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Tony Hughes wins inaugural All Saints Blitz

Blitz tournament played at All Saints Church, Kingston upon Thames, 31 January 2024

John Foley

All Saints is a historic church in Kingston, which was England’s capital in Saxon times. Nine Saxon kings of England were crowned here in the 10th century. In a development of its pastoral mission, the church seeks to reach older people through the provision of chess. The church accepted the club’s proposal of a regular chess tournament, along with volunteering for social chess. The church provides a welcome and warm space with a café in the centre of Kingston. The club believes that providing different types of playing spaces within Kingston enables a much wider range of people to enjoy the social benefits of chess.

There will be chess at All Saints every Wednesday from 10:15 to 12:30
A blitz tournament will take place on the last Wednesday of each month.

The club organised a small blitz tournament at the church to generate interest in chess from parishioners and visitors. The time control was 3 minutes plus 7 seconds per move over five rounds. It was a friendly event and not rated. We were joined by two players from Wimbledon Chess Club. Two other people from the church community joined us: Graham Williams, the husband of the curate, and Ian McDonald, the Lord Mayor of Kingston in 2009/10. In between rounds, the players restored their energy with coffee and croissants from the café. I was tournament controller and used Chess:Manager on my iPad for pairings.

Tony Hughes from Wimbledon was the bookies’ favourite, so to speak, having the highest rating of all the competitors. He was dubious of this expectation until it was pointed out that although some other players may have been stronger in league chess, when it comes to the faster form of the game, blitz chess, performance can be quite different. The ratings proved accurate and Tony duly won the event. Tony was in sparkling form and saw off all challengers to end with a perfect score of 5/5. He received a shiny silver cup which he gratefully announced he would be using as a prize for a future children’s competition.

Tony Hughes receiving the prize from event controller John Foley (photo: David Bickerstaff)

The main danger to Tony came from David Rowson. Tony saw off the challenge in the penultimate round, watched by a small but growing band of spectators. David ended in second place.

Round 4 crunch game Hughes v Rowson,
watched by Stephen Carpenter, Stephen Moss and Byron Eslava
Church ‘listeners’ Janet and Hazel were captivated by the over-the-board struggle

Some photos from the event by John Foley.

Round 1: David Rowson v David Shalom
Round 1: Gareth Williams v Stephen Moss
Round 2: Stephen Moss v David Bickerstaff
Round 4: Ian McDonald v David Bickerstaff

“Thanks to John and Stephen for organising a really enjoyable little tournament in a beautiful venue. Hope it can be repeated. Congratulations to Tony Hughes.”

David Rowson

“Thanks. Really nice morning even for our poor blitzers. Nearly beat Tony Hughes with Black. Beat Stephen Carpenter with c3 Sicilian dream position which I will analyse. Moss-Rowson was a treat, and David Shalom played well and gave me a thrashing. The church players that stepped up did very well.”

Nick Grey

Final results