Well it’s the start of a new season, the (almost) final fixture list is out, and at least two of us (Gareth and I) have already played our first competitive game, for the county away at Buckinghamshire last weekend. And it’s reflected at the club which has been very busy since the return from the summer break; yesterday evening saw almost 20 people playing. In fact we were so busy Steve was pondering which second room we should commandeer, our usual venue being so packed.
It was a mixture of club tournament games and more casual ones. In the Player’s Cup, for members of the first team squad, Nigel played Liam and I (Ian) played Gareth. In both white won, though in both games it wasn’t easy. Against Nigel Liam established early on a queen side majority with pawns on a6, b5 and c4 against a2 and b2, but could never quite get them rolling and eventually succumbed to Nigel’s king side attack. My win was a much longer grind, I won a pawn in the middle game and simplified to an ending where we both had a rook and bishop, and I thought I had good winning chances, but had underestimated Gareth’s idea of swapping off rooks to leave a drawn opposite coloured bishop position. Anyway Nigel’s win all but guarantees him the Player’s Cup this year, he is mathematically catchable but even if one of us does on any sensible tiebreak he will win. Here is the top of the table which you can find on the ECF LMS web site:
The Bill Laar Trophy, locally known as the BLT, is for all other members of the club. Unlike the Player’s cup this year it is incredibly tight with maybe half a dozen players in with a chance of winning it, and Jeff beating Andrey, one of the 4 matches last night, has made it even closer. In fact it was a good night for the Bryant family with Otto getting his first win in the competition against Allan, a great result. In the other games Steven beat Pedro to go top, and the defending holder Robin beat Richard to go into a tie for second. Anyway the top of the table, again from the ECF LMS, now looks like
All incredibly close, I can’t call it!
But it wasn’t just cup matches, casual games were going on – and the game of the evening was between two promising new comers, Alex and Rio. Unfortunately I don’t have the score, but whenever I went over to have a look Alex was throwing the kitchen sink at Rio, who was calmly holding on and just grabbing the material Alex offered despite the attack looking very dangerous. I don’t even know the final result! I was tied down in time pressure in my game against Gareth. Anybody? In the comments maybe?
So busy and interesting times at the club with a lot of fun chess being played. All welcome!