Richardson Cup Semi Final


A cursory dip into the history of Dundee Chess Club tells us that we have not reached the semi-finals of the Richardson Cup for many years. Even rarer is of the Club having reached the final – and one has to go back over 30 years when a team led by GMs Paul Motwani and Colin McNab laid their hands on the trophy. So our trip to the Edinburgh Ukrainian Club last Saturday was going to be a notable one since we were to face Bank of Scotland in the semi-final. Looking at the gradings, on paper, our team led by Jacques Ophoff and Rishi Vijayakumar seemed to have slight edge on the top 4 boards. Conversely, we were slightly weaker on average than our opponents on the bottom 4 boards. I should also be mentioned that we arrived in Edinburgh without one of our star players, Helge Magnussen, who was in Germany for an important family matter.

Once the match got going, the first match to finish was on Board 6 where Euan Dawson agreed a draw in a blocked position with Jamie Mollison. Soon after, a similar occurrence happened on Board 7 where his Dad reached an impasse in a Queens Gambit Exchange variation. As it turned out, these two draws proved to be pivotal since it meant that, by getting points from the bottom boards, our top players might be able to secure the wins. And that is how it turned out. As the afternoon progressed Rishi was next to finish with a draw against William Bennett (2174). The next two matches to finish were on Boards 1 and 5. On the top Board, Jacques with the white pieces gradually ground down his highly graded opponent (V Tushynyski 2154). Soon after that, Joshua Crofts on Board 5, first won a piece and then the game against Chris James. Then, in a tour de force attack, David Findlay got the better of the very talented Jorge Blanco (2155). An amazing result was thus unfolding when, with 6 games finished, we were already leading by 4.5-1.5 with two of  our top boards (Jacques and David) supported by Joshua on Board 5, producing outstanding wins . By late afternoon 2nd last to finish was Ed Spencer who agreed a draw with Mike Chisholm. Then in a huge tussle, the last game to finish saw Matthew Deighan lose out in an endgame against Stuart Ballantyne.

Remarkably, when all the dust has settled, we had won the match 5-3 and have now reached the Richardson Cup Final for the first in many, many years. We now face the daunting task of facing a super-strong Edinburgh team in the final to be played in Glasgow on Saturday May 18th.

Alastair Dawson

BOS 3-5 Dundee Chess Club

1. AM Volodymyr Tushynskyi 2154 0-1 FM Jacques Ophoff 2255

2. William Bennett 2174 ½ -½ Rishi Vijayakamar 2156

3. Jorge Blanco Sanjuan 2155 0-1 David Findlay 2124

4. Mike Chisolm 1937 ½ -½ Ed Spencer 2135

5. Chris James 1917 0-1 Joshua Crofts 1897

6. Jamie Mollison 1915 ½ -½ Euan Dawson 1891

7. Nigel Chapman 1851 ½ -½ Alastair Dawson 1858

8. Stuart Ballantyne 1787 1-0 Mathew Deighan 1830