Sidcup’s David Gilbert was joint winner of the London Classic Weekday event at Olympia for players with an ECF grade under-135. David finished with four points out of five, tied with Hugh Tassell, another Kent player. In the photograph both are playing with Black pieces in the final round of the event.
David won his first two games relatively comfortably, then faced a stiff task against his Sidcup teammate, Bob Mitchell, in the third round. Bob had the better of the game which went for 60 moves, but David defended stoutly and held out for a draw. He was even more fortunate in the fourth round where he came up against Oxford mathematics student Sam Bentham. David found himself a piece down for two pawns, but managed to create counter-play with two passed pawns. The threat was too much for Sam who gave back the piece for two pawns and the game petered out to a draw.
David was now running in a tie for second and faced the leader Peter Rawcliffe in the final round needing a win to finish top. Peter is a seasoned performer at this level and won his section at the Berks and Bucks congress earlier in the year with a convincing 5.5/6.
David Gilbert finished at Hastings with three successive wins to take a share of the grading prize. Taking his turn with the black pieces, in the fourth round David found himself up against the wily Barry Sandercock, a regular at Chess congresses up-and-down the country. The game begins as a Queen’s Pawn opening, with a hint of Colle, Benoni and the Benko Gambit. David soon reaches equality and begins to open up the game. After a series of complications, David finds a tactic to secure the two bishops and with their combined power he gradually turns the screw.
Three Club members, Lee Brockwell, David Gilbert and Ken Smith were in action at Hastings over the weekend.
Lee Brockwell took up the game in the Summer after many years of inactivity, and is now improving fast. Playing in the Under-120 section in his first Chess Congress he accumulated 3½/5 points, giving him a share of fourth place and a grading performance of 125. In the same event Ken Smith scored a respectable 2/4.
In the Under-150 event David Gilbert had a shaky start, but then found his form with three successive wins to leave him on 3½/5, good enough to pinch a half-share of the grading prize.