National Club Championship 2016

National Club Championship, 8th – 10th April 2016, Birmingham

Mark Hague writes:

I took part in this event for the first time this April.  This year the BCA had entered two teams of four players; one team to play in the Intermediate section and the other team in the Minor section.  There were four rounds over the weekend, two on Saturday and two on the Sunday. The players and their grades were as follows:-

BCA 1: Graham Pennington (138), Ian Blencowe (133), Stan Lovell (124) and Philip Gordon (121).

BCA 2: Mark Hague (95), Dan Rugman (87), Gary Wickett (84), Voldi Gailans (78) and Efe Shimwell (77).

Note that I only played the first two rounds due to feeling very unwell with a heavy cold and Gary Wickett substituted for me for the last two.

In spite of leaving after only playing two rounds I really enjoyed the experience of playing in a regular sighted tournament and would recommend others give it a go too.  The Holiday Inn at Birmingham was a very convenient venue for the event as we had ground floor rooms which were close to the reception and dining room. Also the hotel staff, the other players and tournament officials were incredibly helpful and there was little problem in getting around the venue.  I did enjoy meal times though as we had arranged that we could all sit together on our own table and the staff were very helpful and friendly.  Sighted help from Ian, Graham’s wife and Efe’s mum made things a lot easier.

As for the chess, to be honest our teams were hopelessly out graded , with 1 team having players on average 15 ECF points above the BCA team and in the Minor section things were even worse with team members having to face opponents on average having 38 ECF points above themselves.  The only person who got players of around his own strength happened to be Phil Gordon on board 4 in team 1, who scored an excellent 3.5 out of 4 which was without a doubt the best individual result of all the BCA team members.  In the tournament room we were fortunate to have Matthew Carr, who had been appointed by the ECF to help with the BCA teams.  He did an excellent job.  He was also able to sort out a dispute in favour of a BCA player when the sighted player’s board did not reflect the moves on his own score sheet.

On the Sunday morning I was able to meet up with Gary who was joining our team to allow me to leve.  Dan Rugman (87) then took my board 1 position and I did feel slightly guilty when I later found his opponent had a grade of ECF 181.  Had I stayed then Dan would have had to face an opponent of ECF grade 129 on Board 2 instead.  In the 4th round Gary very nobly took up the mantel of board 1 and faced an opponent of quite a modest grade of 138.  Thanks therefore go to Gary for stepping in and saving me from my cold and from having a probable score of 0 from 4 had I stayed to the bitter end!

Individual Scores

BCA 1 Team: Gordon 3.5/4, Blencowe 1.5/4, Lovell 1/4, Pennington 0.5/4

BCA 2 Team: Rugman 1.5/4, Gailans 1/4, Shimwell 1/4, Wickett 0.5/2, Hague 0/2

 


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