This was Leamington’s best season over the board for some time, though on the down side we did lose some of our stalwart players for various reasons.
The A team were able to return to the top division at the first time of asking, dominating in Division 2 with 11 wins, 2 draws and 1 loss. All five regular players scored over 50%, and Dan, Adny Price and Andy Collins didn’t lose all season.
Also in Division 2, the B team were doing well until we lost a few players; they then had difficulty fielding a team. Forfeiture of their last two games saw them slip to 7th.
Early on, it seemed that the C team might run away with Division 3, but Alex moving back to Spain made things harder in the second half of the year. They still came third, only three points off first place, and never had a loss worse than 2-1 all year. Jason scored 11 points from 12, becoming the first Leamington player to get his name on the Stanley Gibbins Trophy, and Ola won the best game prize for his win against Colin Searle.
The D Team had their best finish for some time, 5th out of 9, and welcomed a new player, Sumiran, who finished with a plus score in his first season.
Leamington entered a team in the Open, U700 and U120, and all three made the semis. The U120 team went on to reach the final, our first for a long time, though they ultimately lost 3-1 to Banbury.
Our best haul in some time, with two of the five competitions won by Leamington players. Ben defended his Handicapped Rapidplay crown from last year, and Ola added the U150 title.
The KO Cup was won by Ben for the first time. He knocked off Tom B to reach the semis, then beat Tom D and Ola after replays. Andy C picked up the plate for the second time.
Tom D won the All-Play-All for the third year in a row, good scores against his main rivals seeing him home by a point and a half. The U125 award was comfortably won by Jason Madden for the second time in a row.
The Club Championship is given to the winner of a match between the Club KO and All-Play-All winners. Tom and Ben each had a rapidplay win as Black, before Tom won the tie-breaker, again with the black pieces.
The George Boots Shield, given for the best single game performance was won by Peter Leggett this year, beating a player rated 35 points above him.
ECF National Club Intermediate Championship
This tournament moved to Birmingham but kept the same format. There were several more teams in our section this year (U150 average).
We came 5th out of 10, wins in our first and third matches being offset by losses in the other two. It was a fun tournament, and we certainly intend to be back next year.
Steve Burnell moved back to the north after nearly 30 years in the area, playing for Kenilworth then us. He reminded us what we’ve been missing only a few months later, representing Braille Chess at the NCC and beating Tom in a 60 move epic.
Alex Bonillo had only been with us for a few months before returning to Spain, but made a major impact, pushing the C team to the top of the table with his exploits on board one.
Dan was another big loss. His move to Ireland finally went through late in the season, but he’d already helped ensure prmootion by then, so left on a high.
Undoubtedly the biggest loss was David, who unexpectedly died during the season. You can read more about his eventful life on his memorial page.
We should also mention former player Towan Kosted, who died last month. Towan was well remembered as a player and captain by all those of us who knew him.