Three Month Membership to the Club for Free!

“Cruel as it may sound’ but the COVID-19 lockdown was a boom for chess”

said five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand at the end of last year. We at Cumnor Chess Club would have to agree with him.

Its been a funny old 18 months or so but Chess has handled it pretty well.

Not just the lockdown, Netflix’s hit The Queen’s Gambit, has been a driving force behind at least some of it.

With an audience of 62 million in its first 28 days it did reawaken many peoples love of the game along with bringing new people to the game.

Chess has never been more popular.

Chessboard sales jumped 87% in the US after the show’s release. Lichess announced this week that 4 billion games have been played on the platform and Chess.com had 2.7 million new accounts setup last November, the month of the Queens Gambit release.

The club opened it’s doors at the beginning of September and it has been great meeting people and playing over the board again. We would like to give everyone a chance to come and enjoy our favourite game. So the Club will be free to all old and new members until January 2022! That gives any you 12 weeks of over the board matches, friendly and competitive games and even a chance to play in the league for free!

We are in a very fortunate position that this has happened and hope the offer gets taken up.

Cumnor One will play the first league match this coming Thursday the 30th September against Didcot 1. In fact this will kick off the season along with the Banbury 1 v Cowley 1 match, the first set of league matches since early March 2020.

More information can be found on our New Members page.

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 Goes Online

With the Coronavirus epidemic still being a problem and government rules changing every 10 minutes it has been decided that the Oxfordshire Chess League will move entirely to an online tournament for the coming season. Notes from the AGM can been seen below with the new tournament starting at the end of October.

More information will be published in due course.

*Notes from AGM*

For the 20/21 season, the OCA league will not compete as we normally do.

Instead, there shall be two separate Swiss tournaments played online. The platform will be lichess.org. The first tournament starts on the week commencing Monday 26th October. This tournament will consist of six rounds with a game played every week for six weeks. Game time will be 45 minutes plus 15 seconds per move.

All the teams will be pooled together, with the fixtures pulled out of a hat.

Cumnor will enter both of our teams into both tournaments. Liam will run the first team while Steve will run the second.

During the meeting we found that a number of clubs had difficulty being able to put out all of their teams to play online. Most notably Banbury, whom are only able to field one team to play online this season. Bicester said they cannot field a single team. Didcot said it could field one team and Wantage stressed they were struggling.

The second Swiss tournament will take place after Christmas, and will consist of eight rounds, with a game played each week over eight weeks. Depending on how the first tournament works, may influence how the second tournament works. For example two tiers, one for stronger teams and the other for weaker teams.
Nothing concrete was concluded, but the general consensus is to make it as simple as possible.

Your new Over the Board chess grades will not be affected by these tournaments. These online games qualify for an ECF online grade.

It was suggested that only players with ECF membership may take part. This is one of the things that Ian is going to clarify.

A few clubs stressed a preference for a team to consist of four players only for the 20/21 on-line tournaments. This was voted out by a significant majority of the clubs wishing to maintain six boards. This of course means more of us can get involved in this season’s online competitive chess.

The Swiss tournaments will be played weekly. Matches will be played on the evening of the clubs normal club night. Therefore, if Cumnor teams are drawn first, then we shall play the fixture on Thursday as usual.

I believe only Cumnor and some of Cowley’s teams play on Thursdays. No club plays on Fridays.

Fixtures are out!

The new season is upon and is due to kick off this week.

Cunmor 1 will playing in division 1 for the first time and will play their first match away to City 1 on 7th October before home matches against Didcot 1 and Cowley 2.

Cumnor 2 kick off with home matches against Witney 4 and Didcot 3.

We are always looking for new players so drop us an email / call or pop along to the club on Thursday more information can be found here.

All fixtures are subject to change.

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.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

As the end of the year approaches there are a few things to announce.

The two teams have so far had very differing seasons.

Cumnor 1 sit in second place in division 2 with 5 wins and a single loss to City 2. This puts us in a good position being only one point behind Banbury 2 with a game in hand, we played Banbury 2 last week and won handsomely 5-1, this is important as head-to-head is the decider when teams are level.

Cumnor 2 are struggling in division 3 but are already looking forward to playing in division 4 next season, Cowley Workers disbanded last year so Cumnor 2 stayed up in a division which is a little too strong for them.

Check out the leagues here.

The two internal competitions finish this week. Congratulations to Robert for winning the Bill Laar Trophy while Pedro finished in second place and Chris in third. The Players Cup is decided this week and I will let you know the permutations when someone explains them to me.

The club will be open on Thursday 22nd but closed on the Thursday just after Christmas (the 27th) and will open again in the New Year the 3rd Januray 2019.

Cumnor 1’s first match of the new year away to City 2 on the 7th January and Cumnor 2’s isn’t until the 24th January.

May you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The New Season

Looking out of my window this morning I can confirm Autumn has clearly started but in good news the chess season kicks off next month!

So pop down to the club for some pre-season friendlies this evening.

The Oxfordshire Chess Association’s AGM is being held at Cowley Chess Club at 7.30pm tonight (Thursday 13 September) so a few members will be attending this but the club remains open.

Frank Wood Shield – Cup Final Day

Frank Wood Shield Rewind: Classic Finals (08:30-09:30, BBC Two)
Gareth Stevens takes a look at some of the classic finals including Witney 1 v University 1 (2012) and Oxford City 1 v Cowley 2 (2010)

Tactics Trainer (09:30-10:00, BBC Two)
Do you know your Fork from your Spoon? You will after Tactics Trainer with Ian Bush

We are not sure if John Motson will be commentating or not

Saturday Kitchen – Cooking the Rook ( 10:00-11:30, BBC One)
We head over to The Lounge Café (Abingdon) to see what Steve can cook us up!

Frank Wood Shield 50 Greatest Moments (11:30-13:00, BBC Two)
Mark Sayers counts down the top 50 Greatest Moments, who will take top place.

Chess Focus (13:00-14:00, BBC One)
The team sit down with Daniel Varney, Graham Cluley and Robert Steel to talk about all things chess.

Steve Bennett on the Road to Frank Wood Shield Glory (BBC One, 14:00-15:00)
Steve ponders how Cumnor and Cowley got to the final.

Frank Wood Shield Top Of The Pops (15:00-15:30, BBC One)
Okay, so who wants to put their name down for karaoke?

Pointless Frank Wood Shield Special (15:30-16:30, BBC One)
With Chris Siebert hosting we pair off to play Pointless

The Road to Cumnor (16:30-18:00, BBC One)
From Oxford take the A420 to Swindon/Bristol. Leave the A420 at the second exit onto the B4017 to Cumnor. At the T junction turn RIGHT. At the next T junction turn RIGHT again. Then take the first LEFT, you are now in Cumnor. So the A420 is the road to Cumnor.

LIVE: Frank Wood Shield Final Build Up (18:00-19:00, BBC One)
We look at both teams in detail with expert analysis from Ann Willan in the build up to the final.

LIVE: Frank Wood Shield Final – Cumnor Six Horsemen of the Apocalypse v Cowley Sharks – (19:00-23:00, BBC One)
Kick off at 19:30!

Trophy Night

This years Trophy Night presentation will be on Thursday 18th January.

A Play-off game was needed to decide the winner of the 2017 Bill Laar Trophy. The game was won by Steve.

The winners are:

Players Cup
1, Daniel Varney
2, Liam Glenn
3, Gareth Stevens

Bill Laar Trophy
1, Steve Bennett
2, Graham Cluley
3, Chris Siebert

Please make sure there is a good turn out for the trophy presentation.

Beers, cokes and gloating from the winners in abundance.

Merry Christmas

Christmas is finally here and the League has paused for the festivities. The club is open tonight (Thursday the 21st) but closed on the 28th and open again on the 4th January 2018.

Tonight will see the conclusion of the Players Cup 2017 and the Bill Laar 2017. The Players Cup has been finalised and was won by Daniel but the Bill Laar still has one game left which will decide who can claim the glory!

The updated tables can be found below.

If I don’t see you tonight Merry Chirstmas and a Happy New Year, may 2018 be full of wonderful Queen sacs and rating points.