As reported last week, three local players are in the Masters section of the Isle of Man International, which began today. Alan Merry, needing just 12 rating points for his long-awaited IM title, had hoped to face top seed Fabiano Caruana (2813) in the first round. Seeded in the middle of the draw, Alan missed out by just one place. Instead of playing Caruana, he was paired against the lowest-rated player! At least he plays a GM in Round 2 tomorrow, Indian GM Avarindh (2564). If he could win this game (a big ask) Alan will instantly achieve his title.
Manningtree’s Adam Taylor enjoyed a splendid win. He was re-paired against floater IM Jack Rudd, whose erratic play has caused his rating to plummet in recent years. Adam plays Roumanian GM and chess author Marin (2569) tomorrow.
Ed Player had a tough match, losing to GM Brunello. Tomorrow he faces the second-lowest player in the draw.