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Online Rapid Play — New Year 2023

The club held an online rapid play event (10 minutes per player per game, plus an increment of 3 seconds per move) on Monday, 2nd January 2023.  Maybe we could have arranged it for a different date as this clashed with the Blades' fixture away to QPR on tv.  In the end, we had twelve entries for our first foray into this type of competition.  Amongst the twelve were Rosie Irwin (Chris Ross's girlfriend) and Andrew Mullins (a friend of Paul Davies, and a potential club member).

There were no major shocks in round 1, with most of the games going to the higher rated player (wins for Chris, Marek, Geoff, Andy Nettleship and Rosie) but Paul managed a creditable draw against Dave Watson.

Round 2 saw further wins for Chris, Marek and Andy N but there were also wins for Josh Tedder and Andy M.  Dave played out another draw, this time against Josh Stubbs.

Marek beat Andy N in round 3, sharing the lead with Chris who had a win against Josh T.  Rosie held Geoff to a draw by repetition although Stockfish reckoned there was a win to be had if she had chosen not to repeat; and Ethan and John earned their first half points of the tournament with a draw against each other.  Stubbsy and Dave both picked up wins against Paul and Andy M respectively.

So, the big clash of the tournament came in round 4 when Marek, with white, played Chris.  Chris won a pawn on move 29 so he had Q, B, N and 6 pawns to Marek's Q, B, N and 5.  Despite Chris's three pawn islands to Marek's two, Chris was apparently +5.5 after Marek played Nb5 (trying to harry black's Q-side pawns) on move 31.  Within four moves, however, the position was level.  Marek had won back the pawn and Chris had twice eschewed picking up white's b2 pawn.  By the time Chris played 39. ..., Qh5+ white stood at +4.5.  That's a swing of 10 points in just eight moves.  Chris never recovered, Marek picked up the loose pawns on d6 and c5 then turned his attention to the K-side.  Chris resigned on move 49 with no defence to the threatened mate in two.

In other round 4 games, Dave beat Andy N; Josh T had an excellent win against Geoff; and there were wins for Paul, Josh S and Andy M.

Marek just had to avoid defeat in Round 5 to be crowned the winner but he beat Dave Watson anyway.  Chris, clearly still smarting over his loss in the previous round, had three queens on the board when he beat Andy Mullins.  Josh T won the battle of the Joshes and there were also wins for Rosie, Geoff and Paul.

The final scores were Marek on 5, Chris 4, Dave and Josh T on 3 (Dave took 3rd place on tie break), Josh S, Rosie, Geoff and Paul on 2.5, Andy N and Andy M on 2, and John and Ethan on 0.5 each.

Everybody agreed that they had enjoyed the evening although the basic 10 minutes per player per game may have been a bit fast for some.  There was talk about making this a regular event.  Why not? 


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