Jack Donovan, officially the lowest-rated player in the club, is now also the junior club champion after a dramatic final round of the Junior Club Championships on Wednesday.
Going into the last round, Luke Hayden only needed to avoid defeat against Jack to claim the Frank Scott Shield, and even if he lost, victory would more than likely be his if Odhrán beat Dan on board 2 – head-to-head was the first tie, but the three-way head-to-head wasn’t completed, so the tie-break would revert to median buchholz score, which would probably be advantage Luke again.
Given that Luke had already beaten the top two seeds, he seemed to be hot favourite for the title. But Jack played a very solid game, cramping Luke and even turning down a draw offer which would have guaranteed him a top-three place – there’s nothing worse than being on board 1 in the last round and leaving with nothing! As the game reached R, N + 5 each, both sides pushed pawns towards promotion. However, Luke allowed a knight fork on his rook and advanced pawn – the latter fell, which meant Jack was now the only one pushing for promotion. The game, and the title, were decided a couple of minutes later. It all goes to show that you shouldn’t worry unduly about low provisional ratings!
Board 2 had ended shortly before – Odhrán had gone from a level position to one where he was down two pieces and a rook in the space of ten minutes; Dan mopped up to claim third place, while Odhrán had to settle for the hated fourth spot.
Elsewhere, Colm Hehir fairly stole the grading prize after winning on time against Mihailo, who had just promoted. Colm promptly hung his queen, but as Mihailo captured to go 2Q+3P v 3P up, his flag fell. No-one managed to beat Mihailo on merit this tournament – his three defeats all came in time trouble. If he can sort that out, he’ll be a serious contender for next year’s tournament.
The most bizarre win of all was Luke-Andrew’s win over Jamie; Jamie played in Millfield at the weekend, but has since moved school, and so wasn’t around to play the last round! Meanwhile, Anastasija recorded a quick-fire win over Finn, while Conor Ward won in the battle of the Conors.
Next week, we’ll have time to look at a few games from the championships for those who want some analysis. From the following week, we’ll look at getting some short coaching sessions going again ahead of the new Bodley season, fixtures for which should be released shortly.
|Seed||Name||Rating||Score||Rd 1||Rd 2||Rd 3||Rd 4||Rd 5||M Buch||Prog|