IM Graeme Buckley comes top in a very competitive field in the first of a planned series of Kingston blitz tournaments
The first Kingston Blitz tournament of the summer, held on Monday 4 July, attracted a strong field. We welcomed several players new to the club – IM Graeme Buckley, his daughter Emma, Silverio Abasolo and Byron Eslava (a fitting surname for a chessplayer). The tournament was smoothly run by Julian Way, whose paper-based pairings worked out perfectly. Greg Heath, our new secretary, as ever provided essential support.
In the first round the higher-rated players had few problems, with the exception of myself, as my king was perilously placed for a time against Emma Buckley. Emma did not find a way to exploit this, but overall she performed very well and finished with 3/6. Silverio and Byron arrived late, so received first-round byes. It only became evident later that the second-round match-up of these new arrivals, won by Byron, was a key moment with regard to the final tournament placings.
Buckley v Rowson, the board one match-up in round two, was another defining clash. At one point I nursed illusions that my perceived positional pluses would be compensation enough for the pawn I had accidentally sacrificed, but Graeme’s strength in the crucial last phase of the game told.
Round four featured a repeat of the Buckley-Lalić family duel from the Kingston-Epsom match, which had ended in a hard-fought draw. This time it again went to the wire, with Graeme having queen and bishop against Peter’s queen. Peter was hoping for a draw under the 50-move rule, with Greg counting, but Graeme got in a pawn move and eventually finished up the winner.
Meanwhile, Silverio Abasolo had recovered from his round two loss and was the next to face Buckley. He showed his skills in achieving a two-pawn advantage, but Buckley forced a repetition of position. In the final round Buckley defeated Gregor Smith, who also enjoyed an excellent tournament, to become the outright winner of the blitz, while Peter beat me and Silverio won on time against David Maycock. Thus the final leading scores were:
Graeme Buckley: 5.5/6
Peter Lalić: 5
Silverio Abasolo and David Rowson: 4
Byron Eslava: 3.5
David Maycock, Emma Buckley and Gregor Smith: 3
Special mention must also be made of young Jaden Mistry, who again showed great promise in scoring 2 points, and David Shalom, who scored 2.5.
The overall impression was of a very successful start to a planned series of blitz tournaments. As one player commented, the structure added a competitive edge which is lacking when people just play random skittles games. I, for one, am looking forward to the next blitz.