April 11th 2021
17 players participated in the Online Blitz tournament of April.
The two main contenders of the overall grand prix, Jack Mizzi and Robert Novak both took part. With Mizzi having a 10-point advantage, he only needed to finish ahead of Novak to win the whole series.
Round 1 started with the expected results. Very good results were registered by 10-year old Hayley Thornton who beat Christian Schembri and by Marco Gaffarena who beat Elli Mazkevich.
All the results in round 2 went as expected with the first major surprise coming in the 3rd round with young Hayley beating Tonio Zarb after Zarb overstepped the time limit. On the top boards, Robert Novak beat Matteo Stagno while Jack Mizzi beat Conrad Thake. Thake, playing white closed the position which ended with all 8 pawns on the board totally locking each other. It was difficult for any player to make progress until Thake swapped his bishop with Mizzi’s knight allowing the opening of the g-file. In time pressure, Thake lost his g-pawn and the game.
Round 4 saw the main clash of the tournament between Jack Mizzi (white) against Robert Novak. In a Queen’s Gambit accepted, Novak played well to win a pawn in the middle game. He kept his pawn in the resulting complications but suddenly blundered a whole rook. This enabled Mizzi to win this important clash.
Mizzi, Thake and Novak won their round 5 games against Mazkevich, Matteo and Milena Stagno respectively. Another surprise was registered by Hayley – this time beating Jacob Zammit. Hayley found a good checkmate on the board by Qxh3 and since the g2 pawn was pinned, the queen could not be taken.
With her positive results, Hayley found herself playing on first board against Jack Mizzi in round 6. In second board, Novak beat Thake. Initially Novak sacrificed the exchange and Thake took advantage by infiltrating Novak’s queenside with his rook. In the resulting complications, Thake kept his exchange advantage but Novak had a dangerous passed pawn on the 5th rank. Thake then sacrificed the exchange back to get a passed h-pawn of his own. However Novak’s knight could defend the queening square after Thake pushed his pawn to h7 instead of covering the f7 square with his bishop. The tables turned and it was Novak who was winning when Thake lost on time.
Round 7 saw a good win for Matteo Stagno against Jack Mizzi to give Robert Novak hope. Stagno played well to win the exchange but Mizzi won it back a few moves later. And endgame resulted with a Q+R+4pawns each with Stagno having the advantage of a passed pawn on the b-file. Mizzi defended well and the game looked heading for a draw when suddenly Mizzi lost on time.
Both Mizzi and Novak won their remaining games to finish first on 8 points. Mizzi won the tournament with a better tie-break score. Thake ended 3rd on 7 points. Matteo Stagno 4th on 6.5 pts while the Thornton’s (mother and daughter) Filipina and Hayley ended in 5th and 6th place on 5pts. An excellent achievement by Hayley to win her first grand prix point!
Jack Mizzi wins the Online Blitz Grand Prix with one tournament to spare with 36 points. Novak Robert is in 2nd place on 24 points while Conrad Thake is 3rd with 18 points.
Well done Jack!
Overall Blitz Grand Prix Points