23rd Clare Benedict Chess Cup: Cleveland 1979

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Basic data

23rd Clare Benedict Chess Cup
(see all-time tournament summary)
Date: 15th - 22nd July 1979
City: Cleveland county, Teesside area, England
Venue: N/A
Tournament Director: N/A
Chief Arbiter: N/A
Teams participating: 7
Players participating: 34 (incl. 3 GMs and 5 IMs)
Games played: 84
Competition format: Four board round robin.
Final order decided by: 1. Game points; 2. Match points; 3. Berger; 4. Direct match
Time control: 40 moves in 2 hours 30 minutes, then each next 16 moves in 1 hour
Downloadable game file: 79cbc.zip

Tournament review

From 1955 to 1974 the Clare Benedict Cup competition was run annually, but since then difficulties in financing the tournament have caused its progress to become erratic. Following England's first victory in 1974 there was no contest in 1975 and 1976 and it was revived in 1977 when the Copenhagen Chess Union came forward with a proposal. In that contest the Danes won the cup for the first time finishing 1½ points ahead of England, who suffered their only defeat at the hands of the victors owing to a missed chance in the endgame for Ray Keene to beat Bent Larsen which would have drawn the match.

In 1978 there was again no contest, but this year that most enthusiastic organiser of the famous Teesside series of notable events, Gerry Walsh, came forward with the usual generous help of the Cleveland County Council and put on an excellent show. He aimed for the usual quota of eight countries but the final number turned out to be seven.

The prizes were presented by the Chairman of the Cleveland County Council (County Councillor Mrs. H. Pearson) at a reception given by her at the Dragonara Hotel, Middlesborough, on Sunday evening, July 22nd, a social occasion much enjoyed by all who attended.

Much credit for the England success must lie at the door of the team captain, David Anderton, whose quiet but efficient leadership does much to sustain the morale of his players. He was personally celebrating his election as President of the British Chess Federation at the meeting of its Council in Birmingham the day before the tournament began. His many friends will wish him a happy period of office in what may well prove to be a golden era for British chess wherein his gifts of abundant tact and negotiating skill will be in great demand.

It is to be hoped that further periods of inactivity will not occur in the future, but much clearly depends upon the ability of organisers to obtain regular sponsorship. The tournament is of great value to West European nations as a training ground for teams taking part in the FIDE Olympiad. It would also not be difficult to work out a scheme to bring it into the FIDE title qualification system and this would increase its value to a commercial sponsor. [As it happened, the 1979 edition was the last of the series - WB]

/ by William Ritson-Morry /

Best board results

bd name code pts gms %
1.= Van der Vliet, Fredrik NED 4 6 66.7
1.= IM Soos, Bela GER 4 6 66.7
2. IM Speelman, Jonathan Simon ENG 6 75.0
3. GM Keene, Raymond Dennis ENG 3 5 60.0
4. IM Webb, Simon ENG 4 62.5
r. Bichsel, Walter SUI 3 4 75.0

Interesting games

Black King encircled in the middle of the board.
Nunn, John (ENG) - Robatsch, Karl (AUT) 1 - 0

Black Queen checkmated in mere 11 moves.
Robatsch, Karl (AUT) - Hvenekilde, Jørgen (DEN) 1 - 0

Is it the Black's Queenside or rather tightly sealed up sarcophagus?
Speelman, Jonathan (ENG) - Morrison, Graham (SCO) 1 - 0