47 players from as far afield as Nottingham and Edinburgh came to The Word in South Shields on Saturday for a 9 round FIDE rated blitz. Despite spectacular views over the Tyne they managed to concentrate for long enough to produce some great chess with the result only being decided in a dramatic last round.
Round 5 was when the two leading players, Charlie Storey and Dave Walker met for what could have been the tournament decider. They were the only players on 100% and the two highest rated players. In a tense game Charlie Storey came out the winner.
In round 6 there was another key battle when number 2 seed, Dave Walker, played number 3 seed, Dave Mooney. Dave Walker came out on top and it looked like the event was going to go according to the seedings.
In round 7 the strong Nottingham player, Zhe Kang Law, with the black pieces played out a hard fought draw with leader Charlie Storey setting the scene for a dramatic showdown in round 9.
Round 9 saw Charlie Storey, leading Dave Walker by just half a point, face his childhood hero, Dave Mooney. Unbeknownst to Charlie, his two main rivals had got in some useful practice two days earlier in the South Shields Warm-Up Blitz. That practice paid off for the Daves as they both won with Dave Walker (8/9) overtaking Charlie Storey for first, Charlie (7.5/9) finishing in second and Dave Mooney (7/9) taking the last major prize in third.
The two grading prize cut-offs were set at 1850 and 1650. The Edinburgh player, Simon McGuinness (1845) was just heading for the door to catch his train back home when we grabbed him to give him his prize for a very good 5.5/9. Jack Erskine (ECF rapidplay grade 54 ~ 1105) finished on an excellent 5/9 to take the other grading prize.
John Turnock (5.5/9) took the senior prize and Max Turner (5.5/9) the junior prize.
The tournament made a small profit which will be split between Cancer Research and the 2020 Durham Congress.
Full details of the tournament can be seen here.