Greet is great at 150th Dundee Anniversary

by Howard Wood
7/29/2017 – Scottish IM Andrew Greet won the grandmaster tournament with 6 points from 9 games. GMs Simon Williams, Martin Petr, Spyridon Kapnisis and Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant shared 2nd-5th places, a half point back. At look at the back story of the tournament. | Photo: Brendan O'Gorman

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A tournament backed by history

The original Dundee Grandmaster tournament was in 1867, and included players such as William Steinitz, who went onto become the World Champion in 1886. The 100th Aniversary of the Grandmaster tournament too place in the Marryat Hall, within the Dundee City Square building Caird Hall, a huge civic center with an overwhelming array of columns providing an impressive frontage.


Desperate Dan Statue in the Dundee City Square | Photo: Brendan O'Gorman

Scottish IM Andrew Greet won clear first with 6 points from 9 games. GM Simon Williams topped the list of four players tied for 2nd-5th with 5½ points. Greet gained plenty of rating points, but his score was not quite enough for a GM norm.

This year's event was held at the University of Dundee, in Bonar Hall, and was run along side the 124th Scottish Championships. Players from across Europe competed in these events including many grandmasters and other titled players, providing a treat for the chess loving Scottish everywhere.


Greet defeated Williams in a key game of round 6 | Photo: Andy Howie

Dundee itself was built on a dormant volcano, which was a centerpiece of the Grandmasters' sight-seeing trip. Historically famous for jute bags and jam exports, the city traded mainly with German ports, which had an influence on the architecture. Also notable is the ship RRS Discovery, which was built in Dundee and now serves as a show piece and museum. This ship carried Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton on the first British expedition of Antarctica.

On the 100th Anniversary the tournament the main sponsor was W.A. Fairhurst, the engineering company that designed the Tay Road Bridge, and the tournament coincided with its opening. What's more, Mr. W. A. Fairhurst himself was the highest graded player in Scotland.

Fast forward to today and 4J Studios, an East Linton based company with offices in Dundee, picked up a BAFTA for the development of an international console edition of Minecraft. Paddy Burns, the Chief Technical Officer of 4J Studios, was a strong junior player and still has a love of chess, which led to 4J Studios becoming a very generous sponsor this year.

One factor that kept this tournament alive in the interim was the research and the resulting book by Peter Walsh, "The history of the Dundee Chess Club”, published in 1984. Walsh now resides in a care home, but attended the event even after suffering a stroke, and also managed to say “Capablanca” while viewing the chess hall. His book captures the history and inspired the players of Dundee, including the first and second Scottish grandmasters, Paul Motwani and Colin McNab, both from Dundee. The ten competitors of the 150th tournament all signed and commented in a copy of the book which was presented to him, in a touching ceremony.

Fifty years ago McNab was just a child of six who was taught the moves partly as a result of the grandmasters coming to Dundee, where he came as a spectator holding his Fathers hand. Now in addition to playing in the GM tournament he is also a World Champion puzzle solver.

One of the guests at the 100th anniversary was GM Frederick Olafsson of Iceland. He was invited to play in this year's event but withdrew at the last minute due to health issues. So with just hours to spare, Keith Arkell was called in as a replacement. In fact he couldn't make it in time for the opening and round one, and so his game with Simon Williams was postponed to the lone rest day. (The resulting brief appearance and a draw by repetition caused some muttering from the Scottish Championship players.)

Williams vs. Arkell, draw

Happy to have a rest day after all | Photo: Andy Howie

Speaking of the Scottish Championship, it was held as an open, run in parallel to the 150th Dundee GM tournament, and was won by Ukrainian GM Andrei Maksimenko, who was undefeated with 7½ / 9.

Congratulations go to 16-year-old Murad Abdulla who, as the highest scoring Scottish player with 6½ points became Scottish Champion. Murad is the second-youngest-ever Scottish Champion behind only GM Paul Motwani who was just a few months younger when he won for the first time.

Murad Abdulla

The 2017 Scottish Champion Murad Abdulla | Photo: Brendan O'Gorman

Louis Khoo ThweThe youngest player in the Scottish Championships overall was a 7-year-old Norwegian named Louis Khoo Thwe (pictured at right). He is unable to play in his own country before his 8th birthday, so he and his mother Elizabeth crossed the North Sea to beautiful Scotland. This was only Louis’ fourth FIDE event and his first adventure into an adult tournament. Despite being hardly able to see over the board he stunned the older players by taking at least four scalps! Adults where gathering around his games once they realized there was someone special in their midst, playing like Paul Morphy at the age of seven. A seven year old shark! Keep an eye on him.

Louis Thwe (right) | Photo: Andy Howie

A few of the standout games include:

  • Andrew Greet 1-0 Martin Petr - "A knight on the rim is dim, but not when it helps you win!" Andrew never lost control from opening to endgame.
  • Pia Cramling 1-0 Andrew Greet - "A pair with no flare!" Knight and bishop vs. a bishop pair.
  • Spyridon Kapnisis 1-0 Pia Cramling - "Belief in unbalanced positions"

Final standings

Rk. SNo   Name FED Rtg  Pts   TB2   TB3 
1 2 IM GREET Andrew N SCO 2447 6,0 0,0 4,0
2 5 GM WILLIAMS Simon K ENG 2442 5,5 2,0 4,0
3 10 GM PETR Martin CZE 2486 5,5 1,5 4,0
4 3 GM KAPNISIS Spyridon GRE 2464 5,5 1,5 3,0
5 7 GM ARAKHAMIA-GRANT Ketevan SCO 2364 5,5 1,0 4,0
6 1 GM CRAMLING Pia SWE 2444 5,0 0,5 3,0
7 8 GM ROZENTALIS Eduardas LTU 2509 5,0 0,5 1,0
8 6 GM ARKELL Keith C ENG 2424 4,0 0,0 1,0
9 9 GM MCNAB Colin A SCO 2435 3,0 0,0 1,0
10 4 IM PRITCHETT Craig W SCO 2326 0,0 0,0 0,0

All games rounds 1 to 9



Howard Wood is the Executive Director of Sales and Marketing at


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