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Tony Hughes hat-trick at All Saints Blitz

Tony Hughes wins All Saints Blitz IV on Wednesday 24 April 2024

Photograph: Tony Hughes (left) sweeping aside Stephen Moss while Ian Swann and Nick Grey watch in admiration

Tony Hughes glided to his third victory out of three appearances at the regular “Last Wednesday of the Month” blitz held at All Saints Church in central Kingston. The top seed never looked in any danger as he scored 4½/5, half a point ahead of fellow Wimbledon club member Stephen Carpenter and David Shalom from Kingston. Thirteen players participated in the event with another five playing casual chess in the atrium. This is a remarkable upsurge in chess activity at the church which only introduced chess at the turn of this year.

The play was brisk without any coffee breaks which meant that the event finished by noon having started at 10.15. David Rowson played the “Swiss Gambit” by losing to lower-rated David Shalom in the first round and hoped that the draw would be favourable thereafter but with only five rounds there was not enough time to catch up. David Shalom has been playing very well since he started taking chess seriously again this season and his only setback was a loss against Stephen Carpenter.

The suggestion of a sixth round may be taken up in the future if the number of participants continues to increase. Fortunately five rounds were sufficient to generate a single winner. Tony collected his customary box of chocolatey comestibles from Olivia Smithies, who came along as assistant controller.

Olivia had learned of this regular event while assisting at the annual King’s Head “Beer and Blitz” tournament at the weekend which commemorates members of the chess community who have died during the year. Kingston member Ameet Ghasi was runner- up to GM Eldar Gasanov at this year’s King’s Head event. Olivia was eager to observe the efficient manner in which a blitz tournament could be managed using an iPad. She may just have worked herself into a new role.

Tony Hughes receives first prize from Olivia Smithies

One of the attractions for Olivia is that this was a Chess and Crèche event. Immediately behind the chess section is the toddlers’ play area. Olivia was able to monitor the results whilst at the same time supervising her daughter, who is nearly three years old.

Chess and Crèche: all generations are catered for at All Saints

Thus chess activity at All Saints Church spans three generations – grandparents, parents and children. The next All Saints Blitz – the fifth in the series – will be held on Wednesday 29 May, starting at 10.15am and running until around 12.30pm.