Match Report: Banbury 1 v. Cumnor 1

Well another Thursday, another match, but for the first time this season not at the Old School. Yes, Cumnor 1 were on the road, traveling to the northern edge of OCA-land at Banbury. Second verses third we thought this would be a tough one, and so it proved. We were a couple of players short of full strength while Banbury turned out a very strong side with James Jackson IM on board 1. If we were going to get anything out of this we would have to overturn an average rating difference of almost 200 points per board (about 25 in old money).

Also apologies for the briefness of this report, and for being a little late, work and then the 4NCL over the weekend have intruded on the more important business … I’ll just briefly go through the boards in order saying what I remember from last Thursday.

On top board Nigel dropped a pawn fairly early on, but got a bit of compensation in terms of pressure down the open c file. Play was interesting for a while, but it never looked like enough and indeed James pulled through to win.

On board two Gareth dropped a pawn fairly early on (you may notice a theme developing here) but got a bit of compensation with slightly more active pieces, but again it never looked enough and Georgs secured the win.

On board three I dropped a pawn fairly early on .. But at least this time it was deliberate! I played the Smith-Morra Gambit against Gary’s Sicilian defense. Gary played an unusual line, I went slightly on auto-pilot missing the best moves early on with routine play, and as much in frustration with myself then offered a piece to open up the king file before Gary had castled – a form of the Nd5 sac to all Sicilian aficionados out there. As soon as I moved I could see it was utter, utter rubbish, but I kept a poker face and had moved sufficiently quickly to persuade Gary I was still in book … Nett result he declined the knight and I got sufficient compensation for the pawn gambitted. An interesting game followed where I had pressure, especially down the d file against a backward pawn on d7 and chances of a k side attack, but Gary slowly freed his pieces until, when it was still probably more or less equal, I missed a tactic and dropped a piece. Well played Gary!

On board four Liam failed to drop a pawn early on. Against Dan’s 1 d4? a pretty symmetrical game resulted, with pieces fairly quickly swapped off into a king and lots of pawns ending, which was quickly agreed a draw.

On board five I think, but am not totally sure, Tony dropped a pawn fairly early on. Chris with his super-speed play developed some threats, but Tony found a nice bit of tactics to get out of it, simplifying down to an ending which again was quickly agreed to be a draw.

On board six our debutant Andrey, another player on loan from Bicester, showed his naivety at the first team level by failing to drop a pawn early on. Instead he played extremely well and probably had the better of a draw against Mal – certainly whenever I looked I thought he had marginally the better chances. It ended in a tricky knight and pawn ending which I certainly wouldn’t fancy playing from either side, but it was drawn after some inventive attempts from both black and white – Andrey forking Mal’s king and knight with his own knight in an effort to force a pawn through was particularly nice, unfortunately declining the sac defused the threat.

So 4.5-1.5 to the home team, given the strength difference I think a very respectable result for us:

We drop to third

Still doing well – if you had told me after 5 matches that this would be the table I would have been utterly amazed!

Anyway last match of the first half of the season at home to Cowley on Thursday, let’s see if we can end a superb first half of 21-22 with another result!

 

Fixtures are out

Please spread the news far and wide: The fixtures for 2021-22 have been released!

Cumnor 1 will be playing in the first division with 6 other teams: Didcot 1, City 1, Oxford Univ 1, Witney 1, Banbury 1 and Cowley 1. This should provide some tough games but with Covid we will have to wait to see the strength of some of these teams.

Thu 30-Sep-21 Cumnor 1 v Didcot 1
Thu 07-Oct-21 Cumnor 1 v City 1
Thu 21-Oct-21 Cumnor 1 v Oxford Univ 1
Thu 28-Oct-21 Cumnor 1 v Witney 1
Thu 18-Nov-21 Banbury 1 v Cumnor 1
Thu 25-Nov-21 Cumnor 1 v Cowley 1
Mon 24-Jan-22 Didcot 1 v Cumnor 1
Thu 10-Feb-22 Cowley 1 v Cumnor 1
Mon 21-Mar-22 City 1 v Cumnor 1
Thu 31-Mar-22 Cumnor 1 v Banbury 1
Mon 11-Apr-22 Witney 1 v Cumnor 1
Thu 28-Apr-22 Oxford Univ 1 v Cumnor 1

Cumnor 2 will be playing in the third division (so I guess we should celebrate a promotion at some point) with 6 other teams: Abingdon 1, Oxford Univ 3, Cowley 3, Wantage 2, City 3 and Witney 3.

Mon 04-Oct-21 Abingdon 1 v Cumnor 2
Thu 14-Oct-21 University 3 v Cumnor 2
Thu 21-Oct-21 Cowley 3 v Cumnor 2
Thu 04-Nov-21 Cumnor 2 v Wantage 2
Mon 22-Nov-21 City 3 v Cumnor 2
Mon 06-Dec-21 Witney 3 v Cumnor 2
Thu 03-Feb-22 Cumnor 2 v Cowley 3
Thu 17-Feb-22 Cumnor 2 v City 3
Tue 22-Feb-22 Wantage 2 v Cumnor 2
Thu 03-Mar-22 Cumnor 2 v University 3
Thu 17-Mar-22 Cumnor 2 v Abingdon 1
Thu 21-Apr-22 Cumnor 2 v Witney 3

I am looking for our first competitive over the board game in over 18 months! If you would like to get involved in the best Chess Club in the whole wide world check out our New Members page, (the “best Chess Club in the whole wide world” claim was taken by a small sample of Cumnor players who were asked the question).

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

Some Busy Club Nights Ahead

The season is progressing well for both teams. Cumnor 1 are currently 4th out of 8 in Division 1 with 2 wins and a loss in the first 3 matches. While Cumnor 2 are 2nd in division 4 with 2 wins, a draw and a loss.

Both teams have a lot of matches before Christmas, with both teams playing on the same evening two weeks running. This coming Thursday (14th November) Cumnor 1 are playing away to last years double winners Oxford University 1 while Cumnor 2 are playing at home to Cowley 6. The following week (21st November) Cumnor 1 are at home to Banbury 1 and Cumnor 2 are away in the Frank Woods Shield to an Oxford University team.

The club will remain open on these evenings (right up until the 19th December which will be our last Club night before Christmas) but please be aware that 12 players will be playing matches so the opportunity to play friendly and Players Cup and Bill Laar Trophy matches might be a bit thin on the ground.

An updated Players Cup and Bill Laar Trophy can be found here.

Please see which players you have left to play before the end of the year especially if you are in the running for a prize and good luck to the players who are playing for each team.

RIP – Chris Fox (Banbury Chess Club)

Here at Cumnor Chess Club we are very sad to hear about the death of the Banbury player, Chris Fox.

Stephen Rumsby:
It is with great sadness that I have to report that Chris Fox of Banbury Chess Club died on the 1st June. Chris had been ill for some time but his health deteriorated rapidly in the last two weeks. Chris played for Banbury Chess Club for almost 15 years. He joined after we had a stall at the Canal Day and he won a bottle of wine by solving a chess problem. Thereafter he became a regular at the club and it was not long before he became a team captain which he did for many years.

He was always ready to step in and help out if a higher level team were short of a player. Chris was modest about his chess playing ability but in 2015 won the Leamington League Under 90 Individual Cup, he twice played in cup winning teams and in 2017 scored a high percentage to help us gain promotion from the Oxford 4th Division.

He also was a regular for the Warwickshire U100 until illness prevented him from playing.

He will be missed by all who knew him.

Cumnor 1 win the League

Last night saw Banbury 2 travel down to Oxford University for a match which would have an affect over here in Cumnor.

Cumnor 1 have been sat on the summit of the Oxford and District Chess League 2 for most of the season gaining a healthy lead at the top. Big wins home and away to Banbury 2, our closest rivals, and a win against Bicester 1 last week put us 6 points clear with a better head to head record against Banbury.

The Frank Wood Shield, Players Cup and the Bill Laar Trophy
A single win in any of our remaining three matches would see us clinch the title and promotion to the first division while Banbury would need to win their four remaining matches to keep the pressure on. But Oxford University handed us the silverware be beating Banbury 4-2 yesterday. The result means we have a unassailable lead so Cumnor 1 will be promoted to division one of the Oxford and District Chess League for the 2019-20 season.

This tops off a very successful time for the club after winning the Frank Wood Shield last year and now this promotion. The membership continues to increase and we must congratulate all the players who have helped the club achieve this triumph.

As noted we still have three league matches left, all at home, to Wantage 1 and Cowley 3 and 4. At the same time as the Oxford University 2 v Banbury 2 the club had a Frank Wood Shield match against the Cowley Chessnuts which we won and now we have a semifinal tie against either the Wantage Alfredians or the Cowley Countergambits.

Lets get organising that open top bus tour.

Silverware on the cards, in the League, Frank Wood Shield or Kidlington?

During the snow storms of last night Cumnor 1 took a big step to achieving promotion to division 1 by beating Banbury 2, 4-2.

The result moves Cumnor 1, 6 points clear (with a better head-to-head) of Banbury 2 with 4 matches left.

The updated table can be found here.

The first round of the Frank Wood Shield has been confirmed away to The Didcot Dynamos on Wednesday 20th February, as defending Champions we are looking forward to the match and won’t be taking it lightly.

The Cumnor players who won the 2018 Frank Wood Shield.
This weekend is the Kidlington Chess Congress, as long it isn’t cancelled due to the weather. The entries are now closed and 6 Cumnor players are taking part.

Eldar, Nick, Nigel are playing in the Open, Ian in the U180’s, Gareth in the U145’s and Robin in the U120’s.

Good luck to all those taking part.

Club is closed for one evening

On Thursday 24th January both teams are playing away, Cumnor 1 are playing Oxford University 2 and Cumnor 2 are playing Magdalen College School, this will mean the club will be closed for the evening.

We will open again on Thursday 31st January, when Cumnor 1 take on second place Banbury 2. We are currently 2 points clear of Banbury 2 and have a better head-to-head, so the coming week will define the season.

Check out where we are in the table here.

ECF President’s Award for Steve Rumsby,

Cumnor Chess Club would like to offer our congratulations to Steve Rumsby.

The following was taken from the ECF Newsletter that has just been published and the Oxfordshire Chess Association website:

ECF President’s Award for Steve Rumsby, Banbury

Congratulations to Steve Rumsby from Banbury Chess Club, who was presented with his ECF President’s Award for Services to Chess.

The Award recognises that for over 30 years Steve has been the Chairman of Banbury Chess Club. Steve has overseen the growth of the club from initially fielding two teams in one league to the latest season where the club fielded four teams in the Leamington League, three teams in the Oxford League and entered all the available league cup competitions. In recent years, Banbury entered a team in the 4NCL. Virtually every year, Steve has captained one of the club teams.

Steve’s wider contribution to chess is seen in his work for the Leamington and District Chess League. He is, and has been for a number of years, both the league’s webmaster and fixtures secretary. At the start of the 2016-2017 season Oxfordshire County were unable to find a volunteer to captain the Under 150 county Team. Steve at short notice volunteered and led the county team to 5 wins from 6 matches. They ended that season as Chiltern League Champions. Steve has continued in this county captaincy role. Steve is highly regarded by chess players in an area stretching from Birmingham down to Didcot.

Steve (right) receives the President’s Award from Leamington League chairman Ben Graff