IM John Bartholomew wins Battersea Blitz after thrilling play-off with Ginger GM Simon Williams

John Bartholomew Vs Simon Williams
Battersea Chess Club sponsored by Bishop's Move

American IM John Bartholomew reigned supreme in the first Battersea Blitz competition after edging a tense tiebreaker against YouTube rival Simon Williams.

Having finished level on 12/13 in Tuesday’s Swiss tournament, the pair went head-to-head for the trophy in a three match play-off at the end of the night.

John, in front of a gripped audience, won the first 3/2 game before the Ginger GM pulled it back with some rook power-play with the black pieces in the second encounter.

John and Simon before the tourny
John and Simon before the tourny

In characteristically cavalier fashion, Simon then opened with 1.f4 in the decider.

But the Surrey star, a friend of Battersea who held a simul at the club in September, couldn’t stop an attack from John in the middle game and was forced to resign.

Shaking his opponent’s hand, Simon was gutted but gracious in defeat.

“Congratulations John. Now go get your GM norm, you deserve it,” Simon said.

During the tournament proper Simon actually prevailed – winning the pair’s match in round 6.

But having already lost to CM James Coleman in round 4 he was only getting back on level terms.

Despite a strong field, both players went to win all their games until the play-off.

Among others John (2448) and Simon (2485) had to face CM Coleman rated 2313 FIDE, Battersea’s top player Ali Hill (2230) and Blair Connell (2193).

A full breakdown of the results will follow.

John’s simul

John’s achievement was all the more impressive considering that he had jetted into the UK just hours earlier, checked into his hotel in Hammersmith and got down to Battersea to play a simul immediately before the blitz.

In that simul John, from Minnesota, took on 24 players as part of his crowdfunding appeal for the chess training site Chessable run in partnership with David Kramaley.

With tight time controls John lost 4, and 5 were drawn leaving him with a score of 17.5/24.

The winners were all, perhaps surprisingly, on the lower boards with Theo Wait, new Battersea member Rayan Balluz, Tomas Garau and Grant Gericke overcoming the IM.

It was the first time John, who is in London to play the London Chess Classic, had been to Battersea Chess Club and he was given warm welcome.

Needless to say, enormous thanks must go out to John for making the trip and he is welcome back any time. Drinks are on us.

Also, we want to add that anyone who wants to invest in his Chessable crowdfunding appeal should click here.

Social reaction:

The simul and blitz match provoked quite a reaction on Twitter with the club’s tweets getting around 200 likes and retweets.

Among those who got involved were well-known names like Daniel Rensch, Tony (Ro) Rotella, Greg Shahade, Fiona Steil-Antoli, and GM David Howell.

Even the US Chess Federation retweeted us.

Here are some of the tweets posted:

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