The Frank Wood Shield Final

So as many of you know by know we have won the Frank Wood Shield!

The victory of 5.5 – 0.5 in the final was enough to clinch victory in this years edition.

The match was played with the thunder and lightening of a late spring storm creating an eerie atmosphere and it was closer than the result may suggest.

Nine players took part during the tournament and their stats are below

On the way to the final Cumnor played against Magdalen College School and two Cowley teams and we met another Cowley team in the final. The completion detail can be found online by clicking here.

We will receive the Shield during Cowley Chess Club’s Summer Blitz which will be held on Monday 25 June at Cowley Chess Club.

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!

Does glory await Cumnor in the Frank Wood Shield Final?

Cumnor have a respectable record in the Frank Wood Shield reaching the semi finals in 2012 and beating (the reigning champions) Witney 1 in 2014/15 but this year could be our year to win it as we have reached the Final, which will be played on Thursday 31st May against Cowley.

The Frank Wood Shield is the Oxfordshire Chess version of the FA cup and has been “revamped” this year. It has always been a knockout competition using a handicap to try and level the playing field. This year a new system based on the difference between the average grades of the two teams playing a match is being used. Another change was that clubs could enter as many teams as they wanted (as long as it wasn’t more than the amount of teams in the league) and call them whatever they wanted. The names included The Witney Weavers, The Didcot Daredevils and The Wantage Alfredians, after much discussion we came up with Cumnor The Six Horsemen of the Apocalypse which we can all agree is the best name and we should just get a medal just for that. The draw was made during the Cowley Christmas Blitz and we were the first name out of the hat which means we get to play all our matches at home.

Our first round match was against The Cowley Forks, we were unsure what kind of Cowley team would turn up and to our surprise (and maybe horror) it was a very strong team, pretty much an amalgamation of the Cowley 1 and 2 sides. As their average grade was 177 while ours was 131 we only needed 1.5 points to go through which doesn’t sound too hard but Cowley’s board six (161) was stronger than me on board one (159). Talking about board 6 the first shock of the cup happened on it, Chris got a draw against Graham Cole which is outstanding result due to the 64 point difference! Mark got the all important win on board 3 against Will Burt at the end of a long and tiring game which put us into the next round.

Our round two match opponents were The Magdalen Blackbirds, we realised this was a very difficult match as the juniors who would play for Magdalen would be under graded. This time we called on Zoe and Daniel to play but before the match we re-read the rules and realised Zoe couldn’t play as she hadn’t played for Cumnor this season but Daniel could play. So this team we had a higher average grade of 146 while Magdalen had a grade of 133 which meant we needed to win 3.5 out of the six boards and 3-3 draw would see Magdalen through to the semi final. On the night we gained the 3.5 points needed with wins from Daniel, Ian, Mark and a draw from Gareth.

The semi final match was arranged for the 10th May against another Cowley team, The Cowley Fins. This time using Robert’s low grade (which we can all agree is too low) to pull the average grade down to 133 we were within the 5 points of The Cowley Fins (132) which meant the following rule applied.

“9.7.8 In matches between teams differing in average grade by less than 5 points, a
team scoring at least 3.5 points is the winner of the match. Should such a match
be tied 3-3, board count will be used to decide the result. If the match is still tied,
the result will be decided by eliminating the bottom board, then (if necessary)
the fifth, etc. Should all the games in the match be drawn, the team with the
lower average grade will win. If the average grades of the teams are identical,
the away team will win.”

This is my time to apologise, I misread the rules. I missed the board count rule in the case of a draw and went to the next line. Believing “If the match is still tied, the result will be decided by eliminating the bottom board,” when we won the bottom board I wrote that Cumnor needed to win 3.5 as in a case of a draw the bottom board won’t count. This played out as the final result was a 3-3 draw, with Ian and Robert winning and Mark and myself getting a draw. Believing we had been knocked out we congratulated The Cowley Fins but….. the next day Gerard realised that the board count rule over ruled the bottom board elimination.

The match went to an arbiter who decided that Cumnor should go through!

So by hock or by crook we have reached the final. We now play another Cowley team, The Cowley Sharks in the showpiece final of the Oxford Chess Season. Will we make it a hat-trick of wins against Cowley teams or will they get their revenge?

The 2017-18 fixtures have been released

The 2017-18 fixtures have been released by the OCA (please see below) however they are subject to change.

Cumnor 1 start the season with two away games against Witney 2 and Cowley 3 and play the final match away to newly promoted Banbury 2 in April. While Cumnor 2 start away to MCS in late October and finish away to Cowley 5.

The season concludes with the Frank Wood Shield (FWS) Final which starts after Christmas.

With all the away matches at the beginning and end of the season we have no away matches between 20th November 2017 and 19 February 2018 nearly 3 months, not that we are complaining some away venues have better heating than others.

The complete list can be found here.

We hope to see many of you on Thursday night because some of us need some serious pre-season training.

Witney 1 win the Frank Wood Shield

The final game of the 2016/17 chess season was played this week, it was the Frank Wood Shield Final between City 1 and Witney 1. In a match that was a lot closer than the match card suggests,
Witney 1 beat City 1 5 – 1.

Earlier in the competition Cumnor 1 were knocked out in the second round against Cowley 2 while Cumnor 2 were knocked out by Didcot 1 in round 1.

Check out all the results here.

Cumnor 1 v MCS and City 1 (FWS)

A win and a draw from Gareth and Mark respectively wasn’t enough to earn Cumnor any points last Thursday night when Magdalen College School came to town. In our previous fixture MCS ran out 6-0 winners so at least this result looks a little more respectable.

MCS are currently 2nd in the table battling it out with University 2 and Banbury 1 for the title. Their team contained may seasoned players and they did outgrade us on every board. Marc was out graded by 59 points and it was no coincidence that our 1.5 points came from our closest matched games. However, the difference was still 26 grading points for Gareth and 25 for Mark, so it is quite an achievement.

Cumnor 1 v MCS

Our following game was an away match against Oxford City 1 in the second round of the Frank Wood Shield. Last season Cumnor 1 took on Oxford City 1 in the same round and lost the match in an exciting game which you can read about here. City 1 went on to win the cup by beating Cowley 2 4-2 in the final and will be looking to win the cup again this year for the third time in a row.

TrophySo hoping for some “magic of the cup” 6 fearless Cumnor players went to the St. Margaret’s Institute on Polstead Road on Monday evening. Due to the handicap arrangement in the cup City needed to win by at least 4-2 to go through, anything less Cumnor would get into the third round and have a game against Cowley 1.

The match was closer than the result may appear. Daniel had a excellent result and then though I didn’t see the game Gareth who was sat nearby said Daniel created a passed pawn which won him the game. Both Simon and my games where close, Simon’s in particular was tight with some drawing lines. Gareth’s also had chances, when I went over to watch the game Gareth had 12 minutes to Christian’s 2 in a pretty complicated endgame but it was Christian created the most aggressive lines and Gareth went on to lose on time.

City 1 v Cumnor 1

The result means Cumnor 1’s dream of winning the cup will have to wait for next year when hopefully the draw might be a little kinder.

Frank Wood Shield Draw

The draw for the Frank Wood competition 2015/16 was made during the Cowley Blitz. Thanks to Dave Robson, Gerard O’Reilly and all who helped.

The draw is cascading as usual. The Round 1 ties (5 of them) are formally scheduled for the week Jan 04 – 08. But as Univ 2 are involved and will not be back this tie will need re-scheduling.
1) University 2 v Cowley Workers 1
2) University 1 v bye
3) Witney 1 v bye
4) Wantage 1 v bye
5) Cowley 3 v Cowley 1
6) Banbury 1 v bye
7) City 1 v bye
8) Cumnor 1 v bye
9) Cowley 4 v Witney 4
10) Wantage 2 v bye
11) Banbury 2 v bye
12) City 2 v bye
13) Witney 3 v Cowley 2
14) MCSB/1 v bye
15) Didcot 1 v bye
16) City 3 v Witney 5

The draw means Cumnor 1 get a bye in round one and will play Oxford City 1 away before the 12th February, most likely on Monday 8th, in a repeat of the second round tie of last season (check out the match report for the game by clicking here). Oxford City 1 won the competition last season beating Cowley 2 in the final 4-2.

The winner of the tie will play one of Cowley 3, Cowley 1 or Banbury 1 away at the end of February.

Cumnor 1 v Oxford City 1 FWS [Match Report]

The draw for the 2014/15 Frank Wood Shield (FWS) was not particularly kind for Cumnor 1. Our first game was against Witney 1, currently the Champions of the Oxfordshire Leagues and winners of the Sheild twice in the last 3 years. However, we took them on and won! Well, technically it was a draw but the FWS is a handicap competition and we only needed to “lose” 2.5-3.5 to get into the next round. It was a spectacular result and for the match report please click here.

Simon. Zoe and Liam playing on the top three boards while Daniel and Mark look on.
Simon. Zoe and Liam playing on the top three boards while Daniel and Mark look on.
At least it couldn’t get any harder we said, how wrong we could be. The next round was against Oxford City 1, they are second in the top division with an arguably stronger set of players than Witney 1 to call from! The best analogy I have, is getting Chelsea in the first round of the FA cup beating them only to be “rewarded” in the next round by playing Manchester City and sadly we don’t get the TV money.

Nevertheless the team was in a confident mood for the match which took place at Cumnor on Thursday evening. Again like the first round, we only needed to “lose” 2.5-3.5 to get through or another way of putting it was we only need a draw and 2 wins out of the 6 boards (or better).

The first game to finish was Daniel’s game. An early kingside attack by Sean Terry put Daniel’s King under some pressure and he had to resign. Gareth went an exchange down but his Knight was well placed when entering the endgame meaning Philip Hayward did not have enough to win and the draw was agreed. Phillip even said he thought Gareth was better!

Mark pulled off the first shock of the night as he set up astonishing Queen sac which Lief Dixon missed. Mark never got to sac the Queen as Leif resigned once he spotted it. The pressure was all of a sudden on Cumnor, 1 more point from the remaining 3 games would take us over the finish line and into the next round.

Could you win this position with only 24 seconds left?
Could you win this position with only 24 seconds left?
My (Liams) opponent spent a large chunk of his time in the early midgame, the result was by move 25, with much more of the game remaining than had past and just as Marks game finished, Christian only had 5 minutes left while I had 45 minutes. The seconds lapsed by and I had to decide whether I could play well enough to make him slip up in time trouble or keep him at bay until his clock fell. As the seconds ticked by he opened the game, promoted his Pawns into Queens and checkmated me with only 7 seconds left. It was something like out of a James Bond film!

I will be honest I was concentrating on my game so much I did not see much of Simon’s and Zoe’s but both made their opponents work exceptionally hard so beat them.

CCC1 v City 1

The tie finished 1.5-4.5, a commendable result against such a strong team but sadly not enough to get us into the next round. Congratulations to City 1 as they are head into the next round with a game against Cowley 2 and I would not be surprised if the Sheild has City 1’s name on it come May.

As Simon summed it up best “Ahh well, that’s what makes sport great – there is no script. An interesting night and I learned a lot.”

A thanks goes to Sean Terry who took the pictures.

Cumnor 1 v Witney 1 [Frank Wood Shield – Match Report]

King downAt the tail end of 2014, there were a few dry mouths in the Cumnor chess camp.

“Have you seen the draw for the Frank Wood Shield in January?” someone said with a nervous twitch akin to Herbert Lom in the Pink Panther movies. “They’ve only gone and drawn us against Witney 1 in the first round.”


You see, the Frank Wood Shield is the Oxfordshire chess equivalent to the FA Cup. Teams from across the county competing in a knock-out competition.

And Witney 1? Well, they have won the Frank Wood Shield twice in the last three years, and are league one champions. And that’s before you even stop to remember that they’re currently top of the top league, and unbeaten this season.

Cumnor 1, as fine a team as we are, are literally not in the same league as Witney 1.

In case I haven’t emphasised the point enough: Witney 1 is a very good chess team.

So there Cumnor’s team was, last night, playing at home against – jeepers – Witney 1.

Because of Witney’s lofty position in the premier league, we didn’t have to win more games than them in the match. But we did need to get at least 2.5 points, and even that looked like it might be a real challenge.

But not to fear. Simon Terrington, Cumnor’s top-graded player, had had a dream:

I just had this weird dream. Zoe, Liam and I halved out on the top three boards and then one of Andrew, Mark, Gareth or Daniel came up with that moment of creative sparkle that brought a win and progression to the next round against City 1. Bring on City and then…BRING ON THE CUP! Ahhhh what a great dream it was.

Would Simon’s dream come true? Well, sometimes even long shots make it…

David and Goliath

Gareth finished first, with a strong win, playing as White on board 4. You can relive his game below.

Then Liam fell on his sword after Csaba Koszta did a sneaky knight sacrifice which rapidly unravelled Liam’s kingside as white’s Queen and rook swept in.

Zoe performed superbly, holding a robust opponent with a much higher grade to a draw in a game which ended up with just rooks and pawns.

Is it really possible that Cumnor could knock Witney out of the competition?

After a slow and steady game, in which nothing terribly dramatic happened, Simon and his opponent on board 1 agreed a draw. Of course, ensuring that nothing terribly dramatic happens in your chess game is a skill in itself, and there is probably much to learn from analysing such games.

Here it is:

The score now was 2 – 2. Cumnor only had to squeak one draw out of Mark and Daniel’s continuing games to cause a major upset.

And then, boy wonder Daniel did it on board 6. Earlier in the game, Daniel had managed to swap a knight for one of his opponent’s rooks, and now he had used some cunning tactics to steal away another piece.

It was all over. Daniel’s opponent resigned, and it was 3-2 to Cumnor.

Only Mark’s game remained, but sadly despite valiant efforts it was clear that the writing was on the wall, and his opponent applied pressure with two past pawns and slipped his Queen in for a decisive mate.

But no-one was really upset… because Cumnor, against all odds, had knocked Witney out of the Franks Woods Shield: 3 – 3.

Match result

Thanks to our opponents from Witney 1 who played a fine game, and certainly kept us on our toes. And well done to Simon, Zoe, Liam, Gareth, Mark and Daniel for playing so well.

Next stop? City 1.