Its been a cracking season for the Bristol league – new players, resurgent clubs, and a fighting season that we all like to see. Some players will hang up their boots for the summer while others battle through, either way we all have the frantic negotiations of club AGM’s to look forward to. There will be much to discuss, new teams – new league? – promotions and relegations and new goals for 2018-19.
Horfield A have been threatening the title in recent years but have often been pipped – this year they boasted a regular side of nearly 190 average strength and were ready to claim the throne. They lost their first match of the season back in September and languished for a bit (back when Horfield B were top) but since then they have dropped just one match point – never really letting anyone get close. An incredible 33 points won them the league this year by a mile – with 3 players on 200+ performances and also an unbeaten 198 from Steve Dilleigh (who incidentally is unbeaten for 50 games with the White pieces in all competitions).
Downend and Bath finished strong in the league to secure 2nd and 3rd places – but they know the real chess is all about the cup. The match report by Ian Pickup is very entertaining – and the scoreline was about as close as cup finals always are – 4.5-3.5 to Downend. Well done!
This one was close – it was a three or four horse race for a while and even in the last month it was touch and go between Horfield C and Clevedon B. They both secured their promotion spots (whether they take them remains to be seen) and fought all-out for the trophy. Clevedon were not slipping up and Horfield, a point behind, had a must-win to keep the pressure on but succumbed and lost their final match. Clevedon mopped up their match later in the week with a fine 4-2 away win. Also finishing strong was North Bristol A, winning the last match to nab fourth.
The only club to win two trophies this year were the medium-sized Clevedon. The cricket club will be well-adorned this summer – a great achievement from an inauspicious beginning. The final was a bloodbath in which all three juniors stomped home to victory whilst a gentleman’s draw on the top board sneaked Clevedon over the line.
A two-horse race for a lot of the season, Keynsham and Yate had their inaugural struggle for the crown; there was nothing in it until the last few months when Keynsham raced away with it – including an impressive 14 wins this season from long-time Bristol player Duncan MacArthur. Will we see Keynsham threaten in Div 2 next year?
One certified promotion is that of North Bristol B, who have earned the honour of winning a trophy by the highest margin – they are 10 points ahead of nearest rivals University C and wrapped up the league with many matches to spare. The club have enjoyed many spoils of late after they changed venue and gathered interest from many new players. Newcomer Chris Smith and youngster Chirag Hosdurga are on 180+ performances!
The re-instating of a division 5 would be a great achievement for the league. With the World Champs being held in London this year surely there will be another chess resurgence in the UK (following the recent boost in online player numbers) soon enough. Let’s hope Bristol is ready for it!
- Div 1 – Horfield
- Div 2 – Clevedon
- Div 3 – Keynsham
- Div 4 – North Bristol
- Major KO – Downend
- Minor KO – Clevedon
We like to give an extra shout out to players performing well above their grade or for other miscellaneous stats!
Playing above their grade
- Jonathon Long (University): +48
- Max Walker (Clevedon): +37
- Pete Marks (Horfield): +34
- Kwame Benin (Harambee): +30
- Alan Papier (Clifton): +28
- Chirag Hosdurga (North Bristol): +27
- Christian Brown (Bath): +27
- Elmira Walker (Downend): +26
Fighting chess (no draws, at least 10 games and at least 1 win)
- Christian Brown (Bath)
- Mauro Farina (Bath)
- David McGeeney (Cabot)
- John Conway (Cabot)
- Christian Ryan (Clifton)
- Fedor Turetskiy (Downend)
- Matias Candelario (Horfield)
- Mohammed Hassan (North Bristol)
Most games played
Richard Palmer (Downend): 29
IM Chris Beaumont (Clifton): 230
Club with most active players
Chipping Sodbury Rapidplay kept the pieces moving and the local tournament calendar ticking on – you can read all about it in this lovely pictorial report; with Open and Major sections combined it sounded like a barnstorming event with many new match-ups and challengers.
Coming up in the Summer is the Frome Congress and the Bristol Summer Congress – as well as many smaller tournaments and friendly get-togethers. Until then, enjoy the long awaited weather out there folks.
Mike is a regular player in the league and co-editor of Bristol Chess Times.