These took place in Torquay 28 July to 10 August 2013. There was a total of 1200 tournament entries, the previous record having been 1010 in Edinburgh 2003. The event started in 1904, but, due to the war years, it only reached its 100th this year. There were 34 championships being competed for, ranging from the Senior to U8, most of these also having female titles available. These events were open only to players from the British Isles, but there were also a number of events open to players from anywhere. In addition there were, as usual, a large number of special events, often held in the evening, some arranged specially for the celebrations.
THE THINK DRINK BULLET CHESS CHALLENGE opened the whole congress on Sunday 28. This created a new world record for the largest number of games in a match played live with clocks in one hour. Bullet chess is all the moves in one minute. It was between GM Keith Arkell and IM Gary Lane. They were chosen as Keith lives in the Torbay area and Gary grew up there. The final result was Keith 22, Gary 15. There were no arguments. Few pieces were knocked over. This event put the DGT equipment under considerable pressure and the equipment coped magnificently. Some of the games were really rather good. Go to http://englishchess.org.uk/BCC/pgn-games-tournaments/ to see all the games and many, many of the others played in the congress. An application is being made to the Guinness Book of Records for recognition of this achievement. Other regulations required an International Arbiter rated at least 1700, observers, a photographic and video record. Of course it is even easier to play bullet chess online – but where’s the fun in that?
The event was used to launch a new energy drink, THINK DRINK. They also sponsored The Champion of Champions, that prize going to the person scoring the greatest number of points in all the events in the congress. Keith Arkell scored 22 in the Bullet Chess Challenge, 7½/11 in the Championship and 5½/7 in the British Team Blitz Championship – a total of 35. Dion Huang scored 13 in a daily Problem Solving Competition; 6½ in the Under 13, 5 in the U12 and 3 in the 5 Day pm Week 2 for 27½.
David Howell took an early lead in the British Championship and never relinquished his grip on first place. Indeed his 9/10 was enough to ensure first place outright, even had he lost in the last round. Howell 9½/11; Stephen Gordon, Mark Hebden, Gawain Jones 8. Sarah Hegarty and Akshara Kalaiyalahan shared the British and English Women’s Championships with 5/11 played within the British. Akshara also won the British U12 for both boys and girls with 6½/7. Nobody has hitherto won both a junior and an adult title in separate events.
There were several other special events: a round robin simultaneous display in which all 9 players met all the other players in a time handicap event; chess on a Big Wheel; a new play THE GAMBIT; a Gala dinner; Crazy Blitz; Junior Blitz; several problem solving competitions; a cricket match; General Knowledge quiz; teaching Mah Jong and Shogi; British Pairs Championship; Treasure Hunt and Teamtalking chess. There was live commentary by IMs Andrew Martin and Vaidyanathan Ravikumar.
All this and the events were staged in the magnificent Riviera International Centre; Torquay is a very attractive resort and the weather was good.