The Blackpool Chess Congress is one of the biggest open tournaments in England and is always very popular due to its plush environment and above average prize money.

This year the Open section was jointly won by GM Keith Arkell – who is the current European Senior Chess Champion (>50) and has won Blackpool twice before – and Matthew Webb, both scoring 4.5/5.

Matthew Webb has made very impressive progress recently, going from around 170 grade (about 1975 Elo) to 230 (~2425) in a few years. This kind of rating leap is normally associated with promising youngsters but Matthew made this jump in his late 20s. He has detailed what he did to improve in a blog post on the Yorkshire Chess website here and I strongly recommend reading it to all players serious about improving.

During the tournament, Matthew beat a GM, drew with another (fellow winner Keith Arkell) and won his other 3 games. Here is his final round game which features some crisp calculation to mate a very strong player in 25 moves.

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