There was derbies aplenty as well over the course of the evening; Kavin beat dad Venkat in the first round before Lara beat dad Slavko in round 2 – and the family circle was completed later in the evening as Lara beat Leon, who beat Slavko. Lucy beat sister Diana, though Brendan and Thomas and Carl and Ryan did manage to avoid each other over the evening. Gerry, meanwhile, was struggling, losing to Odhrán, beating Venkat on time when trying to hold 2B+P v Q+P, and later losing to Brendan and Dylan as well; his worst-ever finish helped blow the rest of the field wide open.
Round 3 saw one of the more remarkable games we’ve had in what was our 18th event. As Gerry was trying to hold on with two bishops, Dylan was trying to beat Slavko with two bishops against lone king, but only had five seconds on his clock. Three times, he had Slavko in the corner only to fail to find the killer blow and let him back out again. With increments, no-one writing down the moves, and no controller as such, the game was destined to go on forever – or at least until Dylan found the mate. With my game by now finished, I started counting moves, but then Slavko made an illegal move and Dylan claimed something – he wasn’t entirely sure what. We decided against giving him the game on the basis of our “Be nice” rule, and two minutes seemed an awful lot of time to give, so we settled on 30 seconds. Except we couldn’t work out how to do that with the delayed increments, so we restarted the game with 2 second non-delay increments. Eventually though, with everyone else now crowded around the board learning quite a lot about how not to play this ending, the 75 moves expired with Dylan having just missed mate in 2. As this was probably around 120 moves with just the bishops on (that bit was well underway when I started counting), the game must have gone on for over 150 moves, which means the game must have lasted 20+ minutes. And in the next round, I mated Slavko with less than a minute gone on my clock. Always the way!
I had previously drawn with Joe when he must have had mate on the board – after taking the draw, we played the rets of the game out and I won – then beaten Vjeko in a wild game where I was sure I was lost until I realised that I was a piece up for some reason, and in round 5 I lost to Kavin, having declined a draw and probably having left a win behind when hanging a bishop with check instead; the final position was one where I could win Kavin’s queen, but I couldn’t stop mate in one. So all in all, a fairly typical evening of fun blitz nonsense!
Anyways, when all was said and done, we had a three-way tie on top, although Ciarán – who had gotten to 4/4 – lost out on tie-break to William, who had played both Ciarán and Kavin. Reigning champion Dylan was in fourth, although he’s still lurking dangerously in the early standings, while Gerry and Vjeko will no doubt want this to be their one discarded score. The standings on the night were as follows –
And the standings after round 2 are now –
We’re going to change the March blitz date – the 20th – to being the charity blitz instead, and the Grand Prix will return in April. Note that the grading bands above won’t be confirmed until after the third round.