Malta Chess Federation

Online Blitz February tournament

February 13th 2021

15 players took part in the February online blitz tournament held on the Tornelo site. It was a pleasure to have some returning players to the game. Timothy Portelli used to play as a junior player was a nice welcome to the tournament. Tonio Zarb, one of the stronger players of the 1980s also surprised all with his participation.

Appropriately the second round game saw 1988 Malta Champion Conrad Thake take on Tonio Zarb – it was the only player Tonio had already played back in the 80s. It was a classic! Similar to those games back then, it was a classical attack on black’s king-side castled king against white’s queen-side castled king. Zarb, playing white got there before but it was not before many tactics and sacrifices against good defending by Thake did Zarb win a rook and then the game.

14-year old Jack Mizzi, winner of both the online January blitz and rapid tournaments and both with a 100% score, won his first four games in his usual convincing manner. Would Mizzi possibly win all the games again. In round 5, facing Conrad Thake, Mizzi started very well using a tactic to expose the uncastled king and it looked like the game will end quickly. However, Thake eased the pressure by exchanging queens and concentrated on the queenside when he forced the win of Mizzi’s bishop. It was enough for Thake to win the game and end the outstanding run of consecutive wins by Mizzi.

After this round, the fight for first place got interesting with 4 players  – Jack Mizzi, Conrad Thake, Matteo Stagno and Matthias Gatt all leading the table. Mizzi won all his remaining games to win the tournament on 8 points. Matteo Stagno took 2nd place on 7 points with a better tie-break score than Matthias Gatt – also on 7 points.

As part of the Grand-prix, the first 6 places take points. Conrad Thake took 4th with 6 points, while Filipina Thornton and Milena Stagno take joint 5th with 5 points and both having a tie-break score of 51 points. Both take 2 grand prix points.

Although the tournament was hit by some issues with the tornelo site, all participants showed support by waiting and trying to resolve the issue.

Overall Blitz Grand Prix Points