An amazing night produced a fantastic finale and most unexpected outcome as the Rapid-Play Division 1 came to a dramatic conclusion, culminating in a three-way tie for first place.
17 y/o Harry started the evening one point clear as the favourite to take the trophy but was put to the sword by our South African star Kobus (Vrystaatbul on Lichess). With Harry needing just one point at the outset from the two games, Kobus set about upsetting the form book and took advantage of Harry’s generosity to impose a 2-0 scoreline.
While Harry was slipping to his first defeat Lukasz Michalek outplayed secretary David Hulme and battered him into resignation as pieces were falling everywhere for David, and this allowed Lukasz to take the joint lead with Harry on 12.5/19, with David behind on 11.5/19.
Karl Lockett should have profited from the slip-ups by the leaders, but Popeye (Andrew Crosby) was determined to have a stunning effect on the Trophy outcome having gained confidence from his 1-1 scoreline last week with David. Andrew had prepared conscientiously for Karl’s openings and was rewarded with success in both games. It should be noted that Karl would have been champion if he could win both games tonight.
As Kobus inflicted an early 2-0 score on Harry, Lukasz knew all he needed was a draw in game 2 against David. David only became aware of the situation while concentrating on his own game, as Lukasz put a note in the chat room to say Harry had tripped up. All of a sudden David had gained a supporter and a number of spectators suddenly appeared, who all knew what was going on far better than either of the players and were apparently sharing game analysis. Unfortunately for Lukasz he allowed David to build up a head of steam with a big King-side attack, that ultimately proved decisive as Lukasz’s time began to expire leading to resignation when facing a forced mate. As the game ended only then did it become apparent that all three players finished up on the same score of 12.5pts.
Congratulations to Harry, Lukasz and the Reporter for sharing the trophy, which will no doubt cause a headache for the next AGM prize-giving.
Ultimately the tournament has been a great success with 11 Rounds played over 3 months. All players deserve great credit for managing to play all their games and bringing a tremendous climax to the competition.
Full scores can be seen on the LMS, with Karl Lockett, Rick Renegade and Neville Layhe all finishing on 11pts just behind the winners. All players made a major contribution to the event, and even though it was played online, it is in my opinion, the most interesting, competitive and closely contested event the club has had since we started in 2014.