Our Christmas lightning chess tournament was held on 6 December with 12 members braving the foul weather to participate. A clever handicap system gave all participants a roughly equal chance. The time allowed for a player in each game depended on their rating. The allowance varied from 5 minutes for players over 1,800 to 12 minutes for players rated less than 1,000 with a range of differing time allowances between these two ranges. As a result, the games were generally very well contested and keenly fought. Richard Daly achieved a notable scalp when he defeated Lorenzo Bianci in Round 1 and Oisin Deignan came close to achieving a similar result when he completely outplayed Paul Cassidy in the same round only to fall at the final hurdle through an unfortunate blunder.
The tournament was played over 5 rounds. David O’Connell took first place with a Magnus Carlsen like performance in winning all his games. Sergey Beryozkin and Yinan Duan, who underlined his great potential, were equal second on 3.5 points. The final prize was shared between Francisco Del Rio and Paul Cassidy on 3 points. There was a raffle after the tournament for some very nice gifts donated by club members and every participant received a prize. The event certainly achieved the club’s aim of an enjoyable light hearted evening. The chess was played in a very good spirit and the raffle afterwards evoked some amusing comments and advice on what gift a person should select when their name came from the hat. All in all a most enjoyable evening and an excellent run in to the Christmas season. The event was very well organised by Tony Fox who, in taking on a task which did not help his own chances in the tournament, once again displayed his ongoing deep commitment to the club.