Christmas Speed Handicap Results

We finally held the thirty fourth Crowthorne Christmas speed handicap tournament last night (Saturday 2nd April) shortly before Easter, having postponed the event on its original date, shortly before Christmas, due to Covid restrictions. Nonetheless, a number of people thoughtfully entered into the spirit of the occasion by wearing their Christmas jumpers, and Scott even appeared in his legendary snowman onesie. Attendance was roughly half that of the previous over the board tournament in 2019, but that didn’t make the chess any more refined: the same extraordinary twists and turns of fate occurred on the boards as ever.

The winners of the two groups were Scott and Daniel and, appropriately perhaps, they were also the two finalists. Daniel reached the final beating Harriet in the semis after a hard-fought game in which he ingeniously sacrificed a queen to reach an advantageous bishop and pawn ending, converting it to a win through precise and careful technique. Scott had a somewhat quicker semi-final win against Mark (Cross) in a choppy tactical melee typical of the speed handicap.

In the final Scott played the opening which has given him so much success this season, the Black Lion defence albeit move in advance as white, and it delivered the goods for him again. Daniel’s king came under pressure along files and diagonals, leading to Scott delivering an on-the-board checkmate.

Congratulations to Scott for his first Speed Handicap win and fine performance all evening. Daniel’s turn will surely come.

At the other end of the field of achievements, Christine deprived Colin (Purdon) of the wooden spoon and bottle of wine. Thank you to her and to all who attended.

Christine Receives the coveted Wooden Spoon (plus consolation prize) from Club Secretary, Jonathan Welton
Congratulations to this year’s Christmas Handicap winner, Scott Leadbetter!

Many thanks to Jonathan for organising another enjoyable Christmas Handicap.

Christmas Handicap – CANCELLED

Owing to the increased risk of transmission posed by the omicron variant, Wellington College has made the (entirely understandable) decision to close the bar until further notice.

As a result, the Christmas Handicap will NOT take place this Saturday (18th December).

(“Cancelled” may be a bit strong, as we are considering alternative ways of holding the tournament in the New Year.)

Richard Webb wins the Khyber Cup

Congratulations to Richard for winning the Khyber Cup this year. This year the event was held online, using a slightly faster time control of 10m+5s for the entire game rather than the traditional 20m+10s used for the over the board event. Thanks are due to Jonathan Welton, who organised the event using lichess.org as the platform.

Richard won the 5 round Swiss tournament with 4.5 points, a full point ahead of Harvey Duckers and Mark Taylor, who shared second place with 3.5 points.

Full details of the tournament can be found at the event on lichess.org.

Richard’s best game was probably his first round encounter against Jonathan. Jonathan got a slightly passive position out of the opening, and it is impressive to see how Richard managed to gradually increase his advantage to a winning one, whilst giving his opponent virtually no counterplay, despite Jonathan’s best efforts.

As can be seen in the Honours Board Page, Richard is no stranger to winning the Khyber competition!

Khyber Cup 2020

The Khyber Cup is back!

This year’s Khyber Cup will take place on Saturday 5th September, 14:00.

This is a 5 round Swiss, with 10m+5s time control and a couple of minutes between rounds for a breathing space.

There is a Zoom session available for those who want to talk between rounds. Note that you should mute and turn off your speaker when playing to avoid being distracted. Nonetheless, avoid commenting on people’s in-progress games just in case they still have their speaker on.

This is a friendly event; please feel free to invite friends and family to join. Note that it is only open to members of the Crowthorne Team on Lichess. If you or your invitees, are not members you will have to join first (and to do that you will need a lichess membership).

For more details, please refer to Jonathan’s email.

Christmas Handicap Review

The 32nd annual Crowthorne Chess club Christmas Speed Handicap Tournament Party was held on Friday night (20th), and gave us the nerve-wracking exciting chess we’ve come to expect from the speed handicap format. I saw at least three games where the winner delivered mate with three seconds left on the clock, and there were an extraordinary number of unintentional queen sacrifices, including one in the final.

In order to speed things up the games were of ten minutes duration this year, instead of the usual 15, and there were 25 players, not quite a record but certainly a good turnout.

We played with three groups in the first stage this year, and the winners of the three groups were Scott, Bob and Mark (Cross), who were joined by Richard, Pradeep, Colin (Purdon), Andy and Daniel in the knockout stage. The final was between Andy Pollock, competing in his first CCC speed handicap, and Bob, runner up 20 years ago. Andy played an exciting tight game but Bob, who had been on terrific form all evening, finished off by winning the final, and getting his name on the Harvey-Ironside Shield for the first time.

The speed format doesn’t suit everyone, and the wooden spoon and bottle of wine was taken by Ken.

Thanks to everyone who helped with the setting up and tidying away, and also to Carolin, one of the Erfstadt chess exchange visitors this autumn, who gifted a large selection of German cakes and biscuits. And finally, an extra special mention and thanks to a good friend of the club, former long-time club member Peter Larwood who travelled from afar just to be with us for the evening.

Have a wonderful Christmas everybody.

Many thanks to Jonathan for the above report, and for organising the tournament with his usual efficiency.

Christmas Events

It’s that time of year again, and there are two social events for Crowthorne Chess Club members to put in their calendar!

A message from Jonathan, our club secretary:

The time has come for you to let me know if you’re planning to attend the Crowthorne Christmas Handicap tournament, also known as our Christmas party. I need to know how many are attending, so as to order the right amount of food. Also, it helps me organise the structure of the event (how many first stage groups there need to be, etc). If you’ve already let me know your intentions, there’s no need to do so again.

As a reminder: it’s in the Wellington College social club, Friday 20th December, start time 7:30.

As well, there is a Camberley/Crowthorne Christmas meal on Friday 13th December, not very long away at all, in La Galleria in Yateley. Would interested people let myself or Christine know?

Khyber Cup 2019

The Khyber Cup, which was held on Sunday June 16 fulfilled all the traditional Khyber cup elements: good natured but closely fought games in a friendly environment, and weather going from imminent rain to a lovely summer’s day. Even the traditional winner, Richard Webb, won the event, adding his name to the shield for the 19th time. Runner up was Paul Sloane and there was a three-way tie for the wooden spoon. Many thanks to John Upham for being a generous and perfect host.

Thanks also to Paul Sloane for providing these photos (click to see full image):