Christmas Handicap

The SECOND Christmas Handicap of 2022 took place last Friday, 9th December, the first having been delayed from last year into this due to Covid. And we are getting back to pre-pandemic attendee numbers with a very healthy 21 competitors. The event was played in the Pinewood Centre Bar & Cafe in our usual Thursday night spot, although rather more of us than usual and certainly more Christmas jumpers. (No onesies this year, unfortunately.)

Given the number of players, we had three groups in the group stage, and played to 12.5 minutes instead of the usual 10 or 15 minutes. This worked out about right, finishing as we did around 11pm.

Coming top of group 1 was Shree, closely followed by her sister Saachi and friend Csilla. The three girls between them scored an impressive 14 from 18 – and bear in mind that, allowing for games between themselves, the maximum they could have scored was 15.

Mat was the standout star of the second group with 5 from 6, just a whisker in front of an on-form Louise.

In group 3 Ashton romped home, winning all 6 games, and finishing two points ahead of nearest rivals Christine and Colin.

Ashton continued to power through to meet Louise in the semi-final, at which point we had our first draw in the tournament – and second, third and fourth, before Ashton finally won and went on to meet Shree in the final. In the final game Shree started well but Ashton slowly gained the advantage and eventually won the game.

So, well done Ashton, a new name on the trophy. Well played Shree, your turn will come.

Meanwhile, competing for the wooden spoon was myself and James. James was playing his first speed handicap, and it showed – he actually THOUGHT about his moves and thus was doomed to lose on time, but thereby won a wooden spoon and the customary bottle of wine (although he wisely chose to swap it for a pint of Old Crafty Hen).

All-in-all, a fine 35th Christmas Speed Handicap. Thanks to everyone for playing.

Christmas Handicap 2022

Many thanks to Jonathan for organising this year’s Christmas Handicap:

This year’s Christmas Speed Handicap is to be held on Friday the 9th December. It will be in the Pinewood Centre, where we meet on Thursday nights, but in the Gym there, which is a couple of blocks to the right (when facing the buildings) of the bar & café. We will set up some method by which drinks can be ordered remotely from the bar and brought across to us. A cold buffet will be provided, offering sandwiches, quiche etc.

For those unfamiliar with the Christmas Speed Handicap, all games take the same duration (10 or 15 minutes, depending on the number of attendees) but the time allocated for each player is adjusted according to their strength to give each player an even chance of winning. The overall effect is that any player can win the whole event. Quickness of mind and hand are more important than a simple ECF rating.

(As an aside, I noticed last year that the stronger players were disadvantaged, possibly a consequence of the change to 4-digit rating, and will adjust the time allocation this year to compensate.)

We will gather at 7:30pm in the Gym – upstairs – for a quick rundown of the rules and commencing play shortly thereafter. Please let me know if you plan to attend or not. It really does help the organisation if I have a full list of those attending, so I can prepare the group stage entrants and the time allocation sheets. This Christmas event is also open to friends, relatives, former members and members of local rival clubs (Camberley etc).

Regarding grades, I’ll use established ECF rapid grades, or standard if rapid is not available. For those without established ECF grades I’ll use whatever information we have to give a reasonable rapid grade estimate.

Club Championship 2022/23

For the first time in recent history Crowthorne Chess Club is running a club championship. It is being run as an all-play-all with the nine rounds being played one game a month with a time rate of 80 minutes + 10 second increment for the game.

The table below shows the situation now that Round 1 has been completed.

James Barterxxx00
Nick Calvertxxx11
Harvey Duckersxxx11
George Green0xxx0
Ashton Grimmettxxx00
Harriet Haslehurst1xxx1
Zak Javellana-Jonesxxx11
Mat McKean0xxx0
Robert Page0xxx0
Alexander Waters1xxx1

The championship is being hosted on the ECF LMS, and full details of the tournament and its progress can be seen by clicking the link under the table.

Many thanks to Robert for running the tournament.

Derek wins the Khyber Cup

A belated write-up for our traditional summer tournament (the webmaster claims he was otherwise engaged in August), which was played on July 30th. Thanks to Jonathan for the details and photos.

The sun always shines on the Khyber Cup and we were fortunate enough, as so often, to be able to hold the event outdoors in ideal weather conditions, with a backdrop of one of the few lawns in the country still verdant green.

The Khyber chess this year produced more than the usual ups and downs, with some players riding high or unexpectedly low at lunchtime and undergoing a complete reversal of fortunes in the afternoon. To win the event though one needs to score well both before and after lunch, and this year the most consistent player was Derek, whose string of victories was only interrupted by a draw against Harvey, leaving Derek the clear winner a full point ahead of joint second place Ken and Zak. So Derek’s name will be engraved on the Khyber Cup trophy for the second year in a row, only the third player to achieve this distinction. Congratulations to Derek. Congratulations also to Zak, playing in his first ever OTB competition and finishing in an impressive joint second place on 3.5 points.

No wooden spoon this year, because we had none handy to give out, but the bottle of wine was awarded to Christine.

Thank you to John Upham for the loan of the tables and chairs. Thank you to everyone who played in this Crowthorne Chess Club institution, hope you all enjoyed yourselves, and hope to see you all again for next year’s Khyber Cup.

Winner Derek Johnson with the John Purkis Shield
The Players (minus Zak, the photographer)

Wednesday club nights suspended for the summer break

We will be pausing the Wellington College Wednesday sessions from this week. The classroom was going to be unavailable anyway, and the bar closed from end-July, but with school holidays already started for many the junior club was exceptionally quiet this week, so we’ve brought forward our summer break. Pinewood will continue on Thursdays, and we will start back in Wellington from early September.

Click here for details of the Pinewood Centre venue

4NCL Final Round – Critical Game

Crowthorne A’s final round match in the 4NCL Division 3 South against Cambridge University 2 was a potentially critical game for the entire season, given that a number of teams were bunched closely together so that a win would mean second place, and a loss would mean somewhere in mid-table.

Paul’s game, despite a rather quiet beginning, gradually became more and more complex and was the last game to finish, with the match score being on 2.5-2.5

Many thanks to Paul for providing comments to the game.
Click on any move for a popup board to appear.

Notwithstanding Paul’s final comment, his teammates thought that this was a well-played game (by both players) as some inaccuracies can be expected in such complicated positions.

4NCL Online Season 5 Review

Thanks to all of you for playing. We had a squad of 10 players for 8 boards, but based on some availability comments I felt that we wouldn’t be able to fill both teams for all matches. But then, when an 11th player joined us and I discovered that 4NCL only allowed a squad of 8 per team I decided to enter a second team.

Crowthorne B has always been in the lowest division and has finished 58th/68, 59th/72, 43rd/56, 16th/28 (despite only playing in 5 of the 7 rounds). They scored 3 wins this time!

Click to see larger image
Click to see larger image