Gilroy update

Now that this event has run its course, here is a brief summary of my part, as an also-ran, in the competition. Eleven of us took part, my grade being the seventh highest. My round one opponent was the highest graded of the lot, Dave Stebbings, on 137. He blundered in a winning position and presented me with my first point. In round two I played Stan Johnson for the second time in two days and for the second time we drew. My next opponent was Jeff Bentham. As with Stan, this was a tough game which ended in a draw. So far so good, but then the rot set in. Chris Smith launched a speculative sacrificial attack against my castled king. I could and should have seen it off but failed to do so and paid the price. Then came a long, hard and – until the final few moves – even game with Bob Heyman, which I lost on time. By now I was out of the running and so received a full point bye in round six. My final opponent was Dave Mear, who nearly swept me off the board in the opening but then lost his way. I gained the initiative but could not find a way of making my advantage decisive, so we agreed a draw. This left me on 3.5/7, which sounds OK, but in terms of games actually played it was 2.5/6, which is less than my minimum 50% target. However, as this event and the South Lakes Congress have shown, getting 50% in events where the grading band is 135 and below is, for me, a tall order. Will I be competing in these two events next year? Who knows. But remember the saying: Hope springs eternal!

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