It's bumper club news today on the blog - featuring Angus's summary of our season so far in the Surrey competitions, a quick look at how we're doing in the Croydon Leagues & Eastman Competitions - plus, two particularly entertaining games sent in to play through. Firstly...
Surrey League News
Our season kicked off in September with the visit of last year’s champions, Wimbledon. Our opponents had a useful team, with two IM’s and Steven Berry, who must be near-IM strength… But, helped in part by the no-show of Wimbledon’s top board, we ended up running out as convincing 6 – 2 winners. Worthy of mention was Philip Gregory’s solid win against Russell Granat, his rating senior by 20 points.
We followed this with another 6 – 2 victory, this time against CCF 2. Alexey Shumay won his game when his opponent’s mobile phone rang and the game was claimed by the Streatham captain – an action which displeased the offending player. Might the rules on mobile phone forfeits be too harsh?
Our next match was home to Ashtead. In previous seasons they hadn’t travelled well but this time they came well armed and brought our run of three wins - two in the league and one in the cup (please see below) - to an end. Result: 3 – 5. This was followed by a second loss: by the narrow margin of 3.5 – 4.5, against Guildford. We had our chances but didn’t take them.
When we played them in December, CCF were stronger than us on paper and had title-winning ambitions. But here our fortunes turned. Alan Haywood had a great game against Marcus Osborne. Result: 5 – 3.
Our January match against Crystal Palace has yet to finish but we’re assured of at least a draw. Tom’s game, where he looks a little better, is to be resumed… Watch this space.
Two weeks ago we travelled to Guildford to play their second team who - no pushovers with a 158 ECF-rated bottom board. Somehow we steamed through and are 5.5 – 1.5 up with Martin having good chances in his adjourned game [which he recently won -TC]. Adam had a particularly blood-thirsty game in the Kings Gambit which I hope will be annotated for this blog at some point:
We’ve had a tight squad so far this year and all the regular players have scored at least 50%. Dare I mention that our star player has been webmaster Tom, with 6/7 game points. He seems to have upped his game since deciding to wear ear plugs during play!?
Our remaining matches are at home on Tuesday week to Ashtead 2 and then away to league leaders, Redhill, a few weeks after that.
So, currently we have 4.5 points from 7 matches. This may rise to 5 points when an unfinished game is concluded. CCF provide a results service including league tables here.
Surrey Cup News
We scored a first round victory against Surbiton but then, in the next round, Wimbledon avenged their earlier league loss to us. Fixture congestion resulted in the Wimbledon match being played on the first Friday after New Year and when one of our team fell ill the captain, who had struggled to make up the ten boards, was unable to find a replacement. We lost the match 4.5 – 5.5.
Eastman Cup & Plate...
Knocked out of the Eastman Cup by a strong team from Mushrooms Chess Club, our team were automatically entered into the Eastman Plate semi-final, the knockout competition for first-round losers - which our would-be opponents Athenaeum promptly withdrew from. Thus, we find ourselves entirely deservedly in the final of the Eastman Plate, without having even won a match. Good luck, team!
Croydon & District Chess Leagues
Mixed fortunes so far in the Croydon Leagues. Our first team has scored 50%, with 1½/3, and sits mid-table, whilst our second team has scored 3/5 to sit second in the second division. Our third team in division 3 mostly composed of players from Streatham Library Chess Club meanwhile sit far away from the top-spot with only one point so far... But, they have only played one game! Last season they came close to winning this division - missing out by half a point - so let's hope they go one further this year, in a competition only just about to get started for them.
Finally, here's a game full of fireworks from the First Division, generously sent in to the blog by the loser:
Thanks to Angus for his report on the Surrey competitions, and to Adam and Robin for sending in their entertaining games. The next club news update is scheduled for two weeks today, and it will also include news from the London League.