Horfield A have led for the majority of the season as they chase a first league title in 17 years, but a large chasing pack of five teams has been keeping them nervous throughout. However, February turned out to be the month when daylight finally appeared at the top. Despite several close matches, Horfield A continued to grind out the victories whilst the chasing pack slipped up and dropped valuable points with draws and losses to teams lower down the division. As the month of February closes Horfield A find themselves five points clear (with a very healthy Game Points score). Its not over but the statisticians amongst our readers will point to a strong likelihood of a Horfield title.
At the bottom of the table both Clifton B and Clevedon picked up some points to close the gap on South Bristol A and maybe even Downend B. With games in hand, we could be seeing an intriguing 3 or 4 way relegation battle pushing on to the very end of the season.
In division 2, South Bristol B continued to hold onto top spot throughout the month but its much closer with Horfield C one point behind. The self styled “noisy neighbours” of the Bristol & District League, North Bristol, briefly applied some pressure at the top but it would appear the games played column will be their enemy this season. With everyone around them having games in hand, it will be hard to stay in the top three.
At the bottom of the league Downend D are unfortunately adrift but Cabot A are still within touching distance of safety.
Yate A finally lost their 100% record, conceding top spot to Keynsham A. The rest of the division are a long way behind although Clifton C have mysteriously only played 8 games giving them a whopping 3 games in hand. That makes the division slightly harder to call but its fair to say its likely to be a three horse race into the final stretch of the season.
At the bottom of the division, Hanham A, Downend E and Cabot B will be glad that there is no relegation from Division 3 as they have all struggled thus far.
North Bristol B have plenty to shout about in Division 4 as they are joint top with 20pts but with a healthy three games in hand which should be enough to see them claim top spot. In what is an incredibly tight run in its very hard to call who will finish where from third to 10th with still lots of games in the largest division in the Bristol & District Chess League.
There always has to be one team propping up the league and unfortunately at the moment that dubious honour goes to Harambee.
League KO Cup and Minor League KO Cup
The semi finals for both cup competitions also took place in February. This time out, it was Horfield’s turn to taste defeat in both cups, losing to Downend and Clevedon respectively.
The final match ups for the last pieces of silverware in the season is as follows:
Minor KO Cup Final: Downend vs. Clevedon
KO Cup Final: Downend vs. Bath / South Bristol (editors note – final semi result pending at time of writing)
Game of the Month
Our Game of the Month for February comes courtesy of Candidate Master Lynda Smith of Thornbury Chess Club. Lynda actually submitted two examples of lovely attacking chess but we have opted for her lovely attacking prowess on the Black side of a Sicilian from the East Devon Congress . Lynda’s attack starts as early as move 8 with the h-pawn thrust. Its fitting that the game is ultimately decided on the h-file 19 moves later, demonstrating the successful culmination of a long term plan.
Congratulations to Lynda and our other winners of previous Games of the Month. We will be compiling all our winners together at the end of the season for a final Game of the Season as well as some prizes. Until then, enjoy playing through Lynda’s game below.
Finally, regular readers will notice that we have made some edits to the Bristol Chess Times. Most notably we have added the ability to play through games on the site (as demonstrated in Lynda’s game above). Please do let us know what you think as we are particularly pleased to be adding this really useful functionality to the website. I will be writing an update soon on the coming changes to the site and how more members of the amateur chess community can get involved with the Bristol Chess Times.
Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.