OCA Blitz @ Cowley – Thursday 8th April

Following what seemed to be an enjoyable night of Chess in Feb we shall be rerunning the OCA Blitz @ Cowley event, this time on Thursday 8th April. Again Dave Robson of the Cowley club has very kindly allowed us to reuse what he set up. As for the Cowley Blitz there will be no admission fee, and there will be no prizes. However, we will recognize, and announce the names of those players who in different circumstances would have won the usual prizes for finishing first, second, third, or as best female player, best slow starter, etc., etc.

The blitz will start at 7:30 p.m. and finish at 9:30 p.m. Any games running after that time can be completed, but they will not contribute towards the final standings. To provide a bit of variety, this time we shall be using the slightly longer time control of 5 minutes for the game, plus an extra three seconds for every move you take.

If you didn’t play in the earlier events, you will need to join the Cowley Blitz Team on Lichess (note if you did play this step is unnecessary). To do this:
First get a Lichess account from Lichess. They’re free
Then Send an email to CowleyBlitz@gmail.com stating:
a) Your real name
b) Your Lichess username
c) Your age (if you want to be in contention for recognition as a best junior player)
d) If you are female (if you want to be in contention for recognition as a best female player)
Finally visit the Cowley Blitz Page and click on the “Join Team” button, There will be a delay until the administrators approve your request.

Once you are a member of the Cowley Blitz team you enter as as follows: On the night of the tournament five or ten minutes before the tournament starts, click on the tournament link and then click on the green “Join” button which you can find just above the list of players who have already entered. At 7:30, the Lichess site will then pair you with your opponent, and the game will begin.

A few gotchas …

If you need to resign or to offer a draw, you must hit the relevant button twice. You can disable this behaviour in your Lichess profile.

At the end of your game, you will need to hit the labelled button to return to the tournament. Lichess will then pair you up with your next opponent.

The tournament is of an “arena” format, so there isn’t a fixed number of rounds. You can get more information at Arena Help. You can start the tournament late, or leave early, but the more games you play, the better the odds of you winning! Note that we have disabled “beserking” and extra points for winning streaks.

Have fun! For any questions, please email CowleyBlitz@gmail.com

As lockdown eases, what’s happening with chess?

Ian Bush writes:

In response to the Government’s roadmap for moving out of the lockdown, the English Chess Federation (ECF) has recently published a document that details how the changes will affect how we can play chess over the next few months.

Here are some of the key dates:

  • No earlier than 12th April – play chess at home, plus limited junior chess indoors.
  • No earlier than 17th May – limited club / local activity resumes
  • No earlier than 21st June – start of more general opening-up

Read more here.

Of course, each club’s situation will vary as to how and when they can meet the requirements, but at least after a long wait there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel!

Mike Duck Online Tournament: The Final Rounds

Sorry this is a bit delayed I have been pretty busy over the last few weeks.

Cumnor 2 definitely blew hot and cold this tournament, with a bye in the first round they had the unfortunate task of playing Oxford 1 and Oxford University 2 in second and third rounds, both of these matches ended 6-0. In the forth round the result was another 6-0 but this time to Cumnor 2, beating Cowley 2. The fifth round saw the closest match against Cowley 1, with Cowley defaulting one game Cumnor ran into a 2- (negative) 1 lead. However, Cowley 1 had to fight for the remaining games and maybe on a different day Cumnor 2 might held out but it wasn’t meant to be. This would have been the shock of the tournament if it had happened.

The final round had Cumnor 2 pitted against Oxford City 2 and this time the result was back in our favour with a 4.5-1.5 win. Overall Cumnor 2 did very well, beating the other “2” teams they played against and finished respectably in mid-table above such powerhouses as Witney 1 and Banbury 1!

After the first three rounds of the Mike Duck Online Tournament Cumnor 1 was sat in a healthy position near the top of the table with 2 wins and a loss. The problem with this is that you end up playing some tough teams! Our forth round match was against Witney 1, in the furloughed 2019-20 season Witney 1 was one of only 3 teams who finished above Cumnor 1, so was this the chance we needed to show what we could have done if we had played the final few matches? The answer is yes, a good 4.5-1.5 win.

However, in our fifth round match we were up against the second strongest team in the tournament, a match against Oxford City 1 (this means we have played all the teams who finished above us in the league). In what was probably the best match of the competition Cumnor 1 pulled the rabbit out of the hat and got the win. Nick agreed a draw with 4 games still to go after looking at the remaining matches and prophesying that we would eventually win, Nick got any numbers for the lottery this weekend?

Mark’s match is a particularly nice win with a galavanting King and a couple of pawns which the whole game revolved around, Ian has put together all the games and they can be found here if you chance a watch.

Going into the final round first place was still within our grasp, well it would take an amazing set of results but we still had a chance. A Cumnor win and an Oxford Uni loss of 5-1 or more would mean we would win the tournament, a win would guaranty second place while a lost or draw would drop us down the table. Cowley 1 had all the big guns out and sadly we fell at the final hurdle losing 3.5-2.5. Oxford Uni won against Banbury so they won the First Mike Duck Tournament and deservedly so. Cumnor 1’s final position was third a very good achievement. The final table can be found here.

The Second Mike Duck Tournament starts on the 18th January 2021 with 4 player a teams so there might be (for the first time ever) a Cumnor 3! We are still planning to have online chess on a Thursday night over Christmas (again for the first time), if you aren’t up to much on Christmas eve or New Years eve… and lets be honest their isn’t much going on so you might as well.

So please have a Merry and Safe Christmas and New Year and hopefully next year we will get back to playing over the board chess. We will have a mighty celebration once we do!

2020-21 Season

We need to come together to put in place how the League will work this coming season.

The season traditionally starts in October so if you have ideas, queries or concerns please let Ian or Roger know.

“The 20-21 season is rapidly approaching. Due to the current pandemic it will be very different from any in recent history. Concrete proposals to address this will be made at the AGM in September, and will be available in full later this month. However we thought it best to provide as early as possible an outline of the ways that we might play chess next season in order to obtain feedback, and to this end the document linked to below discusses how the league might be run next season. Comments on the proposals contained therein would be much appreciated. If you have any please either contact your club representative, or send an email to the League Secretary, Roger Thetford”

Ian Bush OCA Chairman

ECF National Online Clubs Championships

We are happy to announce that Cumnor Chess Club will be entering the ECF National Online Clubs Championships which are being held online over the coming weekend (26th-28th June).

The Championships are being held as a five round Swiss tournament, for teams of six players. The event is taking place on the lichess platform and managed through LMS. We will be in the Intermediate section with 11 other teams and use the traditional Cumnor team name “The Six Horses of the Apocalypse”.

Our team (of 6) will be drawn from 12 players:
Eldar Alizada
Steven Bennett
Nick Burrows
Ian Bush
Matt Christensen
Graham Cluley
Graham Cole
Liam Glenn
Nigel Moyse
John Place
Mark Sayers
Gareth Stevens

The times of each rounds are as follows:
• Round One: Friday 26th June 19.30 – finish
• Round Two: Saturday 27th June 10.00 – finish
• Round Three: Saturday 27th June 14.30 -finish
• Round Four: Sunday 28th June 10.00 – finish
• Round Five: Sunday 28th June 14.30 -finish.

The results and table will be published on here.

More information can be found here.

As always The Cumnor Clash Arena will be on Lichess from 7pm on Thursday, see you there.

Cumnor v Cowley match this Sunday!

With the way the world is at the moment we will have to get used to finding a new “normal”. We have been in contact with our friends over in Cowley and we are very happy to announce that we are going to play at 3.30 pm on THIS Sunday, (SUNDAY 19th APRIL) a friendly match between the two clubs.

We have 8 players and the time limit will be 45 minutes + 15 second increment, and it will take place on www.lichess.org. This is exactly the same as the 4NCL have been doing so we’ll follow their instructions – see http://www.4ncl.co.uk/data/Guide_to_Playing_Games_on_Lichess.pdf.

The pairings will be released sometime tomorrow. Cowley did win the toss and will be White on odd numbered boards.

If this works we will see if they are up for a rematch, or see if somebody else fancies taking on the might of Cumnor!

In other news club nights are still being run online at Lichess every Thursday going forward, we are running a little tournament to see who finishes top of the leader board every week. The current scores on the doors are:

Stuart 7
Simon 5
Eldar 4
Gareth and Jon D’Souza-Eva 3
Ian, Robin and Nigel 2
Liam and Mark Sayers 1

Stay safe everyone!

Cumnor Chess Club and Coronavirus

I’m sure this won’t be a massive surprise to any of you, but the decision has been made to close the club with immediate effect, until things start to improve on the Coronavirus front.

So, no more physical meetings until further notice.

However! You can still play online – as Cumnor Chess Club exists a virtual chess team on Lichess.

The club will re-open as soon as possible.

Stay safe everyone – and wash your hands ya filthy animals!

Kidlington Chess Tournament 2020

It was a successful weekend for the Cumnor players at Kidlington. Gareth won the U145 with 4.5 (out of 5)! While in the Open, Eldar ended with 2.5 (all out of 5) and Nick and Nigel both finished with 2 points. Both Nick and Nigel were in the running for the Oxfordshire Individual Chess Champion for 2020 going into the final round but it was eventually won by Dimitrios Zakarian. Ian played in the U180’s and finished with 2.5 and Robin ended with 2.5 in the U120’s.

Congratulations to Gareth on his well deserved victory!

Check out Gerard O’Reilly’s Tournament report below and more information such as the cross tables can be found here.

“Tournament Report, 2020
The 43rd annual Kidlington Tournament was held on the weekend of 1 & 2 February at our regular venue, Exeter Hall. Despite a somewhat lower number of entries (182 at the time entries closed) than last year, we were unaffected by bad weather and therefore started with a very healthy total of 180 players in the draw for the first round: 20 in the Open section, 46 in the U180, 59 in the U145, and 55 in the U120 section.

We were back with our regular team of controllers throughout the weekend this year, Tim Dickinson (Open & U180), Priscilla Morris (U145), and Lucy Smith (U120). After the software problems of last year, we switched this year to Swiss-Manager as our tournament software, and that all went very smoothly, with the rest of the team benefiting from Tim’s expertise with the program. I am, as always, most grateful to all three of them for their hard work, calmness, and efficiency.

In the Open section, FM Marcus Harvey of Witney Chess Club was a point clear on 100% after four rounds, and therefore repeated his outright victory of last year despite being held to a draw in the final round by Oxford University’s Yuting Fu. FM Daniel Abbas (Oxford University) finished clear second on 4 points, followed by IM Andrew Greet (Bearsden) and Yuting Fu (Oxford University) on 3.5 points.

The Open section also incorporated the second leg of the 2019-20 Oxfordshire Individual Championship, the first leg being the Open section at last November’s Witney Congress. The winner would be the player with the highest score from the two legs taken together. It turned out to be a very close finale, though admittedly this was largely because Filip Mihov (Oxford University), the winner at Witney with 4.5/5, was not at Kidlington and Marcus Harvey had not played at Witney.

By the start of Round 5, three players (Nick Burrows and Nigel Moyse of Cumnor Chess Club, plus young Dimitrios Zakarian) had all caught up with the absent Filip Mihov’s Witney total of 4.5 points, with Marcus breathing down their necks on 4. But as things turned out in the final round, Nick and Nigel both lost and, with Marcus being held to a draw, Dimitrios’s draw was good enough for him to take the title of Oxfordsire Individual Chess Champion for 2020. I don’t know for sure (and will welcome correction if I’m mistaken), but I suspect he may well be the youngest ever winner of the title. He also follows in the footsteps of his father, FM David Zakarian, who won the title in 2017.

Garth picking up his cheque for coming joint first in the U145’s.

The U180 section produced a clear winner in David Ireland of Coventry, who scored 4.5 points. Roger de Coverley (Bourne End) fell just short of sharing first place for the third year running, despite again scoring 4 points, but he still shared second place with Anita Somton (West Nottingham) and Witney junior Adam Sieczkowski.

A notable feature of the event was the return to Kidlington of Nick Jones (formerly of Witney Chess Club, and my predecessor as Kidlington organizer), who shared the Veteran Prize with Reading’s Michael Redmond.

The U145 section was won by another Oxfordshire player, with Gareth Stevens (Cumnor) finishing first equal on 4.5 points with Peter Dove from Newbury. Other local players in the prizes were Rod Langham (Oxford City), winner of the Round 1 Loser Prize, and Joshua Soanes of Witney, who took the junior prize.

Only the U120 section winner saw a winner with a 100% score, Oxford resident Zulfi Heydon. Other local players in the prizes were Cowley’s Advaith Panicker, taking the Junior Prize, and Ian Brooke (Oxford City) and Kelly Riley (Cowley), who shared the Veteran Prize.
In the U120 section, remarkable pairings have in the past usually involved a great age disparity between a very young junior and a veteran of many years standing. This year, in Round 1, the pairing of veterans Ian Brooke and Banbury’s Michael Campling produced a game in which the combined age of the players was 183 years!

In the team competition, the winners were Bourne End (Roger de Coverley, David Turner, Darrell Watson, & Juan Perez) with 13 points out of 20.

Andrew Butterworth of Chess Direct again provided the excellent bookstall as well as the boards and sets for the tournament and the clocks we used in the U120 section. And Helen Hackett (Hackett’s Food & Drink of Witney) sustained us through the weekend yet again with the fine selection of refreshments. I thank them both warmly for their important role in making the tournament a success.

After thanking the controlling team of Tim, Priscilla, and Lucy, as well as Andrew and Helen, I want to record my gratitude to Raj Panicker (now my Co-organizer) for all his help with the organization of the event, in particular with the online entries and the tournament website, and for entering the games from the Open section to put on the website, in addition to his taking photos at the Prizegiving.
I also want to thank the staff at Exeter Hall for all their help and courtesy. (Many of you who have been coming for years will will have missed Bert, the caretaker, this time. He has retired since last year’s event, after 27 or 28 Kidlington tournaments, I’m told. But the caretakers who set things up and were on duty at the weekend, mainly Mark and Gerry, were very helpful.)

Last but not least, my thanks to all who came to play at this year’s Kidlington tournament, and particularly those who made donations to our tournament funds—vital to our long-term survival and to our continued ability to provide support for other local chess events during the year.

We shall return to Exeter Hall for our 44th annual Kidlington Chess Tournament on Saturday and Sunday 6 & 7 February 2021. As every year, we look forward not only to welcoming very many returning entrants from this year and previous years but also to welcoming a good number of players coming to Kidlington for the first time. We hope to see you there!

Gerard O’Reilly
(10 February 2020)”

Merry Christmas!

As normal we will be taking our two week Christmas break.

The club will be open on the 19th December before being closed on Boxing Day (26th December) and the 2nd January.

We will reopen on the 9th January 2020 and the 2019 Trophy Night will be on the 16th January 2020.

The winners of the Players cup are as followed
1, Eldar
2, Nigel
3, Simon

and the winners of the Bill Laar Trophy are
1, Robin
2, Steve
3, Graham

Congratulations to the winners who will be presented their trophies on the 16th.

Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring you many exciting checkmates!