The penultimate event in the seemingly endless KCC Online Grand Prix, saw May's event (90 minutes of 2 mins + 1 sec Bullet) go the way of Joshua, who edged home in a thrilling and totally chaotic finish. After finishing second twice and third three times, this was, it could be argued, a deserved success - for persistence, if nothing else.
The event was rather distorted by some strange connection/disconnection issues which saw some people lose games they didn't even know they were playing in, and others simply go offline at the wrong moment. Josh and Bernard R seemed the worst affected, while those of us who pay our phone/broadband bills on time, remained blissfully connected for the whole event. Maybe there is a moral in there somewhere?
Bernard R came out the blocks like a man on a mission, winning his first 5 games, but he was seemingly badly derailed by the onset of connection problems, losing 6 of his next 8 games and never getting on a winning streak again. Josh then took over and at one point seven consecutive wins propelled him into a massive lead. Then the jitters set in for him, too, but despite 3 losses in a row, he just kept enough composure to stagger across the line in first place. But at the end he had only two points to spare over yours truly, who committed the cardinal sin of turning down a draw offer from Ben, completely forgetting that when the clock ran out, the game would score no points for either player. When I remembered a few moments later and offered a draw to Ben, he was in such a state of concentration that he never noticed. A draw would have got me 2 points, as I was on a Streak, and so into a tie for first place, where I suspect my TPR (nearly 200 points higher than Josh) would have seen me on the top step of the podium.
Five points back in third place was Jude, who failed to perform up to pre-tournament favouritism and to his remarkable Bullet rating of 2400+. His insistence on Berserking seemed like a crucial strategic error to me, and despite playing more games than anyone else, he never got onto a Streak, which - with its double points - is far more important to my mind. A TPR of just 1663 was far, far removed from Jude's real/usual Bullet strength.
Ben had a late tournament surge to just edge Batboy Bernard out of 4th place on tie break. Solomon, Algis and Matt completed the 8 strong field, and everyone scored at least 3 wins, so no one left empty handed.
Heading into the last event of the Grand Prix, I slightly increased my lead to 15 points, but Joshua's win puts him only 5 points further back. The baying of the KCC mob for a double points event to end proceedings, riding roughshod over my self-appointed role as Rules Supremo, means he has a real chance of claiming the Grand Prix title in June, when there will be a fierce three way battle for glory.