Seventy eight years separated the birth dates of the youngest and oldest competitors at the 35th Kidlington Congress which took place last weekend.

It’s too soon just yet for the youngest competitor — six-year-old Callaghan McCarty-Snead — to figure on the champion’s roll call. His time will come — but even so, the Congress proved a triumph of youth over experience — and not for the first time. Last year Marcus Harvey – then just 14 years old — took first place in the top (Under-225) section with a magnificent 5/5.

Marcus was undefeated again this year but drew 2 games and was beaten to first place by William Foo, who is just 14 years old himself and scored 4.5/5.

The Under-180 tournament was won jointly by Matthew Daggitt and Ti Chen — and Erik Thornblad took the Under-145 first prize. The Under-120 prize went to Alastair Irving who plays with the aid of a Braille set and scored an impressive 5/5.

It bodes well for the future of Oxfordshire chess that all these prize winners are based in Oxfordshire and none is over 25 years old.

In contrast, the following entertaining game was played in the Under-180 section by two of Oxford’s more experienced players.

White Simon King Black: Will Burt 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Be3 This is the most common move here — but in his 1993 World title defence against Nigel Short, Garry Kasparov preferred 5.Nxc6 Then after 5...Qf6 6.Qd2 dxc6 7.Nc3 Be6 Kasparov’s new move 8.Na4! set Short some problems.

5...Qf6 6.c3 Bb6 Safe — but a little slow. 6...Nge7 is usual.

7.Be2 Qg6 8.0–0! Nf6 Best, since if 8...Nge7 it’s difficult to answer 9.Nb5! — and it’s also very dangerous to grab the pawn on e4. Indeed after 8...Qxe4 9.Re1 Nge7 10.Nd2 Black is already struggling to stay in the game.

9.Nxc6?! Again, 9.Nb5 is awkward to meet — but at least 9...0–0! 10.Bxb6 cxb6 11.f3 d6 12.Qxd6 Rd8 gives Black some compensation for the pawn.

9...dxc6 10.Bxb6 axb6 Black’s novel queenside pawn formation and open lines for his pieces give him the advantage.

11.e5 Nd5 12.Bh5 This and White’s next move smack of desperation — but White s problem is that simple development is too slow. For example 12.Nd2 Bh3 13.Bf3 Nf4 bags the exchange.

12...Qg5 13.f4!? Nxf4 14.Bxf7+!? Ke7! If 14...Kxf7 15.Qd2 and White gets his piece back.

15.Qd2 Nh3+ 16.Kh1 Rf8 17.Bc4 Be6! 18.gxh3? A blunder — but even the superior 18.Qxg5+ Nxg5 19.Rxf8 Rxf8 20.Nd2 Rf2 21.Bxe6 Nxe6 leaves Black with a winning advantage.

18...Bd5+! 0–1