The Gazette - February 2021

Edited by Julie Leonard
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

51.55 Parallel Match

No fewer than forty BCA members stepped forward to volunteer to take on the might of Surrey! So sadly, there wasn’t room for everyone in the team. Undeterred, twelve members are now taking part in a six board internal North v South match, where the dividing line is the 51.55 degrees north latitude!

In the North team we have: Gerry Walsh (Middlesbrough), John Ramm (Wrexham), Simon Highsmith (Hornsey), Voldi Gailans (Romford), Mike Flood (Finsbury Park) and Lea Ryan (Northolt).

Representing the South are: Gill Smith (Bristol), Tony Lawton (Reading), Paul Hartdegen (Esher), Tony and Irene Elbourn (Gosport) and Donna Jodhan (Toronto).

For the pairings, the teams have not been put in order of playing strength as is traditional. Instead, each player has been drawn against an opponent that they have never played or haven't played recently e.g. in the 2020 TESSLa, Alternative Autumn or 13th BCA Email Tournament.

North (White on odd boards)South

1Voldi Gailans(W)v.Paul Hartdegen(B)

2Gerry Walsh (B)v.Tony Elbourn(W)

3Lea Ryan (W)v.Gill Smith(B)

4Mike Flood(B)v.Donna Jodhan(W)

5Simon Highsmith(W)v.Tony Lawton(B)

6John Ramm(B)v.Irene Elbourn(W)

I believe I'm correct in saying that this is Simon Highsmith's first BCA event. You might have spotted that Paul Hartdegen is taking part in this match as well as playing for Surrey in the other match! As you’ll already know from the Membership Secretary’s Report, Paul has just joined us as an associate member and he is keen to meet BCA members and help out. So, a very warm welcome to both Simon and Paul!

I wonder how many readers remember the OTB North v South matches that used be held in Birmingham? I’m not sure when they started and finished, but I went to some in the late 1970s and early 1980s, travelling by train from Somerset with Dad for the day. BCA members from all over the country would converge on Birmingham New Street station, to be welcomed by the always helpful Sheila Milsom. When everyone had assembled, she would bring us to the correct bus stop and we’d all board a bus together, much to the surprise of the driver and other passengers! The playing venue was in Harborne, I believe. Midlands players only found out whether they were playing for the North or the South minutes before the match started because it depended on who turned up from other parts of the country! If you have any stories or pleasant memories of those matches, please do let me know and if there are enough, I’ll put them together for a “Down Memory Lane” style article in the next issue!

Julie Leonard

Stop Press! Shortly before finalising this issue of the gazette the first result came in: Highsmith beat Lawton. So the North team has an early lead! Congratulations to Simon on winning his first game in a BCA event!