COUNTY players battled in the Worcestershire Open Chess Congress at Catshill, Bromsgrove.

Junior players won two of the sections and third in the open section was Brandon Clarke, the talented junior international from Littleworth, Leicestershire.

Particularly impressive was 13-year-old Clarke’s patient handling of the white side of a Ruy Lopez Opening in the last round to force a win against a former Worcestershire champion.

The other junior winners were Chris Smith from Quinborne Chessmates in the major and Manpreet Sangha in the minor.

Worcester City player Steve Mellor just missed out on the prize list in a tough final round game and ended with three points.

In the minor section, Redditch’s Ian Clack gained third prize.

Andy Moore was ably assisted in controlling the tournament by Ray Dolan and Andrew Farthing.

Moore said he was delighted with the good entry for the tournament held in support of a charity for a knee condition known as plica.

Results, Open: 1 John Pitcher (South Birmingham) 4½ points winning the Armageddon play-off; 2 Lawrence Cooper (Stafford) 4½; 3 Brandon Clarke (Littleworth, Leics) 3½.

Major: 1 Chris Smith (Quinborne Checkmates) 4½; 2 Dave Faulkner (Welwyn & Hatfield) 4; 3 Tom Robinson (Redditch), Simon Smith (Warley Quinborne), Steve Murdoch (Penrith) 3½.

Minor: 1 Manpreet Sangha (Rushall) 4½ winning the Armageddon play-off; 2 Kevin Engelbrecht (Wimbledon) 4½; 3 Ian Clack (Redditch) 4.