It’s been running quietly away for most of the year – but we finally have a winner in our Online Championship!
A huge performance by Sebastian Wilkinson – played eighteen, won fifteen, with an average PR of 3.77 – and a thoroughly well deserved title.
The long journey to the final started back in April. For this year, we had both a Masters and an Intermediate division, and with nothing to lose (except a lot of time online!) a few had a go at both, giving us 56 playing for the Intermediates and 62 Masters. This year the Intermediates kept the previous World Cup-style format, with qualifying groups leading to a last-32 knockout on Challonge. This is tried and tested, although it always seems to generate at least one awkward tiebreak! We put a limit on Gridgammon ratings for Intermediates at 1625, and promptly found that there are one or two anomalies out there! Do people play substantially differently online? That’s a debate for a future time. Meanwhile, the Masters was played as a multiple-elimination on EBIF, I took a bit of an educated guess that five lives would be about right, and then found that the final stages took so long that it wasn’t called EBIF by the time we finished…
I’d love to hear how people found the new format – it does guarantee no dead rubbers, provides easier and fairer solutions if any players go unresponsive or want to withdraw early, and it saves my email inbox from overflowing!
In the Intermediates, Steve Allott led the way in the group stage with a 100% record, and there were a couple of 5/6 as well – but it’s hard to draw comparisons across the groups as not all games got played. Certainly winning the groups didn’t prove any guarantee of success later, as only group H’s winner, Yusuf Adenwala, was still standing in round 3 of the knockout.
Back in the Masters, some big names with impressive form were already taking an early bath by round eight; Andrew Fotiadis and Charles Hill amongst them with PRs a shade over 5 for the whole tournament. In round ten Tim Cross joined them despite an outstanding average of 3.68.
Holidays intervened in the Intermediates, but we wrapped up in the summer with two really good finals, Mike Murton beating Richard Goss and John Horton beating Nick Baker. I don’t often get to present online trophies in person but I met John at the Clubs Championship shortly after the consolation final – and even then I didn’t present it… I was behind the camera!
By now the Masters was thinning out, but with plenty of lives left the top few were going to take quite some time to finish! The eventual top three all looked quite safe and it seemed to be a battle among the rest to avoid the drop each round. Soon it was down to masters and grandmasters left, and by October it was down to Seb and Radu, Seb having three lives left and only needing to win once… and while Radu managed to capture one of those spare lives, it was too much to get all of them.
- 1st: Sebastian Wilkinson (15 wins)
- 2nd: Radu Ciortan (13 wins)
- 3rd: Gaz Owen and Alastair Woods (11 wins)
- 5th: Peter Christmas and Mark Robinson (10 wins)
- Winner: Mike Murton
- Runner-Up: Richard Goss
- Semi-finalists: Yusuf Adenwala and Denby Pettitt
- Consolation winner: John Horton
- Consolation runner-up: Nick Baker
- Consolation semi-finalists: Paul Whitter and Merrin Rose
Next year’s Championship will kick off on 1st April 2020, and if you’re very quick (ie. do it now!) you can still sign up for our Online Charity Challenge…