Poles Position

This season's NICS Grand Prix kicked off with their first Lackadaisical Rapidplay; 6 intense matches on Sunday afternoon. Great to see so many new faces and, as some wag noted, folks with strong links to Poland monopolised the honours!

This seasons Alan Burns Grand Prix - renamed in honour of NICS stalwart, Alan Burns, who died earlier in the year - kicked-off with a Lackadaisical on Sunday 14th December. Organised with short-notice to make sure there was one round in 2014, the NICS club appreciates the support from those who turned up.

Round 1 played out as the ratings suggested; hardly surprising given that the players on each board were at least 400 points apart. We would have to wait till later rounds for some excitement though unrated Omagh visitor, Wojciech Kolodziejski, caused some raised eyebrows in his game against Karina.

Round 1 BoardsSecond round saw Drew Ferguson enter the fray after sitting out the first games to enjoy a seasonal Turkey dinner from the resident chef. And it was Drew who took an unexpected scalp from Pat McKillen who preferred to let his opponent promote first. Tony Reddon gave David Jackson a hard-time too on second board, forcing a draw from the higher-rated player.

Round 3 saw some excellent match-ups. Drew Ferguson very nearly did for club-mate David Jackson but a blunder tilted the game. Tony Reddon and Robert Lavery - only 3 rating points apart - could not figure out who was best and Wojciech raised a few more eyebrows when he scalped Colin Fenton.

Round 4 was crunch-time with competition leaders playing off. David Jackson & Cathal Murphy were outgunned against Nick Pilkiewicz and Karina Kruk. While Wojciech Kolodziejski convinced us he was seriously under-rated with another sound win, this time against Tony Reddon. Drew Ferguson came close again missing a mate against Robert Lavery.Norman Rainey vs Tony Reddon

The penultimate round saw Wajciech's steamroller of the previous 3 rounds halted by competition favourite Nick Pilkiewicz. Pat McKillen had a great win against Tony Reddon while Norman Rainey bagged a win against Paul Anderson; Norman was well pleased in his first rapidplay event. Match of the day was Karina Kruk defending against Robert Lavery; after Robert's draw offer was rejected, the rest of the assembly watched as Karina tried to gain the upper-hand while Robert's accurate play thwarted threats. The game twisted and turned as the clocks dropped into the final minute for each player - pieces came off and the board reduced to a pawn race which Robert could not possibly win - but he was able to prevent Karina from promoting to claim her win - just and no more. Thrilling stuff!

The crowd masses around Robert and Karina as Karina tries to make good after declining a draw offer from RobertThe final round saw the leaders consolidate their positions but it was not all plain sailing: Nick Pilkiewicz was under extreme pressure from Cathal Murphy who maybe missed a  mating opportunity while Karina Kruk had to dig deep after the frustration of the previous game to overcome another rapidplay newbie, David Jackson.

A very enjoyable day over-the-board despite the short-field. In the closing ceremony, Robert Lavery got squeezed out of the honours with, as Rookie would say, the prizes getting polished-off by:

  1. Winner: Nick Pilkiewicz
  2. Runner-up: Karina Kruk
  3. Grading: Wojciech Kolodziejski

A big thank you to controller Mark Newman, everyone who turned up - especially Wojciech Kolodziejski travelling from Omagh - and of course Mr. Happy (checkout the photos).

 

Links

  • Final Standings
  • These Rapidplays contribute towards the Alan Burns Grand Prix with participating players scoring points for the performance in each rapidplay; a decent proportion of the entrance fees collect at each event is also added to the Grand Prix prize-fund which is then distrabuted at the last Rapidplay of the season.
  • View the Gallery of Photos from the competition
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