Open Club nights start on the 9th September

So last tonight concluded our regular online Thursday evenings, and great fun they were.
For the past eighteen months we’ve been able to continue playing chess with each other. This of course was due to Graham Cluley building the platform at the start of the first lock-down in March 2020.

Thanks a million Graham, it was a god send.

Next week we shall reconvene once again at the club.
Thursday 9th September at 7pm.

The OCA 20/21 season commences during the last week of September. Only three divisions this season, as a number of clubs have reduced their teams.
Cumnor 1 remain in Division 1, and Cumnor 2 play in Division 3.

When we meet next Thursday can we please do the following:
Bring a mask, in case you wish, or your opponent wishes you to wear one.
Bring your own refreshments, and take any empties and waste home with you.
Sanitiser will be available. Please use the sanitiser prior to playing a game.

The club now has seventeen digital clocks, which is enough for match and club play during the same evening. The OCA 20/21 season requires digital clocks to be used only. We have therefore complied with this new ruling. The club will still have a few analog clocks on site should they be needed by anyone.

We looking forward to next Thursday, fingers crossed it will be permanent.

Message from Steve Bennett 03/09/2021

The 2021-22 Season!

Some great news… Over the Board League Chess will be back in the Autumn with Cumnor 1 remaining in Division One while Cumnor 2 will join the combined Division Three and Four, which will from now on be called Division Three. All this is yet to be confirmed but it is exciting! Cumnor is currently planning to open the doors in September.

Roger Thetford’s report follows:

Responses from the clubs revealed that we had 22 teams plus two possibles for next year’s ODCL. Banbury could confirm only one team but may be able to raise two; Oxford Brookes would like to enter a team but will not know until September whether they have enough players. The Committee meeting held on 19 May decided to allow the clubs until 30 June to enter any further teams, after which the fixture list for the 2021-22 season will be set up.

When we abandoned the 2019-20 league we said that relegation and promotion would not apply. Applying this and eliminating the missing teams from the bottom upwards removes Banbury 3, Bicester 2, Cowley 5 and 6, Didcot 3 and Witney 4, leaving the divisional structure as 8-8-4-3. Combining the bottom two divisions and adding the possible new Brookes team to the new Division 3 gives the following.

Division 1 (8 teams): Banbury 1, Cowley 1, Cowley 2, Cumnor 1, Didcot 1, Oxford City 1, Oxford Univ 1, Witney 1.

Division 2 (8 teams): Banbury 2, Bicester 1, Cowley 3, Didcot 2, Oxford City 2, Oxford Univ 2, Witney 2, Wantage 1.

Division 3 (8 teams): Abingdon School, Cowley 4, Cumnor 2, Oxford Brookes (possible), Oxford City 3, Oxford Univ 3, Wantage 2, Witney 3.

This structure, agreed by the Committee, is provisional, depending on decisions from Banbury and Oxford Brookes. Unless an influx of extra teams allows us to revert to four divisions, rule- changes will be proposed at the AGM to reflect the new three- division structure. (The AGM date was set as Thu 16 Sep.)

All of this assumes that we will be able to return to OTB chess by October.

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

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.

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

Online National Club Championships

During the pandemic a lot more chess has been played online (including our Thursday night Clashes) so the English Chess Federation has implemented an Online National Club Championship.

Obviously we jumped at the chance of playing in the competition so Ian set up a team and The Six Horses of the Apocalypse rode again!

We were placed in the Intermediate section with 12 other teams from across the country from Hackey to Leeds.

The first match was on Friday evening and it saw us up against Wimbledon (I know some teams chose the name of their clubs…. but where is the fun in that), sadly we lost 2.5 – 3.5 to the eventual winners.

Player results

On Saturday there where 2 rounds, the first at 10am against Downend & Fishponds (Birstol) which we won 3.5 – 2.5. Our second against Trelawney’s Army (Cornwall County) which we won 5 – 1!

This put us up to third by Saturday evening, in a position where we could win something.

On Sunday morning we faced Horsham and we needed a win to keep the pressure up on the leaders, Wimbledon and Leeds Uni who were set to play each other. We eventual won that match 4.5 – 1.5!

With Leeds Uni winning, the pressure was now on us.. .all or nothing…. winner takes all… in our clash against Lewisham, the tie brake at the top of the tournament was pretty complicated head to head but we eventually concluded a win would mean glory a shot at the trophy (depending on other results ) or at worse rating prize.

After a tense match we came up just a bit short losing 3.5 – 2.5. It means our final position was 5th but I think I can say on behalf of the players it was very enjoyable.

A thanks to Ian for organising and all the tournament organisers from the English Chess Federation.

Until the The Six Horses of the Apocalypse ride again………

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.

ODCL Season 2019-20 Cancelled

Sadly the coronavirus pandemic has caused life to be placed on hold for many of us. The Oxford and District Chess League is no exception. Please be aware the Ray Starkie (best game) trophy will still be awarded so get your games in.

The club will still “run” online on Thursday evening from 7pm on Lichess.

Please see the announcement below.

“Given the current circumstances, the OCA Committee has decided to cancel the 2019-20 League and Frank Wood Shield as team competitions. The Committee resolved (with no objections) that:

The dominant University 1 team will still be awarded the Division One trophy.
The Division Two, Three and Four trophies will not be awarded.
The Frank Wood Shield will not be awarded.
The individual trophies for performances in each of the divisions will be awarded.

The the Lester Millin (best junior) and Ray Starkie (best game) trophies will be awarded.
The qualifying criterion in Rule 6.9 for awarding the ‘best individual performance’ trophies will be interpreted as “more than 50% of the League Matches played by a team”.

The winners of the individual trophies are:
Arthur Mushens Trophy, Division One: Joris Gerlagh, Oxford Univ 1, 6½/7 = 92.86%
Bernard C Wyatt Memorial Trophy, Division Two: Paul Friend, Banbury 2, 5/6 = 83.33%
David Del Nevo Trophy, Division Three: Joshua Soanes, Witney 3, 5½/6 = 91.67%
Sam Phipps Trophy, Division Four: Chris Finn, Oxford Univ 3, 7/7; Alessandro Tringali, Didcot 3; Joshua Soanes, Witney 4, 5/5 (shared).

Lester Millin Memorial Trophy, best junior performance in all divisions: Joshua Soanes, Witney.
Automatic promotion and relegation will not take place. However, the composition of the divisions for 2020-21 will be determined by the Committee in the light of the numbers of teams declared for the forthcoming season, and some rebalancing of numbers may still be necessary.

Please send entries for the Ray Starkie best game trophy to the Secretary (see Contacts list) by 30 April, as PGN files. Games played this season in the ODCL, Frank Wood Shield and Chiltern League county matches are eligible.

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!