intage Vincent storms to victory
In ten MISO attempts, he had never placed in a prize-winning position in the Main Event, falling painfully short, in fourth, in 2014. Success, though, had not eluded him in the side events, of which he won the Early Bird in 2017.
But in retrospect this long string of misses by Vincent Boyle (left in photo) in the centrepiece of the Malta International Scrabble Open was but a buildup to the phenomenal achievement the tall Scotsman managed to pull off but recently. Playing in the Open Division of the MISO12 Main Event, comprised among others of former MISO champions David Webb and Helen Gipson and local favourite Theresa Brousson, all rated higher than he, Vincent led the pack right from the first of three days and the ninth of twenty-five rounds through to the end, crossing the finish line with three rounds to spare.
Such disarming dominance as shown by Boyle was rightly rewarded with a big fat cheque of €1000, a hefty +129 rating points gain that puts him on the cusp of a +1800 international rating, and a raucous round of applause for a player admired for his skill and loved for his humour and nonchalance.
With Boyle playing in a class of his own, the newly crowned Malta National Champion Theresa Brousson was the best among the mortals, finishing two wins ahead of Early Bird runner-up Tony Sim of Singapore in third and Jack Mpakaboari of Nigeria in fourth.
Another Maltese lady, Moira Fenech, placed a remarkable eighth overall to take home the 1st Ratings Prize in the Open Division and leapfrog to fifth on the National Player Ratings List. Mohamed Kamara of Sierra Leone followed closely behind in second while Nuala O'Rourke of Northern Ireland added to her winnings from the Early Bird by grabbing the 3rd Ratings Prize.
The story of the B Division presented more than one parallel to the upper league. Another stalwart but winless MISO participant, John Barker of Australia ended his long barren spell by claiming the title in the B Division. Like Boyle, he was trailed by a lady from Malta, Josephine Mayo. Paul Mifsud kept up the fine form shown in the Malta Nationals to place third. Phyllis De Castro of Israel and Dominic Borg of Malta took the 1st and 2nd Ratings Prizes respectively.
Though finishing outside the top four, David Webb and Bob Violett managed an amazing eclat between them, amassing the highest combined score ever registered in competitive play.
MISO12 was sponsored by SportMalta. Click here to view the complete results.
(penned & published by Nicky Vella Laurenti (Promotions), photo credit: John Chew)