Gerry was the winner of our second thematic tournament – but only just!
The first couple of rounds went more or less to seed, although Dylan beat Ciarán in round 3 after Ciarán missed a queen being skewered onto a rook, then sacced a piece for complications and was rook for three pawns down when his flag fell.
Round 3 was when things started getting interesting; as well as Dylan beating Ciarán, I had black against Gerry. I managed to survive until the late middlegame level on material, when I somehow missed a trick – or more correctly, saw it but for some reason didn’t play it – whereby I’d swap off his only queenside pawn, leaving me with N+4 v B+4 and very strong drawing chances; we were quite likely to lose one more pawn each, leaving us both both f, g and h pawns. Instead, when my flag fell, that queenside pawn was well on the way to queening and easily deciding the game.
In the next round, Gerry played Alex as black, and whispers of surprise started going around when Alex won a pawn early on and hung on to it throughout the middlegame. Alex picked up a second pawn and entered a R+2 v R endgame, albeit that both pawns were on the g-file, and Gerry had good drawing chances (the tablebases give what I remember as the position as a draw). Instead, Alex amazingly walked into mate in one, showing that he is human after all!
I beat Ciarán in the last round to take joint second, and – as you can see – missed most of what was happening elsewhere! Still, the final table is below, and you’re free to post details of your own matches in the comments section below!
That’s it for the thematic blitzes until October; the Senior Club Championships and the Frank Scott Shield will occupy our time until then. We’re toying with the idea of running a Grand Prix throughout the season, where the top eight players in each tournament score points. Just for laughs, using the one of the Formula 1 points scoring systems (10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 for first through eighth, including tie-breaks) would give the following as the final standings for 2013/14’s three blitzes –
I think we can all agree that’s a perfectly fair way to decide the winner! 🙂