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Museum Rapidplay 2009 report

On the 22nd November 2009 the UCU organised a Rapidplay tournament in the Belfast Room of the Ulster Museum. This was exactly one month after the Museum had re-opened following a three year closure and £17.2m refurbishment.

The tournament was a six round Open Swiss with players having 25 minutes each for their games. The UCU’s new digital clocks, first used in the 2009 Ulster Championship, were particularly useful in this quicker form of the game. As the game reaches its climax, the players know exactly how many seconds they have left before losing on time. Instead of this being signalled in an analogue clock by a flag-fall, the digital version has the display colour on a player’s move lever change from green to red.

The first round largely went with seedings, though Damien Lavery had a lucky escape against Stephen McCloskey, while newcomer Sinclair Dowey got the better of veteran Alan Burns. Round 2 provided a minor surprise when 2008-9 Junior Grand Prix winner Martin Kelly beat 4th seed Sylwek Furman.

Round 3 saw the top three seeds, Stephen Scannell, Michael Waters and Gareth Annesley all move a full-point ahead of the rest of the field. In round 4 Scannell won the top board clash against Waters, while Annesley matched Scannell’s 4 straight wins by beating John Bradley.

In round 5 Annesley had White against Scannell, with the two players aware that victory in their individual encounter would also guarantee them at least a share of first prize. It was Annesley who won after sustained pressure, in what was possibly the best game of the tournament. Waters got back on track with a win over Richard Gould, while Lavery also reached 4 points after beating Mark Newman.

Two schools’ players were also to be found near the top of the standings after the end of the penultimate round. Karina Kruk followed up a Round 4 victory over Furman with a win against Ian Woodfield, where her advanced pawns caused him too many problems and he lost on time. The only player on 3.5 points was Stormont Elite Under 14 Schools champion Kiran Robbin after scoring 2.5 out of 3 against the experienced trio of Burns, Woodfield and William Storey in Rounds 3-5.

The top pairings for the final round were:
Karina Kruk [4.0] –v-  Gareth Annesley  [5.0]
Stephen Scannell [4.0] -v- Damien Lavery [4.0]
Kiran Robbin [3.5] -v- Michael  Waters  [4.0]

Annesley would normally be a big favourite against Kruk, but she has already shown her ability and potential against strong players, and so Gareth chose the well-known drawing weapon Petroff’s Defence. In an even position the players agreed to share the point guaranteeing  outright tournament victory for Annesley and the Under 1600 Grading prize for Kruk.

Waters won quickly against Robbin, but the latter had the consolation of knowing that he could not be overtaken in the race for the Under 1200 Grading Prize, which in the end he shared with Cathal Murphy, who made a late surge by winning all his last 3 games. Meanwhile Scannell beat Lavery to join Waters in a tie for second overall.

Final standings 

Place Name              Rtg  Club          Score

 1    Gareth Annesley   1864 RVH           5.5  
2-3   Stephen Scannell  2075 QUB           5    
      Michael Waters    2058 Fisherwick    5    
  4   Karina Kruk       1405 QUB           4.5  
5-8   Damien Lavery     1663 TAT           4    
      John Bradley      1738 Fisherwick    4    
      Richard Gould     1529 TAT           4    
      Alan Burns        1412 CIYMS         4    
9-10  Kiran Robbin                         3.5  
      Cathal Murphy     1065 RVH           3.5  
11-17 Mark Newman       1648 Bombardier    3    
      Martin Kelly      1425 Fisherwick    3    
      Sylwek Furman     1775               3    
      Sean Linton       1324 RVH           3    
      Alexander Beckett 1378 Fisherwick    3    
      Radhika Gupta     1203 Fisherwick    3    
      Phillip Morrison  1305 RVH           3    
18-19 Ian Woodfield     1630 Fisherwick    2.5  
      William Storey    1355 Lagan         2.5  
20-26 Raghav Gupta      1273 Fisherwick    2    
      Sinclair Dowey                       2    
      Garry Johnston    1163 Bangor        2    
      Kevin Robbin                         2    
      Matthew Chapman        QUB           2    
      Peter Ratcliffe   940  North Belfast 2    
      Geoff Hindley     977  Lagan         2    
 27   Stephen McCloskey 1081               1    
 28   Peter Storey      1125               0   


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