The Open and Women’s Blitz Finals were held on Saturday 16th November at St John’s Hotel in Solihull. The Open final had an exceptional field this year with 4 GMs, 7 IMs and 2 FMs out of a total of 16 players. The Women’s final was also very strong with 1 GM, 1 WGM and 3 WFMs, and a number of rapidly improving juniors.
Full details and pgns from the two finals can be found here —
For a YouTube playlist of five videos of Simon Williams’ commentary on Blitz Finals Day, click here
As above the Open Final had an extremely strong field this year. A notable and very welcome finalist was the renowned James Sherwin who qualified from the Cardiff Event. James is 86 now, and played Bobby Fischer on several occasions including of course game number 1 in My 60 Memorable Games with a 24-year-old Sherwin playing against a 14-year-old Bobby Fischer.
New Jersey Open (1957) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6UxTLhDSds
Although Game 1 was a win for Fischer, Sherwin managed to turn the tables and beat the young Fischer at the Log Cabin Tournament in the same year.
Fast forward 62 years and here is James’ game from Saturday (a win this time) against IM Thomas Rendle based on an attack in the centre and along the open c file —
After 15 rounds of close-fought games, GM Justin Tan finished first to become the new United Kingdom Blitz Champion, with 13 out of 15. IM Ameet Ghasi was runner up with 12. GM Danny Gormally finished 3rd with 9.5 and GMs Matthew Turner and Keith Arkell each scored 9.
Here is a key second round game in the Open Championship between GM Justin Tan and top seed IM Ameet Ghasi, with annotations provided by Justin.
GM Keti Arakhamia-Grant led the women’s section throughout the tournament with some close fought games for the runner up positions.
Top places were as follows – GM Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant finished first to become the new United Kingdom Women’s Blitz Champion, with a near perfect 14.5 out of 15. WGM Katarzyna Toma came second with 13 out of 15, just beating Madara Orlovska who came third with 12.5. Anita Somton finished 4th with 10 points.
There were a number of juniors playing in the Women’s final with some strong performances across the board, all of which bodes well for future championship events.
Here with annotations is Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant’s Blitz final game —
You can replay all the games from the two finals here —