Oswestry Rapidplay Tournament 1983-2006

    For twenty-three years Oswestry Chess Club staged a one day six round Rapidplay tournament. It was held annually, usually at the end of October and invariably on a Sunday, from 1983 until 2006. Competitors played six 30 minute games, using the Swiss system, and vied for the Tyn-y-Wern Trophy and later, from 2001, the Frank Harris Cup. The event was held at various venues in England and Wales and was a popular tournament with local players who came mainly from Shropshire, Cheshire and North Wales.

    From the outset we wanted to keep the tournament a small and friendly affair and the prizes were kept to modest amounts to keep costs down and discourage higher graded players entering. Another aim was to encourage lower graded players by having a high number of relatively generous grading prizes. The number of entries for the event varied from year to year but generally numbers ranged between 30-40 players with a low of 22 and a high of 66. We were fortunate in always paying our way thanks to the fact that most our venues were rent free and the help we had from player’s donations over the years.

     The inaugural tournament took place on 6 February 1983 at the Tyn-y-Wern Hotel, Llangollen.The second and third events were also held at the hotel before the competition moved to, mainly, Oswestry venues. Until 1988 the event was by invitation only after which it became  open to all comers, although it was only advertised through Shropshire and North Wales Chess clubs. There always had to be a balance between attracting enough players to make the tournament viable and not being able to cater, because of our limited space, if too many applied. However, we never had to turn any players away.

    The 14th, 1996, tournament, held at Oswestry Library, saw the event come of age:-  the games became BFC graded, the event gained the support of the Shropshire Chess Association and we had our first non- Oswestry Club controller in David Dickson.

    David Dickson from the Caergwrle Club acted as controller from 1996 until 2001. Keith Grice presided over the 2002 event after which Jim McPhillips took over the position until the Tournament’s closed in2006.


    Tournament organizers 1983-2006

    Frank Harris                    1983

    Ron Thomson                  1984-1987

    Andrew Frangleton          1988

    Ron Thomson                  1989-2002

    Keith Grice                      2003-2006.

    List of Trophy and Cup Winners (where known) and Venues


    TOURNAMENT CUP WINNERS                 CLUB                                  VENUE

    1983                     J D BOURNE                     OSWESTRY                       TYN–Y–WERN HOTEL

    1984                     S M A THOMAS                OSWESTRY                       TYN–Y–WERN HOTEL

    1985                     A FRANGLETON              OSWESTRY                       TYN–Y–WERN HOTEL

    1986                     A J GILBERT                     MADELEY                         QUEEN’S HOTEL

    1987                     G MORRIS                         EAST CLWYD                   QUEEN’S HOTEL

    1988                     G PUGH                              CODDEN                            WYNNSTAY HOTEL

    1989                                                                                                               WYNNSTAY HOTEL

    1990                     D A BENION                      WREXHAM                       WYNNSTAY HOTEL

    1991                     C W BAKER                      OSWESTRY                       WYNNSTAY HOTEL

    1992                     A ROBERTS                       RUTHIN                              WYNNSTAY HOTEL

    1993                                                                                                               WYNNSTAY HOTEL      

    1994                     N RUTTER                         NEWPORT                         WYNNSTAY HOTEL

    1995                     T BROTHERTON              CODDON                           WYNNSTAY HOTEL

    1996                     G MORRIS                         URMSTON                         OSWESTRY LIBRARY

    1997                     D STEELE                          OSWESTRY                       OSWESTRY F.C SC

    1998                     R BRYANT                        OSWESTRY                       OSWESTRY LIBRARY

    1999                     R BRYANT                        OSWESTRY                       OSWESTRY LIBRARY

    2000                     R BRYANT                        TELEPOST                         OSWESTRY LIBRARY

    2001                     T BROTHERTON              CHURCH STRETTON      OSWESTRY LIBRARY

    2002                     J BLACKBURN                 HOLMSECHAPEL            OSWESTRY LIBRARY

    2003                     A CHASI                             BIRMINGHAM                  MEMORIAL HALL

    2004                     N RUTTER                         NEWPORT                         MEMORIAL HALL          

    2005                     N RUTTER                         NEWPORT                         FRONCYSYLLTE CC      

    2006                     N RUTTER                         NEWPORT                         FRONCYSYLLTE CC                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

     f you know any of the names of the missing cup winners I would be grateful if you would let me know.

     I am also missing Tournament entry forms for the years:-

     1991, 1992, 1993, 2003 and 2005, if you have any of the forms I would be grateful if you could let me borrow them so that I make a copy (or send them to me via email) as they are a most useful source of information.



    Ron Thomson

    Oswestry Chess Club


    Some footnotes

    Steve Thomas, winner of the second tournament in 1984 generously bought us the Tyn-y-Wern Trophy with his prize money. The Trophy was renamed “The Frank Harris Cup” in 2001 commemoration of Frank Harris a long standing, and much liked, member of the Oswestry Chess  Club.


    One of our club members in the early 80s was Geoff Murphy he was the proprietor of the Tyn-y-Wern Hotel and he allowed us free use of the hotel, morning and afternoon to stage our first tournaments. Geoff also opened up the bar and supplied a hotpot supper at £2,50 per head! Without his kind help and encouragement in the early years it is likely that the tournament would not have seen the light of day.

    In the later tournaments David Shepherd, from the Church Stretton club, supplied us with standardized clocks, boards, and pieces witch was a big improvement from our previous medley garnered from various clubs.


    Though our prizes were modest we did attract a few notable players the highest graded being Grand Master Nigel Davies form Wrexham. Nigel came second in the competition with 4.5/5 points. Chris Baker, an Oswestry Club member at the time, won the Tournament in 1991. Chris later became an International Master and Ameet Gaasi, a player from Birmingham, who won the cup in 2003, also gained an IM title in 2012