Wells chess players triumph by the sea

FIVE players from Wells Chess Club made their way to the English Riviera for the 55th annual Torbay Chess Congress. Wells’ Ukrainian top board Sasha Matlak entered in the Open section while Chris Strong and Paul Humphreys were in the Major section. Ed Farms and upcoming junior Leon Nelson competed in the Foundation section; for both it was their first experience of tournament chess.

Having taken a bye in his first round, Leon gathered momentum, going on to win his next four games to finish joint first on 4.5 points. This was an exceptional performance for a first showing in a tournament. Leon played an attacking style of chess, but with great maturity. He’s certainly one to watch going forward. There was also a fine showing from Ed Farms who picked up 2.5 points in the same section, placing him 13th .

In a very competitive Open section Sasha won two and drew three to give him 3.5 points and secure 5th place. His closely fought draw against a strong German Master in the final round was particularly dynamic and of high quality. Meanwhile in the Major section Chris and Paul were up against highly graded opponents. Both took some notable scalps over the weekend, coming away with 2.5 and 3.5 points respectively. This left Paul finishing 6th and Chris 10th . 

Wells also entered the team event. This combines the scores of players from the same club for a total team score. With all the impressive individual performances ‘Wells Warriors’ (pictured) came away with the team prize for the weekend. This was a wonderful tournament achievement for Wells Chess Club to add to the 2023 successes in Exeter, Frome and Leicester. It highlights the strength in depth that the club is now developing and the exciting prospects for 2024.

Prior to the Torbay Congress Wells A-Team had travelled to Bridgwater for a match against a strong Sedgemoor side who had recently defeated Yeovil 5-1. Wins for Sasha, Paul, Chris and a close final victory from Phil Johnson clinched the tie 4-2 for Wells. This strengthens Wells’ position at the top of Division 1 with two wins from two matches.

Wells Chess Club is a friendly and sociable chess club meeting on a Wednesday evening at the White
Hart on Sadler Street from 7.30pm with Junior coaching sessions from 6pm-7pm. They can be contacted
at wellschessclub@outlook.com