Just when it looked like everything was settled, round 9 threw everything up in the air, with plenty of surprises! At the top end of the tournament, the big surprise was board 1, where Mirko Rujevic managed to win a piece against Guy West & Guy instantly resigned! The drama continued on board 2, when David Beaumont found himself a bishop ahead in an ending against Dusan Stojic! More drama was had on board 4, when Richard McCart demolished Peter Fry's customary 1.b3 in 20 moves! Just when it looked like David was ready to secure the win, he blundered & allowed Dusan's pawns to race up the board, and seeing no salvation in sight, resigned! This gave the tournament win to FM Dusan Stojic, a point clear of IM Guy West. These two were followed by four players who finished on 6/9 in a tie for third, Ari Dale, Mirko Rujevic, Carl Gorka & Richard McCart. Another surprise of this final round was that across 14 boards of play, only board 14 saw a win for the player with the white pieces!
Final results & cross table are available as usual on ChessChat.
With the excitement of the final round, I thought I needed to include two games form this round. The first is Peter Fry v Richard McCart, which sees Richard McCart play an excellent attacking game, and although there may have been quicker ways to finish the game off, the game as played was also pretty convincing!
The second game was the dramatic board 2 clash between David Beaumont & Dusan Stojic. Although Dusan appeared to have a reasonable position for much of the middlegame, it was David's central pawns that more than made up for the exchange he was down, ultimately leading to the ending with an extra bishop. The ending is won for David, but there are a few tricks that need to be navigated, with the winning line involving allowing Dusan to promote a pawn, but David would also have promoted a pawn & would have a reasonably straightforward win in an ending with Queen, bishop, pawn & king v Queen, pawn & king.