RICHARD COLLETT BLITZ TROPHY 2019
With a new Richard Collett Blitz Trophy awaiting the winner; the event began to take shape as an incredible 18 players exceeded the previous year’s number of entrants of 8 participants.
This meant there would be 6 players in each of 3 Groups, who would contest 5 Rounds, in an all-play-all Swiss Tournament format. Then there would be a Quarter Final, Semi Final and Final.
With several players not in attendance by 7:45pm; and with Martin having got stuck in traffic, and Paul Furniss disappearing – even I was commissioned into making myself into the eighteenth player. It was a miracle we managed the event successfully!
My inclusion meant keeping a record of the event was challenging! Kevin eagerly stepped into my chair to register his 1st Round win; unprepared to face the reality of my cockeyed Swiss system. Someone asked: why have I formed my system of charting the total points, the wrong way up? The answer is; we have no need to buy expensive Swiss Tournament software!
Having lost my 1st Round match; I hastily pushed Kevin aside to switch all the scores around to my way of thinking. Still errors in the recording of results emerged – but luckily, the many eagle eyes allowed us first to set out the names of the players that would be in each group; then repair the erroneous scores to each game that had confused the twit now inputting the results. It was all too much for me.
In Group A; without standing on ceremony; Ian Truscott did a fine job drawing the names of: John, Tom, Roy, Lucy, Andy and Aaron.
Group B; would be the so-called Group of Death; being contested by: Steve, Ian Truscott, Kevin, Spike, Jake and Brian.
Group C; would be competition for; Stan, Matt, Jongsun, Paul Pearsall, Richard and David.
Jake had turned-up out of the blue, completely unawares and found himself in illustrious company facing Kevin in a 1st Round encounter – much to the amusement of those present. Welcome to the party Jake!
There were many such moments of absurdity amongst the mismatches that were to follow, and so the tournament unfolded. Indeed, I would report in more detail what happened but we are all spared my irreverent humour and likely irrelevant commentary.
The miracle is; that we completed the Round Robin Swiss Groups before my phone disconnected from the Internet, causing my Excel system of record to freeze. Not realising that the disconnection between my laptop and phone had happened; all but the record for the first 2 Rounds are lost forever.
The horror of this Internet disconnection may prepare me in advance of the next tournament: to either find a new way to keep track of the Greenlands Chess Club Rapid and Blitz events; or maybe purchase the expensive Swiss software after all?
I’m not recommending the purchase or borrowing of Swiss software! What’s really called for is for me to save the event document regularly: a factor which had never occurred to me before! Until this event; my system had worked perfectly – and I should not have been playing in the event, which is another factor we should take account! It’s only by the miracles of modern science that we have a way of structuring events that’s flexible at all.
We were lucky that the whole room was not reduced to looking at me in dismay, thinking of me as the incompetent organiser! Players were looking to the referee consulting the Big Screen!
There were many VAR decisions to navigate on what was a fabulous evening beneath the fluorescent floodlights that would have continued to flicker with irritation had I not had the LED removed from above Board 1 before play began. As the crowd waited to see if a penalty had been awarded at the rundown ramshackle 4th Division home of Greenlands Chess Club – one of the highlights for me personally, was the thin line between offside on Board 6 and the crowd chanting, “It’s not football anymore!”
Two illegal moves in a couple of games had resulted in me requiring to add 1 minute to the clock of the opponent. But then while playing Spike, I was again called upon as arbiter to make an adjustment in the game next to me; challenging me to stop our Board 5 clock in order to reset the clock on Board 6… or become grumpy at being interrupted when losing valuable seconds and concentration having been disturbed! I knew there was a reason I shouldn’t be playing and should have been in the Control Room of Stockley Park… Needs must… Brian losing on time, just let himself go, as he so often does! Problem solved, but Brian receiving one of the metaphorical wooden spoons for the evening, is nonetheless a good sport to have taken on the Group of Death.
We had reached the draw for the Quarter Finals and had moved on before the Excel document had frozen. It’s still galling to be talking about what had gone wrong even without the intervention of VAR; rather than Kevin beating me in Round 2 and Spike beating me in Round 3, when I gave up with 8 seconds still left on my clock. Kevin with 5 straight wins and Spike with 4 wins, progressed from Group B – with Ian Truscott complaining that he was still left in the competition as one of the two best third placed players.
The other third placed player, John from Group A accompanied Roy and Tom into the Quarters. From Group C: Stan and last year’s Champion Matt progressed; the latter with an impressive 4.5 from his 5 Rounds.
In the Round Robin game between Richard and Matt, a draw was declared where one player had lost on time but had insufficient material to win.
In the Quarter Final game between Stan and John – a similar incident occurred to test our knowledge of the Laws of Chess. By this time; my mind twisted inside-out by VAR, I was unable to unscramble who was making the correct decisions or not – it just sounded right!
“And it really doesn’t matter if I’m wrong, I’m right; where I belong I’m right…” I was just filling a hole where the cracks appeared and stopped my mind from wandering! If I looked like an arbiter that knew what I was doing, everyone would go along in agreement anyhow! Like hell!
Stan and John decided their match by playing the mad two-minute Blitz game that someone recalled; was how we’d concluded draws last year. Semi-Finalist John from that previous Blitz tournament succumbed and Stan had been able to win his way through to the 2019 Semi-Final on intuition. Stan usually being used to the more sedate pace of correspondence, telegrams and the Pony Express arriving before deciding upon what moves to make.
In the second Quarter Final, Kevin relieved Ian Truscott of any further obligation to spend any more time on this insanity.
Then the lunacy of Blitz revealed its true self as Matt beat Roy in the most astonishing result of the evening, and Tom beat Spike to turn grading and form on its head.
The Semi Finals saw Tom beat Stan in yet another shock result, whilst Matt gasped beneath the hilarity of the crowd in having to face Kevin – though even with the White pieces; the result was inevitable…
In the Final analysis; Tom, also playing the White pieces gave Kevin a fabulous game before we awarded Tom his consolation Book Prize.
Matt received a book and yet another Trophy to add to his growing collection; the Steve Crees Junior Award.
Kevin picked up a book together with the 2019 Richard Collett Blitz Champion Trophy as expected. And that was it for another year of Blitz insanity at Greenlands Chess Club.
Thank you to everyone for taking part. It was an exceptional night of entertainment – I’m just not sure it had anything to do with real Chess?