So a couple of months ago my good friend Gavin Wall said to me, "So why haven't you run a Mijnlieff tournament at the Wellington?", "Why?", "WHY?". I couldn't think of a good reason so agreed that he was right, do hear that Gavin? You were right, very right. So we had a tournament and people came and it was good, here's what happened.
Mijnlieff Tournament 4th May 2014 - The Wellington Pub
At times you could hear a pin drop as the tension mounted. People laughed, people thought and people swore - on one occasion the whole room stopped in their tracks. I couldn't have asked for any more from the first Mijnlieff Tournament at the Wellington.
At 5.30pm on 4th May 2014 silence descended on the room as fourteen players began their first game. Some had played since the game was launched in 2010, some had only played the free app and some were playing having learnt just hours before.
Andy sneaks in a quick game against his son in the midst of the focused contestants
The first round consisted of everyone playing 4 games against 2 different opponents and being scored for their results. Once we had this ranking the top eight players went into the second round knockout tournament. (2 games in each set)
JP Treen V Anton Ivanov – This was a twisty turny game, Anton had agreed to play at the last minute and had only played about 4 games before this. He beat JP 3-1 in the first game then slipped up in the second game allowing JP to steal a 4 -1 win to put him through.
Adam Roebuck V Ralph Notman – Adam and Ralph were both new players to the game and had both performed well in the first round so it was going to be hard to guess who would win this. Eventually Adam came through the victor.
Simon Milburn V Laidi Kirsta – Simon had consistently posted high scores in the first round and Laidi was new to Mijnlieff. Simon had entered the tournament, having only played the app, so he could play against people. Simon won this set but hat's off to Laidi for reaching this stage after only learning the game an hour before.
James Mijnlieff V Pookie – James Mijnlieff is a member of the family who inspired the name for this game and I was really happy to see him at the tournament. Pookie is an experienced gamer and I didn't expect to see James win this one, but he did.
JP Treen V James Mijnlieff – JP had posted the highest first round scores despite making one or two mistakes but James seemed to be quietly despatching opponents so this was looking like a close match. I was on the far side of the room when JP's frustrated shout made everyone's head turn. That was the point when he had made a fatal mistake that would cost him the semi-final.
Simon Milburn V Adam Roebuck – Simon and Adam had already met in the first round and Simon had won both of those games. Adam posted good scores in this round but was still unable to stop Simon winning both of the semi-final games. Simon was fast becoming a firm favourite.
A Semi final mistake leaves JP Treen with his head in his hands.
James Mijnlieff V Simon Milburn - We moved the final game to the centre of the room and there were 11 people watching as these two began the final two games. Again the room fell quiet and again the atmosphere grew tense. Simon's consistency suggested he had the edge but James kept on beating players higher in the rankings.
The first game ended 4 – 1 in Simon's favour and James had been left with a piece over. The audience seemed resigned to the fact that it was all over, Simon hadn't been beaten all afternoon and now James would have to win by 3 points to stand a chance.
In the second game James grabbed an early point and then a second. Suddenly the audience were willing James to make a comeback. It came down to the last 3 pieces as James had already got the 4 he needed. Simon's last play earned him a second point. He had lost this game (his first of the day) but he had won the tournament by 1 point. Spontaneous applause and honour served all round as James had so very nearly sneaked a remarkable victory. All that remained was for James to award the trophy to Simon and for many congratulations all round.
Simon Milburn (left) emerges victorious from a tense final.
As I write this I find myself re-living the excitement and tension all over again. I am indebted to all the players and audience members who took part for making this a really exciting occasion. Thanks go to the first round players who didn't make it to the final (in alphabetical order) Jenny Calvert, Gordon Clarke, Rich Spencer, Martin Spruce, Neil Tuckett and Gavin White. A big thank you also goes to the Wellington Pub who provided the perfect venue and to the UK Games Expo for providing a prize ticket.
It went so well I am encouraged to run another similar event and would be happy to hear from anyone who would be interested in taking part.