Daniel Garrett Wins 2017 Peoria City Championship


Drama was the name of the game in the 2017 version of the Peoria City Championship. 

Twelve players qualify for the invitational by various means and are split into two evenly-divided groups divided by rating. The winner of each group then meet for a short match to determine the champion.

Although Daniel Garrett won all his games in Group A, it was not as easy as it might seem. Daniel met the ratings favorite, Mike Leali, in the last round.

Although Mike Leali was the ratings leader in the Group, he had made an unforced error in an earlier game and so he needed a win against Daniel to force a playoff match.

Mike held a slight advantage through most of the game, but it never seemed enough to win. Finally, in the ending, Mike had to strike out with his king to try and queen a pawn -- but that left his own position weak and Daniel advanced to the finals.

Pete McConaghie cruised through his section giving up only a draw to young David Sye, a fast learner who is now approaching Class A. A mere two years ago, David hadn't yet hit Class C. 

The finals match is won by whoever scores at least two points with a lead.

The first game was won by Daniel with Black in a close contest. All Daniel had to do was draw with White. Daniel seemed to be in control into the ending when a slight error activated Pete's rook, Pete won a pawn, and then the game.

All tied up!

The last game was nip and tuck for a while but Pete (as white) achieved the upper hand -- according to the computer by more than 8.0 points.

Alas, one move can make all the difference: Pete blundered with Rc7 allowing Daniel to win the game -- AND the match -- AND the title. 

This was Daniel's first Peoria title; Pete had won three times previously.

Can you find the winning move here for white? (Remember Rc7 was the unfortunate blunder, despite following the principle of getting rooks to the 7th rank).