Winter League: Tie for Champion, play-off next week

This year’s Winter League has produced a tie for first place – the third time this has happened in the tournament’s eleven year history.  As specified in the rules, the two joint winners, Joona Kiiski and Pete Morriss, will play off for the title next Thursday (18 April).  Spectators are welcome.

Third place also produced a tie, between Dara Murphy and Felix Calleja.  In this case the prize is awarded to the player with the higher Median Buchholz score.  It is not yet known who that is, as some of the games were not played on the night.  These remaining games will also be played on Thursday 18th, after which we will know whether Dara or Felix have won the third prize.

The grading prizes are also undecided, as several games between the key players had to be held over.  The first grading prize, for players graded below 1600, will go to either John Hensey or Ger Abberton, if their game produces a winner.  If John and Ger draw, then there will be a four-way tie for the prize, between John and Ger, Ger’s brother Eamonn Abberton, and Conall Hegarty.  In that event, the tie will again be broken by Median Buchholz.

The second grading prize (under 1200 and ungraded) is almost as close.  Marek Fijalkowski is the leader here, and will win it if he secures a draw (or win) in his final game; but he has a tough task against David Baird.  Should Marek lose, then he can be caught by any of Keith Whitfield and David Piercy (who play each other) and Michael O’Connell; should that happen the tie-break will again have to be used.

So, after the tournament’s finishing date, there are still no prize winners determined, and no fewer than twelve of the nineteen players are still in contention for one of the prizes.  I don’t think a tournament can get closer than that!



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