unbeaten with a score of 4/5. His second round game in particular had a nice finish, and has been covered in a video by Simon Terrington. Here’s the finale, Gareth is White and on move – how does he win?

Gareth has now 5/6 in the last few games, I expect he’ll be back above 1800 soon, and quite rightly so.

Robin Carr also scored 4/5, this time in the Under 1600 section. This was enough for a share of fourth; Robin lost in the first round and then had 4 straight wins. This was enough for him to win the Veteran’s Prize.

Robin in round 2 at the start of his unbeaten run. Picture courtesy of Carl Portman (

I particularly enjoyed watching his Sunday morning game, a complicated Kings Indian where Robin as black nicely thwarted his opponent’s Neanderthal plans on the king side, won a piece, and then cleanly won the endgame.

The third prize that Cumnor players won was the Team Prize. Gareth and Robin’s excellent scores combined with those of Callum Brewerton and Mark Sayers took them to 13.5, 1/2 a point ahead of  Epsom. Callum made the excellent result of 3.5/5 in the Under 1800 section, a fantastic score in a strong section and what I think is only Callum’s second tournament – he had to overcome much more seasoned competitors to achieve it, and in doing so won the rating prize in the Under 1800 Section. Well done Callum!

Mark and I were in the Under 2000 and both scored 2/5, but had fun on the way. Mark managed to sac his queen in the last round looking for a win, unfortunately unlike another player’s it wasn’t sound and he went down fighting. I particularly enjoyed my second round game, winning helps but I managed to convert after just one poor move from my opponent in the opening ( 6 … Be6?) – but after that accurate defence made me work hard, the knights in particular got a good work out:

Lastly Nigel Moyse was in the Open, scoring a fantastic 50% in a section that contained a number of players with International titles, at least 3 International and one FIDE masters. You might think such games are often heavyweight positional battles where it’s tiny differences that contribute to the final result. But not always – here is Nigel’s last round win which he described as feeling like “a Blitz gone wrong”

So a very successful weekend for the club. And as always a very enjoyable and well organised tournament – thanks to Gerard O’Reilly and his team, Matthew Carr, Keith Freshwater, Raj, Jon d’Souza-Eva and all the others for a great weekend of chess!


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Ian Bush

Ian has been playing for Cumnor Chess Club since 2017, having previously played for MCS Blackbirds.

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