Rapidplay Championships 2018-19

Congratulations to Florian Biermann who has won the third Gambit Rapidplay Championship. The previous two championships (2016-17 & 2-17-18) had been won by Mike Barnes. It is a 5 round graded Swiss, controlled this season by John Swain, which takes place throughout the season, where the paired players play half hour games against each other twice, once with white and once with black. It was very competitive with none of the 10 players leading by more than 0.5 points in any round. Only 7 pairings (out of 25) resulted in 2-0 wins and there were 12 1-1 draws.

Florian, Peter Mercs & Graeme Jennings took an early lead in round 1 after 2 – 0 wins over Mike Naylor, Drag Sudar & Graham Gibson respectively, with Mike Barnes 0.5 points behind after beating John Huthwaite 1.5 – 0.5. In the other pairing, Mark Radford drew 1 – 1 with Derek Padvis.

In round 2 Peter (on 2 points) scored an impressive 1.5 – 0.5 win over Mike B (1.5) to take the lead as Florian (2) and Graeme (2) drew 1-1. Mike N (0) beat Graham (0) 2 – 0 and there were two 1 – 1 draws between Derek (1) & Drag (0) and between Mark (1) & John (0.5).

Florian (3) beat Peter (3.5) 1.5 – 0.5 to overtake him and take the lead in round 3 as Graeme (3) faltered by only drawing 1 – 1 with Mark (2). Mike B (2) moved into joint 2nd place after beating Derek (2) twice. Mike N (2)’s challenge took a hit after a damaging 1 – 1 draw with John (1.5). Meanwhile, in the wooden spoon race, Graham (0) took a point off Drag (1) in a 1 – 1 draw.

In round 4 Florian (4.5) achieved a useful 1 – 1 draw with Mike B (4) to stay ahead of him and Peter (4) joined him with a 1.5 – 0.5 win over Graeme (4) whose challenge all but ended. Mike N (3) again failed to get into the leading group after only drawing 1 – 1 with Mark (3). There were two 1 – 1 draws between John (2.5) & Drag (2) and between Derek (2) & Graham (1).

Going into the final round, only 3 players, Florian (5.5), Peter (5.5) & Mike B (5) had a realistic chance of winning the championship. Mike B threw away his chance to win the title for the 3rd year running after a surprising 2 – 0 defeat by Drag (3). Peter scored a 1.5 – 0.5 win over Mike N (4) but this left Florian needing just 1.5 points to become joint winner. Florian was not prepared to settle for joint first and his competitive spirit shone through as he beat Mark (4) 2 -0 to become the champion. In the other pairings, Graeme (4.5) beat Derek (3) 1.5 – 0.5 and John (3.5) drew 1 – 1 with Graham (2).

Final Scores:
7.5 Biermann
7.0 Mercs
6.0 Jennings
5.0 Barnes, Sudar
4.5 Huthwaite, Naylor
4.0 Radford
3.5 Padvis
3.0 Gibson

John Swain also ran a graded U100 Rapidplay tournament which was an all play all between 4 players. Ronnie Watson emerged the winner on 5 points after 2 – 0 wins over Ken Heath and Robert Baker and a 1 – 1 draw with Marian Talmacel who came 2nd on 4 points after he beat Robert 2 – 0 and drew 1 – 1 with Ken. Ken and Robert drew 1 – 1 so Ken came 3rd on 2 points with Robert on 1 point.

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