Congratulations to Alan Merry who successfully defended his Open title won at last year’s congress. It promised to be a tricky ride with Martin Taylor (230), a previous winner on more than one occasion, and Richard Bates (232), keen to defend his SCCU Champion title retained only a few weeks ago at the Weald Congress. Alan conceded two draws in his first four games – I resisted the temptation to show you his 117-move draw with Martin Taylor – so everything depended on the final game and here it is.

White: Alan Merry  (240)     Black: Paul Kemp (185)

Thanet Congress (Open) 2017

After a surprise defeat in the first round to his clubmate Kevin Bowmer and a draw in Round 2, Richard Bates probably thought his chance of retaining the SCCU Champion title had gone. Only three wins would surely do. With 2½ points out of 4, Bates was drawn against Taylor (3/4) in the final round. Taylor was not only playing for the SCCU title but that of Kent Open Champion as well.

White: Richard Bates  (232)     Black: Martin Taylor (230)

Thanet Congress (Open) 2017

Richard Bates therefore retains his title of SCCU Champion, a position he has held since November 2015. Martin Taylor, meanwhile, has to settle for the title of Kent Open Champion, a position he has held on at least five previous occasions so everyone’s a winner.


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