Two-time reigning champion Dylan won the first event of the 2018 Blitz Grand Prix, which saw a couple of stand-out performances and also a grand prix first.
The first round was, as usual, fairly straightforward for most, but not all, of the seeds. I won a piece for pawn against Yubo, and soon after won another piece for another pawn…and then found myself facing a big attack, in which I lost a piece back, and then made what I thought was a great move only for it to simply lose a rook for a pawn. This led to a completely lost R+4 v B+4 ending, which became a won B+P v 2P ending, where I had the correct rook-pawn. Eric was the only other player to upset the odds in round 1 with a win over Ciarán, who had simply hung a piece.
In round 2, I again won a piece inside the first few moves, this time against Kavin, and again came under huge pressure shortly afterwards. This time, there was no escape, however, and I ended up resigning just before getting mated. It was the start of a brilliant tournament for Kavin, who also beat Ciarán and Mariusz before finally losing to Brendan.
Brendan also did for one of the other top performers, William, who was one of two players to reach 4/4 – Dylan being the other. Dylan beat him in round 5, and then Brendan beat him in round 6 to reach 5/6 himself. He joined myself and Dylan on 5/6 after losing to Dylan, who lost to me in the final round.
Other decent results include Alan Lane’s 4/6 on his return to competitive action in many years (it’s ten years since his last league game for the club, a Bodley Benildus derby in which he inflicted what was to be Kevin May’s last defeat for the club for 26 matches and almost three years), Yubo’s recovery to 4/6 having lost that opening game to me, John finishing ahead of both Ciarán and Mariusz despite only playing three rounds, and newcomer John Quinn’s 3/6 despite protesting that he wasn’t really very good at blitz!
So the final results were –
It’s worth noting that Mariusz and Zhengjun were inseparable not only on points, but also on each of the three tie-breaks. This is the first time this has happened, and we weren’t really sure how to give out points. The fun way to do it would be to give each player 9½. In the end, I gave each player 10, and 8 to John Quinn, because I keep a track of all the results and it would be a pain to start allowing for half-points at every turn.
So that means that the scores after round 1 are –
That’s not a typo – everyone’s worst result gets discarded, and so technically everyone is still on 0 until round 2, which is on 21st Feb at 8pm.
Meanwhile, the Ennis picked up two draws to finish off their tie against Curragh with an unbeaten 4-2 win which keeps them in touch at the top, albeit that they’re being kept out of the promotion spots at the moment by two sides who’ve played a whole match more. The bye in particular is making comparison across the division that bit more difficult, so suffice to say that only ourselves, Drogheda and Malahide are scoring above 60%, with us third best of that lot and Skerries following on 1½ points adrift.