Fischer Random Chess Rapid
Tournament Reports

1st London Fischer Random Chess UK Rapidplay

On 25th February 2023, Copthall School, Mill Hill hosted the 1st London Fischer Random Chess UK Rapidplay. Despite its relatively late announcement and limited publicity, a small but remarkably strong field assembled boasting eight titled players, including two GMs and three IMs. The pre-tournament atmosphere was relaxed as the players gave the opening prep a rest and looked forward to a day of creative, chaotic chess. The time control for the event was 25 minutes per side plus 5 seconds increment, and the starting positions were posted a couple of minutes before the start of each round.

Round 1

The first round saw a fairly ‘normal’ looking starting position, with most games tending towards a King’s English flavour. Eventually the ratings favourites emerged victorious on all eight boards. (The lack of draws was a refreshing, recurring theme in this tournament.) Board 6 saw a Houdini-like escape from FM William Claridge-Hansen, who got his knights in a tangle early on but somehow stayed in the game long enough for his hapless opponent to lose the thread:

Round 2

Round 2 witnessed the statistically-improbable outcome of black wins on all boards. It also saw two big upsets. On Board 4 FM Peter Sowray beat GM Alexander Cherniaev (in a game lost to the ether by the DGT board), while on Board 2 Khuyagtsogt Itgelt announced himself as a serious contender by playing a very nice positional game to overcome IM Peter Roberson:

Round 3

Round 3 saw the talented Itgelt take on top seed IM Ameet Ghasi on Board 1. Itgelt looked to have emerged from the opening with a very decent position with a powerful dark-squared bishop and good central control. The lack of a safe place for his king eventually cost him, however, as Ghasi skilfully emerged from a highly complex middle game a piece up, and then defused his opponent’s activity to take the point:

Meanwhile on Board 4 IM Lorin D’Costa punished his friend and long-term rival Donny Muter for failing to develop his pieces and castle his king in a timely manner:

Round 4

In Round 4, in another game sadly lost to the ether, Ghasi beat GM Eldar Gasanov on Board 1 to establish himself as the sole leader on 4/4. On Board 2 Roberson beat Claridge-Hansen to stay in touch with Ghasi, while on Board 3 FM Sowray upset D’Costa in a long struggle of fluctuating fortunes which culminated in a highly tactical ending being played with only seconds on either player’s clock.

Meanwhile Itgelt won again, this time against Cherniaev, to stay in the hunt:

Round 5

Ghasi sat down to his game against Sowray in Round 5 needing a win to secure at least a share of the £200 first prize. The opening went well for the experienced FM who secured a small space advantage in the centre. However, by the time of the unfortunate oversight on move 18, Ghasi’s position had come to life with a potent light-squared bishop and his rooks all set to enjoy the open lines in the centre of the board:

On Board 3 Itgelt beat Claridge-Hansen, while on Board 2 Roberson joined him in 2nd place with a nice win over Gasanov. Roberson’s double rook swing was an aesthetically pleasing feature of the game, though it was his endgame technique which eventually brought home the point after many adventures:

Round 6

The final round saw top rating-seeds go head to head, with Roberson needing to beat Ghasi with the black pieces for a share of first. Early in the game Ghasi posted both his knights on light squares in Roberson’s half of the board, and by move 10 a very tense position had been reached as Roberson tried to gain control of the e5 square. Ghasi thwarted this attempt neatly and when one of his knights landed on d6 to devastating effect the game was as good as over:

Thus Ghasi won the tournament in fine style with a 100% score. In truth he was rarely in trouble throughout the day and his games created a smooth, harmonious impression. A well-deserved tournament victory.

On Board 2 Itgelt played a brutal attacking game to secure yet another impressive win over a super-strong opponent to claim outright second – a great result in such a strong field:

On Board 4 Cherniaev won again to reach 4/6 and a share of third, while tournament sponsor CM Thomas Quilter joined him by crowning his late surge with a trademark attack against Sowray:

The final standings were as follows:

1st IM Ameet Ghasi 6/6
2nd Khuyagtsogt Itgelt 5/6
3rd= IM Peter Roberson, GM Alexander Cherniaev, CM Thomas Quilter 4/6

Final Ranking Cross Table: | Chessresults

Big thanks go out to the sponsors at and the organizers at for putting on such a terrific tournament, and here’s to many more great Fischer Random events in the future.

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