The Gazette - February 2010

Sponsored by The Primary Club
Edited by Guy Whitehouse
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

Tournament Director’s Report

It’s hard to believe that this is my fourth TD report for the Gazette. In the last three issues, I have reflected on the striking way in which nature and the changing seasons mirror the various stages of the postal game, and thus with danger of being open to the charge of being confused whether I’m writing for the BCA Gazette or an article for Gardeners’ World, I think it would be amiss of me not to complete the analogy. My defence to such a charge would be that I know even less about gardening than I do about chess! However, spring being just around the corner, one doesn’t need to be Alan Titchmarsh to realise this is the time for sowing seeds. I therefore will complete this little theme by drawing similarities from sowing and harvesting.

When a gardener sows his seed he cannot say for certain what the result will be. All seeds look mainly alike, but how different their various forms when they take root! Special care must be taken that each seed is planted in a good plot, and if you look at that statement again, how similar to chess this is! One may argue that the opening is more about development than plotting, however, is not good development the foundation of a good plot, as surely as well-nurtured soil is vital to the successful sprouting of sundry shoots? The good gardener has to ensure that the soil is pliable and guard against weeds. I know from experience that poorly calculated moves have often proven to be a thorn in my side, and like weeds or arid soil, they have hindered the flowering of a good position.

The obvious reward for sowing with vigilance and care, if the joy of sowing be not enough reward in itself, is the benefit of reaping. The care and expertise that accompanies each various stage of the postal games will ultimately be proved by the fruit of their harvest. In this issue, I will be revealing the eagerly awaited winners of both the League Cup and the Friendly Ladder Shield together with the final scores. The good news is that once again, due to the difficulty of Division 3 being a little top heavy, players have been spared from relegation.

So whether your harvest be to win the league, do well in your division, improve your chess, or simply to enjoy the wonderful mystery of this great game, before I reveal the scores, may I take this opportunity to wish all players well in their games, albeit not too well if you’re playing against me!

BCA League

Division 1 – Group Leader David Hodgkins

Hodgkins-Gibbs 0.5-0.5 King’s Pawn 46

Bryant-Gibbs 0-1 no details given

Gibbs-McElroy 0.5-0.5 Sicilian 40

McElroy-Atherton 1-0 Sicilian 50.

Final scores: Ernie McElroy 3.5-5, Alec Crombie 3.5-5, Frank Atherton 3-5, David Gibbs 2.5-5, Lionel Bryant 2-5, David Hodgkins 0.5-5.

What a tight finish! Congratulations go to Ernie McElroy as the winner of the BCA League 2008/9, pipping Alec at the post by just 0.75 of a point on the first tie-break (Sonneborn-Berger). If it would have gone to the next tie-break (Kashdan), Alec would have won by a point. It doesn’t get closer than that!

Division 2 – Group Leader Mark Hague (please refer to Non Committee Members for contact details)

Final scores: Mike Hague 5-6, Mark Hague 4.5-6, Steve Brown 4-6, Geoff Patching 2.5-6, Mike McGuigan 2.5-6, Eric Gallacher 2-6, Roger Bishop 0.5-6.

Congratulations go to Mike Hague and Mark Hague who have now been promoted to Division 1.

Division 3 – Group Leader Gary Wickett

Richardson-Rees 0-1 no details given.

Scores: George Phillips 6-6, Sean O’Brien 4.5-6, Derek Spink 3.5-6, David Rees 3-6, Gary Wickett 2.5-6, Jim Cuthbert 1.5-6, Allen Richardson 0-6.

Congratulations go to George Phillips and Sean O’Brien who have been promoted to Division 2.

40th BCA Championship

Premier – Group Leader David Hodgkins

McElroy-Mike Hague 1-0 Ruy Lopez 27

Whittle-Bryant 1-0 London Attack 30

Mike Hague-Whittle 0-1 Karo Kann 45

Cohn-Bryant 1-0 Queen’s Gambit Accepted 27

Whittle-Cohn 0-1 London Attack 34

McElroy-Bryant 1-0 no details given

Phillips-Bryant 1-0 English 28.

Scores: Hans Cohn 4-4, David Hodgkins 2-2, Ernie McElroy 2-2, George Phillips 2-2, Les Whittle 2-3, Sean O’Brien 0-2, Lionel Bryant 0-4, Mike Hague 0-5.

Hans has a comfortable lead at present with a perfect score, but with so many games still to play and three other perfect scores and one near perfect, you will have to wait for the May Gazette to see how this battle of the titans pans out.

Group A – Group Leader Gary Wickett

Pearce-Spink 0.5-0.5 unknown 27

Spink-Patching 0-1 Polish 32.

Scores: Frank Atherton 2-2, Geoff Patching 1.5-2, Gary Wickett 1.5-3, Jason Pearce 0.5-1, Derek Spink 0.5-3.

Frank is the clear favourite but still too early yet to give concrete predictions.

Group B – Group Leader Mark Hague

S. Brown-Rees 1-0 King’s Gambit 29

Rees-Gallacher 0.5-0.5 unknown

Brown-McGuigan 0.5-0.5 Bird’s Opening 24.

Scores: Alec Crombie 3.5-4, Brown 3.5-5, Mark Hague 2-4, Mike McGuigan 1-3, David Rees 1-4, Eric Gallacher 1-4.

Congratulations to Alec, who would now qualify for the Premier on the first tie-break (Sonneborn-Berger), regardless of the result of his final game with David Rees.

Friendly Games - Ladder Table

Patching-Couchman 1-0 Queen’s Gambit declined 19.

Final leading scores: Geoff Patching 20, David Hodgkins 15, Orlando Sobers 14, Ernie McElroy 11, Frank Atherton 10.

Congratulations go to Geoff Patching who wins the Shield for 2009.

Before I turn to the friendly email tournament, I just want to mention a couple of little things regarding trophies. Firstly, unless the persons in question are not present, all postal trophies will now be presented at the AGM. Secondly, it has now been decided by the Committee that anyone winning a trophy will be able to keep their prize possession without the need to pass it on to the next champion. The former League Cup was first issued in 1981, and although Ernie professes that he doesn’t remember the exact amount of times, he assures me that he has been more than thrice the owner. Ernie thus being twice blessed is now the proud owner of both the former and present League cups (the Newton Cup).

In the friendly email tournament we now have just four players; Colin Chambers, Steve Hilton, Steve Thacker and George Phillips. Because of the low number of participants, and to give each player an equal amount of games for each colour, players will play both black and white against each opponent.

BCA Friendly Email Tournament

Chambers-Thacker 1-0 King’s Indian 9

Thacker-Chambers 0-1 Larsen’s Opening 32.

Scores: Colin Chambers 2-2, Steve Thacker 0-2.

Gary Wickett.