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.
The U140 season got off to a fine (if belated start) with a win over 13 Middlesex players by 4 clear boards. Despite Middlesex turning up ultimately with 13 players (vs our 15) we still won the actual match by 5 wins to 3, and hence ran out comfortable winners by 9.5- 5.5. Top 4 boards scored heavily, with 3 wins by Paul Laskier (on his board 1 debut) Michael Flatt and Andrew Maclaren, backed up by a brace lower down the team from Gary Ruddicks and Stephen Dicks. Our next game is against Essex on 3rd December back at the Gadebridge.
The next meeting of the HCA, on Friday 18th November 2016 from 7.30 pm, is being held in the Chauncy Room, The Hertford Club, Bull Plain, Hertford, SG14 1DT.