February 27th 2021
And it is 4 in a row for Jack Mizzi who also wins the Online Rapid February tournament. The rapid event attracted 17 players – the “slower” time of 5 mins + 5 sec for each move proving more popular than the very fast 3min + 2sec blitz. We had 3 Malta Champions participating – current champion Jake Darmanin and ex-Champions Colin Pace and Conrad Thake.
Although the tournament started rather later – 20 mins after its scheduled time due to some issues due to a change of arbiter into a player that would just not work, all players waited and kept on playing until nearly 8pm for 7 rounds. The tournament also welcomed a newcomer to the game – Daniela Said, while a number of players participated for the first time in the online tournament – Mike Sapiecha, Louis Aquilina, Matthew Pace, Jacob Zammit and Hayley Thornton.
There were no surprises in the first round except for the mother and daughter clash of Hayley and Nina. A good game was played that ended in a draw! The second round also went according to expected results. The third round saw the big guns paired against each other. Colin Pace was paired against Jack Mizzi. Pace took a 2-pawn advantage when his queen ventured alone on the queen-side. Jack had some compensation with better placed pieces and a good time advantage. Play continued and in Pace’s severe time trouble, Mizzi (now 3 pawns down) was about to queen his pawn when Pace ran out of time. In the clash of current vs ex-champion, Conrad Thake lost a piece in the opening and lost his game against Jake Darmanin.
Round 4 saw a much awaited clash between Jack Mizzi and Jake Darmanin and it didn’t fail to entertain. In the longest game of the tournament, the game ended in a draw after 110 moves. Darmanin first took the advantage by winning the exchange but Mizzi gained two very strong knights in the center of the board. In time trouble, Darmanin had to sacrifice a rook for the advancing b-pawn and the ending of K+R+N (for Mizzi) against K+R was on the board. Mizzi tried for another 30 moves but Darmanin played the correct defensive moves for an entertaining draw. Impressive in this round was Mike Sapiecha’s win against Colin Pace in 21 moves. Also worth mentioning is Neil Spiteri’s win against Tonio Zarb with a surprise checkmate when being a piece down.
Mizzi and Darmanin kept the momentum going by beating Thake and Louis Aquilina respectively in the fifth round. Round 6 saw Mizzi beating Sapiecha while Darmanin lost against Pace. Mizzi confirmed first place by winning his last round game against Matthew Pace while Thake beat Colin Pace in the ex-champions clash.
Jack Mizzi maintains his 100% lead in both Grand Prix and now leads by a full 10 points over 2nd place Conrad Thake. Jake Darmanin shoots in 3rd place by his runner-up placing.
Overall Rapid Grand Prix Points