After retaining the Frank Scott Shield at the start of the month, Odhrán came out on top of our end-of-year club blitz last week.
The first round saw draws on the top two boards, with Seán D and William holding Zdravko and John respectively. This meant that Zdravko was up against John in round 2, which caused chaos down the lower tiers of the draw – Seán met John in round 3 and wasn’t who Daniel expected to meet on ½/3 in round 4! Zdravko and John went in opposite directions after their opening match, with John winning his last four while Zdravko lost rounds 3-5, including a board 7 tie against Mihailo. William beat Zdravko and Seán D after drawing with John, but lost his last two to drop back into the pack, although he did end with the hardest draw overall, just ahead of me and John.
I beat Mariusz in round 5 and we both started round 6 as the leaders on 4/5 – my game with John started 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Qg4 Nf6 5. QxP NxP?? 6. Ne2?? Maybe sometimes hanging a rook is worth it in blitz – if your opponent doesn’t believe you’ll be that daft and misses it, you just get an extra tempo for development. Let’s pretend that was my plan… I did scramble to an interesting position where I had two connected passed pawns for a piece, but then hung another rook, which was a little bit too much. Although I also hung silly material against Dylan and Andy Keenan – whiling away the time while the rest of his Gonzaga team were playing our O’Sullivan – I like to think not every game involved such gratuitous hanging of material!
Meanwhile, Mariusz lost to Odhrán, who snuck up on the rails to take first place on a tie-break. John took second, while Liam took full advantage of quite a nice draw to, just as in the Frank Scott Shield, beat Aodhán in the last round to take third place.
Biggest upset of the night I think went to William for beating Zdravko. Most important lesson learned was how Bronstein time actually works! The full cross-table is below –