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2018 Banff Open Armageddon Playoff
The 2018 Banff Open saw a 3 way tie for first place between IM Mark Ginsburg, FM Ian Findlay and Omid Malek with 5/6. Only after IM Thanh Nha Duong let a winning position slip into a lost position, moving him from clear winner to 4th place with 4.5 and out of the money. We were very fortunate to have an anonymous donor contribute $500 to the 1st prize, on the condition that if there was a tie, there would be a playoff for the extra cash! This certainly led to an exciting finish. There were many spectators who stayed behind to watch the playoff, but in honesty, most of them were waiting to collect their prizes.
As per the playoff rules, Mark Ginsburg who had the best tiebreak would get a bye into the finals. I had 2nd best tiebreak, so I chose Black. I would get 4 minutes to White's 5 minutes, but would get draw odds. Omid and I played a Closed Sicilian, which was a very close battle, until Omid blundered a piece around move 35. This did not matter much since the game was going to be decided on time. Omid being the gentleman that he is, called his own flag when I still had 9 seconds on my clock. This setup a final between Mark Ginsburg and myself.
Mark and I go back a long way. In the eighties, I used to stay at his apartment in NYC when playing in the New York Open. He shared an apartment with GM Michael Rhode, GM John Fedorowicz and GM at bridge, Michael Polowan. Since I have started playing chess again we have reconnected, and last year he stayed at my house and won the Banff Open. This year, he got his choice in the final Armageddon playoff. He chose Black.
We were very fortunate to have an anonymous donor contribute $500 to the 1st prize, on the condition that if there was a tie, there would be a playoff for the extra cash!
Our tournament has grown from 33 players to 41 players to 78 players. Hopefully in 2019 we will hit our maximum 100 entries. I would like to thank our sponsors, the Alberta Chess Association, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4318 and the Society of Chess Aficionados. Also many thanks to the Banff Centre for a great venue, with postcard picture views of the mountains and their well organized staff. A big thank you to our anonymous donor who made the tournament so exciting this year by donating the $500 bonus money. It will be hard to top next year, but we will try. Thank you also to our chief Arbiter, IA/IO Mark Dutton and his lovely wife Christine, the Assistant Arbiter and of course my wife, Janice, for all her hard work to provide a dinner reception at our house for the players and their significant others.