Cumnor vs Magdalene College School

Its another Sunday classic this weekend, between Cumnor and Magdalene College School (past and present). Kick off is on Lichess at 3:30 on Sunday 17th May.

1 Edison Xu 185 B-W Eldar Alizada 181
2 Tom Shepherd 184 W-B Nick Burrows 183
3 James Cole 181 B-W Ian Bush 156
4 Nigel Moyse 178 W-B Mark Sayers 153
5 Graham Cole 164 B-W Liam Glenn 146
6 Hari Selvaraj 162 W-B Gareth Stevens 140
7 Eric Ward 152 B-W John Place 148
8 Dave Sayers 127 W-B Robin Carr 120
9 Samir Khan 120 B-W Graham Cluley 105
10 Reya Li 100 W-B Mark Beaney un

1 Edi_flapjack e_alizada
2 TomShepherd SchachAttacker
3 bishopbandit IanBush
4 nigelico mcsayers
5 ColeG1964 Liamrglenn
6 Selvaraj162 GarethS
7 SingerPoorOnThames JohnPlace
8 davidsayers1947 robincarr
9 SamirMCS gcluley
10 Reya2010 MarkBeaney

This will be our third match and could be our toughest match so far. Cumnor have two wins from the other two matches, against Cowley and Magdalene College School (present).

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.

Trophy Night

Next Thursday, 17th January will be our annual Trophy Night, the top three players in the two tournaments will each receive a trophy and the top players will get their hands on the prestigious Players Cup and Bill Laar Trophy.

Liam enjoying a pint from the Players Cup Trophy (yes I will keep using this picture so that people don’t forget I won it ;-))
The winners for the 2018 Players Cup are;
1, Mark Sayers
2, Ian Bush
3, Garth Stevens

and the 2018 Bill Laar Trophy are;
1, Robert Steel
2, Pedro Monteiro
3, Chris Siebert

Our silverware from last season, the Frank Wood Shield will also be on show and we will get some pictures of the winning team. So come along and celebrate the achievement of the year.

The following week both teams are playing away, Cumnor 1 will be playing Oxford University 2 and Cumnor 2 will be playing Magdalen College School, this will mean the club will be closed for the evening.

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?

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.

MCS/B1 v Cumnor 1 and Cumnor 1 v Cowley 3 [Match Report]

After the spectacular start to the season with a 6-0 win against Wantage 1, Cumnor 1 landed with a bump when we took on Magdalen School College (MCS) on Wednesday, the 21st.

Similarly to the Wantage match, many of the games where closer than the score suggests.

#MCS/B1vsCumnor 1
1.D'Souza-Eva, Jon (184)1-0Varney, Zoe (171)
2.Moyse, Nigel (172)1-0Glenn, Liam (157)
3.Cole, James (168)1-0Varney, Daniel (151)
4.Harskin, Robin (159)1-0Sayers, Mark (143)
5.Cole, Graham (156)1-0Cluley, Graham (116)
6.Ward, Eric (135)1-0Bennett, Steve (105)

A word of congratulations to the MSC team for wining the match, the rest of the division will be shaking in their boots.

We are looking forward to getting some revenge on 28th January when we welcome MSC to Cumnor for the return match.

Our following game was against Cowley 3 at home a week later on the 29th.

CCC1 v Cowley 3

Cowley put at a strong team, maybe they had heard about our 6-0 win against Wantage 1 earlier in the month. But as you can see the result was a draw in a very close match.


Gareth is in a puzzling endgame against Richard with the seconds ticking away. Gareth’s clock eventually fell while on the verge of victory.

So after three games we have one win, one draw and one loss and sit mid-table in division two. Check the table out here.

Out next game is in a couple of weeks away to Banbury.

MCS/B1 v Cumnor 1 [Match Report]

“Tick Tock goes the clock and what now shall we play?”

I think this nursery rhyme sums up last Wednesday’s game vs Magdalen College School.

But let’s start at the beginning of the evening, MCS/B1 had a very strong team. I am guessing they had seen our recent results against Witney 1 and Bicester 1. As normal, I order this on how we finished but 2 hours 35 minutes into a 3 hour game, no one had finished.

I was the first to finish after 2 hours and 38 minutes played. I got a little lucky, I was a pawn down and had to lose a second just to try and get some counter play. Nigel looked like he played a smart move, pinning my Knight but he did not look far enough ahead and I won his Knight.

Gareth was down a pawn for most the game but ended up holding the position in the endgame. Gareth got it down to Bishops and a wrong rook pawn, click here for explanation.

Zoe was on top board after her rapid grade rise, the position was too complicated for me to analyse and Zoe did lose. Richard played very well against John who is 60 grading points above him. However, John had more active pieces against Richard’s King and delivered a checkmate.

I did not see much of Daniel’s game as I was notating Andrews game, as he was down to less than 5 minutes. But in the endgame Daniel got a pawn promoted and had many threats against Robin’s King which was more than enough to win.

With the match level at 2.5-2.5 it all went down to the last game. Andrew made a great effort to get to the match and both players had only minutes left while still in the midgame. A time scramble ensured but Andrew’s clock ran out of time first. The final score was 2.5-3.5, a close match but a loss for Cumnor.

“Tick Tock goes the clock and Cumnor lost this one”

MCS/B1 v Cumnor 1

Cumnor 1 v MCS/B1 [Match Report]

Thursday evening saw Cumnor 1 play their first game of the season against MCS/B1 who were the team relegated from the first division last season.

It was a closely fought fight but Cumnor 1 ended up on the wrong side of the 4-2 score line.

Cumnor 1 MCS/B1
1 Terrington, Simon (173) 1/2-1/2 D’Souza-Eva, Jon (186)
2 Glenn, Liam (147) 0-1 Moyse, Nigel (171)
3 Stevens, Gareth (147) 0-1 Harskin, Robin (167)
4 Sayers, Mark (139) 1-0 Cole, James (145)
5 Slade, Richard (-) 0-1 Cole, Graham (148)
6 Varney, Daniel (137) 1/2-1/2 Bush, Ian (128)

Match played on 16 Oct 2014. 2-4

As I did for last season I will give you a quick summary of the games in the order they finished. As I was playing myself I can only give a summary on what I saw and the analysis at the pub after, if I make any mistakes or you think I didn’t get the ‘gist’ of your game please let me know.

Gareth suffered from ‘Chess Blindness’ early in his game, after calculating a deep variation which gave him a good position, he left his Queen en prise and resigned immediately after the move.

Daniel was the next to finish, with his usual quick play. He and Ian agreed a draw once they entered an endgame with rook and a bishop each.

Richard was playing his first game for Cumnor 1 after making his winning début earlier in the week against St. Claire’s in the second team.

Unluckily, he was unable to get anything from this game and lost to the much more experienced Graham Cole. Graham if you are reading this I do mean experienced in the nicest possible way!

Mark was playing James Cole on board four and produced a great King-side attack with a terrific tactic which caused gasps from the crowd, when he pinned James’s Bishop to his King and Queen and threatened a Queen takes pawn check! The attack won him the King-side pawns, and once the game entered the endgame James resigned.

My game was the penultimate game to finish and a play through of my game is below. The game was interesting, I think I had an advantage for most of it but in time trouble I missed a mate in 3, have a look and let me know your thoughts.

Simon on the top board played Jon D’Souza-Eva. In the endgame with a Rook and pawn Jon reached the Lucena position but was unable to get the win.

Both players were under time pressure and Simon managed to take the last pawn leaving each player with his Rook. A draw was quickly agreed at this point.

The end result was a 4-2 win to MCS/B1. Cumnor 1’s next game is in two weeks at home against Bicester 1, on the same night Cumnor 2 are playing away against Cowley 5.

Chess Season Starts With… Well.. With A Lot Of Chess

Congratulations to Cumnor 2 for a great win on Thursday evening, click here to see the result!

Cumnor 2 play again on Tuesday away to St. Claires, will they be able to keep the 100% winning start to the season going? Cumnor 1 start their season with a game against Magdalen College School on Thursday evening.

Zoe Varney is playing in the European Youth Championship 2014 in Georgia which starts next weekend. Andrew promises to keep us updated and we all wish her luck.

And finally, one last plug for the 2nd Witney Weekend Congress, being held at Cokethorpe School on 18-19 October. Find out how to enter and more information on the Witney Chess website.

Liam and Gareth have already put their names down in the U180 competition. I will let you know how well (or poorly) we do.

Players deep in thought at the last Witney Congress
Players deep in thought at the last Witney Congress (2013)

Going down to the wire…

We are into the last few weeks of the season, but there is still plenty to play for.

In Division 1, Witney 1 are the champions winning 11 games out of 11, while MCS/B1 are going to be relegated back to division 2.

At the top of division 2, Witney 2 and Didcot 1 have only one game between each other to settle the title, a shoot out!

A win or draw for Didcot 1 will mean they are Champions while a win for Witney 2 means they will receive the title.

Both have been at the top of the division for most of the season with a massive 9 points between Witney 2 in second and Cumnor 1 in third, the difference between third and last is 8 points.

At the wrong end of the table it’s gone down to one game. Cowley 3 play Cumnor 1 on Monday and any result for Cowley 3 will save them at the expense of Bicester 1.

In Division 3, is all done and dusted with Didcot 2 winning the title and Abingdon School being relegated with a game in hand.

Division 4 is an all-Witney affair, at the top is Witney 4 and at the bottom are Witney 5. Cumnor 2 currently sit 4th with 5 wins 2 draws and 5 losses.

The Frank Wood Shield, in the final is between Didcot 1 and Oxford City 1.