Review of Leamington Chess Club Season – 2013-14

It’s been an eventful year, with a pretty even mix of very good and rather bad results.

League
The biggest disappointment, of course, was the last place finish and probable relegation of the A Team. A terrible first half of the season saw 1 win and 7 losses in 8 games, and despite a late revival which brought a rare three wins on the spin, a last day defeat to the champions Kenilworth A left the team a point from safety.

Rather more reason for cheer was provided by the B Team; they used an excellent start to reach 3rd place out of 7 teams, their highest finish for many years. Ben Graff’s win over the 190-rated Andrew Paterson was a particular highlight.

The C Team were another side who got off to a good start; they were threatening to reach first place around the mid-way point of the season. They slipped rather in the second half, but their finish of 6th from 8 teams was deceptive given that they were only six points from the top and had an even record of W5 D4 L5, with a +2 game difference.

The D Team proved consistent with last year, with an identical finish of 7th of 9 and the same number of wins (5). They were the only Leamington team to achieve a whitewash, twice besting Kenilworth D 3-0.

Club KOs
Leamington entered a team in the Open, U700 and U120. The U700 team was only one to muster a win, and Leamington were once again not represented in the Finals night which we hosted. Maybe next year?

Individual KOs
League Competitions Officer Jason Madden introduced a new handicapped rapidplay KO for this year, which Leamington players had substantial success in. Jason reached the Semis, while Ben defeated Tom Darling in the Final, meaning that a Leamington player won one of these competitions for the second year in a row.

Rob Mantell, playing in the U90 for the first time, reached the Final and only lost after he took his opponent to a rapidplay replay.

There were also Leamington players in the other three competitions, with top performers being Mark Armitage in the U120 (Quarter Finals), Jason Madden in the U150 (Quarter Finals) and Tom Darling in the Open (Semi Finals).

Club Competitions
With defending champion Dan Aldridge missing the Club KO, it was tough to predict the winner. Tom Darling managed to come through, winning tough matches with Ben Graff, Steve Burnell and Andy Price, all of which went to tiebreakers. Meanwhile, Ben edged Ola in the Plate.

Tom also won the All-Play-All for the second year in a row, winning six games in the final month of competition to edge Ben by a point. The U125 award was comfortably won by Jason Madden.

The Club Championship is given to the winner of a match between the Club KO and All-Play-All winners, so Tom also took this award.

The George Boots Shield, given for the best single game performance was won by Ben Graff for his aforementioned giant-killing; he overcame a 45 point gap (145 v 190).

ECF National Club Intermediate Championship
This competition took on a new format this year, taking place over a single weekend in High Wycombe.

We were defending champions in the Intermediate section, and easily won our first two matches to reach the final. Unfortunately, Bedford then proved the better team, and we had to settle for 2nd place. Still, a fun way to spend a weekend, and we intend to send at least one team next season as well.

Farewells
Simon Harris, a popular member who had served as both a team captain and Treasurer, appears to have left the area. We lost contact with Simon early in the season, and hope that all is well with him; he shall be missed.

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