THE Scottish Chess Championship is recognised as one of the world’s oldest national titles, with a 54-player roll of honour stretching back to first winner John Crum in 1884.
And the new 2013 champion, IM Roddy McKay, of Cathcart Chess Club is no stranger to that list, as he’s now won the title eight times.
With a final round annihilation of English GM Mark Hebden, McKay, 62 – who won his first title back in 1971, and his last a quarter of a century ago in 1988 – enjoyed an Indian summer at the 120th Scottish Championship and International Open in Helensburgh, with his score of 6/9 giving him not only the Scottish title but also his first Senior title.
He now overtakes GM Paul Motwani (7 titles) to take outright third place in the all-time records, as he closes in on two great rivals from the past, by being just two shy of Dr Aitken (ten titles) and three away from the record held by WA Fairhurst (11 titles), who both dominated the championship scene during the period 1932-62.
But of all the Scottish champions, McKay is unquestionable the most naturally gifted, who should have become Scotland’s first grandmaster. But instead of turning professional – due to family commitments – he opted for the route of enthusiastic amateur; though he did return to competitive play briefly in the 1980s and quickly gained the IM title.
R McKay - M Hebden
Scottish Int. Open, (9)
1 Nf3 Nf6 2 d4 g6 3 Bg5 Bg7 4 Nbd2 0–0 5 e4 d5 6 Bd3 c5 7 e5 c4 8 Be2 Ne4 9 Be3 c3 10 Nxe4 dxe4 11 Ng5 cxb2 12 Rb1 Qc7 13 0–0 f6 14 Nxe4 f5 15 Ng5 f4 16 Bd2 Nc6 17 c3 h6 18 Qb3+ Kh8 19 Ne6 Bxe6 20 Qxe6 Nxd4 21 cxd4 Qc2 22 Rfd1 Rad8 23 Qb3 Qxb3 24 axb3 Rxd4 25 Bc3 Rxd1+ 26 Bxd1 Rd8 27 Bxb2 Rd5 28 g3 fxg3 29 hxg3 a5 30 f4 g5 31 Rc1 h5 32 Rc8+ Kh7 33 Bf3 Rb5 34 Be4+ Kh6 35 fxg5+ Kxg5 36 Rg8 Kh6 37 Bc1 checkmate 1-0