The inaugural Individual and Team Blitz were held at The King’s School, Grantham on Saturday 18th March 2017. Five-minute chess has long been popular but with the advent of digital clocks and increments, games of three minutes plus two seconds a move are possible with fast, furious and fun results! Both the Individual Blitz held in the morning and the Team Blitz which took place in the afternoon led to exciting chess played in a very good spirit with very few interventions necessary for the arbiters, Phill Beckett, Oliver Graham and John Swain. Under Blitz rules, once the clock is pressed, an illegal move can end the game, providing the opponent notices!
The Individual Blitz attracted twenty-four competitors from six schools; four other schools had unfortunately had to withdraw with various transport and personnel problems. The computer program kept apart players from the same school until the last two of the seven rounds. The early leader, Michael Fletcher (171) of Nottingham High School set a cracking pace with 5/5 but was beaten in round 6 by his school-mate Aditya Munshi (162), who had only lost one game, to Han-sen Choong (129) of Heathside Preparatory School in round 2, whom Michael had beaten in round 4. All three won in the final round to finish on 6/7, with Michael declared Champion on sum-of-progressive scores, ahead of Han-sen and then Aditya. Following close behind were the top boards from Wilson’s School, Tharshan Kuhendiran (159) and Kevin Gu (140) and then Kamer Yildizli (103) from A.C.S. Egham, all of whom scored a highly creditable 4.5 points. Kamer’s performance amply demonstrates that even rapidplay grades are a poor predictor of ability at Blitz chess.
Six teams played in a five-round all-play-all in the afternoon’s Team Blitz. With four players in each team, there were 20 points at stake, game points counting rather than match points. The competitors were joined by Chepstow School who had made the long journey during the morning and who, despite their lack of Individual Blitz practice, won the bronze medals with an impressive score of 11.5 points, just ahead of Heathside (10) and then A.C.S. Egham (7) and King’s Grantham (1). Nottingham High School needed just a point against Wilson’s in the final round to win the title; they were somewhat fortunate to draw 2-2 but always had the point in the bag, finishing on 16.5/20 ahead of silver medallists Wilson’s on 14.
Many thanks are due to King’s for excellent hospitality, to Neill Cooper the ECF’s Manager of School Chess, whose brainchild this new venture was and who inputted the results during the day, to the arbiters and above all to the players, parents and teachers who participated in a very enjoyable new event …
— John Swain (Individual Blitz Controller) and Phill Beckett (Team Blitz Controller)