Last year’s MISO saw Stefan Rau emerge victorious in the Late Bird whilst topping the high game scores in the Main Event; this year he was one of the many players who would return, this time to take part in all three events.
A last round loss in Round 9 saw him finish a creditable 6th in the Early Bird (going 7-2, averaging 437 for and 391 against) and a shaky start in the Main Event left him 28th after Game 6.
From there, he won 11 of his next 13 games, including wins against eventual runner up Goutham Jayaraman, 3rd place David Webb and 5th place Elie Dangoor before coming up against eventual winner Alastair Richards in Round 20.
An unfortunate run toward the end saw him finish 10th - but the chance to defend his title in the final event remained.
In the Late Bird, an early lead (after Round 3) was surrendered in Round 4 and from Rounds 6-13, he sat in second place behind Goutham Jayaraman. Round 14 was pivotal with a win over Marlon Prudencio whilst Goutham lost to Japan’s Keiichiro Hirai on the live stream.
A close victory over Keiichiro Hirai in Round 15 (440-424) and Goutham slipping up to Bob Violett meant that Stefan Rau could not lose the tournament and so would succeed in going back to back! A last round loss to local Charles Micallef could not change the result.