Li wins opening Kingston summer blitz tournament

Vladimir Li scores 5.5/6 to see off a strong field in the first of a series of blitzes at the Willoughby Arms planned for the summer

After a successful pilot in April, competitive blitz returned to the Willoughby Arms on Monday 19 June as Kingston Chess Club hosted the first of a series of summer blitz tournaments. It was a six-round Swiss with the “long” (for blitz!) time control of seven minutes plus a three-second increment per move. Twenty-two Kingstonians welcomed four players from neighbouring Surbiton Chess Club – we are keen to open these events to other local clubs whenever possible – in a 26-player field. 

Round one went to form, with the more experienced players successfully fending off the recent influx of Kingston juniors, who enthusiastically battled away all evening. The highlight of the second round was a delightful (except for his opponent) smothered mate by Josh Lea, whose forced queen sac on g1 was followed by Nf2++, leaving Jimmy Kerr’s king helplessly stranded in the corner. “Just like you do in the puzzles!”, Josh remarked wittily. Philidor, after whom this mating pattern is named, would no doubt share Josh’s pleasure. Henceforth, we will call this Lea’s Legacy.

The playing room at the Willoughby is packed as 26 hopefuls do battle in the first Kingston Summer Blitz

The first upset came in round 3 as club president John Foley got the better of reigning Kingston blitz champion Peter Lalić. John has annotated this interesting game. A less interesting game played out on board 3, where Alan Scrimgour’s queen and king fork on move five saw an early resignation and wry smile from Surbiton’s Graham Alcock. A distinctly unneighbourly gesture from the Kingston chair.

In round 4, Foley claimed another scalp, this time of Kingston star David Maycock, who flagged in time trouble. That put Foley, who claims to be only a moderate blitz player, on the perfect score of 4/4, sharing the lead with Vladimir Li, whose victory against Alan Scrimgour also took him to 4/4.

At the same time, the action was hotting up on the lower boards – in every sense, as it was a very warm evening – with the usual blitz madness of spectacular blunders, swindles and flagging in winning positions. Nick Grey was unfortunate to lose on time against Stephen Moss as he was about to deliver the coup de grâce, in a game Nick had completely dominated. What a cruel form of chess blitz is.

Foley and Li faced off in round 5, in what looked to be the tournament decider. And it was Li who prevailed, putting the Kingston president in an unbreakable bind to go a full point ahead of the chasing pack. Li went on to draw with Peter Lalić in an entertaining and richly tactical final-round game to claim outright first prize with an unbeaten 5.5/6. All in all, another successful running of the Kingston Blitz, which was played in great spirit. We will be back on Monday 17 July for the next edition.

Vladimir Li (left) receives his prize from Gregor Smith for winning the first Kingston Summer Blitz

Prize winners

1st Vladimir Li (5.5/6) (prize = £50)
2nd= John Foley (4.5/6)
2nd= Alan Scrimgour (4.5/6)
2nd= David Maycock (4.5/6)
U2000 prize – Jojo Morrison (4/6)
U1600 prize – Jaden Mistry/Josh Lea (3/6)
Giantkiller prize – John Foley

Top 10

Report by Gregor Smith, Kingston Summer Blitz organiser