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Chandlers Ford Chess Season - Review

Updated: May 30

2022 Chess Season


This post is not really part of the Hampshire Chess History website, but I thought I would include something on my club, with a review of the current season. This is a personal view, but if anyone wishes to contribute either from my club, or other Southampton / Portsmouth clubs I am happy to add. I am sure the Hampshire Chess website would also welcome input on this and other articles related to local chess.


With no League Chess in 2020 / 2021 due to the Pandemic it looked as if there would not be any for 2021 / 2022 either. But following the Southampton Chess League AGM the decision was taken that in 2022 some sort of League Chess would be undertaken.


A few suggestions were put forward and the committee decided that a format of five divisions of four teams, playing home and away with four boards, rather than the normal five was possible in the shortened season. Normally the league would be teams of six, with ten matches, so this was a good compromise. This set up was implemented for divisions One, Two, Three and Five, whilst division Four had five teams playing a single round


Chandlers Ford had a team in Division Three, Four and Five, and in total 23 players played during the season, which I think proved that enough players were keen to return to league chess. I have completed a review for each of the three teams.


Below is a picture from the 8 board super match from Division Five, where Chandlers Ford C took on Basingstoke C. The picture is from the always excellent Chandlers Ford Chess Club website which showcases the club playing room, which easily allowed the larger match to take place.

8 board match Chandlers Ford C v Basingstoke C, 1st March 2022
8 board match Chandlers Ford C v Basingstoke C 1st March 2022. Supplied by K.Lamb

 

Chandlers Ford A - Division Three

In the 2019 / 2020 season Chandlers Ford A finished in 2nd place, behind Andover A. Our top board from that season Ian Hardwick has moved away and Peter Przybycin decided not to play league chess this season. For this reason there was uncertainty how strong we would be for 2022.


Losing the top board is always challenging, but luckily, with the growth in chess during the pandemic new players were starting to emerge; some of these returning to chess, some of these new to over the board chess, and the junior club was bringing through new players as well. For the A team junior Iwan Cave was quickly persuaded to play on board three (many thanks to Rob Sims for this) and by the end of the season with his increased grade was playing on top board. A great prospect for the future and he proved his tenacity turning a few bad positions around, to either win or draw them. Eric Jones played a few seasons back for Southampton and has been fine tuning his skills online where he is a demon bullet player. He made a great addition on board three and four, given us strength in depth. When we could field our strongest team over four boards we were a pretty strong team for Division Three.


Full details of the Season including all matches can be found on the Southampton Chess League website.


We finished second on game score, just edging out Salisbury B, although Basingstoke A proved too strong and were the worthy winners of Division Three. As this was a shortened season I would be surprised if there would be promotion and relegation, but hopefully we will be able to challenge for the title next season? As a growing club, with one of the best venues in the league it would be good to have a team in Division Two.


SCL Division Three 2022
SCL Division Three 2022

A Team Player Performance

Both Iwan and myself played in every match and five others played during the season. We were lucky that the players that stepped in were experienced A team players, from previous seasons. Phil Overton returning half way through the season certainly helped the team, especially as Dave Holmes was only able to play in two of the matches. It also helps that Malcolm Clarke was a non playing captain, ably organising the team for each match. The performance of the players is detailed below.


Chandlers Ford A Player Statistics
Chandlers Ford A Player Statistics

Calculating the grading performance should be taken with a pinch of salt as over so few games.


An expanded list of the players, showing our opponents.

Chandlers Ford A chess results 2022 season with opponents
Chandlers Ford A with opponents included

Personally I was happy with my performance, although I was lucky to beat Bob Cleave and Liam Tiller-Collins, both with Knight forks following a temporary sacrifice. On the flip side I was disappointed to lose to Jamie Chilton from a winning position. The truth is, he played better than me in time trouble, although I would hope we could return to the added time per move next year, rather than the 90 minutes for all moves.


From below in the first diagram Rook take Knight then allows Ne4+ winning the piece and Knight takes Knight in the second is a poisoned Knight as if Queen takes Nf3 picks up the Queen (which was the continuation in the game).

Two chess games by G.Stuart SCL 2022
Cleave vs Stuart & Tiller-Collins vs Stuart
 

Chandlers Ford B Division Four

With one win, one draw and two losses Chandlers Ford B finished in 5th place. Unlike division Three, division Four had five teams. A single round against each opponent was the format and Fareham B were comfortable winners (dropping just half a point!). Their team had a average grade of 1765 which was almost 300 points higher than Chandlers Ford B and almost 150 points higher than the 2nd placed University B.


The B team started with a fine win with against Andover B and ended with a draw against Basingstoke B, in between they found it tough going losing 4 - 0 against University B and Fareham B. It is tough to determine the success of a season with only the four matches, but I am sure next season the team will have a larger amount of matches.


Full details of the Season including all matches can be found on the Southampton Chess League website.


SCL Division Four 2022
SCL Division Four 2022

B Team Player Performance

Sam Murphy was the only player to play in all four games and performed to his grade playing on either board one or two. Both Keven Lamb and Nobby George managed a 50% score from their games.


Chandlers Ford B Player Statistics
Chandlers Ford B Player Statistics

An expanded list of the players, showing our opponents is detailed below. As you can see with Fareham B fielding players such as Dave Elliott, Joe Coburn and Ted Black they were always going to win the division. Not unlike Division One which Fareham A also dominated with a 100% score, only dropping the 3 match points (and no Fareham player lost a game in the season either).


Chandlers Ford B chess results 2022 season with opponents
Chandlers Ford B with opponents included

 

2022 Chandlers Ford C Division Five

With so many players wanting to play Chandlers Ford C captain Steve Dunleavy did an excellent job giving 15 players the opportunity to play league chess. I am a great believer in playing over the board league chess as being the best way to improve your game. As well as the individual game you are playing for the team, which brings the added element of keeping an eye on the other matches. From the pandemic we have all got used to playing the same players online in the Lichess tournaments and once we returned to the club it was then internal tournaments. Playing against other teams adds an extra component to chess and ensuring that our club players play league chess is a real boon.


In fact Steve was so careful in this, that he only played the two league matches himself this season. The team finished 3rd, with one win, two draws and three losses. This meant that none of our teams finished last in their respective division, which is always a good position to be in.


A really nice touch was that in most of the games additional graded games were undertaken, this cumulated in a eight board super match against Basingstoke C, which is detailed on the Chandlers Ford Website. I have added some of the pictures from his match below. By having these larger matches this allowed some of the regular D team players to play in the league this year, which bodes well for us having 4 teams next season.


Some of the pictures I have shamelessly obtained from the Chandlers Ford website of the 8 board super match. Steve Dunleavy in the first, Keven Lamb pondering his move in the second.



Full details of each match are on the Southampton Chess League website.

SCL Division Five 2022
SCL Division Five 2022

C Team Player Performance

With the juggling of the players for matches, no-one played in all 6 matches, but Peter Eales was the star player with his 100% score. Peter has only played sporadically for the last 10+ years and he has previously much higher graded than his current grade. He topped off his season with a fine win against Salisbury's Liam Tiller-Collins who had a tough season against Chandlers Ford, losing to myself and Iwan as well. Although in his game against me he was probably winning at one stage.


If Peter is available I am sure he will be playing for the B team rather than the C next season. Rob Sims won two of his three games and Nobby George (who played the most games for Chandlers Ford this season) scored 50% for good results as well.


By the end of the season new players such as John Pellegrini and Daniel Phillips played games, which will give them valuable experience for next season.


Chandlers Ford C Player Statistics
Chandlers Ford C Player Statistics

An expanded list of the players, showing our opponents.


Chandlers Ford C chess results 2022 season with opponents
Chandlers Ford C with opponents included
 

Summary

It was fantastic to be back playing over the board chess and all three teams had their successes. Looking forward I would hope we would be able to field four teams of five players next season and look to challenge in Division Three and Four. We could do with a bit more strength in the A and B teams, but with new players joining the club this will come with time.


As mentioned I think we have one of the best facilities in the league and I am looking to see if purchasing wooden chess sets for league matches is a viable option for the club. The number of internal tournaments has really helped players continue to play in person, but we have to ensure this does not stop players being available for the league matches.


This post is from my perspective, but would welcome comments / games from Chandlers Ford Players which I can add to the article. In addition, as mentioned at the beginning of the article if another team wish to complete an article on their season, I am happy to publish.



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