The cup is here! Brutal knockouts and underdog dreams reign supreme over the chessboard whilst clubs salivate over the prospect of silverware in the new year.
This month’s review will be a little different – sadly no game of the month (don’t despair, there’s plenty of tournament and league action in January so we’ll have to make up for it then) and little to no movement in the league.
South Bristol A climbed up to mid-table in div 1, Horfield C have relinquished their clutches on div 2, whilst North Bristol B extend their lead in div 4, but other than that it’s all ticking along nicely.
So on to the bloodbath that is the KO cup!
The major saw just a single quarter-final, but packed with enough tension for four! Horfield were totally on the back foot but mounted a heroic (well…) comeback and again won by the smallest margin leaving Clifton wondering where the wins even came from.
Horfield vs. Downend. We’re going with Horfield for this one (editors intervention – bias much Mike?!). They’ve been consistent in the league, have the home advantage, are on a lucky streak, and crucially yours truly is not available to put the team in peril.
Bath vs. South Bristol. Again going with the home odds, we’ll take Bath to give South Bristol an early bath… But that’s ages away in February, many things can change.
December was all about the minor cup action. Downend’s strength in depth overcame the re-branded North Bristol, and will now face South Bristol in the semi’s who made it through with a stonking 6-0 win against Hanham. For this reason we’ll have to pick South Bristol for the win in February.
Horfield proved too strong for Yate and will meet Clevedon in the semis; who upset Clifton in a tough battle. That means giants Clifton are absent from both semi-finals, so it’s wide open! Horfield have the home odds for the semi, but who doesn’t love a cup run from a small town?! Clevedon it is.
We’ll be back in January with maybe a bumper edition of Game of the Month, and check back in February with the results of the KO semi-finals and a final preview.
Mike is a regular pretender in Bristol’s top division and can also be seen propping up local tournament ladders. He writes a regular column for the Bristol Chess Times and plays a solid 20 openings a season.