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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Chess tournament, 26 June 2008

The SIAS Chess Tournament was held on 26 June in the City Tavern pub. More than 30 competitors were hoping to become SIAS Chess Champion 2008. It was good to witness many of last year’s competitors return to see if they could better their performance — or perhaps have a go at the drinking chess.

The first phase of the competition was the group stage. Only one in five qualified from each group, therefore the players considered their moves carefully. A steady stream of participants to the bar ensured that some of the moves were made more from Dutch courage than from reasoned thought. The groups were drawn randomly, hence I was drawn in the same group as the defending champion, Nasir Rizvi, and sadly I exited at this point.

After the first leg only eight competitors remained. There was eager anticipation as the drinking chess came out. Each piece was represented by a shot glass; the aim being to drink the contents when you capture the piece, meaning you could have as many as 16 shots per game. Unfortunately, the winner of the first game, Andrew Thompson, had not realised he had to finish the remaining shots as his prize, and so regretted some of the moves he made. In addition, a new element was introduced — three-player chess. This involved black, white and red pieces. The idea was to beat either of your two competitors by ganging up on one, and then fighting it out with the other to win.

Next came the knockout phase. The standard was high, and the final, between Adam Fysh-Foskett and Tony Niccoli, was eagerly anticipated. This was a repeat of last year’s quarter-final match, and Adam was keen to gain his revenge for that defeat. The game went to two sudden-death playoffs, and Tony was declared the winner. Thanks to all the entrants and the spectators for contributing to another enjoyable tournament. As for me, maybe next year!

Alvin Kissoon