Sheffield & District Chess Association

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27/06/2021

Hope Valley Tournament, 2021

 

Are thanks go to Jonathan Arnott for organising this year’s Hope Valley tournament, which has moved some way, via Fox House, from its origins in Hathersage.  The following report and photograph have been supplied by Jonathan.

 

Of all the traditions in the Sheffield League, the 'Hope Valley' 5-minute competition comfortably ranks as my favourite.  Perhaps it's the childhood memories of braving fog and occasional snow or ice on the winding roads out to the old Fox House Inn; perhaps it's the roaring open fires and ambience of that old venue, or maybe - just maybe - it's the camaraderie towards the end of a long season, the entertaining if often inaccurate chess, and the competition's unique format.

 

This year's event was a little different.  The tradition had already survived the move away from the Hope Valley area, and now it appears to have survived the pandemic.  The event ran outdoors rather than indoors, limiting the potential for transmission of any pernicious virus which might be hanging around.  Surprisingly perhaps, the weather turned out to be even less of a problem than it had sometimes been in the old Hope Valley days.  True, it was dull and overcast.  Had it been cricket, there would have been little concern of a downpour ending proceedings early but the new ball would likely have swung to devastating effect.

 

With precisely 16 entries, we seized the opportunity for a modified format limiting 'social contacts': two separate groups of eight players each played an all-play-all before the obligatory knockout rounds (1st in Group A v 2nd in Group B; 1st in Group B v 2nd in Group A) which characterise the competition - albeit devoid of the usual crowds.

 

The chess itself is somewhat difficult to report on, given that the Saw Grinders Union venue stuck to official guidance and groups of spectators would have been frowned upon to say the least.  Suffice it to say that, as ever, some games went down to the wire with frantic time scrambles as the dying seconds ticked away.

 

There was just one organisational scare: had Yang Guo lost his final game, we would have ended up with an unbreakable four-way tie for second place in Group A.  Thankfully, the results were clear and it was on to the semi-finals.

 

Andrew Ledger, who had won all of his group-stage games, continued his progress towards the rook-shaped trophy with a win over Miles Edwards-Wright.  Yang Guo beat defending champion Deji Jeje in the other semi-final to set up his clash with Andrew Ledger in the final.  Andrew maintained his perfect score for the evening in the final in his own inimitable style, gradually outplaying Yang to take the title.  [See photo of the finalists below.]  Miles beat Deji in the third-place play-off.

 

Whilst some of the strongest local players were unable to attend for understandable reasons, the overall standard remained high.  Hopefully next year we'll be back indoors and at full capacity.  Some old traditions at least are worth preserving.

 

 

Full results were as follows:

 

Group A

 

1

Andrew Ledger

7 out of 7

2

Yang Guo

5

3=

Tom Wills

4

3=

Sammy Benzaira

4

3=

Daniel Clayton

4

6

Nathaniel Holroyd‑Doveton

2

7

Ian Barker

1

8

Matthew Atkinson

0

 

Group B

 

1

Deji Jeje

6˝  out of 7

2

Miles Edwards-Wright

6

3

Paul Fletcher

5

4

Mark Allison

5

Cameron Bergstedt‑Bares

3

6

Bill Ward

2

7=

Luke Harper

1

7=

Stephen Lee

1

 

Semi-finals

Yang Guo

1‑0

Deji Jeje

Miles Edwards‑Wright

0‑1

Andrew Ledger           

 

 

 

Final

Andrew Ledger

1-0

Yang Guo

 

 

 

 

 

 

3rd-place play-off

Miles Edwards-Wright

1-0

Deji Jeje

 

 

Finalists Andrew Ledger (left) and Yang Guo (right)

with the Hope Valley trophy visible, if you look carefully.