Over now? Well, the league season is, at least!!
Ambiguous title? Well, I wanted to keep you guessing about tonights' result! Yet another Roxette reference - what can I say? I could have gone with "Get in the Ring" or "Crazy Train" or suchlike, but I'm just really into Roxette at the moment because I'm still excited about going to see them live!
If you're curious about the chess, please read on... first, the match card.... it's what you wanted all along, I know!
| ||Daventry A|| ||Solihull B|
||Lawson, Timothy (155)
||Summerfield, Julian H (153)
||Foulds, Andrew (144)
||Chillcott, Richard (155)
||Stevens, Robert (125)
||Roper, Paul (142)
||Bowman, Kevin (129)
||Nevin, Mike (119)
|Match played on 02 May 2012.
Still with me?! Well, just in case not, here's the Leamington & District Chess League Division 2 Table.
Cowabunga! We did it! A crushing 3-1 victory over Solihull B tonight saw the minnows of Daventry take the 2nd Division Title in STYLE!
I have to confess, it was actually ME that won the league, single handedly! I say this because if you have been following the blog, we only needed one draw from tonights' four games to secure top spot. I managed to get my opponent into a dead position and made him an offer he just couldn't refuse! So, just 40 minutes into the evening, I offered a draw after 21 moves which was accepted. The rest, as they say, is history. It's funny how, when I mentioned that it was ME who had won the league, my teammates all burst out laughing.... the respect they have for their captain is second to, well, just about everything!
Andy Foulds had a very interesting position on board 2 and despite having what appeared to be a clear edge, he repeated moves and offered a draw. With no real hope of winning the position, his opponent agreed.
This just left Rob on board 3 and Kevin on board 4. Rob's position looked like he ought to be struggling and one of the other club members came out and said he thought Rob might be losing. I had looked at the position and felt Rob actually had a better position! I was right and Rob converted the win with some accurate play after his opponent went on the attack but overlooked a back rank checkmate threat.
On board 4, Kevin did what Kevin has done best all season - "full point" was the order of the day. Kevin's dynamic bishop pair eventually coming to life when his opponent decided to go for it and opened a somewhat closed position. Kevin played a neat combo and this eventually netted him a whole piece.
So, that was the last match of the season for Daventry A. Outgunned in many of our matches on grade but certainly not on spirit or determination!
We will be taking our place in Division One next season and all five squad members (Andy Johnson also contributed in two games this season as "first reserve"). What impresses me so much about the guys in this team is that they are massively up for the huge challenge that awaits us in the top flight. The standard will be higher and at this stage, we will do well not to get relegated. The fact that the whole team are relishing the challenge might give us a bit of impetus. We will be training over the summer and will hopefully hit the ground running in September.
None of the players showed any nerves tonight and the fact that we won convincingly against a very strong Solihull side who had turned up to try and claim the title themselves says an awful lot about our team's character and ability to cope with the pressure.
So, thanks to the sportsmanship shown by all our opponents this season and also for their understanding in allowing us to move some fixtures around.
Thanks also to Lynne at the 101 Inn in Daventry for providing an excellent venue.
Thanks to the "squad":
Andrew Foulds, Robert Stevens, Kevin Bowman and Andrew Johnson.
Our "MVP" this season has to be Kevin Bowman who hit form at exactly the right time, winning his last 6 games in a row. An awesome performance!
I think Rob Stevens has learned a lot playing at this level and in my opinion, although his grade might not reflect it when it's published next, for me he is the "most improved".
Andy Foulds also came good at the right time in the season and is a great player to have on board 2, because he's board 1 quality in his own right in my opinion.
Andy Johnson is also another big improver and will surely get a chance to play a few games in the top flight and/or on top board for the B team.
Personally, for me, this has been a slightly disappointing season (despite being delighted at winning the league!). As usual, I got off to a great start but then seemed to falter somewhat. Although I didn't lose as many games as last season, progress has been slow for me and there are a few things I need to address (and I'm doing that). The positives for me are that I seem to be making less rash blunders in games but perhaps this is at the expense of my natural instinct to launch the kitchen sink in the direction of the enemy King! I think I've learned a bit about the middle game and how to better play certain types of positions. I don't know really but it will soon be time to start some more training and perhaps enter a few summer tourneys - we'll see how things go!
Here is my game from tonight - it's only 21 moves and as you'll see, far from "exciting" in terms of trying to crush my opponent but it got the job done and hopefully took the pressure off the rest of the guys. My opponent remarked that I played "really quickly" which I suppose I did for the first 10 moves but a lot of it's just pretty standard stuff really!
So, just lastly, a great big thanks to everyone who reads this blog regularly (or irregularly!). I can see I generally get around 70-90 "reads" per article usually and that's really great to see because it kind of makes it worthwhile me posting the blog publicly!
I'd just like to add that if you do read the blog and you do want to make a comment at any time or have any suggestions as to how the blog (not my chess!) can be improved, any feedback is always welcome! Some of you will probably have a good giggle at some of the chess I play and I know that some of it has been pretty ropey this season.
Next season might be slightly different - hopefully not too many defeats for me and you can all bet I'll be trying my hardest!
Next up are matches on Saturday, Sunday and bank holiday Monday in the Four Nations Chess League so there will be at least one more article coming out in the next week or so!
Be excellent to each other!
Over and (not quite out but....) definitely promoted!