S.O.S. Rapid Matthew Unstoppable
In probably the most unique tournament played in Hong Kong since I can remember ... What? You ask why? Okay, let me digress a little and give you the main points:
To-be-Champion IM Matthew Tan online against GM Twan Burg
It was run smoothly by the professional Caissa team headed by coach IA Alberto Muniz Pardino (nothing new, fine, we are spoiled here)
It was held in a family friendly cozy restaurant, sometimes playing through soft background music but at all times peacefully quiet enough for some great games
And those great games were played with an exceptionally strong playing field with 1 GM, 3 IMs, 1 FM, 1 CM and some of HK's untitled finest
Among the players we had previous winner coach CM David Rivas Vila from Spain and a GM Twan Burg from Holland join the event via Internet - have you ever heard of such a hybrid set-up before?
The bar was open with professional staff from morning (coffee) through evening (beer) - yes: wine and beer, soft drinks, juices you name it, it was served as though we were all on a day out
Delicious buffet lunch was served, with drinks, enjoyed not only by the 36 players on-site but also by some 16 accompanying family members, parents, uncles, grandparents
The players: a great crowd, no issue, no problems, sportsmanship all around and in between the young ones and the more experienced
Finally, the top 3 winners ... all Caissa (ex) coaches! (However, the current coaches, Matthew and Marcos would not be eligible for a prize).
Over 7 rounds IM Matthew Tan proved to be unbeatable, like he did before with blitz. Actually twice! IM Marcos Llaneza only lost to Matthew and ended 2nd with 6 points. On 3rd place with 5 points ended former Caissa coach CM David Rivas Vila on tie-break, followed by GM Twan Burg, local talent Andrew Ng, Edgar Lopez from USA and Caissa's talented youth U10 student Boris Chan (!!!).
It was challenging for our overseas players to be sharp from local 4am on. In round 1, still sleepy Twan lost from Conrad who was immediately calculating how many rating points he would have gotten if only this would have been a FIDE rated event... In any case, many thanks David and Twan for joining us. the prize money we will send to you but the trophies you need to collect on one of your now-must-go trips to Caissa in Hong Kong.
Also we wish to extend a warm welcome to IM Lehtinen Heikki who joined us from Macao. We hope to see you more often.
For some of the youth players it was the first time to play against adults. But they did great. Prize for the Best U14 went to new kid on the block Niilo Nissinen, Best U12 was Neel Lyer, Best U10 Advay Hari (Boris Wang had won the 5th Prize Open) and Best and Runner Up U8 were respectively Julian Wang and Paul Nguyen.
Finally, a thanks to Mark and his team from Marco's Oyster Bar and Grill for a smooth handling of the day.