The first round saw a few rematches from previous tournaments, with me playing Danny for the third time, and Brendan gaining revenge on Lorcan’s surprise win last month.
Round 2 saw things starting to get interesting, with Seán making amends for a bad Malahide with a win over Mihailo to move to 2/2, and I took the overall lead when William offered Seán a draw when a piece down and lost – but with six seconds to one.
William knocked me off the top spot in round 4 though when I reached a fortress position a pawn down – 4v3 on the queenside, but one pawn doubled…and then I completely forgot to play one move to confirm the fortress.
I did recover with a nice tactic win over Ciarán – black to play and win material –
Even before the game, Ciarán was moaning, noting that the game was something like the seventh or eighth time in a row we’d met with me as black – including one match in the club championships, one in the City of Dublin and several in these blitzes!
Anyways, in the final round, I played Mihailo – as I did a couple of tournaments before – and again Mihailo tried the Pirc, and with both kings vulnerable, he hung a piece. There was someone who could have at least come joint first going into the last round, but they lost, leaving me the winner by a clear point.
Brendan in second also recorded his best-ever finish, while another solid tournament for Luke means the only way he can’t win the middle grading prize is if he bridges the four-point gap to double-club-mate Constantin. I lead the first grading band, but William is on standby to take it if I finish in the top three, while the bottom grading band is now between Zhengjin and Lorcan. There was also first points on the board for Joe and debutant Martin.
At the very top, Dylan has taken over the lead, but if this week’s result – me first and Dylan third – is repeated next week, it will mean I’ll take the overall trophy by a single point.
Finally, the solution to the puzzle above – I played 1. … Nf3+!, which wins material in all lines. 2. Kd1 QxQ is trivial. 2. Kf1 QxQ+ 3. KxQ NxR wins the exchange, as do 2. PxN RxR+ and 2. QxN QxR+