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31st Guernsey International Chess Festival, 16-22 October 2005

Last Edited Sunday 27 November, 2005 9:07 AM
Sponsored by MeesPierson Reads, Cobo Bay Hotel and Visit Guernsey.

Kevin Thurlow reports (note: this was written as events unfolded, hence use of the present tense throughout)

Games and photos provided by Fred Hamperl

Round 1Round 2Round 3Round 4Round 5Round 6Round 7
Obituary: Steve BonifaceObituary: John Bisson

Crosstables of the tournaments are available hereGuernsey Chess Club Website
Download Games of both tournaments - zipped PGN

Round 1 - October 16th 2005

For the benefit of the world-wide audience, who may not know where Guernsey is, it is one of the Channel Islands just off the French coast, but is part of Great Britain. Well, sort of. It has its own government and tax system and is free of the infamous Value Added Tax (VAT) that afflicts member states of the European Community. But there are still strong links with the mainland. Guernsey is known for its financial industry and of course its characteristic cows. Most players travelled over the day before and marvelled at the bright sunshine. They didn't marvel for long as the morning brought heavy rain, but it cleared later.

There are 92 entries, split between the FIDE-rated Open and the under 1760 Holiday event. Russian GM Oleg Korneev will be the highest rated entrant ever, assuming he arrives on Monday. Meanwhile, Tiger Hillarp-Persson is the highest rated player actually here.

The tournament was beset by problems throughout as you will see later, one of which was that the promised internet access was not available. The following was largely written contemporaneously, then sent as one report at the end…..


1. R Burton 0-1 T Hillarp-Persson
2. R Bellin 1-0 T Borland
3. S Murray draw P Roberts
4. J Havenaar 1-0 I Jamiesson
5. J Heath 0-1 K Goater
6. G Lock 1-0 T Spanton
7. F Hamperl draw I Heppell
8. M Taylor 1-0 J Nicholson
9. RP Taylor 0-1 K Thurlow
10. D Collier 1-0 S Wieker

The tournament got off to a bad start, as the arbiter had not arrived. The organisers produced a draw, which your reporter (a BCF arbiter) checked. Your reporter was in the sole lead for a while. The affable opponent realised that he had made a hideous blunder and was trying to shake hands signifying resignation, whilst your reporter was trying to complete the move Qf1 mate! Steve Murray and Fred Hamperl produced the results that were unexpected according to the ratings.

The tournament is being played in the restaurant, so every night, the chessboards are cleared away for the evening meal, then put back again after breakfast. The hotel staff and the local players did a great job at achieving this quickly.
53 entrants in the Open


1. P Carlucci 1-0 Default
2. C Brooker 1-0 O Rowe
3. A Collins 0-1 K Biswas
4. F Kok draw M Collier
5. R Hearty 1-0 G Forbes 39 entrants

Round 2 - October 17th 2005


1. T Hillarp-Persson (1) 1-0 B Westerkamp (1)
2. P Morton (1) draw R Bellin (1)
3. C Wismayer (1) 1-0 J Havenaar (1)
4. N Dennis (1) 0-1 G Lock (1)
5. R von Saldern (1) 0-1 M Taylor (1)
6. K Thurlow (1) draw P Kirby (1)
7. C Goman (1) 0-1 D Collier (1)
8. A Horton-Kitchlew (1) draw F van Randen (1)
9. D Twitchell (1) 1-0 J Hickman (1)
10. K Goater (1) 1-0 P Rowe (½)


1. P Carlucci (1) 1-0 D Ince (1)
2. G Kershaw (1) 0-1 C Brooker (1)
3. K Biswas (1) 1-0 S Nalichowski (1)
4. R Hale (1) draw H Haisma (1)
5. F Bakkes (1) draw R Hearty (1)

Peter Morton produced a fine performance to draw with Robert Bellin. Most of the other top boards went roughly according to plan. Your reporter missed a good continuation, then sacrificed a piece for an attack, then realised it wasn't working, so sacrificed two rooks for perpetual check. The crowd seemed pleased.

The tournament has been rocked by the devastating news that Steve Boniface (who was due to be arbiter), has died. He was always a great arbiter, combining efficiency with a good-humoured approach. He was particularly fond of funny pairings - Guernsey last year featured Lock vs Key! - and it really seems inconceivable that we won't see him again. There is a subdued atmosphere in Guernsey tonight.

Steve Boniface (15 xi 1951 - 6/7 x 2005) by John Saunders

Steve Boniface (1951-2005)Steve was one of the best and most popular arbiters in Britain. His death has left a huge gap in the ranks of British chess administration, and has caused particular sorrow amongst his arbiting colleagues. One arbiter told me he was 'devastated by the loss of a fantastic colleague' and others have expressed similar sentiments. One of the last times I saw Steve was at the 4NCL last April, and I sought him out to take his photo. Typically cussed, he was quite happy to pose for the shot but couldn't be induced to fake a cheery smile for the camera as he was in the thick of doing his job as chief arbiter of the 4NCL. But, despite the grim set of his jaw in this picture, Steve was always smiling on the inside, and a calm and humorous man at all times. I shall particularly cherish the memory of his gruff chuckle, which usually followed an anecdote about some eccentric behaviour witnessed at one of his tournaments - but always recounted with warmth and understanding of human frailty.

A few months ago I singled out an example of his humour on this website: the Royal Beacon Seniors tournament down in Exmouth, where the over 60s play in the main event and the over 50s are eligible to play in what they call the 'Junior' tournament. Only Steve could have come up with a whimsical name like that. Other examples of his quirky humour were the signs he liked to put up in or near the playing hall to request silence while play was in progress - except that his wording frequently hinted at terrible (but imaginative) forms of retribution that would be visited on any miscreant.

I first considered putting this tribute to Steve on a page on its own, but then thought that he might have preferred to see it here, in the middle of a tournament report about a congress he loved.

Steve's West Country colleagues Bob Jones and John Richards knew Steve better than I did, and have posted moving tributes to him at the English Chess Federation website (http://www.bcf.org.uk/national/obit-boniface.htm) and the Horfield & Redland Chess Club web site (http://www.johnrichards.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/horfield/steve_boniface.htm) respectively. JS

Round 3 - October 18th

Despite the tragic loss of Steve Boniface, the tournament continues. The players have agreed that the tournament organisers plus your reporter will look after things until a full-time replacement can be found. Guernsey CF is grateful to Stewart Reuben and David Welch, who are searching for someone who can fly out at zero notice. A minute's silence preceded the start of play.


1. M Taylor (2) 0-1 T Hillarp-Persson (2)
2. D Collier (2) 0-1 K Goater (2)
3. G Lock (2) draw C Wismayer (2)
4. W Hensbergen (1½) 1-0 D Twitchell (2)
5. O Korneev (1½) 1-0 A Horton-Kitchlew (1½)
6. R Bellin (1½) 1-0 T Goris (1½)
7. P Kirby (1½) 0-1 P Roberts (1½)
8. F van Randen (1½) 1-0 K Thurlow (1½)
9. P Kemp (1½) ½-½ P Morton (1½)
10. J Havenaar (1) 1-0 J Nicholson (1)


1. P Foster (2) 0-1 P Carlucci (2)
2. C Brooker (2) 1-0 R Kearsley (2)
3. A Muller (2) draw K Biswas (2)
4. F Kok (1½) draw R Hale (1½)
5. H Haisma (1½) 1-0 M Collier (1½)

Not many surprises on the top boards. The spirit of the tournament was exemplified by the sight of the highest rated player in the event having a friendly chat with one of the lowest rated players.
News came that David Welch was flying in to take charge of the tournament. Your reporter did his last pairings for the tournament, and realised that the Holiday event featured Hale vs Hearty. Steve would have loved that one! A moment to smile, then off to the Rockmount next door for a couple of beers and some good food. When we returned, David Welch had arrived, having dashed to Manchester, flown to Southampton, then to Guernsey. Your reporter breathed a sigh of relief at the thought of concentrating on chess.

Round 4 - October 19th


1. T Hillarp-Persson (3) draw K Goater (3)
2. G Lock (2½) 0-1 O Korneev (2½)
3. C Wismayer (2½) ½-½ R Bellin (2½)
4. P Roberts (2½) ½-½ F van Randen (2½)
5. I Heppell (2) 0-1 W Hensbergen (2½)
6. R von Saldern (2) 0-1 J Havenaar (2)
7. P Morton (2) 0-1 M Taylor (2)
8. D Twitchell (2) ½-½ D Collier (2)
9. N Dennis (1½) 1-0 B Westerkamp (2)
10. K Thurlow (1½) 1-0 F Hamperl (1½)

1. P Carlucci (3) 1-0 C Brooker (3)
2. K Biswas (2½) 1-0 H Haisma (2½)
3. I Cross (2) 1-0 A Muller (2½)
4. G Kershaw (2) 1-0 Default
5. F Bakkes (2) ½-½ D Ince

A full-time arbiter is in charge, so no problems, right? Wrong! First of all, Robert Bellin complained about the light, which it has to be said was not great for some boards. It seemed slightly odd, as he was sitting by the window, but later on shadows did interfere, and when dusk fell, there were problems. However, there was nowhere else to sit, so he agreed a quick draw, and extracted a promise of a well-lit board for the next day. Korneev had another win and looks the man to beat. Tiger's game produced another dispute. We were playing 50 moves in 2.5 hours, then 30 minutes for the remaining boards. Electronic clocks were used on most board. Apparently, (I did not witness this), Tiger, who had loads of time, was struggling against Kevin Goater, who was very short of time and offered a draw, Tiger glanced at the clock, saw a 29, and thought it meant "29 seconds", so accepted and signed the scoresheets….. then realised later that it meant "29 minutes" of the second session, so he had actually won on time. The appeal committee agreed with the arbiter, that the signed scoresheets were definitive. Ironically, if Tiger had been short of time as well, the arbiter would have been lurking by the board to point out "flag fall". It has to be said that Tiger is a really nice guy, always happy to talk to people, and joining in with players in the analysis room.

Tiger Hillarp Persson demonstrates Robert Bellin's brilliancy prize game.
Tiger Hillarp Persson demonstrates Robert Bellin's brilliancy prize game.

Round 5 - October 20th

1.O Korneev (3½) ½-½ T Hillarp-Persson (3½)
2. K Goater (3½) ½-½ W Hensbergen (3½)
3. R Bellin (3) 1-0 F van Randen (3)
4. J Havenar (3) ½-½ P Roberts (3)
5. M Taylor (3) ½-½ C Wismayer (3)
6. P Vorstermans (2½) 0-1 G Lock (2½)
7. P Carpenter (2½) ½-½ K Thurlow (2½)
8. D Collier (2½) 0-1 K de Kruif (2½)
9. J Hickman (2½) 0-1 N Dennis (2½)
10. P Kirby (2½) 0-1 D Twitchell (2½)


1. K Biswas (3½) ½-½ P Carlucci (4)
2. C Brooker (3) ½-½ I Cross (3)
3. G Kershaw (3) 1-0 P Smith (3)
4. R Hearty (3) 0-1 R Kearsley (3)
5. van Rooijen (2½) 0-1 F Kok (2½)

Top board in the open was really interesting. Tiger looked in trouble, but produced an idea after great thought, which provoked Korneev's first long think of the tournament. Neither player could make progress, so a draw was agreed.

Korneev,O (2601) - Hillarp-Persson,T (2534) [B80]
31st Guernsey Open (5), 20.10.2005
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 f3 Be7 8 Qd2 Nc6 9 0-0-0 0-0 10 g4 Nxd4 11 Bxd4 b5 12 Kb1 Nd7 13 h4 Qc7 14 g5 b4 15 Na4 Bb7 16 b3 d5 17 g6 Ne5 18 gxh7+ Kh8 19 Rg1 dxe4 20 f4 Rad8 21 Bxe5 Rxd2 22 Rxd2 Qc6 23 Rxg7 f6 24 Rdg2 fxe5 ½-½

In the holiday event, Paul Carlucci lost his 100 % record.

The evening saw a very interesting special event. A very enthusiastic lady named Annette Henry led us on a tour of St Peter Port ("town" to the locals), where we were told of various ghosts, murders, the plague and slightly more cheery things in the island's history. The tour started with mulled wine, and there were a couple of refreshment breaks on the walk, which terminated with dinner at the restaurant where we started. It was really fascinating and I urge all visitors to Guernsey to try to sign on to the tour. (It is very popular.) One of the set pieces required a "volunteer" to re-enact a hanging, and the chess players were amused that a local player, Terry Harnden, was selected for execution. We also heard that a local house had only recently been exorcised!

Round 6 - October 21st


1. W Hensbergen (4) 0-1 O Korneev (4)
2. T Hillarp-Persson (4) ½-½ R Bellin (4)
3. K Goater (4) ½-½ M Taylor (3½)
4. P Roberts (3½) 1-0 C Wismayer (3½)
5. N Dennis (3½) 0-1 J Havenaar (3½)
6. D Twitchell (3½) 0-1 G Lock (3½)
7. K de Kruif (3½) ½-½ K Thurlow (3)
8. R Taylor (3) 0-1 I Heppell (3)
9. R von Saldern (3) 0-1 P Carpenter (3)
10. F van Randen (3) ½-½ R Burton (3)

1. P Carlucci (4½) 0-1 G Kershaw (4)
2. R Kearsley (4) ½-½ K Biswas (4)
3. A Muller (3½) 0-1 C Brooker (3½)
4. I Cross (3½) 0-1 F Kok (3½)
5. G Forbes (3) ½-½ D Ince (3)

Oleg Korneev carried on his rapid progress, whilst Tiger drew with Robert Bellin.

Hillarp-Persson,T (2534) - Bellin,R (2374) [A85]
31st Guernsey Open (6), 21.10.2005
1 d4 e6 2 c4 f5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 e3 b6 5 Bd3 Bb7 6 f3 c5 7 d5 exd5 8 cxd5 Nxd5 9 Nxd5 Bxd5 10 Bxf5 Bf7 11 Ne2 g6 12 Bc2 Bg7 13 Nf4 0-0 14 h4 Nc6 15 h5 Ne5 16 hxg6 hxg6 17 Be4 Rc8 18 Kf2 Re8 19 Kg1 b5 20 Rb1 c4 21 Bd5 Qf6 22 Rh3 Rc5 23 e4 Bxd5 24 Nxd5 Qd6 25 Bh6 Nd3 26 Bxg7 Rxd5 27 exd5 Qc5+ 28 Kh2 Qd6+ 29 g3 Kxg7 30 Qd2 Qxd5 31 Qh6+ ½-½

Nigel Dennis and Dave Twitchell found it heavy going on high boards, but didn't go down without a fight. Meanwhile, Paul Carlucci dropped out of the lead in the Holiday tournament after a loss to Graham Kershaw.

This was Trafalgar Day and there were celebrations in Town.

Round 7 - October 22nd

The dreaded 0930 start….


1. O Korneev (5) 1-0 P Roberts (4½)
2. G Lock (4½) 0-1 T Hillarp-Persson (4½)
3. R Bellin (4½) 1-0 K Goater (4½)
4. J Havenaar (4½) ½-½ W Hensbergen (4)
5. I Heppell (4) ½-½ K de Kruif (4)
6. M Taylor (4) ½-½ P Carpenter (4)
7. C Wismayer (3½) ½-½ N Dennis (3½)
8. K Thurlow (3½) ½-½ D Twitchell (3½)
9. J Hickman (3½) ½-½ F van Randen (3½)
10. R Burton (3½) ½-½ P Morton (3½)

There were one or two quick draws, but the top boards were all decisive. Oleg Korneev produced another nice attacking game, and Tiger beat Gavin Lock rather more slowly. Kevin Goater had a good tournament, but Robert Bellin produced an excellent attack to share second place and pick up the brilliancy prize (see photo below). Boards 7, 8 and 9 were all hard-fought.

Robert Bellin wins the brilliancy prizeBellin,R (2374) - Goater,K (2178) [C41]
31st Guernsey Open (7), 22.10.2005
1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 d6 3 Bc4 f5 4 d3 f4 5 d4 Nc6 6 Bb5 Bd7 7 Nc3 Nge7 8 d5 Nb8 9 Bxd7+ Qxd7 10 g3 fxg3 11 hxg3 h6 12 Ng5 Rg8 13 Ne6 Na6 14 Qh5+ g6 15 Qe2 h5 16 g4 hxg4 17 Rh7 Nc5 18 Bg5 Nxe6 19 dxe6 Qxe6 20 Nd5 Nxd5 21 Qb5+ c6 22 Qxb7 Rc8 23 exd5 Qf5 24 Re7+ 1-0

Crosstables of the tournaments are available hereGuernsey Chess Club Website


1st O Korneev (RUS) 6/7
2nd = R Bellin (ENG), T Hillarp Persson (SWE) 5½
4th J Havenaar (NED) 5
5th = P Roberts (SCO), G Lock (ENG), K Goater (ENG), W Hensbergen (NED), I Heppell (ENG), K de Kruif (NED), M Taylor (ENG), P Carpenter (GSY) 4½
Channel Islands Prize - P Carpenter (GSY) 4½
Ladies Prize - A Goris-Shouwstra (NED) 2½
2nd Veteran Prize - R von Saldern (GER) and J Cummins (GSY) 3
1st Veteran Prize - Nigel Dennis (ENG) 4
Junior - S Wieker (DEN) 4
U1900 Grading - P Carpenter (GSY) 4½
U2050 Grading - R Burton (ENG), J Dawson (ENG), P Kirby (GSY), A Edwards (ENG) 4

It was nice to see several local players amongst the prizes.


1. G Kershaw (5) 1-0 R Kearsley (4½)
2. C Brooker (4½) 1-0 K Biswas (4½)
3. F Kok (4½) 0-1 P Carlucci (4½)
4. S Nalichowski (4) 0-1 F Bakkes (4)
5. P Smith (4) 1-0 P Foster (4)

Graham Kershaw had his sixth win to celebrate winning the event after many years of trying. Chris Brooker had a fine rook ending win against Karl Biswas. Both are regulars, but the former is connected with neighbouring Sark, and it is certainly the first time one of their players has done so well.

1st G Kershaw (ENG) 6
2nd = P Carlucci (ENG), C Brooker (Sark/FRA) 5½
4th = F Bakkes (NED), P Smith (ENG) 5
Ladies - M Dokter (NED) 3½
Veteran - R Kearsley (ENG) 4½
Channel Islands - G Forbes (GSY) and S Nalichowski (GSY) 4 (The latter is originally from Poland)
U1400 Grading - R Cox (ENG), C Holcombe (ENG) and P Woodward (ENG) 3 (The last named is formerly from Guernsey)
U1500 Grading - R Hale (ENG) 4

The end of the tournament was marked by a very fine dinner in the Cobo Bay Hotel, followed by celebratory drinks. Peter Rowe and Fred Hamperl worked really hard to make the tournament a success, helped by many other members of Guernsey Chess Federation. David Welch deserves special thanks for stepping in at zero notice to act as arbiter.
One absent friend was John Bisson, who started the tournament in 1975. He organised it for about 15 years, then started playing in it, only stopping a couple of years ago. His wife Peggy dropped in during the week to report that John was in hospital. Several players went to visit him, but sadly he died early on the morning after the closing dinner. It is almost as if he waited until the tournament was over, so that we would not be too miserable on the last night.

We all look forward to an enjoyable, trouble-free tournament next year.

Kevin Thurlow


John was the instigator of the Guernsey International Chess Festival. Following the Fischer-Spassky match in 1972, John was approached by the Guernsey Tourist Board, who suggested staging a re-match in Guernsey, with a budget of a few thousand pounds. John immediately realised that the money on offer would be insufficient, so said he would go away and negotiate. After a discreet interval, he returned and suggested instead an open chess tournament, and pointed out the obvious benefits for tourism. He would make it a family-friendly event, and the hotels and various attractions would benefit.

So in 1975 the first festival took place. I played there for the first time in 1978 and was really impressed that John was at the airport to meet the players. He also turned up when we left! He was so enthusiastic and friendly and always happy to talk to the participants, so it was not surprising that over 200 players flocked to the island, and many returned time after time. John organised the tournament for all the right reasons. His wife Peggy organised the social programme in the same manner. After many years hard work, John stood down and started playing in the event with evident enjoyment. He had played in several Olympiads, so he was an experienced player. When his eyesight deteriorated, he stopped playing. Even then, he visited every day to meet his old friends.

Earlier this year, the Guernsey Chess Federation made a 90th birthday presentation to him. Sadly, he was not well enough to attend this year's tournament, although Peggy came along to greet us. John died the day after the tournament finished. It is the end of an era - such energy, enthusiasm and friendliness will be sadly missed. K J Thurlow

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