Two reports follow from Carl Gorka & Grant Szuveges on today's Fitzroy Skittles, and also part of the game between Jack Puccini and Ari dale posted on our facebook page:
The 2013 was clearly the most exciting skittles in the 3 years we have had the tournament up and running again, with Igor Goldenberg taking out the tournament by the tiniest of margins! In other years, there were always players left with excess points and it took the leaders a number of rounds to peg them back and finally knock them out, but this year everything from round 5 onwards was pure carnage with people being skittled in large numbers left right and centre! Nobody was safe and people were down to very few points very quickly and all around the same time! The play was competitive and aggressive with only 8 draws in the entire days play!!!
Not a lot happened in the first few rounds with very few upsets and no pesky lower rated players making a nuisance of themselves beating people above them. What this meant was that those pesky lower rated players were losing points early and so everyone's "lives" evened out a bit as the tournament progressed. What it also meant was that nobody got skittled really early.
In round 4 the big guns began to meet. On board 1 the two IMs played with Ari Dale white against Igor Goldenberg. In a game that seesawed a bit throughout and went right down to the wire Ari basically managed the clock better and scraped through for a win, whilst on board 2 Sylvester Urban defeated FM Bill Jordan's Grunfeld. Will Bakanursky and Lillian Lu both knocked off some higher rated players and thus kept their points!
In round 5 everything absolutely exploded with 5 people being skittled all at once! The highest player out with George Hua who got a pretty hard draw in 5 rounds being knocked out by David Garner. One player who was extremely lucky not to be skittled was IM Igor Goldenberg! Playing as white against Finley Dale Igor with only half a point left absolutely had to win to avoid being skittled so a draw was as good as a loss. Finley played a Kings Indian and sacrifed a few pieces for a devastating attack on the king. Goldenberg avoided a repetition and played a move which lost both a queen and a rook! Finley didnt notice the win and went on to lose, with Igor surviving by the skin of his teeth!!! Meanwhile on Board 1, Ari Dale vs Sylvester Urban went right down to the wire also but ending in a draw.
Round 6 proved just as exciting with another 6 players being skittled - the biggest name of which was FM Bill Jordan, who lost the white side of an Advance Caro Kann against Ari Dale. The quality of the games accross the whole tournament was appalling this round with blunders left right and centre - the pressure was obviously starting to get to the players!
Another 7 were skittled in round 7 with Garner and Urban being knocked out by IMs Dale and Goldenberg respectively.
Note that 5 were skittled in round 5, 6 in round 6 and 7 in round 7! How is that for numerology!!!
With Round 8 starting, 8 of the 12 players left in the tournament had only half a point left, while the other 4 only had 1 point each! The scene was set for some knockouts! The big news happened on board 1 with Jack Puccini defeating Ari Dale (some more fuel for the fire in their Caro-Kann sledging debate on facebook) while Phil Drew lost to Goldenberg in a tricky 2 pieces vs rook situation. Bakanursky, Lu and Lai's good runs came to an end and Anthony Hain was finally knocked out by Tristan Krstevski who always seems to play well in the Fitzroy Skittles!
Round 9 sorted out the remainder of the pesky lower rated players with Dan Dobos, Zoe Harrison and Liam Harrison all ending what were great individual performances and giving them all a share of 4th place.
For Round 10, only 3 players remained: Goldenberg, Puccini and Krstevski. Since Goldenberg had played both of his rivals whereas the other two had not played each other, Goldenberg was fortunate enough to have the bye - taking him through to the final! Puccini as white seemed to wipe Krstevski off the board very very quickly and set up a grand final showdown with Goldenberg.
In the final however, Puccini wasnt able to continue the same form with white, with Goldenberg playing solidly, taking a positional endgame advantage and securing a win to be the sole survivor taking out the 2013 Fitzroy Skittles!
Congratulations to the prize winners and Im looking forward to the skittles again in 2014!!! Well done also to Sylvester Urban for running a great consolation blitz tournament for those who were knocked out of the main event early enough!