There was a full house in the Naomh Barróg clubhouse for the annual Christmas blitz on December 14th. A total of 19 players took part, with a good mixture of new and old members. The players were split into two groups with an all-play-all system, with the top two players from each group going forward to the semi-finals.
To make the tournament more balanced and interesting, players were divided among four bands based on their rating. Those in the lower bands would have a time advantage over their higher rated opponents. Someone in the lowest band would therefore have 5 minutes, whereas if their opponent was in the highest band, they would only have 2 minutes. As there was no increment, the pressure was on and there were some surprising upsets.
After 9 rounds, the standings were as follows:
Oliver and Eric won their games and faced each other in the final as everyone crowded around to watch. In a game that opened with the Queen’s Gambit Declined, Eric used a tactic to remove a defender and win a piece. However, Oliver fought back and won several pawns in the endgame. As their clocks gradually ticked down, Eric succeeded in delivering checkmate.
As the winner, Eric won €50 and Oliver won €30 as the runner-up. Kilian and Des won €20 for reaching the semi-finals.