Gambit 3 and Gambit 4 have won divisions 3 and 4 respectively – congratulations!
Florian was the club’s best performer with 10 wins, 1 draw and just 2 loses = 81%
6 more players had 70% or better: Peter Gorecka-Marshall 8-3-1=79%, Maggie Gretton 8-4-1=77%, Drag Sudar 16-4-4=75%, Keith Roper 15-0-5=75%, Alan Groves 8-1-3=71%, Tom Adams 12-4-4=70%. 6 more got > 60%, 9 more got at least 50%, with only 7 getting < 50%
Best Individual Wins:
Brian Hayward 143 beat Kevin Harvey 182
Jiri Jires 195 beat Chris Dorrington 231
Ronnie Watson 84 beat Michael Milford 105
Peter Mercs 179 beat Nigel Birtwistle 196
Drag Sudar 155 beat Kevin Simpson 170
John Huthwaite 144 beat Onos Kofi-Ofuafor 158
Peter Mercs 179 beat Jim Burnett 193
Ronnie Watson 90 beat James March 104
Best Individual Draws:
Peter Gorecka-Marshall 128 drew with Alan Griffiths 165
Oliver Graham 162 drew with Paul Cumbers 193
Drag Sudar 151 drew with Stuart Williams 182
Drag Sudar 151 drew with Ray Evans 179
Graeme Jennings 170 drew with Paul Cumbers 196
Graeme Jennings 170 drew with Jim Burnett 193
Maggie Gretton 92 drew with Vidura Mendis 114
Graham Gibson 124 drew with Alan Robinson 145
Peter Gorecka-Marshall 125 drew with Graham Ladds 146
Oliver Graham 159 drew with Peter Mercs 179
Michael Naylor 171 drew with Steve Prior 191
Probably the most remarkable story of the season was Gambit X winning division 2 after replacing the withdrawn University 1 team in October.
The club started the season with 26 members but in late September Jiri and Florian joined us, meaning 4 captains would have to rotate players and players would only get about 11 or 12 games rather than 14, so we began to discuss the idea of an extra team and the initial line up was going to be Florian, me, Graham Gibson plus whichever two other players I could call upon. In early October Steve and John T were added as regular team members and I expected us to finish 4th or 5th. Promotion was never our aim; we just wanted to give players more games.
On the day before our 1st match John T withdrew through illness and I used 3 different players in our 1st 3 matches before Mike N became the regular sub. By Christmas we found ourselves with a clear lead and only then did we begin to think about possibly winning the division. By now Mike was an established member of the team so we continued with this line up in the new year and found ourselves winning the title with 3 matches to spare. Florian turned out to be considerably stronger than his FIDE rating of 1802 (= 147 ECF).
Within the club there was considerable juggling of players during the season. We began with 26 players, increased to 28, entered an extra team, almost immediately lost Ray, Dick and John T to go down to 25 players, lost Jiri in February after he completed his course here, and then gained Andrei for a few games in Feb and March. In November we had just 25 players for 29 boards and in early February just 11 players to cover the 15 boards in Gambits 1, 2 and X. Gambit 4 had just 4 regulars for a large part of the season until John was well enough to play again, while Gambit 5 had only 3 regulars all season, so it is quite amazing that we did not default any boards at all this season. Great work by all our captains.
We haven’t decided yet whether to enter 5 or 6 teams next season but I doubt it will be anywhere near as exciting as this season has been.