The county quarter-finals are now completed, and sadly despite fielding 3 teams thanks to successful qualifying campaigns, 2 fell at the first hurdle. The u160s lost by the narrowest of margins 7.5 - 8.5 to Yorkshire in a nail-biting contest, while the u140s went to Derby and lost 6-10 to Lancashire. However the u120s made a trip to Northampton where they recorded a fine 8-4 win over Nottinghamshire, and now face Essex at home in the semi-finals on June 10th.
The ECF Quarter-Final draws have been announced. The U120s play Notts on May13th with the U160s facing Yorkshire on the same day. The U140s have a trip to Lancashire on May21st
The U120 team beat SCCU champions-elect 8-4 on Saturday, and although finishing fourth, have managed to secure an ECF nomination due to Kent not accepting their nomination. As a result Herts have a clean sweep of county teams, with all 3 teams entering making it through to the national stages.
After the weak team we fielded in February, it was with some relief we sent a stronger side out to face Cambridgeshire and Suffolk in our final round of matches on Sunday. The Cambridgeshire match in the morning was critical, as victory would guarantee our qualification for the ECF national stages of the County Championships. I don't know what the team had for breakfast, but the result was remarkable, as we beat Cambridgeshire by 11-5, the widest margin of victory I can recall us recording against Cambridgeshire.
A 7-9 loss to recurring SCCU champions Kent on Saturday was a much better performance than our showing at Surrey 3 weeks earlier. ECF Qualification has been secured with an S3 place behind Kent(S1) and Essex(S2). Wins for Wali, Terry O'Sullivan, Austin McMahon, Andrew Smith and Peter Seeley weren't quite enough on the day, but we go into the nationals full on confidence. Andrew Smith has kindly made his game available
After the successful results back in October when we won both our matches, I had hoped that success might act as a spur to other players to take part, and ensure that momentum was maintained that would see us qualify for the ECF stages of the County Championships. We were able to welcome four new players for their first matches for Herts U160, Paul Walton, Andrew Smith, Francois Swiegers and Ger Reilly, but with an average grade of under 136, our team was statistically the weakest team we have fielded since we joined EACU in 2012.
Despite starting a board short, the U140s pulled off a fine 9-6 win over Sussex on Saturday. Although we started a man short (playing 14 vs 15) that deficit was soon removed thanks to early wins from Paul Laskier and Alan Brewis. Brian Kirby managed a very creditable draw against his 44-grading-points higher opponent, and with Peter Seeley and Stephen Dicks scoring wins around the time control, the match state was looking good.
Wins were achieved by Mark Duggin ( opponent graded 116 ) on board 5; Chris Pines on board 6 against his opponent graded 112 against Chris's 102; Mark Lynch on board 6 against his opponent on a grade of 104, Alexandros Kalyviotis ( playing his first county match on an estimated grade of 100 ) won against his opponent graded at 103; and Peter Baker won on board 12 against an opponent graded 69. Steve Dicks on board 3 and Terry Douse on board 4 both on 117 grades had the only 2 draws. Commiserations to those who lost their matches but it was very close indeed.
Herts U140 completed another excellent win by 9.5 - 6.5 against Essex on Saturday.
Contributions towards an end of season newsletter covering Herts chess activity over the 2016-17 season would be welcomed. Previous newsletters from Steve Law and Jeremy Fraser-Mitchell were well received. They can also form a useful results summary and social commentary of the Herts chess scene. Pictures, games, anecdotes are welcomed. The resultant newsletter would be free to contributors and members of the HCA. Content to the editor, Alan, please. firstname.lastname@example.org.