26th to 30th August, 2021
Newcastle Gateshead Marriott Hotel
Marconi Way, MetroCentre, Gateshead, Newcastle, NE11 9XF
This was the first major congress in the north of England since the lifting of most legal Covid restrictions, and rather than being a 5‑round weekend congress, it was a 5-day 9-round congress.
Besides an Open and three rating-limited Swiss sections typical of a traditional congress, there were two invitational all-play-all sections designed to generate FIDE title norms. Five such norms were achieved, all being in effect title-upgrade norms as the players concerned all already had FIDE titles of some sort.
In the 10-player all-play-all GM section, which had 3 GMs, 4 IMs and 5 FMs participating,
IM Ravi Haria (Wood Green), finishing 1st-2nd= on 6½ out of 9, achieved a GM norm;
FM Conor Murphy (Ireland), finishing 1st-2nd= on 6½ out of 9, achieved a GM norm;
FM Marcus Harvey (Witney), finishing 3rd on 6 out of 9, achieved an IM norm;
FM Callum Kilpatrick (Dulwich), finishing 6th on 5 out of 9, achieved an IM norm.
(The fourth and fifth-placed players already held the titles for which they would have achieved norms.)
In the 10-player all-play-all IM section, which had 3 IMs, 1 WIM and 6 FMs participating,
Slovenian WIM Zala Urh, finishing 1st on 6½ out of 9, achieved an IM norm.
To get a title this way, you usually need to get two norms within some specified period of time, and achieve a specified minimum FIDE rating. (See here for current FIDE title regulations.)
Sixteen Yorkshire players were sprinkled through the Swiss section typical of weekend congresses, though, being of 9 rounds, these were more like ECF Championship congress events than a weekend congress.
There were in all 211 participants, which is a respectable turnout, and no Covid infections arising at the congress have been reported. (The Hotel’s Covid policy can be seen here.)