GM Matthew Sadler's Report

GM Matthew SadlerPlaying in the Blackpool Open this year gave me a nice nostalgic feeling. It took me back to the time I still lived at home with my parents and we would occasionally go to a weekend tournament together when I wasn’t playing internationally. I would play the Open, my Dad would play in the Minor event, trying to uphold his grade of 85 and my Mum would keep us supplied with fizzy drinks and pork pies!

I played in Blackpool once: in 1997. It was quite a drive from Chatham but my Dad was keen to do it. He was born in Crewe and spent many a summer holiday as a child in Blackpool, so it was a bit of nostalgia for him as well. The Blackpool Open of 1997 was my first chess tournament in about 6 months. After the Yerevan Olympiad of 1996 (where I got a gold medal result on board 4) I decided to take a break from chess and to work on my game. In particular, I started working on unorthodox openings such as the English Opening (1. d4 e6 2. c4 b6). Sitting next to Jon Speelman at the Olympiad had inspired me!

I started a bit rustily, but things looked up after I won a nice attacking game against local hero Jeff Horner. I don’t remember all of it, but I do remember the opening: Horner-Sadler Blackpool 1997 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.c3 Nf6 4.Bd3 Nc6 5.Bc2 Bg4 6.d3 e6 7.Nbd2 Be7 8.h3 Bh5 9.Qe2 d5 10.Nf1 c4 11.dxc4 dxe4 12.Bxe4 Nxe4 13.Qxe4 Bg6 14.Qe3 Bd3 15.N1d2 e5 16.b3 f5 17.Nxe5 Nxe5 18.Qxe5 Kf7 and Black won in 5 or 6 moves.

GM Matthew Sadler receives the Jack Wolstenholme Trophy from Tournament Organiser Simon Woodcock

So I was ready for the title decider against Mickey...or so I thought. I lost as White in fewer than 20 moves! Awful! I still remember the opening to that one too unfortunately… Sadler-Adams Blackpool 1997 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5 4.Nf3 Bb7 5.Nbd2 bxc4 6.e4 e6 7.Bxc4 exd5 8.exd5 Qe7+ 9.Kf1 Nxd5 I think here I was inspired to play the brilliant 10.a4?! and it all went horribly wrong very very quickly.

I did manage to win the last game though to take second place behind Mickey (how often have I said that!).

Despite that bad game, we had a great time together. Looking back, I just feel sorry for my poor father who had to go to work on Monday after all that driving. I was a chess professional: I could stay in bed!

GM Matthew Sadler

GM Matthew Sadler faces GM Mark Hebden