Monday, December 12, 2016

NICS Rapidplay series resumes

Apart from a few games with the computer I hadn't played a game of chess, competitive or otherwise, for some time. My last tournament chess dated back to the 2013-4 season, when I played in a couple of Rapidplays, organised by my own club - Civil Service (NICS). Not without considerable qualms about my form, I decided to re-enter the arena on familiar ground at the first of four quickplays in the 2016-7 NICS Alan Burns Grand Prix.

NICS have two speed settings for their rapid tournaments and this was the slower "Lackadaisical" - five games of 20 minutes, plus 5 second increment, each. The entrants were remarkably closely bunched together on rating - so there were likely to be plenty of close-fought games.

Controller Mark Newman played in Round one to avoid a bye, but when David Jackson arrived shortly after the start, he was allocated a half-point bye and from Round 2 Mark was able to fully concentrate on his administrative duties. These took an unusual turn in Round 3 when a loud voice at the door demanded entry. When Mark opened the door he was confronted by a young man wielding a cutlass. Mark defused the situation by firmly indicating the potential intruder could not come in because this was a chess tournament. The pirate then returned with his plastic sword to the children's party happening elsewhere in the Maynard Sinclair Pavilion.
Woodfield (White) v Jackson
Returning to the chess battles: after two rounds only the first and third seeds, John Bradley and Robert Lavery had full points. Their top board encounter in Round 3 was won by Robert and after he won again in the fourth round against Ram Rajan, he was a full point ahead with only Bradley capable of catching him.
Gould (White) v Bradley, Rajan watching on
In the final round, a quick draw between Lavery and Daniil Zelenchuk secured overall victory for Robert and gave Daniil good chances of taking the grading prize. Martin Kelly was still in with a chance of the GP, if he could beat Ian Woodfield. Martin went the exchange up but a hasty move, failing to protect a vital pawn, was his undoing, and he slowly went under in a knight and pawns endgame. Meanwhile the host club's David Jackson defied his lowly seeding to checkmate Bradley and take second place honours.
Troughton (White) v Kelly

NICS Lackadaisical Rapidplay, 11 December 2016
Final standings

Place Name             Rtg  Club          Score Prize

  1   Robert Lavery    1539 Ballynafeigh  4.5   First
  2   David Jackson    1374 NICS          3.5   Second
 3-5  John Bradley     1629 Ballynafeigh  3     
      Richard Gould    1517 Belfast South 3    
      Daniil Zelenchuk 1484 Ballynafeigh  3     Under 1500
  6   Ian Woodfield    1502 QUB           2.5  
 7-9  Ram Rajan        1532 QUB           2    
      Martin Kelly     1456 Belfast South 2    
      David McAlister  1455 NICS          2    
10-11 William Storey   1279 Belfast South 1.5  
      Dmitry Zelenchuk 1147 Ballynafeigh  1.5  
12-13 Niall Troughton  1583 Ballynafeigh  1    
      Mark Newman      1522 NICS          1   
Prizewinners (l to r) Zelenchuk, Lavery & Jackson


Ross Harris said...

Good to see you back playing again David!

David McAlister said...

Thanks Ross. Enjoyed the afternoon. A bit rusty and although I think I missed a good chance in the opening of one game, at least I didn't make any major blunders. Something to work on for 2017 and beyond :-)